Saturday, December 01, 2007

Oh My Goodness, It's December!

I woke-up feeling giddy, a bit elated, easily amused, full of itchy anticipation. I think it's partly relief that we've finally had rain to really wash away the soot and ash that has dusted everything. And the rain sounds so lovely pattering the sidewalks, dripping from the trees, streaming down the gutters. Last night the wind started blowing too... oh it's so lovely to have a weather change, to see an excuse to snuggle under quilts and hang twinkly lights.

There's so much to do! It's December, and I still have ambitions to make gifts and finish works in progress. I have the cold, like Maria, Alex and Max, but we are forging ahead as best we can. I finished the Autumn quilt, my Trail Quilt, with hand quilted leaves, grapevines, swirls and waves. It came with us to the zoo and on a hike we took earlier in the week. It's layered with an old and worn flannel sheet, so it's light and easy to carry on little excursions.

Of all my 997 posts I think about 60% of them make some reference to my less than stellar domestic skills. Today I would like to make a small, yet delighted, note of pride: The house is pretty clean. Uh-huh. Clean. Cleaner than most days, and maintaining. It's all part of a renewed effort to embrace what is, to expect more of the children, to attend to the little messes, before they become insurmountable. It's a maturity moment, when I am finally comprehending and believing that I can perpetuate my own truth. So, whatever my shortcomings are if I choose to emphasize them, they will become stronger, and more entrenched. My new mode will be to accentuate the positive, keep my focus on my objectives, and no matter how far I fall short of my ideal, I will look for the success in the mess the process. LOL... 6 days in a cleaner house and I'm full of high thoughts and deep feelings!

In the midst of "so much to do," I hope we include reflections of gratitude, quiet time together as a family, more hikes and excursions. This is a very hard time for Geoff, and we feel it too. He has to work long hours, which is saying a lot if you know his regular schedule of long hours. So, speaking of reflections of gratitude... I am so grateful that when we are together, when Geoff can be home, we have fun. We enjoy each other's company, and we value the simple pleasures, like listening to the rain, singing Christmas carols, watching the children play and invent.

Recently our server has been acting funky and that's always frustrating. I think it's good again, so if I keep posting at my regular pace, I will be at post 1,000 in no time. I promised a contest and a prize. So much to do! There are an awful lot of blog contests, swaps, giveaways, celebrations. So much generosity and creativity. Well, I guess I am not being too original, but sharing joy and marking special occasions is irresistible, so count on me to play very soon.

Thank you for the birthday messages for Maria. We've had fun teaching her to say "I am three." She says, "I am five (or 6, 9, 8.)" And she's had fun getting her nails painted by her Aunt Gretchen, with Max's help. She's had fun opening her presents, like the scarf I made her, and the Little Ponies from Gretchen and Hans, and Grandma Nancy, the paper dolls and dress from Tutu and Grandpa Corm, the markers and Crayolas and princess cloth from Grandma Boo Boo and Grandpa Ronnie... new treasures to play with. Joy!

Oh my goodness, it's 9 a.m.! Enough reflection! It's time to get busy. Have a wonderful day!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Maria is 3

Doesn't the zoo sound like the quintessential destination to mark a 3rd birthday? Doesn't quintessential sound lovely? I have no idea what it means. I can confirm though, that the zoo is a very good place to go when it is your 3rd birthday. Maria, with her raisins in a zoo pail, walked and ran and explored and delighted for many hours... and we delighted as well. William, Alex, Max and I spent most of the cool, gray day, following Maria up and down hills, through trails and to the exhibits of some beautiful animals.

We assume she liked it, mostly. At nearly every enclosure and exhibit she retracted her feet and said, "Don't eat my feet."

So, when Alex and Maria looked at the teeny-tiny marmosets, she said, "Don't eat my feet."

And quite understandably, when we went to pet the goats, she said, "Don't eat my feet."

She liked this activity, being a butterfly in the Children's Zoo. She liked the real, live insects too. I am not going to show the picture of the bird eating spider. Too creepy, for me.

"Don't eat my feet."

The otters like cold, gray days and they were very active.

Most of the animals were active and we got to spend a lot of time enjoying up close visits, especially with the orangutans, gorillas, and a crocodile.

Maria loves looking at pictures. She loves to sit on my lap, or her daddy's and look at Chickenblog pictures. This will probably be one of her favorite posts.

The zoo is a nice place to visit on a quiet day. We took our time, and only rushed when we wanted too... like when we ran to see the elephants and the rock hyrax. Otherwise we sat down and waited to see how long the crocodile could hold his breath. Answer: A long time.

No enclosure was secure enough to convince Maria we were completely safe, so she depended on her brothers to keep her protected.

I had to come back and add this elephant. William laughed and said, "The elephant is the quintessential zoo animal." So true. Thank you son.

And to the very end, Maria admonished every creature: "Don't eat my feet!"

OKay, seriously...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Moment to Reflect

This is the last day Maria will be 2 years old.

Really. She won't be 2 ever again. Two has been very good... so fun, so endearing, so full of changes and growth. I know I will miss the pleasures of Maria being 2.

I know Maria being 3 promises to be wonderful and dear.
Tomorrow is a very important day.

Monday, November 26, 2007

This and That and Buttercream Frosting

This is a Monday morning sum-up post. Short and sweet.

We met friends in the park and we walked and talked. We enjoyed music and flowers and catching-up. Today Patrick and Kelly are finishing a 3 day visit to the Magic Kingdom... Lucky!

Speaking of "Lucky," I am the lucky ducky this week. I happen to be a winner in Missy's Spring Green Things 50th post celebration. Lucky for me her sweet baby girl likes pulling names from a hat, because I get to be the runner-up in Missy's give-away.

Geoff and the boys have been making progress in the garage... unpacking and organizing. Besides getting a brighter and safer garage, I am the fortunate beneficiary of long lost sewing supplies and projects, like Max's appliqued snowman from 2 years ago... I wondered were those were.

And in the same box I found another little project I started. Sunday afternoon I got to resume stitching this giraffe in place, and hopefully, this time, I will actually finish this WIP in time for Christmas. All over the blogosphere I read about clever crafters and artists working hard for a handmade Christmas.

Of course all of these projects and ambitions can be quite daunting, especially when there are so many fun things to choose from. I have been inspired and overwhelmed just from gazing at the daily tutorials featured at "Sew Mama, Sew!"

Where to begin?! Which brings me back to home life... 4 of us are sick now... feh. No one who went out to dinner with us last night is going to be too happy to hear we were like social petri dishes. Sorry. Well, sickness aside, we had so much fun sitting around the big table, catching up and feasting on pastas, pizzas and salads. It's something of a tradition we have with James and Deanne, Holly and Rich, Sharise and Kevin, and all of our children, to meet for dinner out, where no one has to cook or clean. And last night we added an early birthday sing-along for Maria, complete with vanilla cupcakes and buttercream frosting.

The sick children are reading and/or napping and I am finishing this post, so I can use the last of my gumption to complete a few errands.

I wonder, how do you count the days until Christmas? Do you count today? Do you include Christmas day in the count, or stop at Christmas Eve? Would you count Christmas Eve or just assume you've arrived at the countdown destination? Sometimes the boys only count the school days, assuming all the other days will be happy, busy days that are part of the holiday fun. Gee whiz... such deep thoughts and I'm not even taking cough syrup, yet.