Thursday, December 22, 2005

solstice party

Our sort-of-kind-of-annual kids' solstice party was a lot of fun, despite (or perhaps because of, since our guest list was a bit too large) several last-minute cancellations due to illnesses and getting lost. We disappointed several children by not having our outside-fire as advertised (Dan had it all set, but we were happier socializing inside), but we let them play in the yard in the dark and that seemed to appease them. Most of our participants decorated a blank puzzle piece (thanks for donating them Mom!) with a wintery/ solsticey theme, and we ate excessively. We were glad that we set up luminarias, that I chipped a path through the ice to the door even though it took forever, and that Dan dragged up our garment rack from the basement so we had enough space to hang coats.

The kids were hilarious. A, who in the past hasn't been terribly thrilled at parties and started out the evening less-than-happy, ended up having a great time playing with the other babies and kids, and was adorable in her new solstice outfit (thanks Mom!) C ran around so much and ate so many cookies in the first part of the night that he was completely exhausted by the time our second round of guests arrived at 8 (which is also his normal bedtime). Some of the kids had specifically come for his sake, since he had been to several parties at their house and wanted them to come to one at his for a change, and it was funny to see him rallying his energy to be a good host for them.

Friends from Arizona were visiting and they commented that we had a lot of different social circles coming together (folks from Roots & Shoots, peace groups, parenting groups, neighbors, etc.) I told them that we HAD to seek out in all directions after all of our original friends moved away....

We have tons of leftovers, and made good use of the veggies, dip, and hummous for dinner tomight. (Thanks Mom!) We're making good use of the leftover desserts every time we walk through the kitchen.

(Now back to work. I need to finish making a castle and renovating C's Playmobil pirate ship tonight!)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

little pink houses for you and me Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Our weekends just fly by. Yesterday I worked at the co-op in the morning and we all headed to the library when I got home. We needed to go to the library to check on C's art exhibit (he has photos and drawings up for the whole month- check 'em out!) and to attend a "Christmas Around the World" extravaganza, which had displays and, most important to C, COOKIES from a dozen or so countries. (I don't know where they found all the people to put together group- based on their accents, virtually all of them were manned by people actually FROM the respective countries.)

We ran into yet another set of college classmates- the third we've encountered by chance in the last six months. Post-graduation benefits of going to a small school include (a) you recognize many of your former campus-mates even if you didn't really know each other, and (b) you have more of a sense of comraderie than I assume SUNY Albany graduates share.

Today Dan played the try-to-fix-the-sink-and-break-it-more-and-buy-more-parts-that-don't-fit game, which was even less fun than it was when he began the game about a month ago. (We sooo wish the previous owners had installed the plumbing in at least a sort-of standard way.) Then it was time to go to the orchestra and find that our exit ramp was closed AFTER it was too late to avoid crossing the river and doing a circle back into Albany and not remember exactly how to get to the Palace or where to park and all that. Luckily there were still balcony seats open when we got there.

We all enjoyed the program except for A; originally she was content as long as they were playing, but eventually Dan had to take her into the back and let her roam around to keep her from screaming as loudly. Other than the inevitable interminable selection from the Nutcracker, the music was great. (I can not listen to the Nutcracker without falling asleep. When I was maybe 8, I went with my Girl Scout troop to see the ballet at the Egg. It was a late night and we all drifted off at some point during Act III. I don't know if that imprinted a permanent sleep association on my brain or if Tchaikovsky just isn't for me. When I try to listen to the music objectively, it's not especially lulling, but I just.. cant.. keep.. my.. eyes.. open.) There were ballerinas dancing today, which C loved, but he said he's not interested in taking ballet classes. (He said that maybe he would when he was a grown-up and moved out of our house. Maybe he figures he'll have more time on his hands then.)

When we arrived home, a Putrid Stench greeted us at the door along with Paco. While we initially suspected him, it turned out that poor Paco was not the cause of the Horrendous Stench- it was coming from the raw sewage flowing into our basement. We called the town, because they're in charge of our sewers, but we didn't expect much; a neighbor with the same problem called them out two weeks ago and they claimed the sewers were clear. Well, this time they must have actually checked, because they found several "root balls" (which I originally assumed to be a euphemism for something REALLY disgusting, but it does in fact apparently mean a ball of roots- hurray for the sewer lines having so many cracks that roots can invade!) They cleared them out, pushing more sewer gas and effluent into our basement, but apparently we got off easy- our next door neighbor's toilet flew open and shot sewage down their hall while the work was being done.

