Friday, December 30, 2005

Numbers Trivia ( And Nonny is caught in a LIE!)

3.5: Hours of sleep I got last night after Ribh's excessive wailing and waking. I swear, everytime she twitched anywhere NEAR the top of her sleep cycle, her head immediately spun around three times and she started SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF HER LUNGS. And while I was willing to let her sleep with my boob in her mouth, even THAT was not appeasing her last night. Plus, after all the nursing she did do, what with the smorgasbord of milky treats I left out for her all freakin' night long, there wasn't an ample supply of milk available anymore after about three in the morning and this Mama was getting sore and crabby. Not to mention that I am STILL fighting the Healing Crisis of Epic Proportions which left me feverish throughout the entire holidays and coughing every three to five minutes.

3: Hours of sleep I got after Ribh and my family got up this morning and Hubby (my savior) let me collapse back into my bed alone! Whee!

55: Number of minutes it took to disassemble the Christmas Tree this morning. After the three days it took put the dratted thing up, I'm pretty pleased. I still need to organize and wrap up all the ornaments and what not. But I do not need to clean up a million embedded needles.

18: The number of children I will complain have been "hanging from my body" when I am feeling overwhelmed by the collective force and chaos of my children. I come from a long line of gross exaggerators. This one is minimal. And feels quite accurate at times.

987: My favorite number* to use when establishing that there was really really A LOT of something. As in: It only took me 987 hours to put up that damn Christmas Tree From Hades. Sometimes I say 897, just to mix things up.

*I believe the birth of my use of this number began in childhood. I was recently watching the movie Annie (You know, the one with Albert Finney) and when the orphans escape from Miss Hannigan and run around New York trying to find Annie to warn her that her "parents" are really Hannigan's evil brother Rooster and Bernadette Peters (and who wouldn't be terrified of THAT) the orphans finally find Fifth Avenue and they realize they are at Number One Fifth Avenue, but they need to 987 Fifth Avenue, which apparently is Daddy Warbuck's address.

The utterance of this line of dialogue struck such a chord with me, a familiar twang of recognition spread through my body and I was reunited with the dialogue which begat my favorite exaggerative number. Aww, how sweet! And so, in celebration, I will bestow one more life changing line of dialogue from the movie Annie: "Buddha says, A Child Without Courage is like a Night Without Stars, Come!"

2: The number of times I have been the "Shalvaysta" in my entire life. This may be meaningless to you, but apparently it is even more meaningless than I ever suspected.

"Shalvaysta Day" is a family tradition of my childhood based on a Finnish tradition in which the last person to get up on December 31st is declared the "shalvaysta" or the Laziest Person in the house for the entire year! Cute huh? My mom was raised in a Finnish community in Northern Wisconsin and she taught us this little bit of folklore and I have handed it down to my family. But wait, it gets trickier! (Hang on family members who read this blog! Here comes the part when you will find out it is all A LIE!!!)

I look up the proper spelling of the word "Shalvaysta" on the trusty internet in order to appear intelligent and ya know, FACTUAL, and here the whole story falls apart. There is NO "Shalvaysta day" on December 31st! There is no mention of any word resembling Shalvaysta, which probably just means "sucker".

Actually, July 27th is "Sleepyhead Day" or Unikeon Paiva in Finland, and the last one up, the "Laziest Person", is actually called the "unikeko". And furthermore, this person is roused by throwing water on him or best yet, wrapping him up mummy style in his bedsheets and dumping him in a nearby lake! So, Big Brother Matt, you got off cheap all these years with just a little good natured ribbing. There could have been water play and cutting a hole in the ice so we could dump you in the lake. Well, not in July. But you get the picture.

I don't know if my mom's little backwater community somehow bastardized their cultural observances and brought "Laziest Person" days to the wrong solstice (the Fins are known to drink quite a lot) or if my mom just got creative on her own and somehow transported the holiday into New Years Eve Day in order to get her slacker children out of bed over winter break, but just to set the record straight: Tomorrow IS NOT "Shalvaysta Day" and you can all sleep in as late as you want without fear of recrimination. (I know many of you are enjoying such huge sighs of relief as you read this.)

But watch out on July 27th! I may even have to locate a nearby lake.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Meet Bubbles Kitty

Ribh enjoyed her first Christmas.

She crawled through drifts of discarded wrapping paper and toy packaging and made friends with all her new toys, one by one. But her new Bestest Friend is Bubbles.

