Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy Birthday, Lil Man

We always have a wonderful reason to celebrate New year's Eve!

After the weeks of activity and rush rush cough cough, we kept it extremely simple. Literally. Cake + ice cream+ one family= dassit

Daddy baked the cake this year.




Saturday, December 30, 2006

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Boys who play with dolls

My heart just overflows with tenderness when my boys play with dolls. I love that we aren't hammering our children with nonsensical gender messages. I love that I have a man who parents the way he should, with open heart and hands, who encourages his sons to be good fathers. No doubt, my daughter leads the charge and is far more into her babies and their care than my sons are. They don't nurse their babies, or pretend to birth them like G does, but they do act like, well, Daddies. They'll sling them, feed them, toss them around.

Big brother bought baby brother a doll for Christmas. He chose it, wrapped it himself and gave it to him on Christmas Eve. ~D~ named it "Born," after Big Sister's doll "Newborn." As I write this, the children are breakfasting and ~D~ has his baby with him. The older children are just totally into ~D~'s pretend world, doting on him and his baby, helping him arrange the highchair, talking to him about baby wanting Daddy.

I am enraptured by the circle of love my kids have created.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Darling D

I know the fishtank is in the same place as the guinea pig cage used to be, but
please
do not feed
cabbage to the goldfish .



Incidentally, Samwise Gamgee's new homers
e-mailed me this morning to let me know he is purring.

Purring.

Day one and the Piggy Gen is purring.

That's another item for the gratitude journal.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Merry Christmas!

The day after, but Merry Day nonetheless.

We have grown to love love love our private Christmas mornings together. Nonetheless, I missed my Washington family, who we will see for our own private Christmas on Friday. BUBBLE! I like our BUBBLE! The kids woke early but not TOO early, with Nicholas rising earliest again. We ate like piggies all day, too.

It was a pretty low-key Christmas in terms of activities, despite my best efforts. The power problems, the resulting illness and clean up.......Oy. The house isn't tidy enough even for our tastes, much less up to hosting standards.

We did try a Candlelight Christmas Eve service but I remain, as always, a little apprehensive of the not-St.-Matthew's-ness of everywhere else. I have issues with "praise teams" (choirs with microphones) and churches with large projection screens that let you read the lyrics and whatever-else they want to drive home for you. The possible worst moment was by far the kids' favorite: to call the children forward for their circle, the church blasted the Blue's clues theme song, complete with a giant dancing Steve in surround sound on the screens. I am as open-minded and liberal a Christian as they come, but I don't think there is a place in my heart for the melding of Lutheranism and Nickelodean.

Nonetheless, this church has a huge outreach program local to Gig Harbor, they're very ELCA Lutheran (read: liberal) and they have a very active community. The women's circles are labelled with biblical names, two of which are Naomi and Rebekah. I am hoping this wasn't a representative service, especially given they were doing four of them on Christmas Eve, and then one again on Christmas morning.

Just about everything the kids received was open-ended and designed to fulfill them in some capacity. Except the goo balls. Both big kids received digital cameras, acoustic guitars and land-to-sea robot cars. Santa blessed G with two hermit crabs, N with a workbench and D with a barn set.

D. D will be TWO this week. I can hardly believe that. We have no plans as of yet, either. How convenient for a New Year's Eve baby, to have the whole country party all day.

We gave away Elvis today. I could have shed the Cavy months ago, but the kids did love him, and I have never re-homed an animal ever. Unfortunately, the kids didn't change his bedding or clean the cages or buy the hay bales. Little dude ate a lot. I am so excited for Samwise Gamgee (that's his perfect name now, and I had nothing to do with it!!!!!!!!!!) that he is home now with a true Guinea pig enthusiast. She's a homeschooler, and she is a big Cavy nerd. Like, guinea pig show prize winning, "no, Cavies are closer related to cows than to rodents" kind of nerd. This couldn't have BEEN more perfect of a placement. It's like I dreamt her up, except I have known her for over a year!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

There, and back again

Today is my first day online since December 14th. The windstorm that hit the NW hit us hard as well, and we were without power for EIGHT DAYS. That means no phone (cable modem), no cell (no way to recharge) and no heat. We have a woodstove, but we had it serviced in October and learned the catalytic converter is stuck. That's no big deal for a casual romantic fire, but we burned it for 6 days sick and nearly put me in the hospital with bronchitis; I am now on Z-pack and another med, P-daddy is on a Z-pack and albuterol, for the first time at 40. We finally gave up and spent two days with wonderful friends, before coming home on Friday. Within half an hour, we finally had a truck come and we had power at last.

The lights returned, poetically, the day after Winter Solstice.

We were fortunate in many, many ways. No one we know,much less in our little family, was hurt. The trees downed in our neighborhood were not ours and did not fall on our property. Coming from the South, we were imminently prepared for extended outages in terms of food, cooking, and lighting. (We were not prepared for the dark, and for the smoke.) The absolute lack of communication was jarring, but so appropriate for the season. The people who love us made that clear in word and deed. It has been as ever, a season of gifts and blessing.

