Sunday, December 31, 2006

The aftermath

Everyone is (almost) healthy again, except for a few raging sinus issues amongst the grownups, which may or may not warrant antibiotics, but who has time to see a doctor....It's been rather chaotic around here, with all three sets of grandparents around for portions of the past few weeks. It has been wonderful, don't get me wrong, but the kids are so hyped up by now that you look at them wrong and they fall to the floor a sobbing mess. Tuesday can't come soon enough for everyone, I am quite sure.

My dad heads home this morning, and then it is the mad scramble to get ready for the New Years party. What, oh what was I thinking? And since the kids have been totally off their already virtually non-existent to begin with sleep schedules, I can only imagine how they will handle being up two plus hours past their bedtimes tonight. Or, rather, I wonder what kind of wrecks they will be tomorrow. I think I should stock up on videos now...

Other than mass chaos, things are find here. I've finished the last of the Christmas scarves, and have moved onto the baby gifts needed in the next few months. I'm a huge fan of knitting baby gifts I've decided, because they go so quickly. I also have a new favorite yarn (bought on sale at Webs), Jaeger Roma, for those of you who knit. Although when linking to it I just realized that it is a hand wash only yarn, which is an issue in the baby gift department. Gah. What to do, what to do. I swear when I bought it it was machine wash. Sigh.

Anyway, I probably won't surface again until Monday or Tuesday, but I am working on the New Years resolutions, I promise. Wishing you and yours a happy New Year, and may you have a Rocking New Years eve.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

I always knew I was important....

As seen at Ridiculous Chick's...

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Milady the Right Reverend Chichimama the Recumbent of Old Yarkhillshire
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

It just ain't a holiday without a fever

Yep. At least C managed to get all of the presents open before falling asleep to Curious George with a raging fever and no other symptoms. Why is it that my kids get the fever with nothing else? Is it just me? Do other children get raging fevers with no other symptoms? I mean not even a sniffle!

Today he woke up, came downstairs to say goodbye to Nana and Grandpa S, and then crawled back into bed for three hours. He seems perkier now, but the day is still young...

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Bullets

  • The Dora the Explorer Magical Castle? Doesn't come with furniture. Just so you know. Little People furniture works in a pinch, but it is a very, very short term solution at best.
  • Playmobil takes a very, very long time to put together. The instructions are not well written. And the parts? Very small. Very easily lost. It should really be done the night before.
  • If you ever need to dress up as, well, anything, come on over. We can outfit several preschool classes as princesses, ballerinas, knights, doctors, kings, spacemen, firemen, flappers, etc, etc etc.
  • We have sixteen pair of dress up shoes. And every. single. pair. is different. Who knew there were so many different dress up shoes out there?
  • My rolls? They came out very well, if I do say so myself.
  • M pulled off the turkey flawlessly. Clearly, the turkey issues are all mine.
  • I got two new bread books. And a gift certificate to the local yarn shop. I am a happy, happy woman.

More tomorrow, or perhaps the next day.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Happy Merry Christmas Fun

Wishing you and yours a merry happy Christmas, if you celebrate such things. The tree is up, the presents are almost wrapped, and the holiday gifts are (almost) all made.

Stay tuned, next week I get to see just how miserably I failed at my New Years resolutions this year, and then contemplate some new ones (or just revisit the old...).

Friday, December 22, 2006

The kindness of strangers

As I was strapping the kids into the car this morning, off to deliver the last batches of cookies, C's eyes grew huge. "Mom! Look!" he whispered. "Just look!" I glanced across the street, and there getting out of a big red suburban was Santa. Santa hugged an elf, and told her to hurry up.

C stood transfixed in the driveway, blinking as fast as he could. "Mom! Get A out of the car so she can see Santa too!" She refused to leave my arms but waved a little wave and whispered"Hi Santa, Merry Christmas! Hi Santa, hi Santa." Santa finally noticed the two of them and gave a cheerful wave and a booming "Merry Christmas!" The elf emerged from the house, and the two climbed into the car.

