Monday, December 31, 2007

Auld Lang Syne

Since 2001, New Years Eve has been hard. I wonder each year if it wouldn't be better to embrace the sadness of this day rather than spend it struggling to not be sad. As in past years, I'll undoubtedly eat and drink too much and then resolve not to drink until next New Years, which usually makes it until the next dinner party.

Dad wrote that the lyrics that summed up this year were:
A long December
and there’s reason to believe
maybe this year
will be better than last.
lyrics by Adam Duritz

I'll add these:
The water is wide, I cannot cross over
And neither have I wings to fly.
Build me a boat that can carry two,
And both shall row, my love and I.

Saturday, December 29, 2007


If I had a spell of magic
I would make this enchantment for you
A burgundy heart-shaped medallion
With a window that you could look through
So that when all the mirrors are angry
With your faults, all you must do
Is peek through that heart-shaped medallion
And see you
From my point of view
lyrics by David Wilcox
It's Saturday night, and over a week since my last post. I haven't sat down and even tried to write about any of it.

Christmas is supposed to be about sugar plum fairies dancing in your dreams. We built "Happy Town" on December 23rd, and tucked the kids in bed after they'd left a glass of milk and a slice of cornbread for Santa, who would arrive a night early so that they might play with their toys before we drove up to spend Christmas Eve with my family.

We always spend the late afternoon into the evening at Dad's. This year it was Ben and Maria, Alec, the girls and I, Dad, my grandfather, and my father's half-brother Kyle. I have a few pictures of these festivities:

Dad and Lauren

Grampie, Kyle, and Dad

Ben, me, and Dad

Alec and Lindsay

Alec, Lindsay, Dad, and Lauren

Lauren and me

Later that night, we went to Auntie Di's. Most of the focus of the evening was on my sister, who looked worse than we'd feared. Christmas was pretty much bittersweet this year. Sweet to spend time with my family, but bitter that Jules is still so sick. That was until after Christmas dinner, when we received a text message. The next two hours were the longest I've ever experienced while we waited to hear if the police got to her apartment in time, and then while they convinced her to come with them to the hospital. Dad dropped me at the hotel that Alec had taken the kids to to spend the night, and though it was only 8 PM, it might as well have been the middle of the night. I spent the rest of the evening on the phone. A doctor phoned from the hospital asking if perhaps I had misinterpreted her text message, that she was just sorry she messed up everybody's Christmas. "No." I said firmly. "I didn't misunderstand. That's why we called 911."

The last few days have been a stark juxtaposition between trying to carry on with normal life back home, make the most of the little vacation we have as a family, interrupted by hushed phone conversations with my brothers and my parents.

Alec and Lindsay at the New York Aquarium

Lauren looking at fish

Lindsay looking at fish

The Holiday Lights at the Bronx Zoo

Lindsay gets a haircut

Whenever the phone rings with an unknown number, I worry about the news it will bring. Tonight a doctor called from the hospital, pleading for insight. "I will go out and get her any food you think she might eat," he said. I was both touched that someone cared so much about her, and disheartened to hear she'd pulled her NG tube out and was refusing to eat. Not surprised, but sad.

I really want to rewind to being excited about a little village made out of candy and matching velvet and plaid dresses for my girls. The excitement of getting a new pair of All Stars from Dad, spandex for the gym from Mom, and oh...oh, the toys. The loud toys, the fun toys. The toys! But I can't. It is what it is.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Almost like being there for 16 seconds

Lauren makes sure we see her.

Lindsay is excited. "Lar-ren sing!"

...because really, kids sing loud and gymnatoriums aren't acoustically tuned for this. Not that I'm a theatre consultant.

The grand finale of the Winter Sing-Along

Oh, and dude sitting behind me on the school board who felt it necessary to talk during the entire program, having a loud public conversation about how glad you are that the superintendent is resigning because he's sexist? I'm not voting for you.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Just how delicious is she?

Lindsay with her entry to OMSH's Coloring Contest, wearing her latest obsession, a knit romper. Oh, to be head to toe in blankie is just divine...

Thank you, Sybil

Lauren is thrilled with her present. "Oh, it's pink," she gushed. "It has a flower on it with a button for a center! I just love it."

You can see all that in her face, this shot taken moments after she opened it.

It's too bad these don't just post themselves on the Internet. That's really make this post more timely. Thanks again, she really loves it!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Hey, what's that sound?

I forget sometimes that I'm raising two girls who will have the impression that there was always the Internet, and that people wear their phones, and a handful of other details that I remember a time when they didn't exist.

The girls had been watching Noggin, which switches over to The N after 6 PM. It runs similar programming to TVLand. I believe the show that was on was The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, which I admit I didn't watch. Within the context of the show playing in the next room, a phone rang. Except it was one of those phones that had a bell in it, so it actually rang.

Lauren stopped spooning soup to her mouth, and listened. "Is it a fire alarm?"

"No," I replied. "It's a phone ringing on the TV."

"That's not a phone."

"Actually, it is. Before phones played digital ring tones, they had bells in them and rang."

"You're kidding me."

Imagine if I told her they didn't have buttons.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Ten minutes of extreme

Other than the customary difficulty sleeping, Alec's week away has been relatively uneventful. My sleepiness led to a couple of misplaced items - my American Express card and Lindsay's mittens, but otherwise a pretty quiet week.

I have class on Saturday mornings, so our babysitter was due to arrive at 8:30 AM. Lindsay was still quiet in her room, and Lauren was playing her new Leapster game (Thanks, Tutu!) she opened last night for Hanukkah. I'd made what I thought was a quick trip to the bathroom, was about to retrieve Lindsay so that both girls were dressed and eating breakfast when Kristin arrived.

