Thursday, January 31, 2008

22 Years Ago, Today

Today I found a diary in the attic that I kept when I was in 5th grade. It was funny reading my thoughts from when I was 10 and 11 years old. I thought I would share some of the entries here.

January 27, 1986

Dear Diary,
Today we were allowed to chew gum in school. I forgot mine, but Mrs. Tilton gave me 2 pieces for helping her out and Susie gave me two too. Also, the space shuttle challenger blew-up.

I thought this entry was interesting for the mention of my friendship with Susie, that really started that year and has now continued all these years later. And of course the historical significance of the Challenger, which was kind of added as an aside.

January 30, 1986
Dear Diary,
Today I was having a snowball fight with Andrew and I hit him in the face. It wasn't very hard and then Katherine said she was going to get me tomorrow. Uh! Oh!

January 31, 1986
Dear Diary,
today I handed in my book report and Katherine talked about her trip to Reunion at school. And after school, she creamed my face into the snow like she said she would do.

This entry is about an incident that will live on in infamy in our family folk lore. At the time, Andrew was in first grade and I was in 5th. I am sure he cried after I hit him, and I probably acted like it was no big deal. Katherine, my older sister by 6 months decided to come to his defense and teach me a lesson. I was definitely worried about the prospect. She and I were the same size, but she had quite the reputation for being tough and strong. I remember being super anxious about her threat and dreading getting off the school bus at our transfer station, because that is where it was all going to go down. I think I was so worried about it that I wanted to just get it over with, so I probably provoked her by throwing the first snowball and running. Of course she caught up with me, threw me to the ground and made me "eat snow". I can still remember the cold sting of the snow on my cheeks and the force of her hands and body as she pushed me down. After she let me go I wiped the tears off my glasses along with the snow, but experienced an immense sense of relief that it was over. I don't think I will ever live down the humiliation of this incident within my family.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

You Know You Grew Up in the 80's if...

This list was emailed to me by my sister, and so I thought I would share it here...

You Know You Grew Up In the 80's if:

1. You've ever ended a sentence with the word SIKE.

2. You can sing the rap to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and can do the Carlton

3. You know that 'WOAH' comes from Joey on Blossom

4. If you ever watched 'Fraggle Rock'

5. It was actually worth getting up early on a Saturday to watch cartoons.

6. You wore a ponytail on the side of your head.

7. You got super-excited when it was Oregon Trail day in computer class at school.

8. You made your mom buy one of those clips that would hold your shirt in a knot on the side.

9. You played the game 'MASH'(Mansion, Apartment, Shelter, House)

10. You wore stonewashed Jordache jean jackets and were proud of it.

11. You know the profound meaning of ' WAX ON , WAX OFF'

12. You wanted to be a Goonie.

13. You ever wore fluorescent clothing. (some of us...head-to-toe)

14. You can remember what Michael Jackson looked like before his nose fell off and his cheeks shifted.

15. You have ever pondered why Smurfette was the only female smurf.

16.. You took lunch boxes to school...and traded Garbage Pailkids in the schoolyard.

