Sunday, November 30, 2008
They just brought me their Christmas lists, and they're very funny.
Harry Potter CD
Nancy Drew costume
Nancy Drew books
Harry Potter clue game
Math for Smarty Pants book
The Dangerous Book for Boys
I love that she mostly wants books for Christmas - not video games or Hannah Ray Cyrus clothing or movies.
Here's Lily's list; it's a bit more varied
Santa will pick two or three items from each list and be done with it. I've already got some presents stashed away. I think I'll be doing most of shopping online this year to avoid having to drag the baby to the store.
Tonight we'll hang these lists out for Santa's elves along with a piece of bread - in case the elves are hungry.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Thursday evening, after everyone had finished Thanksgiving dinner and we were all sitting around chatting and eating dessert, I pulled out the scarf I'm knitting for Aunt A as a thank you gift for hosting the meal. I've been knitting every chance I get on this thing, trying to get it finished before Thanksgiving, but I wasn't successful. I can't imagine why not.
Anyway, as I was knitting, one of the women at the table asked what kind of yarn I was using. I told her it was a brand called called "Wool of the Andes" from a place called KnitPicks, and it was Peruvian wool. Another woman asked, "Don't you just get your yarn from Hobby Lobby with a half-off coupon?"
I'm not proud of this, but I actually gasped and said, "Oh goodness, no."
Then I tried to recover and sound not quite so snobby, but everything I said just made it worse.
And while I'm talking about knitting - I was watching "Pushing Daisies" the other night and burst out laughing. One of the characters - Emmerson Cod - is a knitter, and he had an automatic swift and ball winder going in the corner. It was a nice little touch that only a knitter would understand. Someone on the show's staff is obviously a knitter.
Friday, November 28, 2008
B's cousin and his wife, otherwise known as Uncle T and Aunt A to the kids, invited us to their house for Thanksgiving, along with B's parents, who are divorced. It can be a wee bit uncomfortable to have them in the same room together, like they are at our house during the holidays. But with almost 30 people at dinner, the level of discomfort was greatly reduced.
Aunt A went above and beyond with the meal. She had tables for 30 set up, with flowers and centerpieces and linens on all. She spent the whole week cooking in preparation, and the food was amazing. I went back for seconds on everything except sweet potatoes - because ewww.
B's other cousin was there with her family, and the girls were beyond thrilled to have cousins to play with. They learned the basics of touch football, and Ella upset her 7-year-old boy cousin by being able to outrun him.
We hung out long after the meal, visiting with B's dad's side of the family, whom we don't get to see very often. I found out that B's girl cousin has her own jewelry company - Bright Eyed Designs. I think I'll be ordering some Christmas presents from her this year.
While enjoying the good food and good company, I did take time to think about all the things for which I am grateful:
- Elizabeth - After a shaky start, Elizabeth is positively thriving. She's eating and sleeping like a champ, and if you watch her for long enough, you can see her grow.
- Ella, Lily and Campbell - I have three happy, healthy kids who make me laugh, when they're not making me tear my hair out in frustration.
- B - I feel so lucky to have found him. Things aren't always perfect, but there's no one I'd rather be married to.
- My family - I have wonderful, helpful, supportive parents and a cool sister who help keep me sane. I just wish they lived closer.
- Our friends - We've built a network of good friends here who are a large part of why we love our life here. It really does take a village to raise a family, and we've found ours.
- My work - Given the current job market, I'm glad I've been able to maintain my little freelance career. It's just enough work to let me focus on something other than kids for a few hours a day, which helps me maintain my sanity.
- No Thanksgiving ER visit - Unlike last year, no one was injured.
- Uncle T and Aunt A - They're really cool people whom we love, AND they hosted Thanksgiving, which gives them double points.
