Well, Thanksgiving is over, which means the Christmas season is officially upon us. Some notables from the last few days:
1. Mom got her usual teasing for her love of Christmas - the Christmas mugs and dishes were out before most people were awake on Friday morning. Uncle Paul decided to protest yesterday morning and for breakfast used a non-Christmas mug, non-Christmas plate, and non-Christmas napkin. He's a rebel that one.
2. Sherryl got to hear some of the fun stories about Uncle Paul growing up - like when he ironed his hair because he was so upset to find out it was curly.
3. Ben playing air guitar to Rocknoceros and watching his reflection in the fireplace doors.
4. The kids dancing with each other at Eric and Jaclyn's party last night, they had more energy and enthusiasm (though a little less grace) than the rest of the people out there.
5. The Hokies won yesterday! Go Hokies!!
Now I'm snuggled under a blanket on my own couch with a kitty purring on my arm, trying to figure out how to get all the cleaning done that needs to get done today before the week begins! Maybe I'll listen to Christmas carols while I do it.
That's what we did today! Gobbled up turkey (fried), stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, green beans, salad, and much much more. Not to mention four kinds of dessert.
We have so much to be thankful for. The family and friends we had dinner with today, the family who we couldn't be with, but are always in our hearts, and our friends scattered all over the country.
The kids, in typical kid fashion, alternated between charming, mischievous, and whiny, but overall they were well behaved. Of course, because it's a holiday, they've been sick. Claire had a stomach bug yesterday, but was much better today, while Ben has a nasty cough that he can't seem to get rid of.
We hope everyone else had a similarly fabulous day. Hopefully I'll get photos from our day up soon.
3. According to Brian, kittens who have been basking in front of the fireplace make an excellent heating pad.
4. I wore a nice skirt today that made me happy, with shoes I really like, but with the amount of standing and walking I did, the heels were a bad choice. My feet say, "ow!"
5. Ben now repeats everything I tell him at bedtime. "I love you, buddy." "I love you too, Mama." "Have sweet dreams." "Have sweet dreams, too, Mama." "See you in the morning!" "See you in the morning, too, Mama." What a cutie.
6. I am looking forward to Thanksgiving. More for the chance to relax and spend time with family than for the food, but the food will be good, too!
7. This year the turkey will be fried. Mmmmm, fried turkey skin.
8. The kids were asking yesterday whether Christmas was before or after Thanksgiving, so I clarified that it was before. Then they asked about Easter. Seriously? I think we have a while before we need to worry about when the Easter Bunny is going to arrive.
9. And also, Ben told me yesterday that he wants to be a spaceship for Halloween next year. I'm sure he'll remember that next October.
10. Although he does play with the space shuttle toy at Claire's school everyday when we pick her up. Maybe he really will want to be a spaceship next year.
Wasn't this fascinating? Ten things you really needed to know. I am so glad that I could help make your life more complete. Any time.
This weekend Ben woke up grumpy from a nap, so I cuddled him in my lap, and as he rested his cheek on my chest I could look down and marvel at his thick dark eyelashes, the soft curves of his cheek and nose that tell me he is still more baby than boy. I looked at his hands to check for those little dimples at the tops of each finger. He gently reached up and put a hand on each of my cheeks, and pulled my face down for a kiss. My little man. My snuggly, loving, mischievous little boy.
And then yesterday he wore underwear to school. He made it all day until 6:30 PM without an accident. He cried when I made him take them off and put on a diaper for bed.
I had to go into my archives to find a photo for this week, as I haven't picked up the camera lately. Here's Ben who was only too proud to show off the delicious mess he made with his macaroni and cheese.
Normally every morning when Ben and I come downstairs (before dawn has cracked) I make my coffee, he gets his cereal bar, we let Lucky out, and then he asks me if he can watch Imagination Movers. The other morning, he started talking to Penny.
B: Hi catty-cat! Good morning! P: rrowr B: What's that Penny? Oh, OK. P: meow B: I'll tell her. B: Mama? Penny-Pen wants to watch 'magination movers.
Sure, blame it on the cat, buddy. That's sure to get you what you want.
1. Since we've had the kittens I've heard Claire laugh more than I can recall recently. I'm glad that they are bringing our family so much joy.