17. You remember the CRAZE, then the BANNING of slap bracelets.

18. You still get the urge to say 'NOT' after every sentence.

19. You thought your childhood friends would never leave because you exchanged handmade friendship bracelets.

21. You ever owned a pair of Jelly-Shoes.

22. After you saw Pee-Wee's Big Adventure you kept saying 'I know you are, but what am I?'

23. You remember 'I've fallen and I can't get up'

24. You remember going to the skating rink before there were inline skates.

25. You have ever played with a Skip-It.

26. You remember boom boxes and walking around with one on your shoulder like you were all that.

27. You remember watching both Gremlins movies.

28. You thought Doogie Howser/Samantha Micelli was hot.

29. You remember Alf, the lil furry brown alien from Melmac.

30. You remember New Kids on the Block when they were cool...and don't even flinch when people refer to them as 'NKOTB'

31. You knew all the characters names and their life stories on 'Saved By The Bell,' The ORIGINAL class.

32. You know all the words to Bon Jovi - YOU GIVE LOVE A BAD NAME.

33. You just sang those words to yourself.

34. You still sing 'We are the World'

35. You tight rolled your jeans.

36. You owned a bannana clip.

37. You remember 'Where's the Beef?'

38. You used to (and probably still do)
say 'What you talkin' 'bout Willis?'

39. You're still singing "you give love a bad name", aren't you!
Recently I have been immersed in the world of Scotland. I am currently listening to Alexander McCall Smith's Scotland Street series on CD. I love his books, but I haven't actually read any of them. I started out with listening to The Number One Ladies Detective Agancy on CD, and enjoyed it so much that I listened to the other 5 books in the series. I think I enjoyed it because the narrator does such a good job of giving all the characters a voice, but especially the main character, Mma Ramotswe. The books really give the listener a feel for Botswana, and even a desire to visit. His books are definitely slower paced, but with plenty of wit mixed in. Anyway, once I finished the No. 1 Ladies Detective series I was going through withdrawal, so I requested the Scotland St. series from the library. I am currently listening to the last book in this series, and thoroughly enjoying it (one of the reasons I haven't been posting as often- I can't listen and write at the same time, so I have chosen to listen in my free time during naps). In addition to this, coincidentally, the most recent DVD to come up on our Netflix queue has been the BBC series "Monarch of the Glen". This has been a fun series to watch in conjuction with listening to the book because it gives me a feel for how Scotland looks, although the one takes place in the city of Edinburgh, and the other on a loch in the Highlands. But as a result, I am finding myself strangely attracted to the idea of a man in a kilt (I used to think it very strange, but now the picture of how handsome a Scottish man can look in his family kilt is oddly appealing to me). Also I catch myself saying things like "What's wrong with the wee bairn?" to K when she is crying or "Aren't you a bonny lass?". Now I just have to teach her to say "Aye, Mummy" in response.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

E's Party

E's birthday party was this past weekend. In the weeks preceding the big day she planned, talked about, counted down and crossed days off of her calendar. Her excitement reached a fever pitch Sunday afternoon as she counted down the hours.
"What time is it?"
"Two more hours!"
What time is it?
"One and a half more hours!"
And so on, until 5:30 when the guests started to arrive for the Pretend Sleepover Party.
We started off the evening with making pizzas. It was fun for them to make their own individual pizzas, but I noticed they ate more chips than actual pizza.

Then on to some games.

Next on the agenda was the craft. No party of E's is complete without a craft. This one we had the girls decorate pillowcases. They were very involved, and enjoyed coloring pictures with fabric markers and crayons, and arranging the iron-on decals.

Following the crafting portion of the party, we had gift opening.

Finally, to end the evening the girls made their own ice cream sundaes for dessert, piling on the m&m's, chocolate and caramel sauce, and sprinkles.

About a half an hour later the party was over, and all the girls left, except for one. E and A settled down in the spare bedroom, and I went in to tell them to go to sleep around 9:30. Ed asked if that was necessary, and I said I didn't want to deal with sleepy grumpy girls the next morning. Well. Guess what time they woke up?
Yes, I heard them through a sleepy fog, talking in the bathroom. I assumed they went back to sleep, but an hour later I went down and A was dressed and brushing her teeth. I ordered the girls back to bed, telling them that it was too early. They went, but their chatter was so loud I was afraid they would wake the baby and N, so I sent them down to the playroom until everyone else woke up at 6:45. All I can say is that after lunch, when A had gone home, everyone went down for a nice 2 hour nap. I don't think we will have another sleepover for a little while.

Friday, January 18, 2008

There's nothing like having a crawling baby to remind you of how filthy your floors really are.

Normally, I can overlook the crumbs and general grime that accumulates on our floors, and I put off vacuuming or mopping just one more day. That is, until I realize you can no longer discern the pattern of the linoleum over by the stove through the spilled sauce, ground in crumbs, and fallen onion skins. It is at this desperate point that I pull out the bucket and mop and work through weeks of neglect. I am not an enthusiastic housekeeper.

But, with a baby that crawls I attempt to clean a little more often. Although I should probably vacuum every day, I do manage to haul it around a few times a week. Even with this extra attention, the baby still manages to find that wrapper that was pushed under the couch, or Polly's miniscule purse that was under the carpet. I have to rescue her several times a day, pulling out all kinds of objects from between her clenched teeth. Once I came back from the bus stop and noticed that she was chewing on something. Despite her howls of rage, I managed to fish out a .... tiny woodchip. Where she had picked it up? I don't know. All I know is that she had been chewing it for the last 15 minutes as we had walked to the bus stop, waited, and came home. I shudder to think of what she actually manages to swallow in the course of a day that I don't know about.

Yesterday we were sitting at the table eating dinner and I noticed that the knees on K's outfit were a nice brown color from her travels through the house. I got a great idea-- why not put all that crawling around to good use? Put the baby to work! I think I may strap on some swiffer cloths, and let her loose on the hardwood. At the end of the day I can remove them and throw them in the trash, and not pick up my mop for at least another day!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

100 Books MEME

Here is a MEME I found online, and liked, so I thought I would post.