Happy Love Thursday, a day late. I hope you all had a good day with your loved ones.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
In place of the ads I've installed this little Following widget. I'm not sure what it is exactly, but blogger keeps telling me I should have it. And since I tend to follow directions, I signed up. It's over there on the left, below the NaBloPoMo image - only three more posts to go, thank the baby jeebus. If you click on the links, blogger will tell you how to get all signed up.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Tomorrow I'll do my post of thanks. I'm too tired and stuffed with pecan pie to write anything that would do justice to all the the things I'm thankful for.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Now that I've written my post, such as it is, I'm going back to bed.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
So on the mornings when Ella comes out with plaid shorts and a striped shirt, I shrug and figure that at least she's dressed. There are bigger battles to fight than whether her clothing matches.
Some days, though, I do put my foot down. Today was one of those days. Ella's class is going on a field trip to the San Antonio Zoo, which is a big deal for the kids. They're even riding on charter buses.
This morning the temperatures were in the low 40s, and today's high is supposed to be in the mid 60s. Ella came out dressed in shorts with her required "field trip shirt." I sent her back in to put on long pants. Five minutes later I found her on the floor in her room sobbing because she wanted to wear shorts.
Now, on a normal school day I would have let her wear shorts because they don't spend much time outside. But today she'll be outside all day long, and I didn't want her to be cold.
I tried reasoning with her, but I wasn't successful. So I resorted to yelling, "Just put on your pants!" Probably not my finest parenting moment. But I was willing to have her be angry at me if it meant she wouldn't spend the day freezing at the zoo.
Fortunately, by the time she left for school the excitement about the trip had helped her forget her clothing woes. She and her best buddy from next door were excitedly talking about who was going to sit where.
I just hope it doesn't get too warm. If she ends up being hot wearing her pants, I'll never hear the end of it.
Monday, November 24, 2008
I got the big girls up, fed, dressed and out the door on time. Then I got a wild hair and cleaned out and reorganized the entire pantry. I hate our pantry - actually, I hate our whole kitchen - and it's been driving me especially insane lately. It doesn't have a door, so my disorganization is on display for anyone who is in the kitchen. Also, when we moved in, Ella was in full-blown toddlerhood, so things like snack food and cereal got put on the top shelf, where they have stayed ever since. I've been meaning to move them into reach for the kids so that they can help themselves, and today I finally did it.
I pulled everything out of the pantry, cleaned the shelves, sorted out the old/expired/disgusting foods, and put everything back neatly in new places. It looks beautiful.
Then I cleaned up the kitchen, vacuumed the house, did some laundry, went to a work meeting, and went to the grocery store. Phew.
Campbell and Elizabeth both fell asleep in the car on the way home from the store, so I tucked them into their bed and crashed into mine. Three hours later I woke up. Fortunately, B was home, so the girls didn't end up sitting on the porch waiting for someone to let them in after school.
As my mom would say, I guess I needed the sleep.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
And now I need to stop reading and concentrate on my knitting. I've set myself an ambitious list of projects to finish before Christmas.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
When we got home, the girls left immediately for a playdate at a friend's house, so Ella didn't have a chance to get a piece of her Halloween candy. That night, after the girls cleaned up the kitchen, Ella asked B if she could have a piece of candy since she didn't get one after school. B told her that she and Lily could both have a piece of candy.
"But that's not fair!" wailed Ella. "Lily had a piece after school, and if she gets another one now, then she got two and I only had one." B told her the choice was up to her - either they both got a piece of candy or no one got candy.
"But that's not fair! If we don't get any candy that means Lily got one after school and I didn't!"
B again told her the choice was up to her - either they both had a piece or no one did. The stress of making that decision turned out to be too much for Ella. She lost.her.sh*t - all over the house.
After giving her several opportunities to stop screaming and settle down, B declared that Lily got a piece of candy and Ella didn't. More hysterics ensued.
I was in the bedroom listening to all of this, staying out of the fray. I knew Ella wouldn't like either of the options because of the unfairness of it. Ever since Lily came on the scene, Ella's main goal in life is to make sure everything between them is exactly even. She doesn't get upset like this with any other person in her life - just her sister.
Another example? Several weekends ago, Ella had a playdate at a friend's house. She spent four hours at this friend's house while Lily had to stay home and play with me and her brother. Later in the day, after Ella was home, a friend dropped by with her daughter, who is a year younger than Lily. Lily and M took off into the back yard to play, leaving Ella behind. Ella promptly started pouting, and I knew exactly what the problem was - Lily was playing with a friend and she wasn't.
