Archive for ◊ July, 2008 ◊

22 Jul 2008 Update…
 |  Category: Inside Out-Examining Me  | Leave a Comment

Yeah, it’s been a while.

I’ve been struggling lately.  I have this abundance of creative energy and I feel like I’m not able to properly outlet it.    I fight with what I want to against what I have to do.  I’ve spent hours planning the girls fall outfits, plotting fabrics and patterns and when it comes time to execute, I feel blocked.  Like I can’t.

Same with scrapbooking and knitting.  I seem like I’m swimming around with no real way to vent the creative buildup.  It’s so frustrating.  I can’t even come up with anything to blog about.

Personally, we seem to be at a crossroads and it’s time to pick our path; trying to balance what we want  to do against what we should do.  We through out arbitrary time lines just to force our own hands.  And, I kind of hate that we end up doing that, because they’re big decisionsSummerbut we’ve hit a wall in so far as making the decision, so throwing these time lines like a little kid bargaining with God (If I don’t step on any cracks for a week, Bobby Smith will ask me out!).  If we can’t make a decision by THIS time, then THIS is our obvious choice and we nod emphatically and wait to see what happens with baited breath.

I’m sounding vague and i don’t mean to be.  I do know that we’re likely to change our minds a dozen times before we pull the trigger on anything, so rest assured I’ll fill you in when I can and know that we’re all fine.  Nothing earth-shattering is happening, but as is obvious, making concrete plans about your future and making long term commitments can be difficult and confusing.  Particularly when they feel conflicted and you’re hoping  for things that are totally opposite.  I’ve always had faith that we’ll be where we need to be doing what we need to do, but sometimes it’s hard to give up the idea that you just need to follow your path and hope for the best.

Summer is drawing to an end.  I know it’s a month before school starts, but I feel like I’ve missed it.  I always hope to create for Emily the incredible carefree summers I used to have, but I can be so neurotic that I’m afraid that I’m not creating something carefree that I’m scheduling and running to the point where she’s not feeling that freedom.

I remember waking up early on summer mornings.  I’d sleep at the foot of my bed becuase then I would lay right under the window.  It was always misty and dewy in the mornings (and my Neighbor who probably had the world’s greatest imagination would tell ghost stories about a ghostly blue mist that wound it’s way through our neighborhood and sometimes I’d stare out the window, hoping to catch her, but I never did) and the day smelled so fresh and clean and full of possibilities.  Today, on our way to run errands, we drove past a group of kids, pre-teens or early teens, sitting in a circle on the sidewalk.  There were a couple of boys and a couple of girls and I remembered so well those summers, of our co-ed groups with tiny, pointless drama filled semi-romances.  Sitting under the neighbor’s deck, listening the bass on “wild thing” vibrating the awning under a friend’s porch, the musty smell of my parent’s old tent that you could pack four girls into for a sleep out, the tangy smell weeds gave off as you hiked through them and the mossy smell of the woods.

Those kids reminded me of us.  A co-ed group.  A few girls, a few boys.  Before sex and hormones and high school got the best of us.   I don’t remember when we stopped hanging out as a group.  It was so subtle.  I went to high shcool, someone else made the cheerleading squad, someone went from being a pain the butt to bad news, someone else moved away, someone became too young as the distance from 9th grade to 6th grade became just too big to overlook.  We found friends we actually had things in common with besides our houses being in walking distance.

But there are songs and moments when I’m drawn back to them and I wonder if they ever think of me.

