thursdays_child: (Misc: Dragon)
( Jan. 5th, 2009 08:37 am)
The string of off and on days off is over. The laundry is almost wrangled back into shape. Boxes that have been waiting for over a year to be unpacked have been so. The kids' gifts of warm clothing have been washed and folded and (mostly) stowed in dresser drawers or pressed into service first thing this morning.

What's normal anyway? )
We got cash from various family-members, some of it was ear-marked in the card, but after the rush of the holidays is over and looking around the house, I've been applying said cash judiciously to the things that we really need around here So a big thank you to all of our cash-givers, it's being put to very good use and we're very grateful for the generosity.

Household Necessities )
thursdays_child: (Beth: Argh)
( Jan. 3rd, 2009 10:56 pm)
So far, not so good on the resolutions. Mom wasn't feeling well the other night and I've been busy around the house instead and it slipped my mind to head out before it got dark yesterday. All the more incentive to /plan/ an interesting walk though.

Mount Papermess )
thursdays_child: (Beth: Ireland)
( Jan. 1st, 2009 05:02 pm)
I wasn't going to do any resolutions but then I got into it after reading other people's posts on The Usual Suspects and so here's my short list of somewhat vague resolutions except for the first:

1) Take a walk every day, regardless of the weather.
2) Strike a better balance between work and non-work life.
3) Get out of the house more to be social. Call friends more often.
4) Only pick up emergency necessities at the CVS.
5) Get involved in some kind of civic activity in the local area.
6) Be kinder and more patient to everyone, but especially the kids, no matter how frustrating they can get.

In the interest of maintaining motivation for that first one, I think I'm going to actually plan out some interesting walks. This will allow me to a) get to know the area I live in better, even though I grew up here, b) indulge in my love of maps and plotting things on GoogleMaps, c) get in some exercise without thinking of it as exercise and d) pretend I'm Jane Austen. Maybe I'll even make myself a regency dress this year and have a Costumed Walk Day.

So, my first walk for the year will be up to the playground behind my parents' house because we're going over there for dinner. I'll see if Mom wants to come along after we've tidied up and leave the fathers in charge. It can be an excuse for some mother-daughter time too.

Tomorrow I think I'll keep things simple and just go for a spin around the block, see who's got their lights up still and who doesn't. Day after that, I think I'll walk up to the library and see about clearing our suspended card, get some good books, then hit the trail behind the library and see what it's like. Sunday, I'll have to map out. See what appeals.
thursdays_child: (Boys: Hug)
( Jan. 1st, 2009 03:52 pm)
As a special treat for today, we packed up both boys and took them to the movies. This was the first time that we'd taken Julien to a movie as well as Victor. Getting into the theater itself and then getting out again was probably the toughest part. Both kids were excited and bouncy and kept charging ahead in one direction, mindless of where we actually needed to go. It's sometimes not really a joke to say that trying to take kids somewhere is like herding cats.

Cut for some mild spoilers. )
thursdays_child: (Beth: Ireland)
( Jan. 1st, 2009 12:34 am)
Happy New Year everyone.

We spent it quietly, the kids fell asleep, I pushed to stay up, then padded upstairs to sit on the couch with Sabs and knock our bottles of ginger ale together while we watched the ball drop.

Can't believe Dick Clark is still at it.
Can't believe a million people were out there in this weather!

I'm going to go curl up under a quilt and go to sleep.
thursdays_child: (Beth: Park)
( Dec. 31st, 2008 12:10 pm)
I'm working away here for another two hours and then the 'office' is closing early. The wind is blowing fit to beat the band and both kids are leaping around like manic little elves in the play room, still wearing their pajamas. Long story short, it's a bit of a chaotic day and I'm glad that I don't have to cook anything or plan for a party or get ready to go out.

I'm scanning receipts to load into the expense system for work, a final task for year-end and a follow-up on the big drive to get all of my timesheets and expenses in over the course of this month to support year-end accounting activity. It's not the most thrilling task in the world, but it has to get done and right now there's something almost soothing about the 'nrrrrrr' hum of the scanner as it swipes across each train stub that I put on the flatbed.

After work closes for the day, I'm planning a quick jaunt over to the CVS for celebratory ginger ale and chocolate. I should check with my parents too about whether or not they want to do anything/have us come over. Right now I'm just pretty happy with the idea of a low-key, quiet New Year's and some solid sleep time as well as a final push to get the house into shape.

