January 28, 2016

One more goodbye

Today is the first day... of the rest of my life. Actually, it is my first day of work. Really, truly work. I had intended to be a substitute this spring, but the superintendent asked if I would be interested in a regular job-- an aide to two little first graders, with bus monitoring in the afternoon. I said sure!

When I am talking to people, I say I am going back to work. But to be perfectly honest, I have never had a real job before. I worked on the farm through school. I was a nanny and library clerk in college. After getting married, I was a cashier at Fred Meyer's for a few months, and did housekeeping for a bed and breakfast some of our friends own for a few years. But I have never been closely associated with a semi professional job and regular hours. My siblings thoroughly enjoy talking about my job at Taco Bell, where I was fired before I even started. (It wasn't my fault! I had promised some friends to watch their kids while they flew down to California, so when Taco Bell told me I needed to start training before the kids got on the bus, I asked if I could come in half an hour later. They said nope. I said "See ya!" Sibling hilarity ensued.)

I feel rather grown up. And scared. Not of the job per se, just general scaredness. Of things changing, of leaving Elsie, of having a classroom of first graders looking at me blankly... Okay, I am sort of scared of the job. But the teacher is great and relaxed, so I am sure it will be lovely.

On the other hand, I am going to miss my Elsie morning snuggles. Our pointless, but fun five mile walks. My Hoyt and Abilene afternoons. My large stacks of library books. My internet news reading sessions. My unorganized I-can-just-do-that-tomorrow lifestyle. My kids running to me off the bus....

I have to grow up. And I don't want to.

This is the sort of thing I will be missing. Elsie, all on her own, being Elsie. She is on a Lion King kick--I think we have listened to the Disney book/tape thing 30 times the past two days. So she has to get her animals out to find the lion.

Her squinchy face. 

I will miss this girl! But she will be staying home with Daddy, so she will be having a lovely time. (Justin will be doing leatherwork and truss design from home.)

And instead of kids running to me from the bus, they can run to me from the house. And see me in the halls during the day. 

It will be nice. After I am over the adjusting. 

January 27, 2016

Saying goodbye to the van

Unlike my sheets, this goodbye was very happy.We got our Suburban in November and have had it up for sale off and on since. Around the holidays though, people only buy vehicles if theirs actually stops dead and combusts. So finally getting it sold is a happy thing. 

But it was a good little van. Driving us 80,000 miles and across the country three times. 

So in honor of the van, here are some roads it has driven us safely and comfortably over.

Western New York

Chicago in the evening

I believe this is Utah.

A potty break in Utah

Singing Happy Birthday to... Lincoln? at a pull out in Nevada.


Green Wyoming

Hamilton, Colorado




The Belagio water show, Las Vegas strip

Crawford, Colorado

Western Montana

Palouse of Washington

Eastern Oregon sagebrush

Coming down the mountains into Madras, Oregon

January 25, 2016

Of Flannel Sheets

We had nary a drop of snow this weekend. Sunshine all the way through. Which makes it all the more disgraceful that we didn't get outside and do something in all this winter sunshine. But Justin stayed in Syracuse for the weekend because he had to work Saturday, so I was being my typical overwhelmed self. Plus I stayed up a teensy bit too late Friday night reading a book. Tori made pancakes for breakfast on Saturday, so we weren't total hermits. Pancakes can lure us pretty easily into the cold. And we went to Owen and Ashley's for supper. Two outings in one day. Which is respectable. But the reality is that I did less than anything all day Saturday. 

It was cold too. Below zero in the morning on Sunday.  

We have a mirror with a beveled edge in the living room, which cast little rainbows across the room when the sun hits it in the morning. Elsie and Gilbert love the little rainbows. Elsie likes to poke it and block it and watch it. 

Icicles and cowboy hats

There is a lot of sparkle to our snow. Not that you can see it in the picture, but it is there.

Morning light

Now, the flannel sheets. (I love flannel sheets.) 

For some reason, in the fall of 2007, right after we moved back to New York from Alaska, I really wanted plaid flannel sheets. But the cost of moving meant we had better things to spend our money on than an extra pair of sheets for our bed. Actually, it wasn't even our bed. We had to leave our king mattress in Alaska because it wouldn't fit in the suburban or the two horse trailer the suburban pulled to New York. We brought the two twin beds from our guest room instead. In our apartment in Syracuse, we pushed the two beds together on the floor so we could use our king size sheets and blankets. 

