Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Happy Day(s)

So I have to say that things have been pritty cheerful in the Green household. Which is to say that _I've_ been cheerful, which (unfairly) makes everyone else more cheerful. (What is that- that inability of a Mom to have a bad day without EVERY OTHER FAMILY MEMBER following suit?)

Anyway, if you are at all familiar with my political leanings, then you know that the inauguration day was a exciting one. Friends came over. Kids made noise. Moms shushed them. But all in all, good day. Also: oddly refreshing to sit in front of the tv for the day. (Must try that more.) (Oddly different that sitting around on the internet all day.)

But watching Obama take oath (and trying not to lick the tv screen because his skin looks So! Soft!) is not the only happy news around here. My bff, known on this blog as East Coast Anne, have birth to a sweet baby girl on Monday. Anne is my sister in every sense of the word except for the fact that we each have our own set of (somewhat crazy) parents. So I essentially have a new niece!

Also noteworthy about this delivery: 1) Anne delivered her first daughter at around 32 weeks, but THIS baby wasn't born until 39 weeks (WOOT WOOT), 2) this baby was stubbornly breech so Anne (after trying to get the baby to turn) had a c-section, and 3) Anne lives in the DC area, so was a TINY BIT afraid about getting to the hospital with, you know, an extra 4 million people in the area, a breech baby, and a cervix that was already 4cm. I am so happy that things went smoothly for her.

This baby, whom we will call Mary, is THE most beautiful, smart, and advanced newborn you will ever see! The cheeks! The sticky-upy hair! Her amazing ability to poop and pee and nurse and sleep! She is so precocious! This girl is going places, is what I'm saying. I cannot wait to meet her in person, to say "I knew her when..."

So: things are good. It's above zero, and- I kid you not- feels warmish after enduring the wind chills of last week. There is magic happening in DC, and January suddenly feels do-able.

Also? My brother shot a mountian lion. Near his home. In South Dakota. It was 130 lbs and 7 feet from nose to tail. CAH-razy! (Yes, legal- he had a license.)

Friday, January 16, 2009

The One About The Cold

So, for those of you playing along at home, I'll give you a cheat sheet of our Arctic Week, all typed out neat-like, for easy reference:

Monday: School let out at 10 AM for blizzard
Tuesday: School started 2 hours late due to cold
Wednesday: School all day, as scheduled
Thursday: School canceled due to cold
Friday: School started 2 hours late due to cold

Now don't get me wrong, Wednesday wasn't exactly balmy- in fact while I was walking through a parking lot with Marin, head down, her face pressed into my chest, the tears in my eyes were freezing on my eyelashes as they formed.

Also, I'm not complaining about this cold snap. In Minnesota, when it gets cold, we talk about it. A Lot. We say things like "Stay Warm!" instead of "Bye!"; we reminisce about that time it was so cold the Governor canceled everything statewide; we make comparisons like: "Did you know it's colder here than in Alaska right now?" (True story- Not one but two people said those exact words to me yesterday.) We like to talk (and talk) about how cold it is. That's the way it is.

(Another thing we Minnesotans like: PROOF of how cold it is.)

You would think that having air temperatures* at -25 would keep people in, that the whole town would shut down. But no. People are still put-put-putting around town in their minivans. People are still going to the library without hat or mittens. (True Effing Story). The school districts tend to be responsible about not encouraging people to go out- canceling extra curricular activities and meetings and such. But instead of staying in, everyone gleefully heads on over to the Pizza Ranch to shuffle their snouts through the buffet line.

So now I've written an entire post about The Cold, which officially fulfills my duty as a Minnesotan for today.

Additionally, thank you for the winter survival tips- I'm thinking of printing them off, laminating them, and sticking them throughout the house. Because as Erin pointed out, it's not how deep the water is, but how LONG you are in the deep water. WOOOORD.

I've also taken it upon myself to test out Baking as a Cold Weather Technique. FOR YOU GUYS, of course:

Cornbread Muffins

(Ala the 49 cent Jiffy box- cheapest pleasure available to [hu]man)

Bran muffins

(Using the recipe from the Grapenuts box, but subbing All-Bran cereal for Grapenuts.)

(And omitting the raisins.)

(And adding flax seed and chocolate chips.)

*For those of you that need a crash course in proper Cold Weather Terminology: do not let "air" temperature and "wind chill" temperature get mixed up when speaking to a Minnesotan. They will correct you. Also, they will point out that even a slight breeze can make -25 degrees SEEM like -40 degrees. And then they start reciting how fast skin freezes and how their car wouldn't start and how long their furnace runs at any given stretch, and your eyes will glaze over and you will stop listening. UNLESS you yourself are a Minnesotan, because WE never tire of talking of such things.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Winter Survival

If all my readers in California would excuse me for a minute, I need to discuss Winter Survival with my fellow Midwesterners.

