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2005 December

Quote Of The Day

December 19, 2005

said by my 5 year old:

“I can’t wait for Christmas to get here. Then I won’t have to be so good until next December.”

Huh. I had no idea he was working so hard to be good. It must be an internal struggle, because it certainly isn’t apparent to anyone else.

Posted by Chris @ 8:22 am | 10 Comments  

A Contest

December 16, 2005

I’ve got nothing here today but sick kids and tons of guilt over all the holiday “fun” that we still haven’t gotten to and need to get done in eight days or ruin my children’s lives forever. Okay, that might be a wee bit dramatic, but that is just a glimpse at my inner dialogue.

Yesterday I attempted to take more pictures of the children, somewhat successfully. This photo was begging for a funny caption. Everyone put on your thinking caps and the best caption will win a non-existent prize of my choosing. Oh yeah, I am generous like that.

Looking For Santa

Posted by Chris @ 7:03 am | 40 Comments  

Wondering

December 15, 2005

Since my baby son loves to bang on pots and pans more than he likes to play with any other “toy”, can I tell the grandparents, and others who want to buy presents, that he really would appreciate a new set of Calphalon pans?

Posted by Chris @ 11:08 pm | 3 Comments  

In Keeping With The Same Joyful Holiday Theme

If Dante were rewriting Inferno which of these should be included in a Circle of Hell:

a) Having a spouse who smokes and tries to quit smoking at least twice a year, thereby making the rest of us walk around on eggshell for two weeks while he is all cranky and irritable, only to start smoking again a short time later, which makes it extremely difficult to be supportive the next time and causes some people, who shall remain nameless for their own protection, to say things like, “You might be healthier, but I am going to have to kill you. Therefore quitting really is a lose-lose proposition.”

b) Having the aforementioned spouse decide that two weeks before Christmas is the perfect time to try to quit smoking AGAIN.

c)Holding a beautiful bottle of wine in your hands that is begging you to drink it, only being unable to find the bottle opener.

d) All of the above.

Posted by Chris @ 8:16 am | 16 Comments  

The Quest For Just One Good Photograph

December 14, 2005

If Dante had to take Christmas photos, he would have included a Tenth Circle of Hell.

Slide Show of my efforts.

I really don’t know why they refuse to smile nicely. I know I would smile pretty if a scary woman was pointing a camera at me screaming, “Smile, damnit! It’s Christmas, and for Christ’s sake can you just pretend you love your siblings for a minute.”

And sadly, yes, I did pull out the evil trump card and yell, “That’s it, I am calling Santa. COAL, COAL for everyone! Then you will have a reason to frown.”

To keep it real and balance the last two posts it is imperative that I share a knock-knock joke my 2 year old daughter and I shared yesterday immediately after the photo taking fiasco.

Her: Knock-Knock, Mommy.
Me: Who’s there?
Her: Santa Claus
Me: Santa Claus who?

And when she paused too long…

Me: Santa Claus who is not stopping at this house with presents, that’s who!

So yeah. Not taking that award off of my mantle any time soon.

Posted by Chris @ 7:27 am | 40 Comments  

Dear Miles,

December 13, 2005

I spent the first 21 years of my life wishing time would hurry up. I remember wanting to turn double digits, I couldn’t wait to get my ears pierced, I couldn’t wait to get my driver’s license. And then to turn 18 and move out, to turn 21 and be a bona fide legal alcohol swilling adult. I was forever wishing time away and I see your older siblings doing it too.

Then I spent a period of time in my life where I didn’t wish time would hurry up. I just went along with it, content. It was a relatively short period of time since I was married and pregnant by the time I was twenty-four years old. It wasn’t until I was a parent that I began to wish time would slow down. Slow way way down. While there are things that I look forward to accomplishing in my life, they are no longer age dependent.

It amazes me that a year has passed since your birth. Yet at the same time, it is as though I have known you forever. I can not imagine a life in which you did not exist. When I think back to a period of time before you were born I now imagine you there also, waiting on the sidelines.

Yum, cake!

