Friday, February 29, 2008

Friday: Fun with Scattergories

Thanks for the idea, Wanda! Feel free to play along - and let me know if you do. The rules are ...

Use the 1st letter of your name to answer each of the following -- they have to be real places, names, things ... nothing made up! You CAN'T use your name for the boy/girl name question.

What is your name...........................Kristen
4 Letter word...............................Kite
City........................................Kalamazoo, Michigan
Boy Name....................................Kyle
Girl Name...................................Katherine
Alcoholic Drink.............................Kir Royale
Occupation..................................Kindergarten teacher
Something you wear..........................Kimono
Celebrity...................................Kurt Busch
Something found in a bathroom...............Kleenex
Reason for being late.......................Keys lost
Cartoon Character...........................Krusty the Clown
Something you shout.........................Kowabunga!
Body part...................................Knee
Word to describe you........................Kind

Another 5-8 inches of snow is headed our way tonight. I think I'm going to have a Last Snow of the Season celebration. Sledding, snowman-making, hot cocoa, maybe a trudge to the corner donut shop for munchkins. And I'll take pictures and post 'em.

Because it's going to be the last snow ... or ELSE!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Hymn to share

We sang this at my church a few weeks ago, and I couldn't get through the chorus without choking back tears. It's so amazing to me that the Lord loves me just the way I need to be loved. And, that he uses just the words I need to hear.

It popped into my head again this morning when I woke up, so I thought I'd share it with all of you. (I wish I could share the tune as well, but the only MP3 I can find of it never loads correctly.)

You Have Come Down to the Lakeshore
(Composer: Cesareo Gabarain)

You have come down to the lakeshore
Seeking neither the wise nor the wealthy,
But only asking for me to follow.

Sweet Lord, you have looked into my eyes,
Kindly smiling, you've called out my name.
On the sand I've abandoned my small boat;
Now with you, I will seek other seas.

You know full well what I have, Lord;
Neither treasure nor weapons for conquest,
Just these my fishnets and will for working.

Sweet Lord, you have looked into my eyes,
Kindly smiling, you've called out my name.
On the sand I've abandoned my small boat;
Now with you, I will seek other seas.

You need my hands, my exhaustion,
Working love for the rest of the weary,
A love that's willing to go on loving.

Sweet Lord, you have looked into my eyes,
Kindly smiling, you've called out my name.
On the sand I've abandoned my small boat;
Now with you, I will seek other seas.

You who have fished other waters;
You, the longing of souls that are yearning;
O loving Friend, you have come to call me.

Sweet Lord, you have looked into my eyes,
Kindly smiling, you've called out my name.
On the sand I've abandoned my small boat;
Now with you, I will seek other seas.

God bless all of you today - and always.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Yay me!

I'm working from home today. A shattered one of his molars last night while eating wasabi peas (ouch!), so I needed to keep an eye on R while A went to the dentist. I was more than happy to do it because I would work from home every day if I could. I love getting stuff done for work while being in the comfort of my own home. Plus, there's no commute and I can usually squeeze in some housework as well.

So, today, I've had two conference calls, answered a gazillion questions from my staff over IM, done some of my own work, PLUS I drove A back and forth to his appointment, fed R and me (lentil soup, fresh veggies, and leftover garlic bread for me; peanut butter and honey sandwich, blackberries, and carrots for R), ran three loads of laundry, reserved a place for R's birthday party, read my daily devotional, and I'm now reading for my class so I don't have to do as much reading tonight.

But my favorite part of the day so far was helping R with two projects: (1) modifying his grabby-claw reaching gadget (looks like this) so that he can grip slippery stuff (i.e., train track) with it, and (2) disassembling his Sit-n-Spin so that R could figure out what was making the rolling noise inside it. For the grabby-claw, which R had broken awhile ago and was now missing the rubber parts that help it grip, I cut the fingertips off of a rubber glove and attached them to the claws with electrical tape. For the Sit-n-Spin, R and I carefully removed every screw (and there were tons of 'em), then discovered the track balls inside. R was thrilled because he guessed that there were marbles inside, so he was right! Then, we found out how to pry open the top part where the batteries go. (We bought it from our local thrift store and chose not to put any batteries in - until now.) I caved and agreed to put new batteries in, and the thing isn't nearly as annoying as I expected it would be. It actually plays some interesting tunes - quietly - woohoo! It was so much fun doing this with R, and he gets so excited about it. He thanked me about 10 times for "fixing" his grabby claw.

