Monday, November 30, 2009

Perfect Moments Monday

Moving 800 miles away from family can be hard, especially during the holidays. Over the years, though, we have found people who are in our lives who have become a part of our family and who have opened up their family for us.

Moment #1: For the second year in a row we were invited to a friend's house for Thanksgiving. He is divorced with grown children, loves to cook--and boy, did he cook! We are made to feel a part of his family, it was comfortable and fun. I felt at ease and found I did not have to spend ALL my time looking after my children--others were there, enjoying watching Willow run around, helping Michael play an old Atari game. The Perfect Moment came when I had been talking with someone and started wondering what my toddler had gotten into--and she came out to the dining room, a little brush and dustbin in hand. The person cleaning up the kitchen came out and said "Oh, Willow's fine, she's just helping me out!"

Moment #2: The next day, another friend came over. We were all just relaxing, doing nothing on Black Friday. The Perfect Moment -- my son sitting next to our friend, while he was playing a computer game. Both engaged in talking and playing.

More Perfect Moments Here.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Decorated in Sparse

Whew! Today we did our traditional "putting up the decorations and tree". It was tough last year with an eight month some respects it was easier getting the stuff up this year, but there are consequences with Willow about. So, this year, between the cat (who within ten seconds of the tree being up, was climbing in the middle of it!!) and said toddler--we have decided to decorate a bit more sparsely this year. We always decorate tastefully small, mainly because we have a mixed bag of X-Mas and Hannukah, so we don't want to overwhelm the house. But. This year, glass ornaments (except for some very special ones on the top) are out. Also, some of the smaller ornaments are not going up this year. And some decorations that we have had for years, that have gone through one child's lifetime--um, I don't know if they will make it this year. Some are out of reach. Some are sentimental, but are child-worn already--so, I have left them out within her reach, hoping we can teach her to be "gentle". (And if not, hey, those after X-mas specials on decorations--I can already see I will be there...)

Not that all the decorations are non-child friendly. Here are Willow and Michael playing with the wooden Hannukah playset I bought them last year:

Oh, and Michael is holding a little Santa toy there too...

This is one of the wonderful things about this tradition--everyone opening things up from last year, remembering them, finding them new again.

Here is Michael setting up the Christmas Day countdown tree, Willow watching...

Earlier, when we had just put up the tree, put on the holiday music, getting ready to put on lights and ornaments, Willow got aquainted with the tree.

Like I said, this year was a bit easier to do than last, but it was still pretty hectic--I did not even have time to get my camera, I used my cell phone for the not to distict photos above. And I realize I don't even have a picture of the finished tree yet. I am just happy it is up and decorated and that, so far, Willow has only taken several ornaments off and on and off and on; that she has only broken one small (and cheap) snowglobe; that Michael only had to be told to put his special ornaments on twice; that the cat only climbed the tree, yeah--this might be a Loooong month....

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Show & Tell #54: Putting on Traditions

While we have traditions year round, it does seem like most traditions are centered around the holidays. Each year we take them out, dust them off. Sometimes they are a little stiff at first. Sometimes it takes some wearing down for them to fit properly. Especially when you are starting new traditions, it can take a while to catch on.

And then you find that somewhere along the line, they have become a Family Tradition.

Last night, after a long day at work, an even longer commute to and from a doctor’s session for Michael, I found myself making traditional potato latkes. Not from scratch, mind you—I did not have that type of energy. But, Michael’s class was doing a project on family traditions to coincide with Thanksgiving, so they were supposed to talk/share about a family tradition they liked. I was surprised that my son picked making the potato latkes. It’s a tradition we just started about 6 years ago, where on the first day of Hannukah we make latkes and roast and we invite some friends over and we eat and drink and play driedal. Something small. Something that my son remembers fondly. So, for him, I was making potato latkes for the whole class to share today.

