Sunday, December 27, 2009

A Fine Family Tradition

When looking for a stocking for Evan's first Christmas, I was disappointed in what I found. Nothing was good enough for my little guy. I looked and looked, but to no avail. So, I decided to make one for him. I bought fabric, looked up patterns. I chose red, because that was his favorite color, and a polar bear on the front for his "Bear Bear." Being the true procrastinator I waited till Christmas Eve to make it. (I may have actually cut the boot part out beforehand.) I tried to do a blanket stitch along the outside of the boot, but I had to fake it. Looked good, but took FOREVER! Then, I got the bear on. With a few oaths and a few tears, I was done. And it was already early Christmas morning.

Two years later I was planning on moving Evan up to a new, bigger stocking from Pottery Barn Kids. We looked in the catalog together. I asked him which one he liked, and he said, "The big sock!" pointing to the stocking that was as big as the girl holding it! I secretly planned on getting him the train stocking, though. And I planned on making Duncan's first stocking myself. Of course, we lost Evan shortly after this conversation. A month after Evan's death was Christmas Eve. And that's the day that I went and got fabric for Duncan's first stocking. I decided on green with a Gingerbread Man for a nice traditional feel. And again, I was up till the wee hours sewing, cursing myself for being so lame, but still numb from Evan's loss.

Two years later I had Miranda's stocking all cut out. Her's is also green, but I decided to go with a reindeer theme. We went to the Inlaw's on Christmas Eve, and didn't return until close to midnight. I decided to be Santa's elf instead of make the stocking. I felt like the world's worst mommy. Miranda had no stocking for her first Christmas. I don't think Miranda got much for presents last year, either. This year, however, my little princess would make it known (loudly) if she's getting the shaft. I told Justin, "I can't NOT make Miranda her first stocking. It wouldn't be right." I remembered stories from my brother in law about being the youngest and getting the short end of the stick all the time. I didn't want to do that to Miranda. I already had the stocking pieces I cut out last year. I just have to put it together. Easy peasy. Except, I couldn't find most of the pieces. I found the boot, but not the reindeer. I looked up patterns of cute reindeer and real reindeer on the Internet, and cut out a few designs. One I had thought about using Justin commented looked like something from the show "South Park." I couldn't bear Miranda's reindeer looking like Mr. Hanky, so I just did Rudolph. And, in fine holiday tradition, I stayed up until 2am making it. I didn't really feel like crying until the very end. You see, I figured out how to do that blanket stitch on the very last two stitches. And it was fast and easy. Sigh.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Just a Few More Days!

There's a lot of excitement floating around here. Not from me. I've been kinda cranky, but that's another story (or is it?) We have our Christmas tree all lit and somewhat decorated. The lower half was decorated, but it's been stripped down by one grabby little girl. I decided to do a candy cane tree this year, because I figured I wouldn't care if the candy canes were broken (unlike my ornaments.) I also did three long red and green paper chains, with a little assistance from Duncan. There are two in the top area, and the third chain has disappeared. Until about a week ago there weren't any presents under the tree. When Duncan started placing random objects down there (diapers, books, etc.) and calling them presents, I decided I needed to get busy. Now, there are loads of presents under the tree. The kids have sat on, thrown, and stepped on most of them. And we'll see if they're all still wrapped come Christmas! Despite the fact that we don't look too festive, we are feelin' it.

Duncan's Christmas program (consisting of 200 songs! well, alright, 20!) was last week. He refused to wear his handmade (at school) shirt, and then didn't sing. He did alot of nose picking, actually. At home, however, he is singing "Jingle Bells" with gusto. Duncan is a total Christmas junkie. He loves the lights, the music, and of course the pressies! He talks about the Christmas tree. He tells me, "Merry Christmas, Mommy!" And today it was, "Happy Holidays!" He wanted to go visit Santa the other day, and he pointed at the neighborhood clubhouse. I told him Santa was just there for a visit that day, but he really lives at the North Pole with polar bears and elves and stuff. As Grandpa drove Duncan by the clubhouse later that day, Duncan pointed at the clubhouse and said, "There's the North Pole!"

Monday, December 14, 2009


Miranda, the girl who cries and reaches for Mommy when Grandma or LaLa want to hold her. The girl who hides behind Mommy's legs when strangers are around.

The girl who liked Santa (and didn't cry!)

Although, I won't say she wasn't suspicious.

(Notice the struggle going on in the background. That's me trying to get Duncan to sit in Santa's lap. Never happened. Looks like coal for one little boy! I kid, I kid!)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thinking about giving up

With all the rain we've had in the past few months, the back 40 is still wet. We still have pools of standing water here and there. When we dig down into the soil, the water wells up in the hole. All the work I wanted to do since the big flood in September has, for the most part, been put on hold. But now I'm starting to wonder if I should alter my plans. I'm sure not all years will be as wet as what we've had lately. Drought is part of our recent past, afterall. But I'm beginning to think I should just embrace the whole idea that the back 40 is a flood plain, and put appropriate plants there. And here's the biggie...move Evan's garden. So really I'm thinking about giving up having Evan's garden in its current location. Not giving up entirely! I've been considering installing some more terraced beds on the slope-y part of the backyard, and maybe use one of those for Evan's garden. It's disappointing and exciting at the same time. I suppose I should wait it out and see how things go. But there are some plants that just can't abide having wet feet. And that area back there has been wet for months. I'm pretty confident I will lose some. Others are tough. It is a wait and see game, I guess. Just trying not to feel too discouraged about the state of my yard in the meantime.

Little Boys are Weird

Evan, as I have said on numerous occasions, was a good talker. He had a pretty decent vocabulary for a little guy. But it was the words that he made up that were fun. I remember introducing the Wallace and Gromit movies to Evan. He loved them, and asked to watch "the guy and the dog" again and again! He watched all the movies and wanted more. The trousers, he argued with me, in the short film "The Wrong Trousers" were not trousers, but leggerthings. The cooker Wallace and Gromit encounter on the moon in "A Grand Day Out" Evan called a chine. Like ma-chine, without the ma. All things mechanical were chines. But there was a mysterious chine that only Evan knew about. He called it the Bomchine (pronounced Bomsheen.) We'd point to something and ask, "Evan, is this a bomchine?" "No," he'd reply. But he never did share that little secret with us.

Duncan is our little inventor. He creates new things out of various toys. He wraps string and cords (I know, I'm a bad mother) and shoves ends together. It's no fun to take apart. Oh, I'm not a malicious un-inventor. There's always something he wants removed, but he's wrapped it round so many times, he can't undo it. He creates his own boats, trucks, vacuums. And lately...chines. That's right, Duncan, without our prompting, has been calling some of his creations chines. Just like his older brother. We've asked him if this or that is a bomchine, and usually we'll get the "that's not a bomchine!"

Duncan has his own word invention. His is the mow wacker. I think he mushed mower and weed wacker together for this creation. When playing, Duncan takes the broom and pretends to be...uh...mow wacking. Various inventions are called mow wackers, so it's still a bit of a mystery what a mow wacker really is. And, like Evan, when we ask questions about his chines, he looks at us like we're the weird ones!

Monday, December 7, 2009

More on the Birthday Hat

Justin felt like I shortchanged Duncan by not showing a picture with him wearing the Birthday Hat. Boys around here are just so fickle about their hats. I whip out the camera, and the hat comes off.

Here's a picture of Duncan running away from me, not very happy to have the Birthday Hat on.

And the hat comes off.

And I just threw this one in 'cause it's cute!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Birthday Hat

On my birthday (that's January, folks) back in 2006, I took Evan to Old Navy for some shopping. I was spending a gift card I'd received for Christmas that day. I felt that it was like giving myself a birthday present. I was a little over halfway through my pregnancy with Duncan, and feeling like a beached whale. During that little trip I developed a bad headache. So, I was pretty much just trying to hurry up and get out of there and get a Coke! Evan spotted a silly hat that he wanted. I put it on him, and had to get it. We left and I got my Coke and eventually felt better. Evan didn't seem as interested in the hat once we got home. But every once in a while he'd pull it out, plop it on his head and say, "My Birthday Hat!" I guess he called it that, because we got it on my birthday. Or maybe just because it looked festive. Toddlers are mysterious that way!

Evan wore other hats from time to time, but mostly for dress up or going outside. He was Bob the Builder in his construction hat. He was a knight in shining armour in a funny little Viking hat at Poppyaya's house.

He was a heroic firefighter for Halloween and a cowboy when visiting friends.

I never did get a picture of Evan in the Birthday Hat. But recently Miranda found it and decided that she likes it and must wear it for hours on end! If it falls off, she comes to me to help her put it back on! I'm thinking of starting a new Birthday Hat tradition. And my birthday is coming up. I think Evan would approve.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

To Grandmother's House We Go

We went to Grandma and Grandpa's house (also known as my parents) for Thanksgiving this year. The kids stayed with them for a couple of nights to have a Granparentacular week. Which, of course, they did.

When we got there Duncan wanted to go outside and play, even though it was a bit chilly. Kids are pretty resilient when it comes to cold. But pretty soon it was time to eat (Thanksgiving dinner at 12:30! Who woulda thunk? It was almost lunch!)

Miranda, my good eater, ate. Her favorite? The chocolate cake with beets in it. Beets! It's one of those things you add for color and moisture, and doesn't impart any flavor to the cake itself. And yeah, it's good. Justin was too much of a chicken to try it.

Duncan, my not so good eater, did not eat. His plate, seen here before the feast, looked about the same after. Except he actually ate the roll. Then he went back outside to play some more. He was outside for a good two hours!

Miranda worked on the crossword.

We tried to get a picture in for a potential Christmas card photo. Besides looking like I'm going to strangle Duncan, and Miranda looking like she's about to escape, I think it turned out pretty....pretty bad. So, we'll have to try again. Oh well.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009