Monday, December 29, 2008

Hurrah for the Conquistadors! and no more snow

Some more christmas pictures... The very magical drive to Grandma's House Christmas morning. It was even snowing when we woke up.
Cyprian was a little worn out from the festivities and the couches being mostly occupied, found himself a a cozy, quiet spot on the stairs. And went to sleep.

The fabulous famous Trudy Christmas Morning Feast.

Sierra brought over her trunk of beautiful princess dresses, and Pippin decided to join in.
Shane convinced me to watch Apocolypto last night- not necessarily a heartwarming Christmas story, but good nonetheless. I was a little hesitant because I can't stand kids suffering, being abandoned, separated from their parents, and of course everything else that goes along the raping, pillaging, barbaric sort of life depicted in the movie. I admit I watched a fair bit of it through my fingers and often not at all. You wonder how an entire civilization could be so warped as to allow and promote so much evil. And then I thought. Which is very good for my age. The whole thinking bit.
But really, we design "temples" with clean, well appointed rooms and nice pictures. And call it a clinic. We pay the "priest" to perform barbaric acts. We make it a profession and call him a doctor. The altars have become hopital beds. The "ritual" a "right". And because its not performed publicly and shown to be the violent act it is, we are somehow different and more enlightened than they. Although, in a way we are worse. Theirs was done to appease a god: ours to please ourselves.
But on a less bloody note, the snow is melting. They finally cleared our cuo-de-sac yesterday. And just maybe the UPS man can deliver all the Christmas packages we couldn't get before. I am excited to have the garbage picked up.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Snow, Snow, and more Snow

We have had an amazing anount of snow for an amazing amount of time. IT started the day we left for Canada-Dec 14th- and has continued off and on since. The Friday we got homewas a big snow and it has not gone away but been added to daily since. The boys in their Christmas JammiesAll the grandkids huddled around the tree waiting for Uncle Kevin to hand them a gift.

Shane unveiling the tree. We didn't get one until the 20th and had to hunt a bit before we found this one. We were breaking down at Fred Meyer's when we saw the completely ice and snow encrusted Charlie Brown Christmas Specials they had left and at that point were ready to purchase a fake pre-lit tree. Audrey was crushed at the thought of "had never been living" tree but when Shane saw the line wrapping around the store he said forget it. And then we found a sign for "Donna's trees' where we usually get ours. But this year they had moved. But we pulled up to the lot and immediately found "our tree". So it all worked out and we came home and played in the snow and decorated out tree and a good time was had by all.
It was pretty magical to have it snowing at Christmal time. It snowed late Christmas Eve and again Christmas morning. I've never seen this much snow at Christmas time here. Typically it would all have been rain. I am sure once it starts to melt we'll get flooding and all that, but for now its kind of cozy being snowed in. Shane just went to get the mail and there is a stuck car blocking out street so we couldn't get out if we wanted to. He helped dig out a van on Tuesday- it was the new neighbors.

I think this was the third day after we got home. They are saying it will turn to rain now and we'll start the melting-slushy-flooding part. But who knows.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Where's My Chicken Bone?

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with cousins, food, forts, and fun. We played a rollicking game of Balderdash and mixed in some Wise and Otherwise. Trudy took 1st prize in making up beleivable definitions. Audrey was 4th- she beat Grandpa. We all laughed until we cried, several times.
Grandpa arming the kids. The Grandparents brought guns and ammo for the boys, and flashlights for everyone.

"I'm Superman"

"No, I'm Superman"

Luckily, they all cooperated in beating up Grandpa so there was no "Superman Showdown".

After looking at his plate, Cyprian asked "Where's my chickie bone?" He likes legs- which he calls bones.

Pippin's legs disappearing around a cardboard tunnel.

I got the pictures out of order so it looks in reverse.

Cyril offered to go through the tunnels and get pictures. Lots of pictures.

Here is the fort Grandpa built for the kids. Grandpa collects boxes and generously pulls them out at festive times to entertain the kids by building bunkers for them. It was pretty impressive. This year he added a second story to one section. I'm hoping next year he throws in a hot tub.