R and I also had a very interesting conversation about why Charlie's wife in the song "Charlie on the MTA" didn't just hand him a nickel through the window instead of a sandwich. We decided that either: Charlie was a very messy husband, so his wife wanted him to stay on the train so she could keep the house clean; or that Charlie had smelly feet, so his wife didn't want to smell them anymore. (I won't share R's third theory, which involved boogies.) R also decided that Charlie should have done the smart thing and asked one of his fellow passengers if he could borrow a nickel because he could have just gotten another one from the bank later and returned it to the person.

I love my boy. (Can you tell?)

So, I've been very productive today - yay! Although I never did make it out of my pajamas. But since my pajamas were actually some of the clothes that I wore yesterday, no one will notice. ;-)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

My Day With R (aka How to Make a Mess)

My Thursdays off with R have been getting a little crazy recently. All of a sudden, I've got three or four fellow mom friends who want to get together on those days so our kids can play. Which is great, really. Because R is always complaining about how he needs friends to play with (even though he's at school three days a week with a classroom full of friends, plus we always have at least one playdate every weekend) and I really enjoy chatting with the other moms. But being fully scheduled with playdates has kind of defeated the purpose of why I wanted to take these days off in the first place: to have more one-on-one time with R. Plus, I really hate contributing to this notion that your kids must be scheduled and entertained at all times. I want R to know that hanging out at home and reading or playing games or coloring or just playing with his own toys is OK, even fun.

So, what I've decided to do is use the mornings to have time alone with him and then have our playdates in the afternoons. And, this morning was great. R woke up way too early and was so upset and sad that he missed the part of the lunar eclipse last night when the moon was red. Poor little man. (I let him stay up late to see most of the eclipse, which was really cool, but he missed the peak. We sat on the floor in his room, looking through his window with our binoculars.) I got him to calm down and go back to sleep for a little while since it was before 7 a.m., but once he saw the 7:00 on the clock, he was ready for the day to begin. :-)

We had breakfast, played Chutes & Ladders (although he seems to be having more and more trouble accepting that he cannot win board games every single time we play - it's to the point now where he throws a fit and wants to start the whole game over if he doesn't get a good roll/spin/etc. on his FIRST turn!), played "zoom the cars up the ramp and try to get them to fly into the astronaut helmet," and played "take things apart and use the pieces for other things." I love watching R do this - he is constantly disassembling household items (e.g, the toilet paper roll holder or his play goggles) and taking the components (e.g., giant metal spring, elastic strap) and tying or attaching them to other toys. His concentration is amazing when he does this, and I'm in awe of his skills. We're always finding weird combinations of toys around the house: his B*zz L*ghtye*r doll/figure with a string tied to his arm, which is tied around the funnel of a toy train, which has a binder clip clipped to it and another string, which is tied to a flashlight or a funky pen. And, he makes up stories about these items, all of which usually involve a character called "Honky." (Of course R has no idea what that means to other people - as far as he's concerned, he made it up himself.)

After playtime, which resulted in the living room floor being covered with toys (Mess #1), we moved to the kitchen to make a chocolate cake. I have this wonderful, glowy, this-is-part-of-why-I-became-a-mom vision of baking cookies and cakes and other treats with R. And, I give it a shot every couple of months. It definitely gets easier every time. But we're not quite there yet. R is really keen on helping me for about 10 minutes, then he loses interest when I won't let him eat straight sugar or chunks of butter or when I stop him from using the whisk to fling batter onto the wall. He was good company, though, while I finished the mixing and popped the pans into the oven. And, he was great company while I washed the dishes (Mess #2). He sat perched on the counter next to me and was chatting happily until I noticed that he had found a couple of ink stamps and was stamping himself ALL OVER. Face, legs, arms, hands (Mess #3). The only way I could get him to give them up was by suggesting that he bring them to my office party tonight and stamp my co-workers. (That turned out to be a GREAT idea! It kept R busy at the party, and he worked the whole room. People were coming up to him and asking him to stamp their hands. It was very sweet.)

