Wednesday, February 27, 2008

You May Call Me Tsarina

I've been playing around quite a bit with during these last several weeks of illness/bad weather. I've made much more progress on my family tree and somewhat less progress on Jim's.

One of the most fascinating things I've learned is that Jim's mother and my mother are distantly related! Weird. They are each descendants from different branches of the New England Pierce family. I knew from some of my past research that our moms had ancestors from the same general area, but I confirmed the actual connection this week. They're probably second cousins nine times removed or something like that. I wonder how common an occurrence that is?

The other fun thing I've done is run the "famous relatives" finder. Now, you have to take these relationships with a big grain of salt until they are proven accurate. For example, I know that I'm related to Isaac Eaton, a Mayflower pilgrim, because my mother's cousin has proven the connection to the Mayflower Society. So I'm confident that the Plymouth ancestors are accurate. I'm also fairly certain, based on my research, that my father's connection to the Scottish Earl of Redcastle is accurate.

The finder program gives you both direct and indirect relatives. It does permit you to review the lineage to make sure it's at least facially accurate. I ruled out several connections just based on the fact that birth and death dates made the connection impossible. The other ones are interesting, but too distant for me to bother researching. You might find them amusing, though, so here they are!

Direct Ancestors Through My Father:

Several Scottish peers including the Earl of Redcastle
Tsar Peter Alekseyevich
Catherine the Great

(don't let these go to your head, Dad!)

Direct Ancestors Through My Mother:

Mayflower Pilgrims, including Isaac Eaton and Thomas Billington (first man hanged for a crime in the Plymouth Colony)
Sir Walter Raleigh

Jim's Direct Descendants Through His Mother:

Sir Thomas More

Sadly, I don't have enough information yet about Jim's father's ancestors to find anyone famous in that line.

Much more amusing, however, are the indirect ancestors that they find for you. I've organized them by category here:


Louisa May Alcott, T.S. Eliot, Alfred Tennyson, E.E. Cummings (all through Jim's mother)

Robert Louis Stevenson, D.H. Lawrence, John Milton, Nathaniel Hawthorne (all through my mother)

John Steinbeck, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Henry David Thoreau (ancestors in common)

Presidents and First Ladies:

James Garfield, Gerald Ford (Jim's mother)

William Taft, Benjamin Harrison, Chester Arthur, Franklin Pierce (my mother)

Ellen Wilson, Mamie Eisenhower (Jim's mother)

Grace Coolidge, Elizabeth Monroe (my mother)

In common: Jane Pierce

Entertainment Industry

Lucille Ball and her children, Walt Disney (Jim's mother)

Bob Hope and Bette Davis (my mother)


Samuel Morse, Humphrey Davy, Eli Whitney (Jim's mother)

Wernher von Braun (my mother)

Robert Goddard (in common)


Tom Ketchum (Jim's mother)

Wild Bill Hickock and Ned Kelly (my mother)

Gun Manufacturers

Daniel Wesson (Jim's mother)

William and Oliver Winchester (my mother)

I guess you can thank our two families for almost single handedly supplying weapons to America.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Lily's Branching Out Scarf and Other Projects

Originally uploaded by lilybug1
So I've been on Ravelry for several days and it's motivated me to get a few projects done. One of my projects is the Branching Our Scarf from I've actually been working on this scarf since before Christmas.

It started when I joined the December Gift Exchange (DGE) on my parenting board. Basically, each person who signed up was given a random person to buy for. The person who bought for you was not the person that you were buying for, so it was like a Secret Santa program in that respect. DGE pal Renee sent me some beautiful moss green yarn along with the other presents in my package. I hadn't worked on a knitting project in a while, so I hunted around and found the Branching Out pattern. It was billed as a relatively easy lace project that would work with pretty much any yarn.

I took the project to California with me and started working on it. At first, I couldn't get past the first three rows of the lace pattern. No matter how carefully I worked, I always ended up short of stitches. It didn't help that the yarn was so fluffy that it obscured the pattern. I ended up throwing in the towel after working two or three repeats of the pattern and ripping them back about eight times.

Fast forward to January. I'm back home from our Christmas trip and I figure my problem with the scarf pattern was that the yarn was not ideal for lace work. I pick up a skein of inexpensive yarn with a little less fluff at Michaels and start the scarf over. Surprise! I end up having the same problem following the pattern.

I'm nothing if not tenacious, so I recast the moss yarn and give it another go. Nope. Still can't seem to follow that pattern. I tried it with some worsted weight wool. Nope, still can't do it. I tried some multicolored chenille yarn. Nope. I tried solid chenille yarn. Nope, still can't get through an entire repeat without ripping back.

