12.26.2005

A Very Merry Christmas

All in all, I do believe that the move rather enhanced our Christmas festivities. The massive pile of boxes became the Bethlehem hillsides once draped in blankets, and Christmas dinner was a smashing success, being prepared solely with disposable cookware. And that one dish that didn't make it into the box. Okay, okay, I confess. So I unpacked a single, measly saute pan. But still.

A traditional turkey dinner with all the fixings was quite out of the question. Moreover, leftovers are only a good thing if you are planning on leaving your refrigerator plugged in for the next week. So I went small and simple, but very special, and roasted us a filet mignon, with a rosemary and red wine marinade, and sauted shitake mushrooms.

And thus it is that I finally found I way that the wuggies will actually eat beef. Their eyes grew wide as they mawed on it enthusiastically and with great delight. I also discovered that they absolutely adore steamed green beans. And of course they loved the brown-and-serve rolls.
Put some candles on the table, and Meepo's in ecstasy. "Laight! Laight!"

Actually, though, what with the busyness of moving and all, the boys have been getting a special treat for dinner almost every night. Kraft mac 'n cheese, peanut butter sandwiches, chicken mcnuggets... filet mignon.

12.24.2005

Decking the Halls

No boughs of holly, though. Or mistletoe or pointsettas. Or even a Christmas tree for that matter. We are having a completely non-toxic, toddler-friendly Christmas.

On a tight budget, too, since in the midst of moving, there is little surplus money, and considerably less surplus time. I've had lights up for a while, but other than that, my Christmas decorating pretty much started yesterday, when it finally dawned on me that it was time to give up trying to go home for Christmas, and start bringing Christmas home to us.

Which means that I've had no choice but to make everything very simple and streamlined. Unable to carry out all the traditional particulars, I've been distilling them down to their essences. The results, in my opinion, are surprisingly elegant and festive.

A tree is the single most important element of Christmas decorating. When you have toddlers, it is also a recipe for lots and lots of stress. The tree fills two main functions. It provides a center around which the festivities can gather, and it fills the room with its pungent fragrance.

So I bought a kid-friendly stuffed manger scene, and set it up the pile of boxes. I draped the boxes with blankets. White on the lower level looks a bit like snow, and midnight blue on the upper level makes a glorious sky, especially when speckled with the starlight provided by a little battery operated mini-light set.

Of course the wuggies dismantle everything, but that's okay. We sit down and join them in playing with it, and then put it away. It's easy enough to set up, and take down, and set up again.

As far as the smell goes, I went down to the tree lot on the corner, and brought home a bunch of discarded branches. I've been fashioning them into really beautiful little arrangements with pinecones and ribbons. It smells really wonderful in here. There certainly isn't a whole tree's worth of greenery in here, but there really does seem to be a whole tree's worth of smell, since all the branches have been broken off, and are releasing their wonderfully fragrant sap.

And some wassail simmering in the crock-pot makes up for the fact that I'm not doing any holiday baking.

We'll go to the midnight mass tonight, and, depending on our level of exhaustion, gather around the manger scene when we get home, and open presents. I'm hoping that the disruption to our usual schedules will make it all very exciting and festive. Either that or grumpy. We'll see.

In any case, I'm very excited about instituting our own family's brand new Christmas traditions. And I think that the very spur-of-the-momentness of it is sparking a lot of creativity.

I still very much wish that I could be with my family right now, but this is good. Very good.

12.23.2005

I'll be home for Christmas...

...but only in my dreams...

It just didn't happen. The packing isn't done, and we can't go to Arizona.

It will be quite the makeshift Christmas, with everything packed up... er... almost everything, almost packed up.

And yet somehow there is something very Christmassy about joyously making do, forming a landscape out of the piles of boxes to create a setting for the Christ child's manger.

12.22.2005

Trekkies

We're not big TV people, but in times of great stress, Star Trek is our drug of choice. It requires almost no intellectual or emotional effort, and a quite minimal time investment, but still manages to be fun and intersting, and sparks fun conversations about archetypal roles and the nature of sentience. Pretty good for mindless entertainment.

