Monday, December 29, 2008

Oh, the weather outside is...

Here's the forecast for today in Homer:


Translation? Brrrrrr. 15 below with a gust of 30 is really, really cold.

Liam and Thea and I went out with some friends a couple days ago in similar weather and it is what I would call a gear-tester. No fairweather gear allowed. Our friend's kid's hands got too cold in about 15 minutes.

The good news? Thea was snug and happy in the polk. And Liam blazed a trail with his new ski boots. Good stuff. Sorry, no pictures this time.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas hangover

Before I forget - or develop a helpful form of amnesia - about Christmas 2008, I'd better get it down on paper... er, screen.
Matt flew in on Saturday the 20th, snagging the last plane out of Seattle before the Pacific Northwest was shut down for several days. We drove up to Anchorage on Friday to meet him, staying in a lovely hotel with the smartest feature a mother of two can ask for - a door on the bedroom that closes and allows you to have some time to yourself after your children fall asleep - yah!
So when Matt finally arrived, he went back to the hotel with the kids and I hit Target. I left at 11 p.m., by which time my brain had turned to mush. The next morning, after breakfast, I did another several hours of store-hopping. All in all, it was pretty successful, with perhaps the biggest success finding second-hand ski boots for Liam with a tracing of his foot in hand.
So back to Homer we drove in the icy cold, avoiding a storm that was just heading in, and making it most of the way home before Thea got cranky. I wound up at one point sitting between her and Liam in the back seat and trying to keep them both happy while Matt navigated the final 75 miles home - fun!
Then we were home, and it was almost Christmas. A couple days of madness and boom - there it was. Christmas Eve. And as a preview to the big day, Thea began walking. Really walking. Walking everywhere. Fast. Yikes.

We made cookies on Tuesday for our friends in Homer, and after making the holiday bread and setting it aside to rise (which it never does), Liam, Thea and I set out to deliver the cookies while Matt stayed home on wrapping duty. Nothing like delivering cookies to put you in the holiday spirit.

We have a couple Christmas traditions, one of which is singing carols on Christmas eve. This year, Raspberry Lane had Liam a bunch of carols, so he knew the words to many of my favorites. We lit candles in the creche and turned out the rest of the lights and sang away. It was pretty nice.

Then after a couple of holiday stories from my childhood, it was off to bed for Liam and off to wrapping duty for mom. What a lot of work. Oh, and that holiday bread? It didn't rise, again, so I just braided it up and stuck it in the oven and as usual, it was glorious.

What was not glorious was the fact that Thea woke up four times that night, so by 6 a.m. when she got up for good, I was in need of an IV caffeine drip. Liam didn't get up for another hour and a half, despite Thea's hollers and squeals. He quickly managed to get up to speed, however, honing in on his stocking with military-like precision. 15 minutes later, he had hit the orange in the toe. Then it was a matter of waiting the hour or two until our friend Karyn arrived before opening the rest of the loot, and that was almost too much for Liam, but he managed to focus on constructing his bionicle and inhaling some pancakes.

Then,Karyn arrived and madness ensued. Paper flew. Bows practically exploded off the packages. Unlike past years, Liam barely paused on each gift before moving on to the next. Typical, I know, but it was still surprising to me. Thea liked the ripping and crunching of paper, but actually focused more on her toys than I thought she would. She sat for a good half-hour playing with a fish bowl shape sorter. Good stuff.

Matt had a good Christmas, and while he got lots of good presents, he said his favorite was a painting I did for our living room of a surfer riding a wave in the sunset. I'm pretty happy with it, too. Haven't painted in more than a decade, so this was as much as a surprise for me as it was for him.

After some leftover Christmas tacos (Matt had been craving them since returning form Baja) we set out for my sister's house. There we had a feast that couldn't be beat, topped off with chocolate fondue (I think that's going to be a holiday tradition from now on) and more presents. At this point, Liam had a full-blown case of present addiction. It was pretty bad. So we opened quickly, then shooed him off to play.

Then, thankfully, Christmas was over for another year. I've got to say, the best days have been the aftermath - Liam is still trying out toys for the first time, and there are dozens of books to read. We went skiing with his new ski boots, and Thea has happily been playing with her toys ever since.

As for me, I'll be happy when my bedroom stops looking like a wrapping-paper factory, and I've sent out all my ornaments. But it has been a happy holiday, no doubt.

Now, on to Thea's birthday! Gahhhhh!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Ebb and flow

I know I'm jumping the gun, but my mind has wandered a lot lately to where I was at this time last year, and what an amazingly hard year it has been. And for all the agonizing I do on this blog, I am so incredibly happy to be here and not there, where I was a year ago.

Thea may have difficulties with food, but so many other parts of her life are developing nicely. Both Liam and Thea have made these huge leaps lately - Liam with reading and Thea with mobility and communication (sign language). It is so refreshing to see her signal that she wants more blueberries, then tell me that she is all done. What a concept.

I've also had this tremendous feeling of peace the past few days. The house is in order. Much of my manic workload has lifted. It's just me and the kids and times like now, when both Liam and Thea are playing in the living room with Legos - completely absorbed in their play - I feel, just for a second, like I have truly made it. It was a tough, tough year, but at least it all makes more sense now.

In other news, Thea figured out how to take off her Robeeze and her socks today. Perhaps it doesn't seem like a big deal to you, but you should have seen her smile. Success is what you make it, right?

Matt is in Mexico by now, I believe. Spent two days surfing and sitting in a hot tub in San Diego before heading south. Called twice and I've rarely heard him so relaxed in the past few years. I'm sure glad he went.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Terrifying love

I'm watching this program about this kid who is sick, and I just should never watch programs like that. Matt wonders why I watch home improvement shows all the time. It's partly because I like to dream, but also because I don't get sideswiped by the image of a little kid rolling off to ER.

What is it about motherhood that turns you into such a pessimist? Or is it just me? It's terrifying. I don't remember if it was this way with Liam - I do recall worrying about things, and being stressed out at about 6 months. And even now, I have a constant loop of every disaster story I've ever heard or seen with kids. But with Thea, it just seems so much more because she isn't "perfectly healthy." And given my family's immune system issues (diabetes, ms....) it's easy to go down that road.

Thea's having a horrible something-or-other right now. Constant runny nose, coughing a lot, and more. It's so hard because I don't REALLY know what it is. If she didn't have allergies, I'd figure it was a common cold. But none of the rest of us have it, which is suspicious. If it is allergy, I don't have a clue what it is. I took a drink out of Liam's glass by mistake a week ago and had milk ... could that be making her this miserable? That's totally terrifying. And if it's not that, then what? Is it pork? Soy? some random veggie?

Today, we went to a baby shower and she was crawling around and I saw her put something in her mouth out of the corner of my eye. I rushed over, but I think it was one of her cookies. But it's that easy. One bite, it would seem, and at least a week of symptoms.

I'm bracing for a manic week, but feeling much better about it now that I have daycare lined up for two out of two out of three events as well as the board meeting that happens this week. Gah! Matt leaves Wednesday, not back until the 20th. I've been working on getting Thea to go to bed without the boob - I nurse her downstairs and then go up and read books with her and put her down. She's pretty pissed about it, but hopefully it will help when I'm not there to put her down. Either way, it's going to be a wild week, but at the end, things should mellow a bit.