Last year the kids were all busy playing and dinner was ready so we opted to sit down and eat and call the kids for the second shift- as we couldn't all sit at one table anyway. Later that evening, Cyril asked when Thanksgiving was. I told him it had been today. He looked puzzled and said,
"But we didn't all sit down and eat together"
I felt pretty badly. So this year we set up the kids table in the family rooom and we all sat down together. Then we all played games and the younger kids ran around looking for Charlie in tunnels. Cyril never asked if it was Thanksgiving, so I'm calling it a success.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Projects and Play

It has been pretty cold the past few days. And some of us have real colds, so we are trying to do cozy, heart-warming, in-door project.

This first one was mine. Kateri needed a new plank for her bookcase. Shane bought one but it needed to be trimmed. I kept forgetting to remind him when he was home and only remembered when I would help Kateri cleanher room. So finally one day I got tired of forgetting and got our Shane's jig saw and did it myself. I wisely cut it too large the first time and brought it down for another little shave, which turned out to more than "just a little off the top". But the supports sill held it and I was pleased with how it looked with her new white baskets. The kids are studying flags of the world. We get out the big world map and make a geography lesson out of each flag, then we read about hte country and color the flag. It was a pretty good time, until hte pencil sharpener broke.

I decided to teach Audrey how to knit. I haven't kint myself in a long time. but before that I made my fair share of bathroom rugs- aka sweaters-hats, and scarves. I convinced Shane to throw away the vest I knit him. He was sweet to wear it. But fortunately it didn't fit anymore- and I was glad to see it go. He does, however, still have the scarf I made for him 8 years ago. I decided I needed a project while he was in Ireland, so I seed stitched a pretty slate blue scarf, while wathcing Pride and Prejudice. I didn't finish in the week he was gone but it made a good very late birthday present.

So this morning I got out some yarn and needles and showed Audrey how to knit. She caught on quickly and is embarking on her own project now.

Shane likes long scarves, not quite Dr. Who length, but long enough to take a month with size 6 needles.

For indoor fun the kids decided to go sledding on cardboard boxes down stair case. They had a great time, no one got hurt, and we didn't even need snow. It was a much safer slide than we had as kids, 13 wooden stairs all splintered and waiting to stab you as you skimmed your way down. That was why we used pillow cases. With apillow in them. It was always a good idea to check for large slivers before you lay down at night. I don't think my mom appreciated it, but we had a great time.

I made swords for the boys, and Kateri too. And then eye-patches so they could play pirate. Cyprians was a little long. But he was happy.

We are going through a cold, not too terrible, but I'd rather be drinking tea and cozying in bed than what I'm going to do today. Shane has escaped it so far but he did get some surgery on his "alien thumb" today so we can all do some recovery together. It was some sort of lump that had been bugging him for years. We called it his alien thumb. I wanted to give it a name, but Shane thought that was too much. He partially dug it out himself several times, but it would always come back. So today they numbed it up, scooped it out, stitched it up, and in a couple weeks it will be all normal. I am so glad it is the week-end.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Kateri Patton 2032

Kateri is already starting her campaign for president. She tells anyone who will listen about her plans for her presidency, which so far consists of living in the White House and "telling the armies what to do". Audrey siad she wanted to be president too and she should go first because she is older. So maybe Kateri could be VP first. Shane recommended Audrey get a food tester if they went that route and it might be better-and safer-to let Kateri go first. I think Audrey just wants to ride horses on the White House lawn. That was the first thing she said as we peered through the iron gate. If its clean, she wants to use Shane's White House mug for her milk. As she drinks she talks about how it is going to be her house.

I think Kateri would be a very strong president. She's fearless when it comes to defending her own, relentless once she starts a course of action. She never gives up, or in. She easily gets others to see the logic of her "suggestions", sometimes without them even being aware of it. When visiting foreign heads of state, she would always return with her objective accomplished, and probably a couple new dresses too. With a name like Patton and eyes like Kateri, who could resist. She is pretty seasoned when it comes to torture, taking it and delivering it. She has broad international tastes, when it come to fashion and wine. She thought Palin was on the right track as far as that went. Best of all she has a very catchy slogan which she is practicing all day long: "YES, YOU WILL."