* Bolded the ones I've read
* Italicized the ones I want to read
* Left blank the ones that I'm not interested in.
* Put a DK next to the ones I don't know anything about. (This will really reveal my ignorance)

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)

2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) (Loved this book, one of my all time favorites)

3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)

4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell) (Loved this too)

5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien) (Read the trilogy for the first time in the wee hours of the morning when I was up with E)

6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)

7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)

8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery) (I own all of them, and all the books by LM Montgomery, they were a favorite in the middle school years)

9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon) (DK)

10.A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry) (DK)

11.Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)

12.Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)

13.Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)

14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving) (Yes, thanks notiraglass for introducing me to Irving)

15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)

16.Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)

17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald) (DK)

18. The Stand (Stephen King)

19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)

20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)

21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)

22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)

23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott) (Another favorite)

24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)

25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)

26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)

27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte) (Did not like, too much brooding)

28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis) (We are currently reading this as a family)

29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)

30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)

31. Dune (Frank Herbert)

32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)

33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)

34. 1984 (Orwell) (8th grade Lit.)

35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley) (DK)

36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett) (DK)

37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)

38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb) (DK)

39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)

40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho) (DK)

41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)(DK)

42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)

43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella) (A guilty pleasure, thanks to PCP for getting my hooked!)

44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)

45. Bible (God) (not the whole thing, yet, shocking I know, but something I would like to do)

46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy) (Ed got me this for Christmas, and I am looking forward to reading this tome on vacation this summer)

47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas) (Really liked this, as well as the movie)

48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt) (A bit too depressing for me, what with the gutwrenching poverty and death of children, but I am glad I read it for the historical perspective and compassion it gave me)

49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)

50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb) (DK)

51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver) (just finished this, as I just became a big Kingsolver fan)

52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)

53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card) (DK)

54. Great Expectations (Dickens) (9th grade Lit., taught to me by my own Mom, my English teacher for the year)

55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald) (Ditto)

56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence) (DK)

57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)

58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)

59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood) (DK)

60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger) (Ed got me this for Christmas too)

61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)

62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand) (Freshman year of college)

63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)

64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)

65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis) (DK)

66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez) (DK)

67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)

68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)

69. Les Miserables (Hugo) (Haven't read it, but have seen the musical once, and will be seeing it again in May)

70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)

71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)

72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez) (Sounds interesting, although I haven't heard of it)

73. Shogun (James Clavell)

74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)

75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett) (one of my favorites as a young girl, along with The Little Princess)

76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)

77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith) (This was the book to read in 7th grade, there was a waiting list in the school library)

78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)

79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence) (DK)

80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)

81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley) (DK)

82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)

83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier) (DK)

84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind) (DK)

85. Emma (Jane Austen)

86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)

87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)

88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields) (DK)

89. Blindness (Jose Saramago) (DK)

90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer) (DK)

91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)(DK)

92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)

93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)

94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)

95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum) (Does it count that I saw the movie??)

96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)

97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch) (DK)

98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)

99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)

100.Ulysses (James Joyce)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Super Baby Food

One of the last items we received from the farm was a humongous squash. I recently cooked it up into baby food for K. Here are pictures of the process.

1. "I can't believe you want me to eat the WHOLE thing!"

2. Steaming on the stove.

3. Puree

4. Into the icecube trays ( 9 trays + 13 babyfood containers= 50 meals)

5. Yum!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The #2 Rule

Because the weather has been so beautiful, the kids have spent a lot of time outside the past few days. Yesterday after lunch I shooed N and B out the door(I babysit 3 yr. old B and his 7m old sister, A, a couple of days a week). I periodically checked up on them, and they could be seen running around carrying stick two times their size, going down the slide and climbing the dirt hills that grace our backyard, leftover from the previous owner. About an hour later I called them in for nap time.

"Come on boys, it's time for naps, but first let's use the bathroom!"
N resisted a little, "But I already went!"
I ignored him, thinking that he was talking about earlier in the day, "You still need to try."

Since I put a pull-up on N for naptime, I sent him into his room bare-bottomed as I finished up with B. Once B was in bed, I went into N's bedroom. Now before I continue, I have to explain a game that my kids like to play when they are done their baths. They run into their rooms and crouch under their towels, pretending that they are "rocks". I am supposed to come in and pretend that I don't know where they are, "Where is N? I thought he was in here, but all I see is this little blue rock!" I then sit down on the rock to think, as they giggle and wiggle, and I usually end up with,"Wait a second! This rock has a foot/hand/hair! It's not a rock! It's N!" And then they get dressed.

