Saturday, November 28, 2009

We interrupt this blog...

I know it's gauche to write about not writing, but tough. So I'm not writing because in four days, I have to teach a bunch of eighth-graders how to make circuits. Here's the thing: I don't know how to make circuits. So there's a bit of studying going on here. Because you don't want to look dumb in front of a bunch of eighth-graders. They'll eat you alive.

Monday, November 23, 2009

At least we beat out cheese

Last week, Emily posted about Asher’s “Thankful Tree,” and I had an afternoon to kill, so I stole her idea. Except that I did not use a pre-printed tree; instead, I drew my own and cut leaves out of construction paper. I did this because I am far more craftsy than Emily. (HAAAAAA. I wrote that to make myself laugh, because I have been fortunate enough to receive a handmade gift from Emily, and, tarust me on this, she wins the arts and crafts contest. Also, her handwriting is FREAKISHLY NEAT, whereas mine looks like a twelve-year-old boy’s.)

Here is where I’d post a picture of Jack standing proudly in front of his completed Thankful Tree, but I didn’t take one. So I can’t. And I just now took a picture of the Tree all on its own so you can see just how craftsy I am. I didn’t even hang it up straight, it’s over there on the wall all cock-eyed and mocking me. But I can’t post the picture because I can’t find the thingamabob that lets me transfer the photos to my computer. Secretly, I’m relieved, because it spares me the chore of transferring, resizing, and uploading the photo. How is it that the transferring, resizing, and uploading of photos is such an onerous task? It must be all the exhausting clicking.

I also blatantly stole Emily’s explanation of what “thankful” means, and told Jack that “We’re thankful for the things that make us happy that we are glad to have. Like, I’m thankful for you and Daddy and Nora.” I was trying to impress upon him the sort of high-class things we like to be thankful for in front of the whole world, but it didn’t quite work out that way.

I kept careful track of the order in which he listed the things he is thankful for, and here they are:

1. candy
2. cereal
3. Honey Bunnies (a specific kind of cereal)
4. shows
5. toys
6. lollipops (a specific kind of candy)
7. pictures
8. flowers
9. Nora (totally unprompted!)
10. the beach
11. snow


At this point, I started to try to get him to say he was thankful for me and Andrew and other family members, so I said, “What about people who are special to you? Are you thankful for anyone like that?” To which he replied, “Yes. Special people.” So. Number twelve.

12. special people
13. V (cousin on Andrew’s side)
14. Mommy
15. Daddy

At this point, he started casting about for ideas and sometimes listed things that he happened to see in the room. I am sure is IS actually thankful for cheese.

16. cheese
17. dolls
18. balloons
19. motorcycles
20. cars
21. swing sets
22. airplanes
23. bologna sandwiches
24. yellow trees
25. people’s houses

“Do you mean our house that we live in? Or just all people’s houses?” It was the latter. And at this point, I worried that his grandparents – whom he loves dearly – would have hurt feelings if they didn’t make the cut, so I suggested them, and the last five entries are:

26. Grampa
27. Gram
28. Grammy
29. Papa
30. Me

So there you have it. The most surprising entries are “the beach” and “V.” We didn’t even go to the beach this year, so I don’t know what made him think of it. As for his cousin V, it’s not that I am surprised he is thankful for her, it’s more that I am surprised his other beloved cousins were not mentioned.

Ah, kids. What goes on in their little heads?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Aging babies

You know what has struck me as I think about Christmas presents? Nora is going to be six months old exactly on Christmas, which is WAAAAAAY older than her current four-and-a-half months, but Jack is still going to be the same age. Crazy.

Friday, November 13, 2009

As if things weren't bad enough

On a recent episode of Clifford, Jenna was hoping to go on a trip to Hawaii with Emily Elizabeth, something Jack mentioned as he was heading to the potty to check for pee. "Daddy and I went to Hawaii once," I told him. "Do you want to look at the pictures while you check for pee?"

I said this to avoid having to build him a marble run while he sat on the potty, because, Lord a'mighty, my life these days seems to consist solely of begging that child to sit down on the potty and then begging him to get off once he's through, and the marble run doesn't seem to be helping matters on fight number two. I think maybe he thinks that I'll only allow him to play with the marble run while pooping.