We think our lives are kind of pitiful because tonight, instead of being saddened by the sewage we need to clean in our basement, we're happy that we don't have to spend thousands of dollars replacing a sewer pipe.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

I slammed my fourth toe into a radiator this afternoon, and now it's black and swollen to double its normal size. I started to read about broken toe symptoms/ treatment but it made me queasy and I stopped. (I have no idea whether or not its broken, just that it hurts. A lot.)

Guess I'll just have to lie around and whine and look pitiful. (Its only been five years since THAT was effective....)

No posts in a while since Dan was supposed to write about his visit to kindergarten and our weekend at the Four Corners Holiday Open House (a.k.a. "when the woman working at Island Inkjet congratulated me on my pregnancy"- I didn't think I looked THAT bad). But apparently he's not.

C must not be a pariah at kindergarten, because we ran into two of his classmates over the weekend and they both talked to him. One invited him to sit at her table to eat his cookies, and the other (whom C spied through the window of the Chinese restaurant; her parents must own the place) gave him a fortune cookie. (He now keeps the fortune hidden under his napkin at the table, and has told us NOT to look under there or replace his dirty napkin because he thinks it's a secret.)

A walks all the time now; it's sad to realize that we'll never have a crawly little baby again. She's trying to talk, and does use specific sounds for specific things, but all her sounds are so similar we can only decipher them according to context. (Examples: she makes a "ca" sound for car, "caw" for the sound a crow makes, "qua" for squirrel, and "cuh" for Paco. And she refuses to enunciate.) She's taken to saying "dah-dah" for random things that she wants or likes; while I told him to take it as a compliment, Dan isn't too happy with his name being generalized so.

A few months after C was born, I started to read G.R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series. I saw the first book at the library, and its summary said it was the first in a trilogy. Already having spent years eagerly awaiting the conclusion of Philip Pullman's "Dark Materials" trilogy, I didn't want to go through that again, and checked to see if there would be a long wait before the other books were released. Luckily (I believed), Book Three had just been published! (And it had dragons in the title; maybe he would have tips for dealing with our dragon-baby.) So I read them all, and if you're at all familiar with these books you will know that they're each around 1500 pages long and have about 100 characters whose histories are important to know (this is not an exaggeration). Getting into these books is a commitment (a worthwhile one, I feel, but definitely a commitment). About halfway through the third book, I wondered how on earth he was going to finish this up in "only" 800 more pages- and realized that, indeed, the flap summary of "A Game of Thrones" had lied to me. Now he's planning SEVEN books. And he ends them all with multiple cliffhangers.

Only now, FIVE years later, has Book Four been published, after being pushed back several times. I got it from the library and read it this past week, and it was a huge struggle to try to re-remember who ALL these people are and why they're important. (The 40-page lineage appendix wasn't all that helpful either.) Much of the "history" I've forgotten completely, and I can't remember the names of most of the people involved in the events I DO remember. I don't have a prayer of being able to even FOLLOW the next book, probably.

But can I wait another 10 years, hope GRR doesn't die before finishing this series, and then re-read them all and actually understand them? Noooo. He left my favorite character blind and multiple other important characters on the verge of death. (And the next book likely will not include the outcomes of these characters, since it will focus on events happening in a different part of the world; I'll have to wait for #6.) GRR.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

how many Rains does it take to change a light bulb?

Only two, thankfully; one to be tall and one to hold the flashlight; but it does require a number of tools. Namely, pliers, a washcloth, and a potato, in addition to the aforementioned flashlight. I'll leave the scene to your imagination.

recent freecycle posts that cracked me up



[CRFreeCycle] Wanted: Outdoor Antennas
Hello everyone. I am attempting to build my first "antenna farm" and am in need of any type of outdoor antenna you might have. TV, UHF, VHF, CB, Shortwave, etc... Any condition, any size. Thank you.

