Sunday, November 29, 2009

lists and words

Today started with a list - I wrote it last night in a moment of panic that recent weekend time with the kids has been less than peaceful and more like a mosh pit of jammed responsibilities - mostly work-related, but some of my own creating.

So not this Sunday, said I. By 8 a.m., the bread was already rising. By 9:30 - vacuuming done (will I ever learn to spell vacuum? I'm pretty sure who ever came up with that word was cackling when they decided how it would be spelled) At 10 a.m., an amazing thing happened. I pulled out all the boxes for recycling, and Liam and Thea dove into them and equipped with two pairs of scissors and a roll of defunct paint tape, spent no less than an hour playing with the stuff - and here's the kicker - without once asking me for help of any kind. Not a single battle. What happened there? And why, why oh why, do we bother spending money on "super-toys" when what they really want is the raw stuff to do their own thing.

Nuff said.

The day was productive, too. The bane of my existence - running to the dump in the itty-bitty subaru with garbage cans hanging out the back - turned out to be funny. Snow blew in the back and Liam giggled the whole way down the hill. Then to the pool for a swim with my son-turned-dolphin (he'll be teaching me soon enough) and a quick grocery store run, and home again in time for Liam to build a fort, do his homework, and read to me. Somebody give the gal a medal. Or at least a beer. Even remembered to bring shampoo for Liam to the pool so I only had to put one kid through the wash cycle tonight. Seriously. A day like this only happens once or twice a month.

But by far the best part of today, hands down, came when I was kneading bread this morning. I heard a story coming from Liam's room, not unusual - always a story coming from him. But this time, I heard him earnestly sounding out words. OK, that's usually because it's a book he's read before and already knows the worlds. Not this time. New book. New words like "talk." I went quietly to his gate and watched in wonder as my child read to himself for the first time I had ever seen on his own. Magic. By tonight, he was blazing through the pages, no surprise since he's had it forever, but I really wanted him to lead the way, and he did. Look out world, here comes another word nerd.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

transition day dread

I'm starting to dread transition day and here's why. Somewhere in the first couple hours of being home, both kids have to test the boundaries just to make sure they are there in numerous ways. Tonight that included jumping on the couch, grabbing numerous items of interest from respective sibling, chasing the cat with a spear, stuffing a huge chunk of garlic bread into ones mouth when I turned my back for a second after explicitly saying that more protein must precede any such carb consumption, chasing the cat with a spoon, and repeatedly trying to scale large sibling room special protection fencing. And there was the incident where someone tried to stealthily confiscate a burned-out light bulb. I can handle stupid, violent, and opinionated, but I've got an issue with sneaky.

So at one point shortly after dinner, both kids were in detention on opposite sides of the same wall, me leaning against the dividing wall staring at the height chart and wondering how many more nights like this I had before they turned 18. 16 years x 56 weeks = 896 bottles of wine. Nooo problem.

Stayed in town this weekend, with the thanksgiving holiday and all. It was nice to dine with friends, and so much easier than hosting one of these shindigs, but a little odd. Started a painting this weekend, ran a 5K race (no idea what my time was, but I know I pushed it), got some things accomplished, and watched a few chick flicks. Pretty well balanced, I would say.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Tonight, as I played ring around the rosy with Thea and Hannah (Thea clutching Hanna's ear with glee) I was washed with gratitude. It has been such an unpredictable couple months, but today I took a big step forward toward stability for these little people entrusted to me, and it felt amazing. Now, as the fire crackles and kbbi keeps me company, calm settles around me. I am very thankful for that.

Thea has been talking up a storm lately, and I can see how happy she is when I actually get what she is saying. Hopefully, that will mean that once she can communicate more consistently, some of this frustration will dissipate. My goodness but the little girl has an opinion at every turn. It really has only been the last month that I've started laying down the law - correcting her when she hollers her requests and expecting a please instead and refusing to give in to her floppy-floor moves. But at this rate, it's going to be a long, long year. So I'm holding out hope that the speech thing will help.

Liam also is doing well, though the split time has been harder on him. Lots of cuddles are doled out, but more recently, I've adopted the philosophy of being less indulgent with him. I think what kids really want is to know that while some things have changed, others have not. The ground still stays beneath your feet, and you still have to clean up your room at the end of the day. The order of life. We often have a tough time on what I call transition day, especially around dinnertime, but this week, I plopped a laundry basket in his room and asked him to fold it all and (this is the clincher) put it away when he was done. And he did it. Really well. And then pranced around saying how he could do lots of challenging tasks. We discussed meals he could help me make in the future.

As for me, I've been able to do some things the past few weeks that have really recharged my perspective - most important of which is getting out of town. Last weekend I made it to Anchorage for a couple days and am still smiling about the experience. I stayed with Jerzy, with whom I moved to Alaska 17 years ago, and his wife Paula, who is a wonderful person and a joy to spend time with. Paula spent an hour one morning working on some specific stretches for my hips, which are probably the root of all my knee issues. Amazing stuff. I also ate lovely Thai food, thoroughly enjoyed the company of new and old friends, danced, went for an exhilarating run and oogled at the amazing inspiration behind a Nutella porter. Yum. And I didn't see a single Homerite the whole time. I think I'll go back soon.

Friday, November 13, 2009

interesting days

Winter has come to the Cosmic Hamlet by the Sea. Today, my handy little car thermometer-thingy said it was 24 degrees outside, but with the wind chill, it had to be a good 10 degrees colder. And of course, today was the Raspberry Lane Lantern Walk.

I am trying to stay connected with this wonderful group of people, even as Théa is too young and Liam too old for the preschool program. Miss Red is a VIP in Liam's life, and touching base is wonderful, even as Liam graduates into new stages. Today, he gladly plopped down with a group of 50 children and parents and listened as Miss Red told the story of the lantern light, sang songs from memory, and hung out with his buddy Sam. It was beautiful, and impressive to watch Miss Red hold court so comfortably with her adoring masses.

But oooh it was cold. Within an hour, toes and fingers were starting to get uncomfortable and we abandoned the scene for warmer spots. But it was lovely. I can't wait for Théa to be old enough for such endeavors.

The world continues to spin up here on the hill, though sometimes it feels it may spin off its axis altogether. It's a busy time of year - lots of work, lots of things to do around the house, and lots of bleary-eyed early mornings. Liam started swimming lessons again this week, and I watched in wonder as the water-fearing kid turned into a head-dunking boy. Liam also managed to splat on the ice at school this week and knock one of his front top teeth loose. I'm thinking it may make for some fun, gappy-toothed Christmas photos.

Darkness is starting to set in, with a little over a month to go before the darkest day of the year - winter solstice. With it, the small town seems to get smaller, and I am learning some hard lessons about navigating these new roles - lessons about trust and friendship and truth. I'm still not sure what I'm going to do with my Christmas sans kids - possibly head out of town for a few days, possibly refinish the floors in the house. It's going to be one of those memorable years, for sure. But what doesn't kill you, right?

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Théa did her first "toot" in the toilet last night. There was much rejoicing. Somehow, she uses the word toot instead of poop. Very ladylike. She's been doing a lot of practicing - which involves a lot of undressing and wandering around without diapers on. And it is not particularly warm this time of year for that, but she doesn't seem to mind. Also, she's got no interest in using the "potty". She went straight for her brother's seat on the toilet and squiggled right up on it. This girl, I swear, she's a force. I love it.

Still no snow. This year is just nutty. I've seen a few flakes fall, but nothing notable. We had a cold snap for a few days and then a few days of absolute pouring rain and high wind.

I ran 10 miles today for the first time. Feel like I might need a wheelchair and a nap, but proud, too. Now, to try out the hills.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween 09

Yesterday was Halloween, and jam-packed with activities for all ages. It started with a morning race for Elastigirl (me) and about 20 other crazy runners from the hills above Homer to Bishop's Beach. Then it was home, shower, and off to the library to make dozens of little apple monster-mouths. Then the Scary Stories hour and after that, trick-or-treating in Andrea's neighborhood. (Sidenote - Andrea had her fourth kid a week ago and still held a jam-packed party for 40 or so of her closest friends, and wandered the neighborhood trick-or-treating with Amakah strapped to her chest. Wow)

All-told, we are not going to try to accomplish much today. Couch time, serious couch time. And who put daylight savings time right after a night of over-indulgence on candy and chaos??? Whose idea was that??

This was also a wild week because it was the first week of the new two-household version of family. Liam spent most of the past week with his dad and Thea did her first overnight there on Friday night. It's hard, it's confusing, and everyone is half-a-bubble off plumb. Nothing easy about this stuff, but it bears noting.