I am gleeful to discover I missed the internet not one whit.

Happy Holidays.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Outage antics part three




The kids getting tired, finally. They curled up with B-Goddess for a neatly translated storytime while I was packing to take us home to the cold and dark .

They finally restored our power that evening at 5.15, exactly 8 days and 45 minutes after it had gone out. The paper later read that we were in the last 500 homes restored.

Outage antics part two






Day 8-- Trader Joe's escape.

We ran into Brandywine and R-lady when we escaped to TJ's for a bit to plan dinner. BrazilianGoddess got to hold Mr Smiley for the first time in months!

At this point P-Daddy and I were growing concerned that we would have to choose between a Christmas at home or a Christmas in a hotel.




Sunday, December 17, 2006

Outage antics part one


We were without power for 8 days. I have to admit, we were very well prepared for the subsistence angle: we have city water which stayed with us for the duration, and we had a lot of alternative heating sources which we used to cook, heat water and our home.

We did not, however, anticipate the effect of the dark and cold on us. Even with the wood stove burning for 6 days straight, we never got the living room above 63 degrees F even during the day; usually it hovered around 57 F. With the light fading at 3.30 and dark falling at 4.30, there wasn't a great deal we could see to do in one room by candlelight. Too dim to read or knit or even color, we had to entertain ourselves in other ways.

We used to own five oil lamps, but the moving company required us to leave those behind when we came across country. We'd never replaced them because they'd always been a novelty item, something we used infrequently. They did shed much better light than our little camping light!
The power took with it the phone, as we have cable telephone service, and my cell phones, as I have no car charger for my cell phone. With the grid disrupted, when my phone was charged, it still roamed a lot more than usual. P-daddy still had his, so he would call my friends, who would in turn hear from me. It was convoluted because Qwest sucks like that and my phone wasn't ringing the whole time. But that's another post.

The kids slept in their own rooms under heavy blankets, as did we. When P-Daddy had to leave for a busines strip, the kids all slept with me. That was the coldest night, 24 degrees outside. The stove stayed stoked for 6 days until the pine finally took it's toll on me and I could no longer fight the bronchitis. We stayed two nights with a friend, returning home to pack to go to a hotel. As I sorted clothes, the power returned.

This series starts with pix from when the outage was still fun.

Day three: Storm's Aftermath



Trees on Danforth. As bad as they looked, they didn't really impact the power situation.



Cuddling after baths heated by water we boiled in the turkey fryer.



Playing continued, no matter what! It just all centered in the living room, by the woodstove.
Doesn't she look like an urchin, all smudged with soot?



Wednesday, December 13, 2006

July, 2007



And the circle of mothers
continuing
love, perpetuating
friendship, nurturing

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Happy Holidays



(click to see it better)

If you're invited, you know who you are.... please let me know whether you're coming so I can plan for your little darling(s)!

Art by GRF "
Wintertime"



Saturday, December 09, 2006

~N~

My sweet tooth is the boss of me!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Winter Sublime

Much is idyllic in our lives right now, and it has me in the silken web of family tether.

This time of year, since meeting my lifemate and beginning our family, has become increasingly more potent and powerful as the years come to us. From self-proclaimed and cheerful Grinch of the holidays to where I am now, the dark days of the winter solstice and the surrounding holidays have always been family to me. When family was a harsh, brittle entity, I hated these days. Now, I revel in them as much as anyone can.

We cut our Christmas tree this year at Alpine, a huge tree farm atop a hill in Port Orchard, almost to Belfair. The farm literally crests a high point in Port Orchard so high you have a breathtaking view of the snow-capped Olympics while you hike around looking for the perfect tree. Acre after acre of snow-covered farm lay stretched out before us in rolling hills of evergreen. We had our first family snowball fight of the year, and came home to trim the tree and drink hot cocoa by the fire, as we always do.

I don'tknow whether it's because we were done quickly with purchasing our gifts this year or whether it was because we moved to a different city, but the Christmas Crazies don't seem to be effecting us as much this year. Especially in this region, people tend to freak out out at Christmastime. We've done well to avoid that. This week I took a Toys for Tots gift into Starbucks when I went for knitting night. As I carried it in, another family was leaving, all aglow. The Mom said "See? She's taking one in, too!" The gift receptacle was so full I had to cram mine in. I made my way to the counter to discover that the person before me, who was no longer in view (the family maybe?) had purchased my drink already.

G sat on Santa's lap for the first time this year, and earlier we actually got to SEE it when the GH Santa made his neighborhood rounds with the firefighters. The kids, the parents and the neighborfamily all waited together. The cheering and candy cane slurping that went on after that made the little bit of cold and waiting worthwhile.

We have Christmas parties planned this year, which will be very nice. We haven't really done one since we've been to Washington and we're looking forward to the holidays.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

St. Bernard


G has some serious affection for the watercolors we got from IKEA, as they are full colored. I don't blame her.

Here's one of her latest creations, and it really stood out to me.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Amazing Mommy Powers!

Dude! I got someone else's velcro baby to want to go home with me!

WHOA!