Now I know Bubbles may not seem like much to crow about for crafty folks like Loobylu (who could whip up a creature that would put Bubbles to shame using only items she carries in her purse and the grunge that accumulates under the sofa cushions.)

But I don't possess such crafting skills and am so impressed by Bubbles adorable little freakin' knit self (hand knit in Peru by the folks at blabla) that she has already become The Mama's favorite and will therefore likely become Ribh's favorite as well.

And here the little shy darling is modeling some new leggings by trying to pull them over her head. How droll is the little cheesecake pose?

And finally, she contemplates other ways to showcase her many burgeoning talents for her mother's blog readers.

Beware folks! This one is going to be clamouring for this kind of acclaim all the time in the near future. I can just feel it.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Ransom Note

Hostage: One wee silky My First Hello Kitty, abandoned in our minivan by visitors from Milwaukee.

(*note the way we have bound her wee arms behind her back to prevent escape)

Ransom demanded: One case of squirt and a bottle of vodka.

But you'd better send the vodka and squirt soon or else poor Hello Kitty will be abandoned yet again, but this time to the whims of my multiple offspring. Bwa Ha Ha Ha!

( A few of you didn't know what a freak I can be yet, didcha? Now you know.)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005



Okay. So the big news for all of you who have been living under a Mar's World News Blackout: WE MOVED TO GEORGIA. As in The Southland. The Land of Plenty. The Land of Nefarious Accents and Unseemly Language Usage. The Land of Roads which go hither and yon with ne'er a bit of logic behind their direction nor naming procedures. The Land of the World's Coolest Aquarium. We are officially Southerners.

In other news this year, we added the third (and final) installment to our family with the arrival of Ribh (Yes! Yes! It's pronounced "Reeve" people. Got that already? Let's move on.) Wallis Flannery in January. She was born in front of the kitchen sink with her Mama cursing and her Papa catching with minimal hoopla, as it should be, to our way of thinking. She is growing (and growing and growing, especially those thighs!) and will likely be walking by New Year. She is much beloved by her sibbies and already showing the dramatic bent which is so often characteristic of "The Baby" of the Family. Especially my family. Wheee! She's dern cute tho'.

Quinlan is almost three, going on 16, with her obsessions with clothing, makeup and "being a princess". She is into everything. Really. She is almost magical in her ability to scale great heights and hidden depths to find all things that have been forbidden to her. She has adapted her vocal chords to the point where her Pterydactyl Shrieks have escalated to noises only dogs can hear at times, but overall she is adapting well to longer being the "baby" and becoming a Southern Belle (egads!) all in the same year.

Gabriel has graduated from hanging out at home with us slackers and bon bon eaters to showering and shaving daily before going off on the big yellow bus to kindergarten. Under the southern accented tutelage he has mastered concepts such as phonics and AB patterns and monetary exchanges with alacrity. He also enjoys hanging out with the neighborhood children and emulating Scooby Doo and Shaggy whenever possible. Especially if cookie dough is involved.

Brian (Hubby) is missing his former students and patients but loving life and Life (His new employer) in the Southland. He especially enjoys golfing in winter (when he can get away) and never having to chip ice off his car. He is enjoying being a "City Boy" and loves the company we have finally attracted now that we are no longer residing in Iowa.

I am also missing both students and patients from Iowa but I am content that we are (once again) where we are supposed to be. I have had several major life lessons this year in surrendering control and finding my creative spark once again. It has been good for me to release myself to my creative inclinations and I've managed to refine and teach my Innate Birthing classes and birth my latest offspring, this blog. (Two offspring in one year! It's like Irish Twins or something equally freaky, huh?)

And now's the part where I get all sappy: We have so much to be thankful for this year. I am so grateful for all my friend and family who helped pull us (me) through some really difficult moments this year with kind words, hugs, copious babysitting hours, drives to Iowa, and loving ears who listened to me bitch and kvetch. I want you all to know how much your love (And comments! Yaay for those who post comments!) has meant to me. My faith in the universe was tested this year, but it was the support each of you gave to me and my family that allowed me to see how truly rich and blessed I am.

And so, Tra La La! And Ho HO HO! Merry Christmas to all!


Thursday, December 15, 2005

The World's Longest Delay

Yesterday we drove to the airport twice. Once to drop off our visitors and once to pick up our visitors. Because far far away, in the land of snow and sleet, an airport called O'Hare lost its everlovin' mind.