After the cake was out of the oven and mostly cooled, I attempted to get the layers out of my supposedly non-stick pans. All I can say is I HATE those pans. They were expensive and they are a great name brand, but they stink. The first layer fell apart in chunks when I had to pry it out with a fork (Mess #4). I sort of pieced it back together enough to resemble a cake layer, when I turned my back for a second and heard R saying, "Wow! I love chocolate cake! Mmm, mmm, this is delicious! I have to have more!" I swung around and couldn't help laughing at the sight of him ripping chunks of cake off the layer and jamming them into his mouth, meanwhile dropping crumbs everywhere (Mess #5). Every place I tried to put the cake out of his reach, he immediately ran to and grabbed more cake.

Eventually, after lunch, we headed to R's friend's house for a couple hours of playtime, which involved pillow fights, wrestling, jumping on the furniture, playing indoor hockey, and wailing on the drum set in the basement (Mess #6). Then we went home to get ready for the work party. It was strangely quiet while I changed clothes in my room, and when I came downstairs, I found R still in his coat, curled up in the armchair, sucking his thumb, and sound asleep. He didn't wake up until almost an hour later when I pulled into the parking garage above the restaurant where the party was being held in Boston. Then he woke up and was the life of the party. :-)

Houses trashed: 2
Messes made: 6
Another day with my boy: priceless


Last night, after my best friend called to tell me that (1) the ultrasound showed that her babies are fine and that she's having a boy and a girl (yay!) and (2) that her dad who has brain cancer is back in the hospital with pneumonia and blood clots in his lungs, R asked me why Auntie A's daddy was so sick. I tried to give him an answer, and he said, "Auntie A's daddy is going to heaven." Yes, my sweetheart, but not yet. Please not yet, Lord.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The bright side

This has been a difficult week. I've been feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, exhausted, and cranky for most of the week. Not all, but most. I wasn't going to post anything because who wants to read about my crankiness, but then I decided to write about the good things that happened this week. Sort of a "What I'm thankful for" in mid-February.

  • My best friend is pregnant with twins!!! I've known for a long time now, but she's finally telling everyone else, so I feel OK with telling my world. Yay!!! I'm so excited!! I can't wait until those babies arrive and I can help my friend - because she's going to need all the help she can get. This Wednesday, we'll hopefully find out what she's having (if the babies cooperate). And, on Friday at work, I was sitting in my friend's office talking when she felt the babies move for the first time. That was so cool. :-)

  • On Tuesday night, I had dinner with my best friend and Trish. I had such a nice time hanging out and talking about all kinds of stuff. I tend to forget how good it is to get out and be with friends since I do it so rarely. Plus, it's refreshing to be out with people that do not climb all over me while I'm eating, blow bubbles in their drinks, or talk about boogies or poop during dinner. ;-)

  • A and R "surprised" me on Valentine's Day morning with a beautiful potted orchid plant, fancy chocolates, and a tin of rooibos tea. Plus, a handmade card. R was very upset with himself that he messed up writing his name on it. And, when he accidentally spilled the beans to me about my surprise the night before, he was so sad! Poor little man.

  • My huge project at work that has been dragging on for almost a year due to delay after delay is finally going to be done next week! I think I may actually try to take a day off soon afterwards so I can relax a little and clean my house, which has been neglected for weeks now because of work and my class.

  • The writers' strike is over, which means that "The Office" will be back soon!

  • So far, I've been able to stick to my fast for Lent: I don't eat anything after dinner. That probably doesn't sound very hard, but it's actually been very challenging for me because I always snack at night while I'm on the couch working or watching TV. When I first told A that that's what I was doing for Lent, he laughed. He honestly thought I was kidding because it seemed so ridiculous that I'd be able to give up my evening sugar. But I'm doing it, and it feels good!

  • Sunshine. Although I also thank God for rainy days and snowy days, I've been especially thankful this week when the sun has been out. When it's sunny and 20 degrees, it's much easier to bear the cold.

