Monday, March 29, 2010
This evening my husband is working late in preparation of taking a little time off to visit family for Easter.
The dinner table degenerated into some seriously girly silliness. (Oxymorons notwithstanding.)
In the absence of Daddy, and in hopeful anticipation of a peaceful bedtime, I was in the Zone. The peace-be-with-me Zone. The you-can't-phase-Mommy Zone.
Approximately 15 toddler bathroom "emergencies" during dinner? The Zone. Dropped garlic bread? The Zone. Spaghetti slurping contest? The Zone.
Laura, 2, and I returned from potty training trip number 15 to hear Sarah,9, trumpeting that she would always be the faster slurper. Some deep inner calm borne of Calgon dreams and International Coffee hopes caused me to reassure Grace, 6, that she'd be a faster slurper by the time she turns 9.
Sarah, who fully owns the serenity I only sometimes borrow from overpriced products and deep-breathing techniques, countered: "Oh, no, I'll be 12 by then and even faster."
Grace, quick thinking: "But when I'm 60 I'll surely beat you!"
I'm going to need a lot of Calgon.
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Those people are right.
Monday, March 22, 2010
In between storms we hiked. Mr. Suite had a plan that included overly ambitious miles of hiking. I valiantly kept up. Sort of. Leftover broken hip gimpiness and the general state of the third trimester were my excuses when I sat out some of the steeper inclines. (Also I had my new copy of Alabama Stitch with me. Go figure.)
I'm pretty sure one doesn't need to be gimpy nor pregnant to experience localized chest pain and generalized anxiety disorder over the sight of one's entire family on the precipice.
... of that inlet, also known as Devil's Churn.
We experienced some unbelievably warm, windless weather for tidepooling and the reading of Patrick McManus stories around the campfire. The girls are all now too familiar with the psuedoscience experiments that can be conducted by preteen children given cases of canning jars, bear grease and a heavy dose of teacher mockery. (Did I mention we homeschool?)
And then there was some more seasonable Oregon weather that alternately drenched and threatened to blow away the lighter leaves of the family tree.
Laura stood on tiptoes to no avail. Then she threw a fairly impressive screaming mimi in the lighthouse keeper's oil room while everyone else climbed the stairs. Strangers who were waiting in line were impressed with her tenacity. Also my creativity in distraction. (Okay, I made that part up. But they were impressed.)
Some of us did measure up for the stairs. And weren't afraid to gloat about it.
One of us slept on the top bunk for the first and much-anticipated time.
Others of us were carried when we couldn't walk anymore.
I highly recommend yurt "camping" if your family for whatever reason can't take the dirt and bugs route. (Sometimes we take our little canned ham 1950s travel trailer but alas we are outgrowing it.) My husband grew up with truly rustic camping but this way the 2-year-old's toilet training was hardly derailed, the beach was steps away but so was the foot wash station. The only thing I'd change is next time we'll probably use our hitch rack thingamajig so the dog can ride in the "way" back instead of in the middle row with Madeleine and Sarah and so the bedding and backpacks don't teeter overhead that way.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Or a ballerina who could engineer a train... in her ever-present faux pearls no less?
Several years and three children later I got myself one of those magical gifts of Grace.
She's a reader. She adores homemade mac-n-cheese, applesauce and green beans. She's a love. She's our blue-eyed, long-legged Grace, determined to be a librarian and a doctor when she grows up. Happy birthday, Gracie. We love you ever so much.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Before the big (and I do mean big) pregnancy I was limiting gluten and its kissing cousins simple carbohydrates. That minor struggle led to a 23-pound weight loss (and indirectly to the blessed cause of my regain?). Weight loss-schmeight loss. Not so much anymore.
However. An apricot muffin with homemade marmalade sure is delicious. And I really can't see myself from the back view anyway.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Well... yesterday might have been one of those days. Sure, we had drop-off and pick-up and a storm warning and its accompanying grocery store run and feed store stop. I hadn't been to the grocery store in a month, friends! Then we took a stab at chores and school.
But what we really wanted to do was to untangle those dolls' hair.
Don't you just love/hate the internet? You truly can learn anything on there.
A little Downy (another love, even in this time of homemade laundry soap and homemade cleaning solutions), a little near-boiling water, and an hour or so later Sophie and Stacy have beautiful flowing tresses again. Ready for braids and adventures.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
Last night Madeleine (11), my husband and I attended a community meeting the goal of which was to strategize on keeping the schoolhouse open. The "big" school, not our dining table school. It's experiencing enrollment and budget problems and lives under constant threat of death by lack of funds.
And it just occurred to me that some of those well-meaning grown-ups in attendance might never have experienced positive reinforcement. The fear, anger and mistrust in the room were counterproductive. A near-complete lack of teamwork existed depite the wonderful, creative and energetic superintendent's announcement that even in the face of a tens-of-thousands operating loss the school will remain open for at least one more year. A few brave parents volunteered ideas. A couple of hard-working staff members explained their perspective. Glimmers of sunny collaboration broke through the stormy atmosphere.
What was billed as a brainstorming meeting for increasing enrollment seemed doomed: staff-vs.-parents, them-vs.-us.
My child was the only one in attendance. She took earnest notes (very Lois Lane). "Fix up playground." "Teachers do PE." "Only speak positive about school."
Fear is rarely a good motivator, I've learned. In the case of our rural village, the residents have lived in fear of school closure and its attendant losses of community pride, property value and livability. This fear is compounded by the fact that we are at the mercy of a slightly larger and slightly less remote district that's geographically 25 miles away but philosophically in a different world.
So the parents and community members are scared and furious by turns, a smaller sibling left out of the game. The staff, for some part, is angry, feeling unappreciated. It is difficult to accomplish a common goal with this much negativity bursting through the thin veneer of cooperation.
At home we use a system I must have ripped off from a teacher whom I can't remember. Oftentimes I will notice someone of the under-five-foot variety studying particularly quietly in the middle of utter chaos created by a 2-year-old, or helping her neighbor with long division without doing it for her. If I am with it at all that day I hand out a little slip of paper that has currency only in our household.
My favorite thing is when one of my children nominates the other for a "ticket." Warm fuzzies all around. And if it's cliche, I just don't care, because it works. After accumulating a certain number of tickets in her mailbox, the recipient can cash them in at the little hatbox for a sheet of stickers or a pair of socks or a book.
Some of my children are saving their tickets for larger rewards. If it would keep her friends in their cute country schoolhouse in this economy, Madeleine would turn hers in for that.
Caught being good, anyone?