Archive for January, 2009

Iced in

Posted in Uncategorized on January 27, 2009 by depechemom

We’ve had a rather icy morning here. I prayed that it would start early enough for them to cancel school before it started, and it did! I really did not want to deal with the stress of icy roads + school bus versus icy roads + me, Little Bear, and Little Lamb in the car.

A side benefit to all this ice is the birds have been super active at the feeders and on the ground. We purposefully bought smaller feeders to keep the blue jays and squirrels away, but I’m feeling a bit more generous today. So, I put a couple of trays of bird seed out in the yard and sprinkled a bit here and there. They’ve actually settled down now, but I feel certain they’ll be back soon.

Here’s a rough listing of what we’ve seen so far:

At the feeders:
Titmice
Chickadees
Cardinals, male and female
Goldfinches (or so I think-they’re a bit more difficult to identify in the winter)
A few I can’t identify including a beautiful deep red bird (not a cardinal)

On the ground/In the trees:
Blue Jays (6 or more!)
Woodpeckers-either a downy or red-bellied, I’m not sure
Eastern Bluebirds-LOVE!
Eastern Towhees
Another I can’t seem to find for sure, probably a sparrow or finch (brown and white stripes) but it has this little yellow dot by its beak that doesn’t match the pictures in the book.

I’ll update later if we identify more birds. Activity is picking up again, as is the sleet!

A good week

Posted in Uncategorized on January 23, 2009 by depechemom

It’s been a good week around the Depeche Mom household.  Just three days of school allowed for much play time for the kids.  I love listening to them play-both together and alone.  Of course, there was plenty of tattling and such that goes along with “together time”, but it’s generally worth it when I get to hear them play nicely together.  

We had a good time watching the inauguration on Tuesday.  No matter your political views, I do hope you are able to step back and realize how far we’ve come as a nation.  You don’t have to agree with Obama’s political views to understand the significance of his triumph over extreme odds.  I don’t consider it a good thing that I never expected to see an African American as President in my lifetime.  I do, however, consider it a good thing that my children won’t question the idea at all.  Belle picked our book, A Picture Book of Thomas Jefferson, for our reading time that night.  As I read the lines, “The slaves were used by their owners to plant and clear the fields, to cook and serve meals, and to take care of children” I stopped to explain the situation to the kids.  Yes, we’ve come a long way since those days.  But seriously, that was in the 1700’s.  And yet, it was not that long ago that African Americans were not allowed to eat in the same restaurants or attend the same schools as whites.  Heck, they were barely even treated as humans well into the 1900’s.  So, yeah, I think it’s pretty cool that the majority of Americans chose an African American man as President.  Not because he’s African American (the numbers from the exit polls clearly supported this), but because they liked his politics.
That seems to be something many people are having a hard time accepting.  To that I say, be a gracious loser.  Teach your children/friends/coworkers/random strangers a good lesson in handling difficult situations.  Stand up for what you believe, take proper actions through state and local government to make your opinions known, but understand that you live in a place where majority rules and sometimes you will not be in the majority.  And, while I’m on this little roll of  mine, let me say this-let us all not be fooled by the game that is politics.  No one human, man or woman, is going to save the world nor destroy it.  There’s so much more I could say on this, but I’m not sure I want to go there right now.  Maybe another day, maybe not.  I don’t talk politics much because I don’t consider it to be a big part of me as a person.  I’m a mom, a friend (who happens to be terrible about making phone calls), a Christian, a wife, and SO MUCH more than who I voted for.  [Yes, I know that’s a very bad sentence.  But this is my blog, and if I want to leave that preposition sitting there at the end of the sentence, then so be it!]

Back to our week- Yesterday was my 34th birthday!  I started the day off with Bible Study, where I was greeted with birthday hugs and donuts.  My parents called while we were en route and sung to me over the phone.  I wonder how many 34-year-olds parent’s still call and sing to them.  It’s who they are and what they do.  I will forever be their daughter, just as my kids will forever be mine, so I let them do what makes them feel good.  J and Belle picked out the perfect cake mix and frosting.  All three kids helped make (and frost!) the cake.  J picked up Chinese for dinner.  J put the kids to bed while I chatted with my sister on the phone.  And, my facebook page was filled with birthday wishes from friends throughout every stage of my life.  A good day, indeed!

The weekend should be a quiet one.  Hopefully J can make some progress on my birthday present-a huge antenna so we can get local channels.  It’s doubtful that we’ll get more than NBC, but I’d be happy with that.  I hope you are able to spend some quality time with your loved ones this weekend.  I, for one, am looking forward to dozing on the sofa tomorrow morning surrounded by my two little ones.  And now I am off to bathe the kids!  Wish me much patience, I’m sure I’ll need it.

On my mind…

Posted in Uncategorized on January 20, 2009 by depechemom

It’s 18 degrees this morning. They are predicting a light snow, therefore I’m sure it will do nothing. It seems the only way to get snow around here is to completely catch everyone off guard with it.