I put the project away for a while and then bought some cheap ecru cotton yarn from WalMart. On the way home, I checked out a new yarn store and bought some gorgeous alpaca lace weight yarn. I figure one of these yarns is going to do the trick.

Sadly, my gorgeous alpaca yarn required much smaller needles and I quickly saw that working in a smaller stitch was just exacerbating my problems with the pattern. I put the alpaca aside for another project and pulled out the cheap cotton yarn.

I wish I could tell you that I was magically able to follow the pattern, but I still had problems. The cotton was much easier to work with in that I could see the pattern clearly and it was easy to rip back a few rounds to correct whatever problem was going on. I started with the cotton on Sunday and finished it up today. That being said, I still had to rip back at least three rows every repeat of the pattern! I decided that the finished project was going to Lily, because it was a perfect excuse to make a much shorter scarf than originally planned. Lily loves the lacy look and was pleased to have the scarf.

Because I'm a masochist, I decided to go ahead and cast on my next project, which is a lace patterned cardigan for Lily. I'm working this project in a much nicer quality mercerized cotton and on much smaller needles. The pattern is another that I got form Knitty. Unlike the scarf pattern, however, which had both written instructions and a chart for the lace pattern, the sweater pattern only has the charts. I'd avoided using the chart for the scarf because it looked too complicated to me and I'd never worked from a chart before. In fact, I may have even said "I'm not using that newfangled looking thing." I might have even said that out loud.

Unfortunately, I'd already shown Lily the cardigan pattern and the yarn, so I couldn't turn back from that project. I bit the bullet and sat down to figure out the chart. Guess what? Knitting from the chart is a breeze and I haven't had any problems with dropped stitches of pattern mistakes so far! It's so much easier to work from the chart. That'll teach me to fear trying something new when it comes to knitting.

Lily loves her new scarf and posed for a picture so that I could post it here and on Ravelry. After a few months go by, I might try knitting another of these scarves from the chart. It really is a quick project...or would be without all the frogging.

So there you have it.

In Which Jack Vomits Repeatedly

Just when I thought we were past the months of sickness, Jack got my stomach flu yesterday. I felt so bad for him because my own bout with the flu is still fresh in my mind. He would be fine for a bit, and then he would start writhing on the couch and saying "" until he threw up. It was awful. Fortunately, Lily was at school all day yesterday, so I just wrapped Jack up in a blanket and sat with him on the couch with a Tupperware container at the ready.

Somewhere around 11 am, he finally fell asleep and got his first real break from vomiting. Shortly after noon, he woke up, said "I hungry!" and got off the couch to run into the kitchen. He came back with a packet of instant oatmeal, an instant noodles and meatball meal that Jim bought for some reason, and a can of Chicken and Stars soup. He laid them on the hassock in front of me and said "I hungry now, Mama!"

I decided to err on the side of caution and gave him ice water and two saltines to eat. He wolfed down the crackers within seconds and said "More. I hungry." He ultimately ate about 15 saltines and drank two cups of water. Then he went into the kitchen and said "I eat jam bread," so I made him a jam sandwich. Then he asked for a bowl of cereal, so I gave him some mini wheats. Even that wasn't enough for him, because he continued to repeat "I hungry, Mama!" for the rest of the afternoon. I would have given him more food, but I was already nervous about the amount he'd just eaten.

His ravenous hunger continued through dinner when he ate all of his meal and some of Lily's. This is my child who barely eats anything, ever. I've never seen him put away so much food in a single day.

He slept pretty well last night, and when he woke up this morning, his appetite was back to normal, which means he ate a small breakfast, a few bites of his lunch and no dinner at all. Based on his usual level of food consumption, he probably ate enough yesterday to last him a month!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A Busy Weekend For Us

Wow. We've been really busy! And it's been fun.

On Thursday, Jack and I dropped Lily off at school and then headed over to the butcher shop. I've probably mentioned that one of our money saving life changes was to purchase meat and fish directly from the butcher and fish market. The prices are slightly less and the product is so much fresher. Anyway, I go to both about once a week, and Jack always comes with me. On the way, Jack kept talking about the Book Man and getting frustrated because I couldn't understand him. When we got out of the car at the butcher shop, Jack pointed to the store and said "Book Man give a lolly?" Ah HA! Book Man equals Butcher Man! Jack always gets a candy or lolly from the butcher, so it's an event he clearly looks forward to. In fact, as soon as we walked in and I ordered, Jack grabbed my hand and said "Where my lolly?" One track mind.

After picking up some stew beef and ground pork for Jim's awesome chili, we went to check out the yarn sale at Michaels. I got some good deals on worsted weight wool, which I plan on using to make Jim a hat and mittens. I also picked up the yarn I'm going to use for Lily's pink cotton sweater, which will be my next project after I finish crocheting my blue sweater (I have a sleeve and a half left).

