Wednesday, December 30, 2009

365 days

One month to go. One month before this experiment of a blog is one year old.

Today I do not think I will continue. Mid January will bring reconsideration.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hundreds protest global warming

I snagged this photo from the hilarious Maria Ashley,  who blogs here:  http://blog.timesunion.com/largefamilylife




Monday, December 21, 2009

Oven Update, or we paid HOW MUCH for this appliance?

The oven is still not working, she wrote with a deeply furrowed brow.   Guess what?   (Loosely paraphrased from serviceman's explanation)  If the thingy sends the wrong message to "the board" the whole system implodes, and even though we have a replacement thingy, we really need the replacement board.  There was no way to know this until the appliance was nearly dissembled and the thingy was tried out.   The replacement board has to be sent in from out of state.   Because why would they have it here in Portland, where we bought the oven?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Read much?

Ok, it is just pathetic my favorite book list is from 2008.   Geez.   What have I read in 2009?  Hmm...

Clifford's Animal Sounds
Little Racoon, Here's Your Spoon!
happy baby 123
Colors Foil Fun
Chickie Stop and Go
Clip-Clop
Where is Baby's Belly Button?
and one cannot forget Goodnight Moon

What are the kids reading?

Greener Grass -- it's SO good!
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
The True Meaning of Smekday
Storm: the Black Sphere
Jurassic Park

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Best Christmas Card Ever



I cracked up when this came.   Get it?  Two snowflakes are never supposed to be alike.   Suzanna made this card online for her dad through Gmail, and they sent it through snail mail.   I should have known it was her!

Friday, December 18, 2009

If only every day could be so perfect

Today was a great day.

First of all, darling husband who had been in a jury trial all week returned home.  That alone is awesome.  Then, after the varsity and jv (high school daughter and middle schoolers) (and Nolan) kids went to school we took Emmeline & the three of us went Christmas shopping.   Hunky husband and I shared coffee, talked about our kids, hugely enjoyed our blossoming toddler, and stirred up love.   Have I mentioned lately how incredible he is?   I love my man, peeps!

Later in the day I picked up jvs, and they were giddy with excitement to be out of school.  Everyone was in a fabulous mood; Dad got home early, driven by Chloe who just got her driver's permit; and we went out to eat (almost never do this but my oven is still broken).

Got home, bathed baby, watched Frosty, and kids fell into bed, bellies full & bodies exhausted from giggling so much.  

I don't need gifts for Christmas; what more is there to have?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Post that Wasn't

Every year for Christmas I make a particular Christmas bundt cake, heavy and dense with cream cheese, maraschino cherries, and more cream cheese.   It is my thing, and readers I don't have many things.   But not this year.  Nor are we having gingerbread, sugar cookies or peppermint squares decorated like cute presents (or smeared boxes). 

Our oven is broken, and has been for over two weeks.   Thaaaaaat's right, six kids and no oven.   The top works fine, and thus we have eaten our way through every stove top dinner recipe known to recipezar.  Before this I wasn't even sure what salsibury steak was. 
The repair man has cometh (after long bouts with waiting, calling, waiting, rescheduling, and his superb rendition of the characteristics of his SEVENTEEN DOGS) (I am NOT making that up) he said it would be a few weeks for the part to come in.  

From here I am supposed to ease into a charming description of the really important things about the holidays, and traditions which make our home glow with Christmas cheer.   And then I was going to post three cute pictures from our tree -- a popsicle stick baby Jesus with only one googly eye, and nostalgic handmade ornaments from preschool.   I was even going to present a little ode to preschool teachers and thank them for these hilarious charming heirlooms.

But, alas.   Somehow my brand new memory card (which I splurged on for my own self as an early Christmas present because you know it's for families memories, blah blah blah) popped out of my camera last Sunday.   Just decided to bail ship and jumped, apparently.   It was probably the taping of the baby running around -- it's quite dizzying.  And I haven't found it yet.

No pictures and no special food.  

Christmas will still come.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Work Ethic Supreme

This post has two facts you must know first:  It was trash collection day today, and my kids leave for school through the garage.  

