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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Such a good Papa

This past weekend, Austin developed a new passion; washing dishes.  Now, when I say "washing dishes" I mean that in a two year old sense of the word.  Which I believe is accurately defined as, splashing water in, around and out of sink by manipulating kitchen utensils in wash tub and water flow so as to best accomplish goal of kitchen saturation.  Or something like that.  However, a child happily engaged in such an activity is a child NOT underfoot while trying to cook dinner.  In walks Papa.  He is assigned sink duty while Mama tries to make some sort of dinner without the use of an oven or stove (see last post).  And as I am scurrying around in the kitchen, I stop to eavesdrop on the conversation around the sink.  Papa has worked out a functional system in which Austin does the scrubbing and Papa does the rinsing off, thus accomplishing reasonably clean dishes and satisfying the 2 yr. old need to "do it all by myself."  They worked side by side happily chatting.  I really would have rather given up the dinner preparations all together and sat and watched this episode of "domestic bliss", so engaging was the scene.
Instead, I went back to hunting and pecking in the fridge and considered how blessed Austin was to have such a good Papa.  How blessed I was to share this journey of parenthood with Brian.  How blessed we all were to be so surrounded in the love of each other.
This morning as Austin and I were driving to "lala" class (kindermusic class), discussing the geese on the pond, the horses in the field, the digger on the dirt mound, etc.  He blurts out, " I love Papa.  I love Papa very much. "  Out of the clear blue, just an innocent declaration of  love for the man whose love for him radiates so obviously, that a small child has no trouble seeing it.  He thinks a bit more, and adds, "Mama loves papa.  Mama loves Papa ... very much."  Yes I do, sweet boy, yes I do.

I often think of the miracle of adoption that brought us together as a family and whenever I do, I still get chills up and down my back.  I can't help it.  When I think of this little circle of love and how it was so PERFECTLY woven together, I can't help but get emotional.  I'm pretty sure I spent the first six months of Austin's life with watery eyes.  Each time I held him or watched Brian hold him, I couldn't believe God had worked this miracle for us, for us who had thought our arms might remain forever empty, and I would cry.  I still do, more than I care to admit. It's not that every day, every moment is good, happy or perfect.  It's not.  It's that I get to have a chance to be in all those moments, the good and the bad, that I get to be part of this little circle.  How many times I wish I could just hug Austin's birthmom, draw her into this little circle of ours.  For her own reasons, she has chosen a closed adoption, and I understand.  She is always in my heart, so she is a part of us anyway.
Years ago, on my kitchen cabinet, I stenciled the words, "love lives here".  Since then, I have discovered a lullaby which makes me cry each time I hear it.  A part of it goes:

In my own little corner of the world
when waking hours have flown
how blessed am I to sleep in peace
where LOVE has made a home.

A journey waits of years to spend
as I become who God intends
and this is where it all begins
in my own little corner of the world

Austin, God has put you here, in our little corner of the world, where Love surrounds you, and I am so glad.  You are blessed little one, with love, God's love, a mama who adores you and a Papa who loves you.  Who loves you very much.

The song is from the Veggie Tales Bedtime sing along and the video is dedicated to my sweet hubby

Sunday, January 29, 2012

One of those days.....

