Monday, December 28, 2009

A timely holiday injury

On Christmas Eve while I was washing dishes, I did something my jr high home-ec teacher warned us to never do: 1) never put a whole bunch of sharp knives in the sink to wash, and, 2) if you're dumb enough to do this, always look before reaching into the water.

I never did adhere to rule #1, I've always put all knives in the dishwater to soak a bit instead of washing them one-by-one. I've done this for years and have never cut myself reaching for those submerged knives. But I was surprised on Christmas Eve when in my haste I reached into the water and sliced my left thumb with a knife.  I've recently been keeping all of my knives pretty sharp, and this one was definitely in its prime.

The cut wasn't deep, but it was almost the entire width of the meatiest part of my thumb. It bled profusely at first, and I continued to wash up the dishes despite the cut, figuring that the soapy water was probably pretty good for it. But I did have to double rinse the knives to get the extra spot of blood off the handles.

Finally I attended to the cut -- like I said, shallow, but long, so it was hard to get a band-aid to cover the whole thing. And it's been probably one of the most annoying injuries I've had of late. Do you know how many times you use your thumb, even your non-dominant thumb? I've re-opened the cut numerous times doing dumb stuff like turning a doorknob, turning on the water, closing the washing machine door, etc.

Just four days later it's mostly healed up, but still hurts depending on what I'm doing. So I think this means this is my last post of the night if I want to be able to type at work tomorrow.

Update: Ugly Cake Again

It just wouldn't be Christmas if I didn't attempt my mom's infamous sour cream coffee cake in a bundt pan, would it?

And it REALLY wouldn't be Christmas if I got the damn thing to turn out, would it?

No, it wouldn't.

I was telling my new co-workers about my various failed attempts to make this coffee cake year after year. One asked, "You aren't going to try it again this year, are you?" Are you kidding? By this time it's tradition! Of COURSE I'm going to try to make it, that's half the fun!

And it did look beautiful. Truly beautiful! Unfortunately the filling on one half of the cake had sunk to the bottom of the pan and stuck again, so it did not come out of the pan as planned. But it did still taste delicious -- we ate it all in about 3 days.

When I finally went to take it out of the pan, the girls both accompanied me to the kitchen for the unveiling. When I was having a hard time getting it out, Lindsey watched in anticipation for a while, then she abruptly turned and left, saying, "I can't watch this."

Like I said, it's tradition by this point, it will be a shame the day I finally get it to work.

Our Children are Spoiled and Don't Even Know It

What can I say? By the end of our gift opening, which lasted all of 50 minutes, the entire floor was covered with bits of wrapping paper, boxes, tags and twisty tie thingys that we had to un-do to get to some of the toys. This after Wayne told me of his Christmases growing up when they got one gift each.
We got the girls to bed a little too late on Christmas Eve. They were downstairs watching A Christmas Story while Wayne and I were upstairs, enjoying a glass of wine and some uninterrupted conversation. Uninterrupted conversation! What IS that?! We were loathe to end it by ending the movie early, but at 9:00 Lindsey finally came up and said, "It's over and Marissa's sleeping." Oops, Marissa's sleeping. Uh oh...

It took all of 10 minutes to put them to bed, then we traipsed downstairs to get "Santa's" gifts out of the closet and put them under the tree. Then off to bed we went.

We were awoken at 5:30 am by a squeal from Lindsey's room. "Eeeee!" she said. Then little footsteps as she ran into our room and jumped into our bed. "I think Santa's been here!" she says. Ummm...maybe, but we ain't checkin' at 5:30 in the morning to find out.

We got her to go lay there for another hour but she didn't go back to sleep. We finally got up at 6:30; Lindsey ran downstairs quickly to confirm that yes indeed, Santa had been to our house and left a whole bunch of presents! By this time Marissa was up -- she was about to start crying from being woken up, then she remembered it was Christmas! So downstairs we all went to check out the presents with instructions to look but not touch.

I was in the kitchen making coffee and Wayne was opening the blinds when I heard Lindsey exclaim, "How come Santa has the same wrapping paper as we do?!"  Hmmm...guess we'll have to change that little fact next year. Hopefully she won't remember that Santa uses paper that she bought with me at the store.