Anyway, like I said, we're not big TV people in general, but over the last week or so, we've been watching a LOT. The folks at the video rental don't bother to ask for my phone number anymore, they just pull up our account when they see me and my pile of dusty VHS tapes. "Wow. You sure like Star Trek."

I found this rather disturbing. That's just not the sort of mother I want to be, known by name at the video store because she's constantly exposing her toddlers to lots of dreadfully non-interactive television.

My guilt heightened when I paused the tape to fix myself a cup of nice, hot, pear-flavored white tea. Nathan ran up to the blue screen and pointed up at it pleadingly.

"Mo! More book!"

I guess they'll be okay.

=)

Boys will be boys

When I was a little girl, I slept with Big Bear and my Cabbage Patch Tina Rosette.

Isaiah sleeps with his basketball.

12.20.2005

We're on our way out the door to go put a deposit on a

WASHER AND DRIER!!!

You have no idea how excited I am.

12.18.2005

The wuggies are most exceedingly good at unpacking.

And thus it is that I greatly fear we will never actually reach that stage of the operation.

12.16.2005

Feeling Blue

You may (or may not!) be surprised to learn that as a teenager, I contemplated dying my hair blue. Not out of any sort of adolescent rebellion, but because, hey, I look really good in blue.

But then an acquaintance (also naturally blond) dyed her hair blue. Sure enough, she was fabulously gorgeous... for the first week. Then it began to fade a bit, and looked pretty much horrendous for months thereafter. So I took this as an excellent opportunity to learn from someone else's mistakes, and aside from the occasional streaks of cerulean mascara, never actually acted upon this whim of mine.

Until this morning.

See, my hair was looking great, so I wasn't going to wash it. I just swept it up out of the way with a pen as I drew the bathwater.

That's right. A blue pen.

And I did wash my hair after all.

Isaiah and the Amazing Flying Cow Posted by Picasa

12.15.2005

Looking on the bright side

Well, the good news is that we won't need to worry about packing up the microwave.

Pictures

Nate-bug always likes pointing out pictures of babies, but when he saw the picture of Rachel and HIS bay-bee, (Sharon, it should be waiting on your hotmail account when you next get out to the city) he was wildly ecstatic. "Bay-bee! Bay-bee Sept!" He would not allow me to close up the computer hutch until I'd printed him out a copy of his very own. He then held the picture up to Tembo herself, and kept pointing back and forth between them.

I tried to get a picture, but then he became interested in the camera, and all I ended up capturing was the fact that I really needed to vaccum. =)

12.14.2005


Rachel and September. And the Mottling. You can't see him, but he made a great little seat for September. Tembo says that she's most definitely got the mommy touch. Posted by Picasa

Brotherly Love

As I was changing Isaiah's diaper, Nathan climbed up into September's chair and started kissing her vigorously. I rushed up as quickly as I could to rescue my poor baby.

When I pried Nathan away, I was not a bit surprised that he complained vociferously about being yanked away from his beloved Bay-bee.

I was a bit surprised, though, when Bay-bee burst into tears at being separated from her beloved brudder-wuggy.

Oh yes.

An Adventure

The Tercel's gas meter hits the red empty line when the tank goes down to about half-full.

The one on the Doopah-mobile hits the red line shortly after sputtering to a halt.

Looking on the bright side, we now know for certain that we can go exactly 348.3 miles on a tank of gas.

12.13.2005

Whoever said not to cry over spilled milk...

...must not have had carpeting.

12.12.2005

Lost

I'm in the middle of David Copperfield right now. It is amazing. For the most part, I've been listening to an outstanding recording performed by Patrick Tull. The man is an incredible actor, with a deep, rich voice that takes on a distinct quality for each character.

The only problem is that I seem to have accidentally skipped a tape. Or maybe just one side of a tape. In any case, it is now clear that an exceedingly important even has occured in the story... but I never actually heard about the event itself.

Rather than try to figure out which tape I missed, I started flipping through our paper copy, trying to find the scene.

There was only one problem. I couldn't find the spot I was looking for, because on every page I turned to, I found a scene that I simply could not pass without rereading.