It's all very prosaic today, nothing particularly exciting, but I hope that each and every one of you have a very, very happy New Year's Eve and that 2009 brings good things your way.

Cheers.
thursdays_child: (Beth: Argh)
( Dec. 30th, 2008 10:41 am)
Lesson learned: go to brunch early so that what you're eating hasn't been sitting out on the buffet forever.

Cut for GI distress )
thursdays_child: (Beth: Ireland)
( Dec. 29th, 2008 09:14 am)
This is that strange time in between things, the quiet time when work hasn't swung back up to normal yet, but the Christmas holiday is over and New Year's is just around the corner. It's often a time of reflection and taking stock, getting ready for the year to turn over and to prepare for what's to come in that new calendar.

I find myself doing none of that this year. Instead I am working on things that were lower on the priority totem pole during the end-of-year crunch since I have bandwidth to take care of them in the quiet time. I am also doing quite a bit of cleaning and I suppose that that does fit into the 'preparing for new year' side of things since I'm determined not to start out 2009 with the house in disarray.

Sadly, the list of things that still needs doing is just way too long. At least I seem to have recovered from the attack of extreme sleepiness that picked up the day before Christmas and persisted for three or four days afterward. That feeling of extreme lethargy and simple fatigue was so hard to shake. I don't like it when it happens, especially when I have plans to be productive and kickass around the place.

Today is quiet and so far, calm. Victor is home from school until the 5th and curled up on the couch under a blanket watching cartoons and otherwise blissing out on vacation time the way I used to when I was his age. I find myself a little nostalgic for those old times when snow days were a happy thing that meant sledding and hot chocolate and curling up with blankets and a movie afterward. These days, snow days are met with a groan, knowing the kids will be home all day and my working day will likely be shot. It would be a lot more fun to just be able to charge out into the snow, grab a sled and chase the kids around with snowballs.

Responsibility prevails. Still, I'm going to do my best to enjoy this quiet time, get caught up and have both feet firmly planted on the ground for January 5th.
thursdays_child: (Julien: Chef Julien)
( Dec. 28th, 2008 08:57 pm)
Before the screaming me-me tantrum started about not wanting to get out of the bath, Julien and I had a fine old time making Bath Soup.

Mommy, help me cook this soup. )
thursdays_child: (Misc: Wish You Were Here)
( Dec. 26th, 2008 12:07 pm)
Dear Ted,

I know you had to fly yesterday and the day before and though most of what I have written here has been about trees and the happy fluffy feelings of the season, our thoughts have been much with you all through this holiday season.

While your nephews ran around shrieking gleefully as they ripped open packages and enjoyed their Christmas morning, I flashed back to more than one Christmas long ago when you and Tom were little like they are now and I missed you both so very much.

It's so hard to imagine what it must be like to be out there in the desert at Christmas, far away from family and friends and all the comforts of home. It seems far too little to say, that we're thinking of you and sending our love through the ether. Every day I send a little hope out there to keep the skies under your wings clear of danger and look forward to the day that we hear you've come home again and are safe and sound, back in Hawai'i.

I'm putting together a little package to send your way, it's not much, but I hope it will help to keep your spirits up through everything, be it the dangerous parts or the boredom of waiting in between things and not knowing what happens next. Keep an eye on your mailbox and hopefully you'll be seeing our little bit of cheer arriving sooner rather than later, postal fairies willing.

It's another chilly day here in Berwyn, with the breeze rattling the branches of the trees and no snow on the ground to make things white and bright, but it's cozy in the house and we're on the far side of a lovely holiday time spent with Mom and Dad.

The only thing that could have made it all better, would have been to have you and Tom there to truly fill up the family table.

Thinking of you today, and hoping to see you later on this year,

With love,

Your Big Sister
thursdays_child: (Beth: We Are Family)
( Dec. 24th, 2008 02:59 pm)
Even though it's only ten minutes up the road and easy peasy as holiday travel goes, it's nice to have been able to take that little jaunt over to hole up at my parents' house for the next two days.

I'm curled up on the couch with a playlist of Christmas music going, while the boys play with puzzles and wooden toys and the scent of the tree downstairs slowly wafts its way upward.