Favorite gifts were definitely the Snuggie (thank you, Aunt Shelly and Uncle Steve!) and the new nightgowns from Grandpa Tom & Meme. This was followed by the Strawberry house for Lindsey and the Tinkerbell playset for Marissa. We've been getting a lot of use out of Connect Four as well, a gift Wayne and I picked out that Lindsey hadn't asked for.

Marissa had asked Santa for dress up ballet clothes, which she did get, sans the ballet slippers. She said, "Maybe he forgotted that I wanted ballet slippers." Well, maybe the dress up set we bought didn't come w/ballet slippers! Thankfully Lindsey's got ballet slippers around...somewhere, we'll just have to find them for Marissa.

She had also asked for a game called Elefun for both she and Lindsey, which they also received. Ironically, that game has gotten the least attention and been played with the smallest amount of time. Shocking.

Lindsey had asked for a swing for her backyard from Santa, but surprisingly hasn't mentioned disappointment at not getting it. Perhaps that's because there's a good 2 feet of snow on the ground outside and she hasn't actually breathed in fresh air for more than 2 minutes in about 3 days.

The rest of Christmas Day was...well, to be totally honest it was trying. We had two sleep-deprived girls trying to play with their own toys in the same space (why, oh why do they insist on playing in the same room?) We had to separate them several times and they needed constant parental supervision to not get into scraps with each other. Marissa threw her own Tinkerbell toy and now has a door on it that is constantly falling off and needs to be put back on about every five minutes. She now knows the rule that if she throws her toys she loses them for the rest of that day, so no more toys were thrown that day.

They were well behaved during dinner at least, which was good so that we could all enjoy it. Marissa our vegetarian decided that she didn't want the steak and found a pint of grape tomatoes in the frig that she devoured instead. Works for me.

They were both in bed by a reasonable hour and slept past 7:00 the next morning, so the 26th was a MUCH more pleasant day. They took turns w/each other, had fun, and both got separate play time in their own room with their own toys for a while, a needed break from each other. And Wayne and I both enjoyed playing games with them alternately. I'm sure it will be so much fun when both girls are at a closer developmental level when we can play games the four of us. Right now we have to play one-on-one with one or the other -- Marissa can't follow the rules of many of Lindsey's games, and Lindsey doesn't care to play many of Marissa's younger games. So we kept the Christmas enjoyment up through the rest of the weekend.

Christmas Eve 2009 Activities

I'm putting a few posts up from the last few days of activities. This was part of the lovely Christmas Eve that the girls and I had while Wayne worked one last day before taking off work for a week and a half.

Marissa's Doggy Diet

Recently Marissa fed Dax a treat after having him roll over, then said, "I wish I could have that."

"Have what?" I asked. I thought perhaps she wanted to learn how to roll over.

She pointed to the dog biscuit that Dax was devouring and said, "Have THAT."

So I told her to go ahead and eat a dog biscuit. Seriously, there's nothing in there harmful to humans, it's just that most humans don't prefer dog food.

She helped herself to a dog biscuit and then asked for another. I think that dog biscuits and crackers taste the same to her.

I cut her off at one.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Our Cruise Ship Home

Our cleaning lady came yesterday, just before Christmas, so our house is nice and clean for the holidays. Can I just say how much I LOVE having a cleaning lady?? It's so nice to not have to clean on days off, I can do other things, like go sledding with the girls, make cookies, and so on.

One of the other cool things is that she makes the girls' beds. She would actually change the sheets for us if we wanted, but that seemed weird to me to have someone else totally make my kids' beds, so she just makes the beds for us. And since I think it's weird for her to make our bed, I make sure our bed is made before we leave in the morning.

Every time we come home it's like a little surprise to see how she's arranged their beds. Every time, there are different blankets or stuffed animals on the beds. Sometimes there are books buried deep in the covers. She'll find them and put them on top of the bed. It's like how I've heard cruise ships are, when every time you come back into your room you find your towels in various shapes of animals, plants, etc.