So, if we ever find a podium small enough for her, watch for her in the coming elections.

Vote to make America respected and feared.

Vote to make our leaders more interntional(ly) dressed.

Vote Kateri.

I'm Kateri Patton and I approve this message.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

No Pictures Today

For whatever reason, my computer does not want to recognize that I just inserted a memory card. So, although I did have some pictures they will have to wait until my tech support gets home from work.

We've been having a cozy fall and getting lots of indoor things done. Like laundry, and dishes, and all that fun stuff. And some school work here and there. I finally knuckled down and decided to have Cyril do more writing. He really didn't like it in the beginning and couldn't, for the life of him, see why it made any difference if he started an "O" at two o'clock or five o'clock. The list went on and coupled with his attention span of a squirrel, we decided to just focus on reading and mental math.

But after finishing the second set of Mac and Tab books, I decided we would give it another go. I had saved several of Audrey's previous math worksheets and started him on some of those. I have to read the directions and story problems to him, but other than that he can do all the work- and is cheerful about it too. He even brought me his papers today and ripped out some extra to take to Grandma's tomorrow. He often times corrects himself if he starts a number in the wrong spot and doesn't get offended if I gently correct him.

I think this was definitely the right time to start working with him and wonder if its a complete waste to try to do anything before they are ready. Here he is almost 8. Audrey could read when she was 4. But she seemed ready at the time and it was not the teeth pulling experience I had when I tried to sit Cyril down and make a row of nicely shaped ds- or any other letter. Hopefully, some of that was useful but I think in the future I will be more relaxed and less worried if they are not reading 'War and Peace' when they are 6. It is so nice to be in a place where I can see we are making progress and not just spinning our wheels and pencils. Maybe its like potty-training. When they are ready, they get it. When they are not and you try to force it , you have a lot of messes to clean up. I decided it wasn't worth it and Cyril wasn't fully potty trained until he was 4 1/2. Which, knowing the alternative, I was fine with. I always knew some day they not be nursing, illiterate, and sleeping in my bed, so I was ok taking thing a lot more slowly than the Ezzo time line. - Which I think is terrible anyway.

Speaking of bed, I've been working on getting Pippin to sleep with Audrey the past week. He usually wakes up and comes into our bed around 1:30. After 5 days I was debating giving it up and letting everyone get more sleep all around. But then thought, even though he didn't stay all night, it might be good to at least keep up the routine. Then this morning I woke up and he was not there. Of course I immediately thought maybe he had fallen off the bed and gotten trapped in her room or some other bad thing. But then I heard his voice in the hall as he opened our door, climbed up on the bed, and started tackling Papa, while gritting his teeth and growling. It was fun to have a morning cuddle and then we headed down to make breakfast. So I will be continuing the sleeping routine. Just goes to show, even as the parent, you never know when.

We have been doing some crafty, piratey, things as well. But its better with pictures, so I'll save those for later. I love Shane's three-day week-ends. Now Thursdays are so much more fun.

oh, and since there are not pictures and it would not be appropriate if there were, here is another story. Last night was the vigil for the feast of St John Chrysostom so we packed up the kids and headed out to evening Liturgy. I was feeling a little tired and silly and the kids decided to be especially entertaining. Cyril and Audrey were given permission to sit up front. It was not very crowded and I- and everyone in the congregation- could keep an eye on them. Cyril thought we might get worried so he kept us up-dated throughout the Liturgy by turning and giving us a knowing look and a thumbs up every so often. In his new camoflauge, fleece gloves. And if things were going really well, he stick both hands behind his head and give two thumbs up. I was just happy he was quiet. I thought things were going well. Until my sister, who was sitting back a few rows, came up and whispered to me that she could see Kateri's bum. I looked over and there was Kateri, standing on the kneeler with her hands in the back of her stretchy pants and princess panties waistband, which she was twisting and turning and stretching so as to inadvertantly expose half her backside to half the congregants. I got her covered and had to explain to Shane later why I was laughing in church.