Little Bear wanted to watch a movie this morning that we’d left in the car. I ran out in my pajamas, robe, and slippers to get it. That’s supreme sacrifice people! He jumped with joy when I came back in with it.

Belle is off from school today. We’ll head to the mall this morning and poke around for deals for next year. This afternoon we’ll be all about the inauguration. J will be home earlier today, so we’ll probably just all watch it together.

I’m trying a recipe for egg rolls tonight for dinner. I had some wrappers leftover from a Pampered Chef show I hosted and somehow I’ve decided I actually like egg rolls now. Seems like a perfect meal to make for a mixed carnivore/vegetarian crowd, not that I know anything about making vegetarian food!

J called Belle a bookworm the other night-probably when she read two of my old chapter books in one sitting-and she was so thrilled. I told her I’d always hoped for a bookworm and now I have my very own!

I found these cute phonogram cards by Jan Brett online through Karen’s site. (Hi, Karen. No, I’ve never commented…but I am reading!) Once we have more printer ink, I’ll print them up on cardstock. They are great for spelling and just general understanding of how word families work. Honestly, they’re worth the ink for Jan’s beautiful illustrations alone!

Belle’s teacher gave them assessments all last week for the end of the quarter. I’m quite curious to see if there has been much change since the last report cards.

Little Lamb just came in to announce that she, Belle, and I are girls. I know that was pressing on your mind!

J’s parents got us a couple of bird feeders last weekend. The cold weather seems to have sent all the birds into hiding right now, but I’m sure they’ll be back before long. We are all so excited to what sorts of birds we have around here. Oh, wait! I’m seeing some hop around the yard now…I think I’ll go put out an open dish of food to attract them.

Till next time!

Holidays continued

Posted in Uncategorized on January 7, 2009 by depechemom

Wow, I’m so creative with these titles!  So last I left you, we FINALLY got all the kids settled in beds and they were asleep in a matter of moments.  Saturday morning, Mom and I headed out for a bit of shopping.  There’s a great outlet shoe store (on University near the new Apple Store if you’re in their part of TX) with fabulous prices.   It won’t be open much longer, so hurry if you’re interested.  Mom knew she couldn’t buy me shoes without me there, so we agreed to shop after Christmas.  Also, Harold’s is going out of business and had everything marked down to 70% off-no returns or exchanges, so we had to do that shopping together as well.  We took Belle along with us, being the “fashion girl” that she is.  Yes, she really does call herself that.  She had me trying on every. single. high heeled, sparkly, and/or animal print shoe in the place.  Of course none of those were the least bit comfortable.  I did come away with a killer pair of cowboy boots (Hi, MB.  Yes I did really buy cowboy boots and J actually likes them!) and a cute pair of pointy-toed black patent wedges.  
We also did quite well at Harolds-new jeans, a jacket, a couple of t-shirts and a cute red and black printed top, all for less than the price of the jacket normally.  Most of all, we had a wonderful time shopping together, just us girlies!
That night my brother and sister and their families all came over for dinner at our favorite Mexican food place.  We’ve eaten Christmas Eve dinner there every year (except when it falls on a Sunday) since they opened in 1975.  I suppose that eating out on Christmas Eve sounds strange to some people, but 1. eating in a restaurant was a huge treat for us as kids and 2. my parents both worked hard on Christmas Eve-what with all the church services-and making a meal was nearly impossible.  That night actually felt more like Christmas Eve than actual Christmas Eve!  All the cousins had so much fun playing together that night.  
Sunday brought church at my Dad’s church.  I’m glad we were able to go there (where we were all baptized and my parents, my sister and I were married) because the church is in quite a bit of turmoil.  We don’t actually know how much longer they will able to stay in that building-a beautiful old church full of stained glass windows, pointed arches, and deep red brick-as the bishop and priests decided to break away from the Episcopal church.  My parents are quite saddened by this choice, but don’t really know what to do.  I think they’re in a wait and see what happens mode.  I know it really hurts my mom as she’s attended that church since she was 4.  Her mother was quite active in the women’s ministries and she got to know my Dad there-young choir director/organist spies cute choir member and the rest is history!  🙂  
Wow, that was an unexpected tangent!   My brother’s kids had stayed Saturday night with us, so we headed to their house for lunch.  My brother and his wife are excellent cooks and prepared us a fantastic beef bourguignon.  The kids played and played with nary a complaint to be heard.
Monday brought ANOTHER visit with all the cousins.  The girls cooked up a plan to go shopping at Justice and buy matching t-shirts.  My sister’s kids spent the night at my parents house, which occupied my kids perfectly, and J and I headed out for the night.  The entire night!   My Christmas present from my dear husband was dinner at the restaurant where we were engaged and a night at the hotel where we spent our first night after our wedding.  It was a complete surprise to me as my suggestions were work-out clothes and a trip to the ice rink!  We had a wonderfully relaxing evening together.
Tuesday, our last day in TX, took us to the mall to exchange a couple of items followed by a haircut for me.  I had so much sans-kid time Monday and Tuesday it was surreal!  
Wednesday brought us back to our reality here in VA.  A much loved reality with everyone home together.  We ended our vacation time straightening up a bit here and there, playing on the Wii, and spending lots of time just being together.  
Oh and I did get that trip to the ice rink from my sweet Belle!  She did quite well for her first time skating, but LB was not into it.  J took him once around-the longest trip around the rink in history I imagine-and when he came off the ice, LB said to me, “Daddy called me a wet noodle!” with a frown.  I couldn’t really argue as that is exactly how he looked!  I was glad that it all came back to me fairly quickly, though I never really got much speed going.  The place was crazy busy!
 Little Lamb is awake now and LB’s Wii time is up, so I’d better go.  If you managed to stick around through all that, well, give yourself a pat on the back!

