Monday, January 22, 2018

Thrift Is Ever My Watchword

On Saturday, the boys made snowmen. It was all very classic and wholesome, and of course, required carrots for the snowmen's noses.

Though I think Jack was quite right to ask why snowmen have carrot noses. Why not a stick? I do not know why a carrot is the only acceptable nose for a snowman, but it definitely is. So I provided three carrots for snowman noses.

But not without some inner complaining, because that's just a waste of carrots. They freeze, obviously, when shoved into a snowball, and what good is a frozen carrot?

It's not as if we were going to starve without those three carrots, though, so I handed them over with nary a word, in support of wholesome childhood activities.

Then, this morning, as I was throwing various things into the large stockpot to make lamb broth for A. (he drinks it throughout the day as a hot beverage alternative to tea or coffee), I remembered the snowmen and their noses. So instead of getting a carrot from the refrigerator, I went outside and retrieved one from the snowdrift where it landed after its snowman host was demolished*.

Frozen carrots are fine for broth, and this small thing provided a very satisfying start to the day. The rest of the day may go to hell--particularly since at least half the family has again succumbed to a cold, including me and Cubby, who is staying home from school--but at least it started with a small and satisfying triumph.

We take our victories where we can get them.

* Of course it was demolished. Wrecking the snowman is almost as much fun as making it. If you're my sons, that is.

Friday, January 19, 2018


If I can get Poppy to sleep just as Jack goes down for his nap on a day when there's leftover soup* in the refrigerator and I have a good book to read?

Welcome to my happy place.

Incidentally, I'm about 200 pages in to that book, and I recommend it. There's a lot of information in it, and a lot to think about, but it's not particularly challenging to actually read. This makes it perfect to combat the motherhood brain atrophy that comes with a new baby. It's a thing, as you may remember.

Happy Friday, my lovelies. I hope you get to visit your happy place, too.

* Made, pleasingly, in part with some of the radish greens I diligently blanched and froze in the summer. So satisfying.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

At Least the Floor Is Mopped

I woke up this morning (after waking up again and again at night--thanks so much, Poppy) feeling it was going to be one of those days that will feel useless. Or rather, one of those days when I feel useless.

And so, as a reminder to myself that I still do things even on days when I feel like I can't do anything, on this useless-feeling day, I have done the following:

Packed lunch for Cubby and Charlie.

Fed everyone breakfast.

Washed Poppy's diapers.

Washed and put back on the sheets from Cubby's and Charlie's beds.

Went outside with Jack, even though it was ten degrees, and swept the new snow off the front steps and the Honda.

Fed Jack lunch.

Vacuumed upstairs.

Swept and mopped the upstairs floors.

Kept a baby alive and relatively happy, which requires things like nursing, changing diapers, shaking rattly things, etc.

I also read some books to Jack and even built a Lego thing for him, which is something I usually resolutely avoid.


Aaand, A. just walked in the house and said, "You look sick." I am not sick, but apparently I look that bad. Swell.

Over and out.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Sleep Deficit Ahoy

You know it's getting bad when you have to literally open your eyes with your fingers in the morning.

Babies are fun.

In other news, it is currently 56 degrees and raining. Freaky. That will change to ice, then 6-10 inches of snow, then below zero temperatures, and all within the next 36 hours. Whee!

Winter is also fun.

We have plenty of milk for coffee though, so we can ride the storm out. If only I could sleep through it like a bear.

Fat chance, Mama Bear. I need my milk, too.

Happy Friday, my lovelies. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

What Love Looks Like

Yesterday, it looked like A. stopping, unasked, in the middle of his 250-mile drive home from Blackrock to get me lettuce at the incredible produce store that I love but never get to go to. And remembering to get both the red leaf lettuce AND iceberg*, because then when the red leaf lettuce is gone, the iceberg will still be good for awhile.

This is the sort of thing one appreciates when living 25 miles from the nearest source of fresh greens in the winter.

He also got a bag of some sort of new New York State apple variety that claims to be always crisp, because I constantly bitch about the mealy apples I end up with from the store.

Grand gestures of affection are nice, but little acts of consideration are even more important.

* Usually I get romaine, but with the reports of e. coli lately that might or might not be from romaine lettuce, I've been opting out. And A. remembered that, too.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Downside to a Thaw

The January thaw has commenced. It got above freezing yesterday for the first time in many, many weeks. Hooray!

Except . . .

I noticed a spot on the bedroom ceiling last night that looked suspiciously like a leak. I pointed it out to A.. He agreed that it hadn't been there before, then walked out of the bedroom and got dripped on by another leak in the living room. Further scrutiny revealed several places where water was coming through the ceiling.

Part of the ceiling upstairs is paneled. That was where the drips were coming down. In the places where the drywall was getting wet, there was just a wet spot.

A. went up into the attic and found that the entire underside of the roof was covered in ice, which was now melting.


I notified our landlady, though there doesn't seem much to be done about it. The dripping has mostly stopped, so she just asked that we let her know if it gets any worse.

The upside is that this is not our house, so any water damage is not our problem. Yay for renting.

Another upside is that our furnace is still working.

Plus, our plow guy showed up with his front-end loader to clear the enormous snow drifts from our driveway, thus ensuring Jack's entertainment for the morning.

Better than TV.

You know you live in a place with Serious Winter Weather when your plow guy uses earth-moving equipment to clear snow.

