Archive for January, 2008

“This weather is for the birds,” my friend e-mailed me this week.

-50˚ with the wind chill, I couldn’t agree more. Except that birds have the sense to fly south!

And we, well we are left with this.

Which brings us to the battle ranging at the forefront of our preoccupation.

How do you pack this


into this


There has been many times is the past three and half years, that I have wondered if I gave birth to the reincarnated Princess and the Pea. Like tactile children of many generations, Ava is plagued by unseen hairs, sand, dust, and tags, otherwise known as the Itchy Fairies that make her squirm and fuss and cause me to pull my own hair.

Getting Ava into the previously pictured safety device in the summer is as breezy as the sundresses she wears. She hops in, buckles herself, and away we go. However, add the layers necessary to protect her from the biting cold (and by biting I mean walking through a wall of flying locust that are gnawing off your nose), and you find yourself under fire on the western front: arms flailing, legs kicking, and squeals less merciful than rockets.

I am not trained to withstand this kind of onslaught especially given the added weather conditions. No one, I mean no one wants to stand bent into an open car trying to restrain a three-year-old in full-fledge meltdown, while sub-zero temperatures are howling up their coat and snatching every ounce of warmth.

I have tried rewards and punishments. I have explained the difference between “it hurts!” and it’s uncomfortable. I have been calm and I have been not so calm (have I mentioned that it’s COLD). I have actually heard myself say, “deal with it.”

So I turn to you, how do you peacefully strap in a child with this many layers?

Ideally, I would like to move her into a seat where she is not so smooshed. To her credit, she is very smooshed. But the laws require her to be forty pounds to switch seats. And she is nine pounds shy of that mark. How are we to endure nine more pounds of growth? And how are we going to get them into that carseat?

Please, advise, please.

Read Full Post »

“Mama, Florida is a really long ways away. If we drive to Florida we are going to have to take Daddy with us. ‘Cause that’s a long ways to go without Daddy. ‘Cause we would be on the highway and you would get all tired and then somebody would crash us and then Daddy wouldn’t have anything to eat!”

Good to know her daddy’s appetite is her number one concern.

Read Full Post »

a tropical heat wave…

“It’s finally warm enough to go ice-skating!”

Growing up where the only ice was found in the freezer, I never thought I’d form such a sentence, let alone experience it.

Twenty-two degrees is hardly tropical, but never underestimate the power of relativity. It has been in the negatives (that means below zero, not below freezing, below zero), so this is nearly forty degrees warmer than it was two days ago. Today twenty-two degrees (ten degrees below freezing) feels quite balmy.

So our family of three decided to take advantage of this deliciously warm weather and went ice-skating. We laced up our skates in a warming house set a blaze by a roaring fire and laughing children scuttling across long wooden benches. Ava’s ankle wobbled as she stood in her skates for the first time and she grabbed her daddy’s hand as he showed her how to keep them straight.

We teetered out into the crisp night air and held onto a railing that led us down to a frozen stream. It meandered under walking bridges and glowing lamp posts. Evergreens lit up with white lights lined the ice-bound creek whose new current was shaped by shiny blades carving ripples and swirls on its surface.

Nate wrapped his hands under Ava’s shoulder and gave her her first push out on the ice. She giggled as her pair of double blades scratched their own marks into the ice.

We took turns crouching to our knees and holding out our arms, sending her to and fro as if she was a toddler charting her first steps. She kept her ankles straight up and arms straight out as she shuffled from one hug to the other.

Nate and I each took a fuchsia mitten in our own as we skated in a happy row of three. We glided together under one bridge, then another and another until we reached a large open pond. Ava shuffled over to the bank and made a seat in the snow as she watched her daddy race past me and attempt to show me how to skate in reverse. She ate mitten-made snow cones and practiced standing up on her skates, all the while enthralled by a skater making pirouette and petit jete’s across the pond.

When the rosiness in our cheeks spread to our noses, we took hands again and scraped out our goodbye to the little pond. We had only passed one bridge before Ava threw up her arms and declared her legs could take her no further. Three bridges away from the warming house, Ava had skated her last.