I turned to put the kids back into the car, and the C's eyes got even wider. "Mom! Mom!" He couldn't get anything else out. A gasped. And there, pulling into our driveway, was Santa. He climbed out of the car, patted the kids on the head, chatted with them about how good they had been, and then said he had to get going because he was headed to the hospital to see the kids who were sick. C shook his hand and wished him a Merry Christmas. Santa headed out, and a barrage of questions hit me all at once.

"Where were the reindeer? When did Santa learn to drive? How did he know that we were good? I forgot to ask him if he liked chocolate milk or soy milk!" As we went about our day, C told everyone we saw that we had seen Santa. But do you know how he told the story? He talked about how Santa was going to the hospital to see the sick kids. And how sad it would be to be so sick on Christmas that you had to stay in the hospital. And how he hoped that Santa was bringing the sick kids extra presents, so they might feel special.

The kindness of strangers, indeed.

Holiday baking by the numbers

Number of pounds of butter used: five

Number of pounds of all purpose flour used: 20

Number of cans of non-stick spray depleted: three

Number of cookies baked: 28 dozen (not including the failed batches)

Number of cookie sheets ruined: three

Number of cookies consumed by the chef: at least four dozen

Number of holiday spice breads baked:12

Number of times I wished for a stand mixer: four

Number of times I cursed the spirit of giving: hundreds

Number of goodies left to be delivered: four

Note to self: Holiday breads are MUCH easier than holiday cookies. And this recipe is particularly yummy.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Found: One rusty iron. Seven out of eight Christmas napkins. One black party shoe. A broken red candle. A Christmas gift for my sister bought five years ago. Twelve cookie tins. Several sheets of gift tags.

Still missing: Two rolls of wrapping paper. A bag of silver bows. A silver glitter pen.

Reward: Two cats who have traded their taste for mice in for a taste for cookies.


Missing: Several dozen cookie tins and two rolls of wrapping paper. A bag of silver bows. Several sheets of gift tags. And a silver glitter pen.

Reward: All the leftover holiday cookies you can eat.

Somehow, my stash of holiday wrapping supplies bought on sale last year got lost in the move. I have looked high and low at both houses, and they cannot be found. And do you know when they will show up? The day after Christmas, right after I repurchase it all on sale.

This is why I hate to move. I knew exactly where all of those items used to live before we moved. Sigh. I really want these cookies out of my kitchen and into other people's homes...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

An open letter of apology

To the 20+ patrons of our local post office:

I sincerely apologize for the agony that must have been your visit this afternoon. I thought that 2pm would be the best time to visit the post office with two small children in tow during the holiday season, clearly I was wrong. I know, I know, I should have mailed my packages last week. Or the week before. Or even yesterday when my son was at school. But I didn't. And since you were all standing there too, clearly I was not the only one who had not planned ahead well. But I digress.

I apologize for the never-ending game of 20 questions that had many of you scratching your head looking for the "Round/Square/Green/Blue/High/Low" thing that didn't actually exist. We are still working on the fundamentals of the game, including the fact that that the object actually has to be in view, and that it has to be real, not an item such as "A dragon split in two!"

I apologize for the temper tantrum that you were witness to when my son pushed his sister off of the chair they were sharing and lost his TV privileges for the day as a consequence, but I had been waiting for 30 minutes already, I was next in line, and I just. couldn't. leave at that point.

I would like to extend a special apology to the woman who found herself attacked by a flying purple coat that had been deemed "too hot" and the man who found himself the center of a game of tag. I would also like to apologize to the postal workers who were serenaded through the mail slot to a very off-key rendition of "Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer." And I would also like to thank the aforementioned postal workers for filling in the missing words. It resulted in a good thirty seconds of silence that was appreciated by all.

In closing, I am very very very very very very sorry. But Great-Grammy needed her pictures and calendar before Christmas Day. And Grandpa needed his new book to read during his glorious week off.

I wish you all the very best this holiday season, and solemnly swear to try and tackle the post office by myself next year.



A Year in Review

As seen at Raising Weg, via APL...a snapshot of 2006 seen through the first sentence of the first post of each month.

You know you are old when you watch Dick Clark New Year's Rocking Eve in bed and fall asleep well before midnight.

Well, after our experiment last night, A did in fact sleep through the night.