But anyway. Photos.

So we looked at the photo album I made of our honeymoon in Hawaii. "Who's that, Mommy?"

"That's Daddy!"

"And who's that?"

"That's Mommy!"

And so it went, until we got to two shots of us on top of Mt. Haleakala, one of Andrew and then one of me. Now, I feel I should preface this by telling you that it was REALLY COLD AND WINDY up there, and I had my hair tied back and a boxy sweater and sunglasses. The sweater! It was boxy!

"That's my Daddy," said Jack, pointing to the shot of Andrew. "And that's someone else's daddy," he said.

I'll let you figure out who he was pointing to that time.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Only enough time for a crotchety rant

Twitter is nice and all, but what is this world we live in where e-mail has become the OLD-FASHIONED way of communicating? In other news: My knees ache and I had to walk to school uphill both ways through snowstorms as a tyke.

Monday, November 9, 2009

So how did it taste?

I have been inundated with throngs of people asking about the celeriac. Well, two. Two people have asked. But that is forty percent of the commenters, so if you extrapolate to all my readers, that means at least… let’s see… carry the two… SIXTEEN WHOLE PEOPLE are on the edges of their seats waiting, just waiting to learn what celeriac tastes like. So I’ll tell you. But not yet.

First, I have to tell you that when I actually picked up the celeriac, it looked even weirder than it does in that picture. How is this possible? Well, it originally had a lot of green leafy stalks growing out of the top of it. Now, I thought the celeriac looked sort of like a rutabaga or a turnip, so I mentally classified it into the “rutabaga/turnip” family of root vegetables, known technically as rutabagas turnipicus. “Whoa,” I said to the farm share lady. “How do you cook THIS thing?”

“They’re good in soups,” she said, an answer which is, frankly, a cop-out. Well, sure SOUP. That’s what you do with any vegetable you don’t know about. Sheesh, it’s what you do with a ROCK. So I determined to Google it when I got home.

In the meantime, I could smell the stalks of the celeriac from miles away, and they smelled bizarrely like celery. I say bizarrely, because celery is not a member of rutabagas turnipicus; I think it’s classified in goodus with peanutbuttericus. And when I got home, Andrew agreed. “Wow,” we said. “It really really smells like celery! Weird!” It smelled so much like celery, in fact, that I kept the stalks after I cut them off to make vegetable broth, because – what do you know – celery is ALSO good in soup.

The next day, I Googled “celeriac” as promised and guess what I found out. Go ahead. Guess.

Yup. It’s celery. Technically, the celeriac is the celery root, but the parts that smelled so mysteriously like celery? The stalks? Yeah, those were celery. You’d think that I might have figured it out what with the root being called CELERIAC and all, but no.

At any rate, I also found some recipes for celeriac, and a popular one seems to be to boil it and mash it with potatoes. I plan to do this with the second half, but I threw caution to the wind with the first half and put it in a stir fry. It tastes like – wait for it – celery. But sort of a mild celery. It was quite nice, actually.

Do not attempt to peel it with a vegetable peeler however. Celeriac’s hairy, rooty skin scoffs at a vegetable peeler. You’re going to have to use a knife.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Oops, I bought a coat.

Two days ago, I accidentally bought a coat. Now, that sounds like a euphemism for “I saw a coat I really wanted and it wasn’t in my budget but I somehow found myself handing over my credit card,” but that’s not what happened at all. No, I accidentally bought a coat.

Here’s what happened. Jack, Nora and I were at Trader Joe’s. This was my first attempt at grocery shopping with both kids, and we did phenomenally well, thanks to the Ergo baby carrier, which I have not been paid to promote but which you should all rush out and buy because it is AWESOME. The Ergo is new to me because Nora is only recently old enough to ride in it without the infant insert, and I hated the infant insert and never used it. But now I happily put up with the fact that it is a bit bulky to tote around because I can NURSE in that thing! And there is NO PAIN EVER. I love it.