  • A long, holiday weekend!

  • A and R, for putting up with me and loving me even when I'm crabby.

That's all I can think of for now, although I know there is always much to be thankful for, even when I can't see it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Love this song!

I first heard this song years and years ago and, for some reason, it popped into my head yesterday. It took me almost 24 hours to remember the name of it ("Stay With Me") and the artist (Lorraine Ellison), and I just had to share it with y'all.

It is one of the most incredible songs ever. Not the lyrics so much as Lorraine Ellison and how she sings it. It sounds like someone broke up with her right before she recorded it. You can feel the pain and pleading in her voice. (If you don't want to wait for the embedded link to load, here's the direct link to YouTube.)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Time for a meme

[I started this on Wednesday afternoon ... ]

I was just thinking this morning about how I have nothing much to write about*, and then I checked email this morning and Teachermom had tagged me for a meme. Cool!

*I since remembered that R asked me this morning how another baby would get into my belly. I'll save that story for later this week. ;-)

Here are the rules:
(1) Link to the person that tagged you.
(2) Post the rules on your blog.
(3) Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.
(4) Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
(5) Let each random person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website

OK, here we go:

1) One of my most favorite jobs ever was being a chambermaid for a motel in the historical/touristy seaside town where I grew up. It was great! I got exercise (besides constantly moving, we had to carry huge piles of heavy sheets on both shoulders up several flights of stairs). I was done with work most days by 3 p.m. And, I got paid to clean!!! Cleaning is one of my favorite things to do - it actually calms me. It is so gratifying to me to make things look perfect, especially folding the towels a certain way and leaving little packaged soaps and shampoo and stationery. However, you would never know this about me based on the current state of my house.

2) I like the smell of skunk spray. But not when it's so overpowering that it smells like a skunk exploded (like it does sometimes in our basement - yuck). And, just so you don't think I'm a complete lunatic, my favorite other smells are: lemons, hot apple cider, and the smell of onions and celery being sauteed in butter (on Thanksgiving Day, getting ready to go into the stuffing).

3) I cry at the end of "It's a Wonderful Life" EVERY SINGLE TIME. In fact, I cry at the part in the very beginning where you can hear Mary and the kids and George's friends praying for him.

4) I am a Nascar fan. A liberal, Yankee, Democrat Nascar fan. LOL. I don't get to watch the races much anymore because I don't want to waste half of our weekend family time in front of the TV. But when R is older, we're planning on taking him to races once in awhile.

5) If I could change my occupation, I would become a stay-at-home mom. And, if I couldn't do that, I would open a tea shop. Or an antiques shop (if I was also somehow independently wealthy and could afford to scour for and purchase antiques for my shop). Although someday when R is grown, I would love to run a bed & breakfast with A. He loves to cook breakfast (and is amazing at it) and just cook in general, and I love to clean, so I could do all the housekeeping (see #1)!

6) I have just started painting. Whenever R and I break out his paintbrushes and paints as a project, I do my own paintings just for fun, and A has been telling me that I should keep it up because he really likes them. So we'll see. I've saved a few of them - maybe I'll take pictures and post them sometime for y'all. But I'm using fingerpaints and a ginormous brush, so don't expect much. LOL.

OK, I'm going to tag my family members to try to get them to update their blogs: Mom, Johanna, Ericka, Shaun, and Dad - that means you! Plus, Trish, for the rare day when she isn't filled with witty inspiration.

Happy weekend, everyone! I'm 90% done with my homework a day early this week, and I'm looking forward to breakfast with friends tomorrow, going to the frame store to finally get my beautiful print from Wanda framed, and possibly ice skating on Sunday. But most of all, I just want to enjoy my time with my boys.

Monday, February 4, 2008


No, I'm not talking about the Patriots, although that is incredibly depressing. I think I'm in shock. Admittedly, I saw very little of the game. But I did catch Tom Petty - woohoo!

Anyway ... it's me - I'm beat. I should be sleeping right now because I got very little sleep last night. But my allergies went crazy today, and I decided to take a Claritin, which will keep me up for at least another two hours. Oh well!

