Monday, December 24, 2007

12 Years

Doug and I got married on Christmas Day, 12 years ago. We were married by a Unitarian minister, Don Fielding, at my parents' house in Texas. Doug's brother Sam was there, my bud Triana and her mom were there, and my parents and sisters and grandmother were there. Then a couple of days later we drove a U-Haul with our cat Merlot to live and work in Tampa, Florida. Note: it is hard to get a hotel room on New Year's Eve. We slept in the U-Haul on our second night on the road. Good times.

Our wedding contained these verses from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran:

You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore. You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days. Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God. But let there be spaces in your togetherness and let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another, but make not a bond of love. Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.

Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup, give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.

Sing and dance together and be joyous but let each one of you be alone. Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping, for only the hand of Life can contain your hearts, and stand together yet not too near together: for the pillars of the temple stand apart, and the oak and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

I love you, Douglas. Thank you for being my wonderful partner in life. I know we will be together forevermore.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Cynical at Five

Fiona's Kindergarten class recently had a section on America, including presidents. She brought home some of her work today, and I had to share it.

Really, what can I say? Let's just try to put aside how unsettling it is to find Dubya's face on your child's work for the moment, please. No, I can't. I found her statement so depressing, yet I laughed out loud (not in front of her, of course).

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Good Morning, Vietnam

A typical morning at the purple house.

Sophia. In front of a plate of eggs. "I don't want this!" Me: "Then don't eat them." Sophia eats the eggs and asks for more.

Fiona wants to bring her fairies to show (the whole small suitcase of them) at school. I remind her of the recently reinforced rule of no toys at school. Fiona: "But I haven't shown anything at show and tell in a while." There is no show and tell. Me: "Your teacher's rule is no toys at school". Fiona: "But I want to show my fairies." Me: "No toys at school." Fiona: "I'm just going to bring my fairies." Me. Chewing off my arm. Doug: "This conversation is over". (Aside: we have said she can invite her classmates over to show her fairies. She is bringing her teacher and the one across the hall their own fairies tomorrow.)

Sophia: "I want juice!" Me: "We have no juice." Sophia: "Juice! I want juice!" Me: "We have no juice." Sophia: "Please?" Me: "We have no juice." Sophia: "UUUURRGGGG!!!" Me: "I'm sorry. We will buy more later. How about water or milk?" Sophia: "Juice." Me, leaving the room. Sophia: "MILK! I WANT MILK!" Me: "Can you ask for it a different way?" Sophia: "May I have some milk, please?" Me: "Yes!" Gets milk. Sophia: "I want water."

It's 7:28 AM.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Purple House, The Musical, with Cookies

Fiona goes around singing everything these days. She tries to communicate in song. She needs some background music. I feel like I have mentioned this already. Well, if I have, it's still going on and it's happening more often. She also rummages through her closet so she can dress up as each fairy from those Daisy Meadows book series (she has the rainbow fairies and the weather fairies series and now she would like to start on the gem series...she has the first one and we check the others out from the library).

So we got buried by snow Sunday and Sunday night, but school was only delayed by a couple of hours today. For Fiona, who is only in a half-day Kindergarten, it meant no school! It is way too cold and windy, however, so we didn't prance in the snow. Maybe tomorrow. Today was cabin fever day. Very fun.

I finished the Christmas cookies for our family and now I must mail them out. Mailing them out is not the fun part.

Almond shortbread with raspberry jam.

Caramel popcorn with peanuts.

"Trio". These and the meringues are from the December 2007 Gourmet.

Cocoa and vanilla meringues.

Dark chocolate for toffee.

Taste testers. It is very serious work.

These aren't all of them, but some. The pecan crescents do not photograph well, and I'll just leave it at that. I just didn't photograph everything. I should because it is the only way I'll be able to remember what I make every year.

Making cookies with a 3 and a 5 year old is not easy. They just love the fussy cookies. I usually make the drop and bake kind because they are so easy. They were enthralled with the pastry bag, the cookie press, the different ways a cookie can look besides round. It was fun.

