Friday, March 29, 2013

bright copper kettles

I was looking around our living room realizing that I will soon need to pack up some of the Stuff. (Yes, construction starts soon!) I realized we have a lot of Stuff. I'm not a pack rat, and in fact I often toss things I then find I need again, so my mind immediately went to "what here can I toss?"  But then I saw this:
This is a carving made a long time ago by my father from one solid piece of wood. Now it has links and working gears. I've always loved fiddling with it and I keep it out on an end table so others can enjoy playing with it too.

I realized that most of the Stuff around me is important to me. Yes, there are probably a few things that won't make it back out of the boxes, but most of it will. I began to walk around my house looking for more of My Favorite Things.

My recipe file. This used to be my grandmother's. She was a great baker and I remember seeing the relative size of the recipe sections inside it when I received it after her death. There were an equal amount of cards under each category of "desserts" "cookies" "cakes" "pies/pastries" and "frostings/fillings." Yes really. The sweets took up most of the file. I suppose the cooking she did was by memory; a roast chicken didn't need a recipe card but baking usually does. I've tied up and put away a good number of her recipes to make room for my own, but the cut-out fruits on the top, matching her kitchen wallpaper, remind me of her every time I use it. (I seem to accumulate both cookie recipes and appetizers. She'd be proud.)

The Hummels on my dresser are from another grandmother. When she passed away, family members found multiple, conflicting lists of items she wanted to give away. Headache. I'm grateful to have these from her collection. Are they valuable? I don't know and I don't care. They're valuable to me regardless.

 The bear toward the right is my Teddy. I've had him most of my life and I'm happy to have him here in Bug's room, still nearby.  Next to him is Easter. (I leaned toward practical names) Her original dress, which matched the plaid in her ears, was left tied to a hotel bedpost somewhere between CA and IN in 1974. Sister M.D. made the jointed bear on the left. And the red overalls he gets to wear. My china doll is on the end.  Bug is sentimental enough to enjoy having them around.

This is a baby sized baseball hat. It used to fit my baby. I keep it hanging in my bedroom because Bug inherited that sentimentality from someone legitimately. I should have put something next to it to show the relative size. It fit him until he could sit independently, so still tiny (in that Bug was ever tiny.)

This takes more explanation. I don't even remember what year this is from, but I'll guess that Bug was three or four. I just remember that I was going to fly to Indianapolis with the boys and leave CD home alone. Bug was trying to express how much he would miss his daddy by stretching his arms wide. I took a long piece of masking tape and let him show me. He helped write on it "I will miss Daddy when I leave T H I S much." When the kitchen is finished and repainted should this be removed and the door repainted? Probably. But only if the tape comes off intact.

Rodgers And Hammerstein
My Favorite Things

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things

Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels
Door bells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into Springs
These are a few of my favorite things

When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I'm feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don't feel so bad.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

spam spam spam spam

The spam coming to my posts has gotten out of control. I've tried to keep it as open as possible, and when I found out that the secret code thing was hard for some people to read, I deleted it. Instead I tried moderating all comments.  Oh my. I have lots of "readers" from other countries and they all have very important sites they need us to visit. To buy, well, all sorts of things.  So, Anonymous, you can no longer post comments. In fact, if you don't have a Google account and are unwilling to register one, you're out of luck. I hope this doesn't inconvenience anyone who is a Real Reader.  If anyone knows a better solution, send it my way.
~My Kids' Mom

Friday, March 15, 2013


CD calls me "relatively sensitive to changes in temperature."  I'm pretty comfortable only between 70° and 85°, but I live in Atlanta now, so I get these temperatures more often than in, say, Ottawa.

Baseball has started. Like really started. Bug has had three practices (I think three more were cancelled due to "poor weather conditions") and two games (one was a make-up from a cancellation also due to "poor weather conditions".)  I always have to conceal my glee when a nasty weather day leads to a cancelled evening at the ballpark. They aren't as picky as I am however and last night I just about froze my butt off. I had my cozy boots and my big fluffy coat, but sitting for two hours doesn't produce much body heat and all those layers weren't enough.