I'm currently caught up in Spring Carnival planning hell, so I haven't thought much about how to set up the book club as I've been too busy settling squabbles over whether we should be serving Jello Jigglers or Oreos (neither, IMO, but hey, who am I to dictate snack choices...).

This is one of those mornings that pre-kids I might have been pleased to be up at 4:30 am.

You can say many, many things about my youngest child.

Head over to Unity '08.

On Friday afternoon I took both kids over to the new house thinking M was there building his to do list.

Are we the only household in which Band-Aids are the major form of currency?

I've been waiting for it to happen, and wake up each morning surprised that it hasn't hit.

Well, I stuck to the menu last week, but something went slightly wrong with each meal.

So I've decided to try the NaBloPoMo instead of the NaNoWriMo.

It was not a good night for the worrier last night at Chez J-E.

Apparently, much of my life over the past year has focused on sleep, or rather, the lack of sleep. Here's to hoping next year is a little more restful.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Never easy

Nope, not strep. The pediatrician is stumped, but felt that further allergy testing wasn't worth it right now as we have no idea what to even test for. So we are in a watching and waiting mode, armed with new Epi-Pen prescriptions. Gah.

Now I have to focus on Christmas again. I wonder where that to do list ended up...

And the beat goes on

Still hives. Although last night we were smart enough to dose A with Benadryl BEFORE she woke up covered in hives, so we were not treated to a third night in a row of kids TV at midnight. The fact that PBS Sprout runs 24 hours a day is both useful and scary all at once. As clearly there must be enough children up watching TV at midnight to make it worthwhile...

But I digress. We head into the pediatrician's this morning right after we drop C off for a consult and a strep test, as apparently Cousin C breaks out in hives with strep throat. May it be strep...oh please let it be strep. C has developed "itchies" as well, although his are not apparent to the naked eye, if you know what I mean. And A is convinced that she saw the dentist on Friday night, despite all of our attempts to convince her otherwise. Even C had thrown up his hands in disgust with a "Believe what you want, A. But you DID NOT SEE THE DENTIST!"

So that's about all the news that is fit to print over here. A has some hives as I write, but I am trying not to dose her with Benadryl until after we see the doctor. Why, I don't know, as it isn't like she is going to be able to do anything besides look at them, nod, and say, "Yep, look at that, hives!" but at least I'll have independent verification that she does in fact have hives. But as I told Rebecca yesterday, it just isn't a major holiday without a trip to the pediatrician's. Do you suppose it is tacky to hand deliver her holiday card?

Saturday, December 16, 2006


Last night, A woke up fussing. I got annoyed as I was in the middle of baking cookies for the teachers and pies for Christmas. She wouldn't settle down, and I finally noticed that she was scratching incessantly at her legs. I put some lotion on, and then suggested we put new pajamas on her. When I took off her clothes, I saw she was covered, I mean covered, in giant hives. Her legs, arms, and hands were swollen. Her sides and her face were covered. She was coughing.

M took her downstairs and put on the TV while I phoned the pediatrician's office. After getting on the list for a call back, I remembered to give her Benadryl. And then we sat and watched the hives grow and change and spread. The nurse-on-call got back to us, and very nicely suggested that I take her to the ER since the Benadryl didn't seem to be taking the hives down. "The cough is a little concerning," she said. And my hand hit my forehead. Duh, coughing=closing of airways. Hives + coughing, not so good.

M put on her green princess pajamas, and off we went. On the way, the Benadryl seemed to kick in, and she started chatting with me. "It is dark! Which doctor are we going to? Oh! Is the hospital decorated for Christmas? Why don't I have a coat on? Is it raining? I was very itchy Mommy. I love you Mommy." When we finally got the hospital, the hives on her face had gone down, but her legs were still covered. We signed in, and we waited. And waited. And waited some more. I called M (from a pay phone! They still exist! And they cost 50 cents now!), A fell asleep. We were finally seen by the triage nurse and fast tracked in the pediatric ER.