[CRFreeCycle] WANTED Camcorder
Needed to take video for Extreme Makeover Home Edition. Thanks!

[CRFreeCycle] OFFER: Fruit Sitter Clock Set - Latham
This was a free gift with purchase and the outside of the box says "Fruit Sitter Clock Set".It is a clock shaped like an apple with various fruits and veggies around, with seperate extra fruit/veggie pieces that go on the wall around it. Kinda cute in it's own way, would probably go well in a country motif kitchen, still in plastic in box.

[CRFreeCycle] WANTED: DOS .62 OS
Looking for the DOS .62 or .622 OS. Thanks.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

C dressed up for Thanksgiving. Posted by Picasa

C made the best Thanksgiving picture ever. Note A walking by with her pushtoy. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Sorry it's dark- she blinks if we use the flash Posted by Picasa

We'll only see wild cranes and and storks, though. My friend Mala kept these rehabilitation center friends in her barn during the latest hurricane Posted by Picasa

We bought our tickets to Florida! We're already looking forward to seeing the horses. Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 14, 2005

Spike the class mascot helps C invent Posted by Picasa

evenings with A

C is off to bed around 8:15; A usually is up until at least 9. Since we're barely functional past 10, we need to use at least some of this time to actually converse without 10 interruptions per minute. So we toss a bunch of Oatios (wheat-free organic Cheerios) on the coffee table and sit back while A sings her happy-Oatios song, munches, and roams around the downstairs. It's our most relaxing time of the day.

I bought Oatios for her without poring over the package; I gave them to C so I knew they were fine. But then noticed a little sign on the front saying, "new! better tasting!" Why are they better tasting, you may ask? Because they added sugar to them. (Note that the sign on front did not say "new! with added sugar!") The ingredients list tries to hedge by calling it "evaporated cane juice." The grams of sugar per serving are HIGHER than regular Cheerios. I'm rather annoyed, but since it's the only prepackged food we feed her, and she LOVES them, I think we're going to let it slide.

A Posted by Picasa

birthday cake (her raspberry agar agar jello is in the background) Posted by Picasa

clapping with monkey Posted by Picasa

boxes are fun Posted by Picasa

turkey boy Posted by Picasa

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Freecycle works!

So Dan tried to drag a moldy wool blanket with multiple holes to the dump. Oh no, I said! I will Wash the blanket to eliminate the mold and then we can donate it to an animal shelter! (Dan rolled his eyes, sighed, and spent 2 more hours loading the to-the-dump trailer.)

I wash and dry the blanket until it is no longer Moldy, merely Musty. Too "musty" for puppies, though; puppies deserve better.

I figure Freecycle is worth a shot, and post a completely honest description of the blanket. Within an HOUR I get a reply. (It has no punctuation and is in all-caps, but that's fairly par for the course among Freecyclers, unfortunately.) The respondent says something enigmatic about "its condition is ideal for my use." I find this somewhat curious, wondering if it will be used to transport bodies or what, but as pickup arrangements are made it becomes clear that he's a Civil War re-enactor, and musty holey blankets were likely de rigeur on the battlefield. (Or maybe only for transporting bodies.)

And, wonder of wonders, he actually picks it up within days. Hurray for Freecycle!

(And no, the blanket was not from Camp.)

Friday, November 11, 2005

Birthday baby with ribbon - the best part to play with first... (click for larger image on all photos) Posted by Picasa

Garrrr...babies! Posted by Picasa

A's walking for her birthday!

Tonight, A started really walking! While she had taken up to 4 clumsy steps at a time before, this evening she started to get the hang of it, and was really proud/enjoying herself. She kept smiling even though she'd take some steps, then trip or even spin and do a little flip (on the rug usually, luckily), she'd get right up again and try it again. Over and over... And she learned to clap today too (as Sarah joked, A must have a little checklist she wants to accomplish by her 1st birthday tomorrow).

C had a blast along with us, watching and laughing along with A at her first walking antics. She didn't have a very happy day today, so it was great to see her in such a good mood tonight. Maybe she's been especially cranky because she wanted to walk and hadn't quite figured it out until now. Watch out world, she's going to be going places now...

