Thursday, January 29, 2009

Kids at the Gyno

My annual exam was last week and the kids sat right there while the doctor did her duties. They got to use Sharpies (ultimate kid privledge around here) to color some wooden dolls I bought them at Joann's, so they were completely distracted over to the side on a bench.

But, at one point Jooge looked at Avery and whispered really loudly, "She's looking at mommy's butt butt." I brought it up later by asking Julia if there was anything she wanted to know about my appointment and what ensued was a discussion about exactly why the doctor was looking at my "butt-butt" and that it didn't hurt.

I'm glad this is only a yearly thing.

Last weekend we set out on an outdoor adventure. My husband jogged while the girls and I explored a section of the Banks Vernonia Trail we had never been to before. It had snowed the night before, and the elevation was high enough for snow to remain.

This part of the trail was up on a trestle, so high above the ground crossing it was an exercise in truly relaxing and burying my fear of heights. When you're on it, you can't really tell how high up you are because the sides of the trail are flanked by tallish walls. The girls were completely unafraid, dancing and skipping in the snow. Me on the other hand, I was hesitant.

On the other side we explored the strange patterns in the snow. We guessed that maybe falling plops of snow from the branches above left behind such strange patterns. The shapes marked in the snow reminded me of what you might see looking into a microscope.

On our trip back, I crossed calm and unafraid.

I Have Been Waiting for This For a Long Long Time

I can be the queen of lazy parenting. At bedtime, sometimes I am so done I just want to be DONE.

So you can imagine how happy it made me when Jooge wanted to read to her younger sister before bed tonight. You want to read to your sister? SURE! Cue the music from the heavens.

As I sit at the computer, non-neglected child that it is, I hear Julia shouting from the bathroom, where she's taking a quick break from reading because she, "Just had diarrhea because she had gas," which she shouted out to me in case I was curious why she was perched on the pot.

I hear her say, "Hey Avery, do you have any questions about reading? To begin being a reader, you need to know words like mat and cat and sat. Tomorrow I'll give you a spelling test and I'll see what you know. I'm gonna give you some tricky words. Just come here if you have any questions."

Loving every minute of this.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Crazy Forts!

By far one of the most favorite presents the kids got this year for Christmas was the Crazy Fort Grandma and Grandpa got them, which basically consists of large tinker-toy-esque balls and poles (or grapes and green beans as we call them) that you can build into various structures, then cover with sheets. Good times.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Storytime Saturday Finds

I Feel a Foot is one of those picture books you read, close and then say, "That was a great book." I think I picked it out at the library for the same reason I pick many books, the illustrations. They're colorful and sort of batik-y and collage-y all at once. The story is about five friends who try to figure out what kind of creature is making noises in the nearby field. Each friend explores the aspect of the creature most like itself. For example, the turtle, upon examining the creature, sees its' foot, and thinks the foot is just like his foot, so he thinks the creature is a huge big turtle. The bat, upon examining the creature, feels a part of the animal that reminds her of her wings, so she deduces that the creature is a "superduper big bat." The conclusion each friend makes come together to surprise them with what the creature actually is. The book also ends on a note that suggests a sequel, which is a wonderful way to end a loved book because it means another loved book in the future! You need to check this book out. It's wonderful.

Boris and the Snoozebox is done in collage, which is reminiscent of Lauren Child's illustrations in the Charlie and Lola series. For example, one character's bun is created out of a photo of a ball of yarn. Boris the cat belongs to nobody, and makes a cozy nest for himself in a box, nicknamed, the Snoozebox. Boris gets mailed to lots of places, none of which want Boris. That hurts Boris' feelings immensely, but the conclusion of this book will satisfy the audiences desire for Boris to be engulfed in a large embrace. For fun illustrations and a sweet story, find this book and read it to your little people.

Friday, January 23, 2009

For those of you interested, here is a recap of how my dad is doing.

At Christmas my dad was up and around, sitting with us in the living room, talking and opening presents. He walked with tentative steps, as little as he could, but he walked. He fed himself, but took few bites, because he just wasn't that hungry. He spoke, despite being a little subdued. I felt very hopeful that a physical therapist might have success getting him up and mobile. By the time one was working with him, remaining in bed was most comfortable.

There have been a lot of changes since Christmas. Now he spends his days in bed, switches positions with the help of my brother, is fed by my mom. His speech is more slurry, as though he's had a stroke. He's not in pain. His sleep is fitful, but he rests. He knows us all.