But by this point, the Benedryl had been in her for almost three hours, and the hives were gone. The ER doc gave her some steroids, made sure I had an Epi-Pen and knew how to use it. "Did you consider using it?" he asked me. "No, quite honestly I didn't," I replied. "You might have wanted to consider it," he said calmly. "It sounds like the coughing wasn't that bad, but if it had progressed, or the hives had spread to her eyes and lips, in the leg, ten seconds, call 911." I just blinked. "But we don't even know what she is allergic too!" I screamed internally. "She hasn't had a reaction to anything in 15 months! I've stopped worrying about this!" But instead of freaking out at the poor ER doc I thanked him, scooped up the still sleeping A and headed home.

She woke up on the way to the parking lot, and chattered all the way home while I held the tears back. "The hospital was decorated Mommy! With a tree and lights! I was a good girl! Is it still night time? I didn't even see a doctor, am I still sick? My face is sticky. I got medicine? What flavor? Oh, I like grape! No, I think I want to sleep in my own bed. But don't forget to put your jammies on! Did daddy have his dinner yet? Did he like it? I love you Mommy."

I put her into her bed, and M and I just looked at each other in the darkened house. "I don't get it," said M. "How did this happen? How can someone react like this to something and we can't even figure out what it is?" and later "This isn't how it is supposed to happen. This isn't what I envisioned when we had kids. Why?"

As I type, A is still sleeping, hive-free I think. I even managed to sleep, somehow, last night. And Monday, I guess we head back to the allergists to begin what I had really thought we were going to avoid, the long, painstaking process of trying to figure out what she is allergic to. And I have to steel myself for the fact that my daughter is going to be carrying an Epi-Pen for a very long time.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Turkey smirky

All of this knitting and preparing for Christmas so I don't stress out the week before is just stressing me out two weeks before. I'm just saying. But I think I finally have a menu for Christmas, despite an ongoing battle between M and me* over the need for a turkey on major holidays. Thanksgiving, OK. But Christmas? Not so necessary. Especially since in the eight(?) years we have been throwing at least one holiday, we have yet to successfully cook a turkey. I kid you not. It is always raw when we take it out, even despite adding an hour or two onto the cooking time to try and compensate. I have no fricking idea why.

Quite honestly, I don't even LIKE turkey. I also don't like turkey soup, or any of the things that you use turkey left overs for. At least with a ham I could make casseroles and such. Sigh. The things I do for love. So back to original point to this post...ah yes, the menu.

Herb and Garlic Roasted Turkey
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Green Bean Casserole (this holiday is all about M's childhood favorites this year...)
Pumpkin Pie
Apple Pie
Homemade rolls of some kind

Now I have to figure out whether I am going to make something separate for the kids, as neither of them will touch anything on this menu except for the pies, rolls, and maybe the green beans, or whether I throw up my hands and decided that a day of starch and sugar isn't going to kill them.

I'm also debating a roasted root vegetable casserole as my mom and I would both love that, but we aren't really having THAT many people over, so it sort of seems like overkill. Decisions, decisions.

*Is "I" or "me" correct here? I went back and forth for about ten minutes before going with "me" as my gut was telling me.... I know I have some editors out there (cough, cough, Suzanne, cough cough Phantom) who probably cringe at all of my grammar mistakes and look! I do sometimes proofread and ask for help! Not frequently, but sometimes...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I never said I could sew

So here are my finished holiday projects for my niece and nephew. I have a puppet that is almost finished for my other nephew, I just have to do the hair and embroider the face.

Now I am off to make pumpkin pies and breakfast casserole to throw in the freezer for Christmas day. Just call me June.

Just wrong

A high of 61+ degrees today. That is just wrong. I know those of you in warmer climates are used to this in December, but we had had snow by this point last year. Not much, but some. I'm finding it hard to get into the holiday spirit while running around in a long-sleeve tee shirt and nothing else.

Still working on Christmas, I should have some pictures for you by the end of the day. I'm almost done with the stuff for the nieces and nephews. But I think Grammy is losing out on her holiday scarf. Perhaps for President's Day....

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Overheard from above

As I was on my hands and knees cleaning up the mess that existed post-holiday craft time...

Mommy: (muttering under her breath) "I am so sick of cleaning up tiny pieces of paper from the floor."

