Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Three Boys, Three Anecdotes

This morning Cubby came downstairs, gazed at me soulfully, and said, "All these nights, I've been dripping with love tears for you, Mommy."

I don't think they've been reading him Avalon romances at preschool, so I have no idea where the hell that came from. I guess it's a nice change from his usual, "Smelly pants" chant.

Charlie has the speech impediments common in two-year-olds. My favorite part of this, though, is the way he says, "Yeah." It sounds like, "Jah." My little Swedish chef amuses me hourly with this.

Jack, of course, isn't saying anything much yet (except for cooing, which is most excellent), but he has slept over nine hours a couple of times in the past week. Newborn award for him.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Officially Over It

There comes a time in each season when I realize I'm really, really ready for it to be over. One sweaty, disgustingly hot day in early September and summer has overstayed its welcome. An excessively muddy, cold-rain day in November when I wish it would just all freeze up already.

And today. Today was the day when I said enough already with winter.

When I walked out the door this morning to take Cubby to preschool, I had my keys and a batch of letters to be mailed in one hand and a big stack of egg cartons to be returned to the Mennonite farm in the other. Thankfully, Jack was staying at home with the MiL this morning.  Thank God, because I got about two feet from the door and totally ate it on the icy path. I'm talking feet straight out from under me, everything went flying, and I landed flat on my ass in the snow.

I lost my keys in the snow drift somewhere, probably not to be recovered until the snow melts. The way this winter is going, that will be sometime in April. I have one more set of keys, which I'd better be really careful not to lose.

I gathered up all the egg cartons and mail and made it to the van, covered in snow and not feeling chipper. The sliding door got jammed in the adjacent wall of hardened snow and I dropped everything AGAIN while trying to get it open. And my own door barely opened wide enough for me to squeeze myself in.

An "F" moment if ever there was one.

So this is it, Old Man Winter, you bastard. Gather up your ice and your snow drifts and vacate the premises, because I am DONE DONE DONE.

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Cook's Prerogative

I never much liked apples as a kid. Considering the only apples I came into contact with during my formative years were probably the misnamed Red Delicious from the grocery store, that's hardly surprising. I had no idea of the vast variety of apples available until I moved to New York State, which ranks behind only Washington State in the amount of apples grown and grows more varieties than any other state. This is Apple Country, for sure.

So I kind of like apples now. Certain kinds, anyway. But I'm still not all that likely to reach for a whole apple as a snack*.

But if I'm making baked apple slices--which, when I make them, is basically like apple pie minus that irritating crust part--I have no shame about standing there in the kitchen eating the sugar-and-spice-encrusted apple slices. Because an apple is just okay, but a peeled, cored, thinly sliced apple coated in lemon juice, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and mace? That's the kind of apple I can get behind.

* Yeah, yeah, I've heard the oft-repeated, "If you won't eat an apple, you're not really hungry." But since when has a snack been about just being hungry?

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Proof That Dreams Do Come True


As of this morning, the ice holds A.'s weight.





Theirs too.

Friday, February 27, 2015

The Lake Froze, and We Were There

This morning at 6:20, while lying in bed trying to summon the energy to get up (I have a cold and I think Jack is getting it too, so he was up a few times last night), I heard A. announcing to the older children downstairs that the lake was frozen.

Can I convey his excitement at this fact? No, no I cannot. He was so excited, he actually dressed the children--a most hated chore that he will usually avoid at all costs--so that they could go down to the lakeshore with him to see the ice.

I got up to help him get their outside clothing on--an even worse chore than the regular clothes dressing--and then, of course, I had to go down myself to see. And also of course, I had to bring Jack with me. If history is being made, the whole family should be present, right? Right. Ten degrees and wind be damned.

Plus, the snow on the side of the road leading to the lakeshore was almost knee-deep thanks to the plows. A. hauled the older two kids in the utility sled so they didn't have to struggle through it, but I had to make my own way. In knee-deep snow. With a baby strapped to my front. With a cold. First thing in the morning before coffee or breakfast.

Are you appropriately impressed with my bravery yet? Thank you. So was I.

It was really cold on the lakeshore. Really, really, really cold. Ten degrees, as I mentioned. With wind. REALLY COLD. 

A. whipped out the camera to take a few very fast pictures of history made and . . . "no memory card" says the camera. Because the memory card was still in the computer. Which means no photos can be taken.

A. nearly had an aneurysm, I think, but I insisted he go back to the house to get the memory card while I waited on the lakeshore with the children. The REALLY COLD lakeshore. And the children were also getting really cold.

They were brave, though, while A. raced back up to the house, only stating for the record they were freezing and wanted to go back home. They didn't cry or anything, they just announced this in a matter-of-fact tone. I know, kids. I know. Me too.

But this was important to A., so we stood down there for the three minutes it took him to get up the house and back down again. I distracted the children by talking about the cavemen and how it was like this for them and they didn't have nice warm houses to go back to and do you think seagulls get cold and blahblahblahblah HURRY UP, A.

He did hurry up. And he got his photos.


Cold.


Still cold.


Closer. And still cold.


We tried to get a whole-family shot, but half the family is too short to make it into the shot. They were cold, though.


A. tested the ice and found it to be about half an inch thick. Not thick enough to support his weight, though Cubby suggested perhaps it would support him and Charlie. We vetoed this idea. That would be even colder.


This is a man whose greatest hopes have been realized. 

After photos and appropriate gazing in awe at the lake, we all trekked back to the house, where it took the children about half an hour, a muffin apiece, and a cartoon to recover. But we can say we were all there when the lake froze in 2015. Witnesses to history, that's us.

Also, COOOOOOOLD.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Everyone Out

Twenty degrees and sunny? Time to get the hell out of the cabin.


Spear hunting with an electric fence fencepost. The cavemen didn't have fiberglass, but it's the best we can do.


Cubby wanted you to see how sharp his spear is. I wanted you to see how long our driveway is so you can imagine how difficult it is to back down it every day going fifteen miles an hour so I don't get stuck in the melted tire tracks of slush. Always an adventure.


Jack was there, too. No spear for him, though.


This is the dogs' favorite perch at the moment. Nothing like passive solar heat. (It's an overturned utility sled, in case you were wondering.)


Charlie spent some time "sleeping in the snow." Sounds comfortable.


And Cubby spent some time spear hunting in the paddock. He told me it's the perfect habitat for giant ground sloths. They did live in grasslands, but they also went extinct about 10,000 years ago, so his odds weren't good.

We were only out for about an hour, but it made us all much happier. Sunny days are here again. Well, occasionally.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Still Hot, Even Though It's Cold

Because of the cabin fever, get it? Whatever. This still kind of sucks. 

Want to see the tunnel we navigate to get into and out of the preschool? It's higher than Charlie's head.


It was five degrees with wind, and no, he is not wearing a coat. 

The other day when we were sitting around inside--as we will be forever and ever, amen--Cubby tried to make a catapult out of Tinker toys. He brought it to me and asked me why it wouldn't shoot. I explained that he needed a rubber band or something to provide the tension that would then be released and . . . you know what, Cubby? I bet the Internet could help us with this.



The only craft my children have ever shown the slightest interest in.

It kept them entertained for about fifteen minutes before they lost interest. I'll take it.

And that's all I got.