Yesterday she had Marissa's little hippo pillow on top of her blankie, and Lindsey's two stuffies were lined up on the bed, ready to snooze. And she had neatly folded both of their jammers on top of their pillows and blankies. The girls were both delighted by how she had arranged their rooms.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Steve

That is what Marissa calls "Christmas Eve." This from the same girl who says "stister" instead of sister.

Don't try to correct her, it's Christmas Steve.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Two Christmas Traditions

Our house is filled with all kinds of Christmas traditions -- many which involve food, but two that I feel impelled to highlight.

The first is not my family's Christmas tradition, it's a neighbors, but we benefit from it. Every year since we had kids after moving onto this block, we've received a plate of gingerbread cookies from a neighbor of ours. And not just any gingerbread cookies -- cookies in shapes of a man, a woman, and little tykes. Even babies! All have our own names iced onto them.

I've taken some pictures in some years, other years they get eaten too quickly to snap a photo. Because not only do they look awesome, they are also ALWAYS delicious! My girls LOVE getting these gingerbread cookies. Thanks to our neighbor Bridget who makes part of her holiday tradition baking all of these cookies up for her friends and family.

The other tradition...also involving food...well, let's just take a quick look at our reminder of what happened last year, shall we?

Yes, yes it is time once again for me to attempt my annual coffee cake. Or as it is now affectionately called in this house, ugly cake. Because it is more often ugly than not, but always delicious.

I shall report back in a few days on my progress on this project!

Little Miss Muffet...New Cast

And if you didn't catch it, check out the prelude by Daddy in the background before the narrator began.

Lindsey as Little Miss Muffet

This is the re-enactment of the infamous "Little Miss Muffet" first performed by Jenny and Kristi Floria in the early 70's. In the original, the younger sister was played by a baby, who actually crawled toward the little starlet, and the starlet sat on a little stool, and not a full-sized chair.

So while today's adaptation is not true to the original, one piece of the set is historically accurate: the bonnet being worn is the same used by the original players so far back in time.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Commuting Thoughts

While my new job is only a few miles further in the opposite direction of my old job, I am finding that my commute back home from work...let's just face It takes me 30 minutes to drive to work, and usually betwen 45 minutes and an hour to get back home. Turns out that traffic is ALWAYS going towards Minneapolis, both morning and evening. Poop.

This, of course, gives me lots of thinking time, something that can be very dangerous depending on the day and the mood. Yesterday evening I was driving home, crawling along at 8 mph per my GPS and I was taking in the sunset. The entire sky was the tapestry, with long fingers of pink, red and orange extending across the entire sky. The colors grew deeper and deeper as twilight slid up behind me. I was stuck on an overpass (8 mph, folks, it takes a while to cross a bridge at that pace) and watching the spaghetti fingers of traffic coming toward me, and overlapping the other exits and lanes that were interconnecting while this incredible light show of a sunset was happening over the entire scene. The sunset was huge, larger than the whole movement of all of the cars within my sight.

As I took it in, the cars and their headlights took on the personality of ants, and I couldn't help but think that humans are not meant long for this world. Long after we are here, the sunsets will still happen, the sky will still deepen, but we will not be here to witness them. Deep thoughts for a commute.

And then..this evening's commute.

It was a bit later when I started out and I ended up taking a different way out of St. Paul. For a while I was at a streetlight in front of the St. Paul Cathedral, a beautiful building that has a gorgeous church belltower on top, with architectural lights lighting up the various stone edifices. The sunset was long gone with twilight well settled in, yet there was still a deep blue tinge to the sky behind the cathedral. And tonight, as I gazed upon this landscape, I thought about what an incredible feat this piece of architecture was, and that it would probably be standing there for hundreds of years to come.

We'll see what tomorrow's commute brings.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Visit with Santa

As I mentioned in the prior post, one of the things we did this past weekend was take the girls to see Santa Claus at Southdale Mall. It seems that most of the santas we see around now have real beards -- none of that fluffy white fake stuff for them.

