Friday, December 21, 2012


If my fingers hadn't been transformed into frozen appendages, I would have snapped a picture of  the gigantic drift that surrounded the hen house. Although we'd been marveling at the drift, from the warm comfort of the house, I took my time getting out to check on the gals this morning. I was procrastinating, it's true. It took some time and self-encouragement (and maybe a little chiding) before I bundled myself against the cold and wind and made my way to the coop.

I figured the gals were tucked safe and snug inside their refuge, not needing me in any urgent way. When I reached them, our hardy gals were indeed inside, but I'm sure that was due less the peaceful nature of the place and more a result of the drift that encapsulated their home.

When I was finally able to liberate them, all eleven of our feathered friends indignantly made their way from the coop. It seemed like they enjoyed their new freedom, until they discovered that their water and grain were buried somewhere in the epic drift. I'm pretty sure I could tell they were wondering why they wanted so badly to get out, when there was just more of the cold and snow outside.

After we found their feeder, the flock made quick work of the grain and then filed one by one back into their cozy little home. After all, they each have a job to do. There were three eggs neatly laid in the top-most nesting box. That place also happened to be the only spot in the coop that didn't have remnants of a blizzard. I imagine a few of the gals had a keen eye on that spot, which looked 'comfortable.'

I'm a bit surprised that the flock is as hardy as they've proven to be thus far... seemingly unperturbed, they continue to lay their precious eggs through the cold and blustery weather. I feel much less hardy... could it be that I'm getting soft-ish in my older age? Maybe I'm beginning to understand why people (and birds) long to fly south in the bitter cold and dark of winter.

But since there is no flying south for me, hardy I will become, for I too have work to do.

Monday, December 17, 2012


Santa has been a bit conflicted as of late, when it comes to the names of two little boys. You see, these boys are also conflicted... they say that they want to be on Santa's Nice list, but their actions put them firmly on the Naughty side of the margin.

I know that Santa would really like to stop at this house and bring a gift to each of the three little people that live here... but I'm not so sure that will actually happen. That's never not happened... but this year may be the first.

Santa doesn't want to hurt any feelings, but there is a reason for the list keeping. Santa is no different than anyone else... he knows the power of incentives. His incentives aren't complicated... there are no points or black-out dates. No coupons or card punches required. His plan is simple: Be honest, Follow the rules, Love one another.

I understand that sometimes those things can be more difficult to remember... and so, we parents can help to pass along reminders. Starting in late November, mine sound a little like: "Oh boy... it's so sad that Santa has to see (and hear) all of this fighting..." My volume level may fluctuate, but the message tends to remain pretty constant.

Even with all of those 'helpful' reminders... Benett and Gavin both have their work cut out for themselves, and will have to make a very concerted effort in the next several days. We've been talking a lot about compromise. But that's tough to grasp sometimes... and when competition is so fierce. I think for Gavin, compromise means "losing." Sometimes that's just what it is... and when you're nine, losing is never okay.

And then there is Ellie. She deserves a visit from Santa. She's been such a darling... helpful as can be (most of the time). Even if she tends to get noisy and bickers with Benett a bit, she's doing a great job for a two-year-old. (Even when not compared to her brothers.)

So, Santa is conflicted... will he bring a gift for only one child? Will the boys shape up and turn things around in time for a visit from the jolly elf? I'm not sure; there's only one person who knows for sure... and I hope he has an eraser on that magic pencil, because a week is a long time.

Friday, December 14, 2012


Last night, Benett and Ellie got to show off their singing skills at the holiday concert that their daycare hosts. Or perhaps they mostly just showed off... I'm not quite sure... Actually Benett knew all of his songs through and through. And, he's been singing them at every opportunity that he gets. I love the way he bursts into song in the middle of some seemingly random moment.

Of course Monte and I enjoyed watching both of them strutting their stuff. Ellie, being the oldest child in her class, stood out. The other kids are so small compared to her. I remember when she was that child, standing up front with other kids that looked so much bigger and older than her. She was just a baby. But now, she's the big kid who knows all of the hand motions to the songs and dances and wiggles up front... hamming it up for all to enjoy.

Benett was his usual self. Someone said to me, "He sure is a spark plug." That pretty much sums it up. He is indeed a spark plug. My little spark plug. I only wish he was a little less sparky every once in a while...

All of the little people, Gavin included, were on pins and needles waiting for Santa. When he walked in the door, every child in the room formed into an instant line. Nobody wanted to miss a chance to sit on Santy's lap and tell him how good they've been and list all of the things he should bring.

Even Ellie took her turn this year. She was so excited, calling out to Santy from her place in line. I was just sure when the time came, she'd lose her nerve and come over to me, not wanting to sit on Santy's lap. But she surprised me again. She sat on his lap. Told him that she wanted a baby and then asked for a candy cane. He obliged with the candy and she was happy.