2. Role reversal - Today I had to work, but Brian and Ben had the day off, so Brian also kept Claire home from school and was in charge all day long. And I mean all. day. long. since Tuesday night's I teach my class from 4:30-7:30.
3. I think they all had a pretty good day - a trip to Grandma's for haircuts, lunch, and to see the new puppies - how could that be bad!
4. Today near his mom's house Brian got gas for $1.92/gallon. The cheapest price I saw today around here was $2.25/gallon.
5. My awesome husband made my day today, because in addition to keeping the kids busy he made huge strides in picking up the house so it will be ready when the cleaning ladies come tomorrow.
6. It's been quite chilly here the last two days, so we've had a fire both nights. Cozy.
7. Even kitties love to bask in front of the fireplace.
8. Claire can now read on her own the first 6 Bob books. Everyday she is eager to try more.
9. I feel like we've had some really nice family time lately. It's been good to have that.
10. My husband and I have a date night this Saturday to go to dinner and see the new James Bond movie. Hooray! It's been a long time since we've had some quality "alone" time.
There was just something I really liked about the sun shining on this frog statue at the zoo. I feel bad I cut his little toes off, but I was doing this while holding my 35 pound son. I didn't have a lot of time to futz around.
I used to do my meal planning on Mondays, make my grocery lists, and have plenty of time to shop. Now that I'm back to work it's not that easy, so I meal plan on the weekend, we try to hit the grocery store together on Sunday, and hopefully we remember everything, or don't change plans too much. Here's what we're having this week:
Sunday - butternut squash soup for the grownups pumpkin waffles for the kids
Monday - chicken cordon bleu (made these today and they're ready and waiting in the fridge) rice green beans
Tuesday - I teach class, and Brian takes the kids out for pizza
Wednesday - pasta w/pesto (a surefire way to get the kids to eat!) salad
Thursday - beef stew in the crockpot roasted brussel sprouts
Friday - taco salad if we're home, but maybe, hopefully, we're going out
Two times in the last few days while having conversations with others it has come up that children that are close in age, like Ben and Claire, often play well together. I am happy that they normally enjoy playing together. Just this morning I came to the kitchen after being in the basement paying bills, and Ben showed me that they had set up "carseats" in front of the back door. When I asked where they were going he said they were going to the grocery store, but then I asked what they were going to be and he said, "Actually, we're not going to the grocery store. We're going somewhere else." Then he headed off to play with Claire and I overheard a bit of their conversation, at first Claire wanted to be the mommy, but Ben insisted on being the daddy, so he drove her to her "dress-up party". When he stopped the car he told her, "now let me open and close your door, so you don't hurt your fingers."
Moments like these I want to always remember. Especially when they're teenagers, and don't want to be in the same room with each other.
Ben spontaneously decided to tell a story at dinner (I think he was trying to avoid having to eat, he never did finish his dinner).
Once upon a time there was a little boy named Ben who was wearing a green shirt. Then a giant came. He started to cry. But then he ran away. He went to a picnic concert. Then he was happy because the bear didn't come. The End.
I'm not sure if it was a giant bear, or if there was both a giant and a bear. He didn't elaborate. Either way, given the other stuff I've seen out in the bookstores I'm pretty sure that we can find a publisher.
One of my new favorite nights of the year. Once again I got to go to Claire's school after dinner, and she got to show me three kinds of "work" that she does during the day. This time we did the matching game, flag learning, and the sound box.
On the way there she told me, "Mother's night is not my favorite night because I can only do short work, and all the work I want to do is long." She seemed to recover her enthusiasm once we got in there. I was slightly mortified because her current favorite phrase is, "oh darnit!" and she said it over and over again. When the teacher said she needed to move on to show me something new because we'd spent nearly half the time on the first "work" on the list she said it, and then she was told there was only 7 minutes left and she said, "only 7 minutes left! oh darnit!" Then again when she dropped some colored pencils while carrying them back to the shelf. We had a little talk when we got home about it, so hopefully she's not teaching her entire class to say it. Or if she has it will start to subside.
Her teacher told me that everyday after lunch she and another 4 year old in her class that she's friends with decide together if they want to work with the kindergarteners or play. Apparently this other girl always thinks for a minute and then says that she wants to play, so finally this week Claire said, "You always just want to play! I'm going to work today." This is the second time this year that her teacher has noticed her making up her mind about something and standing up for herself, not just going with the flow - good work, Claire! Don't forget that lesson - you'll need it all your life.
In addition to Halloween on Friday we had International Day at Claire's school. Fortunately when Nonni was going through the old Halloween costumes at her house she found a small kimono. I bought a pair of child-sized chopsticks for 50 cents, and she had a costume. I managed to finagle her hair into a teeny tiny bun, and with the help of some hairspray it held up for the whole day!
Here is Claire practicing her kung fu moves at home.
And at the parade at school. We ended the day with a nice afternoon of just Claire and Mommy - she used a gift card to Build a Bear to make a horse named Callie that she carries everywhere, and then we had a yummy lunch, walked around the mall some, and had some ice cream for dessert - because she surely wasn't going to get enough sugar later in the day! It was a really nice way to spend the afternoon.
I'm trying to do NaBloPoMo again this year, so I stole this idea for Tuesdays from my sister.
I started my morning by climbing out of bed, pulling on some clothes, making coffee, and heading to the polls. I was in line 20 minutes before they opened, and home 25 minutes after. Not too shabby. I hope you voted, too!
Yesterday and today were teacher work days - it is relaxing to be there when the building is quiet and people are feeling industrious. Back to the real world tomorrow, though.
I like having it be light out when I'm on my way to work. Makes me feel better about starting my day.
Our kittens switch regularly from being spastic to being fast asleep. Crazy kittens.
I love how Ben looks at and talks to the cats. He will say in this high pitched voice, "hi catty-cat! Catty-cat! How are you?" If they go anywhere near him, or let him pet them he turns to me and says, "aww, she loves me!" SOOOO cute!
I have started Christmas shopping. Go me!
I have not shopped for the birthday party we have to attend this weekend. Boo!
My job is sometimes frustrating, but sometimes very gratifying. I really like the people I work with which makes a huge difference.
I am loving the fall colors outside right now. I really need to get my camera and just have it with me all the time. Often as I'm driving I see an amazing tree - just incredible color or shape or contrast - and wish I could stop and take a picture.
I have been teaching the same staff development class (a class for other teachers) for over 5 years. I think that this year I am doing a better job with it than I ever have - I don't know why, but all of a sudden I am filled with lots of new ideas and enthusiasm for the content. It feels good.
I did make the kids dress up again yesterday to take pictures that showed their costumes better. Here are my favorites, I can't pick just one!
We had a doggy that I could barely slow down long enough for a good picture.
A very fierce "dinosaur rex".
And here he's getting a little help with his tail. Much like Halloween night where he wanted me to carry his tail, or carry him, in between every house. Next time the tail needs a wrist loop like ladies used to have for the trains on their dresses.
Many thanks to Nonni for making the fabulous costumes - we got many compliments!
Head over to see Tracey's adorable cheetah at Best Shot Monday, and see what other shots people are sharing this week!
Oh I am glad that the election will be over soon. Although I've been able to participate in some interesting conversations over the last few months I am so tired of the endless commercials, phone calls, and people knocking on the door. No matter how many times we tell people on the phone that we have definitely decided and who we are voting for they keep calling to check. I am more than ready for some change, but I don't want to spend the next 48 hours hearing about it. Wouldn't you rather see something adorable?
Last weekend we were invited to a Halloween party. The kids had a blast - here is Ben, having already shed his costume, playing the drums.
The cutest little puppy dog tail.
A very sweet kitty cat climbed into my lap!
And oh yeah, we also brought home these two adorable kittens last weekend. Meet Penny and Papaya - they are sisters, although they look nothing alike. Penny is the gray and white one, and Papaya would almost fool you into thinking she was a pure-bred Siamese if it weren't for her sweet white little paws. They are such a sweet addition to our family, and we're all having lots of fun with them.
I haven't had time to sort through all of the photos from yesterday to pick my favorites, and I think that I might need to sweet talk the kids into putting them on again during the daylight tomorrow to take a few more pictures (some of the leftover Halloween candy might come in very handy for that), but here is a teaser -
I hope that everyone's Halloween was as sweet as ours was - all treats and no tricks!