Monday, December 31, 2007

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Attack of the children

I have too many cute pictures so they get an entry of their own.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Impromptu Birthday Party

Where the C-family comes down with balloons and whoopee cushions while I scramble to make a cake and hors d'oeuvre and P-daddy steals the boy away for us to shout "Surprise."

And Dougie is surprised....
And shorn....

And so happy!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Our First White Christmas!

It snowed on Christmas Day here. While P-daddy though it was nice, the rest of us were enthralled. It's such a huge cultural thing here in the states to "dream of a white Christmas." Coming from the South, well, needless to say it has never happened for the children and me. The kids and I enjoyed it immensely, and girlie even built a Christmas snowman with her Daddy by scraping all the snow out of the yard.

Merry Christmas to All!

and may your cookies be tastier than ours......

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Happy Solstice

We enjoyed a wonderful celebration with our friends.

Nothing went as planned, pretty much....nothing! The cookies didn't turn out, the food didn't all arrive at the same time, and it rained alllll day so we didn't do the tree for the animals.

BUT we had fun! Much laughter, and love.

But we did have 14 children opening Christmas gifts at one time. That was impressive. And then we sang Happy Birthday to and shared cake with the Solstice child, who turned three that day.

This is us prepping, earlier that day:

Friday, December 21, 2007

Literacy is Good....and Funny

~G~ has really been feeling her oats lately with writing. She writes us notes all the time, knowing how much we love to read them. We get many of them at bedtime, asking us to sleep with her, or to let her stay up, etc etc. That's what I thought this one was going to be.

P-daddy had installed the new shelves in the school room and ~G~ was helping em put the supplies back up. We'd gone along at a steady clip when I realized it was way past her bedtime, and I sent her on, telling her I knew how tired SHE was because I was about to drop myself. We had a solstice gathering the next day and I knew we'd all be exhausted; she needed to sleep.

About ten minutes after I sent her to bed, in comes this note, careening to the floor:
I want to be with you. You'll never make it without me.

I burst out laughing, and told her "You know, you're right. But we're both still going to bed."

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What happened to Romulus?

Romulus is our 15 year old mini poodle. Last night ~G~ couldn't go to sleep at all. I brought her back out to the living room and we watched Chronicles of Narnia and made a nest. After the movie, we left the Christmas lights on and she slept on the floor in a sleeping bag and I slept on the couch.

About 12.30, Romulus started screaming. I don't know if you've ever heard a dog scream but it is not pretty. I went in there to him and thought maybe his hair was caught in his grate. He likes to sleep in a little travel carry case, so I took it apart. His hair hadn't been caught, and he was listless, unmoving at this point. He could look at me with his eyes and he was still breathing, but he could not control his body. His nose stayed cold and wet, but he had lost his bowels. I wouldn't have heard him unless I was sleeping on the couch.

I got P-daddy because I wasn't sure whether he was dying or not. We cleaned him up and P-daddy went back to bed while I bundled the dog in towels and held him on the couch for an hour or so. He would intermittently shake, like he was seizing, but began to regain control one limb at a time. I kept talking to him, telling him it was okay, stroking his head. It was weird to watch. Finally, he went to sleep and I put him on the floor between me and ~G~. He woke me up twice, lapping water out of the Christmas tree stand.

By this morning he appears normal (for him anyway) but I am completely wiped. The last time I saw the clock it was 2.40am. The kids had been sleeping in until 9, but today we have the joy of all being awake at 7.40 am. I may have to carb load today. Smile

What happened to my dog?

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Warming up for the Solstice

Yesterday we had a very calm day planned- I was potentially meeting up with the C-family while we ran a joyful Christmas errand, but then we were going to work on hanging shelves in the school room so as to get the boxes OFF THE FLOOR. I want them up for the kids, but hey yeah, the Solstice is coming and it would be more hospitable to not have people box-diving.

So my life is a sit-com and it didn't work out that way. But we had fun anyway. We ended up with the C-family here, with another friend of ours and her two boys joining us later. She'd thought the Solstice pot luck was yesterday instead of the coming Saturday, so she'd worked her butt off on her fabulous dish and had called to apologize for being late. "Late? What?"

So we said "Hey! Let's have a party anyway!"

And so we did.

I love Yuletime.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Friday, December 14, 2007

Seymour Salmon Day

The fabulous marine science classroom, complete with touch tanks.
This is about 1/5 of the class, which was one of two groups we homeschoolers were split into today. We are privileged to know a lot of homeschoolers.
Marine animals, with a little Northwest Rat tossed in.