Ahem. So. Grocery shopping. As I said, it went phenomenally well, even though Jack didn’t ride in the carriage but walked alongside. Actually, now that I am writing this, I am thinking that had we gone to a traditional gigando grocery store instead of tiny little Trader Joe’s with the free soup samples, things would have gone less phenomenally well. Still, though, we got through the store with only one counting-to-five incident as I was paying, so I’ll take it. Things went so well, that I thought we could walk across the parking lot to the TJ Maxx in the same plaza, and we did.

Once in there, though, it realized my plans of lazily browsing the stock, maybe finding a few sweaters (because I am COLD), were clearly the delusions of a sleep-deprived mind, because I had a three-year-old walking beside me. There was not going to be any lazy browsing. And this is while he was being well-behaved, “helpfully” pulling sweaters off the hangers for me to see. (“I like this one, Mom! It’s yeh-yoh! My favorite color!”) Heaven help us if he decided to throw a tantrum.

So I decided to leave, but on my way back towards the door, I spied a fuzzy white faux-shearling coat. It was $35. I wanted to try it on quickly, but when I tried to unsnap it, the snap broke. So I carried it up to the cashier to show her the damage I did, hoping I wouldn’t have to buy it since I was the one who broke it.

“Oh, yes, I see,” she said. “Let me see… I can give it to you for $30.”

“Oh! But… I didn’t even get to try it on…” I stuttered, taken aback that she apparently thought I was trying to negotiate a deal.

“Oh, you can still return it!” she said. “So don’t worry, you can see how much it will be to repair and then decide whether it’s worth it.”

“Well, I, uh,” I replied, eloquently, thinking all the while of the ticking time bomb of a preschooler at my side. “Um. OK. Fine. I’ll buy it.”

At this point the cashier realized I had only been trying to explain what happened, and told me I didn’t HAVE to buy it, but sometimes I have a misguided sense of… I don’t know, dignity? For an inexplicable reason, I felt like I COULDN’T change my mind once I agreed to buy it. Possibly I thought the ordeal would be over more quickly if I just bought the thing and left. And part of me was hoping that I’d get a nice new coat in the bargain.

Well, anyway, I bought it. But I have to return it, for two reasons. First, it is white and will therefore look like crap in about two weeks. Not necessarily because I have kids, but because I spill stuff. Two, I found a second broken snap, which suggests that the snaps are terrible and will become a source of intense annoyance.

And now I have no way to end this. Oh! Here’s something. Yesterday I cooked and fed this to my family:

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It’s called celeriac. I got it from the farm share. Is it not the craziest vegetable you have ever seen? The thing is HAIRY. This is why farm shares are awesome; I would never in a million years have purchased that thing.

It was surprisingly tasty.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Methinks he is not telling the whole truth

On Halloween, Jack said to me, "Look, Mom! The moon!" Then he said, "The moon looks bright because the sun is shining on it, even though we can't see it."

"That's right, Jack!" I said. I was surprised, though, because I hadn't told him that. I'm still getting used to the new reality that preschool has brought wherein he goes and LEARNS stuff when I am not around. It's bizarre. But I'm willing to bed that this tidbit was imparted by his grandpa, who is a bit of an astronomy nut. So I checked. "Who told you that, Jack?"

"No one, I figured it out by myself."

NOW do you believe he's a supergenius? Three years old, and already deducing basic astronomy principles! I'm so proud.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween photos

I am stuck home with a sick kid and a maybe-sick baby, and am rendered too bored to write anything interesting. Does that happen to other people? You get so bored that everything becomes boring? It's odd.

Anyway, here are some photos of my adorable children. Don't be scared when you see Jack, he wasn't a REAL dragon (as he told everyone).

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I really like that last photo because I think *I* look good in it. Speaking of which, did any of you notice my new glasses? If you did notice, do you also wear glasses? I have a theory that only people who wear glasses notice other people's glasses. Because NOBODY noticed these except for my sister-in-law, and I think they are drastically different from my old glasses.

In other news, Nora's favorite current toy are her own toes.

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She can't really get them to her mouth when she has the diaper on, so I amuse myself by imagining I can hear an audible "SPROING!" when I take the diaper off and she folds herself in half to chew on them. And sometimes we put her in the bouncy seat sans diaper so that she'll be quiet happy. It's one of the few things that works.