I just finished the third week of an online class I'm taking for work. It's my first real class since I graduated from college nearly 14 years ago. It's so weird to have homework and reading and assignments and class participation to worry about again! Especially when I've got a full-time and then some job on top of that, not to mention a three-year-old boy to love. How do other people do this?!? The work for the class this week totally overwhelmed me, and I ended up turning in my second assignment late. Gah. That is so unlike me, but I'm trying to just accept that I'm doing my best. I mean, I stayed up until 2 a.m. this morning working on it - because I realized just after midnight that I had been doing the project wrong, so I had to start it from scratch. I gave up then and finished it this afternoon. It bothers me to have turned it in late, but mostly it bugs me because I need to get at least a B+ in the class in order to be reimbursed for it.

Today was a great day otherwise. We had our usual pancakes for breakfast, then R did lots of fun imaginary play. He and I climbed the mountain (stairs) to go exploring in the woods (his bedroom). We found a beautiful lake (his bed), a bobcat (our cat, Harley), a bear (teddy bear), blueberries to eat (blue lego blocks), and fish to fry up for lunch (socks). R was decked out in his exploring gear: a pair of toolbench goggles, his electric drill/screwdriver, and a flashlight. :-)

A took R out for an hour or so to go walk in the real woods so that I could finish up my assignment for my class. He's been doing that a lot lately, God bless him.

Later, we busted out the Play-doh Fun Factory R got for Christmas and spent an hour or so squishing out various shapes and scattering zillions of tiny Play-doh morsels on the kitchen floor.

Then, R turned our couch into a train. He was the engineer, and he made me locate his wooden train whistle so he could blow the whistle for the stops. He informed me that it was a "purple line train" (his name for our local commuter rail) and then when I climbed aboard, that a machine would cut my ticket. I was also informed that I could not let my legs dangle over the side because they would get caught in the tracks. A was enlisted as another passenger. There we were - all three of us on our not-very-large couch, sitting cross-legged, while R blew his train whistle with all his might. Priceless.

After that, we headed to our friends' house for the Superbowl and dinner. We brought a roast chicken with us; our hosts also had squash ravioli, squash soup, chips and dip, crackers and pate, lots of chocolaty treats, and steaming cups of cappuccino to share. It was scrumptious!

R and I were both exhausted (and fell asleep in the car on the way over), but we all had a great time. R absolutely loves our friends' kids - three boys ages 13, 11, and 1.5. The older boys are so nice to him and let him play with all their stuff and seem to actually enjoy hanging out with him. And, R's babysitter was there, too. She's the new love of R's life and he immediately wanted to sit next to her and started ordering her around to play with him. I told her and her mom that she didn't need to accommodate him, but her mom told me that she is in love with R, too, so it wasn't a problem. That makes me so happy.

Our friends had three enormous bags of boy clothes for me to go through and take what I wanted for R. I'm so excited because R just ripped a hole in his last pair of unhole-y jeans, so he desperately needed jeans and pants. And, once R has outgrown this stuff, I can return most of the clothes back to our friends for their youngest. He was a preemie, so he's very petite and it'll take him awhile to grow into them. (He is the happiest little guy - I was loving it when he climbed up into my lap and snuggled with me. And he adores R - he kept stroking R's hair and trying to tickle him. R is very sweet with him, too.)

Then we came home very late, I put R to bed after making up a story about his adventures exploring the universe with a jellybean astronaut (I have no idea what a jellybean astronaut is, but I made it up a few weeks ago when R asked me to tell him a story and I was half asleep - R and the jellybean astronaut have had many interesting journeys together since then), and I slept with him in his bed for half an hour before coming downstairs to find out about the Patriots.

After such a wonderful day, though, how could I be depressed? :-) I topped my lovely day off with a slice of the most delicious chocolate cake I've ever tasted while I watched "Jane Austen Regrets" on Masterpiece Theater. I'm tempted right now to put in my DVDs of the 6-hour-long A&E version of "Pride and Prejudice" with Colin Firth. But that would be crazy. Heavenly, but crazy. ;-)

I hope you all had a great weekend! Please say a prayer tonight for Wanda's Aunt Cassie as she nears the time for the Lord to bring her home.