Yes we are amusing. You may laugh at us now.

We hiked to a tidal creek where we were privileged to watch Chum Salmon spawning. Our little monkeys, imminently comfortable in the woods, took to the tree for a better look. Imagine their surprise when our Naturalist asked them to climb down!

On our way home, we stopped by Minter Creek because we knew the salmon were also running there. They were thick and still in the water, and you could clearly watch them spawn and then wander about after they were done, just waiting for the cycle to be over. (Do click-- it's impressive, even this late in the season.)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Lil Bit of Baking

I am really looking forward to Christmas being over.

I am not sick of Christmas decor or music, not stressed out by the gifts (much) but I can feel SAD creeping in. Unlike last year, I am not without electricity or warmth, and this year I have last year's depression episode to warn me. I am seeing the crankiness and carb-loading for what it is. I will win. It doesn't make much sense to me anyway, because I LIKE the changes in the seasons. I LIKE the dark, and I know it's transitory. But my body, whoo boy, my body doesn't like it. The spectrum light bulbs really do help, but they don't fix it.

But anyway, I associate Christmas with the Solstice, and I will love it love it love it when the days begin to lengthen again.

Today my pasty white children and I baked pumpkin bread and roasted pumpkin seeds. They actually ate their healthy dinner of sauteed chicken and wild rice pilaf. I suppose having pumpkin bread considered as a vegetable side dish will help speed matters along there.

~G~ drew out an artistic design for her big blank wall in her room. I think it's fabulous, and if we can pull it off, she'll have a rockin accent wall. I am definitely going to support her in this endeavor.

Speaking of ~G~, massive trauma today. Her surviving crab is hanging out of his shell. I hear Monty Python as I type this, regrettably, but I do have to note he's not dead yet. So he's either dying or he's molting. In the spirit of optimism, we returned him to his dark coconut shell house and shored him up with food and water. She got two crabs from Santa last year, and she has really taken very good care of them. One passed this summer,and she buried it under a rose bush. It would be most unfortunate to lose Flower so close to his birthday. She's planned a party for him, complete with wrapped gifts tucked under the tree. She made him a stocking out of felt and and has it hanging alongside ours. I feel terrible for her, really do.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Here is where I blog about our first gingerbread house

~G~ especially loved the marzipan characters.
Look at the window. This is one o'clock in the afternoon, and it is not raining.

Hands Hands Hands

Our little architect

The Bluest Eyes....

Doulapunk gave me the head's up that the kit at Trader Joe's is clean this year, (thank you!) so we used that one. It's a little kit but it was perfect for our first venture.

The problem is that the children have every intention of consuming the entire endeavor. Amongst themselves, quite amiably, they have decided who gets what part and every few hours or so go sit and stare longingly at it, admiring it's every detail.

I am not sure exactly what I thought would happen when we built a house made of cookies, but here's where we are!

Do you eat your gingerbread houses?

Monday, December 10, 2007

What do Hobbits read for Christmas?

Hearth-and-home day

The Christmas tree is sparkling, the fire is going in the hearth and I have pumpkins roasting in the oven.

We've spent the week enjoying both the season and the break from some of our classes.

We enjoyed Santa's early visit to our neighborhood, where he gave the kids candy canes and took G's letter. We've made cookies, and we decorated the house inside last Thursday, before meeting some friends for playtime at the human habitrail. Unfortunately, despite my repeated admonitions otherwise, G kissed her crab beneath the mistletoe and spent a day and a half puking from the couch. She rallied from that in time to go find a tree at a neighborhood tree farm, where me met this really awesome woman. I won't bore anyone with all of their commonalities to our family, but let's just we were saddened to see the big giant for-sale sign in their yard.

I went out alone to enjoy that evening with a woman's night out at a friend's house. She had real food, real wine, real coffee and we had a gift exchange. It was almost jarring to just be ~L~ for a while, and to use my beadwork. I even regifted the ball-warmer purse I have been holding on to for two years. I stayed out until after midnight, which is freakishly unusual for me. That definitely supports the idea that I need that! Much fun! Yet it didn't stop! The very next day G had a party for a friend of hers at the Y. It was so exciting for G to have a girls-only event, and the little girl actually liked G's present, so I was happy too. It could have gone either way, as G made a felt doll out of Popsicle sticks! (One of her gifts for Christmas is going to be a huge supply of her bendy dolls materials, because she's completely out.)