So when I entered the room, N was crouched up in a ball on the floor, pretending to be a rock. Only this rock wasn't freshly scrubbed, instead it had some, um, natural materials clinging to it. "N! Did you poop in your pants?" I shrieked.
N immediately jumped up, the smile wiped off his face, "No! I didn't!"
"Yes, you did! Your bottom is all dirty," I then picked up his discarded jeans and underwear, waving the evidence in the air, "and so is your underwear!"
"No, Mama! I didn't--", N insisted, " I pooped on the hill!"
The hill? What the-- "What do you mean you pooped on the hill?"
"When I was outside, I pooped on the hill," N explained, his face crumpling and eyes welling up.
I was horrified, imagining our new Dutch neighbors glancing outside and seeing our son squatting in the backyard. "N! You need to come inside if you need to use the bathroom! You do NOT poop outside!"
"OK Mommy, I won't do it, ever again," N cried.
"That's right," I agreed, as I cleaned him up, "You know better!"

Later, as I was thinking it over, I wondered to myself, DID he know better? I didn't realize it was a rule that had to be spelled out. I had a list of rules for playing outside that I routinely quizzed the kids on, the number one rule being "No going near the water without a grownup", since our backyard ends in a reservoir. So when the boys went out to play after their naps, I once again went over the rules, just to make sure they were clear.
They recited them back to me:
"No hitting each other with sticks"
"No throwing sand, or dumping it in anyone's hair"
"Don't go in anyone else's yard"
I then asked, "And what's the most important, number one rule?"
N replied, "No going in the water without a grownup"
"Good," I continued, "And I have another rule, and it's the second most important one. NO POOPING OUTSIDE!"
"OK," N repeated, "No pooping outside!"
"And no peeing either," B added.


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Little Man

N came running up to me this morning, "Hey Mama, whas this say?"
I squinted at the label on the cuff of his pajamas, "Um, Baby Place"
N smiled, and shook his head, thinking that I was teasing, "No it doesn't! Whas this say?"
When I repeated, "Baby Place", his denial got more insistent.
"No! It say 'Boy's Place'!"
I tried to pacify him, explaining that it wasn't pajamas FOR baby's, it was just the store's name. But his sense of Boyhood had been injured, and he insisted that it said, "Boy's Place".
I then told him to go ask his sister. "Hey E! Whas this say?"
I could hear E in the other room. "It says 'Baby Place'".
This just fueled the fire. His yells of "No! Boy's Place!" got louder, and he ran to the door of his room and jumped up and down. "No! This is Boy's Place! See? I a Boy!" then he ran into the nursery where I was with the baby. "THIS is Baby Place!"
I could tell that this was going nowhere good, so I finally agreed with him, "You're right- you are a big boy, and you are wearing Boy pajamas."
He looked at me , and asked to make absolutely sure, "It say Boy Place?"
I nodded, resigned, "Yes, it says 'Boy Place'."
Satisfied, he turned to go get changed. E was leaning against the doorframe, toothbrush in mouth, watching this exchange. As he passed her he said, " See E? It DOESN'T say 'Baby Place', it say 'Boy Place'"
E and I exchanged conspiratorial glances and she just rolled her eyes, but didn't contradict him.
She had just learned one of her first lessons in preserving the fragile male ego.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Spring Promises

Today, the taste of spring was in the air. It was a balmy 66 degrees, sunny, with a slight breeze. We spent a good part of playgroup outside, the kids running across the damp grass, the babies content to sit in their mothers arms, and all the moms happy for an unexpected, but welcome break from winter cabin fever. After everyone left, and the kids were down for their afternoon nap, I undertook a chore that I had neglected in the fall. A dusty box that had been sitting in the corner of our dining room held about 70 bulbs- crocuses, tulips, and irises. I had meant to get them planted in November, but the weather turned cold early this year, and I was unable to do it. I had almost resigned myself to not planting them, but then this break in the weather came. Sunday I went out to try to plant them since the top layer seemed soft, but the ground was still frozen about an inch down. But today I thought maybe... maybe there had been a long enough thaw...maybe I could dig the required 3 or 4 inches to bury the bulbs. So I knelt in the damp soil and plunged my spade into the earth, and found that I was able to dig deeply enough. It was a pleasant way to spend the afternoon, both experiencing the foretaste of spring in the air, as well as the anticipation of the joy these flowers would bring me in a few months. I love how planting bulbs are a special kind of promise. In placing these brown little lumps into the earth, I am trusting in the future, that the earth will continue its rotation, and that spring will come again, in glorious colors of pink, red, purple, blue and yellow.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

New Year, New Blog

After 3 years at xanga, I decided to pick up and move house to Blogger. It is going to take some getting used to- new format, and stuff, but once I get it down, I am hoping to pick up my posting regularity. So here is to the first post of the new year.