After spending time with him last weekend, I was uplifted, despite these changes. Glimmers of his personality were evident in his hums and jokes. He called me Teetsie and Teeda and asked, "Are you here caring about your daddy?" We took turns popping into his space. At his bedside we would rub his arm and yell into his good year, and he would open one eye and then the other and focus on us and listen. There were conversations where his words weren't the right words, or his comments needed decoding. Then we had conversations where the things he said were right on, indicating a complete understanding on his part.

Each of us lingered in his doorway at some point, checking his form for the rise and fall of breath, like a parent does even with perfectly healthy kids.

Our family is strong, and we spend our time together talking a lot about what we're going through, sometimes crying sometimes laughing. Sometimes, usually in bed at night or when a sad song comes on the radio, the grief presents itself, powerful and surprising and I have to face it and feel it, let it shake my shoulders.

I am facing the fact that brain cancer is in charge here, and brain cancer is going to decide how this all plays out. That is one of the hardest things, not knowing what cancer has up its' evil sleeve.

Above, is my dad pictured with Julia as a baby, and here he sits with Avery

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Crafty Recap

The holidays have come and gone and with them the usual creative projects were launched but never documented due to how alternately busy, then lazy I was.

I made a whole slew of flax filled neck pillows, pictured above, warmable in the microwave, and quite addictive. I followed Blair's tutorial here.

I made a new skirt for underneath our Christmas tree. I made it up as I went, using the little houses I'd originally cut out for ornaments as the houses around the edge, and following a tutorial here for finishing it.

Kid friends and family received t-shirts with appliques.

I made the girls matching nighties in time to wear on Christmas eve. I've wanted to do this every year but this is the first year I made their holiday pj's. I'm not a big fan of sewing clothes using a pattern, so this was a huge undertaking and I'm still not absolutely thrilled with the result. I used this pattern.

I knit hats for my brother Andy (pictured in orange) and my husband for Christmas.

I made a scarf for my brother out of a felted sweater.

I made a tote bag for my sister-in-law.

At the old Christmas tree farm we used to go to, there was a little store in the barn and they had these really cool chestnut garlands that I would always oogle. I figured one day I would get my hands on some somehow and this year that sort of happened, in the form of a trip to Goodwill. I found a garland someone else had already made (yes, chestnuts with holes already in them!) studded with wooden stars and wound with a gaudy ribbon. I clipped it apart, dissassembled it, and strung the chesnuts on a beading thread.

Then I spent the rest of the vacation making absolutely nothing and enjoying it. :O)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

We got down to my parent's the weekend after Christmas for a great celebration with them. It is always such a trip down memory lane to be at their house at Christmas. Here are a few of my favorite things.

This ornament was made in a series of clothespin ornaments my mom made when we were kids. This ornament was supposed to be me.
I just love these pine cone ornaments. There are hazelnut ones, too.
This ornament, a manger, we always liked to hang right by a light on the tree, so the light was a little beacon in the corner of the roof, a star of Bethlehem.

My mom made our stockings back in the day. This one is my dad's. Isn't it rich?
Ours were made in waves. You can tell the brother's were made at the same time, and mine was made when my mom made my dad's and hers. Forgive the side view. I've tried uploading it a million times horizontally but it would not work.

This is my brother Ryan, who brings a lot of joy and excitement to family get togethers. He's a true favorite aspect of each of my Christmases at home. As is my mom.
It was especially good this year to have time at Christmas with my dad.

And of course my own dear family makes me smile.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Christmas this year was good, really good. I look back on it wistfully, especially when I still see trees in other people's windows, and ours is down now.

The snow added magic that I find myself missing as well.

We had my sister-in-law here, all the way from Bend on Christmas eve. That day we made the yummiest sugar cookies that we all later frosted and decorated. They were left on our Letter to Santa plate. Let's just say they put a few pounds on Mrs. Claus's thighs.

Julia and her dad worked on many Christmas carols. She sang, he accompanied her on the guitar.

We watched The Nutcracker and were quite captivated.

We got out for a great walk on Christmas day.

We had only received a few of our online purchases in time for Christmas, but it didn't matter to the kids. It came anyway, just like it did for the Whos down in Whoville.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New!

Almost time for us to climb off this merry-go-round of a holiday and return to regular routines. Until then, know all is well here. Hope all is well with you, too.