Saturday, October 31, 2009

Big Girl

It's our first Halloween as a family. Annaliese is going as a wee green monster in a zip-up suit that looks like shaggy green carpet with monster eyes on top, and Caspian's going to wear a blue cap, a baseball longsleeved onseie, and my eyeliner on his cheeks. Total cost: $6, and I can't wait for the pictures. We are going to walk up and down a few blocks and I am looking forward to it.

My kids have been heart-breakingly beautiful lately. Caspian increases in chubby-cheek-kissiness every day (and my goodness, he is such a SMILEY baby), and as for Annaliese, well... she's not a baby anymore. Which is nuts! Two Halloweens ago Annaliese wasn't even here, and now look:

She's started taking US for walks, imperially beckoning with her small hand and throwing hissy fits when we try to turn around for home.

It's a fun time. Ever since she turned about twelve months... it's been pretty fantastic.
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Friday, October 30, 2009

unexpected parental perk: confiscating 95% of your toddler's candy.

not that she knows, naturally. she is quite thrilled with her non-edible spider rings and the occasional drumstick lollipop.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I am tired. 150+ straight nights and counting of being awoken multiple times by baby, child, and dogs will do that to you.

But who wants to hear about that?

Annaliese has learned to play pretend. She pretends to go to sleep-- night-night! she yells, then shuts her eyes so hard that they crease-- and she pretends to be the baby.

It's pretty funny.

The chickens have taken to roaming the yard. All of the yard.

And as well as playing, Annaliese has also developed the habit of shedding her clothes as soon as she comes home from school. Which --as I am a stern mama--is limited to the house! No playing naked in the yard!

Oh, I am so tough.

Lastly, it brings me great joy to announce that Annaliese and Caspian Officially Like Each Other. They make googly-eyes at each other. He watches her every move. They smile, they coo, she straddles him and rocks him back and forth while I look on, fearing crushing: he chortles and reaches for her hair.

My two little monkeys.

They're falling asleep in the same room these days. Maybe someday they'll wake up in it too.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Today a baby was born at 5:30 in the morning.

Her name is Claire.

She is the daughter of one of my best friends.

She was longed-for and eagerly awaited and ten days late and her mama-- all five foot two and a hundred pounds of her-- birthed her like a champ with no drugs in about seven hours.

Birth, despite labor, despite the fact that it's just the beginning of a very long road-- is so miraculous. Yesterday, Claire wasn't with us; today, she is.

I teared up talking to my friend (she called me! the same day she had a baby!) because I am so happy for her.

(Maybe I forget to express this on my blog-- but I remember almost daily and very strongly today-- that having a child is a miracle that keeps finding new ways to become more miraculous. And no, I haven't slept a great deal in the last 21 months, but I have two babies who make me smile and laugh every day. I have a family to sit around the dinner table with. I have a daughter to sit on my lap and make pigtails for, and a son who squeezes my fingers and buzzes his lips in joy.)

And so I can tell my friend with absolute truth-- I am so happy for you. Congratulations.

While You Were Out

So, my husband did not use a week free of wife and children to sleep or eat in peace or take long baths. Nope.

And while I found it kind of strange that our first evening back he practically nodded off into his dinner, I am selfishly glad, because LO:

Six months ago, the yard was full of scrap, the dumpster was here, and there was no chicken house! Now it's all empty! Even the ginormous burn pile is gone.



Every morning I wake up, look outside, and feel an enormous sense of relief.

Since we're doing house improvement photos, this one is mine:

I painted the far wall of the living room to warm it up and purchased a rug. I really love this line (dash and albert cotton rugs)-- they are affordable, fit in my washing machine, and they're like a painting for the floor. We are looking for a wood stove and I am going to tile under it and then the living room will be cheery and cosy and beautiful.

So praise be to K.... our home has never looked better.

Not to mention the mown lawn, clean sheets, put-away laundry, cleaned-up nursery, outlet covers, installed heating covers, working windshield wipers, and installed fire alarms!

What a prince.
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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Home again, home again.

We won't even talk about the plane rides, or the lost wallet, or the poop-and-booger stains.

Because in between the bracket of traveling, we had a wonderful week in Virginia-- seeing family, feeding sheep, charming all and sundry.

I mean, come on:

Does it get cuter?

Grandpa might think so:

And Nonni won Annaliese's heart and mind with daily sheep-feeding trips. Baa-baas and tractors-- a winning combination-- not to mention the donkeys!

Go here for a full gallery.
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Monday, October 19, 2009

Dispatch from Nonni's

At my mother's.

We have spent time with my father, my sister, my aunts and uncles, and we're going to see my grandfather today or tomorrow.

Annaliese has been working very hard to charm everyone in sight. She has drunk gallons of cider, fed sheep with her bare hands, and trotted along cheerfully doing farm chores with her Nonni. It's fair to say she is having a great time. Especially since her Nonni lets her watch Nick Junior at meal times, a luxury entirely unknown at our house.

Caspian is teething and growing like a fiend but remains fairly cheerful nonetheless.

And as for me? Well, it's hard being the solo parent, and I miss my sweetheart. But it's awful nice to be in the house where I grew up in the shadow of the Blue Ridge during apple season.