When I asked Gavin to share what he said to Santa, he refused to tell me. Holding out hope that Santa is real means not telling Mom or Dad what he really wants, because Santa knows and that's all that matters.

The spark plug, being true to form, was full of the dickens. I'm not sure Santa needed to ask if he's been a good boy or not... he knows... he knows...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


In honor of today, 12/12/12, I'd like to list twelve of the thinks I'm most thankful for.

Since the people in my life could fill up the list a few times over, I'll keep this list to other pleasures. In no particular order:

  1. When the little people crawl into bed, not too early in the morning, snuggling in to catch a few more zzzz's.
  2. A meal with friends.
  3. Watching an old movie, snuggled under a blanket and falling asleep half way through.
  4. Starting a sewing/knitting/crafting project.
  5. Finishing a sewing/knitting/crafting project.
  6. Finding a dollar in my coat pocket.
  7. Chocolate
  8. The loyalty of a beloved dog.
  9. Giggling
  10. A great book that just can't be put down.
  11. The love of my husband.
  12. Silly, funny, genuine comments that come straight from a little person's heart.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


I think this is the only chicken, at my house, who appreciates this change in weather. The remainder of the gals have decided to keep themselves sequestered away for a bit, only venturing out into the snow for a moment or two, before quickly making tracks back to the warmth and protection of the coop.

The little people on the other hand, couldn't wait to get out into the snow. So after breakfast we began the task of bundling everyone up into double socks, snow pants, coats, mittens and hats. The first 'bundling' of the season is always funny to me... everyone seems to forget how much work it is to get dressed for the cold.

All of the kids enjoyed themselves today. Playing in the first real snow of the season is something special. They shoveled snow for quite some time and only gave that up so that they could sled down our little hill. The snow conditions are perfect for sliding... and snowmen. The snow is sticky and holds shape just perfectly.

If you ask me, the best part of spending time outside in the cold is coming in for a warm drink. Cocoa was on order... with a handful of "smarshmallows." I fixed a mug of the warm brew for each of the little people as they came into the house.

Ellie was first in. Her cheeks were bright red, and she was a bit chilly, so Elle was excited for a warm drink. Her technique was to count and drop each marshmallow into the cup one at a time. She stirred them all up and then plucked each marshmallow out one at a time, with her spoon, to eat them.

Next into the house was Benett. He just couldn't wait to get out of his snow pants... he can be really fussy about his clothes, especially when they feel "funky." Without his funky snow pants, he was happy to sit and slurp is drink. By the time he was done, half of it was dripping from his chin.

Gavin was the last to give up the cold. When he walked into the house he was wet from head to toe... seemingly un-bothered by the wet state that he was in. He promptly sat down at the counter and dumped all of the marshmallows into his cup at once. Stirred the whole concoction up, guzzled it down as fast as he could and then ran off to watch the football game. That child is all boy and football is very important to him.

It looks like we'll be getting our share of snow today. As a result I have a feeling we'll be outside again, after naps... Actually, they'll most likely ask to go out again just as I get all of the snow gear dry and put away. But that's okay... because it will give me an excuse for another cup of cocoa later.

Monday, December 3, 2012


There is something about the chill in the Autumn air that makes me more eager to knit. I caught the bug early this season and started knitting up a few things... but that enthusiasm has tapered off. I had high hopes of knitting up a whole stack of things before Christmas, but that doesn't look to be in the cards.

In reality, there are a whole host of things that I pictured myself doing this fall and winter, but somehow none of that has come to pass. I may have slightly underestimated the amount of work it takes to stay home with little people. I'm not quite sure what I do each Monday and Friday... but I can tell you that I'm exhausted by the time everyone is tucked into bed. (And maybe even a little bit excited about going to work, so see and talk with adults...)

I can also say that my house is no where near as neat and tidy as I'd imagined it, in my idyllic little vision. But despite any of these things, I'm glad for this time with my kids. I'm appreciative of the opportunity to see a side of them that I didn't see before. And although I know this will come to an end at some point, I'm thankful for having had the chance to change my life, no matter how tired I am or how messy my house has become.

Sunday, December 2, 2012


This picture is completely out of focus, but I think it will be one of my favorite pictures of Ellie for a long time to come. This smile, this girl, is my heart.

If you meet Elle for the first time, she seems serious. Actually, if you've lived with her for the last two and a half years, she seems serious much of the time... 

But this little girl is so very sweet; she’s a happy child who’s great at going with the flow… a requirement with two big brothers who can be significantly less go-with-the-flow-ish…

But when it comes to flashing a big broad smile… well that’s a little more elusive, especially when the camera comes out. I think that is due less to her serious side, and more as result of Ellie's natural reaction to a camera, which is saying, "Macaroni and CHEESE, now can I see the picture?" Needless to say, the majority of our pictures are her either not smiling, or clearly talking. 

It's funny... even though we have so many pictures of her where her mouth doesn't seem to be smiling, her eyes clearly are smiling as big and as broad as the image above.