It's just that good.

12.11.2005

What do you do?

When your son throws a tantrum in church...

...because he wants to go outside?

12.10.2005

Home, Sweet Home

Well, I think we found it. A tiny two-bedroom single-wide mobile home, 10 minutes from church. Nothing fancy... but exceedingly cute. The bedrooms are tiny. It'll be quite a squeeze, but I think we can do it. What really matters is the kitchen... and the kitchen is absolutely perfect. Spacious and well-planned, with room for a table and chairs. The manager was a bit apologetic that it didn't have a separate dining room, but we see that as a good thing. When you have toddlers, eating over carpeting is just a really bad idea. I am really looking forward to cooking in a kitchen that makes sense. You know, one with counters. And cupboards that you can access without excessive contortion. Speaking of cupboards, as an added bonus, the adorable oak cupboards make it feel so home-ey.

The park is cute... clean and pleasant and full of families.

We have a little patch of grass on which to put a climbing aparatus for the wuggies, and a little patch of gravel that we could turn into a garden.

And...

... laundry hookups!!!

I am so excited about this place. All of these things are going to make such a big difference in our lives. Kitchen. Laundry. Flowers. And best of all, we'll live close enough to really get involved in our wonderful church family.

Thank you, Jesus.

12.09.2005

Shhh!

I just found myself taking away an orange, explaining that it wasn't a ball. I then replaced it with a foam block, explaining that the little cube actually was a ball.

They'll never learn their shapes at this rate.

Please don't tell their geometer of a father.

Shopping

The good news:

We found the townhouse apartment of our dreams, and I am quite cured of all desire for a single-family dwelling.

The bad news:

The rent is $500 beyond our budget.

12.08.2005

Wasting Thyme

The other day, our apartment smelled like cinnamon once more, but this time it wasn't Mr. Wuggidy's doing, but mine, thanks to a big bag of beautifully fragranced pine cones. I haven't gotten around to actually doing any decorating with them, but they still smell lovely, even in the bag.

Last night however, let's just say I found the wuggies with too much thyme on their hands.

Now it smells like... um... mixed spices.

12.07.2005

Interior Design


I love candles... but of course, you can't light candles anywhere a toddler might get at them. Which leaves sconces as our only option. I've been on the lookout ever since the wuggies became mobile, but alas, I could only find things that were either hideous or way out of our budget. Usually both. But the other day, I was delighted to find some quite tasteful wall sconces at Big Lots... $2.99 for a box of 2!

So we've been spending our evenings in the light of candles and christmas lights. The wuggies are even more delighted than I am, which, quite frankly, I would have thought impossible. They are forever pointing, and squealing, "Laigh! Laigh!"

I've put up three candle holders so far, but haven't found the right spot for the fourth.

This morning, however, I found the wuggies with the remaining sconce, carefully holding it up against the wall, examining it and conferring about the best place to hang it.

They really do seem to have a good eye for placement. That would have been a lovely spot.

Except that hanging it where the wuggies could get at it would have rather defeated the purpose.
Posted by Picasa

Advent!

The other day, Andy gave me an early Christmas present.

Glad: An Acapella Christmas

It's out of print (er... out of dub? Out of burn?) but he found me a used copy on Amazon.

Suddenly it very much feels like Advent around here.

I can remember the year that Uncle Jim and Aunt Cindy gave us this album, sometime around junior high, or early high school. So I know it wasn't actually a part of all my childhood Christmasses... but it nevertheless forms the soundtrack for all my Christmas memories. The music captures like no other the essence of what Christmas means to me.

The life of the Church tends to center around Easter, but it was Christmas that was at the heart of our spiritual life as a family. The incarnation, cruxifiction, and resurrection of the God-Man is one inextricably united mystery. You cannot remember one part without pondering the whole... and the whole was most clearly before us at Christmastime, as we tried to wrap our minds around the helpless infant who was God Almighty, the unwed teen mother who was the chosen vessel for the Salvation of the world, and the birth that was heralded by angelic choirs... but no room in the inn.

