Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Welcome Back, to Me!

After a few weeks' holiday, I'm back, with a bit more balance. It's one of life's lessons that I have to keep learning over and over again...never quite enough to say I've achieved it, but I'm getting better at it! Highlights of my time "away":

*adopting two kittens, one lovebug and one wild thing. Doolin allows the kids to manhandle her. Camino is chocolate brown, fuzzy, and took a bit of taming. But she's getting there. We all have fine scratches on hands, arms, and legs to prove our love for these new kitties.

*picking up 17 chicks to raise for this year's meat! When they were new and fluffy, I felt a bit sad about the thought of eating them. However, after 2 weeks, they're ungainly and awkward, and their legs are getting bigger, and now I think: Yum.

*happily preparing my classroom. I'm new to Kindergarten, and have spent about 15 hours cleaning, sorting, organizing, and purging. The space is now bright, clean, cheery, warm, open, and alive with colour and plants. I feel wonderful about welcoming my new little students into such a lovely room!

*discovering, in Flavia DeLuce, a new literary heroine. The book is The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley, and if you haven't read it: do! Flavia is a brilliant, salty, quirky poison-and-chemistry genius and amateur sleuth, and she's only 11! A really great read, and, OH JOY: the first in  a SERIES!

Ooh, this is small and blurry! Pretend you have tears of joy in your eyes and are standing far away.

(photo by AnnaKarolina Conroy)

*celebrating our 6th wedding anniversary by partying in a local barn with friends, performing a few songs together, and spending the night in the most charming cabin...this is where I dressed for our wedding, peeked down at my groom, where we wed in the garden, danced on the lawn to bluegrass music, and spent our wedding night. Lots of reminiscing and planning for the future.

*A second kick-at-the-can summer heat wave, at the very end of August...after some cool weeks it felt like fall was here, but the kids have enjoyed a few more beach days this past week.

So, I'm glad to be back; I missed this space, appreciated all your loving comments, and am grateful to have had a wee break. Watch for a giveaway (to be announced when I get my 100th Follower!), and a peek at the handmades I'm crafting for Christmas!

Friday, August 20, 2010

These Faces

All these faces want,
more than television, cool toys, or time with friends,
is the undivided attention of their mother.

My attention is always divided. I've been complaining lately of an inability to focus.

I have a Kindergarten classroom to sort, purge of accumulated "stuff" left behind by previous teachers, and early identification interviews to prepare.

My application to participate in a craft show in November was accepted. I have a hundred sewing and knitting projects to complete before then.

The to-do list in my house never ends. I haven't even finished unpacking from last week's camping trip.

I'm fed up with putting a movie on for my kids so that I can get something, anything done. Because that time is increasingly absorbed by the computer.

And the people who love, want, and need me the most, those little faces above, are here every day, waiting for my undivided attention.

I'm going to give it to them. I'm turning the computer off. It's going to be a challenge, because I think I just might be addicted to the feedback, the comments from strangers, the "connection".

I'm signing off to get my priorities straight, to give my kids lots of ME, and to remind myself that my connection with my children and husband are the ones that really matter.

See you in September.

(Thanks to Connie Hebbert for these beautiful portraits of my children, taken at a recent birthday party).

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Peachy Keen

To Make One Fresh Peach Pie
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. almond flavouring/extract
5 cups peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped

Combine flour, sugar, and salt; toss with peaches. Add extract, and pour into a pie shell (store-bought is fine!). Dot with butter, cover with pastry, and bake at 400 degrees for 40 min.

Nothing calls to mind my summer childhoods as much as the flavour and scent of fresh peaches. I remember peeling bushels of them for my mom to make peach conserve (my dad's favourite), and peach pie (my favourite)! Now, my kids get to "help"...

Last summer mom and I joined forces to make the most of August's peach bounty. We made 18 pies to freeze and enjoy through the winter. I may have ONE left in my freezer, but all the others were enjoyed with cups of tea and the company of friends, when the warmth and flavour of summer was but a distant memory. Keep in mind that making and freezing unbaked pies may result in a slightly soggy crust! That didn't stop us from devouring all but one.

As peach season approaches, I look forward to another pie-making day with my mom, and reflect on how much my kids have grown since last August. Margot was about 6 weeks past her heart surgery in these pictures...look at her here to see what an immediate difference her surgery made! Violet was a few weeks away from a self-inflicted haircut, and Jude was old enough to start Junior Kindergarten.

I remember this time as the BEGINNING of my life as a mother of three, as I'd been so mired in getting through the months preceding and immediately following the big surgery...this was one of the first "normal" days I'd had since Margot's birth. I treasure these photos and the memories they evoke.

The last bits of pie dough are used to make "petes de soeurs" (nuns' farts...sorry if I offend; I believe this funny name originated in Quebec)...just roll it out, cover with butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon; roll up and slice, then bake till golden.

Here is my mom's peach conserve recipe, which came from my childhood best friend's mother's cookbook! This makes a very pretty Christmas gift, as it's very bright and peachy!

Anne Briscoe's Peach and Cherry Marmalade

15 peaches, peeled and chopped
4 oranges, thinly sliced and chopped (leave peels on!)
1 8 oz. jar maraschino cherries, cut into eighths
3/4 c. sugar PER 1 cup of fruit

Put peaches, oranges, juice from cherries, and sugar in a pot; simmer for about 1 hour.
Add chopped cherries and seal.
Makes 8-9 250 mL/1 cup jars.

*Remember to add cherries AFTER cooking, or they'll lose their bright red colour. I know maraschino cherries are probably carcinogenic. Omit them if you're concerned about the dye/chemicals in them. As for me, I figure if I eat half a maraschino cherry on my toast once in awhile, it's not going to do that much harm!

Ramblings of a Sleep-Deprived Mother

A self-portrait taken in the wee hours of a Spring morning, with a wakeful and annoyingly cheerful Margot.

What parent doesn't like to get sympathy for how tired they are? When our kids were smaller and my husband would follow my declarations of fatigue with "I know, I'm really tired, too", I'd always reply, "Babe, it's not a competition, but if it were...I'd win every time". I know some dads like to be involved with breastfeeding by bringing baby to mama, changing the diaper, burping, etc. but in our house, I always felt that one rested parent was better than none...I figured if I had to be up anyway, I might as well do it all and let him sleep, so that he could attend to the kids in the morning.

We're well-pleased that our three kids mostly sleep through the night these days, all in one room. After a busy weekend of camping and late nights, we were feeling pretty confident that we'd get some good nights in this week.

On Monday we attended a birthday party where Jude experienced an emotional upset (i.e. a gaggle of girls telling him he was cute and that they wanted to kiss/marry him...J is excessively shy in new social settings, so this, in addition to the giggling that he perceived as the girls laughing at him, reduced him to tears out behind our van while everyone else had birthday cake)...we left early and quietly, but Jude was visibly upset throughout the rest of the day.

So, Monday night, he woke up weeping, having wet the bed, and ended up crawling in with us. This is rare but not wholly unexpected behaviour when his feeling have been hurt. My husband is a tall drink of water, and Jude is the 5-year-old version...so needless to say, being in bed with 2 pairs of long legs didn't make for a great sleep.

So, LAST night, I was here alone. We'd had an incredibly busy day: we attended another birthday party (all had a wonderful time...homemade pizza, fresh-picked corn cooked over a campfire, organized games supervised by the neighbour's wonderful 11-year-old daughter...), then raced out to pick up 30 chicks at the local farm supply store. I know we're late. But we should be able to get them in the freezer by late October.

Raced home, got the chicks set up in the summer kitchen, then welcomed a high school friend, his wife, and their twin 9-month-old boys. Lovely visit! Quick supper of sliced tomatoes with basil, zucchini/carrot/potato/onion latkes, and scrambled eggs. I suspected that all three of my kids would be ready for bed by 7, due to busyness, late nights, missed naps...

Just as I was reaching to pluck Margot from their pre-sleep tumble/cuddle in Jude and Violet's bed, Jude and Margot whacked their heads with that sickening coconuts-bumping sound. Sigh. Comforted them both, brought Margot back downstairs for a little rub of arnica on her goose egg, and a bit of Tylenol just in case.

A half hour later, I was settled in with a cup of tea, my knitting, and the movie "Date Night" (cute and funny)...only to hear Jude get up, ramble down the hall to the bathroom...then back to bed. I decided I was chilly, so headed up to put on pjs...and had a shock when a dark-haired man sat up in my bed. Jude, apparently, had decided that our bed is his bed. Sigh. After a few more forays to the washroom for various vague 5-year-old reasons, he settled in.

Violet joined us at 4:30. Violet is not just a casual thumb-sucker. She takes it very seriously, and makes the same sound that Maggie Simpson does with her soother. That sound, close up and in my ear, is not conducive to sleep. At 6:30, my husband (God bless him) came in to tell me it was time to get up for my run. Not today, dear, I have a headache...

I crept up to the attic. You know when you've had one of those nights, and you're willing to sleep anywhere as long as you're left alone? On a couch cushion on your living room floor with a cardigan tossed over you? Well, that was me. On a mattress in the attic with a baby-quilt barely covering my shoulders, the sun glaring into my eyes.

Enter Doolin, our latest addition. Doolin is a charming little village on the west coast of Ireland. She is also a tiny grey and white kitten that joined our family this week. She began that full-body rubbing that begins at your feet, winds up the back of your legs, around your bum, up your spine, and ending in your hair, all accompanied by that quick kittenish "purr, inhale, purr, inhale" that increases in volume as she approaches your ear. Then that baby-sucking around the ear, paws kneading my hair, rubbing her whole tiny loving self over my face...you get the picture.

At this point I gave up. And there you have it. Another Mother's Tale of Lost Sleep. I think of Tennyson's Ulysses, following knowledge like a sinking star beyond the utmost bound of human thought...and wonder if there is anything more desired, or more elusive than sleep.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Knitty Gritty "Orchard"

The birds enjoyed every single one of last year's grapes, just before they were ready to be picked.

Rural Ontario presents many opportunities to eat seasonally and locally, at least in our relatively short growing season. Thanks to The Ottawa Valley Food Co-op, we now order our meat locally, and pick it up nearby. Their website offers many local products, and we have enjoyed pork, beef, tomatoes, baby food, and body-care products all created in the Ottawa Valley. We are increasingly less dependent on the grocery store, which makes us happy!

I think most Valleyites would agree, though, that eating seasonally can be more challenging in the wintertime. Most of us do some canning, and are working towards preserving a majority of our summer produce to keep us going through the winter. The old crabapple trees that dot our property tell tales of former farmers, who would have stuffed them in jars, covered them with syrup, and enjoyed them through the winter as a sweet treat, as well as a good source of Vitamin C.

While I do make lots of jelly from our crabapples, and thank the person who planted them decades ago, I can see my children choosing scurvey over crabapples for dessert for 6 months of the year.

We do have a small "orchard" (I'm using that grand term very generously), and we hope to cultivate and expand it as the years go by. For now, we get a few items for fresh eating (it's hard to keep those apples on the trees when they're the perfect height for 3-5 year olds' hands...):

These guys look about ready to be harvested.

This year we got 1 warped, homely lovely pear, no blueberries (hens or wild birds beat us to them), and the grapes are ripening. We may need to put some netting over the grapes to discourage the birds this year. The apples get picked when the kids feel peckish during an outside play. Our favourite Ontario fruit is the blessed peach, ordered by the bushel from the Niagara region, and quickly turned into peach conserve and peach pie...watch tomorrow's post for my favourite peach recipes.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

August in the Knitty Gritty Garden

The Knitty Gritty Homestead, from my front step.

One of my favourite books ever is "Thornyhold" by Mary Stewart. Here is a summary, copied from Amazon, edited by me, and pasted here:
This old-fashioned gothic romance is as good as they get. When Gilly's witch aunt leaves Thornyhold to her, a house in the middle of the woods, Gilly finds that she has inherited far more than she realized. Along with the house comes a cat, a still room filled with herbs (and a missing recipe book), an attic chamber with carrier pigeons (who have secret messages), and an attractive neighbor whose young son offers the sacred and unique blessing of friendship. But Thornyhold possesses far more than even these simple offerings. The place itself seems to invoke otherworldly gifts as well: Gilly cultivates the abilities to heal and to foresee the future once she makes Thornyhold her home.

I read it in a former life, when I was single, living in a country one-room schoolhouse, and indulging my every whim (e.g. I read this book in one sitting, into the wee hours, sustaining myself with tea, dill pickles, and crackers)...playing the piano and mandolin, watching the stars from the front step, creating gardens where school children played a century ago, napping and dreaming and wondering about what the future would bring.

I think of this book often as I work to reclaim the gardens established here by the former owner. Mint and violets wrestle for dominance, while lilies bloom randomly, interspersed with hydrangeas, raspberry canes, and hollyhocks. Thyme, sage, comfrey, oregano, and cicely elbow their way through tall invaders, and hold their ground. If there was a plan in place when it was all planted, it has yet to reveal itself to me.

I love to get down on my hands and knees and clear little areas of weeds...I half expect a fairy to come out of the dense undergrowth to scold me for tearing up her tiny garden patch. I am patient with the gardens here, grateful for what is growing, and always dreaming of what it will all look like 10 years from now, once I've managed to move things around a bit.

For now, things just bloom as they bloom. I'm thrilled with what greets me every day:

Herds of conflowers...

A rogue sunflower beside our winter bird-feeder.

Hydrangeas, all ostentatious in their debutante gowns.

Hollyhocks as high as an elephant's eye.

And of course, best of all, the patrons of this botanical restaurant...monarchs, hummingbirds, and bees.

I'm off to pack for our first family camping trip this weekend, and am wishing I'd hunted down this book for a re-read! Instead, I'll be working on my Tea Leaves Cardigan, and enjoying every moment with my kids. Have a great one.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Welcoming Committee

My best friend and I had a recent discussion about the unconventional parenting styles of our husbands, when they are left alone with the kids. First of all, let me just say that I completely appreciate the fact that our husbands are even WILLING to spend time with their kids (I know some moms who have to bargain and coerce to get time "off"...), and recognize this as a relatively recent phenomenon. My mom marvels at how "involved" my husband is, and although she says in some ways it was easier for her to parent without consulting my dad about every decision (he left much of the childcare to her), she is impressed with the care he gives them.

So, back to my friend. She is a dance teacher, and once a week, travels to a nearby town to teach, leaving her hubby home with their four children through the dinner hour. What he makes each week is this: grated cheese in the bottom of a pot, cooked noodles poured on top, cold spaghetti sauce poured on top of THAT; stir it all up and serve. Haha! The best part is that they all sit on the kitchen floor, and he feeds them from the pot, with ONE FORK so that he doesn't have to wash dishes.

While SHE prefers a nicely set table and civility at dinner, she eventually recognized that her kids will likely cherish this memory of their dad, the way I cherish my memories of the days my mom worked. Dad would have to braid my long curly hair. The plaits were always crooked, too tight, or messy. And I loved them anyway, because I loved the rare experience of my dad's clumsy fingers trying to wrestle my mop into submission.

I sometimes marvel at the fashion ensembles my husband creates for our kids. And it used to secretly bug me, way back when I used to sweat the small stuff. He makes "interesting" meals for them, and somehow they eat his concoctions with enthusiasm. While I spend my whole day trying to make headway with the neverending housework, he takes them outside and "putters" around in the barns.

Recently, I came home to find this handsome fella standing beside our laneway, welcoming me home to my sweet man and happy kids:

It sometimes pains me when I think of the work imbalance that often occurs between mothers and fathers and how, in spite of the fact that I do at least 75% of the parenting and housework, my kids will likely remember daddy as the "fun" parent. They'll remember me cooking and cleaning and taxiing them here and there. And then I feel a little bit sorry for myself, because of the love, committment, and HEART I put into my job as a mom. What if they never appreciate me?

Then I remind myself of the gift it is for my children to have such a loving, involved father, who, by building a Welcome Monster with his kids and puttering in the barns teaches them creativity, resourcefulness, and the wonder of seeing everyday objects with fresh eyes.

If your children's wonderful daddy is nearby, go and give him a hug, and thank him for being there for you and for them.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wandering Wednesday

I've been seeing this around other blogs and thought I'd get involved...those pictures of people's feet wandering where they wander are so charming! I've been a homebody for most of the summer...aside from daily forays to the beautiful beach for swimming lessons, and weekly visits to the library, we're mostly HERE. We wander from barn to clothesline to swingset to my favourite place of all: the garden.

I love my summer feet. They're really, really dirty. I'd give a pedicurist an aneurysm. I keep my toenails painted to hide the dirt...in this pic, they're green to match the flowers, because I care about such things (she said, her voice dripping with sarcasm). The floors in my house are always covered in various spills and bits of food/glitter/glue/playdough (today I swept the same area 3 times in one hour), so I have to wash my feet before I go to bed. I laugh when people offer to take their shoes off when they come in the house...I tell them to keep them on to protect their socks! My mom says that her father did the same thing every night. We take such good care of other parts of our bodies: taking off makeup, washing our face, brushing and flossing our teeth...what about our feet?

 I think my hardworking, reliable, sausage-toed feet deserve a wash and a rub with some Fair Trade Foot Lotion from LUSH after a day of futile attempts at cleaning the house, standing for hours to prepare meals, wiggling into warm earth and cool grass, and dancing to ABBA with my kids. I'm off to do just that (washing and moisturizing, not dancing to ABBA!) before nestling into bed with my new library book! Happy Wednesday, all!

5 Ways to Love a Zucchini

Don't you just love zucchinis? The plant has leaves like an elephant's ear, tropical blossoms, and the ability to hide what's really happening under there. You'll check daily, and see nothing, nothing, then one day...kapow!

Zucchinis as big as a toddler!
1. Mmm...one of my favourite way to dispose of zucchinis is to slice them into rounds, dredge them in flour, then beaten egg, then either bread or cracker crumbs...fry them in butter and devour. Yes, if you cook them this way you'll be negating any health benefits of this lovely vegetable. And you won't regret it. This also works with green tomatoes, fresh pickerel or rainbow trout fillets, chicken strips..you name it. This is not something we eat on a weekly basis, so it's a real treat at zucchini time.

2. Grating them finely into spaghetti sauce or casserole is also a good way of using them up.

3. And then there's always:

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk (I use rice or soya milk)

Cream above ingredients together in a large bowl.

Then sift together:
2 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup cocoa
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp EACH cinnamon and ground cloves

Combine wet and dry, then stir in 2 cups grated zucchini and 1/4 cup chocolate chips.

Bake at 325 Degrees F (160 Degrees C) in a greased and floured 9"x13" pan for 45 minutes.
(I grate and store zucchini in 2 cup bags for winter baking).

4. As a treat for the chickens, I'll slice a zuke lengthwise, and they pick it clean leaving only a thin green rind.

5. Finally, the most popular way for a zucchini gardener to use up zucchini: shower your friends and acquaintances with "gifts"...leave one on their car seat when they're about to leave your house, bring them as hostess gifts to August parties, hand them to the lady who delivers your mail, the man who cleans your chimneys (yes, we get this done in August), and the guy on the street. Most people are too polite to refuse homegrown vegetables. One day we came home to find a BASKET of zucchinis left anonymously on our doorstep. I laughed and laughed at how karma works (I'd been dumping zukes on everyone I'd met for a week)...

Resisting zucchini love is futile. Surrender to the zucchini. Make friends with it. And let me know if you come up with any other ways to use the bloody things up!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Poetic Monday: Weepy

I've been feeling weepy lately. I'm weeping about a friend's loss and children living with illness. I'm weeping about the generational shift that takes place when you're my age. I weep when I hear certain songs, and even wept when I saw the trailer for "The Blind Side"...AFTER I'd seen the movie (I didn't even like it that much). When I feel weepy like this, I know that the best remedy is a BIG CRY. An EPIC CRY. The kind of crying where you know your face looks contorted and red and ugly and you don't give a damn.