It was a day like any other, filled with the best of intentions.  It held promise and plans.  It was a Saturday and sunny and mild to boot.  I got dressed and went to get Austin out of bed.  He was in the mood for cuddling.  A diaper change could wait 5 minutes, surely.  We snuggled in the rocking chair under a blanket and started reading "The three little bears".   And then, well, and then I was very wet.  Apparently the diaper change couldn't wait.  So I changed and dressed Austin and then I got dressed.  Again.  I went into the living room and stepped onto a very wet carpet.  Daisey this time.  I got a bucket of soapy water, got on my hands and knees and scrubbed the carpet.   Spilled the soapy water on me.   I got dressed.  Again.  Things were not going as planned.  Still, the sun was shinning and Becky and her girls were coming to decorate Valentine cookies with us.  It would be a fun day.  We went through our morning, ate lunch, I put Austin down for a nap and headed for the kitchen.  Since Becky would only be able to stay a short time, we decided I would bake the cookies ahead of time and let the kids decorate them.  I preheated the oven, rolled out the first batch, popped them in to bake and started rolling out the second batch.  <Loud piercing noise.>  Um, that would be the carbon monoxide detector.  I hit the reset button, nope, this was for real.  I called 911, grabbed a sleeping Austin in blanket and headed outside with the dog and Brian.  Austin woke up to an exciting show of fire engines and police cars.   Turns out the CO levels were pretty high.  High enough for the Medic to decide I should be seen at the hospital since I had been so close to the stove which was the source of the leak.  That, and my lips and cheeks were too red which I learned is a sign of CO exposure.   I left a message on Becky's answering machine that we had a "situation" developing and she'd better hold off on driving over.  Brian grabbed Austin, the firemen fanned out the house, and they put me in the ambulance and sped away.  OK, my plans were definitely derailing quickly at this point.  So now I am sharing a ride with a very sweet, very talkative EMT guy who by all accounts failed the, "how to keep a patient calm and relaxed" course in his EMT training.  He proceeds to tell me that the level of CO I was exposed to was a fatal level, and that my lips and cheeks were a definite sign of my exposure.  I assured him, I really was ok, just a little nausea and headache, but nothing severe.  He then tells me at the hospital they would do an arterial blood gas stick, or something like that, to test my levels.  I said, you mean they'll do a blood test, no big deal.  Oh no, he assures me.  This blood test would be directly from my artery in my wrist, not a vein in my arm and it is quite uncomfortable, but necessary.  I wouldn't soon forget this, but they will surely numb me with ice first.  He continued on about this and then informed me that the heart monitor was showing an elevated heart rate, another sign of CO poisoning.  Or perhaps "too much information poisoning", I thought.  I suggested that maybe all this talk of "uncomfortable" procedures might just be making me a wee bit nervous.  Well, in the end, I just got oxygen and a regular blood test, I turned out to be fine and was released.  Brian picked me up and since we now had no stove, we searched for a place to eat dinner.  The first place was "temporarily" closed, the second restaurant had closed permanently, the third and forth places had a long, long wait and the last place was IHOP and we ate there.  We stopped at LOWES on the way home to buy new CO monitors, since the firemen told us the old ones would be shot now that they had been exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide.  Since we still didn't know the source of the problem, I did not feel comfortable sleeping in the house without new ones.  In any case, we finally made it home, walked in the living room to find... another Daisey accident.  And so the day ended as it had started.  But, as I sat in the rocking chair that night, with Austin again in his pjs and me snuggling him under a blanket, saying our prayers, I realized in the end, it had been a good day.  We had been in the hands of God, protected by His mercies.  We had had a CO detector and it had worked right away.  We live in a place safeguarded by police and firemen who come at a moment notice when help is needed.  There are medical teams with advanced equipment should I have needed it and a hospital minutes away.  Restaurants abound to temporarily fill in for non working stoves.  It was an inconvenient day, a day with ruined plans.  And ruined cookies.  But at the end of it, I found myself safe at home, cuddling with loved ones....just plain blessed.

Happy Weekend!

Hope your weekend is as much fun as a
 really good book
and a ride in a laundry basket!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

these winter days

 A Few of our Favorite Things
The Kitchen is always a favorite place to play

These castle walls are a new favorite of mine.
 They can be put together in countless ways, which keeps Mama entertained, and creates castles big enough to sit in and play, which keeps Austin entertained.  Sometimes we build a house for the people, sometimes its a city with passageways for cars and trains.

 Turkey chili has made it's yearly comeback.  Always a favorite in the winter months

 Knitting and felting bowls has become somewhat of an obsession of mine of late.  They are quick to knit, fun to felt, great for using up small amounts of yarn and are useful to boot!  The littlest one has become a candle holder.
 Play dough.  What would inclement weather be without play dough.    Always a big hit and a tasty treat.  Wait, you're NOT supposed to be eating it!

 Trains, trains and more trains.  Big trains, little trains, books about trains. You get the idea.

 Itty bitty booties.  No, these sadly do not his ever growing little feet anymore.  I found these the other day while rooting thru a drawer for candles.  Why they would be in a candle drawer I simply cannot say.  But I have been enjoying occasionally picking them up and wistfully remembering when his little feet were that small.....not that long ago.  And hoping and praying that maybe another little pair of feet will someday soon fit in them again.

These Winter Days

What a strange winter this has been.  October brought us an unexpected snowstorm and except for the bit we got last weekend which quickly vanished, it has been a very snow less winter.  We have had cold days but also many more mild ones and the changes from one to another has been dramatic and swift.  One day it may be 17 degrees and the next, 52.  The constant change in temperature has left us all with an almost constant runny nose.  But, be that as it may, winter will still technically be with us for many more weeks.  How to make the most of it?  What keeps us busy on these gray, wet days?  I try to get outside to play on most days, regardless of the cold, as long as it is not raining.  It may not be for long, but I think the fresh air is worth it.   We have spent many a cold morning on a completely empty playground.  Austin often comments, "no boys and girls at the playground today".  But truthfully, this time outside makes up only a small percent of our days.  Fresh air is nice, but so is being cosy in the comfort of one own home.  And we have been cosy.  We are playing with old toys in new ways, pulling out the favorites, rotating in some new ones, just generally having fun.  And of course the books, always the books.  I am so glad this little person of ours is turning out to love books as much as we do.  What this will mean in terms of future storage is a bit of a scary thought.  I envision one day having to move the bedrooms and everything downstairs just so we can convert the upstairs into a library.  Or maybe an addition to the house???  In any case, I'm kind of enjoying a self imposed house arrest this year.  Usually, I like to be out, going places, doing things.  And when the spring and summer comes, that urge will probably return.  But for now, I'm heeding the call of the rocking chair, the yarn and needles, the books and the little voice that says, "Mama, come play" and liking it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A teachable moment

Today started out with a shot in the rump. As you may or may not know, I am undergoing fertility treatments in an effort to become pregnant. In addition to several other unpleasantries, I get to give myself ( ok, Brian actually does it) a shot in the stomach each night and on the final day I get one in rump muscle. This final one always hurts, alot. I wake up as usual, try to get my bearings, think, "what day is it today?" and remember, oh yeah, it's shot day. Not my favorite way to start off a morning. That done, I went to the coin star machine in the supermarket to trade in a tupperware container full of coins. With Austin in the wagon, waiting to help put in the coins, I pick up the container and drop it. Right there in the store. I hear groans behind me as other shoppers watch in horror as hundreds of coins fall and scatter on the ground. Austin simply says, "Mama dropped monies.". I realized 2 things. The first was that no one was going to help me pick up these coins. There were many people watching me to be sure, one even stepping around me, but I was alone on this one. And the second was that Austin was watching me and learning. How I responded to this situation would be an example to him on how to deal with mishap and frustration. Would I utter a few low pitched swear words, would I grumble about how no one is nice enough to help, would I complain and belittle myself for being such a klutz? This is a teachable moment, seize it. Sitting on a dirty supermarket floor scooping up coins may not be how I wanted to spend my morning, but this is where I find myself so I might as well make the most of it. "Yes Austin, Mama did drop them. I'll just have to pick them up and then you can help me push the buttons on the machine.". A few minutes later, we were happily watching the machine gobble up the coins. Our days are full of these "teachable" moments. Because they are always watching. Always absorbing and learning. How he responds when his trains fall off the track or the puzzle piece won't fit has a lot to do with how I respond in the check out line or to the driver that just cut me off. Do I offer to help when someone needs it? Do I remember to say thank you, and mean it? To be a mom is to be under a magnifying glass all the time. I'd like to say I am a shining example of morality, justice and love. But the truth is, I'm still learning myself. Still learning to keep those all powerful emotions in check, to put others needs before my own, to make gratitude my starting point. And to admit when I've blown it and say I'm sorry. Failure is a teachable moment too, a very important one. As much as I want to teach Austin to do the right thing, he also needs to know how to make it right when he didn't. We want kids to learn by what we say, and they do, but they learn far more by watching what we do. We don't like that, the constant spotlight, the need to be better people than we really are. It's as if our conscience has moved outside of us and is inhabiting this little person. Pinnocio had Jiminy cricket, I have Austin. They say having kids makes you a better person. I don't know if it does, but it makes you WANT to be a better person. Because after all, they're watching.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

5 Again

What is it about a little snow and a really cool sled that makes me feel like I'm five again?  All morning I waited patiently for Brian to get the sleds out of the loft.  And to eat breakfast.  And to get dressed.  I kept glancing out the window to make sure the snow hadn't melted or disappeared.  Nope still there. Powdery and perfect.  Not too much, that would bog down the sled.  Not too wet or slushy.  No, this was the good stuff, perfect sledding snow.  Not good for snowman building perhaps, but just right for racing down a hill.
There is only one problem.  We don't own a hill.  But a peek across the street reveals a lovely, unused slope just begging to be played on.  Brian goes to ask the neighbors permission.  More waiting.  A yes, yes, we are welcome to use their hill.  And then the layers.  Long underwear.  pants, sweater, snowsuit, hat, mittens, boots... can the child still move?
We trek across the street and Papa goes the first test run.  It's safe.  Let the fun begin!
The hill is just right, enough of a slope to pick up speed, but not so big that a 2 year old would be scared.  Although I'm not so sure this 2 year old would be scared of any hill.  He's that sort of kid.  His papa looks as if he's going 100 miles an hour on a luge and not a modest little slope.   He's leaning back and his face looks as if the high speeds and winds are knocking the wind clear out of him.  Austin is sitting upright and relaxed, laughing and having a wonderful time.  Me, I couldn't have been happier.  Taking my turns and watching my two men have fun was an afternoon well spent.  I'm no daredevil, but a little bunny hill and a little speed sure are fun.

Plus, it was so nice having this little hill to ourselves; the snow unused and no fear of crashing into other sledders.  It was a great afternoon.  We came back, had lunch, played trains and took a little nap.

It's good to be five once in a while.  To absorb the energy and enthusiasm of a little one.  To remember one's own childhood when experiences were new and yours to master.  When a snowy Sunday afternoon stretched out endlessly before you like summer vacation.  When footie pajamas, a warm bath and a goodnight kiss awaited you at the end of the day.  Yup, it's good to be a kid.  Or just to have one.

PS.  The sleds are from "mountain boy" sled company.  Highly recommend them.  They are big and wooden but a unique rudderless bottom makes them practically weightless on the snow.  Wimpy me can easily pull it up a steep hill with Austin sitting on it.  And they are really beautiful to look at when no one  is on them.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A little of the white stuff

Wishing you a weekend filled with


And good friends.  Happy weekend everyone!

Friday, January 20, 2012

little bit of this, little bit of that

Today's post is just a little mish-mash view into our world.  Austin and I are STILL fighting off this cold.  Brian, not wanting to be left out, has joined in the sniffle fun.  So, we've kept pretty close to the house and tried to keep things low key.
 Bridge to China
Although we haven't physically left the house too much, Austin has taken several trips to China with Thomas and his friends.  He lines up a huge caravan of engines and drives them off out of the living room.  No tracks, these are free-wheeling trains.  He says "bye-bye" and off he goes.  I asked him where he was heading, and he said, "China".  This took me by surprise, so I asked, "What will you do in China?" and his response, "Get chopsticks!"  I pondered this unusual response for awhile and wondered where he had ever heard of China and Chopsticks and then it finally occurred to me that the "little bear" stories we have been reading mentions a tunnel to China.  Little Bear wishes to go there and bring back chopsticks for Mother Bear.  Mystery solved.  The problem with the long trek to China (which is located in the downstairs bathroom) is that there are 2 "mountain ranges" to cross (ie small wooden boards connecting the floors of adjoining rooms) and these mountainous areas cause many an engine to capsize.  All this tipping over causes a lot of frustration and the accompanying frustrated sounds.  Mama had to step in and in an amazing feat of engineering, build and hot glue gun a Bridge to China that allows safe passage to this distant land.  We tried it without the glue first, but it kept collapsing and added to the frustration. It's amazing the problems a little hot glue can solve!
 Here is the story of Jonah and the big fish, a current favorite.  Austin plays the role of the big fish happily swallowing and spitting out Jonah.
 Another little bowl pre-felting.  Love the way these little bowls fly off the needles in no time at all.

When life gives you lemons

Another topic of conversation brought about by the Little Bear stories is Lemonade.  Austin had never had any
but talked about it often and "made lemonade" in his kitchen frequently.  I decided to let him have a go
at the real thing.

Yum! The amount of sugar right before bedtime made me a little nervous, but of course, he really loved it.  Well, at least there's bound to be some vitamin C in all those lemons, right?  We'll just think of it as extra tasty cold medicine.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Thru his eyes

It's a sunny blue skied sort of day, but cold and windy.  I don't like wind, even more than I don't like rain, but with more reason.  Wind has always given me an earache, and unless I cover my head with some sort of silly looking windproof hat, I will be in pain in a few short minutes.  But, I also have a little boy, who despite my distaste for cold moving air, needs to be out in the fresh air.  So silly hat on, we set off for the great outdoors.

 What I see: pulling an empty wagon back and forth, back and forth.  Pointless. Boring.
What he sees; a chance to use these muscles, I am big, I am strong.  I couldn't do this a few months ago.  Wow.  I am growing.
 What I see: wind in my face, cold, annoying, glad my ears are covered.
What he sees:  Wow, just look at how those trees are moving.  It's like they are waving "hello".  The chimes are playing music.  The cold wind makes me feel energetic and alive.

 What I see: Moss on the creek, dead leaves, dead grass, bare trees, probably should have raked the yard.
What he sees: Wow, water in the yard, Wonder if there are any fish or frogs here.  How cold is that water?  Could I jump in before Mama stopped me?  Hey, the leaves are brown now.  How did that happen?

 What I see: Muddy clothes.
What he sees: Everything worth seeing
 So how does it happen?  How do we go from  craving wonder and excitement to seeking comfort and Starbucks?  And can we get it back?  Yes, yes we can.  That is the reward for thousands of diapers changed, for mountains of laundry, for sandbox sand in the carpet; we get to see through their eyes.  We get to experience anew the wonder of life and this planet we call home.  Holidays become exciting again, but so does everyday life.  When I look through the lens of my camera and study this little boy in motion, I see what he sees.  I know again what I had forgotten.  Each day is a gift,  each moment a chance to see and learn something new, to be alive.  To earn those cold ears.

Of course, a little creature comfort doesn't hurt either!

In the knitting basket

I am still working my way through the sad trenches of a war lost to the moths.  My stash suffered tragic losses during a several month long battle with the winged creatures.  THEY are gone now, but in their wake they left baskets and baskets of unusable yarn.  Unfortunately, I don't know which skeins are ruined until I try to use them.  As they unravel, the broken fibers show themselves.  I don't want to buy new yarn until I am sure they are truly and really, without a doubt gone and that there are no eggs in waiting lurking in the remaining balls and baskets.  So, I am working on using up what appears to be salvageable yarn in small stash busting projects.  I had a little Noro left (love Noro) so I made a friend a baby hat and also tried my hand at bowl making.  Bowl making is almost exactly like hat making, just with shorter sides.  This picture is before felting.  It is drying now, but the felting itself is beautiful.  The Noro colors practically glow.  I am hoping to make a bunch of bowls to help in organizing the odds and ends around here and to give as valentine gifts.  I hope the moths are satisfied with the results. I rather am.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Little Melancholy

It's that sort of day.  Not sad, exactly.  Melancholy.  Pensive. Reflective.  Maybe its the gray skies of another rainy day.  Maybe it's the 3 vultures hanging out on the tree outside my kitchen window.  Maybe it's just because it's Tuesday.  But I think it's space where the tree used to be which reminds me of the times where loved ones used to be.  Let me explain.  We took down our Christmas tree last night.  Yes, finally, some might say.  I hate to take it down.  Always makes me a little bit sad.  You know the feeling when you next walk into the room and it somehow looks empty.  The space where the tree used to be represented something, a time, a place in our personal histories, another year gone.  It's not just Christmas that is over, it's a moment in our lives, never to return again.  I will never again have a Christmas where my son is 2.  Our lives will never again be the same as they are right now.

 This Christmas was not the same as the one before.  Our Christmas photos lack 2 loved ones lost this past year.  A dear friend and my brother in law, both gone.  Each Christmas is like a little time capsule for me.  I look at the photos and I remember what life was like then, in that moment.   We measure time by Christmases.  We say, "that was Austin's first Christmas" or "that was the last Christmas with Dad".  The people and pets that surrounded me, the home where I lived, all become part of that memory, that space in time.

 I don't know what the year ahead holds.     Sadness, for sure, for life can't always be sunny.  But good surprises too.  Some small, and maybe a few big ones thrown in too.

 This I know.  It will be different.  For good or for bad, it will not be the same as it is now.  It can't be.

 "Through the years we all will be together, if the fates allow, until then we'll just have to muddle through somehow" advises the lyrics from Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.  Always seemed like such a sad song of resignation.  I propose we do more than just "muddle through".  Let's take a moment to reflect on the Year that was, even with a bit of nostaglia and then start making the happy memories we will cherish this time next year.

 Hey, it just stopped raining.  I think I see a few rays of sun......

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Restful weekending

Hope your weekend is....

                                                                 Happy and...


Friday, January 13, 2012

Baby it's cold outside!

Boy, the temperatures sure have plummeted since yesterday!  So maybe that's why what happened today, happened.  We'll call it brain freeze.
This morning, I gave Austin a little bowl with some yarn balls and a couple of swizzle sticks (minus the sugar - that went into my tea).  He always wants to "help" me with my knitting and I thought perhaps a little knitting basket of his own would divert his attention.  He took it right away and began "knitting".  After a few minutes, he said, "Mama show Austin how to knit", well, what knitting mama doesn't want to hear those words?  So I sat down, swizzle stick in hand and tried to cast on.  I say "tried" because I just couldn't.  It wasn't the stick, it was me.  I simply couldn't remember how to do it.  The yarn felt  like a stranger in my hands.  At first I chuckled, and tried again.  Wait, how do I hold this yarn, I know, it goes over these two fingers, but?  And then the nervous laughter just became nervous.  What's wrong with me, why can't I do this?  The more I tried, the harder it got and the more hot prickles crawled up my spine.  Within a moment or two I had convinced myself I probably had a brain tumor, dementia or something that would be swift, progressive and mean that I will never even see Austin graduate from preschool.  (Such is the thought pattern of someone who has had a lifelong struggle with anxiety attacks).  Then I remembered the knot.  The little slip knot that starts the whole process.  I made the knot, and tadaa.. it all came back.  Nervously, I cast on a few stitches and off I went.  I called a friend to confirm that I wasn't completely loosing it, and although she does not possess a medical degree, she says this happens to everyone, once in a while.  So how about it?  Has this sort of thing happened to you too?

Ok, on a different note, I love, love, love this hat!   It is a silly obsession of mine to dress this little boy in the most ridiculously cute animal clothes I can.  If it has ears on the hood, or a tail on the bottom, I just can't resist.  I know my time is limited, he will not put up with this much longer, so I have to get my fix while I can.  Girl clothes stay cute into bigger sizes, boys clothes, blah.  Pirates, camouflage  and little hoodlums are about all there is.  So, while he may spend a few years in therapy later blaming his mama for all the silly hats, I'm still gonna be lovin' it now!

Happy Weekend!