After the last of my 'early kids' left, I meandered on, yes I did, into the garage to make sure the lights were off and to lower the garage door.  Imagine my shock to see a MAN IN THE GARAGE.   Readers, it was the trash collector who saw we had neglected to roll out our trash can.   He spied it in the garage, and was getting my trash can instead of skipping us!  

Can you believe what a nice thing that is to do?   If our trash doesn't get picked up, well, it's pretty snarky with the dirty diapers and all.   This man saved me!   

Ok readers, let's pay it forward.   Do something unexpectedly nice for someone, and let me know what it was!!!  (or don't let me know, since no one seems to like to comment, boo hoo.  Are you even there?)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Eve Merriam?

There is a childrens poem I used to know by heart, read over and over to so many wee ones.   It astounds me I cannot remember but the last two lines:

Perhaps you have not heard the news?
Mother has bought me fine new shoes.




Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Be a Jingle Bell Genius!

Due to excessive amounts of free time  After hearing the three verses of Jingle Bells on the radio I did some research.  Do you know the third or fouth verse?

(Verse 2)
A day or two ago
I thought I'd take a ride
And soon Miss Fanny Bright
Was seated by my side
The horse was lean and lank
Misfortune seemed his lot
We ran into a drifted bank
And there we got upsot

(Verse 3)
A day or two ago
The story I must tell
I went out on the snow
And on my back I fell
A gent was riding by
In a one-horse open sleigh
He laughed at me as I there lay

But quickly drove away


(Verse 4)
Now the ground is white
Go it while you're young
Take the girls along
and sing this sleighing song
Just bet a bobtailed bay
Two forty as his speed
Hitch him to an open sleigh and crack!
You'll take the lead





Sunday, December 6, 2009

Baby it's Cold Outside

Brrr, it's a high of 32 here tomorrow!   That's ok, though, I'm still ready to go!


Monday, November 30, 2009

pocket change

Ahem. For those of you not in touch with public schools, let me tell you something: they are expensive. Just this week I got a request for (exact words here) "a small amount of $12." And please send $10. because there is a gift shop for shopping after their field trip. Excuse me, but should shopping and school be affiliated?

I also got an email asking for $10. for a class party fund. Odd, last year they collected about the same amount and parents were not told if the amount was fully used, if there was a surplus, or any information about the collected money. And, I don't think fifth graders need Winter Parties. I really don't! Make them stay on task until the verrrry last bell rings like we had it!

In fact, here is the low down of fees asked for in the last month:

$29. soccer coach gift, grade 3
$9. soccer trophy fund, grade 3
$12. aforementioned field trip, grade 3
$20. "minimum suggested" amount for soccer coaches gifts, grade 5
$24. soccer pizza party, grade 5
$30. soccer coaches gift, grade 7
$9. soccer pizza feed, grade 9
$10. soccer coaches gift, grade 9

And now ... our school foundation wants my family to donate $7,500 to help cover school expenses and "do our fair share." Yes, that is really seven-thousand-five hundred-dollars. I don't understand how they can ask this since public schools are free to the public. Yet every year the phone rings & they ask away...first they ask how your kids are doing, if they like the school year, then BAM, do you have 8K to spare?

Go ahead, call me Scrooge. Call me Cheap. Call me concerned that our school asks for money hand over fist, all. year. long. I insanely mentioned to the soccer mom collecting $20. from each of the 15 players seemed a lot, and she politely responded that $20. was the minimum amount she was collecting. Then in a later group email she specifically thanked the parents who gave more than $20! Someone has to bring up the fact that it's just too much money! Readers, what do you think? Have our public schools become too comfortable asking for money?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Lowe's

My intrepid husband went to Lowe's yesterday to buy another baby gate.

cashier: "Oh, is your granddaughter coming to visit?"
(husband raises an eyebrow at her)
cashier: "Ah, for the dog then!"