When I pointed out that she had played with her friend all morning, she said, "Yes but Lily wasn't there watching me have fun with H. I'm here having to watch her play, and it's not fair."
My friend and I cracked up at that - she was really having to search hard to find the injustice. I told her to go climb a tree or something, which she did, pouting the whole time.
Poor, poor Ella.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Where is your cell phone? car
Where is your significant other? work
Your hair color? mousy
Your mother? knittergran
Your father? runnerdude
Your favorite thing? beach
Your dream last night? nightmare
Your dream/goal? serenity
The room you’re in? living
Your hobby? knitting
Your fear? anxiety
Where do you want to be in 6 years? Austin
Where were you last night? home
What you’re not? outgoing
One of your wish-list items? books
Where you grew up? Florida
Last thing you did? nursed
What are you wearing? jeans
Your TV? small
Your pet? dog
Your computer? laptop
Your mood? anxious
Missing someone? Nona
Your car? Hyundai
Something you’re not wearing? shoes
Favorite store? Target
Your summer? hot
Love someone? lots
Your favorite color? azalea
When is the last time you laughed? lunch
Last time you cried? today
There you. Play along if you feel like it.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
If you look closely, you can see his latest black eye. He fell while running around at his grandfather's and donked his head on the corner of a wrought-iron chair. Poor little guy.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
This is the sweater I started before Elizabeth was born. I think I might get it done before she's big enough to wear it. All I have to do is knit a few more inches on the bottom, add ribbing on the neck and seam up the sleeves.
This is my 9th pair of socks. They're out of Noro sock yarn that my mom gave me last year for Christmas. This is my third attempt at them. The first time I messed up on the math and cast on half the number of stitches I needed. The second time they turned out huge. I had to rip the sock out completely and start from scratch. This time my gauge is spot on, but the sock still looks elephantine.
And finally, I'm working on a hat. This is the first time I've ever tried cables, and I'm rather proud of how well I'm doing. The pattern is from KnitPicks. It will be a Christmas present for someone, provided I can get it finished in time. I need to do 21 inches of the cabling, and I'm only half way there.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Ella has been so excited about this competition that I though her head would explode if she had to wait another day.
She did a great job climbing, placing second in her division. I'm still not sure exactly how the competitions work. The basic explanation is that they have a set amount of time to climb as many "problems" as possible. Each problem is worth a certain amount of points, and they get scored by the total number of points the rack up. Ella's final score was 8,000.
B said that Ella climbed as many routes as she could, but that there were some she couldn't manage because she wasn't tall enough. Another six inches of reach, and she'd be fine. He also said that other climbers and spectators would gather to watch her climb and to cheer her on. While watching the video of her climbs, I could tell she was a bit embarrassed by all the attention.
Here's a clip of one of her toughest successful climbs. I think Lily may have been doing the filming, which is why it's so unsteady. And B is the one spotting her.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
B took Ella and Lily to Louisiana for Ella's first rock climbing competition, and Campbell spent Friday night with B's mother and last night with B's father. So it's just been me and Elizabeth at the house. I've done a lot of napping while she slept.
I also went to the monthly runners' breakfast and was actually able to visit with my friends since I wasn't chasing kids around. And I had a girls' night in with several friends.
Campbell's home and napping, and Elizabeth is sleeping, too. I think I'm going to take one last nap before everyone else arrives and normal life begins again.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
1. If our bed doesn't get made in the morning, I have to make it before I can get in at night. There's just something about getting into nice crisp covers.
2. Like a toddler, I tend to eat one food at a time during meals. I can't start on the next food until I've finished the first. It takes a conscious effort for me to not eat that way.
3. We only have one television in the house, and it's a 19 incher that we bought at Target 9 years ago. However, we have four computers, none of which are for the kids to use.
4. I've lived in Austin longer than I've ever lived anywhere else in my life.
5. I secretly covet my daughter's American Girl Doll, and if we had the spare money, I'd be really tempted to buy lots of the accessories.
