Monday, December 31, 2012

that's what he said

Blake bought Minecraft for the iPad with some of his Christmas money.

B: This house is sure taking a long time to build.
A: Is it?
B: It is time-consuming, yes.

A: Merry Christmas! I need a Sawyer hug!
S: (slyly) Noooo... I need an ADDIE hug!

(Talking smack while playing Battleship with Aunt Bethany)
B: You'll never find my twosie, which is my brig, but I'll find yours EASILY.

B: Did you feed her?
A: Not yet. She's getting hungry because it's almost lunch time.
B: Well, I think that time is now.

(After instructing him on where to put certain things in his room, such as his numerous piles of various LEGO creations and loose special bricks)
B: Mom, since it's my room, why can't I put things where I want to have them?
A: That is a valid question. Do you dust?
B: No.
A: Do you vacuum?
B: No.
A: When you do those things and do them well, you can put whatever you want wherever you want in your room, because you'll have to move it all to do your chores. Until then, it might be YOUR room, but it's MY house, and I need your help to get those things done. Speaking of, you still need to clean your bathroom mirror off after you pretended you were a machine gun and sprayed it down with tiny spit drops.
B: Gross.

A: I think I'm going to make a bowl of caramel corn after I finish vacuuming. Will you help me eat it?
B: Of course.
Call on me to help you eat caramel corn. Always call on me, Mom.

the last of thanksgiving... and on to new things!

I had asked Mom for her copies of the Thanksgiving weekend photos in Coeur d'Alene, but she had printed them at Costco and deleted them from her camera. Oops. She pulled them out of her scrapbook and SCANNED them, so dedicated was she to meeting my needs. Unfortunately, she got them to me a few hours after I had already published the previous post about Thanksgiving, AND about half of the pics were unusable due to scan quality. I've gussied the rest up as best I could using my limited Photoshop skills, including cloning a big black hair or scratch (Mom, dust the scanner!) off of people's faces.

Staying in the black on Black Friday! I got some cute needlecrafts to put on the wall in Vesper's room. Once I have some prints framed and everything hung, I'll post photos of that. A friend came over in the last few days and wanted to see what she was sure would be a "super cute" baby girl room. 
She was disappointed, but really gracious about it as I told her my grand schemes for paint and such in a room that's full of tubs of baby boy and baby girl clothes (seriously, six tubs), a now-unused bassinet, and various other baby ephemera that I haven't gotten around to dealing with!

Me and my first-born at the Coeur d'Alene lighting ceremony.

A closer shot of the Perrines and their brood. Bing looks like someone spiked his hot chocolate, or maybe Maddox was peeing down his neck. I'm pretty sure those are the only two possibilities.

My fabulous folks.

Now, the twins are kindergarteners, and Reese and Matt put them in separate classes. The boys are thriving as individuals, and I got to hear them debrief their day to one another once: it was adorable and kind of loud. Once they get all caught up on their time apart, they usually get all caught up on playing and/or fighting. One of the things Reese didn't fully think through, she confessed to me, was that TWO classes makes it hard on ONE mama for things like class holiday parties and such. For the gingerbread making parties, I left Vesper with Rob and tagged along so we could divide and conquer. Smitty specifically asked for me, Mason specifically asked for Mom, and I snagged Sawyer while Reese hung onto Gunner. Everyone was happy!

The blue paper has Smitty's gingerbread house design on it. He was supposed to build following his plans, while I was simply to facilitate. I asked Sawyer if he'd like to build a house too, but he had a mouth full of graham crackers and shook his head no.

Methodical and as precise as one can be while wielding a plastic knife covered in frosting.

Sawyer changed his mind on building... and on smiling for the camera.

Saucy's creation.

Smitty's structure.

Mason's masterpiece.

What do YOUR homemade snowflakes look like? My friend, Becky, sent me a link to Star Wars themed paper snowflakes. I'm a sucker for paper crafts, so I picked the easiest-looking ones and went to town, because it turns out I'm also a terrible enabler of my boys and their addiction. The white was really beautiful against our dark kitchen cabinets, but now Blake wants to rescue them from my plan to toss them and put them up on his wall. The junk that kid collects and wants to display is becoming a real problem, but that's another post, with pictures of his bedroom, which I cannot seem to tame.

