Wednesday, December 31, 2008

beauty stinks

We watched the paperwhites with awe. Their stems reaching high towards the ceiling, we waited anxiously for tell tale signs of budding. We weren't let down when beautiful, delicate flowers appeared two days before Christmas. I love growing things--flowers, vegetables. It is miraculous to me to watch things emerge from the tiniest seeds with only soil, water and sunlight. Isn't that a gift? That is why it was so difficult for me to remove the paperwhites from the Christmas splendor of the living room. They smell.
It was a hint of a bad smell at first, not so terrible. But within days it turned into an obnoxious smell. The kids would repeatedly tell me there was a dirty diaper around. I moved the plant into my bedroom as their beauty still astounded me. But oi, the smell. I would wake in the night tasting it at the back of my throat ( I so do not sleep with my mouth open). At one point Molly gagged as she walked through my room. As painful as it was I had to banish them, they are in the laundry room now. One step closer to the compost pile.

Friday, December 26, 2008

And a Good Time was had by All

A peace filled holiday season to you and yours. We are enjoying the week...the children, the husband who isn't working 80 hours, the fridge full of leftovers. Lots of hugging and practical joking. This is what warms my heart. This brood of silly, beautiful people. Usually generous and kind (Bubs swung a few fists during the gift exchange hence the word "usually") they turn my shy and anxious personality into one of eternal gratitude. This is the gift of the season. To be reminded, to see, to love, to share.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Cookie Crooky

This morning as I attempted to assemble a few trays of baked goods for the neighbors I realized much of my pre-baking was pre-tasted. Hmmm, I thought, could the neighbors have entered my home and helped themselves? That just isn't logical, I said to the Sherlock Holmes/ Sherlock Hemlock (from Sesame Street) hidden personality inside me. There is only one other way this could have happened.


The evidence is all here. In fact last week he told me 2x how much he loves gingersnaps. I didn't really think about this until I saw the bag that was once overstuffed filled with air (nice try) and only a fraction of cookies.

I asked him how many cookies he ate and he asked, "which day?" I guess that answered my question enough. No need for further evidence.

Good thing he's a sweet and lovely son. He plays the trombone, watching him on Thursday I realized how little he is. I didn't know this. As we were sitting in the bleachers watching him, a little girl behind us kept asking her Dad why that boy's ears were so red. My boy. My boy with red ears, how I love him! One day he will wake up and grow tall like his Dad. But for now I will enjoy his littleness.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


You know all that time your mother and father spent telling you about priorities? How you sat there as they lectured on and on nodding your head when appropriate to at least let them think you get it. But in reality you maintained your I-know-I-get-it- look while wondering if you should were your red button up shirt to school the next day or is that too holidayish? Maybe you should call your friends when this lame-o lecture is done to see if they were gonna dress holiday, because then the red shirt would be cool.
I wish I was better at keeping my priorities straight. It's five days before Christmas and my closet is a mountain of bags and paper and ribbon. It is starting to loom over me, I keep mentally making excuse not to tackle it. The trouble is I don't really feel like doing any wrapping, or taking inventory as to who is getting what. I can tell you the five year old has loads of stuff as she is so easy to buy for but the older girls have very little. They are the hardest, it is my fault as I have raised them to be independent and free thinking, they don't like the mall, or anything trendy (is a sweater trendy?), they are very much like me only they don't hyperventilate over vintage patterns and mother of pearl buttons. I wish they did, this would all be so much easier!
To validate how bad my closet is: This morning we had company on short notice and I jammed my yoga ball in my closet (professional quick cleaner) later Bubby and I went to get something, the ball burst out knocking him over in such a way a gymnast would have been proud.
I guess I should be a grown up and face what I have to do. Life is hard work (this is what I tell my kids all the time). So I will get off this computer and do it. Can I at least watch Christmas in Connecticut first? I am from Connecticut afterall and I haven't even seen this film. I can't be in Connecticut for Christmas this year (insert anguish like sob here). Isn't this a valid enough request???
This is the part where I turn and face away from you with a vintage handkerchief held to my mouth. My hair is brilliant, my dress sways delicately. I stare off in the distance, my closet in the background looking forlorn. When all of a sudden enters Ken. He is so handsome, my heart stops. His hair looks brilliant, too. He pulls me close to him, his chin resting on my head, I inhale dramatically, smelling the spicy italian sub he had for lunch then tried to cover up with a peppermint. Our eyes lock and we step slowly at first then quicker until he carries me off to the boudoir (what's a boudoir? And okay he's not as much carrying me as just taking the weight off my legs and I skip/drag my feet). We embrace wondering where this is taking us in the middle of the day. I am a lady, I think to myself but the passion is overpowering. Ken fumbles with my mother of pearl buttons remarking how beautiful they are, I reply they are vintage... when all of a sudden, the door swings open and in comes Molly pulling Bubs by the arm, "He stinkth", she says.
Okay, I'm going.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Get out of Bed Sleepyhead

This week is busy. There is no room for any frou frou interference. Needless to say I chased down the bus this morning as she flew right by our stop. I was a crazy woman on a mission, but I did it, flagging down the bus in the middle of the road while wearing Maggie's neon blue gloves and my thick black rimmed glasses reflecting the flashing lights of the bus. My kids loved this. Well at least Molly did, she was so excited. The others were busy hiding behind anything they could find.