6. Speaking of dolls, I have a HUGE dollhouse in storage at my parents' house in Atlanta that I'd love to have here, but we don't have the room for it. It's woefully underfurnished, and I can't wait to have space to have it here and to buy furniture for it.
7. I just watched Casino Royale, and now I'm totally in love with Daniel Craig.
I hate having to think of people to tag, so I'll just say that anyone who wants to play along should leave a comment. But knittergran, I think you should do this, just because I'd love to see what you list.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Not only can I not get my kids' names correct on the first try - Campbell even gets called by his sisters' names - I can't get words right. I actually shouted this yesterday, "Ella, Campb, I mean Lily, pick up your shoes, no books, no backpack BACKPACK. Pick up your backpack!" The girls think my inability to talk is hysterical.
Yesterday morning my good friend H picked up Campbell for preschool at 9:00. I did a little bit of work, and at 10:00 I fed Elizabeth and tucked her into her cradle. Then I climbed into bed, intending to rest for an hour. THREE HOURS LATER I snapped awake in a panic. H arrived a few minutes later with Campbell. I was mortified - I was still in my PJs and the breakfast dishes were still on the counter.
It got worse last night.
I collapsed in bed after feeding Elizabeth at 9:00 and basically passed out. B said that when he came to bed I bolted straight up and started asking him where each of the children was. "Where's Elizabeth? Ella? Lily? Campbell?" B said that I didn't settle down until he had assured me that everyone was in their proper bed.
Elizabeth woke up at midnight and three, and then Campbell woke up at 6:00. When I staggered out into the kitchen to get him his morning cup of milk, I noticed that the coffee pot was on. I stood next to the counter trying to figure out what was going on. I knew I hadn't left the coffee pot on, nor had I left the cream out on the counter. I opened the coffee pot and discovered that it was still hot. At that point B came in from the back porch, and I just stared at him. I had gotten out of bed without even noticing that he wasn't in it. B steered me back to our room and into bed. He said he came through, took a shower, got dressed and packed his suitcase without my even moving.
I'm hoping to catch up on sleep tonight. B and the girls are on a road trip, and Campbell is with my m-i-l for the night, so it's just me and the baby. I can sleep when she sleeps without worrying about three other kids. Yay.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Ella drew very elaborate pictures with lots of hearts and flowers and colors. Campbell scribbled all over his piece of paper, just happy to be set loose with the normally forbidden markers. Lily drew this picture . . .
which elicited a gasp from my mother when she saw it. The picture is Lily throwing Elizabeth up in the air. Elizabeth's mouth looks like she might be screaming in terror, but Lily explained that she's saying, "Wheee!"
Brandon and I are now keeping a close eye on Lily whenever she holds Elizabeth just to make sure she doesn't start flinging her into the ceiling fan.
And Lily wrote her name backwards because the transfer paper reverses the image when it is ironed on to the fabric.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Here's a tip: If you want your toddler to look huge, put him next to a newborn.
Elizabeth is the same size as Lily's Bitty Baby doll. Perhaps they could share clothes.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
Sunday, November 09, 2008
So last night we had the do-over, and it was a big success. We hosted an outdoor movie night with some of Ella's school friends and a few neighbors. B got his hands on a projector, and he set up a movie screen on the back of the porch. He also rented a big popcorn maker and set up a little concession stand of sorts (I wouldn't let him charge for the popcorn, candy and drinks). I can't claim to have come up with the idea on my own; friends of ours hosted an outdoor movie night for adults a few years back, and it was a blast. Of course, we were all drunk by the end of the movie, but that's a different story.
Once it got dark, B fired up the dvd player and showed "The Muppet Movie." Ella and Lily were the only ones who had seen it before, but all the kids in attendance LOVED the movie. I was inside feeding Elizabeth at one point and heard shrieks of laughter from the back yard.
There's no school tomorrow for the kids (dammit), so we're letting the kids have another movie night since they don't have to be in bed early.
B manned the concession stand. The highlight of the night for him was when one of the kids told his mom that the popcorn tasted "just like the stuff at the movie theater."