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Winco is not for Whiners

Dear Winco:

As a mom of a very active 13 month old, I want to offer my most sincere thank you for placing the large, glass sided box of stuffed animals just beyond the check out aisle. I really appreciated it when checking out with my daughter, who thought the carnival-esque flashing lights were so enthralling she screamed and pointed to the box the entire time I was checking out. For those of you unfamiliar with the Winco experience, you bag your own groceries.


The second Em saw those animals they became the point of her being in the store. I offered her a roma tomato she had wanted earlier in the trip. She took a bite and dropped it, went back to fixating on the large, flashing box of animal joy. Her cries grew so loud that I quickly became that mom in the grocery store trying to control her raging child (now with tomato on face).


Luckily for Emmeline I have experience with this type of tantrum. I placed her on my hip and talked about the foods as I tried to bag them. Momentary success and quiet until ... rip, the bag tore as I lifted it, spilling the contents out. Back in the cart she went, and she promptly again fixated on the red, flashing box of wonder.


Her yelling increased and the store got quieter. That, or she droned out everything else. I got the acute sense people wanted me to pick her up, but I couldn't, because I was frantically bagging my groceries. A young man clearly childless glared at me. The checker informed me she used to shop alone when her kids were little. Good to know,thankyouverymuch.


Luckily I had three 50 dollar bills in my wallet and quickly paid the $149.97 bill. Except the checker didn't have open pennies and, now holding Emmeline who has somewhat quieted but still staring at that red box, I painfully waited for her to s.l.o.w.l.y unwrap a container of pennies. Ugh!


I gave the young, glaring, man the snake eye, and left the store. As we approached the box Emmeline started saying, "Dis, dis, dis" and pointing, leaning her whole body toward the animals just in case I didn't understand. Yeah, I get it honey, you think the box is neat. Let's look. We stopped and talked about the animals, and she giggled with joy.


Completely happy now, we headed to the car. Several bags ripped as I put them in the car, then, tragedy struck as a box of powdered doughnuts fell out. And opened. And not just any box of doughnuts, but one of three boxes for Nolan's class birthday celebration this afternoon. And since the classes are combined, I really do need all three boxes or there won't be enough.


I stared at the white doughnuts. It's been raining, and the asphalt is shiny dark black. The powdered sugar looks a little like snow everywhere. And the doughnuts look bizarre, like they were photo shopped into the scene. I laughed out loud. One lady who was in checkout right after me walked by and stopped. "NO WAY!" "Yeah, can you believe that?" (Cue Emmie protesting from inside the car that I dare talk to someone other than her) "Well, have a good day anyway." "I will, but I really needed those for a classroom party later today." She looked at me again. "ARE YOU GOING BACK IN THERE??????"

I laughed. "No."


___

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Nine Years of Sparkly Eyes and Quick Smiles

My youngest son is nine today. He is an eternally happy child who wakes with enthusiasm and good cheer: "Good morning, Mom!" and a hug. Pure delight.







Happy Birthday Buddy. I love you so much!





Tuesday, November 10, 2009

When two plus one equals a negative

Dearest readers, some of you have asked how Nolan's math situation is now. Well, it's the same. After a tense three way meeting the long and short of it is this: they agree they needed a wider base to evaluate students; next year they will do better; Nolan has to stay in his current math or else the principal will be hammered by parents demanding their kids be moved, too.

It's not like my son is doomed from this decision, but it still bugs me. It bugs me because if you are an Aggressive Parent your child gets advanced, and if you are a Nice Parent Who Doesn't Want to Offend an Even Nicer Teacher who has Dedicated 16 Years to Public Education, your kid is in easy math. I could have pushed it, and I didn't. I don't know why. Maybe I am tired. Maybe I think he will turn out great even if third grade math is too easy. Maybe I doubted my judgment.

Nolan, I'm sorry.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

How to Make a Tree Hugger

Ahhh ... brings back memories of the spotted owl controversies. Cue Archie Bunker: those were the days ....

I do not immediately agree that this state park needs more trees. Oh well, let's have a field trip and plant more! It's November and still sunny for heaven's sake!








Poetic

"Was it fecal borne?"

Me, baffled: "What?"

"Was it fecal borne? Through the mouth?"

Me: "What?? No!"