A: "Mommy, are you OK? Do you need some medicine? What is sick?"

C: "Mommy, did you mean tired sick? A, I think she meant tired sick, not sick sick."

Mommy: "Yes C, I meant tired sick. I'm not really sick A."

C: "Sometimes people use sick when they mean tired, but that's not really the right word. You should say what you mean Mommy."

Mommy: "I'll try to remember that for the future C, thank you. Now will you help me clean up the floor?"

C: "No, I'm allergic, remember?"

I am almost on top of the holidays, and will stop posting cute (and not so cute) kid sayings soon. I swear I do actually have some interesting thoughts to share...

Overheard from the peanut gallery

As I was working on my gazillionth attempt at a batch of cookies for the freaking cookie swap.

C: "Mommy, practice makes perfect, or at least good enough."

Mommy: "Thanks for the encouragement kiddo."

C: "It was nothing. But I think next time you should let me bake the cookies, OK? I have a chef costume you know."

If you ever, ever read anything that mentions baking cookies, cupcakes, or other such tasty treats, remind me, please, I beg of you, that I do not bake well.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Overheard in the playroom

A: "Bye bye! I'm going to work!"

Mommy: "Um, A? People are usually dressed when they go to work. Why don't you go put some clothes on first."

A: "Oh. Huh. (Pause) No! I go to na*ked work!"

Mommy: "Ahh. Well, have a good time then. Bring a sweater in case you get cold..."

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Address book? Who needs an address book?

It says something about my organizational skills that in order to send out my holiday cards this year, I am still referring to the email my sister sent me TWO YEARS AGO with all of the relatives addresses. Hey, at least I didn't delete the email in an email clean out binge, unlike some change of address emails that I have had to request duplicates of with my head hung in shame.

Oh, and Auntie M? If you are reading this I need a few more :-). For Auntie P and Auntie S and the boys...and Aunt A's new address if you have it.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Random Thoughts, Courtsey of C

"I think it must be boring to be a puppet. Most of the time you are just stuffed in a dark box in a closet."

"Some people are allergic to nuts, and other people are allergic to, well, other things. Like cleaning up."

"The problem with school is that I have to sit still. I need to practice sitting still, but it is hard to do when you can't sit still."

"Candy canes are like lollipops except without the stick. And they all taste kind of like toothpaste."

"I'm going to stop talking about babies. Because maybe if I stop talking about them then you'll want another one, and then we can be a family of three kids."

"Some people have fake trees and some people have real trees. We are real tree people. But it is OK to be a fake tree person too. There are lots of different kinds of people in the world."

"It's hard to make your bed. The covers get all wrinkly no matter what you do."

The Holidays by the Numbers

Number of hours of sleep I am averaging a night (despite an early gift of children who sleep past 5 am): 5

Number of times we have seen Santa so far: 3

Number of times I am asked "Is is Christmas yet?" per day: hundreds.

Number of cookies I need to bake before the cookie swap on Tuesday: 8 dozen

Number of cookies I have baked so far that are cookie swap presentable: 0

Number of cookies I have personally consumed: 2 dozen

Number of holiday cards completed: 50

Number of holiday cards to go: 50

Number of holiday card envelopes that were missing from my order: 50

Number of people left to shop for: 3 (I think)

Number of holiday presents that are still works in progress: 6

Number of presents left to wrap: almost all of them

Number of menus I need to plan: 4

Number of parties I am throwing: 1

Number of adults attending said party: 18 and counting

Number of children attending said party: 20 and counting

Number of invitees who have plans for New Years that do not involve a party at my house: 0

Number of babysitters who have an interest in entertaining the children in my playroom: 0

Number of hours left until January 2: way too many

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Overheard during cleanup

C: "Mommy? I've made a new rule for you."

Mommy: "Oh really? And what would that rule be?"

C: "If I am too tired, you clean up."

Mommy: "Ah. And I have a new rule for you."

C: "What is it?"

Mommy: "If you are too tired to clean up, you are too tired for TV and books."

C: "I don't think I like that rule."

Mommy: "Huh, well, rules are rules. I guess since you are too tired to clean up I have to do it."