Alas, no.

I flushed the toilet and washed my hands, puzzled by the continual sound of running water after I'd turned off the tap. I turned to see water pouring out over the toilet seat, about 2 inches already on the floor. "Holy socks!" I exclaimed, grabbing the plunger I freed the clogged toilet paper and watched as the water went back down the drain. I grabbed rag towels out of the closet to wipe up the water. Three thirsty bath towels later, I was down to the rag hand towels and the toilet was still dripping. I turned the water off, drained the tank, and dried all of the top surfaces of the toilet, but it was still dripping. I put a dry towel under the drip, retrieved Lindsay, and met Kristin at the door with a diaper-clad toddler.

"Just don't use the upstairs toilet," I said as cheerfully as I could muster. I changed Lindsay into her clothes as Kristin began preparing the requested breakfast - oatmeal with raisins and walnuts. I sped out of the driveway with my laptop on the front seat thinking about that drip, puzzling over where the water was coming from. The water's off, I thought. And the tank is dry. Could something have broken? Silly, it was just an overflow.

When I arrived home, sure enough, the drip had stopped. I turned the water on, refilled the tank, and gave the toilet a few flushes. It was fine. I breathed a sigh of relief. Besides having to bring a heavy basket of saturated bath towels to the basement to wash, it was a pretty harmless event.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Good call

Despite my concern about Lauren's friends not having signed up for Rovers, I am relieved after the first session. She had a great time. As soon as we arrived, Lauren began running laps of the gym with her ball. She was much more serious about soccer than I'd seen her, and I realized without the distraction of her friends with their flagging interest, she's just focused on learning the sport. She was excited to demonstrate her prowess at the first drill - dribbling and running the length of the basketball court keeping her ball a short distance from her feet. I was further impressed that during the passing drills, she consistently was able to direct the ball to her friend's feet. Each time the coaches called for volunteers to demonstrate this drill or that one, her hand flew up.

Lindsay grew bored about halfway through the hour-long session, and began chasing and trying to kick a stray soccer ball. We ran around the perimeter of the gym so that she didn't get knocked over by the bigger kids - 4 to 6 year olds. She seemed determined to get into their games and it was an exercise to keep the ball moving away from the action. She kept squealing, "Kick it!"

We arrived home and had our scrambled eggs with cheese and peas, and I made some fresh latkes. I lit the menorah, forgetting that the candles stay lit for a good hour and change, so we played a while before the kids went to bed sans bath. They both were too tired to protest.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Assorted randomness

My mother bought the girls matching brown "suede" boots (I have no idea what they actually are, some sort of synthetic material). Lauren tried hers on, but really doesn't wear any other shoes but sneakers on a daily basis. Lindsay has insisted on wearing the boots every day. Her eyes get big, "Oh. Boots! Boots so goot. Yes! Boots!" Occasionally she will let you know that she's wearing them. "Got boots! Boots pity." (Boots are pretty...I think.) She was also excited that I put the "hoot" on her winter jacket. "Hoot on head. Warm," she explained, patting her head thoughtfully. The plastic doll is a wildly popular item that has already been through the wash because she got some greasy food item all over her. She particularly likes it when I swaddle the doll. "Banket so warm. So goot."

I had a couple of repeat gifts planned this year. I'd thought about putting together another Snapfish photobook for the grandparents. I didn't take as many pictures this year, and though I have several nice pictures of Dad and my kids, I have only one each of Alec's dad and Nanny which aren't particularly flattering and no pictures of either of our moms with the kids. Rather than compiling what surely would only be complained about, I think I've got to give it a pass. Maybe I'll try to take a lot of pictures in the next few months and put them together as Mother and Father's Day gifts.

It's amazing how quickly I get into the Christmas money panic. It's what, December 5th? I've done maybe a third of my shopping? I feel like I have to put my head between my knees already. Ugh.

I decided, along with the photobooks, which aren't really pricey but add up when you buy 5 of them, that I wasn't going to order photo Christmas cards this year. After designing and writing copy (newsletter a la Lauren style) and importing my addresses, it added up to almost $150. For cards. It has crept up steadily each year, but I have to admit that the amount gave me pause. While I was at Target today buying diapers and toilet paper (there's snow coming and being without either item would be VERY bad), I picked up some postcard-style cards with envelopes for $10. They had a photo insert card, but it was $10 for 12 cards, I send out almost 50 cards. I printed the photo I'd planned to use, the "Lauren" letter, and bought some rubber cement. The activity forces me to evaluate each member of the list. If we've never received a card back and not spoken for over a year? No card.

What else have I got for you tonight? Tomorrow starts indoor soccer, and I'm a little sad that Lauren's friends from the borough league didn't sign up. It sounds as though they didn't sign up for basketball either. I'm not worried about it - Lauren gets along pretty well with everybody, and at least half the kids will be from kindergarten and first grade at her school so she should know people.

It's also the third night of Hanukkah tomorrow, and I warmed the last of the latkes from last night. A request was put in at bedtime for a new batch tomorrow. Latkes go with scrambled eggs, right? It's just breakfast for dinner.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Happy Hanukkah

It's the first night of Hanukkah

Mama's cheat sheet

Latkes. What? Come on. Irish girls know how to fry potatoes.

And they sure were tasty smothered in applesauce and sour cream.

Lauren thought so too. Sour cream is so good.

In the glow of their Christmas tree and menorah, the girls color in their coloring books.