Here is the cookie press. It was my grandmother's. I hear they make them a lot easier to use now, but I am quite fond of using this once a year.

I love it enough that the spelling of cookie as "cooky" almost does not make my eye twitch.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Run, Run As Fast As You Can

So Fiona is home today because she said her tummy hurt. She looked a bit peakish, so after some temperature taking and going back and forth on the matter, I decided she could stay home. She is just fine, but I guess she needed a day off. Never mind she had the whole week off last week. The only thing is, they are working on their costumes at school today and Fiona has a fairly major part. She is the baker! (I'm so proud.) She has all her lines memorized, at least. The play is this Monday and so they have already missed a whole week of practice.

We had a good morning making gingerbread cookies and reading and doing puzzles. Now they are playing fairies and hopefully we will have some lunch that isn't gingerbread cookies and then work on some of Fiona's reading questions from school and some spelling.

Staying home from school today means also that I couldn't volunteer to be in her class to help with workshop, so Doug did! Everyone missed her (she hasn't missed a day yet) and was worried about her. Doug brought home a note from one of her friends and went back to work with some of the gingerbread cookies. He probably should have taken more cookies.

I need to make several different types of cookies for family and friends and it isn't really working out very well. I need to set them up with a movie or wait until they are asleep and get baking. They want to eat the cookies and I cannot deny them Christmas cookies. They love to help as well, and then we've got a situation where Sophia is eating as she goes and helping with the cookies. Yeah, those are definitely our cookies.

It's 11:48 AM and we are all still in our jammies. Okay, let's be honest here. The girls are now playing dress up, so I'm the only one still in my jammies.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Not My Wisest Purchase

A couple of Christmases ago, I bought Fiona a tin whistle for her stocking. I just found it again stowed in the depths of our bathroom cabinet. We have this deep, enormous bathroom cabinet, and below that, ample drawer space. The cabinet is actually far bigger than we need and so stuff can just get lost in there. I'm pretty sure there is a door to another world in there, but best to leave it alone.

Anyway, I took out the tin whistle, because it has been in there a long time. So it has been very loud and shrill here today because Fiona loves a toy she hasn't seen in a while and Sophia loves it for what it is. It got ugly there for a while, when Fiona came home from school, but now they are sharing it. Actually, it seems to have been temporarily forgotten. I just realized I have been forming complete sentences without trying to ignore pain.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Holiday 2007 Photo Shoot

I really need a big black drape of some sort so I don't have to share the ancient yellowing wallpaper...the bottom of the door coated with smears...the who knows what I haven't noticed yet...

This was one of my favorites, mostly because I was able to get some natural light in instead of using flash. Not easy in the winter.

I got pictures like this last one by saying delightful things like "Buddy-butt poopy butt!" "Here comes Mommy Poopy Butt!" They call their bottoms "Buddybutts" (maybe it's "buttybutts"? "bummybutts"? or all of the above...) sometimes and they know I am not wild about it, but it sure does make them laugh! I think they had trouble breathing on the last one. Fiona was laughing nearly as hard as when I visited her Kindergarten class for the first time and her teacher asked me, in front of the class, whether I preferred to be called Mrs Brown or Rachael. The idea of calling me Mrs Brown (not my real name, by the way) was absolutely like opening up a can of the funniest possible thing imaginable to a 5 year old.

It was actually pretty fun to do, then Fiona accidentally....I think...busted Sophia's wooden doll house and it needs gluing back together. That just sort of screws up the whole day.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

How about a nice football?

Last night I took the girls to the tree lighting. Our little town has a little tree and a little choir from the middle school. The little shops on the little square have hot cider, cupcakes, and cookies. We've only been one or two times before, because we are lazy and because often the weather does not cooperate. This year, Doug was off to see the Golden Compass (his verdict: disappointing) so it was just me and the kids. We listened to the choir for about 2 minutes and then went to the end of the street to get in line for Santa. The one and only time we did this, the line was so long and in such a small space that we bolted from the scene. This year, we were going to get there early.