And so began my meeting with our principal after school today. With a start like that, things could only improve.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Be Gone

Evil, thy name is rotovirus. How dare you come to my house again and reek havoc on such a young baby. Inflamed, bleeding, red skin, violent stomach, tears, tears, tears.

Leave. Do not come back.

You are not wanted here.

Monday, November 2, 2009

What Big Sisters Are Good For, #276

You can borrow their soccer socks when you can't find your own!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Buh Bye, Soccer

Soccer season has ended for #5. She is fast. She is fearless. She is done.













Sunday, October 25, 2009

Fall Fun, or something like that

"Saturday"
We had soccer games beginning at 8:45. And you have to get your player there early to warm up, and oh yes we were snack parents, too. An early start. Later that day, here we were, on our annual obligatory pumpkin patch trip. The sun might have been right in their eyes, but nevermind, sit and smile like ya mean it!



Here's an aerial shot of the corn maze the kids completed:

"Sunday"
We got up early with baby. Here's the thought process: we wake her up early and hope she takes a nap later in the day. Can ya guess how it's going? After a lot of required morning work we drove across the city to pick up Suzanna's birthday cake, because it's her "Halloween Costume Birthday Party." Thank heavens for the other kids, who made these spooky eyes of shaved radishes and sliced olives. We meant to later paint olive oil on them to make them appear slimy, but we forgot. We also bobbed for apples, made gross body parts out of food, made ghostie candles, etc.
Hey, here's an idea: in between caring for the baby and preparing for the onslaught of seven girls to arrive, why don't we go with Chloe to College Visitation Day at the convention center? Let me just say I did not think there would be so many schools and people there. Guess how many had babies in tow? Guess how many times I heard, "Starting early, huh?" or "A little early for her, isn't it?"
Answers: None, and Five.

And here we have the CUTEST baby in a pumpkin costume. Her teeth kinda match the pumpkin's. Doesn't she look energized? Well, she should after her long, invigorating 20 minute nap in the car coming back from the College Fair. Some babies just do not need much rest, people. I got one of 'em.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Spooky


Ok Dearest Readers. I am not super crafty like most other blogging moms. I'm not. But, we did make these cute, old fashioned dried apple heads and they turned out c-r-e-e-p-y! And, what's a little mold in the house when H1N1 lurks at every bus ride and cafeteria line?
On the Piggy Flu Front we are not able to find vaccines of any kind here in our state. People who have already had their shots, thank your lucky stars!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Home Schooling is looking GOOD

My son had a fantastic teacher last year. They connected -- laughed at the same jokes, communicated through quick glances and expressions, just "got" each other. He was even a HE.



Anyway. All year my son excelled in math. 100% on nearly every test, and way ahead on the "computer accelerated math", where he usually also got 100% unless he had a technical foul. I did not suggest he be put in the year above him because he adored his teacher so much, (the man dressed as a human hot dog last Halloween, how awesome is that!) and I thought he was doing ok as a second grader. His teacher and I discussed that the following year, this year, he would be placed in the highest math.


School started, and three students were put in "high" math. Not my kid. When I asked his previous teacher what happened, he said placement had been based on IQ scores, and no teachers had been able to give input. End of year assessment? Educator recommendation? No.


Readers, does that sound right to you? It didn't sound right to me. I thought he must have his info wrong or didn't want to talk about it with me now, or maybe ever. After a year of *me* as a parent I might not want to talk to me either.


To make a long story short: my kid can't take the math he is ready for because his state wide IQ test was not in the top 3% for math. Go ahead and gloat, my homeschooling friends, I get it why people home school!


All week I have exchanged emails with his current teacher and principal. They patiently assure me he will get what he needs in his regular classroom. He can even do the fourth grade math when they feel he is ready for it. (He apparently already scored a 100% on the first unit test but his "show me how" explanations are weak.) Newsflash, people: it is easy to acquire a math text for fourth grade. They can put him on whatever schedule they want; he will already be doing fourth grade math at home.