Tonight there will be hot cocoa and tree-decorating, maybe a Christmas movie and then tucking my boys in to sleep with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads so that Santa can come down the chimney.

Maybe we'll make s'mores again in the fireplace like we did at Thanksgiving. Maybe there'll be a little snow tonight, it's on the forecast right now if the temperature just dips a little bit lower. After all that big chill, it's 39 degrees and raining. So if it just goes a little lower tonight, we could get a little dusting and have a white Christmas morning at least until the temperature goes up into the 40s, nearly 50s tomorrow.

We swung by the Farmer's Market today on the way over to pick up some little treats and have lunch and while we sat perched on stools at the lunch counter, over the loudspeaker came the following announcement:

"Will the person with the big red sleigh parked outside, please move your vehicle. Your animals are making a mess!"

Merry Christmas.

Boy + Action Figure
Originally uploaded by littleowl.


Boy + Star Wars Action Figure == Happy Kid

Victor loves action figures and just as I was at his age, is really into Star Wars. Of course, for me that meant the original film and Empire Strikes Back and for him that means .... Clone Wars, the animated atrocity, but we'll just hand-wave around that.

His bus driver and bus aide got this for him and he was just so psyched when he opened it up. I have to go find some Christmas cards on sale tonight to pass around to the driver and to his teacher. It's the least we can do.


thursdays_child: (Vic: Snow)
( Dec. 22nd, 2008 08:39 am)
Over the weekend freezing rain poured down and turned all the trees around the house to crystal. The back steps turned into a solid sheet of unbroken ice that stretched all the way down the garden path and icicles hung from the eaves, glimmering in the light of the sun in the morning, reflecting the street lamps at night.

Last night I braved the frozen tundra and carefully made my way down those steps to cross over to CVS for milk and whatever they might have on hand to scrape ice. I wound up with the mega-ice-chipper-sweeper of doom and on my return, used it to clear a path up the steps. A few handfuls of salt into the cleared area ensured a safer walk out for Sabs and Julien in the morning.

The front, by all rights, should have been worse, a long sloping sheet of ice all the way down to the street. However, with the temperature going up above freezing for several hours yesterday and with the house south-facing, we were fortunate enough to avoid utter impassability with the driveway. It's almost as if the frozen mix never fell out front, with only some clinging ice at the very bottom and caught in the cracks of the retaining walls. My neighbors are not so lucky. Their houses face ours, face almost due north and their front yards and drivways are littered with frozen muck-muck if they didn't shovel or put down salt.

I asked the bus driver if he could pick up at the back of the house instead of the front when the snow gets bad and he said he couldn't do that without an instruction from the district. We'll just have to see if we can manage. That driveway is a menace in the winter.
One thing is for sure. My ideal weather report for Christmas does not look like this:

Low: 15°F
RealFeel®: -2°F
Sunset: 4:40 PM
From Accuweather.com

That's today's forecast for later and I'm shivering just thinking about it. Everything is slick with ice right now, from the night's fall of freezing rain and snow mix. The back deck is an ice rink and the roads just don't look good at all.

Ideally, the day before Christmas Eve fluffy fat flakes fall from the sky and blanket the world with a clean blanket of white about a foot deep. Christmas Eve itself is cold and clear with a deep black sky and stars hanging high above like diamonds from the song. A coat, hat, gloves, scarf and warm coat are enough to make walking around in that clear night comfortable, but a warm cup of cider on the end of a caroling walk is a welcome treat for chilly cheeks, noses and fingertips. Christmas Day is sunny, with passing clouds and the snow still mostly a pristine coating in the back yard, shortly to be punctured with footprints as we charge outside to sled and put together snowmen.
Last night as I cried a little about all the stress that's bouncing around right now, Sabs took my hand and squeezed it and reassured me.

One year, we put on a little Christmas pageant... )
thursdays_child: (Rose Tyler: Glum)
( Dec. 11th, 2008 10:55 pm)
It's been a dreary few days and that makes for some glumness naturally. For all it was so cold a few days ago, it /feels/ worse now with the rawness of cold rain and cold air. It just creeps in everywhere, the damp. When it's just cold and dry out, the chill is biting, but it doesn't cling. When we wrap up in blankets and flip on the heater, everything feels better. The wet cold is harder to combat.