Pictures, of course, to follow.

Monday, October 12, 2009

On Friday, I turned 27.

K. made me a buttercream-and-rasberry-filled yellow cake for my birthday-- as well as the world's largest compost bin, which is super-exciting because not only can I now compost the grass clippings I scavenge from our neighbors, but the pile of scrap in our backyard is ever-decreasing!

There was a certain mention of it all being gone when I return home from VA....

Also, K and I got drunk (aka had two glass of wine each) and ate lobster. Then he opened the door and there was a toy poodle on its hind legs, begging with both front paws to come in!

He was obviously abandoned. Now he is quite clean and cute and I cannot stop marveling at how little bother he is-- no shedding, no vomiting thus far, and he's nice to Annaliese. We are not SURE we are keeping him, but he is going to vet on Friday. His name is Hercules.

(p.s. the steps are done but the porch floor is still just primed because it won't stop RAINING. ARG.)

We left the children with Miss Margaret on Saturday and went to Ole Miss for the Sedaris show, which was funny and adult and a neat thing for us to do. Then on Sunday we went to my farmer friend and bought 4 hens and received as a present three young succulent roosters, who are now in our freezer. (Caspian was watching from the Bjorn as I cut their heads off! He looked fascinated.)

So...lobster, a poodle, a gay comic, and chicken-killing. Even in the unending rain, we manage to have some fine times.

N.B. all photos taken on K's iPhone by him. Camera charger is in the clutches of the increasingly elusive USPS.

Friday, October 09, 2009

yay Obama!

He might have earned it... but in my opinion, he deserves it.

I love our President.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

tractor show

So, the new camera battery is on its way. These pics are from our town reporter, and a little article with pics can be seen at y a l n e w s . c o m and I am hoping the spacing will prevent them from finding this, as I prefer my neighbors not to know about my blog...

It was a fair and sunny day, a rarity here lately. When I arrived at the park 45 minutes til market, there was 1 vendor and no tractors to be seen.

An hour later...

We had 13 vendors, ranging from wild-caught Gulf shrimp to local unhomogenized milk in old-fashioned glass bottles to dressed quail to pumpkins to fresh bread to produce and fried pies and crafts and... not bad for a town of 3500!

Not to mention 10 antique tractors that were all so loved that they looked brand-new. Next year I am going to do an Ugliest Tractor contest to get some variety.

The tractors were a huge hit with the kids though-- every child there sat on every tractor, delighting their parents and the tractor owners, who tend to be elderly men who get a bit giddy at the sight of their beloved bringing pleasure to small children.

We had some live music, a potluck party table, and a fair amount of customers.

(annaliese very somberly learning the harmonica)

I can only hope everyone had as much fun as I did.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

--notes on the tractor show later--

but for now, it's a rainy Sunday and I am on Day One of Trying Not to Be A Fatty and what is K doing?

Three loaves, twelve muffins, and two scone-shaped masses of banana bread; twenty-four peanut-butter-chocolate chip cookies; two pumpkin pies, one cream pie, and the dough for the molasses cookies is chilling in the fridge.

I hate him.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

On Sleep with Boring Parent Logistics

First, I'd like to say that after reading about fourteen books about babies and sleeping, all I have to say is that I am in no way an expert, but all the experts disagree with each other.

Annaliese was a rotten sleeper. At nearly two years of age she's better, but it still takes a long time and generally some tears for her to fall asleep, it's pretty common for her to cry out in the night (though she settles herself down most times), and though I hear rumors that her nap at school is over 2 hours, it sure ain't that way at home on the weekends.

Caspian is much easier to GET to sleep-- he doesn't fight it like Annaliese did. We have a quasi-schedule going, which some days works like a charm and other days seems to exist only in my head. But he still wakes 2-4 times between 7pm and 7am to nurse, fart, and burp. It's not always clear WHAT is waking him up, but it's always one of the other (hunger or gas).

I have contemplated the crying-it-out thing-- because after nearly two years of having about 20 nights where a child didn't wake me up, I'm getting pretty heartless-- but that method seems to be for babies who won't go to sleep rather than babies who conk out just fine but then wake up.

I get that 12 hours is a long stretch for a wee monster like mine. I don't mind doing a night feeding. That being said, getting up once is a whole lot different than 4 times, which has been the norm here as of late.

So what to do? How do I get my sweet ravenous and belchy little boy to stock up, sleep, eat, burp, and sleep again? Should I feed him once and then let him cry?

(the real kicker is that formula seems to make him gassier -- which I think is actually the bottle's fault, cos he swallows more air especially with tired parents holding it-- but breastmilk is kind of like a box of raisins-- tides him over but not for long).

Thoughts are appreciated. I swear that being a parent would be peachy keen if I could just have 8pm to dawn full of silent, sleeping children.

Oh, and ALSO...

He's totally outgrowing the bassinet, Annaliese is totally unable to fall asleep in a bed that she can get out of, and so right now he's sleeping swaddled on the guest bed. Should we suck it p, abandon the guest room idea, and stick a crib in there? Should Annaliese suck it up and get her brother in her room? Either way he needs to have a defined place of his own, I feel...