I'm not sure at what age kids start doubting whether or not Santa is real, but I think Lindsey is getting to that age. We watched "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town" the other night, the old stop-action show which has Santa Claus as a baby, then as a young man bringing toys to a town called Sombertown, where Herr BurgerMeister has outlawed toys. Throughout the story it explains everything from why he wears a red suit, why he enters via the chimney, to why presents are stuffed in stockings on the mantle. Afterwards, she asked if that story was true. I said, "Well, no one knows for sure, but some people think that that's how Santa Claus came to be." Then she asked if he ever died, if he was around when we were little, when the grandparents were little, etc.

When we were driving to the mall to see Santa, she asked if this would be the real Santa or Santa's "helper," as we call other people who dress up like Santa. "That's a good question," I said, "You can probably ask him that."

I don't think she did ask him, but she did walk away whispering, "I think he was the real Santa." We had a picture taken of them with Santa, and when we got home we put in on the mantle, next to a picture from a few years ago of them with Santa again. It's obvious from the photos that they are clearly two different men -- one's beard is completely white, the other was white with a little grey, etc. She looked at the two photos side-by-side and announced that she believes the Santa she saw this year was the real one, and the one from a few years ago was just a helper.

It was really sweet seeing them both with Santa. They both wanted to speak to him separately, to tell him what they wanted for Christmas. (This was promptly followed by a last-minute purchase for a dress-up ballerina costume for Marissa that Wayne bought online.) Lindsey asked for two swings for the backyard so she can swing at our house and not have to go to the park. (Hmmmm...not sure what to do with that one.)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...

Everywhere where you go....

Take a look at Pershing Park...sledding down like a lark...
whatever, I'm done trying to rhyme.

But...could we fit more fun into one weekend??

Between sledding, going to the holidazzle parade Saturday night, then going to see Santa on Sunday AND...going to our dear friends the Lassiter's Sunday night for even MORE fun, I don't think we could pack more into one weekend. What a great time!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Post Office to Arkansas

In typical fashion, it isn't what Marissa says that's so funny but how she says it, so I'm sure this story won't be quite as funny as it was when it happened.

Today I made a trip to the post office to ship off my dad's Christmas/birthday package. I also already had our Christmas cards addressed, stuffed and needing stamps, and the girls decided to accompany me on this errand.

Marissa was all excited to come with me to ship the package to Arkansas; I didn't quite understand why until we got to the post office. There was, of course, a line going up to the door, not quite out, and we had to wait a while to get the package weighed and posted. While we were waiting in line Marissa was unusually quiet, taking in all the sights and sounds of people with their packages and cards.

It was rather quiet, so finally she turned to me and she whispered, "Mommy, is this Arkansas?"

I had to explain to her that the package was going to Arkansas, but that this was the post office, and we give the package to a mailman, who gives it to someone else, who puts it on a truck and it eventually gets to Arkansas. But we weren't going to Arkansas.

I think I need to get my girls out on errands more so they can see the way the world works. Or maybe I need to get my youngest to Arkansas now.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Our Star Student

Lindsey was picked to be her class's Star Student beginning this Wednesday for five days. Her teacher picks one every week and I assume she's going to make her way through the entire class through the school year, but in Lindsey's mind it is clearly quite an honor.

First, we were sent home a black folder with instructions on what it means to be a Star Student. The Star Student gets to help Ms. Lyga-Jones around the classroom -- handing out papers, distributing books, erasing the chalkboard, etc. We also had to take on a project of creating a poster board about said star student -- photos, awards, and whatever the star student wanted to put on the poster board. Lindsey was so excited that we began this project Friday night, the day she found out she was going to be the following week's star student.

She and I picked out photos she wanted to put on the poster board, and then of course I had to order them via Walgreen's and go down and pick them up, since we don't actually keep any printed photos around anymore. Then Lindsey decided how to organize them on the board, and her recommendation was photos taken at home on one section and photos away from home in another section. I love the way her mind works! We decided to categorize them a little more, and have photos of the entire family in one area, photos of Linden Hills/Lake Harriet in another, etc.

I love the fact that she had three photos of Dax on the board. We also put some photos on of when she was a baby, and we also had a photo I had taken of her Cinderella and prince dolls set up in the castle, "waving" to the crowd; she thought that was pretty funny so she wanted to include it. I also have a photo of her sleeping with an open book on her head, which she also thought was funny.