Of course the upside to having dreary days is that there's tea and cocoa to make to stave off the dismal grayness and chill. And making both of those in a nice pot to pour into a pretty mug is kind of fun. I've been thinking about baking, because there's just something internally warm and fuzzy about baking and winding up with yummy treats at the end of it. It would make the kids happy too, light Vic's face right up if I actually made cookies instead of buying them.

They like to help bake, but having the proceeds of a good baking jag will be almost as good I think. So now I just have to decide what kind of cookies to make. I think I might go with snickerdoodles, because there's nothing quite so comforting about the smell of cinnamon sugar and butter wafting through the house. It'll take me back to every other time my mother made the same cookies and made the house smell divine around the holidays.
thursdays_child: (Holidailies 2008)
( Dec. 10th, 2008 10:59 am)
In an odd changeup, the temperature shifted upwards a whole 40 degrees over the course of one day yesterday. In the morning, it was freezing out and there was ice on the ground. By nightfall, everything had thawed out and what would have been snow, turned to rain.

It was a tough day yesterday between the plumbing snafus, the kids being home from school and work being incredibly busy. By the end of the day, I was ready for a little break from the house and bundled up to go outside to the shop for milk and bread, thinking it was still cold.

Around and around I wound my long scarf. I slipped on my wool-lined coat and checked the pockets for my gloves. I tucked my hair up into my fleece 'elf' hat with the long tail and tassel. Finally I pulled my gloves on and braced myself for the charge out of doors and ... was met by the soft caress of spring-warm air instead of a blast of icy winter.

Laughing, I started peeling off layers as I crossed the yard. I had my hat in my hand when I opened the back gate and stepped out onto the path between the house and the shopping center next door. My foot hit slick, wet mud and I went coasting about three feet forward, arms flailing and came to a stop at the edge of the parking lot tar. I stood there for a moment breathing hard, stuffed my hat into my pocket and wiped my shoes off on the edge of the parking lot.

The adventures just never stop around here. I figure the chocolate bar I bought at the store was well-deserved.
thursdays_child: (Default)
( Dec. 9th, 2008 12:01 pm)
I have nothing clever to say today. The toilet exploded this morning and is now playing the back up game with the tub. Plunger the toilet, back up the tub. Plunger the tub backup the toilet. Where is the plumber????

Vic missed his bus because the driver zoomed away at 7:46, waiting a whole 4 minutes for the poor kid to make it down from the house to the driveway. Granted Vic was a bear this morning to get ready and that was part of it too, but seriously. An extra minute wouldn't have hurt.

Somehow we missed the fact that there's parent-teacher conferences today at Julien's school so no school for Julien either. Sabs had to call in late.

So I'm sitting in this house trying to work, with two antsy kids, freezing temps outside, a cold house, no functional toilet, a bathtub full of shitty water and the pipes leaking more shitty water into the basement in an increasingly larger puddle on the floor.

We're out of bread, so I can't make sandwiches. We're out of milk so no one can have cereal.

The silver linings to today: the heater hasn't gone out so it's at least warm all the way up at the top of the house where the heat collects. Sabs' paycheck cleared so I think I will order the kids a pizza and then I will go out and get milk and bread when Sabs gets home and remind him to pick up a chicken to see us through the rest of the week.
thursdays_child: (Floating Stars)
( Dec. 8th, 2008 12:20 pm)
The floors are icy beneath my bare feet, a downside to hardwood that is otherwise so much easier to keep clean with two boys and four cats in the house.

The windows breathe chills inward, cold pockets at regular intervals along the walls, that send shivers up my spine as I go by.

Even the cats have given up the chairs and the carpet in favor of the surefire blast of warm air that comes up from every heating vent.

In spite of the omnipresence of winter in the house, in the snow-speckled view outside the the window panes, the thermostat is resolutely set at 62. Warm enough to be all right with a sweater, but not so high that the heating bill will arrive with triple-digits and send us all into pre-holiday sticker shock.

Up in my office, I keep the space heater on low, but treat it like an old-fashioned foot brick, with my slippered feet propped up on top of its blocky, square shape and think about how much colder it must have been in Colonial times here, with only smoky hearths and those proverbial bricks to make it through the winter.
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