But don't feel sorry for me. Consider my guests (which include a six months pregnant woman and a toddler) who spent six hours in limbo at the airport. And then they came back to my house and we drank vodka and Squirt (except the pregnant woman). And then, this morning, as I was loading the van to drive them back at the airport, they got another call informing them that their "new" flight was cancelled.

But wait. Just now, as we were putting shoes and jackets on all the kids so I could bring them to the airport for their "new new" flight, my guests received a call informing them that their flight was, once again, cancelled. Until tomorrow afternoon. Vodka and Squirt for everyone! Cheers!

(This means there will be no new blogging, unless there is drunken blogging.)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Southern Comfort

Ooops, I did it again. I went awol all week. This week's excuse: COMPANY! Wheeee!

Thursday and Friday were spent preparing for said company. Which means I actually vacuumed all the rooms in my house AT THE SAME TIME. (By which I mean on the same day, not that I somehow overrode the laws of physics and managed to simultaneously exist in more than one place. Jeesh people, don't be so literal!) All the toilets in my home were excrement free momentarily and I made a major shopping trip to Harry's, the mecca of all kick-ass gourmet foods. (I probably shouldn't mention the excrement and food in the same sentence, but that's just how it turned out.)

The company, my college roommate and her husband, my college boyfriend's roommate (confused yet?) arrived with their delightful offspring, Lily (17 months), on Saturday. Since then, we've been busy eating the delightful snacks from Harry's, hanging out, drinking a smidge (ha!), and watching our children roam about snatching each other's toys and sippy cups.

We did make the pilgrimage to Gladys Knight's (and Ron Wynan's) Chicken and Waffles for, you guessed it, Chicken and Waffles. Well, we had the super crispy chicken and delicious malted waffles, Chris and Tracy and Lily had Waffles and Waffles, because they are vegetarians. We had planned to take the children to the Children's museum, but naptime interceded and the meltdowns appeared to be in earnest, so we aborted that plan and opted for some serious napping, and not just of the child variety. We also went to an outlet mall and went out for dinner sans children last night. Clearly, it has been a spectacularly thrilling visit for my company so far.

Today we are planning a trip to the new Georgia Aquarium, which truly is lauded to be spectacularly thrilling. Then we (I) have delusion of a quick trip to IKEA to spend a bit of my Christmas money while we are downtown. This will likely be interrupted by nap needs, but, hey, its 6:30 in the morning, so anything still seems possible.

I am also planning to make cheese fondue for the first time ever for dinner and have MORE COMPANY (with children) over to see if we can maximize our household capacity for sippy cup battles and shrieking. Don't worry, I bought plenty of wine.

Photos to come, I promise.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Woe is Tree!

Where have I been for the past week (well, almost)? I've been putting up my freakin' Christmas Tree. Really! It's been so so fun! (Are you catching all the heavily dripping sarcasm?) Do you want to hear all about it?

On Saturday, we braved the drizzling rain and set off for the cute little local Christmas tree farm I had seen featured in the local county newspaper. The fact that the establishment was featured in the Paulding County Reporter, which arrives free in my driveway every Thursday morning should have been my first tip that this was not a great idea. But alas, I was striving to achieve Super Mama Nirvana with an adorable family trip to cut down our Christmas tree, so we went anyway.

Actually, I am making the process seem much easier than it actually was. Just before leaving the house to set out on this excellent adventure I had a complete meltdown of some type (Over nothing really. Never underestimate the power of female hormones) and spent a half an hour crying in the closet and then mopily apologizing to Hubby and Dr. P for being so insane. The girls were crying and Ribh pooped everywhere just before we left and Gabe was mad because I wouldn't let him bring along some toy and Hubby was getting aggravated by all the hoopla and we hadn't even left our house yet!

We arrived at the tree farm ( I only cried two more times on the way there) and discovered that they had none of the usual varieties we like to get (Douglas Fir) but instead had wild and shaggy "southern varieties" that frankly, sucked. I swear, each and every tree on this rinky-dink tree farm was either a contender for The Most Lopsided Christmas Ever, or sadder than Charlie Brown's worst Christmas nightmare, or a combination of both. Whoever trimmed and shaped these trees was doing it while wasted and blindfolded!

To top it all off, Quin was in total nap-needing meltdown and demanded (by wailing incessantly) that she be held at all times. Since I was slinging Ribh, the lot fell to Hubby to lug Quinny's snotty whining self and the saw as we trudged around it search of a tree that only mostly sucked. Gabe was in charge of the camera, so all photos are courtesy of a five year old and the only member of our party who wasn't whining and crying.