Nate lifted her up as I skated off in hopes of finding an abandoned sled.

I returned with a tall wooden sled with long black metal runners. Ava practiced pushing it, but her tired legs preferred being pushed on it. She made herself comfortable on the high wooden bench and leaned back to enjoy a daddy sleigh ride.

“Faster, Daddy, faster!” she cried from beneath two scarves. A flurry of ice and snow flew up behind Nate’s dark skates as he propelled her past the warming house and down the other side of the creek, leaving me with a picture of my two loves whizzing through a winter wonderland.

We passed on our sled to another little girl with tired legs, and climbed back up to the warming house. Ava and I took our place in front of the crackling logs and peeled off the layers of warmth as her daddy went in search of hot cocoa.

He returned with one and placed it in Ava’s happy hands. The moment I said, “Nate, why did you only get one,” Ava spilled it onto the slate floor and we had none. Her tears soon joined the steamy puddle sending her daddy off in search of a mop. A nearby father offered the weepy Ava a cup of cocoa from his family’s thermos and soon we had one again. Nate returned with paper towels, a custodian, and another cup of cocoa–now we had two!

After we had fully soaked in all the savory cocoa, the glowing fire, and the warm cheer from the families of mittens and hats, we stood to up to say good night. We stepped out of Currier and Ives and back into the parking ramp to find our ride home.

Come to think of it now, perhaps frozen water is balmier than a tropical heat wave.

Read Full Post »

miss the southwest:
















oh wait, maybe not the this.

I did get an e-mail yesterday Uncle Kim correcting my spelling of the scary black pig–it’s a Javalina not a Havalina. It’s good to know that a hunter can spell his prey.



And the number ONE reason why I miss the southwest:


Only five more months until flip-flops and sundresses!

Read Full Post »

Last Thursday after a delectable course of three cheese lasagna with spinach and basil and a mixed green salad with sweet peppers and avocados, HungryMan (also known as Nate) headed to the kitchen to prepare himself a man-sized lunch portion. I was helping Ava get ready to go to a reception at church, so he offered to put the rest of the food away.

As we were about to walk out the door, I noticed that the half-eaten salad was still on the counter.

“Nate, I thought you were going to put away the food,” I said as I began pouring the salad into a plastic container.

“What are you doing, honey,” he replied. “We never eat left-over salad.”

While this is true, I have an aversion to throwing away perfectly good food. I’d prefer to put it in the fridge and wait until it’s actually wilted before discarding it. So I placed the small container of salad next to mammoth container of lasagna, closed the fridge door and left for church.

The next morning, I was sipping hot tea and writing away at my favorite get-away while Ava was at preschool, when Google chat popped up on my screen:

11:58 AM Nate: hi

11:59 AM me: hi
Nate: i brought the wrong lunch!
me: serious?
what did you bring?
Nate: salad!
me: ha!
Nate: with soggy croutons!
me: I saw you had the salad
Nate: no dressing!
me: and I thought, oh, he’s being healthy eating salad WITH his lasagna
Nate: nope i’ve just got salad
me: i can’t breath
Nate: worse…i almost microwaved it!
me: can’t breath
Nate: worse news of the day!
me: laughing so hard, can’t type
12:01 PM crying in fact
seriously, I was wondering why you had grabbed the salad when you said last night “we never eat the left- over salad.
You’re going to have to start labeling your lunch: NATE’S NUNCH
Nate: ugg!
12:02 PM me: you found uggs?
on ebay?
how much?
Nate: no, ugh!
me: way to go
get me all excited
worst news of the day!
Nate: don’t complain to me about worse news
i have that one cornered
– – – –
I suppose he does.


Read Full Post »


“Why did God make is so cold for me outside? Why does God want me to freeze and all of us?” –Ava

Read Full Post »

made you look

Ava: Daddy, I’m shivering.

Daddy: You need to put your slippers on little girl.

Ava: I can’t find them.

Daddy: Go look in your room.

Ava: [from in her bedroom] Daddy, they’re not in here. I can’t find them.

Daddy: Did you look in the living room?