To hear my child is considered not innately intelligent enough to understand multiplication and long division, the gutwork of fourth grade math, created a variety of responses: I am profoundly insulted. I know they are wrong. I cry. I scramble in my sleep deprived mind to remember his milestones: he did them all on time, and seemed to have a talent at puzzles. I remember his preschool teacher finding puzzles especially for him. He could read well before he started kindergarten. He was so cute and sweet then, the memory makes me cry again. And let's remember his second grade teacher's opinion that this year he should be in fourth grade math, and his high in class test scores. Yes, I assure myself, they are wrong.

I know this year of math will not really matter in the long run. I am trying to keep perspective. But what haunts me is on a larger scale - we are discouraging our children. We don't want to admit it, but we are. We wrap presents for them so the corners look pretty; we re-make the beds if company comes so they look more tidy; we straighten the knife if they set the table. And we allow them to hear they are not smart enough.

I am still working through this issue. For now I resolve none, none of my children will take state or nationally normed tests in elementary school again. If I had realized what there was to be lost they never would have taken them.

Readers, I am curious to hear your stories about these issues.



Monday, October 5, 2009

Soccer, our way of life

My oldest daughter's every afternoon:






On a completely different note I took baby to the pediatrician today to check her ears since she WILL NOT SLEEP and is DEMANDING. Don't get me wrong. I tickle her, kiss her, read to her, play with her toes in wee little rows, etc. etc. etc. But the not sleeping is killing me: she will nap for twenty minutes and wake up SO CRABBY, as if she is sure she missed out on something fun. I know there are babies who wake happy in their cribs. Not mine. And her crib is nice, with toys and a soft IKEA baby blankie. And yes, sometimes I try to get her back to sleep and it has not yet worked. And yes, sadly, I have left her to cry in her crib for (wince) up to thirty minutes. I draw the line at a half an hour of a screaming 12 month old!
It's not the ears. The pediatrician actually said, "Well, it could just be her personality.
Yes, yes, I do think that's it! Good thing I paid twenty bucks for that diagnosis.

Monday, September 28, 2009

And now for your Channel 8 Update ...

Where have I been? Fear not, trusty readers, I am still around. Lately when I think of my life in print it reads too dull to write about. Seriously. I am busy, but it is bland. Peek:

Ohhhh I washed the side of the house! I did! It was fascinating, with green moss/algae running down the siding. While washing the house I discovered our contractor covered dry rot on our roof support with duct tape! It was awesome! And, I am filled cracks in our concrete with Quickcrete filler! And sprayed the entire house for spiders! I know, aren't you like totally jealous?

Aside from house maintenance ... hard to say which is taking more time: soccer, baby, kitchen duty or homework. Sometimes they mesh together, like at Nolan's soccer game when I yelled, "GO STINGING DENOMINATORS!!!!!" instead of (obviously) STINGING DOMINATORS! Yes, you know you are losing it when you scream algebraic expressions at a soccer game. Hey, at least I appeared mathematically inclined, right? {insert laughing, lots & lots of it}



___

Onward: Baby Lamb took her first steps! And Daddy was even home to see it! Isn't she cute? By the way we have had that box of markers for almost a decade, no exaggeration.



And ... we have had birthdays. And dances. Dances which require shopping for nice clothes. And soccer games clashing with dances, and dances clashing with birthdays. Soccer games ON birthdays has been ok; they are only 1 hour or so long after all. Still plenty o'time to wear the crown and strut around the house as Birthday Royalty.


And with that I scoot off to roll out calzones for dinner before we trek over across to the far side of the city to watch a soccer game. Gotta get at least one more in before the rain comes. Good bye for now fearless readers!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Love one another

I have a friend, a beautiful, attractive, well educated, accomplished, lovely friend whose husband of 20 some years filed for divorce. She has two daughters; it has been extremely unfair and difficult.

Recently I brought Emmeline into her store to pay my dear friend a visit and buy a book for my son. She stopped everything and sat down in her charming bookstore to play with baby. After nearly an hour of exploring the bookstore it was time to go. In my arms Emmeline sized up my friend eye to eye, and slowly leaned her head into her, resting it on her neck and cheek. Then, she reached for my friend, I let my friend take her, and they hugged for one long perfect moment. Emmeline clutched the back of my friend's shirt while my friend rubbed Emmeline's back.