Yesterday the we had a blizzard (sorta) and the kids got out of school at 10am. Today, the actual air temperature outside is NEGATIVE 19.2, and the kids started school 2 hours late.

But that's beside the point, because I like to think of cold weather sort of like I think about deep water- once the water is over your head, it doesn't matter how far over your head, ya know? Same with winter weather- once it's too cold to be outside, it doesn't matter how much colder it gets.

Honestly, I'm not feeling desperate YET- so far I'm able to embrace this good old fashioned Laura Ingalls Wilder winter we are having. But waiting until desperation sets in doesn't seem prudent.

So! *Sitting up straighter* Here's some things that I do when winter starts to beat me down:

1. Rearrange- doesn't matter if it's furniture or toys or pictures or those cute little wooden chicks you picked up on clearance at Target. Just move stuff around in your house. This will freshen up your rooms, make it feel like you have new things without having to buy new things, and thus make you feel better. Also, I've discovered that moving toys into different locations makes them seem "new" again, which can help keep the kids busy.

2. Get a hair cut. Or brow wax. Or just simply shave your legs if it's been awhile. (AHEM.)

3. Dance. Make the kids dance too. It'll burn some steam and put everyone in a better mood.

4. Clean out closets. What better time? During the warmer months, I don't like being stuck indoors with silly closet-type projects. But in the winter, getting rid of stuff AND having less cluttered spaces has a double feel-good effect. Which leads nicely to:

5. Host a Naked Lady party. I think this idea was born on the west coast, but I've just recently heard of it. You invite a bunch of friends to bring all of their unwanted clothing, hats, scarves, belts, shoes, jewelry to one location and everyone can "shop" and find some "new" things. It's free for everyone, and everyone gets to get rid stuff and gets new stuff. Win-win! The more people you invite, the better- there will be more sizes and styles to choose from.

(You could also include household items, baby clothes, maternity clothes, Christmas decorations, etc, etc, etc.)

6. Join Facebook. You will get sucked in and never have a reason to leave the house. Ever. Again. Especially if you start playing WordTwist. Heh.

7. Spend a weekday at the mall. But not to shop. Just walk a couple of loops and let your children walk/run too. Around here, malls are fairly deserted on weekdays (especially COLD weekdays), so no one cares [MUCH] if my toddler is careening down the mallway. Plus, being part of civilization just feels good, even if I don't spend time doing actual browsing or buying.

8. Get together with people. Having other adult humans around is very, VERY important for _my_ sanity, especially when it's too cold to get fresh air.

So what do you do to keep busy and warm while stuck indoors? Please add to the list. It's only January 13th! (Hold me.)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Evidence That Time Goes Too Fast

Why is it that I keep getting side-swiped by these children and their race to grow up and leave me? I mean, that is the whole point of parenting, correct? That we will raise happy, productive members of society, and the only way to measure our success is if they leave us and function well on their own?

But when Joan lost a tooth right after Christmas, I felt like I had been nad-punched. The fact that these babies of mine are indeed growing up brings me to my knees at the most unexpected times. Her tooth had been loose for over a month, for christssake. And yet, when it fell out, and she smiled at me with that tiny little gap in her grin, I felt as if I'd lost some part of her.

Putting that tiny tooth in an envelope marked "Joan, tooth #1, Dec 26, 08" was so hard. I looked at that tooth and thought about how excited (and also sad) I was when I first felt it poking through her baby gums. She was getting a tooth! How fun! Oh, but how I will miss her sweet gummy smile!

And now that first tooth has been replaced by a PERMANENT tooth- one that she will (God willing) still have in her mouth the day she gets married. Or the first time she gets pulled over. Or when she performs in the high school musical. (In reverse order, please, God, please.)

So now we are entering the age of Chicklet filled mouths. (And also the age of pleading with God a lot, apparently.) This summer I had the girls' picture taken, and many of the photos show off their tiny baby teeth. I'm so glad we did that. This is the end of the innocence, I guess.

(Hello! Melodrama much?)

In case you are wondering, Kate still does not have any loose teeth. This surprises us a tiny bit because their teeth came IN within days of each other. They've always reached these milestones so close together. Actually, I'm sorta glad- we really need to remember that they are, indeed, two different people, with two different bodies that do things at two different rates.

Also, in case you were wondering, the tooth fairy brought her TWO dollars. With swift explanations that the FIRST tooth you loose is worth more than the subsequent teeth. Because, holy shit, $2 times about 100 kazillion baby teeth equals... well, you do the math.

Also-also, in case you were wondering, that wallpaper? IT HAS TO GO. When this house is finally wallpaper-free, you will hear whoops of celebration as well as see fireworks and smoke signals of joy.

Also-also-also, I love this new way of doing "also". Thanks Swistle.