Funny thing about the boxed latkes I bought—they said they make 21 pancakes a box. So I made 2 boxes (cuz, of course his class has 24 children, include teacher—25). I had Michael help—which added to the mess, but I felt since it was a class project he should help. Two boxes, lots of olive oil, lots of small burns on my fingers, many paper towels soaking up extra oil from hot latkes and we had a grand total of 17 small pancakes. (I even made them small, people!). So, I had to get into our family supply box of latkes—and made enough for the class; and to let the whole family have a chance to get an advance on one of our family traditions. (at 10 p.m.!) [and no, Willow was not up for that, although she briefly woke up when the fire alarm went off because too much smoking from the oil, but I digress..]

What a potato latke looks like. (Ours pretty much looked like these)

Tomorrow, one of my favorite Family Traditions—Pies for Breakfast on Thanksgiving!

Wishing everyone successful traditons and many memories! Happy Thanksgiving!

Show and Tell

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Perfect Moment Monday

Perfect Moment #1: Lately she has been digging into her diaper. Reaching back there, not always getting something, but when she does…not so good. We have started layering her with onesies, preventing that reach around. I haven’t gotten around to buying this seasons sets of onesies, so I am pulling out old onesies from this spring/summer. They pretty much still fit and I am getting their final wears on them. The perfect moments are when I am putting her into onesies that say: “No One Expects the Spanish Inquisition!” or “My First Photos” (showing embryo shots) or “IVF Baby” (showing a cartoon of a dish being fertilized).

Perfect Moment #2: Last week, he is sitting on the couch doing homework. It takes me a few minutes to register that his new pet iguana is on his shoulder. My first fears of Pepi II scuttering away are unfounded, as he moves Pepi to a comfortable spot on his head. Where he stays for the entire time my son does his homework.

More Perfect Moments Here.

Friday, November 20, 2009


Sometimes we communicate with looks. Sometimes with code words. Sometimes between interruptions (mainly from our inquisitive almost 11 year old or our toddler—is she up on the kitchen table? Is that cat food she is eating?*).

Today I was looking at my messages on my cell phone. Another way we communicate. We text each other—sometimes through our computers on IM, sometimes via our phones.

When I was still unemployed and he was starting a new job—I sent him cell phone pictures of me and kids doing different activities. He took a picture of himself in his new office.

When he took the kids to Chuck E. Cheeses while I was working one of those floating “Holidays” recently, he took video of Willow playing with a playhouse steering wheel. I just looked at that video again and felt the love of my husband not only for my daughter, but for me.

While I sometimes feel that I don’t have enough “just us” time, I never feel like we are not in communication.

*Last night she put a pea up her nose. She sneezed it out. [Husband panic'd (he started going for the turkey baster), I was annoyed (couldn't find the nose splunger thingee), son was helpful--"she imitates us, why don't we all pretend to blow our noses"]

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Show & Tell #53

One of my favorite times of year is Autumn. I love the colored leaves, the crinkling of them beneath my feet. Tradition dictates that we go and walk in the leaves, enjoy them.

And that's what we did a few weeks ago...and I my cell phone camera caught these brief glimpses...

Kids running away from leaves...

Michael walking on the stones, Willow pushing her stroller around...

Ahhh, here we go...the kids finally discovered the leaves!!

This was the same walk where this Perfect Moment Happened...

Show and Tell

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Perfect Moments Monday

Nervously I went. To an unknown woman’s house, to meet unknown women. I am not a social person, I tend to be more of a one on one type person. But. I wanted to go, I felt a need to go. The unknown women were physiological sisters, echo cousins of my internet sisters. Women who were unknown only in name and face, but whose struggles are familiar to me. These women, who I did not know, and who I would not have known, but for the experiences shared in the battlefield of fertility. Women who were braver than I, who are struggling even now, while I am battle worn, but finished. A rush of warmth and comrade flows through me and I enjoy their company and sympathize with their struggles. I am humbled by their bravery.*

* This was the first meeting of the Ruby Feathers Social Club (click to learn more).