01 Jul 2008 Day In the Life-7/1/08
 |  Category: Real Life  | Leave a Comment

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It’s morning.  Eric and I have been up since 5:30 and we showered and got dressed. I really don’t care for getting up so early, but my kids get up so early that I really don’t have a lot of choice if I want to get up, shower and get a few things done before they get out of bed themselves.  Eric assures me that I could grow to be a morning person, but I’m really not sure about that.  It’s hard to fight my natural night owl tendancies.   I plugged the battery into my camera as Eric made his breakfast (his usual fried egg sandwich).
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 It looks to be a beautiful day outside.  While Eric eats, we chit chat and I update my blog with the book I read yesterday.After finishing my blog, I had the computer over to Eric to have him disable the wireless connection.  It’s really the only way I can get stuff done around the house.  He does what it is he has to do and then starts to gather up his stuff so he can get out of the door.  As he’s preparing to leave, I hear Cadence start to fuss upstairs.  She’s not making a lot of noise, so I continue on my merry way.  Eric takes out the trash (full as usual) and we give kisses goodbye, him making sure to take his lunch (I’ve been threatening to eat what he leaves behind).   Eric came home from being out of town on Friday, so we didn’t do much in the way of housework all weekend.  Cadence was fussy yesterday so today will be housework catch up day as well as laundry catch up day as we’re going away this weekend and I like everything to be neat and orderly for packing and when we  return home.

I start out cleaning the living room as it’s usually the easiest and the place where I can make the most impact.  Just a few toys and stuff sitting around
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It only takes a few minutes to pick up here.  You might be wondering if I’m one of those people who thinks a few things out of place=a mess.  No, I am not.  You haven’t seen my kitchen or my laundry room.  I am still on a quest to find better storage for my living room/foyer for toys in particular as what I am using creates that messy pile you see in the corner by my end table.  That doesn’t really work out very well.  I have another, similar pile next to my couch.  I’m still in the process of searching down just the right piece of furniture to solve our storage problems, so if anyone knows of something great that will look nice in my foyer, let me know.  I could use it.  The living room is neat in just a couple of minutes….

All nice and tidy.  One of the things we loved the most about this house is it’s beautiful natural light.  The back of the house (and the living room and dining room) face east and we get beautiful sun light in the morning.  There is still a bubble container under the table that I over looked, but it’s all picked up by the time I write this.

You can see my book score from the Scholastic Warehouse sale Cadence and I visited in May on the back of the table.  Some of the books are mine and some are for me to read and then pass along to Emily.
ditl4.JPG Also my catch all pot that holds hair ties, remotes, nail scissors and lots of other little things that don’t really have much of a place.

I fix my first cup of coffee and Cadence is starting to make noises up stairs.  They’re quiet noises and she’s not too upset yet, so I settle into my chair to read for a bit until it’s time to run upstairs and get her up.

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I finished read “The Devil’s Arithmetic” by Jane Yolen yesterday and today am reading “Howls Moving Castle” by Diana Wynn Jones. I love the cartoon and I’m hoping to like the book just as much.  I only get one chapter read, though, before it’s time to head upstairs and get Cadence. She’s insisting “UP! UP!” really loudly.  It’s nearly 7, which is actually quite late for Cadence to sleep.  As of late, she’s been gracing us with her presence PRIOR to 6 a.m. which we find to be mostly unreasonable….

ditl6.JPGBig sister, though, is still snoozing….
ditl7.JPGCadence and I mosey downstairs and we have C’s first breafkast; strawberry yogurt from Trader Joe’s.  After breakfast, it’s play time for a bit.  Cadence stomps around in my shoes and then climbs her castle to do her amazing daredevil tricks….
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These tricks look pretty minor compared to C’s normal daredevil tricks which include walking down the slide with her knees bent and shoving her feet into the castle windows  and standing up, throwing up her arms as if to say “ta DA!”.  Her father is quite amused by this practice and frequently calls me in from another room to observe what trick Cadence is trying next

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I then turn my attention to the dining room table.  The night before I ruined dinner (or something was wrong with the cut of meat.  Either way, we couldn’t eat it) and we ended up making an unplanned stop out for dinner to solve the meat problem.     We were all tired, so the mess was left to sit.  Can’t have that, so it was time to clear off the table, light the candles and make the house smell yummy.  Messy mess
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All better

ditl11.JPG.At 8′o clock I sit down to my breakfast and I give Cadence her second breakfast; a duplicate of mine for her to eat while I’m eating in an attempt to keep my breakfast for myself.  We’re having sunflower butter sandwhiches on yummy sourdough bread.  I’m still working on my first cup of coffee and Cadence has a sippie cup of milk