The kids have had at least one day to go sledding every year. Except the two winters since we bought sleds. Seven years (?) of borrowing a sled --or sliding on trays, trashcan lids or cardboard-- and now we own sleds. They decorate the top of the garage freezer.  I should hide them away so they don't make everyone sad. Because although I don't like to be cold, I do like to get warm, so I'll go with the boys for a morning of sledding once a year and have fun. I'm not sure we'll ever get a chance to use these.

 I'm trying to find time on the warm days to get outside to garden. (Again, "warm" means close to 70° although I'll take 65° with a sweatshirt when I'm working.)  Things are looking really good in the yard right now.  This weekend is supposed to be glorious, warm and sunny. Between baseball games I'll finish cutting back old dead leaves and clean things up a bit more.

Monday, March 11, 2013


I am very much a lazy parent. Sure, I'll help when needed and I'll read aloud and even play a game now and then, but in general, I do the least required of me. As soon as my kids could set the table, I dropped out of table setting. As soon as they could dress themselves I was happy to avoid the process. Even car seat buckling was handed over as a "reward" when they turned four. 

I dragged them into the women's restroom for what felt like a long time. Bug, being three years younger than Pook, needed my help and supervision for much of the time that Pook could have been independent. But even that was finally ceded to them, first at church and then in other locations.

I've used our church as a practice site for many of these independent skills. I figured that it was a safe place where most people knew whose kids they were and would come find me or CD if we were needed.  There is a well published rule that children should be under direct supervision of a parent at all times, but I've not enforced it for my kids. I'd be talking and they'd want to go play, requiring me to either stop my chatting or skip the supervision. If you don't know how easy that choice was for me, you don't know me.

My kids aren't troublemakers. Mischief has never been a problem. No one ever colored on the walls, broke windows with baseballs or practiced scissor skills on the curtains. Even Bug, with his tendency to get lost, never ran off on purpose.  So, I trust them.  The worst trouble they've gotten into at church was for knocking coats off their coat hangers while playing "fort" in the coat closet.  In my opinion, that is worth a "hey kid, pick up the coats" and not a "hey parent, you have to keep your kid at your ankles."

So last week when I was contacted by the church office administrator to come meet with her to discuss "playground monitoring" I was a bit surprised. I expected to be a bit embarrassed, but figured I'd better come clean and admit that I'm not much of a playground monitor for my kids. Was she wanting to come up with new rules for families? Did she want me to be in charge of scheduling parent supervisors? This job might not be well suited for me. Was I going to have to be more strict with my kids to comply with new rules?

Imagine my surprise when I learned that the children are fine. The playground needs a monitor. We're getting new playground equipment and they want someone to check it monthly to see if it needs any maintenance. Playgrounds I can monitor. Kids? Not so much.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

the shape of things to come

Our friend, K, has drawn up architectural drawings of our remodeled house. I say house instead of kitchen because we're making minor changes all over the downstairs which will cause a dramatic change in the way we live in the house.

She gave us A, B and C. A being the most modest and C the most dramatic. We've chosen C with modifications, and hope that drama isn't necessarily expensive.  We will meet with the contractor and get that settled soon I hope.

Here is a Before of my kitchen.  The eat-in area opens to both the backyard and the garage and has doors to both a half-bath and a laundry room, as well as an opening to our den. The table will go, replaced by a round one, maybe with a window seat, regardless of which design we choose.

The cooking portion of the kitchen will change more. The counter will extend further toward the bay window without a corner bend.  The sink will stay put but the dishwasher will move to the opposite side. The oven wall will be gone, taking the door to the dining room with it. Vamoose. Instead we will see all the way across the house. On the other side, across from the sink, the fridge, oven and pantry will share the wall space. The pantry will actually go in what is now the doorway to a hall. On the reverse side will be a coat closet since our home does not currently have one.

But the biggest changes really, seem to be in the rest of the house. We aren't making huge structural changes. We're enlarging the opening from dining room to living room and removing one section of the adjoining wall to remove the hallway and add that space to the living room. The main difference is in the space usage. We'll move the piano to the room with the seldom-used fireplace and kids' desk. The futon-sofa and one chair will make the room a music and study room. The living room will be several feet bigger and will gain the television. We'll have three armchairs and a large sofa in there, making socializing a bit easier.