Thursday, December 31, 2009

What The Year Hath Wrought

I glanced back through my photos, to get an idea of what changes had come with the year. I was shooting for the funny and odd, and intending to post a few along that line. Somewhere along the way, my mood changed from humorous to musing. I dove back toward humor...

And yet... I had to shake my head at seeing the changes of a year morph out on small faces. Those faces mark the year indelibly. Those faces shift and shape into different people in a year. It is bittersweet and must cause many a mother to swell inside with that potent mixture of tender remembrance and vague longing. All the cliches are true. We cannot help but say them and cannot help but live them. Excuse me while I wax cliche-ish...

We cheer and smile at every marker of growth, and thrill at their delight. They all think they're "almost as tall as Mommy!" And the days go by, the changes come, we roll forward to the next big thing in their small lives.

And yet... in the secret heart of every mother is a wish. A wish to freeze that one tiny moment, that one favorite stage, that one cherished achievement, that one sweetest cheek. Sometimes we see them as they happen, those moments. Other times it's in restrospect that we breathe in and hold that memory, colored with the faint tinge of regret at its loss.

It seems that's the way of children. We push them to grow and pull them to stay, never quite sure which part is better. And this is the way of parents, to realize this paradox in turn, this knowledge that cannot be given, only shared. So we share a moment, at the tip of the 2009 tail, and I'm glad to set aside the silly and savor the sentimental.

(The silly will be coming right back at me, 'ere I leave this desk. :))

In my mother's book of skills I note that this year brought Phoenix from the art of the pincer grasp to the magic of the spoken word. This year brought Jadyn the art of detailed coloring in the lines, with a fine, skilled touch. This year brought Isabella the art of writing her letters anywhere and everywhere in assorted sequence. And this year brought Cole the art of multiplication and long division. Lifelong skills each, necessary for progress along the stepping stones.

The past year's babies:

Mr. Ham Sandwich delights in rabbit-earing anything that doesn't move.

Hats are always fashionable when carrying a blaster and a guitar.

Chasing those first Cheerios around the tray, Phoenix at 7 months.

Good night girls and good night boys. Good night toys. Good night babies you have been. Good night world on which you spin.
Good night friends.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Twelve Page 2009 Wrap-up

Ha! Gotcha.
More like a 12 second wrap-up. Ah, 2009.

Ah, Christmas.

I don't even know where to start, it's been such a long week. Should I start with the yule log that Isaiah's dog left on our carpet on Christmas morning? Should I start with how lame Santa was with wrapping this year? Surely I should start with how many types of drinks my fish - I mean family enjoyed during their 2.5 day stay.

Yes. Let's start with Christmas morning and the delicious mimosas we enjoyed. I will quote myself, and please hear this in a loud voice, accompanied by a giant grin:

"We should do this every Sunday!"

Bear in mind, it was not Sunday.

Bear in mind that no breakfast had been prepared yet, nor was it on the near-horizon.

Bear in mind that my Mom took her *first* nap at 10am.

Ah. It was a good morning. Mom & I deliberately yet capably whipped up a breakfast casserole that really soaked up the sloshy bits. I will share it with you, as it is tasty & requires little attention to detail. Tater tots, eggs & milk, cheese, turkey bacon. Done.

Santa had been a bit on the lazy side the night before, as he couldn't hold his liquor then either. By about the 3rd child, he decided wrapping was not entirely necessary, and that just setting presents out with tags would do just fine. Santa did take a household poll, which, upon reflection could be a bit skewed. Since those polled grew up in households that did not exactly celebrate Santa, or know anything about North Pole etiquette... (namely, me!)

Yet! The small denizens were thrilled and did not even comment on the haphazard and/or nonexistent wrapping! Much exclaiming and squealing over desired items was heard! A successful day was had.
It was good to have my mom, brothers and significant others here. My family had fun laughing and giving each other a hard time. True to form. The answer to every charade acted out: Isaiah or mullet. Or both. Heh. The kids enjoyed getting to know Susan a bit more, because as Jeremy put it "They think you're one of them." (Susan is a petite darling.) It's the first time we have all spent a Christmas together in a long time. Mom says she enjoyed having us all in one room, but the underlying sentiment must have been: I'd forgotten how much ya'll pick on each other. Good times.
I'll leave you with 2 quick shots. Merry new year and all that.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Christmas Week miscellaneous

Waving the plague flag! Arggh, mateys! No, wait, lowering the flag. Ack! Wrong - flag up, flag up! No, no, sorry, really - everything is okay.
All right. Let's just leave the plague flag at half mast.
Poor Cole was hit with a bug, but it's been 24 hours and no one else is falling. Cross your fingers, sit on your thumbs, and smile really big. Plagues avoid smiles. I think. And it's hard to think, with all this smiling. My cheeks ache. Wellness, wellness, wellness! Ommm...

I hope you will abide a day without another Disney tale, as I break in with a current event update. There are a couple of good stories left, & I'll try to get them posted this week.

My Mom and brothers and significant others are arriving on Thursday! Yippee! This will be the first Christmas we have all been together, well... - ever! Usually Jeremy & Susan are other places. I like to think that they will thank me for forcing them to visit. I like to think they will love these babies and force us to leave, just so they can enjoy them on their own. I like to think - oh wait. Clearly the smiling has made me think crazy thoughts.

They are coming so I can enjoy them!

And I am excited in the way that only a housebound mother staring down the face of a few long weeks of school vacation can be excited. Visit! Chat! Imbibe!
I love company at Christmas. That is one of the most lonely parts of living away from a hometown.
Christmas visiting was a ritual. We would go out for a ride, stop here and there, and visit friends and family. It's a country thing too, I guess. City people tend to over-think and over-plan and consider just "dropping in "to be rude, unless it's a neighbor or a very close friend.
I have fallen into that city way, and it's frankly lonely!