For her birthday, Sarah read about a nice tradition of creating a wreath, in this case out of grape vines, that would hang in her room. Each year for her birthday we'll make or buy things to hang from the wreath that remind her of that year of her life (small things, mind you, ornament sized, or it will fill up too quick). She made the wreath a few days ago, and it came out really well...

Sarah decided to make a tiny fleece sling to hang on it out of the same material she made A's real slings out of, that she loved this first year so much (and still likes to be in for comfort, even though she really doesn't fit any more). You'll now understand the pirate father with baby in sling photo--C wanted one for his pirates after seeing how cool A's ornament sling was!

C made a very creative little book, with about 10 pages total, modeled slightly off of the "Happy Baby 1-2-3" book that was her favorite for part of this year. His book had different pictures and different numbers of items on the pages, but also had hidden objects and activities "can you find the green and black heads?" and so on...

I made a tiny swing, the wooden outdoor kind that she loves/is obsessed with right now. It's made with popsicle sticks, and isn't quite finished, but should be by tomorrow.

We decided to let her open the presents from my parents today, as tomorrow will be busy with a Roots and Shoots meeting in the morning (we'll be outside a good part of the time, weather permitting, so A should enjoy it), and then a party for her at Sarah's parents in the afternoon. As you might expect, she enjoyed the ribbon/wrapping first and foremost, but then got into the toys and book eventually too :)


Monday, November 07, 2005

A just took 4 steps! Her goal- to get to the walker/push-toy so she could go FAST.

Our Roots & Shoots group is progressing well. Its site:

I told Dan that a picture's worth 1000 words.... Posted by Picasa

Just the "witch" Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

C the good witch, and his assistant, the cauldron stirrer... We had a great time trick-or-treating... Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Our roof is still leaking. Plus the water is starting to go into the kitchen wall.And the roofer isn't returning our calls. Now what do we do?

We had 20-30 people over for a potluck yesterday; it was really nice to see a bunch of our friends, meet a few new people, and get to hang out for a while. We need to get ourselves invited to other people's houses more, though, so we don't have to clean before AND after.

A slept for the first hour of the potluck. When I brought her down, I was afraid she was going to freak out because of all the people, but she did really well. She was a bit overwhelmed, and had to turn way from everyone sometimes, but overall handled it great. Only six months ago, she cried whenever someone outside of her immediate family LOOKED at her. She's come a long way!

I am hoping, though, that we're done paying for our sin of leaving her for all of five hours last Friday. My friend Mala came into town and Dan and I went to a party with her Friday night- other than C's hour-long open house, the first time we've been alone together since A was born. The kids stayed with Nana and Yeye, and we all spent the night. A wasn't thrilled while we were gone, but apparently she held up all right until bedtime, at which point Nana had to keep her in the sling to keep her content- which isn't unheard of at our house, either! BUT, ever since then, she's been super clingy, and for the first few days she was horribly "not-the-mama," even with Dan sometimes.

We had an excellent time at the party, though; food and drinks and music and friends and NO KIDS. Despite an unfortunate swing-dancing accident, we had a blast. Too bad we can't do it again without incurring A's wrath....

Friday, October 21, 2005

This activity sheet came home with C from Kindergarten today. Is anyone else as confused and disturbed by "boo blocks" as we are? (there were no additional instructions) Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

I really shouldn't make fun of other people's kids' names- who am I to judge after all- but I received an e-mail from a very nice woman today whose kids are named Samuel and Delia. I did a double-take before realizing that they're not ACTUALLY Samson and Delilah, but....

I'll write about our Night Without the Kids soon. But probably not in like 5 minutes. (Is it obvious Dan and A aren't yet home and C's in bed?)

And a happier post

The rest of the family went to the local coffeehouse to listen to some bluegrass tonight, and I picked C up at 8 to get him home for bed. On the walk home he pretended he was climbing onto some monkey bars and swinging across them. And there was a special button on top, and when he pressed it, it made it so when he came down, he was in Arizona! (There was a long, detailed explanation about how I got to Arizona too, but it involved rules of physics I haven't learned yet, so I can't recreate it here.) The rest of the walk home he talked about how Uncle Monty's ranch (the REAL Uncle Monty, not the imposter Uncle Monty) was right up ahead (from a Trixie Belden book we read like two months ago), and he played the game all the way through his going to bed routine- how the ranch was decorated so beautifully, and how he was going to meet Trixie and ride horses tomorrow, and how he'd better take off his shoes so he didn't track desert sand into the house. It felt like my C was back; the one I haven't seen since August. I hope he stays a while, now that he's gotten into the school groove.