We both had tears in our eyes; Emmeline's instinctive gesture was just what my friend needed. Human compassion in it's most basic form. How much better the world would be if we all showed such understanding to one another!

Who can you hug?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

Idle chatter



Recently at one of the *many* soccer events baby and I attend, I chatted briefly with two women sitting in front of me. Then, they continued talking to each other: "My neighbor has six kids and is pregnant with number seven, the poor thing. And they're all, like, under the age of nine." Her voice was heavy with disapproval.

Therein lies the difference between women who should and should not have large families. I have never, ever, considered my children a burden. They are all gifts beyond measure to me, and because of them I am the luckiest person I know. Sometimes I feel overworked, but never, ever EVER have I wished them not here. To me they are jewels of the universe. I cannot overstate this -- I. Cherish. Each.

I visit Rabbi Schmuley's website now and then. In his writings about his large family he refers to the dismissive attitude he and his wife encountered with the birth of their eighth child. He poses the question: why is it acceptable and enviable to own boats, jets, take extensive and expensive vacations, drape oneself in costly dress, and essentially display conspicuous consumption, yet to channel one's resources into the creation and raising of children is frowned on? How did having money become more socially important than raising children?

Is it a knee jerk reaction to climate change? Maybe, but most larger sized families I know live pretty austere lives by sheer financial necessity. It's true we use up more oxygen than smaller families, but we also recycle our possessions until they can be used no more, take fewer airplane rides, consume less commercially prepared foods, and in our case, live in smaller homes. It is extremely difficult to accurately assess a single person's impact on the environment since we all live differently. Will Emmeline leave a bigger mark on the earth than someone who came from a small family? I don't know. But I know she is supposed to be here, and I know she is deeply loved.






Juggling

Pooh, I know just how you feel.


Monday, September 7, 2009

School

School is kicking my butt.

If I have to buy another item for school my head is going to explode. I cannot believe the number of items this FREE PUBLIC SCHOOL expects us to purchase. We are closing in on $2,000 for fees and required supplies, my friends. That does not include shoes, shin guards, hair cuts, clothes, etc. And it does not include lunch, which would add another $3,000 to the bill. Ridiculous.
My shopping highlight had to be yesterday, when most of America seemed to be in our JC Penny store along side the eight of us looking at shoes for one of my girls. It was hot. And crowded. We could not get anyone to help us for quite some time. Finally, while waiting for the right size shoe, the boys got agitated, and I could not blame them. Did I mention how hot it was, and suffocatingly crowded with peoples' rear ends all poking up as they bent to examine the shoes their beloved offspring were trying on? And what do you suppose baby was doing -- quietly sitting in daddy's arms? No. She was a squirming. squealing Godzilla baby, pulling boxes of shoes out everywhere. And to really appreciate that, you have to know the shoe aisles in this JC Penny are about two feet wide. And full of people and their rear ends.
Suddenly the boys exchanged words, and a tall cup of ice and water spilled all over the aisle, nearly reaching from side to side. Dad took them outside to get some fresh air, & we decided to buy daughter's shoes. As I swooped down to pick them up, a shortish sales person came out of the supply room with at least four boxes piled high. I didn't see her, she didn't see me, and in comedic talent I could not repeat if I wanted, I ka-powed right into her with the pent up strength of a mom too long in the children's shoe department. Shoes flew everywhere. I made a beeline outside and had DAD go back in to pay for them!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

New family members

Malus prairiefire
Magnolia macrophylla


Welcome. I will try to not kill you.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What's for dinner?

I make dinner in the morning. I know, it's bizarre. But with kids flying in all directions after school there would not be time. So, I already know what we're having:

fettuccine with a four cheese red sauce and green peppers, tomatoes, and basil from the garden

salmon cakes or salmon fillet -- diner's choice as I prepared both

carrots, strawberries (not together)

Readers, what are you having?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Hands off, Ladies

A note to the general public: do not touch my baby. I do not care that you are a grandma and have a grand daughter in Oklahoma. It is still not okay to touch my infant without an explicit invitation. Have you seen the news? There is this tiny thing called the swine flu going around. If you have just gotten off an airplane and have been in close quarters for any period of time I do not want you to touch my baby while we wait for our luggage. I really don't.