Last night my head was buzzing for today's Christmas party, and I stayed up way too late making a cake. It must be nervous energy as it seems like a pattern...I stay very organized then at the last minute come up with ridiculous ideas that at the time seem perfectly normal. Like deciding to make a fighter jet cake when I should be making dinner. Which included an impromptu run to Hobby Lobby as I had flecks of frosting all over my sweater. (note to self: remind child each and every time not to lift the mixer as it is spinning on high even though you have repeated that 100 times in the past.) I ended up spending about three hours on this cake which turned out nothing like I had pictured. My advice to you...don't make a fighter jet cake. Make a nice round one with choc buttercream frosting and creamy white frosting dollops on top.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Debit Card 101 and Some Cheery Holiday Pics

I have learned a lot these past few days. Some of which I wish knew earlier, like before some "professional" fraud spent over $1000 out of our checking account. I am alarmed at how easy this was for someone to do.
Neither Ken or I had our cards stolen. I assumed our number was taken from a dishonest waiter as it is the only time either of us hand our card over to someone. This is always a risk, the waiter can take a picture of your card with a cell phone in just a moments time. But the charges on our card were all made in another state 1500 miles away. One of which was at a gas pump. How can they do this without our card to swipe? There are tiny devices called skimmers that can read the info on your card as you swipe it while making a purchase. These used to be large and expensive but are now about $200 on the black market. The same type of machine that hotels use to make your room key in thirty seconds can also make a credit card. People make a living off of stealing and selling credit card numbers. Skimmers can hold several hundred card numbers. They can be placed in a gas pump card swipe and no one will know the difference. Maybe I am just a naive country bumpkin but all this makes me ill. And truly this is what I think of: all the time my husband spends away from home, traveling to far away scary (to me) places so we live in this beautiful country, free to believe in what we want, and live how we want. Why would someone feel entitled to steal from others like that? How can they sleep at night? What justification do they feel?

We all have it in us to be wise. To be good.

This garland of 1910 postcards hanging on a card clothesline given to be by my Gram when I was 13 is my favorite decoration this year. She was a very good person. Very selfless, very kind, very giving.

I truly believe we are all good. We all have in it us to be giving and kind. We all like things. We all want our children to be happy.

I want my kids to be happy, to grow to be compassionate, caring adults. Everyday it's my duty to shape their lives, to encourage them to develop what drives them. It might not be what I really want. I really want Henry to look at the camera.

I'll be more specific: I really want Henry to look at the camera with his eyes open.

Blogging about stuff on my mind is nice. I don't have to rant and rave about how upset I am about the stolen $ to everyone that I talk to. I am sure they would thank you for this. Thanks for listening to me.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Apron Winner

This is an extremely rare random name picker. Please don't email me as to where you can buy one, it is one of a kind. It works very well with only a few slight quirks, one being instead of the ten seconds it should take we spent about 20 minutes only to have the random name picker break down into sobs wanting to pick more and more. Perhaps I should have more giveaways?

Just reach in and pick one, eh?

Oh, this is so exciting! Who is it?

Hmmmnn, what's this? The random name picker must be mistaken. It says on the box "must mind mother, never misbehave, always be helpful and courteous." Let's try again.

Karin! Email me. I will send it your way.

Thanks for all your lovely comments. Santa will always come to our house no matter how old our kids are, I just feel stuck on the falsehoods of telling my young kids that yeah he does come down the chimney and all that goes with it. I remember Ken and I making up these huge extravagant lies (though it felt necessary which justified it I guess) as the older kids were growing. We move a lot so that was always a factor --of him finding us, etc. They trusted us enough to defend Santa (sometimes with tears) to their friends, thinking if Dad and Mom said it must be true.

Molly (5) has been asking all those questions of why do some kids get presents from Santa and other kids hardly any, how can reindeer fly to every house, etc etc. This is awkward as it isn't just Ken and I she asks but her older siblings as well. I think we have found the middle ground with everything, telling her that we are a big help to Santa. Whether he comes down the chimney or not it'll still be a day filled with the spirit of Christmas.

Did I do good? If not, you are all just bitter you didn't win the apron.

Bah Humbug!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

This photo is bathed in warm light as are my spirits. He came home today which immediately washes away all the petty worries I load myself down with while he is gone. He arrived home in time to watch the girls Fall play which was their best yet. I laughed until I cried. I am such an emotional wreck at these things. It's like in the movies when they show the parents reliving their kids as infants, toddlers, starting school blah blah blah. It happens to me and only gets worse the older they are. I will surely faint and/or be severely drunk at their weddings. I'm a mess just thinking about it! He also arrived home shortly after I realized someone used our debit card number and drained our checking acct. Three large transactions all today. Why do people do this? It's not like someone stole a chicken to make a stew for their hungry family, it's our entire Christmas budget. We will get our money back but only after the bank does a fraud investigation, which will take a few business days. So much for being careful using the card. We've never used it online..only the usual groceries, gas, an occasional restaurant.