Ava: [from living room] They’re not here either. [Standing right behind Daddy] Daddy, I can’t find them anywhere. I’m so cold Daddy. Look Daddy, I’m shivering!!

Daddy: Hey, what’s that on your feet!

Ava: I was just teasin’.

Read Full Post »

sew lovely

Way back in the fall of 2007, Ava and I were doing a bit of early Christmas shopping and had stopped for a play break in the children’s museum that is Pottery Barn Kids. After completing two loads of laundry, whipping up a tasty bowl of butternut soup, and taking a pint-sized baby for a spin in a pint-sized stroller, Ava spied a child-sized sewing machine and raced over to give it a try.

From a distance, I thought it might be a toy version of a sewing machine like the make-believe kitchen we had just spent the past thirty-five minutes in. As I crossed over to Ava, I found that she was fully engaged with a real machine with real needles, levers, bobbins, and thread. This was not for three-year-olds.

“I want to sew, Mama!” she cried as I began to pry her away from the machine.

“I know, Ava, but this is for big kids. This is not a sewing machine for little kids.”

“But, Mama, I want to sew. I want to sew something.”

I explained to Ava I would help her sew something at home, and that this machine was just for people to look at and not for a child to actually sew on in the store. Of course, I had no idea that what I would help her sew or even that she would still want to sew once the machine was out of view.

Yet, “I want to sew” continued to roll out of her mouth all the way out to the car, down the street, into another parking lot and through the doors of Panera Bread.

Somewhere between the Frontega chicken sandwich and the chicken noodle soup, I remembered that her preschool teacher had mentioned Ava’s fondness of lacing cards. Then in an instant round of the synapse relay game, I also remembered an image of girl clasping a small felt purse (most likely from the long forgotten Martha Stewart Baby magazines for which we can all let out our collective sighs: one for the loss of beauty and two for the relief of pressure).

“Ava, would you like to sew a purse?”

Her eyes widened as she nodded enthusiastically, “but I don’t know how.”

“Oh, I’ll show you,” I responded as I wiped all trances of the Chocolate Chipper from her lips and hands. We put on our mittens and set off for Joanne Fabrics.

Two months later, Ava presented these Christmas gifts to her cousins, Audrey and Cate:


She was supposed to make one for Naomi too, but her lacing enthusiasm eventually wore off. Fortunately, Naomi is six, the perfect age to learn how to thread a needle and run it up and down some felt.

While the other girls were napping, Naomi and I found a cozy corner in their living room for her first sewing lesson.

She was a very quick learner and within half an hour had whipped out her first sewing project. Bravo Naomi!
Not to be left out (or out-done), Ava also made this purse for herself:

Really, I think she might been the next Kate Spade.
Orders, anyone?

Read Full Post »

since I have seen a band of white on my daughter’s fingertips!


Three cheers for progress!

One up and nine to go…

Read Full Post »

Congratulations to MCK Mama for guessing four out of the six songs correctly! Here are the snippets and the songs they were snatched from.

“I first set my eyes” and “through the streets wide and narrow”–Molly Malone
“virgin mama” and “silent night”–Silent Night.

“Lift your arms up”–Blue Bowl Down, Ava’s favorite book of the past year, which I sing to her.

“come to thee”–I Need Thee Every Hour

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow”–Surely Goodness and Mercy

“in a one horse open sleigh.”–Jingle Bells

I thought that MCK Mama’s sister Hillary had won the contest and actually gave MCK Mama the prize today to give to her sister. After careful review however, it was actually MCK Mama who takes the prize (so sorry, Hilary)–and I think that makes three contests that MCK Mama has won!

Oh, and what did she win?

A creative-play songbook that puts new lyrics to familiar tunes. It was discovered during the Great Purge, that I will surely tell you about someday.
Rather fitting find wouldn’t you say? Happy singing to you, Kieran and Cullen (and someday Maisie)! And thanks for coming to the dolphin show with us.

Lavendar blue, dilly, dilly,

Dolphins dark gray, dilly, dilly,

In the deep pool, dilly, dilly,

They dive and play.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »