Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Growing, growing

They're always growing, these kids, even though I tell them all the time they better damn well stop it. Sophia is suddenly a lovely, ELEVEN year old lady. I don't even know how that happened.

(Ok, I know how it happened, but I live in denial.)

And this little guy is over 2 months old now. He's smiling, cooing, wiggling, and completely nosy.

It really makes my heart go all gooey and sappy, the way the older kids love the baby. I went into having a new baby with no expectations that they'd be thrilled with it, but they've really surprised me. Then again, he's not old enough to get into their things yet, so I guess I'll just enjoy it for now.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

That newborn haze

I think I forgot how all-consuming the newborn thing is. I mean, there's the complete lack of time to get anything non-baby done (because, say, a certain someone has decided that he wants to nurse a little here and there, but CONSTANTLY) but there's also that instinct to cuddle down with a little head under your chin, inhaling their smell of newness and something that is part you and part uniquely them. Time is such a stretchy thing with a newborn.

So we've got guests coming tomorrow and I'm thinking the house will not be clean and also that I'm not going to be much in the way of entertainment, but I guess that's how it goes and I'm really trying not to feel the least bit bad about that. Because I've got some really more important things to do. Like smell some baby hair.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Miles Thoreau is here.

Born on September 7th at 8:40pm. He weighed 8 lbs 9 oz, and arrived after about an hour of really hard labor, so quickly the doctor didn't make it to the room in time and I think we panicked the nurse a little. (And when I broke down and asked for an epidural, there wasn't time for one!) Oh well.

He's perfect and healthy and we're smitten.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Getting there

Almost 35 weeks now, so yesterday I decided it was probably time to wash some baby clothes. It seemed like I was going to be pregnant forever somehow, and now it seems like it's going so quickly. I guess that's Life, actually.

Now, to get this house in shape.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


On Tuesday, we had people putting a new roof on the house. I had anticipated Roof Day with no small amount of dread, because our dogs are the kind of dogs who bark when anyone approaches the house. Not that they would ever do anything about any of those people approaching the house, but they like to maintain an appropriate amount of false swagger, I suppose. The recent addition of a very small dog and a few people in the house next door, and thus the backyard that borders our own and is only separated by a chain-link fence, still sends them into a fury of outraged hysterics, two months on. So I doubted a day filled with strange people on top of the house pounding away was going to be pleasant for them, or for me, who would be trapped with them. And I didn't have enough advanced warning to beg the veterinarian for some canine valium or anything.

But, to my surprise, they really didn't do badly at all. They barked at first, and they raced up and down the stairs for awhile trying to figure out why they could hear strange men's voices but not see strange men, but eventually they settled down for the most part. I was elated.

And then. Then in the early evening when the roofers had gone I let the dogs out in the backyard again. They ran, they sniffed, they frolicked. All cool. I saw Nox, our lab, twist in the grass on his back, looking like an ecstatically happy canine, glad (I assumed) to see his own patch of yard after a day of imposed exile.

When I let them back in I noticed him rubbing his head against the table legs, then running in to the living room and scraping his sides against the couch, which was odd. But, well, Nox IS odd, so I didn't think that much about it. Then Sophia went to pet him and shrieked, "Nox is covered in something sticky!!"

Indeed he was. We were baffled. I had the kids take him back out and try to hose him off. He went utterly apeshit about it, breaking away and nearly hanging himself in the screen door as he tried to get back in. And still he was sticky.

I went out to investigate and, turns out, the idiot found a spot of tar in the grass where the roofers had been and rolled in it. And he was really thorough. He has clumps of fur tarred together all down his back, on his cheeks, in the thick hair of his throat. It's awful.

The roofers came back the next morning to do the garage, and they gave me a small amount of some special cleaner they had, but I'm afraid to use it on him. I don't want to burn his skin or anything. I don't know... maybe I could spot clean the worst spots with a rag and then rinse really well with water? If he wasn't so damned big and impossible for me to manhandle, I would have already tried this, but I'm just not sure it's a good idea.

Anyway, I feel equal parts sympathy and exasperation for the lovable imbecile. I'd like to think he's learned some sort of lesson, but realistically I doubt it.

I like to think he at least looks slightly embarrassed, anyway.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Last Thursday, soon after the kids had come home from school, I looked out our dining room window and saw a group (actually, appropriately, a murder) of crows swooping around and pecking some small animal. I yelled for Sophia to run out and shoo them away. Turns out, it was a baby squirrel they were attacking, and another was struggling in the flower bed a few feet away.

My children are not the type who would ever just let it end there. So I had them stay quietly on the little porch nearby so they could shoo the crows again if they came back, but be out of the way enough for the mama squirrel to come get her babies. We heard her calling... (did YOU know that squirrels could make a sound like a whining dog, or a loud bird? I didn't until that day.) And she did end up rescuing one of the babies. But the other, well he tried to climb a fence, fell, then headed toward the road. And when Sophia went to check on him, he started following her, another thing I didn't think a squirrel would do. I warned her to stay back and not touch him, and we truly tried to avoid him while keeping him out of the road, but he just wouldn't head back to where his mother was, and finally Sophia picked him up. I did a little online research and saw that the scent of human is not necessarily a problem for squirrel mothers, so we tried to put him down in the area she would come back to, but he didn't stay put there really, and she never came. So I had a dilemma.

I didn't really want to play squirrel rescuer, to be honest. But the kids were just SO worried about him and so in love with his small self already that I couldn't NOT. I called our vet, and they said they would take him but it would have to be the next morning because they were closing. So we cut holes in an old shoe box, put some towels in there, and "Squeaks" spent the night in Benjamin's room. He was so affectionate. It was odd to me. He survived another moment of peril when Nox got into the room and discovered him, too. That's one lucky squirrel.

So the next morning we drove to the vet and the kids handed over the little squirrel they'd fallen in love with. The nice lady who took him explained that they would look him over for injuries (his nose had been bloodied a little, either by a fall or the crows, but otherwise he seemed very healthy) and evaluate if he was ready to get along on his own or not. Then, when he was ready, he'd be released.

It is exactly what is best for a wild animal, and Squeaks is definitely a wild animal, no matter how much he seemed like a hamster. But that didn't make it easy for my soft-hearted children, who loved him, and they cried the whole ride home. In fact, they cried for a good solid hour. I told them how proud I was of them, both for taking such good care of Squeaks and for doing the right thing for him even when it was hard.

It's a tough lesson, though. Happily, almost a week later, they're feeling happier about the whole thing, and catching glimpses of Squeak's brother or sister running around out there, which makes us think Squeaks has an excellent chance at being very successful in the wild himself.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


I'll be honest: I wasn't totally sold on Nox when we brought him home. I wasn't thrilled with puppy-hood. He required a lot of time and attention that I wasn't excited to put forth and the kids weren't focused enough to provide on their own. (No matter how much they promised so they could have that adorable puppy sitting in the SPCA.) But aside from the normal, but by no means excessive, puppy things like having accidents and chewing on the couch cushions, he is such a good dog. Now that he's left the puppy stage, he's a joy. He was born to be a companion dog. He follows me almost everywhere, including the bathroom. At times it feels like having a furry toddler in the house.

And it's hard to have a bad day when he smiles up at me like this all the time.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The movie theater that was in the mall here closed for remodeling in the fall (I think) and it still hasn't reopened yet. But, as with many things that seem at first to be nothing but an inconvenience, it has definitely been a blessing in disguise. We're a family that loves going to the movies. That's not going to change, although with the cost of tickets these days I'm sure we'll have to be more careful about it. But the truly wonderful thing about this time without the big complex nearby is that we found something even better.

In the town of Lowville, which is maybe a 30 minute drive for us, there's an old theater that was at one time an opera house, a USO club, and a silent movie house. They show one or two movies a weekend, and the ticket and food prices are much lower than most cinemas as well. Plus, it's just so damn charming and lovely. And who doesn't love to support such a great, local, family-owned business, anyway?

Right across the street is a diner called Jeb's, where the food is good and the milkshakes even better (say the hellmonkeys). So we will often pass a wonderful Friday evening with a dinner there and then walk across the street to see a film. And we might not have discovered this option if the theater by us hadn't closed. But it did close, and we did discover it, and although I'm sure we will see movies at the newer place when it reopens, you can be sure we will always pick the Town Hall Theater in Lowville first.

There is so much charm to be found in the little places of this area, and having moved around a good bit, I feel that is true for everywhere. You just have to be willing to look for it. Sometimes it takes a closing to move us out of our comfort zone in order to find it, but it is always so worth it when we do.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Can we have some spring, please?

I call this his "don't talk to me until I've eaten my hotcakes" face, and I'm pretty sure that's exactly the look on my own before I've had a cup of coffee every morning. It's been a long end-of-winter. February and March are always kind of long up here. So ready for spring, so not going to get it. But today it's in the 50s and the sun is shining and for the first time I actually believe it's coming.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Old Long Since (Auld Lang Syne)

Happy New Year!

These are my two favorite images I took in 2010. I actually had them made into canvases to give my parents for Christmas, and I'm going to order some for us soon as well.

2010 saw my husband come home safely from Afghanistan, and my children healthy and happy. Thanks, 2010. I have high hopes for 2011, but no matter what I know it will mostly be what I make it. Here's hoping you have a lot to work with this year, too.