Monthly Archives: December 2010

twinkling snowflakes

Back into the land of droopy kids again, we decided to enjoy the evening sunshine by hanging our snowflakes in honor of our first snow.

Each year I hope to add another twinkler to the collection, and each year I am enchanted by the sparkles that dance across the walls.  Little splashes of light chase each other across the room while their snowflakes pirouette on strings.  I forget each year that this happens, and it’s a happy discovery.

Add to the collection icicles, bobbles, and twirling strands of mirrors on string (dental floss 😉 ) and the window takes on the special twinkling of holiday lights, but during the day.

Up close, I am reminded of the optical physics lessons I rarely ponder during the rest of the year…

But mostly I enjoy that I’m not the only one admiring it, inside…

and out…

And then the morning sun hits them this morning and I am reminded that there is magic in these late sunrises…

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with the first snowfall

The first snowfall has arrived!

With our recent weeks having been spent oscillating between health, a sick boy or sick momma and back again, our normal rhythm has been chopped up a bit.  Sick kids mean Frosty the Snowman on the TV, lots of baking and warmth from the kitchen and the teapot always warmed, punctuated by varying bursts of energy to play, wrestle, paint, eat, or make a grocery run for more tea before returning to the couch and a warm blanket.  Sick momma means cooped up kids antsing for action.

However, with the big Daddy returning home for the first time in nine months, we figure it’s best to get sick over and done with now!

We had a brief and welcome spell of feeling well yesterday and were met with the most perfect snowman-building snow ever.  EVER.  As in, I hand Little Boy a small snowball and five minutes later it’s so big he can’t push it anymore.  Having seen Frosty countless times over the weeks on the couch, we knew that *this* was the special “Christmas Snow” they spoke of…snow that makes SNOWMEN!!

So, with enthusiasm we began to roll.  When our second body section was rolled with so much enthusiasm it was too heavy to lift, a second snowman’s base was born.

And before the Littlest even had time to tire of falling down in the sticky white snow, we would have two snowmen!

But alas, before the carrot noses were on I sensed the Littlest was spent, his little fingers soaked to the bone from the perfect, wet snowman snow.

So in he went to warm up, peeking out the window while carrots and pennies and little blue beads were placed.

And now when we return home, we are greeted with what appears to be two snowmen friends, joyously running towards each other for a fond embrace.

And that just makes me smile.  Hope you’re all finding bits of this busy season to enjoy.

stirring the stock pot

We finally made stock!

This seemingly small triumph is quite exciting, since making stock requires dedicated attention a few times.  Yes, a few.

With all seriousness, I identified my target: today would not go down without accomplishing stock.

Understand this is no small feat with two little boys running around.  Goals around here need to stay pretty basic if we are to succeed.

Chopping dinner veggies created the opportunity to raid the baking section and

create delicious blue playdoh muffins with a crunchy oat topping.

While I may begin numerous projects, they are often overrun with Joyful Exuberance.  Joyful exuberance is hands in my paint buckets with the intense desire to help decorate and feel slippery goodness in between fingers.  It is the belief that my pincushion is a sharp-and-pointy-puzzle to be conquered like a Rubik’s Cube, Gingher sewing scissors are too shiny not to touch, and baking supplies are necessary to complete the finishing touches on play-doh muffins.  Joyful Exuberance is gleefully running through warm, fresh mountains of laundry and watching them spill to the floor, onto the dog hair, or diving under the clean sheets which foil my attempts to wrangle the corners in place with wiggly giggles begging to be covered up.  It is the joy of watching how mom starts to stutter when her newly swept dirt pile on the floor is run over, crawled through, monster-trucked through, or wiggled in.

Our ice maker is converted into a squash dispenser and later dubbed

the “Pumpkin Pooper” when it is discovered a small pumpkin can lodge the same spot.

But as frustrating as it can be in the moment, I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Because there is no feeling like being covered by a cool white sheet, watching the billows fall toward you like cloudy pillows full of sunshine and fresh laundry, tickling the little hairs on your arms and legs so gently like a butterfly kiss, knowing that Mom is just on the other side diligently going about the rhythm of making the bed.  Safe and calm bliss.  Do it again Mom!  The fact that the bed isn’t actually getting made escapes you.

Many days I wonder how others seem to be so on top of things.  We go in rotations.  Everything can’t be clean and organized at the same time.  But, having said that, every day I aspire to greatness in our own way.

So, this year I decided I would finally make the turkey stock I always want to rather than let the indredients sit in the freezer indefinitely.

So it begins.  The Turkey is ready but it’s nighttime (out into the cold).  Then the steady filling of the pot in the morning with filtered water, pitcher after pitcher.  Chop veggies.  Simmer.  Simmer.  Simmer.  Cool.   Cool.

Then, go-time.  Three gallons of stock must be measured, poured, labeled and stacked in the freezer in quick succession with little room for more than some potty breaks or altercation intervention.

Working as fast as I could I bagged the stock.  Halfway through though I had monkeys on the table closing in and coming up with creative ways to help.  The toys began to descend on my liquid gold.  Fingers darted out compulsively lifting quivering quart bags from their pile and sending the rest into oozing avalanches of ziplock bags.  Before I could reach it there was squeezing and smooshing with abandon.  Visions of my prized stock squirting across windows and into cracks in the seats made me halt all activity and dash away to the kitchen for any interesting looking kitchen utensil I could find.  I so wanted to finish this project.  Oh no, like moths to the flame the kitchen utensils started toward the pot.

There would be no scuba diving in the stock pot tonight!  And then much to my pleasure, and theirs, I realized they actually could get into it. On my terms.

I rallied cooperation and delegated.  The Littlest was shown how and placed on Bag Removal duty.  Little Boy manned the ladle, filling up the measuring cup hooked to the side.  I labeled each bag and poured two cups in and we finished the whole vat.  Together.

It’s good to be part of something valuable.  Kids don’t differentiate play from work.  Our stock was played with well.

Usefulness is one good feeling.

Yummy stock in our bellies this winter will be another.

Triumph