I must stop thinking about it!

Three positives:

1. My family fills me with happiness.

2. Today Molly said Y'all like she's been saying it all her life. (we've lived here for nearly 6 months)

3. We used glitter this afternoon and I haven't seen one stray speck. Eight hands, five tubes of glitter and not one stray speck?!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I won't write a post about how cold I am (this house is a sieve!) or about how the fireplace

back drafts and the house fills with smoke and ash (cough, cough)...

Instead I shall write about how it is the perfect day to snuggle in a warm sun spot on the bed with a good book and my kitty.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Apron Giveaway

Though I am not certain my blog is seen by enough to justify a giveaway, I thought I would give it a try. If you would like a chance to win this apron, comment this post and tell me if you think it is right or wrong to let your kids believe in Santa. I'm feeling guilty with my younger two as the three oldest took the truth quite hard.

This is an apron made by me (ahem...not perfect) with reproduction fabric and Butterick 4945. I'll pick a name at random on Friday afternoon.

Spread the word!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Cold Days, Warm Nights

Winding down from evening to night is feeling very magical. I love the soft Christmas lights, the smells of supper simmering on the stove. The house feels warm and comforting. This holiday has been the last step in making our house a home. It is a good feeling.

When I walk through my house this very evening I see:

The Christmas balls Henry lovingly placed on the bottom two branches of the tree. All clustered. In a group. This was after upon hearing the words Christmas BALLS he threw two glass ones against the mantle. I shall not refer to them as balls anymore.

Crotchety old Peter slumbering away. I love this cat dearly even though he can be a grumpy oaf. I have been making excuses for his bad behavior for nearly a dozen years.

Someone who doesn't really know what a candy cane is but knows they make a neat click noise when you bend them in two.

Sam and Molly reading "The Jolly Christmas Postman" all snuggled in the chair I moved yesterday. Really they were. They are enough years apart their rivalry is minimal. But this isn't the case for all the kids! The oldest two girls have set the bar high for ninny fights, the other kids know they don't have a chance!

I hope wherever you are your evenings are feeling magical, too.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

chair moving

I originally came in this room to move a wing chair into the living room. Don't you all completely rearrange your houses when you put the tree up? Is it not unusual to move a heavy piece of furniture (like my desk that weighs 30000 pounds) and then not like it in its new location? Anyhow, after coming into this room I carried the chair into the dining room and then decided to check my brother's blog. But this led to about an hour of looking here and there and before I knew it all this precious Bubby-napping time was spent and I realized I best get crackin...all must be done before the bigger kids come home as then chaos ensues and if the chair is still in the dining room I will be interrogated as to why is there a chair in the dining room and yelling of "I can't get by.." and then I will yell back "just go around" but they will yell "Whhhaaatt??"

So then I moved the chair into the kitchen. Yeah, I know ugly black fridge. Molly has been busy keeping it covered with her Christmas art work. She makes three-four of these large trees a day, I find them absolutely cute as ever but that is a biased opinion.

The chair sat here, I realized I should vacuum first, that led to waking Henry who was excited about the chair in the kitchen. So he helped me move it gently. I learned in my 20's that no matter how slowly you move something it will still scratch the floor. I also learned if you cover the scratch with a pretty little rug your husband will still see it when you move.

The chair is here now but truthfully I liked it better in the front room.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

sleigh bells are ringing

It is very nice to read through my blog list and see all the decorating about. It's so motivating, it really makes me happy. Christmastime is hard to be away from my family (I know, wah wah wah) but the truth is everyone always ends up too busy to sit around and drink minty hot chocolate anyway. This is what I tell myself. But it would be nice to have one of my sisters stop by and serve her a tea biscuit on a vintage Santa paper plate. Because I have been saving these plates for like 10 years and could only use one on someone who would:

a) gasp at the cuteness of it

b) not take into account the old mothy smell

I just a ate a handful of Good and Plenty, I'm not a big candy person but yes they were good and yes I feel like I have sugar running through my veins (which for you equates lots of babbling).

A website worth sharing whether you homeschool or not (I don't) or even if you don't have kids (this I have and as a matter of fact Henry has vomited on me several times in the last 48 hours) is the Advent Calendar at Teaching Mom. There is lots of information, I look forward to it, each day.

Decorating has been sporadic here, I want to, but seem only good at carrying items around the house wondering where to put them. This I am very good at.

Another thing I am good at is saying "Nutcracker" when I need a reactionary thing to say. Try it. You won't be able to stop. You could also say "Son of a Nutcracker" if you're angry. But say loud like SON OF A NUTCRACKER. From Elf. But it's gets annoying, so I'm told.

Let's move on...

I made this fabric tree from McCall's 5778. It's one of those things that if you look at it too much you're not sure if you like it. Hadley said it looks like a tree made from someone who has a serious addiction to fabric. I guess she's right, trees look better when they are green and pokey. My kids like to tell me stuff, and usually I appreciate their honesty except when someone was four (I won't name names but it rhymes with Schmadley) they told me I looked like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. I have sat up straight ever since.

Seriously, don't do it.