Saturday, December 29, 2007

Things to save in case of fire

I have loved CoffeeBeanMan since I was a child. Back then he lived in the dirt of a Norfolk pine houseplant my grandparents had in Minneapolis. When my Opa died in 1990, CoffeeBeanMan was the only thing I really wanted from the estate. Which is good, since Opa's second wife stole everything she could. If she had known my feelings for CoffeeBeanMan, she surely would have stolen him, too. Luckily, I am subversive.

As of today, CoffeeBeanMan lives in our kitchen. I was going to put him on the mantel, in a place of honor, but I posed him in the kitchen and look how happy he is!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Heifer update

The total for the Heifer fundraiser is $23.16! Because of the kind and generous person I am, I will round it to $24 before mailing it in. Maybe even $25. More importantly, I’ve decided that since you all were nice enough to support my little venture in blogville, I’ll just continue with the Amazon ad on this site, and I will donate the proceeds whenever the total reaches $50 or at least once a year, whichever happens more frequently. Thanks for helping raise this money! It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

As a thank you, here is a wonderful little nature video for you to enjoy: a bird moonwalking.

Bonus joke:

How many people of a certain ethnicity does it take to change a light bulb?

A certain finite integer. One to hold the bulb and the rest to act in a fashion stereotypical of that ethnicity.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas with kids

Watching our children open presents is so much fun, better than opening my own (although I loved mine, thanks!). Especially how they have zero attention span and flit from object to object, like the immature beings they are, without really appreciating the thought behind the ... oooo, shiny!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Planning next year’s garden

New for next year: Potatoes, peapods, and green beans. I hear potatoes are a breeze. You start the plants and then keep putting more soil on them all season. Since we have tons of compost, should be easy. And we have some extra wire fencing that should work fine.

Nea loves peas, so that’s the motivation there. Boo got a plant that they started from seed at her preschool, and we enjoyed eating the pods straight off the plant all summer. However, one little plant was obviously not enough for a family of 4.

The only reason I want to do green beans is that I tried my aunt’s homegrown marinated green beans last summer, and I am hooked. Such a great lunch – the beans, fresh bread with butter, maybe some fruit. Very German.

Not doing again: Sweet potatoes. I bought slips for around $12 and got maybe $4 of product.

Natural pest control: N spotted a coyote in front of the neighbor’s house last night, so that explains the reduction in bunnies this year. If I could figure out what was eating my butternuts, that would be helpful. We know there are opossums, raccoons, bunnies, mice, chipmunks, and squirrels around. It’s like living in a damn Varmint Nirvana.

I’m not even sure I can grow squash again because once the varmints figured out the seeds in there were tasty, that was the end of that. Or I’ll have to cover each squash with a wire cage or something ridiculous like that.

Space issues: We started with a 12x12 bed. Then this year we added an 8x8 bed. The potatoes won’t be in there (they’ll be behind the garage), and I’ll have all the space available that those spacehog sweet potatoes used last year. So, will that leave enough room for the beans and peas? Probably. I’ll have to research bush beans versus climbing beans. Plus maybe I can sneak a few plants in behind the peach tree, where there’s lots of sun. I have had various plants over there before and they never get watered enough. But next year will be different! Next year I’ll force the kids to help more! That’s why we had them!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What parenting a special needs child feels like

I know, I know. It could be so much worse. She's only apraxic. She'll probably talk some day. Regardless. It could also be easier. Much easier.

"You have a candle, but no matches. You have a key, but no door. While you are negotiating this maze, you run into people who also have candles and keys and are also looking for doors. Some have candles that are lit and help light the way for you. Other times, you turn a corner and your candle is blown out by a breeze. Sometimes you find a door, but have the wrong key -- Be assured that you will always find someone with a candle and you will eventually find the right door."
Holly Olmsted-Hickey

I was just telling someone that one of the apraxia yahoo groups I belong to is composed of, apparently, thousands of parents, all of whom are yelling into the abyss at each other, "Help me! Help me!" So that quote came at a particularly appropriate time in my life. It might so hokey to you, but it's true from where I'm standing.