It's getting harder and harder for Ella to blow out all of her candles at once (sob).
The movie crew. It got fairly chilly as the evening wore on. By the end of the movie, the kids were in one big pile under blankets.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
And this is the other half. Notice the baby in the cradle? That's where Elizabeth sleeps these days. The other day a grown-up asked Lily where Elizabeth slept, and I winced knowing what her answer would be - "In the closet." And as always happens, the adult looked at me for confirmation.
Lily is actually the original closet baby. She was a noisy sleeper and would wake me up dozens of times a night. I'd think she was wanting to eat, but really she was just scooting around and making noise. So we moved the cradle into the closet, which turned out to be the perfect place.
Elizabeth has turned out to be even noisier than Lily ever was, so after two weeks in our bedroom, she's been moved to the closet to sleep. It's through our bathroom, which means it's far enough that we don't hear every little squeak or grunt, but it's close enough that I can hear her when she's really awake and ready to eat.
Lily was the closet baby for about three months - she outgrew the cradle. I'm guessing that Elizabeth will be in the closet for at least that long. She's so teeny that she'll fit in the cradle for a long, long time.
Friday, November 07, 2008
However, most of the times I've cried this week have been from joy. I cried when the election results were announced. I cried the next morning watching the footage of President-elect Obama's speech and again watching him and his beautiful family. I cried watching the news footage of the spontaneous celebrations breaking out around the country - celebrations filled with faces of all colors. I cried hearing Jesse Jackson and Andrew Young, both civil rights pioneers, talking about just how much this election meant to them.
What an amazing week, one filled with hope for so many people in this country. It's been too long coming.
Thursday, November 06, 2008
I have learned that the surest way to get my oldest daughter not to read is to recommend a book. So I've left a pile of my favorite childhood books on one shelf of the big bookshelf in my room, and I've let Ella discover them on her own. I was thrilled when she came out last week with The Phantom Tollbooth, which was one of my favorite books as a child. Ella loved the book, and last night she came out with a letter she wants to send to Norton Juster. Here it is, sic all:
Dear Norton Juster,
I really liked The Phantom Tollbooth. My friend M and I both have read the book. I really think that you are a good auther. M and I have wanted to ask you to write another book of Phantom Tollbooth. Some of my favrite chapters were 3, 9, 17, 18, 2, 19, 14 and 15. On the map you can follow along ware you are. M and I want to be Rhyme and Reason for Holween next year. I thoght that in point of view was funny how people grow down. I never really thoght about ware numbers, word, and colors come from until now. I wonder how did you get the idea for Phanton Tollboth?
I was very concerned last night that perhaps Mr. Juster was no longer alive and that I'd have to break the news to Ella, who would be crushed. Fortunately, according to his publisher, he's still alive, and he published a book in 2005. I'll look it up when I'm at the library today. I still need to find an address to send the letter to.I think I'm going to leave my Anne of Green Gables and Little House on the Prairie books where Ella can find them next.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Last night was so different.
I refused to believe the initial results until CNN officially called the election. I was watching Colbert and Stewart, and they relayed the results. I was amazed to see Colbert actually tear up and have to take his glasses off.
This morning I'm so proud of our country, and, for the first time in 8 years, I'm hopeful about our future. President-elect Obama has a tough road ahead of him, and the job won't be easy. But I have confidence that he will do his best to do what is right for our whole country, red and blue.
It is a beautiful day indeed.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Fortunately, the line was small and fast moving. I was able to walk right in and vote. The election workers all oohed and aahed over Elizabeth. Even if she won't remember it, she can claim to have been going to vote since she was a month old.
I was just happy to finally be casting my vote. This election cycle has been so long and so nasty that it will be nice just to have it over with. I also left the polling place feeling hopeful about the outcome of the election. It's been a long eight years since I've felt that way about an election. I just hope that my optimism isn't mistaken.
Monday, November 03, 2008
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Ella went as Hermione Granger for the third year. It was warm enough that she decided not to wear her very nice Hogwarts cloak. I kept trying to convince her to wear it by saying no one would know who she was, but she didn't care.