She wanted to put on the poster board her medal that she got from the Family Fun Run she did this past May, but surprise surprise, we can't find her medal. Anywhere. We spent the entire weekend looking for it. So I am sure that this spring it will show up in some random bag or purse that she put it in and we subsequently put away for the season. But we did put her field day 1st place ribbons on the board, so that was enough for her.

So today when Wayne dropped her off he walked the poster board all the way to her teacher's room, so that Lindsey didn't have to carry it around and get it ruined before she got to class. She gave her talk today on the photos and she said it went well. We're very proud of our Star Student!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Lindsey Finally Lost her Second Tooth!

Almost 3 months after her first one came out, she finally lost her second tooth today! It'd been really loose for almost two weeks, but she didn't want anybody to pull this one.

Today she and I were driving to the grocery store and she was munching on a sweet bun from a local bread store on the way. She said that it hurt her tooth when she bit into the bun, and all of a sudden the tooth came out in her hand! She was so excited!

So the tooth stayed in a little tray up by me for the duration of our outing, and is home now safe in her tooth box, where the tooth fairy will hopefully remember to take it in exchange for a dollar tonight. You can already see the new tooth behind where the old one was -- it had started to come up behind her baby tooth.

Poor Peanut

Wayne's been battling a cold the last couple of days and just this morning it appears that Marissa has come down with it...or with something.

She awoke this morning feeling just fine, but within a couple of hours she said her throat hurt and she just wanted to sit on someone's lap and snuggle. I took her temp and it was a low-grade 99 degrees. We gave her some Ibuprofen since her throat was really bugging her, and she seemed to perk up.

Lindsey and I were gone for a few hours grocery shopping, and when we came back she had been helping Wayne decorate the house for Christmas. He said she'd been playing, singing and play-acting most of the time while pulling out Christmas figurines. But shortly after we got home, she looked at me and said, "I'm cold!" Her teeth started chattering and the shivers started -- it was so obviously involuntary. Her temp was still hovering around only 99 degrees -- but she was clearly miserable.

I snuggled up with her for probably an hour and a half, and she finally fell asleep in her bed (okay, I did too for a little, but only for about 20 minutes or so). I got up and she kept sleeping for about another hour. Now she's up again and still feels a little warm, not too badly, and is playing with Lindsey.

There is one good thing about when the kids are sick -- they want to snuggle. A lot. That's something you can definitely talk me into doing for a very long time.

Friday, December 04, 2009

These sisters DO love each other!

With my new job this week Wayne and I switched drop-off/pick-up duty, so that he drops off in the morning and I pick up the girls in the evening. Marissa's school is closer to me coming back from St. Paul, so the last two nights I've picked her up first, then Lindsey.

So tonight Marissa and I came in to pick up Lindsey together, and Lindsey immediately stopped playing with her friends in the coveted "Pet Vet" area of the playroom and retrieved something from her bag. It was a card, made from a single, folded piece of construction paper. The outside said, "I love you" and the inside read exactly this:

I love you so
much marissa
wen it my
I hope I
to sawr
withe you.
Love, Lindsey


"I love you so much Marissa, when it is my birthday I hope I remember to share with you. Love, Lindsey, xoxo."

And as if that didn't take the cake, she had made a bracelet for Marissa with beads that have letters on them to read "Marissa" with hearts on either side of her name.

How sweet is that?!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

An interesting twist

I started my new job's been a while since I didn't know where to get coffee, how to login to my computer, how to make a phone call, or even where I sat. I met a lot of people and finally told one person that everyone needs to wear the same outfit tomorrow so I recognize everybody again.

Yesterday my new boss called me on my cell to confirm that I was starting today, the time I was coming in, etc, and to give me a piece of advance news before I started -- she has resigned. She will be working at Gillette until December 18th, then beginning at another healthcare foundation after the holidays in January.


I thought that perhaps I'd have a few months to pick her brain, learn the ropes and get acquainted with processes, people, politics, etc, and instead I have two weeks.

Needless to say this puts more pressure on me to get up to speed and quickly. Like I don't put enough pressure on myself sometimes, now I won't have a go-to person who can help me figure out who to ask to get things done! And I really like her and was looking forward to working with her. Huge bummer.