Six months old! Little miss V is sitting up mostly on her own, has rolled over only twice that we've witnessed, and dislikes being on her stomach so much that she may skip crawling all together. Big brother Blake is pretty much her favorite person, unless she's hungry (I win!) or talking (dadadadadadada). She's fully on to solids, eating a little something at each meal. When I remember to nurse her before I go to bed, she lets me sleep all through the night, most times. We think she's teething right now, because last night was a barn-burner for Rob, as he comforted her from 4:00 to 5:00 am. We're all a bit shagged out from that one (she woke everyone), but she continues to charm and delight our whole family with her calm, contented demeanor and ready smile, which she rarely flashes when I have the weird black box in front of my face.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

thanksgiving photos, of course

We now have neighbors with boys Blake's age! Blake and Graham are hunkered down in our bark mulch pile with NERF guns and binoculars, playing "Battle Wars."

The second-graders learned about the life cycle of the darkling beetle, from egg to larva (mealworms) to pupa to adult. He brought home this baggie of instant oats that had two darkling pupae in it. They both hatched. For a few weeks, I had two black beetles in a baggie on my counter, unsure of what to do with them, as it was far too cold to set them loose outside. Then I saw them mating, and I threw the bag away. They can fend for themselves in the landfill, while I STILL get the creepy-crawlies just looking at the photo!

While we were in Idaho for Thanksgiving, we zipped over the state line to see Rob's family. Vesper and Nonna got a good eyeful of each other before Aislynn woke up.

Rather than the possessive territorial behavior we expected, Aislynn LOVED Vesper (Besber) and just wanted to hold her and sing to her. And carry her. And kiss her. And hug her. And teach her all the ways of the Dark Side of being a ridiculously adorable little girl in order to get her own way. We may have to stage an intervention at some point.

LEGOs and Uno: no one wanted to play outside.

This year's Christmas Stroll was the best yet, though Vesper was conked out for most of it. The weather was warm (it drizzled rather than snowed), compared to years past, where it has been sub-zero. We wandered Main Street, buying whatever street food looked good, sipping our hot cocoa, seeing people we knew and many we didn't. As one friend observed, she saw more babies than dogs and took it as a good sign for Bozeman!

Look! Here we are too! I tried to get the downtown Christmas spiders in there, but somehow managed not to. Oh, well!

Finally, here's Aislynn's song for Vesper. She is very precise in her pronunciation.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

merry faces, bright eyes, happy hearts

From our home to yours, one (lazy) day late, with extra-special bonus of birth announcement six (lazy) months late. Happy Christmas and merry new year!

Monday, December 17, 2012

that's what he said

As I suspected, Blake's heartache of the other night has not carried over into his days. He gleefully enjoyed a playdate with his dear friend from church and had a good day at school, both of which are good for my heart. I want to help him navigate grief well, but not dwell in it and get all pruney. I think we're doing okay in that regard!

During our hard conversation, we talked about God and heaven and earth and what the Bible teaches about them, and Blake asked, "If God created the heavens and the earth, who created God?"
A: No one. God has always been and always will be. God IS.
B: Wow. Sometimes the universe really blows my mind.
A: Agreed.

B: Mom, the dishwasher's full. Where should I put my bowl?
A: Put it in the top... drawer. Rack. Whatever.
B: Let's call it the top rack.

K: Blake, you are a VERY handsome boy. You look just like your dad.
B: Yeah. I don't think I'll ever be able to forget him, with what I look like.

(a neighbor friend takes Blake with his family to Bible Study Fellowship, and they often stop for dessert afterwards - both BSF and the ice cream are highlights of Blake's day)
J: Kids, we're not stopping for McFlurries tonight.
B: Oh, ok. I was trying to decide if I should tell you: my mom said I couldn't have one because I didn't eat my dinner. But now it doesn't matter!

B: Mom? When can we have split pea soup again? I LOOOOOOOOOOOOOVE split pea soup. And tomato soup with grilled cheese. Let's have that first.

K: You know, your son is very charming. At one point this summer, he complimented me on my landscaping, then asked if he could jump on the trampoline. How could I say no to a child who used the phrase "I like your landscaping?"

BH (a friend, babysitting): Blake, what do you want to do when you grow up?
B: I don't know. I'll probably work at Oracle.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

come, Thou long expected Jesus

From an email I sent Blake's teacher tonight:

Dear Tyler,
Blake asked me to email you with the following: he finds the fact that his father died after Christmas (before he was born) very upsetting, and it might impact how cheerful he is at school.