So we picked a tree that only generally sucked and cut it down and paid our $24 for it (Thank God! The only good part of the whole debacle) and drove home, stopping about 15 times along the way to re-tie and ascertain that the tree was still affixed to the roof. Good times!

We brought the tree inside and wrangled it into our tree stand and fought to find a "straight" position considering its hopelessly subluxated (not straight) spine and finally poured some water into the stand and watched in run out like a mini river. I then sent Hubby to the store to buy a new stand to replace the old one which had apparently cracked in the move to Georgia. We got the tree into the new stand, mopped up all the water and began to string lights.

Okay, first of all, how is it that lights which are only one year old and were perfectly functional when they are packed away become completely non-functional after sitting in a cushy box and eating bon bons all day for 345 days? Why do I have to buy five or six new sets of lights every freakin' year??!! Why, I ask you, why??

Also, why does my husband NOT GET that lighting the tree is not a FUN THING that I do JUST FOR FUN!?! Every year I have to beg and plead for him to help me and every year he says the same lame thing: "But Honey, you like to do this". Note to Hubby: I like Christmas. I like Christmas trees. I like presents and carols and ornaments. I do NOT like doing all the decorating myself. I would like it to be a family activity in which people stop watching the football game for like a half hour and smile at each other and light a fire and have a glass of wine or hot chocolate and maybe create some holiday memories. I know I have to give up this dream, but DAMN! It seems so simple and reasonable when I start out each holiday. Sigh. Okay, THAT rant is over now.

But wait, there's more. I paused in the tree decorating extravaganza to nurse Ribh to sleep and was interrupted by a loud crash accompanied by a pitiable screech. Hubby and I convened in the living room where we discovered Quin UNDERNEATH the tree, which had toppled onto the floor, again. Hubby began cursing and picking the dratted thing up and poor Quinny scooted into my arms. We mopped up the water all over our floors again. Dr. P came upstairs and informed us that some of the water had seeped through the floor and was running down the casement window in his bedroom. We also now realized that the tree would doubtlessly need addition tethering to keep if from toppling again. We aborted the operation for the night and went to bed (in tears again on my part.)

The next morning we discovered The World's First Horizontal Christmas Tree. Luckily, I had been too overwrought to remember to refill the water the night before, so we didn't have to deal with the flooding again. We determined that the tree is so unstable (because of its crooked trunk and unbalanced shape) that it was a lost cause. We began searching on the internet for artificial trees.

I will try to streamline this post (too late) by simply saying that I searched the internet, many stores in person and a few tree lots and finally settled on a non-pre-lit tree that I got from some guy on Craig's List for only $60 bucks. I drove 45 minutes each way to pick it up and of course, when I got it home I discovered that it had no tree stand. It only took about three to four hours to assemble properly, and then I had to light it and "help the kids" decorate but three days later I finally have the whole thing up with light and ornaments and the works. I think it may become a permanent part of my living room decor because it was so much damn work to get it there!

Without further ado: Behold! The Holiday Tree!

Friday, December 02, 2005

You Never Know Where the Conversation Will Go

Gabe and I discovered a large-ish spider crawling on his towel as he got out of the bath. He was (understandably) creeped out by this and asked that I "get it" for him. I proposed wrapping it in toilet paper and throwing it in the toilet, which he was all for.

But then, as I flushed the toilet, the questions began.

Gabe: Mom, where did the spider go?

Me: I flushed it. It went in our septic system.

Gabe: What else could we have done with it?

Me: Well, we could have put it outside, but it would freeze at night and it would die. We could leave it to crawl around our house but I don't want it to crawl around on me when I am sleeping so I would rather not keep it in our house.

Gabe: Me neither!

Me: Actually, I kinda squished it a bit when I picked it up with the toilet paper.

Gabe: So, it's dead. Spiders can die?

Me: Yup. It's dead. Everything dies eventually.

Gabe: Even you and me?

Me: Yes, but we probably won't die for a long long time and we will be very old.

Gabe: Old, like Papa (Hubby)?

Me: NO, much much older. Like a Grandpa.

Gabe: (Aghast and a bit emotional) But I don't want to be old.

Me: Why not? (starting to feel bad for all my frank talk)

Gabe: I don't want to have hair grow out of my nose.

Me: (Chortling) It's okay Gabe. You don't have to let hair grow out of your nose, even when you are very old.