And the bus drama continues

Apparently the bus garage realized that kindergarteners shouldn't have to sit on a bus for over 45 minutes, and added a new bus with only 10 kids that goes pretty much straight to our street. (They, of course, didn't tell us this, even though Dan had spoken with the woman in charge at length about why we were switching stops, etc.- we heard it from a neighbor on Monday, and the new route had begun on Friday.) I decided there was no way I was going to trek a few sidewalkless blocks to C's current bus stop when they started a new route essentially just for him, and when Neighbor Friend was on the new bus. He was freaked out; didn't want to switch; etc. We agreed that Dan would go to the school to get him on the bus the first day he rode it, and C was still not feeling good about it, but he had to suck it up.

And Dan calls the bus garage Monday to switch him, and is told only one person is allowed to switch bus routes, and she had a day off. (Tallying the number of things wrong with the bus garage evident in that sentence alone will be left as an exercise for the reader.) Really, it would have been no big deal, except we'd already gone through the angst with C, and we ended up having to do it again today, along with additional phone- and fax- tag with the bus garage.

Everything went fine today, and C's bus beat Dan home; we're really happy about the new route. Soon we'll have another "discussion" with the bus garage about dropping Cadao off at our house. They drop all the kindergarteners off right at their doors, except for him, because the circle we live on is tight for a big school bus. We have to walk to Neighbor Friend's house. BUT now he comes home on a mini school bus, which can easily manage the road. I'm sure they'll claim that equipment can change, etc. and refuse. Grrr.

I'm especially annoyed at the bus garage because I feel like Dan has spent vast amounts of time lately on the phone with various entities just trying to get them to do their jobs. When we came back from Twin Trees on Columbus Day, our mudroom roof was leaking. It had been repaired last January and the roofers guaranteed their work for a year. Dan called the roofer multiple times, the roofer claimed he'd come multiple times, never did (and never even called when he didn't bother showing up), and most recently claimed he sent people over who did the work on it while we were out on Saturday. (There's no evidence of work having been done, but it finally stopped raining, and thus leaking.) The roofer is still ignoring us. Dan also recently spent hours on the phone with our insurance company, which pulled a bait-and-switch routine on us; and we won't even talk about the various health insurance and government offices that are lying to or ignoring us.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

bus drama

We live a 5-minute drive from Cadao's kindergarten, but it's not a viable walk or bike ride for him, and there's no way we'd drive him to or fro daily, so he has to take the bus. (This would not be necessary if his kindergarten was in the same building as his first through fifth grade will be, but that's another rant.) He's one of the last picked up on the way to school, so has a quick trip there. However, his ride home is about 45 minutes long. He doesn't enjoy sitting on the bus for 45 minutes, and I can't say I blame him. (Why does anyone think it's okay to have 5-year-olds sitting around bored and essentially unsupervised for 45 minutes? School is only 2 1/2 hours long, and if he spent a quarter of his classroom time sitting still with no teacher guidance, I don't think anyone would find that okay. But whatever.)

His bus route makes a loop however, and in the first part of the loop, it passes Cadao's old preschool, about 2 blocks away. It's an annoying walk, because despite our complaints the local car shop thinks it's okay to park all the cars they're working on in the sidewalk, but it's not too bad. So we decide to switch Cadao's bus stop so he'd get off at his old preschool and we'd walk home from there. This makes my life significantly more difficult, but cuts a half hour off his ride- definitely worthwhile.

Dan calls the bus garage, explains the situation, and sends a note in to make the switch as directed. He specifies the exact route number Cadao would continue to ride. At 3:25, I go to the new stop to wait.

At 3:35, his bus roars by, stopping a few houses down to let off another kid, and takes off again. I chase the other kid's mom into her house and borrow her phone to call Dan. He calls the bus garage to find out what's up while I drag Whiny Baby back towards home, figuring I'd get him at his old bus stop.