I had Lily at 1 in the morning at the end of September that year. A few hours after birth, I got up, showered, dressed, and did my hair before the doctor came in, so I could more effectively convince him to let me go home that day. Even though I had lovely company in the form of the workers and Dad and Tori and Livie who skipped school to see their new niece, I didn't want to be at the hospital. Orianna had been born in a midwifery, where we were home within 3 and a half hours of giving birth. The idea of hanging out in a hospital all day where they hollered at you (or at least spoke sternly to you) if you nursed your baby to sleep and let it lay beside you on the bed was appalling. I wanted to go home. The doctor pooh poohed that idea and told me I had to stay at least 24 hours. And since 1 AM was not the time to leave the hospital, I couldn't leave until around 10 the next morning.  

By the time we were checked out, I was bone weary from my first ever night (and a half) at the hospital and being woken up every hour for vitals. I was desperate for my own bed. After cousins admired Lily and we picked up Orianna from Clover's, I took my new baby and went into our room to nurse her and let her sleep with me. Just to show those nurses. 

And there were these sheets. 

Because he knew how much I wanted them, Justin had gone to Wal-mart and bought me plaid flannel sheets. They weren't exactly the colors I would have chosen and it was a warm Indian Summer sort of day, but I have never seen better looking sheets. They were the coziest thing to bring our wee baby home to, all snuggled up together in Justin's love and flannel sheets. 

Since Justin was busy running to the hospital and working, Clover, who was a few months pregnant and still battling morning sickness, washed the sheets up and made the bed. A few hours later, after a good nap, Mom knocked on my door and behind her walked Lindsey, who had flown all the way from Alaska to see her new baby niece and Alaska-homesick sister for the weekend.  

There was a lot of family and sisterly love snuggled up in those sheets as well. 

And now, eight cold winters later, these flannel sheets finally gave up the ghost. They had been wearing threadbare in spots and finally, after this last round through the laundry, there was a little tear in the middle. Since they were too threadbare to mend, I put them on the bed for one last time. The little tear had grown into a larger tear and miraculously multiplied into several tears. And now, it is time to throw them out. They are just sheets. And we can now afford to go buy another couple sets of sheets if I want, but... they still mean a lot to me. 

Enough to make me cry as I contemplate throwing them away. 

(Maybe I will just throw the bottom sheet out...) 

January 22, 2016

A week and then some

It is another cold morning with brilliant sunshine, sparkling icicles, and blue skies. The first two days of the week were horribly cold, windy, and snowy, but the last three have made up for it. These are winter days as they should be.

We have been mildly busy, with Justin in Syracuse, several dental appointments, and then watching a friends kids for a few days because their normal sitter has the flu or something.

These are the pictures of our week. Such as they are.

These primroses were 2/$4 at the grocery store and I couldn't resist them. They have an inordinate amount of cheerfulness for just $4. 


And crocuses popping up on the windowsill.

We had quite a bit of snow on Monday, but since the temperature was around five degrees during the day, the snow never really settled, as it does when it is wetter. On Tuesday, I followed this milk truck into town. The snow was all over the place, blowing in the wind and getting kicked up by the truck. 

The kids love our hygienist, Lauren. Lauren is pretty great.

Elsie had her own appointment on Wednesday, which was her first ever time in the dentist chair. She was enormously pleased with herself. 

Mom took us out to eat at a restaurant in Massena. They give the kids dough to play with while they wait, which the kids were delighted with. 

Elsie of a morning. Snuggled up playing animals. 

Sunshine makes everything better. Even messes. 

And now, I will put up a lot of pictures from my phone. This was mid December, planting bulbs with Hoyt and Elsie. It was a balmy 60. 

Tutu, cowgirl bookts, and dirt

Elsie having a Marilyn Monroe moment

Hoyt as a cool dude. 

Ashley painting Elsie into a witch.

Gilbert was a vampire

The witch

Orianna was a snow princess or something

I took a walk one morning when it was snowing. Perfectly lovely. But sticky. 

Organizing books for my new blog. I adore organizing and planning, so I may have gone a tiny bit overboard. 

Lily with the new magnetic blocks Gilbert got for Christmas

When Lily and I went to Burlington Goodwill, we got a large bag of playmobil for $8. There are a lot of fun things, but I particularly love this medieval table.

Tori and Abilene walking at the school one night. 

This girl is such a happy camper!

She loves sticking her tongue out.

One morning, snuggled up in bed after we got the kids on the bus. Elsie had to read her little bible after I was done with the light. 

These are the moments that make motherhood all worthwhile. 

Hoyt playing piano. 

Gilbert took my phone one evening. I should really have the flash on. 


Abilene and me

And the kidlets.