Last night we were in bed. I was reading and you were nursing. It was a typical night. I was wishing you would hurry up and fall asleep. You were kicking your leg, trying to hit your father with your foot. We were both trying to ignore you, hoping that you would fall asleep out of sheer boredom. You still do not sleep well at night and have probably never slept longer than four hours at a stretch. Then you began clapping your hands. I looked down at you and our eyes met. You stopped nursing and pulled your head away so that you could better look into my eyes.

I remembered the day you were born. When they laid you onto my body. You were screaming. Our eyes met and instantly you stopped crying. We looked into each others eyes. We didn’t need any words, we just knew each other. I hope I remember that moment always, the moment we first met and gazed into each others eyes free from the burdens of pain and disappointments we are sure to inflict on each other over time.

Birthday Baby

Wait, just wait, I beg time. Just slow down so I can fully etch this moment in my memory.

Your love of the vacuum is unparalleled and equal only to your sister’s hatred of it. Whenever I pull out the vacuum you excitedly run and try to get in front of it, almost as if you are daring the vacuum to suck you up also. Your sister runs behind you, screaming and usually grabbing you by the back collar of your shirt and dragging you on your back across the room. You don’t like that much.

You now walk all the time. I thought I would never forget the way you crawled scooting on your butt, using one arm to pull your body along, the way that someone who has no control over their lower body would do. But already that memory is fading, being replaced by the newest thing, being replaced by the way you walk kicking your legs out to the side as you step.

Who is that baby?

You have finally developed the concept of object permanence. Fancy words to mean that you know things exist even if you can not see them. What this means in practical terms is that I can no longer hide my coffee cup behind my back and expect you not to look for it. It also means that you can accept my brief absences without too much angst. Throwing a blanket over my head and then pulling it off saying, “peek-a-boo”, while still fun, doesn’t hold the thrill that it used to anymore.

I miss the way you would go from panic that I was gone, shock that I materialized before your eyes, and happiness that I was back. I loved the way it never got old for you and we could play the game over and over again and each time it was like new for you. Now you put the blanket over your own head and pull it off, which is an adorable new game in it’s own right.

We play this game, you and I, where you walk away from me. I spread my arms wide. You stop and turn after making it half way across the room and giggle to see me waiting there. You run to me, well do your zombie walk as fast as you possibly can, sometimes losing your balance. But you never take your eyes off of mine. Your arms are spread wide like mine and when you reach me you wrap your arms around me and nuzzle my neck with your face. I breathe deeply inhaling your scent. I never want to forget this moment, the way you are right now.

Yesterday we were playing on the floor together. You got up off my lap and began walking away. I watched from behind as you toddled away from me, your arms held up for balance, your hands into little fists. You were giggling. I waited for you to pivot around and look for me. You paused at the threshold. I put my arms out in anticipation.

You kept walking. You walked right out of the room, never bothering to look back at me. I wanted to call for you. I wanted you to come running back to my arms.

I knew this was only the first time I would be watching you walking away from me, stepping out on your own. And while I know this is what being a parent is all about, letting go over and over again, until you think your heart is walked right out of your body. Maybe this is why it happens in such small steps, so that when you pack your bags and go off to college, confident that you know more than I do, I won’t be as sad to see you go. Maybe it is so your heart becomes hardened by these tiny fissures and doesn’t just shatter.

Nevertheless, as you walked away from me, and out of the room, I wanted to call out, “Wait. Come back. I’m not ready.”

You have two words that you say, “uh-oh” and “Eli”, the name of one of your brothers. Notice that neither one is Ma-ma. You like to throw your food off of your high chair and say “uh-oh” as you do it.

Eating Cake

Once you are done doing that you like to get down from your highchair and eat the food off of the floor. We have the ten hour rule at our house. One of these days I’ll get smart and just throw your food on the floor and eliminate the pretense of you eating like a civilized human person.

You now have four little teeth. When you get excited you will bite me on the shoulder. Your feelings get so hurt when I involuntarily yelp. I can’t help it, it hurts, though your father always tells me that I over react. You use those four teeth to eat everything. Thanks to Halloween and your sister potty training you now have a love for candy. You are the first one at the kitchen cabinet when I am handing out treats.