Halfway home, we encounter Dan running around the corner. Despite explicit instructions to the contrary, the bus people decided to put Cadao on a different bus. Luckily, this bus goes even closer to our house, and we meet it at the corner and retrieve a crying, distraught Cadao, who had been all psyched up and prepared to ride his regular bus but get off at a new stop.

We were furious (and I didn't sleep last night, feeling sorry for poor Cadao; the experience felt lik a kidnapping to him), but rather excited to know that an earlier bus comes so near our house, so Cadao could have a shorter ride without an annoying trek down the sidewalkless street.

But, of course, after his experience on that bus, Cadao refuses to consider riding it. Ever. In his whole life.

So we gave in. Dan spent forever talking to the bus people and ensuring they were going to put him on the RIGHT bus this time, and he was going to get off at the NEW stop, and we had to pretend his babysitter lived there for some obscure reason, but at any rate, it's done. We used that stop today for the first time, and it worked well, although its going to be much less pleasant when there's a foot of snow on the ground. Even with the walk, he gets home 25 minutes sooner than otherwise, which makes us all happier. But none of us like the bus garage very much....

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Ah, so much to write about when we update so rarely! Let's see. One of C's friends got the chicken pox, and we made the mistake of telling the school about it, so when C went to school with bug bites on his neck, they sent him home early claiming that he had the Dreaded Pox. So we had to take him to a doctor, who confirmed that he did, indeed, have bug bites, and that bug bites were not contagious.

A usually refuses to eat anything from a spoon now, which makes it hard to sneak in foods like brewer's yeast and ground flaxseeds that I like to add to her cereal. However, she willingly eats many things she can feed herself, and they're cut into such tiny pieces that it takes her FORVER to finish a meal. She likes tofu and beans and green peas, and tolerates rice, but she LOVES broccoli and fruit. (We suspect she likes broccoli so much because she's rebelling against our efforts to prevent her from putting leaves and grass in her mouth.)

She doesn't care for long sleeves and long pants, and while she has adapted to crawling with long pants and socks or slippers on her feet, it takes a much greater effort so she's more likely to stay put these days. Her frustration with crawling may be why she's taken to walking with push-toys so much lately. She toddles along, using a toy for balance, and complains loudly when she is thwarted by a wall/rug/toy barrier. (She has not mastered the art of turning yet.)

One of the toys she often pushes along is a large bead-and-wire toy. She encountered a smaller version at Maia's house, and despite the different size, shape, and colors, recognized it as belonging to the same family of toys. Alas, Maia's had suction cups on the bottom, and even if it had been tall enough to function as a satisfying push-toy, the suction clubs kept it from sliding at all. A grew very angry with what she perceived as a malfunctional toy. Maybe someday she'll learn that you're supposed to push the beads along the wires....

A is also currently very frustrated with Dan's sneakers. We spend a lot of time hanging out on the porch, where we can enjoy nice weather without the threat of choking-hazard acorns, and the porch is also home to about a dozen shoes. A thinks they are toys and crawls around with them and fiddles with their closures and generally enjoys them, and we figure the exposure to all the nasty stuff on them is probably good for her developing immune system. Well, we haven't figured out just what it is that she wants Dan's shoes to do, but for the past few days she's been furious with them, so much so that today I had Dan spirit them away when she wasn't looking. I tried tying them, untying them, giving her both, taking one away, flipping them over, putting them on top of each other- to no avail. Whatever she's expecting from them just isn't happening, and she objects to this injustice very loudly.

She's equally obsessed with her swing, and she demands to go in it every time we walk past it outside, and sometimes she'll stand by the porch door pointing to it and asking to go for a ride. (She has her own word for it too, that sounds something like "een.") She likes to go super-high and she likes it when we let it go crooked, in "loop-de-loops" as C says. The only problem, besides the fact that I frankly find swing-pushing to be quite boring, is that she never wants to stop, and cries nearly every time she is removed from the beloved swing.

C is still adjusting to kindergarten. He's still not really himself- much whinier than usual on school days, maybe in part from overtiredness- but it's improving, and we're hoping a soon-to-come switch to a shorter bus ride home will help too. He continues to refuse to tell us much at all about his school days, but he is very excited about a book-writing activity they do, in which the kids draw pictures and dictate stories about the pictures to the teachers. So excited that he told us about it before he remembered that he's supposed to keep everything that happens at school secret from us, just to be contrary.