C: "Well, I guess I COULD clean up, just a little. "

Monday, December 04, 2006

Overheard at Dinnertime

Loud giggling and muffled sounds are emanating from the playroom.

Mommy: "What is going on in there?"

More giggles.

Mommy: "Is everyone OK? A sounds a bit, well, muffled. What is going on in there?"

C: "Um, it's rather complicated. I'll have to explain it to you later when we can sit down and really talk."

Not going to jinx myself

I'm not going to say why I am in such a good mood. Not going to do it. But the observant folks might be able to figure it out. If you look closely at the random administrative stuff at the end of the post.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Yesterday I spent the morning working our church's annual Breakfast with Santa. As, right after I grumped about how I am never tapped to volunteer despite numerous attempts, the Breakfast with Santa chair decided to step down and up shot my hand. And apparently, no one wants this particular job as it got advertised for weeks before I finally got the green light to take it over next year. So I shadowed the current chair for most of the morning learning where everything lived, who needs to do what, how many boxes of mini-donuts get ordered, etc, etc.

The outgoing chair is as nice as can be, and introduced me to everyone and their brother. I think I met more people yesterday than I have during the four years we have been coming to church. And I spent the whole morning on the verge of a panic attack, trying to remember names, trying to say nice and witty things, trying to show the "real me."

And I failed miserably. I never know what to say, and I feel like everything that does come out of my mouth is forced and not terribly relevant. I am never quite sure where to break into a conversation, so I generally just stand there nodding and trying to look engaged. I am sure the instant I left yesterday there was a gaggle of women wondering whether it would have been better to take on the breakfast themselves after all.

I don't know why I am so horrifically awkward in social situations. Every time I say that to M, he looks at me like I have two heads, as at home I chatter away with abandon. There are a few close friends who know the chatty me, and when I was working I could chat around the coffee pot fairly easily, but out in the general world? Not so much.

I so want the chatty, friendly me to come out in person. But it never really does. I agonize over every word that comes out of my mouth, worry that people won't like me, and then finally abandon ship and flee as soon as an opportunity presents itself. And I hate that about myself.

Why can't the whole world converse via email? I am a great emailer.

Friday, December 01, 2006


I'm retrying the New York Times No-Knead recipe today, this time using only white flour. So far it is going much better. M's Grammy, sister and nephews are coming for dinner, so I hope it turns out OK. I have a stuffed manicotti in the fridge all ready to pop into the oven when the arrive, and the makings of a salad. I of course forgot about dessert. Oh well, I think I can probably whip up some sort of a pudding or whatnot. The house is still a wreak though, and I can't quite find the energy to do much about it. Do you think I can just ask them not to use the bathroom while they are here? Or is that a Miss Manner's no-no?

What is your standby company dish? This is my first attempt at not cooking a lavish meal. It is just too hard with the kids running around....

Things that go bump in the night

It was not a good night for the worrier last night at Chez J-E. First there was the pitter patter of little feet ABOVE my head. Yes, the mice have moved from the playroom into the attic. Add to the list of errands for the day: buy Home Depot out of mouse traps. And buy some peanut butter. Apparently mice are not fans of soybean butter. I guess A isn't going to be climbing up into the attic anytime soon, and I really want the mice GONE.

Then there was the crash from downstairs. Fearful that the cats had broken my favorite salad bowl that is doubling as a bread rising device at the moment, I raced down to discover that bowl was safe, but the advent tree my dad had made the kids with 48 tiny presents (24 for each child) tied onto the branches had toppled from the weight of 48 tiny presents and scattered over the rug of the living room.

After retying the presents back on to the tree and returning to bed, I head a thud in A's room. And wail. She had fallen out of bed and of course missed the strategically placed pillows, landing headfirst onto the small corner of hardwood floor peaking out. So I spent the rest of the night lying in her bed serving both as a bed rail and a nursing attendant, waking her every so often to make sure there was no concussion. Because I worry about that kind of thing. (Rebecca and M are rolling their eyes right now. But I DO! So don't laugh.) She was, of course, fine. And now spoiled by a night of mommy snuggles.

And M? Well, he woke for the thud and wail at least...