For context, Blake and I were talking tonight about some of what happened in Connecticut. I used broad strokes and did not give many details, but he now knows why there are lock-down drills and why it is important to be quiet during them. We also covered fire drills, and I emphasized the rarity of ever actually needing to do those things because of bad things happening. Our conversation moved toward his late father and the timing of his death. I've striven to be honest with Blake as his age and understanding permit, and we spoke frankly about things I believed we had covered before, but somehow, he'd never fully understood that Daddy Blake died right after Christmas (our wedding anniversary, Christmas, and his death - 1/1/05, in an avalanche - all hit within ten days of each other). We cried about it together, and he's wrestling with missing a man he never got to know, as I was eight months pregnant when I was widowed. He said he is sad about it every day at school, which I found bittersweet, but a stretch. I think he's probably more lonely than anything, but having something specific to pin hard feelings on is usually helpful at this age.

All I would ask of you is that you be aware of any unusual or subdued moods. You can ask him if that's what's bothering him, but we're now treading a fine line of true emotion and excuse-making for poor decisions... I don't want him blaming sorrow about his loss on every little misbehavior he exhibits, yet I want to be sensitive to his increased understanding about life, death, loss, and the most wonderful/horrible time of the year. I hope you understand why we need to bring you in on this, and we appreciate your kindness to him always.

Please let me know if you have any questions or need further information. I can talk about it openly, and I think we'll be spending some time (as he desires) looking at pictures, telling stories, and possibly watching some videos. If you'd like to borrow my copy of "A Dozen More Turns," it does a very sensitive job of telling the story of the weekend big Blake died. I think I also have a copy of the Storm Stories episode. I'm not sure if the delayed publicity will help or hurt my son, so I'm not sure what I'll show him yet, but those videos could give you a fuller version of where we're coming from.

Thank you so much,

I have wept and prayed and wept and prayed about the tragedy in Connecticut. I have no wise words, but I have read the wise words of others that have helped me as I process such an act of satanic evil. And ultimately, I trust that God is good, all the time. Even when I cannot see it, God is good.
And in despair I bowed my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor does He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."

Monday, December 10, 2012

Saturday, December 8, 2012

correcting my neglectfulness

Blogging with more than one child = low priority. I'm sorry about that, because I know this is one of the only ways several friends have of keeping up with our lives. To those friends: get on Facebook. Sadly, I can ALWAYS find time for that.

We had a delightful Thanksgiving in Coeur d'Alene. Mom, Lane, and I stayed in the black on Black Friday by starting at... Goodwill. At 10:30 am. It was perfect. Mom's got a great pic I'll try to snag to share. A few other photos are below, just to do something on this lonely, sad, and neglected blog, and otherwise, this is my Saturday:
  • Letting Blake have a doughnut and a half for breakfast earned me the title of "Best Mom Ever." Yeah, the bar is low, but I'll absolutely take it!
  • Christmas music, a fire in the stove, an eggnog latte, and one child occupied by a nap with the other occupied by LEGOs (Vesper is really advanced and loves Hero Factory LEGOs already), means I have all the ingredients necessary to address our Christmas cards, sew up stockings, and maybe even put a coat or two of paint on a console table I primed this week. Yes, I AM AMBITIOUS. What, are you new here?
  • Ok, I'm not THAT ambitious. I showered, did my hair and makeup... and put my jammies back on. Rob's working from home in HIS jammies, Blake's still in his, Vesper's still in hers. If our dinner guests are lucky, we might all have changed by their arrival. If they are really REALLY lucky, I will text them now and say "Please wear your jammies, so you fit in." They had better not be nude sleepers, because they will be very cold and lonely locked out on the porch.
A friend invited Vesper and I to join us at her table for "Tea with Clara," a Bozeman tradition and precursor to the ballet's showings of The Nutcracker. It was lovely and, though a bit lost on the tiny daughter, I hope it's a tradition we can continue. All the little girls in their Christmas finest were absolutely enthralled by the lovely (and very athletically impressive) ballerinas.

The Harlequin doll and Clara.

This picture is almost a month old, but it's Vesper's five month shot. She grows sweeter and sweeter every day, and we're all having such fun with her. In the last two days, she's started sitting for short spans all on her own, until her balance wavers and she topples sideways into the carpet or us, depending on how fast we are to catch her. She also started, same day I took this picture...

... "solid" food. The quotes are because rice cereal is only a solid if it's mixed really really thickly. She is not a fan of the cereal, but loves the fruit I've been trying out on her, and acted a bit strange after squash, so we'll try that again after a while.

Lane must have bought those funny old glasses we laughed over from Goodwill, because here's Maddox wearing them!

We attended the lighting ceremony at the Lake, all bundled up against the rainy cold.

Happy faces, cold (runny) noses!

Our delightful hosts, the Perrines. Gosh, but I love these guys.

Rob was given a leave of absence to play World of Warcraft in Spokane with his sister, so this is all of the Bedfords you get to see this time. Vesper is wearing and chewing on my mom's wool gloves, naturally.