Glad's soaring vocal harmonies are filled with a rich and free reverence, unconstrainedly flowing from a deep awe at deeper mysteries. Filled with parallel fifths and deceptive cadences, their unexpected harmonic interperetations of familiar melodies sound almost medieval, but the intricate rhythms are thoroughly modern. Their music is a glorious fusion of the old and the new, high art and low---uniquely fitting for remembrance of the God who came down and clothed himself in human flesh.

12.05.2005

Who among you, when your son asks for bread, would give him a stone?

No. Most certainly not.

I would, however, have given them a nice soft foam ball.

They didn't bother to ask, though, so now the entire loaf of stone-ground whole wheat bread is strewn across the floor.

Between Tembo's undeveloped digestive system, and her big brothers' well-developed throwing arms... well, either way, when food becomes projectiles, it's not a pretty sight.

I tell you... we're having a ball.

Let's hear it for "The Wiggy Chronicles!"

I guess one of the hazards of making up your own words is that people are unlikely to spell them properly. Ah, well. At least I'm doing my part to keep the English language alive and well.

In any case, misspellings aside, I'm quite honored to be listed among the finalists for Best Parenting Blog over at the Weblog Awards.

So show your support for your favorite wiggy wuggies, and cast a vote for "The Wiggy Chronicles."

Whenever they manage to get the polls working, that is.

12.03.2005

Onions

Not many kids get excited over onions, but our little wuggies were ecstatic when they saw the lovely white orbs as I unloaded the groceries.

"Balls!"

Advent!

The other day, Andy gave me an early Christmas present.

Glad: An Acapella Christmas

It's out of print (er... out of dub? Out of burn?) but he found me a used copy on Amazon.

Suddenly it very much feels like Advent around here.

I can remember the year that Uncle Jim and Aunt Cindy gave us this album, sometime around junior high, or early high school. So I know it wasn't actually a part of all my childhood Christmasses... but it nevertheless forms the soundtrack for all my Christmas memories. The music captures like no other the essence of what Christmas means to me.

The life of the Church tends to center around Easter, but it was Christmas that was really at the heart of our spiritual life as a family. The incarnation, cruxifiction, and resurrection of the God-Man is one inextricably united mystery. You cannot remember one part without pondering the whole... and the whole was most clearly before us at Christmastime, as we tried to wrap our minds around the helpless infant who was God Almighty, the unwed teen mother who was the chosen vessel for the Salvation of the world, the birth that was heralded by angelic choirs... but no room in the inn.

Glad's soaring vocal harmonies are filled with a rich and free reverence, unconstrainedly flowing from a deep awe at deeper mysteries. Filled with parallel fifths and deceptive cadences, their unexpected harmonic interperetations of familiar melodies sound almost medieval, but the intricate rhythms are thoroughly modern. Their music is a glorious fusion of high art and low---uniquely fitting for remembrance of the God who came down and clothed himself in human flesh.

12.02.2005

Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!

Yes, it's true. I buy my children breakfast cereal based on the toys that come in the box.

Er... well... at least when Cheerios stuffs their boxes with cheaply bound editions of fantastic children's picture books.

Contrary to my first impression, Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! is not a vehicle for Cheerios ads, but rather is a gem of a book, with a new twist on the familiar theme of the gardener vs. the bunnies.

The wuggies love it, but I think I get even more excited over it than they do. The musician in me delights in its form and structure. Lots of repetition, growing in complexity with each iteration, and vast variety in the creative references to those flop-eared puff-tails. An exquisite balance of simplicity and complexity, unity and diversity. Not to mention the delightful onomonopoea, always a wonderful thing, and especially at this age.

All in all, a fantastic book... one which I will most definitely replace when the boys inevitably destroy this copy.

Tippy, tippy, tippy, pat....

Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!

Zzzzzzip!

Mama has a new sweater.

It is very spiffy. It has a zipper. Zippers are lots of fun.

Next time, Mama's going to wear a tank top under her sweater.

Oh yes.

The search is on!

We've given our 30 days notice.

Now all we have to do is find a new place...

12.01.2005

Freudian slip?

I just went to napquest.com.

There I found hotel ads galore, lying in wait for weary travelers such as I.