More Perfect Moments Here.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Parts of a Whole

I am scarred, but you would not know it to look at me.

Scars from childhood, scars from now and then.

The little scars on my fingers where I childishly broke a door window during my first "real" babysitting job (I got locked out of the house with the two little girls inside sleeping--I was 11). They are small scars, but they are there.

Scars on my forehead from when I had chicken pox twice (!). Hidden by my hair, but there they are.

Scars from my C-Sections, hidden yet the most rewarding scars I could have.

And then there are the real hidden scars. Scars from years of want and heartbreak. Scars that heal with time but yet are there. Scars that are hard to explain unless you have been down the path I have.

The scars that people do not see. That I cannot tell them because the wounds are old, and I feel that I am lucky and should be thankful and should put those things into the past. But yet, even as I heal from those scars...I can be touched by those feelings of old. And like a scab being removed...those wounds open up yet again.

The scars that people do not know.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Show & Tell #52

"As the party approaches the cluster of small fishing boats at first they are met with stunned silence. As the fishermen piece together what their eyes are telling them namely Dwarves wearing the mark of their former allies and trading partners, the tail of the dreaded Manticore which has ruined their way of life and killed many men, women, and children they begin to cheer and raise their arms in salute. Sensing the moment the Fighter raises the spiked tail whipping the fishermen into a fenzy. Shouts of "The Dwarves from the island have returned!" and "What treasure!" are heard. Several of them jump out of their boats and swim to the party's boat. After some confusion and the near swamping of the boat the leader restores some sense of order and begins talking to the group. The Fighter with support from the party relates the first of many tellings of the battle with the Manticore explaining that he and the Cleric are distant relatives of the island clan of Dwarves known to the villagers and that one of their cousins had been turned to stone. The imp now in crow form makes several loud guffaws as the Dwarves spin their tale but he is largely ignored and the party enjoys a hero's welcome as they are setup with three rooms at the inn one for the Dwarves, Wizard, and the Lady. The treasure is melted down into bars free of charge and given the different sizes of the coins yields a weight of 5000gp. After getting cleaned up and suppplied with fresh clothing a banquet is to be held that night. Lastly two ships are dispatched to get the remaining treasure and sailors from the island.

In talking to the town elders it is discovered that the village has been hit by hard times. The village church was abandoned several years ago as a giant monster had come up from the Dwarven tunnel near the graveyard. Also, several villagers had turned into Half-Fishmen and left by that tunnel. Trade with Freeport has been sporatic due to the Goblin pirates and the fact that the towns whaling ship is in drydock because of them and the Manticore. Lastly a strange symbol (Elder sign) is explained to have power over the Fishmen and responsible for saving the town and stopping the curse that had been changing villagers into them. This symbol was given to the town by wandering Elves but without any further explanation. The Druid recognizes this symbol as possibly being of Druidic origin."

I'm the Druid. What do you do on your friday nights?*

*Lately, my husband and a few friends have been playing D&D every other Friday night. My husband is a wicked mage, I am a tree hugging hippie druid, one of our friends is a dwarf fighter (who obviously likes to BRAG), and the other friend is a dwarf cleric. Another friend is the DM (Dungeon Master) and he wrote the above scenerio after last week's adventure...

Show and Tell

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Monday, November 09, 2009

Perfect Moments Monday

Perfect Moment #1: Just getting up this morning. I see a child in green or is it blue? Is that my daughter at the hall window, looking out? She has not learned how to get out of her crib yet, that her? Blurriness leaves me and I realize that no--that is my son, kneeling down at the window in the hall. Looking out at the sun. And then I notice, yes, he is wearing his blue pj top. And his new green iguana (just acquired yesterday) on his shoulder. He is showing Pepi II his new world.

Perfect Moment #2: She made me cry. (Click to see what she did)

More Perfect Moments Here.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

And then she kissed me...