Santa and Mrs Claus ride around on the back of a fire engine around the square where the tree lighting and shops are. The kids sort of liked that, but it's hard to really see anything. Despite the tree lighting and Christmas lights--and the fire engine--it is still really dark at 6 PM. We actually run into people we know and wait near the head of the line for Santa.

When you see Santa, you get closed off in a room with just your family and the Claus family (and our small town newspaper reporter). Now, we had tried Santa at the mall and Fiona sat next to him and asked for a real fairy or a toy fairy or a mermaid toy. Sophia wanted nothing to do with him, but she would take the chocolate kiss at the end. This time, Fiona sat on his knee and asked for a real unicorn or a toy one. Then she got this package from Mrs Claus with an activity book, a writing tablet, crayons, and about 5 different kind of Christmas marshmallow chocolate treats. Sophia was apprehensive again, but not in a loud way. More like a big eye kind of way. She actually sat on his knee. She did not say a word, she did not suck her thumb, she just stared at everyone with a shy little smile. She, of course, got a package, too. She got her picture taken by the paper photographer (hopefully, she'll be in the paper...except that means I will have to buy a copy...).

Thursday, December 06, 2007

How can you read this? There's no pictures!

Well, we have the tree up and I have finally caved in and gotten white and pink dance clothes for the girls because Fiona really wanted PINK for her dance class like all the other girls (here we go). Truthfully, they were both outgrowing their black and dark blue dance clothes. I think I have to embrace the pink. There was no interest in the pink earlier, but that was then. They do look terribly cute. Fiona's clothes were too small and defective anyway, so she doesn't have a picture yet.

Fiona's latest topics of interest lately have been mermaids, princesses, and getting married. There is this boy in her class, let's call him K, whom she seemed fond of (She said he taught her how to kick sharks in the water; what more could you want in a man? She said if that didn't work she could lift them out of the water and throw them like Pippi Longstocking.) and wrote little love letters to. K would wait for her in the morning so they could walk back to the playground together before school started (K's older sister would wait, too, much to K's chagrin). She asked him if he wanted to get married when they were older and he said no. She asked if they could just live together and he was okay with that. Later he decided it was okay to get married.

This is old news, now, and that was about 2 weeks ago. Last week she told Doug that she was a princess and she had to marry a prince. So, Doug asked, "What about K?" She said she liked him a lot but she had to marry a prince. She pondered a bit and said, "Gosh, I hope he doesn't go all Gaston on me" (For those who do not know who Gaston is, you would need to see Disney's Beauty and the Beast).

I apologize for how slow it has been around here. It's not like I don't have a plethora of material to work with. Oh, and I'm not wild about this princess phase, so any suggestions of good books for how to be an alternative princess would be welcome. I'm not too worried, however. I eat lunch with her class on Thursdays and K wanted to sit next to me (most of them want to sit next to me, it's really flattering) so I did (Fiona on the other side--these are round tables). He whispered to me that he saves his milk so he can drink it after his nap and could I make Fiona save her milk so she can drink it after her nap? I couldn't help but laugh because A) Nap?! Fiona?! (I didn't mention her lack of nap to him) and B) I said, K, I can't make her do anything. He said, "She makes me do stuff all the time!" (Don't be alarmed; he went on to talk about their workshop time in the classroom. Fiona is not shy about handing out instructions.)

In other news, Monday was a snow day and the girls now adore sledding in the back yard (it's sort of difficult to veer away from the maple saplings we have everywhere, though). However, a pipe burst at Fiona's school so one snow day as turned into an entire week off.

Cutest moment of the week: One afternoon, Fiona read to Sophia on the couch. After about 4 books, Fiona came over to me in the kitchen and said Sophia fell asleep while she was reading to her:

This morphed into: