Sunday, December 31, 2006

Reflections on the last day of the year

It's a strange holiday to celebrate the eve of a New Year - remember the old friends we've forgotten so we can forget them again...or something like that.

I am trying to put on my brave face. I hate today. December 31st still only reminds me of what I've lost. I know as with all anniversaries of sad things, they eventually soften in their meaning because we can't spend our lives in negative space. But on this 5th anniversary, the pain is still raw.

I found out I was pregnant with our first child on April 28, 2001. We did what I think most married couples do when they receive that expected news - we went shopping. We held up tiny little clothes. We tried to imagine how this small person would change our lives. In my mind, I was already picturing a little boy running circles around my life, knocking stuff over. Just 2 days later, when the obstetric nurse grimaced and said she couldn't say whether this pregnancy was doomed, the little boy was already graduating cum laude from Yale. He was in love with a pretty brunette who was going on to law school, and they were packing up their things in our old Buick and moving to the Midwest.

It wasn't a dream that fleeting away in a moment. It was 6 weeks of "things look bleak" or "things might still be OK". It wasn't until after our 5th anniversary that the nightmare was finally over. Then through four months of waiting to find out if we'd be able to have children. Once that was over, there was still December 31st that came without the little boy I'd dreamed about, and there was the terror that accompanied the first few weeks of our 3 subsequent pregnancies.

I know from the other losses I've had in my life that eventually, I will stop picturing the little boy sitting earnestly in front of his birthday cake. Eventually New Year's Eve will go back to being a fun day to spend with friends rather than the psychological equivalent of grinning while holding on with white knuckles. But it's not today. Today I'm sad.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Found toys

One of the wonderful things about toys is that sometimes they can go on vacation a while and re-emerge as more spectacular than they were when received. This easel was a Christmas present about 2 years ago. It was a little too big back then, and there wasn't adequate room in our living room for both the art center and the play kitchen. As the play kitchen isn't really a cool toy right now, we retired it temporarily to storage. Lauren has spent all afternoon enjoying her "new" toy, complete with an art supply kit from GG with markers, stickers, and construction paper. There was also an assortment of paints and brushes, but we're just not working in that medium today.

The camera Santa brought has gotten a tremendous amount of use. It has an 8 MB SD card, and holds about 50 pictures. I've emptied it to the laptop at least 4 times already. Here's my favorite picture so far...

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

More Christmas Pictures

There's a good reason we've adopted the tune from The Addams family as our theme song. Dad and I are talking about blogging while Maria plays Peek-a-Boo with Lindsay with her hair. Julie is in the foreground. Lauren is pouting.

Julie and Lindsay

Ben and Maria

James and Claire

Me and Lauren

Santa dropped by after dinner to let Lauren know that he'd made a stop by Highland Park and her present was waiting in the tree. Lauren was so excited.

Monday, December 25, 2006

A quick Christmas picture

And then off to bed with me. From the Fisher Family Christmas...
From left to right: Dad, Lauren, Alec, Claire, James, Me, Lindsay, Jules, Maria, Ben

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from the Stolls, naughty...
...and drunk-y wunk-y...

Friday, December 22, 2006

Sweet kitty

Seamus has earned himself a reprieve. He has actually been much better since I started tending to his box twice a week, and this morning he was just so sweet. Around 6:30, I heard him purring like a little motorboat behind my head. He crept in so that his body was under the blankets and put his front paws around my arm and kissed my nose. Of course he just wanted breakfast, but it was very cute.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Laying on the teenaged angst

Lauren likes to exercise her 4-year-old stubborness from time to time. More often then not, it is at dinnertime and she refuses to eat whatever I've made. I don't acknowledge this with more than "We don't have dessert when we don't have dinner." And then I told her she was excused and could leave the table.

About 30 seconds later, she yelled from the living room "You never wanted me anyway" with such pathos that I had to hold my breath to keep from laughing out loud.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A little mixed up



"Will Santa bring me a camera for Hanukkah?"

"I don't know, Sweetie. He's making his list. But Santa comes for Christmas, not Hanukkah."

"We celebrate Christmas?"

"Yep. We celebrate Christmas because Mommy is Christian, and Hanukkah because Daddy is Jewish."

"Daddy is Jewish?"


"What does that mean? To be Jewish?"

" think you have to ask him that, honey."

"Okay, Mommy."

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Someone else will tell him

"I'm coloring over the letters on Grampie Fisher's present."

"How will he know it's for him?"

"He will see it's his favorite color."

"Grampie's favorite color isn't orange."

This earned a doubtful look. "Well, okay, it's not his favorite but he likes it."

"He's going to know it's for him because you colored it orange? How do you figure that?"

"His wife will tell him."

"Honey, Grampie Fisher doesn't have a wife."

A grimace. "Oh. Well, someone else will tell him then."

Friday, December 15, 2006

More tunes

Bowling for Soup has this hit on the radio called "High School Never Ends":
The whole damn world is just as obsessed
With whose the best dressed and whose having sex,
Whose got the money, who gets the honeys,
Whose kinda cute and whose just a mess
And you still don’t have the right look
And you don’t have the right friends
Nothing changes but the faces, the names, and the trends
High school never ends
Lauren perked up from the backseat. "That song is lying!"

"It is?"

"Yeah. High school does end."

"Oh, thank goodness." I replied. "That's a relief."

Thursday, December 14, 2006


Coined Sadtown because everyone who lives in the gingerbread town is sad because Lauren and Lindsay have very bad colds. But we are all very excited to see GG and Auntie Jules.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

My omniscient 4-year-old

"I know everything." Lauren stated proudly.

"Really?" I said. "Everything?"

"Well, ok. Not everything. I don't know what 69 plus 12 is."

"Hmm. It's 81."

"Eighty-one," she repeated slowly. "And now I do know everything..."

Monday, December 11, 2006

Merry Christmas from The Stolls

We tried to take our annual Christmas picture yesterday to mixed results. Because of the camera's weird timer setting behavior, we all look a little disconnected. Also, without a person standing at the camera, there's no way Lindsay can be cued to look in the right direction. Oh, and none of us is particularly photogenic.

December 2006

Needless to say, it isn't going to be our Christmas card this year. And yes. My Christmas cards are actually going out in time for Christmas this year which hasn't happened in 3 years.

Our 2004 cards went out as New Years cards.

December 2004

Chez Stoll, we celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah, which we've done since before we had kids. Both my parents were raised Catholic, but chose not to raise us that way. Dad is half Jewish and a practicing Agnostic. Mom returned to Catholicism after she got married to Paul. Alec was raised with considerably more Judaism than I was raised with Christianity, though his Grandma Georgette had a Christmas tree (though it should be pointed out that bringing a dead tree into your house has absolutely nothing to do with Christ).

So last year, I decided we should have a Hanukkah card because we'd only had Christmas cards in the past, and we celebrate both holidays. The Hanukkah card was sent out in mid-February. Although I used the picture taken in late December, the card reflected that it was written the week before Valentine's Day.

January 2006

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Make plans and God laughs

Lauren, December 2003

I thought I was going to write a cute little post about baby Lauren today. I had selected this adorable picture. Oh, the plaid dress! Ohh! The itty bitty maryjanes!

Sometimes you make plans, God chuckles, and you have one of those sneaky little epiphanies. I don't have any other pictures from this Christmas. We were pretty sure this was going to be Dad's last Christmas Eve, spent in the guest bedroom at Gramma Jean's. We mixed drinks, smoked cigarettes, and joked and laughed like we always do, of course, but it was overshadowed by the idea that this was our last Christmas. Three years later with Dad doing fine I didn't expect that to hit me like a ton of bricks.

I have plenty of friends who've gone through their lives with dad-sized holes in them because their fathers either weren't around or simply weren't present. There's not a lot between us that's left unsaid, I would just really miss him.

I love you, Dad.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

My all-time favorite Christmas picture

Lauren, December 2002

When Lauren was 3 months old, we tried to take a picture for a Christmas card. We took several pictures of a smiley baby with and without antlers. I ultimately decided there was something kind of cruel about the antlers.

And it was very hard to get her to balance on the chair because she was too little to actually sit up. Baby is falling out of the chair, antlers have popped off her head, and Alec's hand is in the frame.

This picture sums up the experience:Note the glowering expression. The caption for this picture? Someday I will choose your nursing home.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Signs of Christmas

Soapy Santa

We bought this plastic snowglobe at a garage sale when we first moved to Jersey about 2 years ago. Lauren, who was 2 at the time, named it "Soapy Santa" because when you shake it up to make it snow, the glycerin looks a little like dish soap. He even had his own theme song, sung to the tune of Oh Susannah:
Soapy Santa
Oh don't you cry for me
For I come from a banjo
With a banjo on my knee
It's just not Christmas Chez Stoll without him.

Lauren, Christmas 2004