Sunday, November 29, 2009


Having missed November and NaBloPoMo, not to mention much of October, I've decided to aim for a personal DecNaBloPoMo.

I am JUST feeling recovered from Thanksgiving. (I am praying that if we grow our own family that it will not be as nuts as it is when we have other kids visit. It can't be. Whimper.) We hosted my sister, her wife, their two kids 3+ and 8 months, and my brother-in-law for the extended long weekend. We added our fabulous neighbors for actual Thanksgiving dinner, as well as a few brunches. (We needed help consuming all the salty smoked fish imported from the City for the holiday.)

Nephew C will be 4 in March, and has a more/ differently developed style of play than my kids. They were eager to jump on his bandwagon once they figured out it meant digging for fossils in the yard, fighting off savage pirates from the relative safety of the swing set tower (with many friendly whale sightings, a.k.a. our dogs ranging around the yard, um, ocean) and much chasing. Pequita and Monito really got into their baby cousin R. At 8 months, she is just starting to pull herself up to stand and is a bundle of adorable fun.

I am grateful for a quiet house again, but boy, all my dreams of having cousins close in age to frolic with my kids is coming true and is just amazing. Our kids are going to grow up with a close-knit group to bask in, rely on, and play with.

Monito, embracing his 'shooter gun'. He learned about them from cousin C in August, and has been waiting until C arrived to play it again. (We are in the halcyon age where I can say things like, "Oh, sweetie, we don't play with guns unless C is here. You'll have to wait until Thanksgiving to shoot," and he COMPLIES.)

Baby love.
We did a bit of trekking on the 10 acres in the meadow on the path we keep mowed. Some of us were hunting dinosaurs, some were hunting for the best stick to use as a gun, and some of us were reeling with the cute quotient radiating from the kids.

We let all the kids sleep in the nursery together, and bedtime went well, all things considered. Cousin C and Monito mostly dropped off on command, and Pequita wasn't awake any later than her usual 9:45ish. We watch less TV when C is here so it was especially important for Monito to watch Pop! before bed. Cousin C taught them both to make nests out of their beanbag and pregnancy pillows upon which to hatch baby dinosaurs.

My family is no slouch at cooking. Sister-in-law S is a vegetarian, so we had an entirely veg meal except for the turkey. My sister whipped up baked squash stuffed with vegetarian sausage, sweet potatoes made with coconut milk (my new favorite food) and Homestead Mama created ginger peas. I was responsible for the turkey, which is why I awoke from napping with the kids having not basted it or checked it for its final 3 hours - BIG turkey no-no. It was ok, actually delicious, and the gravy, ever elusive for me, was finally sublime. With almost no pictures of adults, and none of the amazing, gorgeous, 26-lb turkey, I offer a picture of the Thanksgiving craft we employed to keep the kids entertained so we could finish eating. I drew a big tree and hung it on the wall, and wrote things the kids were thankful for on hastily-made leaf-cut post-it notes. They loved sticking them on the tree. Monito colored a little, too.

The day after, I made homemade noodles and the kids cut out shapes with small cookie cutters that we then added to the big turkey soup. We do this a lot throughout the year, and it is always fun.

I really quite love my life. It is harried, nutty, over-full, cluttered, loud, dirty, lonely, stressful, and never easy. It is also rich, full, cozy, warm, lively, smiling, and active. I actually couldn't ask for anything more.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Halloween was a raging success this year. We started working on the fear issues months ahead of time, visiting Lowe's no fewer than 5 times a week to deprogram both kids out of residual holiday terror from last year, but particularly Monito, with the scary battery op witch who cackles, stirs her cauldron of spells, and - most notably - blinks her leering red eyes when the motion sensor detects small children nearby. We started out with them in the cart squeezing shut their eyes while I raced by at top speed, ignoring the Walmart-like greeter Lowe's now sports by the doors. We graduated to the same thing but on foot, and the kids would peek at the witch from the safety of the paint aisle, 40 feet away. By the time Halloween was upon us, they were both sauntering by her and pulling up her skirt saying, "Look, Mommy - she doesn't even have legs. She's PLASTIC, not real." I was so proud.
We did buy a couple of used costumes, but mostly they outfitted themselves from our dress up box. We did two events this year, the local grocery store's trick-or-treating on Thursday, and then for the first time we actually walked around in the dark going door-to-door asking for candy.

Monito, their buddy Captain America, and Pequita, all ready to go. With a little coaching about what constitutes a good house to approach (decorations, porch light on) the kids took off. Captain America was a trooper, methodical and diligent in his careful collection of treats. Monito couldn't get past the CANDY! in his PUMPKIN! and had to stop and eat piece after piece. Pequita was clearly more interested in the thrill of the hunt, and raced from house to house screaming LIGHT ON! LIGHT ON! as she speed walked the neighborhood. Clearly, we'll be graduating to the bigger hunting grounds next year, the Mecca of all things Halloween, Fall Creek. It is 10 square blocks or so of densely populated neighborhoods, where nearly everyone participates. These are the people who have to shell out the big bucks so they don't run out of treats on the toddlers by 8 pm when the serious trick-or-treaters start their rounds.

Our first year in our house, four miles out of town, no sidewalks, rural but still populated, we were visited by only one family. A woman saw all our hopeful decorations, artfully carved pumpkins, lights blazing and stopped her minivan full of kids to come to our door. As they each took a couple pieces of our mounded bowl of candy, she explained that we wouldn't get anyone at our house; all the families from three towns head down to Fall Creek where the candy is dense and easy to get. I was crushed. Luckily, I had lots of candy in which to drown my disappointment. She was right, too - we have never had any other trick-or-treaters since. We are raising a generation of soft kids. I remember ranging far and wide for our candy as a kid. We had to pass by swamps, fields, deserted houses and dark forests between houses, which really made it more fun and scary.

My kids had a few pieces of candy on the actual holiday, then traveled with their Mama on Sunday. Monday was candy day; right before naps, I handed them each their loaded plastic pumpkin full of candy and told them that they could eat all they wanted. Oh, the rustling, the deciding, the laying out of options and game plans. That was all Pequita. Monito just started eating and kept going until I said stop. My boy, he can concentrate like the dickens. After that, I told them that in the night, the Great Pumpkin was going to come and trade in all their left over candy for a toy, and in their bloated, sugar-sick state they seemed a little glad to hear it. The next morning found a few Little Critter Pets (or whatever they are called) and a stuffed Max and Ruby doll in place of candy, and everyone seems to be happy with the holiday.

Autumn Special Deals

I see signs for sales a lot these days, sandwiched as we are in between Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and the crippled economy and the low dollar. I was, nonetheless, surprised to see a specials board in the waiting room at the RE's office. Fall IVF Specials! Act Now and Save! Looking for that perfect holiday gift?

It is slightly more tastefully phrased than that (is that even possible?) but still an odd concept. If you are in the market and without insurance, you, too, can be the proud owner of 2 cycles for $6k, 4 cycles for $9k or 6 cycles for $13.5k. At these prices, how can you resist?


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Time Out of Mind

This morning, we've had a few regular individual time outs each. We moved on to concurrent time outs, each kid sent to their own couch. We have culminated with the 'Go to your ROOM' time out where one kid is on the bed and the other on the chaise lounge, with books, and the door closed so Mommy doesn't have to experience the full blast of the screaming. Wow.

I'm stopping the bill paying and photo downloading to go to the NVC page RIGHT NOW and print out some helpful phrases for me to post around the house so I remember to breathe before I act. Seems so simple, yet so elusive.

Angelic looking, aren't they?