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By now, Emily is up and is thinking about her breakfast too….
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After breakfast time, I clean up the breakfast stuff from the living room and the girls head upstairs to play.  I tidy up our breakfast nook and use the computer for a bit before heading upstairs.  The playroom has been pretty scary for a while and we’re hosting a couple of things this month.  I decide to spend a few minutes cleaning in the playroom.  I start and spend some time and get it about half way cleaned.  I gathered up an entire garbage bag of….well….garbage out of their and probably a whole load of laundry.  I need to find a way to work keeping this area clean onto Emily’s to-do list.  Cadence gets stuck on Emily’s pink desk chair and fusses until I come and get her down….
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After cleaning in the playroom, I head into my room and hang out in the rocking chair.  The dog is sleeping in the middle of the bed and I’m thinking about how good a nap sounds and figure I’d better make the bed before I crawl in.   Before I can do that, Cadence has a melt down and comes into my room to find me.  She crawls up in my lap and we rock and sing for a while and before I know she’s asleep at not even 10 a.m. (her normal nap times is from about 12 to about 2 or 3).  I had a couple of errands to run, but I don’t expect Cadence will sleep long.  Emily is playing in their bedroom, so she gets the boot while Cadence is napping.  No skin off of her nose though, because it’s after 10 o’clock which is my imposed “We do not play outside nor go to people’s houses before this hour” time, so she runs off to find her friend down the street.  Cadence is sleeping peacefully..
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and I go back to reading my book…
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Emily plays outside with her friends while Cadence naps.  They play in the driveway in the mornings and then move to the back yard in the afternoon so they can play in the shade.  Littlest Pet Shop has been the toy of choice this summer and Emily’s set is getting a ton of play.

I’m expecting Cadence to wake up at any time, but she sleeps for almost two hours.  I chalk it up to her not sleeping well for several nights.  After she gets up and we have a cuddle, it’s time to get dressed and head downstairs.  We have a couple of errands to do and it’s nearly lunch time.  Cadence can’t wait to get down the sidewalk….
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First we find all the kids in the midst of little pet shop clean up…

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and then we’re off to find a flower before we get into the car.
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We have a patch of clover at the end of the drive way and every time we walk out of the house to get into the car, Cadence hurries down to the patch of flowers as quickly as she can to pick one before climbing into the car. It’s adorable.

When we get back from running errands, she does the same thing but this time presents the flower to someone.  She has to pick a couple sometimes, as she just grabs the top of the flower and yanks. She requires full, long stems so when she gets a short one, she tosses it back and tries again.  Thankfully, she hasn’t felt the urge to pick any of the flowers growing in my landscaping, though I suspect it won’t be long before she tries to do that.

After we say goodbye, pick up our pets and make sure we have our flower we climb into the car for errands.  We have a short trip to the grocery store for lunch stuff and starbucks for coffee (the real reason for the outing, to be honest).

On the way to the store, we listen to “The Magic Treehous” on Audiobook.  Emily and I have really enjoyed listening to the series (this collection houses the first eight books).  Today we listened to book #6 “Afternoon in the Amazon”.

ditl20.JPGAfter lunch time (a lunchable for each girl and a sandwich for me) Cadence was getting a little droopy again.  We cuddled on the couch and she fell asleep there.
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As an aside, Cadence ended up waking up sick from her nap.  She had a very high fever for the night which kind of stopped the forward progress of my DITL. 

I hoped she would wake up feeling better in the morning, and she did, and I opted to resume taking pictures and documenting our day after Cadence woke up from her nap on the 2nd which is where this next set of pictures is from.  Since Cadence was feeling pretty bad and needy, I spent a lot of time holding her and trying to get her to drink which is not only abnormal, but difficult to photograph.

