Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Amazingly, I did not feel like I had any "extra" time on Leap Day.

The vegetable seed order is finally in, however!

Some new things I'm trying this year are Parsnips and Shallots.

I'm also going to try planting Borage with my Tomatoes. I read that this will keep those awful Tomato Hornworms away.

Digging in the garden is just a few weeks away...peas in by St. Patty's Day!

Monday, February 27, 2012


I have spent the past several days ruminating on a string of unfortunate things that have happened lately to my friends. Over the weekend, I told one of them that it felt like Sept. 11th all over again: I was apprehensive to see what/who would get hit next.

In the past 2 weeks, two of my good friends have been dismissed from the local University. (This is making the situations sound far less complex than they truly are.) The resulting reality to me is that JP & I will not only lose our friends, as they will likely travel to some other town with another University to start over, but our children will lose their friends that they have known for most of their lives.

The twisted thing is that I have been more conscious over the past month of the incredible riches I have been blessed with in this town as far as friendships are concerned. I feel like I have been robbed!

So, for 4 or 5 days, I have been very sad.

Today, I got mad.

Add that to the fact that by 3:30 this afternoon, J had only completed 2 of 4 lessons for the day, and L was being obstinate about her final lesson, in Art. I announced that school was over for me for the day and they could finish up on their own, and I marched out of the house with a hatchet.

I spent the next 30 minutes chopping kindling for the wood stove. It was good therapy. I'm feeling much better, although I still had to take a break to wipe my eyes and blow my nose in the middle of posting this.

L is still sitting downstairs staring at her crayons. Maybe a little "therapy" with the toilet brush would work wonders?

Sunday, February 26, 2012


JP and I finished a small project today.

We have been pondering for the past 2 years, what to do with the back splash area behind our stove. It is always getting dirty, and the paint is wearing thin from wiping it.

Recently, we found self adhesive stainless steel tiles at Lowe's, and decided that it was the perfect application.

I first had to prime the area with oil-based primer. Then we laid out the tiles in the pattern we wished to use. Finally, we applied them, having to cut some around the light switch and under the cupboards.

This is the final result:

The remainder of the weekend was spent with friends, fixing various things that had come undone in the past several weeks, filling the wood bin on the veranda, and watching "Kate & Leopold" with the girls.

I hope you all are ready to leap into leap-week!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Furniture Building

My Dad has been working in our garage for most of the winter. He built the last bay into his woodshop, which is pretty much set up at this point, but not complete. He even re-purposed our old central vacuum unit for clean up there. He still plans to build enclosed cabinets underneath everything for storage that won't get dusty.

In the meantime, he is back to working in our 2 bays, building similar enclosed storage for all of the stuff that we have been moving from one side to the other in the garage for the past couple of months.

The woodshop came in handy last weekend for furniture building. My friend had the great idea of building fairy gardens with our crowd of fairy fanatic girls, so we scheduled the activity for President's Day (no school!) In anticipation of this, JP sliced up some sticks and small logs for me, which I then fashioned into tiny tables and swings.

We vacuumed up, and left the woodshop to the elves for the remainder of the weekend.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Lo How a Rose E'er Blooming

One of my Hellebores, also known as Lenten Roses, is blooming! This is the second year I've had them, and I even transplanted this specific one last summer. Just as promised, it is blooming in February...hooray!

There is even a second bud back there.

The girls and I zipped through school work and were done by early afternoon. The girls have been playing very nicely downstairs - they haven't had this opportunity for some weeks now. I shudder to think what the downstairs looks like though!

I used my "free time" today to stack nearly a cord of wood under the barn lean-to. We were getting perilously low on firewood, so we purchased 2 truck loads of it. It was 2+ hours of hard work, and my elbow, which has been hurting since I painted the garage ceiling during Christmas break, is terribly sore now. I enjoyed the solitude, however. The rain drummed on the metal roof, and Kali wandered around, sniffing out mouse nests in the woodpile.

I just fixed myself a cup of tea, swallowed 4 Advil, and sat down for a bit of rest. I just realized, of course, that it's already past time to begin dinner preparations.


Maybe I'll put on some "Blind Jaguar" (as Jenna calls them) music and get pumped!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Number 15

J and I spent most of the day in the city today at the Children's Hospital. An MRI of her ankle last month showed swelling and inflammation from arthritis there, and is, we believe, causing her to run and walk with a very stiff gait.

Because of the success of the steroid injections in her knees last year, the Rheumatologist (and we now have a new one) recommended injecting her ankle. She also recommended doing the procedure under anesthesia because of how difficult the knee injections were for her.

When we checked in to Same Day Surgery this morning, the ladies at the front were initially concerned about the fact that J ate cherry jello at 8:30 this morning. They assigned her the number 15, and that is how they called us from the waiting rooms all day. Later on, the Pre-Op Nurse and Anesthesia Resident were concerned about a loose tooth. J was seemingly not concerned about much. She and I passed the time reading cards from Bella's Mystery Deck, and trying to solve the mysteries.

Everything went very smoothly. They even let me walk back to the procedure room with J, stay with her and hold her hand while she went to sleep, and kiss her before leaving for the waiting room. All this business is like a day on the job for me, and since J was at ease, I could be too.

Being at Children's again, made me extremely grateful (again) that my children are in such good health. A toddler recovering near J in the PACU had a bad accident with a cut and fracture swelling his arm to three times its normal size. I watched a young mother in tears as she waited to hear news of the infant that she had been nursing in Pre-Op just a couple of hours earlier. Back home, one of L's little friends was diagnosed with a fractured leg, and may not walk on it for 3 weeks.

After dinner, JP wheeled J in my grandmother's wheelchair to the bathroom, and she came out in tears. We applied ice, and put on a movie for distraction, but she was shaking with pain and had no relief until JP gave her some pain medication. This was very UN-like our experience last year, where she felt so much better right away that it was hard to keep her down for 24 hours as instructed. I rubbed her back, while JP read from "More Adventures of the Great Brain". She finally started to relax about 20 or 30 minutes after taking the medication, and we got her settled down on a little bed on the floor of our room.

Little L was distraught about sleeping downstairs by herself, so Kali's bed was moved in there to sleep with her. Musical beds all around!

This too will pass. In a couple of days J will be up and running around again. I just feel a bit guilty for making her go through this thing that hurt her...again.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Strange Things That Happen While We Sleep

I have been requiring more sleep for the past year and a half than I ever have before. I think it is because my Endocrinologist is finally getting my thyroid regulated. On the other hand, I am sleeping better now than I did before JP started using CPAP at night.

I still keep a baby monitor down in the girls' room, with an extension turned on at a low volume beside my bed...just in case the girls have trouble during the night. It happens only rarely any more that I get woken because of bad dreams, tummy aches, or accidents in bed.

J was always an easy one to console after bad dreams. I would just snuggle up in bed with her for awhile until she dropped back off to sleep.

L asks me to tell her a "good dream" before she can go back to sleep. That requires me to come up with at least 2 stories to tell her before I am allowed to go back to my own bed. I am not the best story teller at any time, but I definitely do not do my best thinking at 2 AM. L keeps me straight though, and asks "WHAT Mommy?" when I start mumbling incoherently as I doze off in the middle of telling her a good dream. Early this morning, while I was telling her a story, she shook me and said "Mommy! Grandpa who?" I have absolutely no idea!

J has been having some strange sleeping issues this week too. I found her sound asleep in the middle of the floor on Tuesday morning! This morning she called me with a frantic tone to her voice, "Mommy! What is wrong with my bed?"

I came to investigate, and found a pool of red in the middle of her sheets, with splotches and smears all over her shirt, arms and face. I pulled her shirt off and searched for the cause of the bleeding, and found nothing. Meanwhile, I'm thinking, "You've got to be kidding...she started her period at NINE years of age???"

I sent her off for a shower, and proceded to strip the sheets off her bed.

"Mommy," she called from the bathroom, "this is the same color as my red marker!"


Despite her reassurances that the markers are "washable", and the fact that I soaked everything most of the day before washing it, there are still some pinkish stains on her sheets. On the positive side, however, she did not require any blood transfusions!

Saturday, February 4, 2012


The girls were downstairs for an hour and a half yesterday afternoon, laughing and giggling. J came up once for help because her camera wasn't working. Other than that, I was so happy that they weren't screaming and fighting, that I just let them be.

When they came up for dinner, J asked if I could show her how to print out the pictures on her camera. She got flustered when I suggested that we could edit them and print them together. She said that L didn't want me to see them, it was a secret between the two of them. I asked L, "Would it be OK if we all look at the pictures together to get them ready to print?" She looked sheepish and told me that she didn't want me to see them.

Of course, when I heard that, I did what any other Mother would have done: after they went to bed, I looked at the pictures.

They had taken about 3 dozen pictures of L wearing various outfits from their bin of dress-up clothes and accessories...mostly accessories. For example, in one series of photos, L was wearing a headband with 2 blinking stars on antennae (for the 4th of July) around her neck, with the stars strategically placed on her chest, and she was wearing the cheer leading pom-poms as a skirt. She had a number of sultry expressions on her face, and was in several different poses. I immediately deleted about half of them.

When JP saw the photos, he moaned, "Oh no! She's going to have tons of boys after her!" Then he went to clean his guns and sort ammunition (just kidding!)

Now what do I say to my girls to let them know...gently...that these were unacceptable photos?

At breakfast this morning, JP asked the girls the difference between "pretty" and "sexy". J thought that "pretty" was like a princess, and "sexy" was like "modern fashion".

Good start.

Where the heck are they seeing "modern fashion"? We don't watch TV, the only magazines we get are Time, National Geographic and Ranger Rick, and they don't go to school.

"We were just trying to make funny ways to wear the dress-up clothes!" J told us.

L burst into tears.

"I told J not to let you see them!" she sobbed.

As she buried her head in my chest, I explained that J did not let me see, that I looked on my own. I was concerned when they didn't want me to see the pictures that there was something about them that they were ashamed of. I reassured both of the girls that we were not angry with them, and that they did not necessarily do anything wrong. JP explained that there are reasons that we dress the way we do and watch or don't watch certain things on TV.

Right now, we told them, we want you to practice being pretty like a princess, and be just as pretty on the inside. Being silly with the dress-up clothes is fine, but maybe no more pictures.

"You know that you can ask us questions about anything, right?" JP asked as we got up from the table. "I mean, ANYTHING."

"Yeah," J replied. "You get smarter when you ask questions, right?"