I was reading your birth story last night(here and here) and already time has erased some of the edges off of the memory and blurred some of the pain, something that seemed unbelievable at the time. I no longer remember what bargains I made with God or what promises I vowed to keep if you were born safely. But I hope I have kept them. I am so thankful to have you.

Playing the Calphalon drum

Happy Birthday, my little caboose. I love you.

Posted by Chris @ 8:35 am | 29 Comments  

The Difference A Year Makes

December 12, 2005

37weeks

A Year Later

Posted by Chris @ 10:29 pm | 12 Comments  

Another One

I have another post up over at dotmoms. A fluff piece about toys that stand the test of time.

Posted by Chris @ 10:25 pm | 2 Comments  

Snowy Days


Snowy Road
Originally uploaded by the big yellow house.

This is the view from the front edge of my driveway down my road. We had over a foot of snow fall Thursday night into Friday morning.

I used the snowblower for the first time…ever. It has always been Rob’s job and to be honest I have never wanted to do it and start some sort of precedent. Much better to fiend ignorance of that complicated machinery.

I went out to help my oldest son start the snowblower. (He does his fair share of acting helpless as well.) I got it started and began moving the snow off of the driveway. The children were all running around the yard, rolling in the snow, seemingly oblivious to the frigid temperatures. As I went around the driveway, a huge u-shape driveway with a long section that goes along the side of the house to the backyard, the kids would run through the blasting snow. They used the snow shovels to deflect the snow and try to spray it back at me. They were covered with snowflakes. Their cheeks bright red. Their laughter contagious. I couldn’t help but smile and after a while I wasn’t sure if my cheeks ached from the cold or from the smiling. Suddenly it wasn’t a dreaded chore anymore.

I watched those children of mine. Not long before this I had been looking out the window, annoyed at the amount of snow and the inconvenience of it all. My children had the exact opposite reaction. They couldn’t wait to get outside. When did that magical quality that snow holds disappear? It was gone long before I ever had any sort of snow removing responsibilities, I know that for sure.

But today, for just a little while, I had it back. I laughed with my children. I waved to the snowplow driver as he plowed my street. A wave of solidarity for two people conquering the elements. At least that is what the wave signified on my part. He was probably trying to wave me out of his way, but whatever. How often is it that it is socially acceptable to be outside with frozen boogers hanging off your face?

Afterward, we went inside and I made hot cocoa for everyone. How much better hot cocoa tastes after you have been cold. We shed all our wet layers of clothing and sat down huddled around the wood burning stove, trying to place our gloves in the best drying positions. As we sat sipping and stirring, and invariably spilling, our cocoa, the children began discussing their outdoor adventure. Who threw a snowball how far. Who tunneled under the snow the farthest. Who hit Mom with a snowball in the back. Their voices rose in volume, their stories became more animated and fantastical, and their laughter filled the room.

And for a brief moment I had that feeling back, the magic of the snow, the limitlessness of the possibilities, the sweetness of cocoa. And I thought this, this is why I had children.

Posted by Chris @ 7:50 am | 15 Comments  

Thanksgiving

December 9, 2005


Grandchildren
Originally uploaded by the big yellow house.

I put up a few pictures of the family at Flickr, including, by popular demand, pictures of the infamous grandfather.

I have been wanting to write about Thanksgiving, but really don’t have all that much to say. We went to Rob’s sister’s house. I love my sister-in-law and her husband, but they can bicker like no other people I have ever come across in my life. The insults they hurl at each other under the thin veil of humor gives me knots in my stomach. It makes everyone uncomfortable, but they all laugh anyway.

This time they were worse than usual and I said something about how stressful it was listening to all their fighting. Of course I said it like I was joking, because that is just what we do. They were both aghast and insisted they weren’t fighting. One of my kids piped up saying, “you’re being mean to each other and yelling. That’s called fighting.”

My sister-in-law also opened the world of Barbies up to my daughter. And everyday since Thanksgiving I have been picking Barbie accessories up off of my floor, silently cursing her, and wondering if I throw away a few things a day how many days it will be before my daughter notices… or I do.

Posted by Chris @ 11:05 am | 10 Comments