Today I had planned as an inside-laundry-let's be quiet-and-recuperate-day. Alas I am out of oatmeal and dishtabs. I am tired of a week of handwashing our dishes. Spoiled ~L~ is taking on Costco after the pumpkins are done.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

More Babyness....

We have a new niece!

Brynn Noell was born on the first day of Hanukkah.

This is number three for Mom and Dad, our very dear friends. Dad said to P-daddy "OK, the ball's in your court now, and I hope you guys stop the game!" He also mentioned a trip to TN, for the 2-for-1 vasectomy deal. This is the kind of weirdness you can expect when you have that many children between you!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Three years ago today,

we became Washington State residents.

It's hard for me to understand, but it's true. Sometimes I can't believe it has been that long, and sometimes I think "only three years?"

~N~ thinks he was born here and has no recollection of the "place" of SC, only the feelings and the people. ~G~ remembers, but things are fading; she told me this morning she can't really remember what a proper sandy beach looks like. ~D~ was not yet born--barely--when we flew into SeaTac at 6.30 that evening. It is incomprehensible for someone born and raised in a wholly Southern family, as I was, to have my children not know our city like they know their mother.

Time keeps on rolling for us all, and some friends from our past stay fresh and constant while others have faded into their own lives. We still love them and miss them all. We had family-friends in Charleston. I still think this was such a horrible time of the year to move away from family, to try to sell a house. Yet, I am wholly grateful we didn't have to deliver ~D~ unassisted, as we had planned. All blessings come with a balance, I think. We would be hard pressed to imagine our lives without our newfound friends in it, and were we to pack it all in and go back East to a culture we (adults) understand, we'd have a whole other group of people we'd sorely miss.

I do not pretend now, sitting here, that I have any idea where this family will be in another three years. I do intend for us to be as much a unit as we are now, together and thriving. Beyond that, I dare not hope for more.


Gingerbread House Help please

Every year I want to make a gingerbread house with the kids. Every year I don't because the kits are all contaminated for our allergies, (peanuts, walnuts and pecans) and I can't find an easy to understand recipe to make the walls myself.

Can you help me with information?

Sunday, December 02, 2007

First of December: Snow Falling on Cedars

Yesterday was an idyllic day to begin our winter months. We enjoyed a leisurely pancake breakfast, and then the snow began to fall. The kids pulled out their snowbibs, snowboots, hats and gloves, and went catching the gigantic, wet flakes with their tongues.

P-daddy started a fire and we set out on a short walk. It was too warm to accumulate much where we live, so close to the sound, but the snow was falling fast enough to coat the trees and houses with a beautiful white mantle. After talking to some neighbors, we decided to head over to Kitsap to see what it looks like over there. Just a few miles away from the water, everything was whiter and colder, including the roads. Even though we were driving slow, the van didn't stop for the turn into Horseshoe lake when I tried to brake. At 32 degrees, enough had melted on the roads to make it slushy and icy, so back home we went. It was completely worth it though-- the kids and the parents alike just loved driving through "winter wonderland," as ~N~ called it. The farms especially called to the boys, with their expanses of white, while the trees are what held my eye. I love snow days for their inversion of light-- the whole world seems brighter.

When we returned from that short trip, the family made a snowman and had a snowball fight while I went in to make a pot of hot chocolate. With warm tummies and hearts, we made our way down to the tree lighting in the harbor. Three years we have been here, and this is the first time we remembered it on time! Not snowing anymore, it was just a freezing rain accompanying the festivities. It didn't dampen many people's spirits though; they had free cider and hot chocolate, and there were elves handing out Santa hats and glow sticks to all the kids. We got to meet a live Reindeer, and strolled the docks where the boatowners had a light display of their own going on. ~G~ made sure we had front row spot when Santa finally arrived and we counted down the tree. We were right there when the lights came on, and I have to admit I think my eyes didn't appreciate that.

By the time we arrived home at 6.30, all our snow had melted. I told P-daddy I was so glad this had been a Saturday. With the exception of our little snowman, there would be absolutely no evidence of the beautiful day we'd had, and I was glad he'd been right there with us. What an incredible first of December!

As I write this, the ground is again covered in a new dusting of snow, and it's falling again, though somewhat slushy. A little voice woke me up this morning, "Mom, hey, it's snowing........"