So family visiting is exciting and easy. Because, hey - they already know me, they already know it's going to be loud and fun and a bit messy here, and they already know I am not Chef B. I am Chef-Mix-A-Drink-B!

Cheers to you! As I get to the end of this post, Cole has risen from the couch declaring himself better.
Let's believe!
Clap your hands, clap your hands if you believe...

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Disney by Night

Their first glimpse of the Magic Kingdom was at night.

It was bedecked in all its holiday finery, and an excited crowd awaited Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Parade. Music rocked up and down Main Street from loudspeakers. A gigantic, glittering Christmas tree welcomed all to the Kingdom. They couldn't stop their little heads from turning every which way, just to take in all the sights.

Minutes passed slowly as they anticipated Mickey & Minnie's arrival on the Christmas float. And then.... there they were! Screaming, squealing, wide-eyed grins ensued! The Parade was on. Bands marching, Seven Dwarfs dancing, Tin Soldiers stomping, Snow White and the Prince twirling. Each float brought familiar characters to life and even the grown-ups grinned and tapped their feet to the music. Cinderella's castle glistened nearby, with millions of tiny lights. It drew their attention like a flock of tiny fireflies, and eyes turned to it time and again.

Complimentary hot cocoa and cookies filled bellies small and large, and warded off the cold night air. Well-loved friends came to life, and the wonderland of lights and music dazzled eyes and ears. It was a sparkling, auspicious beginning for the coming week.

The snoozing toddler awakened to catch the end with bleary, wondering eyes. He had fallen asleep at dusk, being strolled through the crowd. His eyes fluttered open to find he had been transported to a sparkling world of activity and music!

Small heads soon began to bob with exhaustion, and even a Mommy bobble-head could be seen by the end. It was passing 9pm, and the Mommy had been transported from a 5am morning in Atlanta, to the twinkling night-time Kingdom of Mickey and His Consorts. (Isabella & I obviously display the normal sense of tiredness that people commonly have after this sort of busy day. Jadyn is clearly running on a Minnie & Snow White high!)

Disney and Christmas... a beautiful combination.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Disney in short


We're back!!

I have only a second to post, and a few quick pictures to share for your viewing pleasure.

We had an absolutely magical time, and I would do it again in an instant. Period. Hands down.

The girls were utterly star-struck to meet Snow White... and she asked Cole if he would be the handsome Prince and rescue her. Adorable!

We love you Uncle Dennis! Sing it loud kids!

Much more to come - I {happened} to volunteer for the PreK Christmas Party today, so I'm off and running already. In-depth Disney review is on the docket though.
Missing The Magic

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

That Caterpillar

You know the one. The famous one from the books, that is always very hungry. I think it's here. Inside my children. Either that, or all the food I pack for lunches and school snacks is not being eaten. They arrive home utterly famished, and continue to ask for refills until I call it quits & chase them out of the kitchen.

I just checked the fruit bowl, and they ate through an entire bunch of bananas & half a bag of apples - and that was just for "seconds." You know, after the good stuff, the cracker products. I attempt to stop the locusts by telling them "That's it. If you're still hungry, have fruit."

"Oh," they seem to say, rubbing their hands together - "...we thought you'd never ask!"

And that's when I thought about the caterpillar. Looking at the empty cracker boxes and banana peels, and half-gnawed apples strewn about the kitchen.

I know what this means.

It means: get ready to shop for clothes {again} because they are fixing to grow out of everything they own.
Please enjoy this brief intermission of leaf-scattering photos from last week. (cue elevator music.)

On the preparation front, I am ready for action. This time I have a new tactic. Everything will be washed and ready for tomorrow - and I will get in The Zone and pack it all up tomorrow, all at once. Tomorrow. The day before we leave. Eek. I just glanced down at my handy List, and it is telling me to find the binoculars, see if old camcorder battery fits in new camcorder, and charge camera batteries.
Better jump on that while I remember.
I'll try to check-in before the Big Departure!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Cherubic Choir

Packing List? Check.
To Do List? Check.
Worry? No.
Mild apprehension? Easily fixed. (glug, glug, glug...)
Airline baggage regulations? Check.
Small portable pharmacy? Yes, yes, check, and give me something harder to plan for.

I'm thinking and prepping and readying to pack. It takes a lot of my concentration to prepare for this adventure. I should have been a girl scout. It's a challenge to have the myriad of supplies ready for any child of 4 to require. But, oh the pay-off, when I reach into that backpack with just the thing. Oh, yes. There is a spousal smirk & a tip of my head. It's really the only time I'm clever these days, in the prep department. I live for that tip of the hat some days.

So imagine my loss of focus, when - in the midst of my list-making and (most importantly) thinking - I kept getting beseeched to solve Sibling WWIII again and again. And imagine my pleasure when I closed the back door behind them all.
And then - stick with me, I know you are up to the imaginative task - imagine the look on my face when I heard a cherubic chorus outside the window.

They were perched on chairs, slides and see-saws and they were chanting.

"I hate my mommy. I hate my mommy. I hate my mommy!"

I stared.

I fumed.

I grinned.

I waved through the window, like Ms. America on parade - and went back to my list.

I'm sure they'll love this story one day.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Granny Was Right

My Granny always told me to put the baby in a playpen, if I wanted to get anything done.

And she was right.

I got a LOT done today...

I'm only sorry it took me so long to listen.

Do they make these things any bigger?