Oh well, I suppose some day they won't be doing that either. Somedays, some day seems mythical.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Day After Yesterday

I would like to second the sentiments in John McCain's consession speech. I thought it was very moving and honest and he is an admirable man for having said it. But I am bummed about not seeing more of Palin's new duds. Oh well, You win some you lose some. Here in Washington we pretty much lost everything that mattered. But you move on. Gregiore can't live forever and thankfully, neither will any of us.

To get back to normal life, I decided to make curtains for Audrey's room. She has some drapes outside her big window, but it has a window seat and I think not having the curtains closer to the glass is keeping her room chilly. It it always cold in there and with the cold weather I thought it would be good to add another layer up close.

In these uncertain economic times and the more uncertain future, I decided to work with what I had- a trip to the store did not sound exciting either-and used an old queen sheet we had bought for the airmattress which was obviously not tested against 3yr olds. But I put the top sheet to good use and it being the right width already, all I had to do was make the pocket for the rod.

The kids were out playing on the swing set and I was upstairs ironing and pinning. And of course the typical arguing broke out so I had to sit Cyril at the top of the stairs where I could see him. He plopped himself down and proceeded to hum "Eye of The Tiger". Or at least the refrain plus another 10 notes. I was hot from ironing and tired from stabbing myself with pins and the singing was not relaxing. He has a fine voice and he can carry a tune well, its just not my preference for sewing music. And he was not trying to irritate. He just likes to sing. So I let him.

After getting through about 3 rounds of the song he asked,

"Can I get up now?"

"No, not yet."

"But I've been singing, for like 10 minutes", he begged me.

"Yes. I know"

After a few minutes I let him go and finished sewing the curtain pocket. Despite the bobbin thread breaking twice and stabbing myself, again. And I got it set up and hopefully her room will stay a little cozier. It is a thick sheet, but I think Imight have some wool in my sewing drawer if I need something warmer. But not today. Or tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Death and Taxes

Below is a chart published in the Wall Street Journal. I thought it might be good for people to prepare from what's to come if Obama should win the election. Not that its all about money. In Washington State we are voting on I-1000, an assisted suicide law. Which, if passed, will be a foot in the door for the culture of death. How soon will it be until it is noble and patriotic to choose death, thus saving taxpayers money and your family stress. Another disturbing news bit I came across in the Journal was that if you opt out of Medicare in favor of your own private health insurance, you are not elegible for Social Security benefits. Sounds like freedom of choice to me. And if you are in the system, who will have a more vested intrest in your early demise? I guess it does all come down to money.

Another thing I can't stand are the ads. A woman bemoans the fact her husband had a stroke-or whatever- and suffered a loss of dignity, which he would have to endure if he did not have the option of killing himself. A" loss of dignity" in whose eyes? What a narrow definition of life. Does "in sickness and in health" mean anything?

I'm sad I will not be joining the millions of people going to the polls today. Our county is all mail-in ballots now. Which I feel is very un-patriotic. They don't even send you an "I voted" sticker to wear on election day. How can I prove to Starbuck's I voted and get my free cup of coffee? Which, by the way, I thought was a brilliant idea. Starbucks supports America! and would you be wanting a treat to go with that free cup of coffee?

Well I guess I won't have to prove I voted to get that coffee. Thanks to the election officials we are saved from Starbuck's illegal action of rewarding people for voting. Starbucks came back with a great answer: they will give a free cup of coffee to anyone who asks for one. I don't much care for their coffe- I prefer Cafe D'Arte myself-but horray for Starbucks!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Craft Day

We worked- We played-

Pippin is a "bun-rabbit".

And we made yummy muffins with the extra pimpkin-pecan waffle mis from William-Sonoma. I made some cream cheese maple frosting and we had them for a tea party with Tirzah and the kids.

We had a very crafty day yesterday. We've been better at getting our work done early- the other day we had finished math and reading by 9:15am-so we have had lots more time to play. Cyprian started it by asking to paint and he inspired all the kids to follow suit. Then when we finished that the kids went out to gather leaves and we did leaf rubbings. This one of Audrey's was my favorite.