He's been on a big inventing kick lately. He's been drawing plans for "inventions" for a long time, but lately it's been several a day. Some of them are really innovative- like the device that pushes a platform up from the bottom of a swimming pool if it detects that someone has been underwater for more than 30 seconds to prevent drowning, or like the microwave accessory that stirs food while it's being microwaved so it's evenly heated- and all of them are beautifully illustrated. Most of his pictures are intended to become advertisements for the future product, so he includes prices on them, and incorporates clever marketing strategies in his art. ("I'll draw a bunch of people smiling and looking happy so people will see that they're having a great time and want to buy it!")

We're mourning the lessened sunshine, but enjoying the cooler weather. I've made a habit of brushing my hair outside, to minimize the shedding inside our house, and have come to enjoy feeling the changes in temperature every evening, noticing the position and phase of the moon if it's risen, and hearing the insects in the dark. We'll see how long I can do it into the winter.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Other than frantic, demanding cries of MAMAMAMAMAMA when she sees me and Dan is threatening to take her away, we hadn't identified any other words in A-speak until now. So what's her first word? Book. Well, she pronounes it with a silent B, but she's definitely saying it. She's still not signing at all, even though we've been using sign language for "milk" and "more" for several months now.

While we can't wait until we can communicate with her better, it doesn't have the urgency it did when C was a baby. Besides her being the second (which means we (a) aren't desperate for conversation and (b) know that once she starts she may never be silent again), her more mellow personality means that if we don't immediately understand what she wants at any given time, we are unlikely to be threatened with potentially hours of misery. Right now she has a cold and a fever, and isn't all that pleasant to be around, but basically she's being about as demanding as C was on a GOOD day at her age.

Monday, September 19, 2005

So C's gone for three hours a day now that kindergarten has begun, but somehow it's made our lives busier! He's needed a lot of attention for the past week; it's taking a lot of effort for him to adjust to school, and he needs us to be very hands-on while he's home. After his first day last Monday, he came home in a great mood and said he had a wonderful time- I think he was relieved that all was well after he'd been worrying about it for so long. We were thrilled and figured everything would be fine from there on out, but the very next day we could tell things weren't great. (This is C, of course, who only tells us anything that happens at school if we bribe him, and nothing would make him tell us something that was actually BOTHERING him.) We talked to his teachers and it turned out he had been disciplined, which really upset him even though it was done very gently (it wasn't even an incident the teachers thought twice about), and it basically ruined his day. And the next. And the next. This week is starting out all right, and we're hoping it stays that way. He's still super-whiny and needy and throws fits if things don't go his way, though, which (honest!) isn't like him. We've made a big point of keeping his homecoming after school low-key- I hang out with him and read a book while Dan and A are elsewhere (usually working and napping, respectively), but as soon as more people enter the picture it's all over. So we're still trying to find a routine that works for everyone.

Except for keeping us up all night, every night, A has been delightful. We went to a friends' for dinner last night, and she had a great time "talking" to their six-month-old. She was also exposed to a doll for the first time, one of the vinyl-ish semi-realistic ones, and we couldn't tell if she was fascinated or disturbed by it. It definitely made an impression, at any rate.

She tugs at the sleeves of long-sleeved shirts and gnaws on the toes of socks or slippers. We've only had to occasionally introduce these in the past few weeks, when the mornings are chilly, and I feel so sorry that she's going to be subjected to these indignities on a regular basis quite soon. (I must say that I am thrilled by the change of weather for myself, though. I'm done with heat and humidity. A few months of coolness-without-frigidness would be nice. Too bad we live in upstate New York....)

Our stripey kids (looking older than they do in other attire...) Posted by Picasa

C fossil hunting in the Kanakadea Creek in Alfred a couple weeks ago... Just like Dan did when he was his age... Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

After a fun first day of Kindergarten...(Click on photos for a larger view) Posted by Picasa

Waiting for their first bus! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Toasting "brown bears" is fun. Posted by Picasa

Our bird in flight... Posted by Picasa

A small portion of today's parade route... Posted by Picasa