[Edited to add: I guess I need to take a remedial course on how to use loose and lose. I honestly am confounded by those two words. And while I'm at it, I should probably learn to spell nauseous.(I had to use spell check, and I had it wrong AGAIN!)]

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

6 Random Things Meme

Blacksheeped tagged me for a meme, and since I love her so much, and I also love talking about myself, and I also don't have anything better to write about today, I'm going to play along!

6 Random Things About Me (that I hope I haven't already told you more than twice):

1. I have terrible heartburn, and I sleep with my bed at an incline 24-7. My grandma, dad, and brother also suffer. We all developed it exactly the same time in life- the year we turned 18. Huh.

2. I'm not sure when the last time was that I went an entire day without having at least a tiny bit of chocolate.

3. Whenever I get into the car, I start it and then race to get my seat belt on before the 5 seat-belt-reminder-dings are over.

4. I have a huge aversion to going to the post office. Perhaps even a diagnosable, life-crippling problem. I. Just. Hate. It.

5. I love words. I tried to think of a random thing that would involve using the word "sum-bitch" because that's the word that's on my mind today. Well, look at that! I thought of a random thing that used the word "sum-bitch"!

6. I find it very satisfying to remove cradle cap with some oil and a little comb. VERY SATISFYING.

Wow, I'm leaving you with the thought of me picking away at some poor baby's scalp. Meh. Oh, well.

That was fun Kara- thanks!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Photo a Day Project

I wanted to talk to you guys about how I didn't like Hannah Montana- specifically about how I didn't think she was appropriate for my kindergartners. About how I didn't think that at age 5 they needed a rock star idol. That I didn't appreciate Disney marketing teenaged-themed programs to little kids.

And while I was at it, I was going to lump in the High School Musical movies. And how, yes, those movies are fairly squeaky clean, content wise, but how I didn't need my 5 year olds learning about cliques and popular kids and teenage romance/angst and how to mouth off/be sassy to your mother.

But after I wrote it all out, it seemed like a bitch-fest. And I was worried that I might send the wrong idea to anyone who read it, especially if they have Hannah Montana fans in the household.

I didn't want anyone to feel defensive. Or hurt. Or offended.

Because I'm not really upset with the parents... I'm upset with the marketers.

So I scratched the whole long-winded, mostly unintelligible post, and decided to tell you about my new project instead.

I'm going to try to take (at least) one photo a day, every day, in 2009. I started at the first of the year, and so far (5 days down, only 360 to go!) have not missed a day.

Before you head on over to my Flickr group, however, I have to warn you that I am in no way a photographer. I also have never used photoshop. I did get my very own copy of PS Elements for Christmas, so now I just have to obscure a Elements for Dummies-type book and I'll be all set.

Well, actually, not really. Because I also just have a very basic point-and-shoot camera (Kodak EasyShare Z650, if you're curious), and no knowledge of even beginner photography, beyond the snapshots I've taken of my kids over the years.

My hope is that I'll start seeing the world with a photographer's eye, that I'll learn a few basic tricks for PS Elements, and that I'll be able to see some improvement in how I take pictures as the year goes on.

I'd love to score a nicer camera, but that's probably not realistic. Even so, I think I can learn a few things by using my Kodak. At least I have some fairy beautiful subject (if I do say so) to practice on.

(I'm still learning how to use Flickr. Here's the link. Or, I think if you click on the slide show over there on the side bar, you will be routed to my photostream.)

Friday, January 2, 2009

Boinga, boinga, boinga

My dad got us a trampoline for Christmas.

It's 12 x 12.

Our yard is approx. 14 x 15.

We don't want a trampoline.

But he was really excited about giving it to us. He couldn't resist buying it because he thought our girls would *love* it.

And it's true. They will love it.

But I don't want a trampoline.

We can't return it (don't know where he bought it), and besides that would hurt his feelings and disappoint the kids.

But it'll take up my whole yard! And kill what little grass we have! And look stupid in such a small space!

Besides the fact that I'm being supremely ungrateful and rude, and besides the fact that the kids _will_ love it... WHAT DO I DO??

What do you do when you receive a big, expensive gift that you a) don't want and b) don't want to make space for? But the gift was thoughtfully purchased (well, thoughtfully with the kids in mind, but not the parents!) and excitedly given.


Also, HAI! We are back at home from SD, after driving all day yesterday. We had a good trip but being away makes coming home all the sweeter. Finding room for all the new stuff is a bit... laborous, but it sure is fun to have some new things! (I don't mean to sound like a spoiled baby. Christmas was lovely. We were blessed with quality family time and awesome gifts, even the unexpected ones.) Anyhoosers, our plan for the evening is to ignore the post holiday detris and watch Bucket List. And then maybe make our own bucket list? Maybe.