I'm not sure where he got the idea but Cyril decided to to tornadoes. He offered to send it to work with Shane, after he adds a few more.

Cyprian and Kateri let off some extra energy with a friendly broom fight. Which I ended before there were any casualties.

And Cyril and Pippin had fun playing soldier with a toy drill and a bicycle pump for weapons. Very creative.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Annual Neighborhood Costume Party

Kateri's drawing of a dalmation. She worked for a long time making all the spots. I can see it displayed in the Museum of Modern Art.

Jack and Matteas came for a visit. The kids fight over "taking care" of Matteas. I'm not sure about the look on Pippin't face.

For the annual costume party Shane and I dressed up as what Kateri called "Red Robin and the Woodpeck".

Here are the kids. Audrey and Kateri were princesses. Cyril was St. Francis of Asissi- he was so excited about the fake birds. And Pippin was Superman.

Monday, October 20, 2008

And Guess Who's 10?

Grandma Trudy made another princess cake. I think that was 3 so far this year. Audrey's friend Anna came over to stay the night- a special birthday concession-and Grandma and Grandpa and we had a nice dinner and for breakfast we made dutch babies and sausage.

At 9:06 on October 18th, Audrey turned 10. At least I think it was 9:06. I wasn't looking at the clock by that point, but Shane remembers. I do remember thinking, "hey, we could show up at 10:00 Liturgy on time, with a new baby." But then the stupid hospital wouldn't let us leave until Audrey peed and threatened to call CPS. Or maybe that was over the fact that I said I did not want the ointment put in her eyes to treat her for an STD. Hence the three home births since then. But aside from that it was a lovely morning and Audrey was greeted by grandparents, aunts, and cousins lots of flowers and balloons. And I got a latte and a scone. Not from the hospital. In fact they never offered me anything in the 12 hours we were there. 12 hours too long. Needless to say I do not have fond memories of the maternity ward at Steven's Hospital. I did like my nurse a lot though. But not the doctor who was upset I didn't want an epesiotomy. Where is the "my body, my choice" philosophy when it comes to birthing a child? Midwives and husbands are awesome. Plus they feed you and rub your back. And generally do anything you want/need.

I have been struggling with how to give Cyril the outlets he needs for his energies in a safe and productive way. Mountain biking is good but only Papa can take him. You can only dig so many holes in the yard, and now it is getting too muddy and wet. So I pulled out his workbench and we went to the hardware store where I bought him a saw and some wood. He was very busy "hammering, sawing, and working away' until he cut his hand. Twice. I searched the garage and found his vise and things have been fine since. Here is showing off his helicopter. He was pretty proud.
Cyprian got this ball for his birthday. Unfortuantely, it is no longer a ball. Fortunately, it stretches and has now become a hat. Reduce, "re-use", recycle. I thought it was creative of the kids.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Guess Who's 3?

You will have to scroll down to see as I've loaded the pictures backwards- again. But I am sure you can guess who. Trying out the new bubble mower from Grandma and Grandpa. It was a big hit, the last thing he talked about before he fell asleep and the first thing after he woke up.
Cyril, and conequently Shane's, latest sport- mountain biking. Shane took Cyril out for about four hours of non-stop crazy trail blazing that I don't even want to witness. Apparently it was not enough because he came home and immediately got out the bike ramp to practice jumps.
Here is where the kids and I played while the big boys were braving the trails.
Audrey thought this willow was cool and said she wanted one in our yard. Me too.
And here is the birthday boy. Being the preepared mom that I am, I could not find three candles. And I could onlyl find pink, as Kateri's birthday was most recent.He didn't care though.
Here is the always much anticipated "Grandma Mac Birthday Card". It came two days before his birthday but he was with me when I got the mail and spied it. He ran back to the house, clutching to his chest and shouting,
"Hey kids, its my birthday from Grandma Mac!" He was so excited he had to open it on the porch.
He had frun blowing up the balloons and chewing the gum, which he was able to do simultaneously. Kateri helped him decorate her kitchen sink with the stickers.
Grandma Trudy started the tradition of decorating cakes with the kids so I filled up the frosting bag and let him go for it.
I thought it turned out pretty well.