Saturday, December 11, 2010

Holiday Baking

I had already planned on getting all my Christmas goodies together this weekend--peppermint bark, Russian tea cakes, sugar cookies, and fudge--when I came out of the store this afternoon to find that it is snowing again. All the old stuff just finally melted, enough that we could see all the leaves that didn't get raked up before the Thanksgiving snows.

With the snow outside, the "Swinging Christmas" station on Pandora belting out Burl Ives, Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, and a whole lot of baking ahead of me, I foresee a cozy Saturday afternoon.

The obligatory chicken update: It was just sprinkling rain when I went off to the store. I came out to snow, drove home and went straight out to see what the chickens were doing, as they had been out roaming. They were hiding on the side of the house, coated with snow, and seemingly unable to figure out how to get home. I had to herd them in but now they are much happier.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Technology Conquered

In other words, I figured out that the camera is fine, it just doesn't upload pictures if that little cord thingy isn't plugged in.

Here are the pictures that should have gone with the previous few posts:

Samuel took it upon himself to shovel out some grass area for our stir-crazy chickens last week. They loved it and we loved it when he made a winding path that they were forced to follow--chickens don't like walking on snow.

Self-portrait by Grace.

Inspired by a character in "Little Women," which I am reading to the kids, Samuel thought he'd try out "Ivanhoe." I think the combination of itty-bitty print and archaic language forced him to abandon the book soon after this picture was taken.

Out and about, finally.

Our chickens haven't yet got the word that they aren't supposed to be laying much during the winter. We're still pulling in between two and four eggs a day.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Another Mothering First

I got my first phone call from a kid at school--Samuel looking for his extra credit math homework. I remember how nice it was to always know that I could call home anytime from school and my mom would answer the phone. To reach out from a place of loud voices, bustling bodies, tests and lockers, and find my mom's voice on the other end of the line provided a much needed link to home and comfort.

From the Mouths of Babes

On the way to Homelink this morning:

"You know what really bugs me about (friend's name)? He always finds something to complain about."

"Like what, Samuel?" I ask (curious because complaining about one's horrid lot in life seems to be a cornerstone of all the 11-year olds around me.)

"Well, when I was at his house yesterday I said something like, 'Wow, this football game looks really good on your t.v.!' And all he could do was say, 'It's okay, but it's blotchy in spots.' I mean, he has a brand new 55" wide screen t.v.! How can he find a problem with it already?"

This is a constant source of anguish for Samuel, since he would really, really like it if we bought a huge flat-screen t.v., too. We've spent a lot of time talking about where our money goes, needs vs. wants, etc. He knows that we are choosing to spend money on a quarter of beef instead of a replacement for a t.v. that, although small and deep, still works.

"You could just ignore it when he complains, you know. All of us find things to complain about but that doesn't need to mean that you can't be his friend. You complain a lot but we still love you."

"Well, next time he complains about his t.v., I'm going to say, 'Yeah, it really sucks that your t.v. isn't all it's cracked up to be. The kid in Indonesia standing on a street corner selling toilet paper with nowhere to sleep would really be sympathetic.'"

This opened up a nice discussion of what really makes us happy: things, or experiences and people. Of course I was the only one discussing it as we rounded the corner into the parking lot. I know he's parroting some of our over-the-top arguments which I had always assumed fell on deaf ears, but it was gratifying to hear that he could see the irony in the situation of his friend not appreciating that which he has so longed for.

Maybe it was the nice cup of hot tea he had for breakfast? I'll start all his days with it...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Miscellanea, or What Happens When You Procrastinate on Posting

What happens? I have a backlog of pictures (and an ailing camera, so no pictures yet) and stories and now I can't remember everything I wanted to share this past week.

It's been a good one, though:

the snow is slowly melting (although as I write big flakes are coming down);

the gigantic icicles on our eaves crashed to the ground last night (killing off half a rhododendren and waking me up all night long);

Dave repaired the coop ramp;

the chickens are still laying like crazy;

the Christmas tree is up;

lessons are being learned, poetry and stories written, plans made for gift-giving;

knitting is not going as quickly as I would like... though Grace is doing well on her dishcloth-sampler-sort of thing;

two, yes two Bing Crosby movies have been watched by the girls in the Arnold family in as many days;

much football is being consumed by the Arnold boys + one girl;

and a brilliant hike happened this morning at the state trooper land--crunchy snow barely touched by foot traffic, the scent of sagebrush lightly on the air, an incongruous sensation in this desert country.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Catalog Living

I'm driving my family crazy this morning, laughing my head off at the entries on this website.