So, after nap time, Cadence was up.  Emily was outside playing, so Cadence took the opportunity to play in their room for a while.
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After I made sure things were safe, I moved over to my room to put away some laundry (look at this pretty stuff from Chez Ami that came from Sabrina….)
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and I made my bed.  I also stopped to ponder the pile that is my sewing table, but with us leaving in a few days there’s just no time for sewing.
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After we were done upstairs, I carried down laundry to get that kicked off for the day.  I should have started it sooner, so I’m a smidge behind
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After laundry, I get dinner tossed into the dutch oven.  We’re having corned beef tonight with homemade hash tomorrow.  As it turns out, the creaping crud Cadence has, has now gotten Emily and she’s laying around in a pitiful state.  Cadence feels much better, so she has some pink milk.
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After laundry and pink milk, Daddy is home for the day and everyone gets much happier for the time being.  Daddy can’t even sit down without being mobbed.  Emily gets out of her chair and covers for hugs and Cadence runs back and forth, hugging as hard as she can.  My favorite time of day is when Daddy comes home and not just because I’m not on my own anymore.  Cadence acts like she hasn’t seen Daddy for months every afternoon when he returns from work.
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After some snuggles and taking Emily’s temperature, it’s dinner time.  Eric and I have corned beef, potatoes and carrots.  Cadence has the same plus some water melon and I put together a light dinner for Emily (out of which she only eats the butter bread and has something to drink).
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You can just barely see Emily’s head here under the blankets and pillows.  We gave her some Tylenol to bring her fever down after dinner.
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Since Emily isn’t well, we put kids t.v. on. S he watches Max and Ruby on Noggin and then Dora comes on which is a particular favorite of Cadences who actually stops to watch while she’s playing.
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Since the girls are entertained, it’s time to take care of the dinner dishes.
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Eric helps me out and we’re all done in just a few minutes.
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After dishes and such, Emily is feeling better.    The Tylenol must have kicked in (her fever was just about 103 and she was feeling pretty bad)
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Since it’s now pushing 7:30 it’s time to get Cadence into bed.  We change jammies

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and then head upstairs.

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I rock for a while and then Daddy comes in to snuggle up on the floor.  This is where our pictures end, but the story doesn’t.  Cadence, didn’t want to go to sleep last night, so we fought with her for an hour.  She was up two more times until I finally gave up and put her in bed with us at 1 am

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Emily was sleeping downstairs when Eric and I were ready to go bed, so we left her with the t.v. on.  However, it was storming so within a few minutes Emily was in our bedroom too.  The entire house slept in our room last night.

Well, there you have it mostly a day in our life. :o)

01 Jul 2008 The Devil’s Arithmetic-Jane Yolen
 |  Category: Books  | Leave a Comment

I’ve actually read this book before and forgot until I actually started reading.  Eric asked me if I was enjoying my book and I told him point blank that it wasn’t the sort of book you enjoyed.

And it’s not.

Amazon.com lists it as being for ages 9 to 12, but I think more sensitive 9 and 10 year olds might find the book to be just too much.

The Devil’s Arithmetic is the story of Hannah, a rather privileged Jewish girl who is “over” the whole passover thing.  Her relatives, with concentration camp numbers tattooed on their forearms, seem distant and weird and she’s annoyed with the entire group of passover activities.  Out of desperation (and maybe a little selfishness) Hannah dumps her into glass of wine into the cup for Elijah, her grandfather chooses her to ceremoniously open the front door to let him in and she is instantly transported to Poland in 1942, right before the Jews in that area were rounded up and sent off to the camps.

Hannah, known as Chaya in 1942, realizes quickly what their fate is to be and she attempts to warn people.  Obviously they don’t listen because really who could have conceived of the idea of what was going to happen before it did?  Hannah ends up crowded into a freight car where old women and babies and children die and then she enters the camp, frightened, but determined.  There she meets the determined Ryvka who has decided that she will NOT die and does all she can to teach Hannah the ways of the camp.

Hannah returns, eventually, to present times with a new found understanding for the plight of her ancestors.  She’s a changed person.

Who wouldn’t be.

The book was achingly difficult to read.  I didn’t cry, but I literally felt myself recoiling as I read about the dead little girl, still sucking her thing, dead from the exhaustion and starvation and trauma.  I know those things happened and they just…..mortify me.  Horribly.  The book reads quickly, for an adult, and I was finished with it in the space of an evening, between swimming and dinner and cuddle time, but the impression it makes is haunting and i have no doubt my mind won’t be returning to this book for some time.