This means we'll have a(nother) giant mountain of snow waiting for Cubby and Charlie when they get home from school. Let the good times roll.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Because Everything's Relative

Cubby and Charlie spent some time this morning running around looking out of windows at the spectacular drifts of snow and whining about not being allowed outside.

It was 15 below zero with a windchill of 40 below zero. No, children, you may not go outside. I try to be at least a little bit of a responsible parent, you see.

I did promise them, however, that they could go out when the wind and temperature had moderated a bit.

At noon, when Jack was down for his nap, I looked at the weather station and saw that it was nine below zero with a windchill of 25 below zero.

Seems moderate to me! Out you go, kids!

I sent them to the mailbox to get the mail, which accomplished three things:

1) It got them out of the house,

2) It saved me from having to go out there to check the mail, and

3) It meant I now have two new DVDs of DuckTales for them to watch later, because the mail included our next Netflix delivery.

I only let them stay out for eight minutes, because of the very real danger of frostbite, but at least they got out to climb 10-foot drifts for a little while. I'm pretty sure those drifts won't be melting anytime soon, which means lots more outdoor fun in the future. When the weather is bit less life-threatening, that is.

Cubby came in grinning and exclaiming, "That was GREAT! This is the best day of my life!" And Charlie, not to be outdone, proclaimed that it felt as warm as summer outside.

Sure. Crazy kids.

Friday, January 5, 2018

This Moment by the Numbers

Current outdoor temperature: 11 degrees below zero

Current windspeed: 19 miles an hour

Current windchill: 35 degrees below zero

Current indoor temperature: 67 degrees above zero, because of . . .

Current working furnaces: 1--HOORAY!

Current children home from school: 2

Current household members sleeping: 3 (Jack, Poppy, and A., who is sick)

Current cups of hot cocoa being consumed: 3

Current number of marshmallows in the cups: 6

Current number of dogs in hibernation mode: 1

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

An Update, a Photo, and a Confession

Update: The furnace is currently working. Hooray! But not because the repair guy (who didn't show up until 7 p.m. yesterday) found anything really wrong with it. There was a little ice in the intake pipe and he pointed out a dirty air filter that we can change. Other than that, and filling the tank to create more pressure, there was nothing for him to do. It started working when the temperature got above zero. So we have to just cross our fingers that those small things will be enough and it won't stop working again when it gets to 25 below zero this Friday.

Also, no one else has gotten the stomach bug yet, so we are currently--and mercifully--vomit free. I'll give the credit to the pork.

And now, a photo:

Three boys, two shirtless, and all practicing karate in the living room? Welcome to my life.

That was taken during the Christmas Break That Will Live In Infamy. I had the brilliant idea of finding a karate lesson for kids on YouTube in a desperate attempt at distraction. It worked for a few minutes, before Charlie declared it was boring and he wanted one with more action. Meaning I think he wanted to watch more Bruce Lee. Hence the lack of shirt. I believe when this photo was taken, they were learning to block. Cubby was really into it. Too bad there are no martial arts classes around here.

And finally, a confession: We were running very low on milk yesterday. A. was planning on going to the village to pick up his mail and get some milk, but then it started to snow quite heavily and unexpectedly. He didn't want to drive if he didn't have to, so he didn't go. I took stock of the amount of milk left (about a pint), calculated how much I would need for my coffee in the morning . . . and gave the kids water with their dinner. 

Yes, I totally hoarded milk from my children. Their bone development isn't going to suffer because of one afternoon without calcium. Without milk, there can be no cafe au lait. And without Mommy's cafe au lait, there is no joy in the world. 

The end.

Monday, January 1, 2018

New Year, Strike the Happy

Short version: Our furnace stopped working consistently yesterday, and it got to 15 degrees below zero last night.

Thankfully, there's a propane stove downstairs that will actually heat the whole house to relatively comfortable temperatures, but it was colder upstairs than downstairs, so A. and I slept on the fold-out bed in the downstairs room where the fire is. We put Poppy's bassinet right next to the fire. The other kids all sleep downstairs and we left their doors open so they could get enough heat.

This all would have been fine and dandy (sort of), except for the fact that Poppy was crying and fussy and keeping everyone awake. Also, she kept throwing up. She spits up quite a bit anyway, but this was straight-up throwing up everything she was eating. She was obviously sick.

Jack had been complaining all evening of a tummy ache, so I was expecting something dire in the near future.

Sure enough, Jack woke up at 11:15 p.m. while I was trying to comfort a crying Poppy and promptly threw up in his bed. A. changed his sheets and pajamas and put him back to bed. I gave up on being in the warm room downstairs and brought Poppy upstairs* to stay in the bed with me in the hopes that everyone else might be able to sleep.

It was a New Year's Eve that will live on in our memories, to say the least.

A service guy is coming out today to look at the furnace, and we're crossing our fingers that he can actually fix it.

After some Internet research, A. is afraid the problem is simply that propane doesn't work properly in the temperatures we've been getting. He's getting his kerosene heater in working order as a back-up heat source, because it's supposed to get to 27 degrees below zero on Friday.

Now we'll just hope that our New Year's Day pork, greens, and black-eyed peas bring us our health, wealth, and happiness sooner rather than later. In the form of a working furnace and no more vomiting children.

Happy New Year, my lovelies. Cross your fingers for us.

* It was 62 degrees upstairs, so it's not as if it was life-threatening up there. It's just that she had to be next to me in the bed to be warm enough to sleep, which means I don't really sleep. But at least five of the six people in the house were sleeping.