Just minutes ago:

Hugging her, telling her it is time to go to bed. I told her "I love you." and she said "I love you too." (I thought maybe I mis-heard her). I hugged her again, kissed her and said "I love you" again. And again she said "I love you."

She is repeating words and phrases--but she is not just repeating...she KNOWS what they mean and when they are appropriate. And she loves me.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Brain Damage! - Updated

We love our DVR, and one of the things we love about it is that we can re-watch things we haven't seen in Bill Cosby's Himself. Last night we watched it with our son, while we ate chinese take-out. Every time I see it, the bits when he is talking about his children gets funnier and funnier. And truer and truer.

As an example, this morning, my husband called me to give me the morning report:

Child One (Willow): Decided that while daddy was getting her milk out of the frigerator, she would take the left over chinese and dump it onto the floor. While he cleaned that up (of course, it was MY left overs); she preceded to go into the bathroom--(Mistake #1, door or gate should have been closed)--and she decided to help daddy by cleaning and scooping out the cat's litter into the toilet (as she has seen mommy do before)--cat litter is everywhere. I guess she thought her Dora doll also needed to get clean--so it was in the toilet also.

As my husband contends with this...

He asks Child Two (Michael) to hold onto an important check (Mistake #2, don't give our ADHD son anything IMPORTANT to hold onto) for "just a minute" while he dealt with things. Afterwards, the check is missing. My husband confronts my son, saying where is it? And my son procedes to argue with him over how mom is going to say it was wrong for my husband to give him the check in the first place.

They find the check on the floor of the bathroom. Who knows how it got there.

My husband calls after dropping the kids off -- "Brain Damage!"

ADDENDUM (Update):

So, I talk to Michael when I pick him up from school.

Me: "So, I hear that you guys had an adventure this morning."

Him: "Um, really?"

I tell him about Willow going in the kitty litter, etc.

Him: "Oh, yeah, I remember dad yelling out at some point. I wasn't really listening..."

Me: "oh"

Him: "You know, the mornings are kinda funny like that. Dad and I are usually in the living room and then all of the sudden dad says "where's Willow?". Which is funny, cuz I usually see her leaving the room, but I figure dad is watching her."

He thinks for a minute.

Him: "I think dad says "where's Willow?" a lot during the mornings..."

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Show & Tell - #51

This past summer, when we went to Cape Cod, Michael wanted me to get him this toy. The toy works on a set of magnets to let the ice cream scoops sit on the cone. I figured both kids could play with it, so I got it. Michael, of course, understood how to play with it. Willow did not care about it.

Its amazing how children learn. She is definately on a cognition growth spurt of late. Things are clicking. Last night it was a conversation on the words "all right" and tonight she stated and demonstrated "mine!" a whole bunch of times! She pretends to brush my hair and waves goodnight at the bottom of the stairs each night.

And, she plays with the ice cream parlor toy.

(I think it did help that she had some practice this summer...)

Show and Tell

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Monday, November 02, 2009

Perfect Moments Monday

Moment #1: Walking around outside yesterday in an historical park. We were talking about walking the same path as the Revolutionaries. And my son presented me with his theory on reincarnation and how he thinks it could transcend time and space. Of course, as soon as I said that is what he said—he was onto another topic. But, for a brief moment, I saw his inner mind struggling with one of life’s mysteries. And then it was onto the latest video game he is tackling.

Moment #2: Her costume was a little too big for her. I was worried that she would not be able to walk in it, and feared I would have to put her in the more practical (and less cute) costume we had. But no. She loved the costume (although she hates hats, and still had some moments of pulling at it). I feared she would not like being out in the dark. I was wrong. She tackled all brilliantly. She was invigorated by the warm air, and walked along in her costume, getting praise every where she went. And she even got some candy. The moment that will be a part of my Halloween memory this year—my daughter waddling through leaves up a hill towards a house, her big brother leading the way.

More Perfect Moments Here.

Roll Out

Well, after over nine months of unemployment, I have accepted an offer for a position at a mid-sized law firm.  So, the "strange normal...