I haven't done it yet, but keep telling my husband I need to find a moment and the space to open the dams and let all my heart's feelings flow free.

Here's a poem I love on the topic:

~Galway Kinnell

Crying only a little bit
is no use. You must cry
until your pillow is soaked!
Then you can get up and laugh.
Then you can jump in the shower
and splash-splash-splash!
Then you can throw open your window
and, "Ha ha! Ha ha!"
And if people say, "Hey,
what's going on up there?"
"Ha ha!" sing back, "Happiness
was hiding in the last tear!
I wept it! Ha ha!"

I've been thinking lately about how uncomfortable it makes us when our children cry. We want to stop them, with comfort, or reprimands, or isolation. Violet in particular cries about everything; when it's tantrummy, ear-splitting, shatter-the-window-panes crying, we have to put her outside on the porch till she's done. This isn't a punishment, but more a move towards preserving the aural health of the other people in the house.

But maybe she knows something I've forgotten. Maybe the next time she starts, I'll let 'er loose, and cry right along with her. I know happiness is hiding in there somewhere!

Friday, August 6, 2010


I am a terrible procrastinator. No, actually, that's not accurate: I'm an EXCELLENT procrastinator. In fact, in order to avoid something right now, I'm WRITING about procrastination.

I understand that if I clean up the kitchen and livingroom BEFORE I go to bed, it will make getting up so much more pleasant. I know that if I prepare for a workshop/class/gig weeks in advance, I'll present with poise and confidence, with none of those unforeseen glitches that sometimes happen.

But somehow, I've always ignored deadlines until the last possible moment. I maintained a B average throughout university, when most of my papers were written between 1 and 8 a.m. of the day they were due (but honestly, more often when they were 2 or 3 days late). Back in those days, I'd save my work to a floppy disk, run to the closest computer lab and print out the paper, and make it to class for 8:30 a.m. I guess you could say I was a bit cavalier about the whole thing...but because I managed to get fairly good grades using this method, I didn't see any reason to change it. I did learn to play guitar during those university years, and that is something that has stayed with me much longer than any Geography facts ever did!

So. Tomorrow I have a 1 hour gig at our local museum. They are focussing on women and music this summer, so it is to be a retrospective performance, a reflection on my journey as a woman and as a musician. I thought of parcelling my life into chapters, and singing a couple of songs to represent each time period: childhood, teens, university, living in Northern Ireland, teaching, living in the Arctic, love, marriage, kids, farming...I'd been thinking up songs while driving, and singing a bit. But it is now after 8 p.m. and I'm still not practising. My attempts to run through some songs while the kids were in the bathtub failed miserable...guitars and bubbles don't mix.

There was a time in my life when I was performing regularly. In Whistler, BC, I had a regular weekend gig at a resort. Back home again, I also entertained tourists at a local whitewater rafting place 2 nights a week. Back then, I thought I'd never be able to forget the words or chords to the songs I sang so often.

But tonight, while I was starting to strum a bit while the kids were in the tub, my voice felt...rusty. The reasons for me not singing for so long are varied...newborns, postpartum exhaustion, setting limits on how much I do outside home in order to avoid burnout...the few gigs I attempted with small children in attendance (because I was breastfeeding) were extremely stressful, with baby frantically struggling in daddy's arms: "What?? What does she think she's doing in front of all these people? Holding a guitar instead of ME? I don't think so..." Another time, I booked a gig between Violet's bedtime and her first nighttime nurse, then lost my keys. I was in a panic to get back to her, and vowed that it just wasn't worth the stress.

I went through periods of resentment, as my husband is also a musician, and his involvement in music has experienced nary a pause since we had children. I feel like it's something I've had to give up in order to be peaceful with parenting. Acceptance does not come easily, and I struggle with bitterness. I know it doesn't serve a healthy purpose, so I'm working on it.

Singing is a deep part of who I am and always have been. So I'm starting small, with a daytime gig. Hubby will stay here with the kids (I've learned that much!), and I will try to find my footing again, to reacquaint myself with She-Who-Was-Me...and I imagine still is Me.

Enough procrastinating. I'm going out to my potting shed with a cup of tea and my guitar. Maybe you'll hear my first tentative notes on the wind...listen for the moment they become stronger, more sure of themselves...and send me some love!

And the Winner Is...

The winning comment, chosen randomly, was number 21...that means that Stephinie at Gypsy Forest is the winner of a lovely, handmade Mushroom Cottage! Please contact me by email, Stephinie, so I can make arrangements to send it to you as soon as it's done (just a few more flowers and some wee curtains to sew on...yours has a yellow door, a blue roof...curtain colour to be decided soon!)

It's been a lovely week "off", although I do miss writing my daily posts! You can imagine how limiting it is for me, without a camera! We've done some visiting, some idea-sharing over at the Toadstool, and lots of playing, pretending, cuddling, and story-reading.

Margot is working on 5 teeth (four of them molars). She is not a happy camper. As I write this at 12:48 a.m., she is having a cuddle with daddy in the livingroom. This is unusual for her; my kids all go to sleep at around 8 p.m., and we never hear a peep until morning. This is our third teething toddler (she's a toddler already? What happened to my baby?) so we know that "this tooth shall pass".

Jude's been big into pretending these days. He's perfected his pirate voice (preceding every statement with "Yar!"...sometimes he forgets, then shifts into an accented rumble), and has had many an adventure on the high seas with his "skelescope", alternately saving and terrorizing the girls. It all depends on whether it's a good pirate day or a bad pirate day.

We've also been treated to quite a few magic shows, knitted afghan hung across the doorway as a curtain; it's swept aside in his dramatic entrance. He loves to use knitting needles and drumsticks as his magic wand.
Check out that posture and focus!
(and shift your eyes from the mess in the background!)

Yesterday I had the singular horror pleasure of playing "Doctor" with my eldest two. I was instructed to lie down on the couch. My role was to play a mother in labour.

Let me just clarify here that all three of my children were born at home, under the loving care of my midwife, sister/doula, sister, mother, and of course my husband. So you can imagine my horror surprise to find myself lying on my back, a belt around my wrist, an accordion at my head that would now and then be given an experimental squeeeeze. Between the sips of "oil" to make the baby come out, Jude pushing my ankles together, and Violet giving me a "needle" in the forehead, it was all rather hilarious and distressing! I played my part well, yelling "Can I just have the baby now???", and Violet stroked my forehead, whispering, "Just bewax, Mommy...bewaaax". When the babies were born (twins, no less!), Jude whisked them away, promising to take care of them for me.

Wow. It was all a bit too mid-20th century for me! They have obviously forgotten how and where they were born. But the time will come when I can explain it all to them. For now, pretending is lots of fun.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Poetic Monday: A Bedtime Poem

I'm posting late today, but couldn't pass up sharing this wonderful little poem. I know that there are kids everywhere just waiting to hear it read aloud to them at bedtime! It is so charming, I may just take the time to memorize it so I can recite it to my kids every night as I tuck them in!

The Plumpuppets
~Christopher Morley

When little heads weary have gone to their bed,
When all the good nights and the prayers have been said,
Of all the good fairies that send bairns to rest
The little Plumpuppets are those I love best.

If your pillow is lumpy, or hot, thin, and flat,
The little Plumpuppets know just what they're at:
They plump up the pillow, all soft, cool, and fat ~
The little Plumpuppets plump-up it!

The little Plumpuppets are fairies of beds;
They have nothing to do but to watch sleepyheads;
They turn down the sheets and they tuck you in tight,
And they dance on your pillow to wish you good night!

No matter what troubles have bothered the day,
Though your doll broke her arm or the pup ran away;
Though your handies are black with the ink that was spilt ~
Plumpuppets are waiting in blanket and quilt.

If your pillow is lumpy, or hot, thin, and flat,
The little Plumpuppets know just what they're at:
They plump up the pillow, all soft, cool, and fat ~
The little Plumpuppets plump-up it!

P.S. Don't forget: if you are a follower of this blog, you can enter my sweet giveaway once a day by entering a comment here! (that is, not on this post, but on the one entitled "Holidays, and a Giveaway". The winner will be randomly selected this coming Friday!