Holiday Wrap-Up

Posted in Uncategorized on January 6, 2009 by depechemom

Today is January 6, Epiphany-a day of celebration for the Wise Men’s arrival to the baby Jesus.  I’d like to make this day a bigger deal with the kids, but as of yet I’ve only managed to do what my family generally did-leave the Christmas decorations up until that day.  I always struggle with how big to make my beliefs to the kids.  I suppose mostly out of fear that if I speak my beliefs loudly, J will want to speak his with equal force.  
Anyhow, as the Christmas season ends and the new year begins, reflection seems a necessary endeavor.  I’ve not been especially committed to my blog for a while now.  It bothers me some that I’m not finding the time to write, but I guess it’s not bothering me enough to do much about it.  What I’m saying is, this in not a post in which I pledge my undying love for all of you and promise to come here more often.  Quite frankly, there are other areas which need more of my attention.  Take for instance, exercise.  I mean I seriously need to make every effort I can to get off my butt and go for a walk already!  Committing to come sit at the computer to write seems contradictory to that, you know?  Though I do love each and every one of you that comes here to read my ramblings!

I do want to share a bit about our Christmas this year, as this may be my only record of it’s existence.  (I’ve got this adorable Christmas scrapbook I purchased a few years ago with the intention of making a two page spread every year…never been used!  I do frustrate myself intensely sometimes.)  As I wrote in my last post, the days leading up to Christmas were a little less relaxing than normal mostly due to the long hours J was working.  In fact, he even had a longer-than-normal-for-Christmas-Eve day on Christmas Eve.  He was third call and didn’t get home until nearly 7, which means that second call and first call were there even later.  Last year first call (the last one to go besides the night team) was home by 4.  Anyhow, despite J feeling like Christmas came in a flash, we had a lovely Christmas day  together as a family.  Santa, being the generous fellow that he is, brought a Wii with a few extra games including the much beloved Batman Lego.  He also brought a playhouse for Little Lamb (the Rose Petal Cottage, if you’ve seen the ads).  Most of us didn’t even change out of our pajamas until dinner time.  Which was a fabulous fondue feast!  Belle declared fondue even better than pizza!  
[For those of you scared of doing fondue with small children, let me pass these tips on to you: We put the cheese and chocolate in small bowls for LL and LB and let them dip that way.  Belle is allowed to dip, but heavily reminded to let it cool some before eating.  As for the meat course, we do the cooking for all three kids.  Those forks get as hot as fire in the oil and you don’t want to chance one of them touching it to their mouth or hand.  J did that once at Simply Fondue and wound up with a nasty blister on his lip-NEVER eat straight off the fondue fork during the meat course; ALWAYS use a fork to remove it from the skewer onto your plate first.]
The next we flew to TX to be with my family.  We took an evening flight, arriving at my parents house after 9 TX time (which, as you know, is 10 VA time!).  My parents wanted to “do Christmas” that night, bringing much glee to my children.  They, too, were extensively generous.  We finally wrangled the kids into bed around 11.  My favorite LL moment happened that night.  We went into my old bedroom, where all the kids sleep.  They’d taken down the crib to make more room for playing since we aren’t there all that often anyway.  Belle and LB immediately jumped into the twin beds while LL set about emptying all the stuffed animals from a baby doll sized bed.  I figured she was looking for the perfect sleeping companion, but asked anyway “What are you doing, LL?”  Her response is something I hope to remember for all my lifetime.  She said, in the cutest southern toddler voice you can imagine “I git in mah bey-ed!”  I literally fell to the floor laughing, and proceeded to call everyone down to the room to retell the story over and over and over again.  J and I still say that sweet little declaration to each other at least once a day!

I’ll have to finish this wrap-up another time.  My time for snuggling with my husband before we head to bed is dwindling and I’ve got a crochet project to work on.  Oh yeah, I taught myself to crochet the other night with a kid’s kit I picked up.  I figured if the directions were simple enough for me to follow, then I’d certainly be able to do it.  It’s SO much easier than knitting, what with only one needle.  I’ve only learned the basic single crochet stitch so far, but I’m hoping to find some sources with more stitches soon.  I’ve just got to finish this first project first!