If you touch her you can expect my eyes to narrow and flash, and I will yank her away. If you persist I will walk away. When I say, "Please don't touch her" that is what I mean. I know she is cute. But she is not yours for the touching. And I know you are a nice person who likes cute babies. But touching babies during a flu pandemic is a bad idea.

Please, don't touch my baby!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Empty

My house has been empty. Quiet, empty, eerie, a house unfamiliar to me.

Three of my children have been gone for a week, the longest period I have ever been away from them. They are having fun, they are safe and happy. But we left at home are out of sync, and our family rhythm is gone.

I wanted them to go. Now I miss them and want them back.

Go, come back. Go, come back.

Soon, too soon, they will just Go.

Marie Osmond

In early July I checked out Marie Osmond's new book, May as Well Laugh at it Now. She has eight kids so I thought it might be interesting, although I am not a huge Osmond fan. Anyway, it sat in my kitchen near the coffee pot for a long time, long enough to owe, well, let's just say a lot, at the library the next time I checked out books. I finally returned it unread. Marie, I'm laughing with you. I'm just not reading you.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Turbo Charged




Turbo is a funny word, isn't it? Turrr-bow. Lots of lip movement going on to say that word. Movement, in general, is how Emmeline earned the nickname Turbo. So feminine, don't you think? While Emmeline might be the most beautiful 10 month old around if I do say so myself, she is also turbo charged from dawn to dusk. Examples? Today she slept a whopping 45 minutes. People, that is not even an hour. All. day. long. And our day was kinda on the big side: shopping, playing outside, swimming. She keeps on going. She nurses, gazes at me, and BOOM ready to go again. Required recharging time? About 5 minutes.

So. Now I have done what I had previously thought barbaric, cruel, unnecessary, and old fashioned. I have never done this before with any child. But she is no typical child. At ten months she climbs to a stand in the shopping cart in .05 seconds; ignores toys and instead chases the cat; lives to zip under the dining room table where it is hard for me to reach her and where she usually bonks her head, and likes to stand behind her high chair to push on it so it rolls. One of her major thrills happens when the dishwasher door magically lowers and beckons her to (successfully) climb up and on the inside of the door. All this would be find IF SHE WOULD TAKE A DECENT NAP. But she doesn't, and I have a house to run and five other kids to enjoy. Here it is, my moment of maternal shame:
I put her in a play pen.









Oh, dear readers, do not be fooled by the shine of happiness in her eyes. The picture was taken before she knew I was going to walk away and, I don't know, maybe tidy up the house a bit? The older kids were mortified; I couldn't stand the whining and calling of ma ma ma ma ma; she seemed like an animal on display at a zoo. And I took her out. And ignored the house, and watched my baby be a happy baby, going after puzzle pieces and lego animals.
We might try again another day when I get desperate for a bathroom break. Or when she ::: shudder ::: starts really walking.



Sunday, August 16, 2009

Back in the day

This picture is from years ago, taken in Seattle at a party. A lot has changed since then.


Monday, August 10, 2009

long weekend travels

Three months ago I rented a cabin in eastern Oregon for this last weekend. It was a long drive, but quite a memorable trip:



Inside the Red Lion in Pendleton



Our cabin was charming



T

The creek behind the cabin





Normal traffic in Joseph






Devil's Canyon, Oregon ... deeper than the Grand Canyon, but smaller overall. And waaay more boring. Seriously, don't go here. Long drive, small reward. Trust me. Don't do it.



Cutie




On tram to Eagle Cap Wilderness Area. Wallowa Lake seen above.



Everyone enjoyed the alpine scenery





The hills are alive ... with the sound ... of mysixkids ...




He's on top of the world at 8100 feet



Waiting for chipmunks to climb up on them