And just when you feel depressed enough about how all this is going, you find a comic strip that depresses you for what the future could hold. The storyline runs from June 18-28 (skip Sundays).

Monday, December 17, 2007

Mad Math Skillz

We often snuggle in bed in the morning, just me and the girls. N is off to work at the buttcrack of down, actually earlier.

The other day Boo says, “Mama, what’s 24 and 24?”
I say “48”
What’s 24 less, then?
Oh, ok, then what’s 12 less?
Oh, then we haven’t seen Papa in 36 hours.

I was impressed. Of course, I had no idea where she was going with that line of questioning. Later that same day we had her parent-teacher conference. We are chatting about how “delightful and well-rounded” she is when she comes up and says “Mama, what’s 4 and 4 and 4?” And I walk her through 4+4, and then 4 more. The teacher turns to me and says, “I don’t think you should have any concerns about her.” Nice timing, kid! Make a Mama proud.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Books books books books

Book group was lovely last night, as always. N was very surprised that everyone left at midnight. Pretty early for us. Perhaps the pregnant mom and the two nursing mothers were tired from all that creating and nurturing life? And the rest of us just frazzled from pre-holiday mayhem?

Having a fire going certainly made it cozy. In fact, we enjoyed it so much that we have another fire blazing now. What a crappy life I lead, blogging all toasty with my tea and fire. Nea is clunking around in my shoes. Boo is spinning around. N is making lunch.

Next month’s selection is The Minds of Billy Milligan by Daniel Keyes.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Is there a marine biologist in the house?

I think it would be pretty festive, just with a string or two of lights wrapped around the eel, but they do it differently in Japan. (video starts after short commercial)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Chihuly at the Garfield Park Conservatory

Our only definite plan over the holidays is another visit to the Garfield Park Conservatory. I read in the Trib that another Dale Chihuly piece is on permanent display there now. The first time his work was exhibited there was probably my favorite art experience. See it here.

Or, if you are anti-art but pro-chocolate, check out the conservatory's Chocolate Fest. The next one will near Valentine's Day, as is traditional. The date doesn't seem to be posted on their site yet.

(Photo of Boo in 2005 at the conservatory.)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

With the money we'll save on diapers ...

If there’s anything cuter than Nea, turning her back to you, and dramatically patting her butt three times with the flat of her hand to sign the need for a new diaper, I don’t know what it is. Regardless, serious potty training commences Dec. 21st, when her two weeks of vacation kick in. Stay tuned for the hilarity that is sure to ensue.

To date, the Heifer total from this site is $21.90. Not bad, I think. That’s enough for a flock of chicks, ducks, or geese. Enough to change a family's life.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Strange Humor

Everyone has a unique sense of humor, don’t you think? You can have a “dry” sense of humor, or a “dark” sense of humor. Or none. But I’ve never heard of a person having a “standard” sense of humor. Here are some examples of what is funny to me.

Setting: In line at a large salad bar.
Music playing over sound system: If you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with … (video)

Bluestem, to husband: Listen, Sweetie, they are playing our song!

And one that truly has an appreciative audience of one.

Friend: What causes apraxia?
Bluestem: Bad parenting.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Knee-deep in Christmasworld

Having trouble getting into the holiday spirit? Try this!

Having trouble finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list? Try this!

We just cut down our own Christmas tree, which we had never done before. I highly recommend Ide Trees in Downers Grove
. I do not necessarily recommend undertaking this festive family fun in the rain, though. And Christmas trees give me an itchy rash. What a scrooge I am.

To-do list for Xmas

  • Decorate tree.
  • Finish forcing the kids to make Christmas cards.
  • Give up and use back-up cards.
  • Order photo for Christmas cards.
  • Mail Christmas cards with photo and letter.
  • Make gingerbread house.
  • Finish shopping.
  • Wrap presents.
  • Mail presents, as applicable.
  • Bake cookies.

Have I forgotten anything?