Once we got home, Jack played and I spent some time updating my Ravelry account. I love Ravelry! I put up photos of my works in progress and my yarn stash, and joined some discussion groups. I was thrilled to find out that there is a Monday Night Knitting group that meets a few minutes away from my house in Saugus. I'm probably going to head over there tomorrow night to (hopefully) make some new crafty friends.

I also got online and taught myself the continental style of knitting. I'm working on a felted bag that Jill (my sister-in-law) developed, which is all knitting since it is worked in the round on a circular needle. I've been practicing with that project.

Thursday night was my monthly scrapbooking crop. I didn't get much done, but really enjoyed hanging out with my girlfriends and gossiping about the goings on in Melrose. I hadn't seen my friend Kelly since before Christmas, so we had a lot of catching up to do. Apparently, one of the men working on the house next door to us walked outside, looked at Kelly standing in her driveway and then PEED right in front of her. Good to know, since the kids play outside when the weather is warm enough. I would prefer to keep them away from crazy construction workers who expose themselves. Yuck.

Friday morning, the snow started coming down pretty fast. We ended up getting at least 9 inches by the time it ended. Jim's office closed at 2pm so that the workers could get home before rush hour when the snow was predicted to be at its worst. We spent Friday hanging out and playing together as a family while it blew snow outside. It was a lot of fun!

Saturday, the kids played outside in the snow. I worked on some stuff around the house and made good progress on my blue sweater project. In the afternoon, we all went to the North Shore Mall and picked up some baby gifts for our friends John and Wendy. The kids each had some fresh fruit salad and a croissant for early dinner and then we headed home. Jim had to go to his annual fraternity banquet that evening. He ended up staying out until 3 am catching up with his friends from college.

Jack had a bad dream on Saturday night and was able to tell me about it. I heard him calling "Mama! Papa!" over and over, so I went upstairs. When I asked him what was wrong, he said "Fiahfucks! Fiahfucks!" (his way of saying fire trucks). I asked where they were and he said "Fiahfucks outside my winnow! They outside my winnow." Needless to say, there were no frie trucks outside his window or anywhere near our house, so he must have been dreaming. He fell asleep pretty fast after I rocked him and calmed him down.

Lily and I had a little Girls' Night after Jack got to sleep. We talked about the sweater I am planning to make for her, about kindergarten and some other things that Lily was worried about. The parents of her close friends just got separated and are living apart. Lily is very worried that Jim and I will stop loving each other or move into separate houses. I assured her that was not the case. If Lily is this concerned, I can;t even imagine how confused and scared her friends are! Lily and I drew some mermaids together and then she went right off to sleep. I spent a quiet evening working on my knitting projects and watching movies.

Today I went to my new hair stylist for the first time. She is the mother of one of the little girls in Lily's ballet class. Her hair always looks very cool and her salon is not as expensive as my current place, so I asked for her business card. I basically told her to do whatever she wanted with my hair and I absolutely love it. The color is gorgeous and the cut is exactly what I wanted -- and I didn't even discuss it with her. Not only that, but she got my hair done much faster than my other stylist so I had a little "me" time walking around the North Shore Mall, where the salon is located. I ended up picking up some clothes that were on sale at Gymboree. Lily apparently went almost directly from a 3T to a 5, barely pausing to wear size 4. All of her shirt sleeves are suddenly too short. Sadly, she has inherited my mother's and my monkey arms. She was also in dire need of new pajamas, which were also on sale.

We spent the rest of the day at home, playing with the kids. Lily is really into making up puzzle games right now. She draws a picture and hides either letters or numbers in the drawing, and then we have to circle the hidden characters. She's pretty creative in making them a part of her drawing. She also drew a picture of herself eating a purple plum, and wrote "POML," which she explained was the word "plum." We were very pleased that she basically got all of the sounds and we helped her figure out how to put the letters in the right order. Then she figured out hello by spelling "HLLO." She is getting very good at writing and spelling by herself. My favorite message was "Mama is the beast of all Lily," written when she was mad at me. The actual message read "MAMA BST OL LILY." I was very proud of her work even though she thinks I am the beast of all. Unfortunately, she also used her new spelling and writing skills to write all of our names in black grease pencil on the cloth seats of our dining room chairs. She wanted us to know where we were supposed to sit. She wrote Jack's name on his plastic high chair tray, so only three chair seats are ruined. Since I'm planning to paint the dining room anyway, I'll just add picking up some cloth to recover the seats to my to do list.

Jim and Lily are drawing up some plans for a garden. Her other new interest is drawing plans for houses, aircraft, playgrounds and other places. She draws pictures to explain how these things will be used. Maybe she'll become an architect?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Jack's Birthday Pictures

I already described the party in an earlier post, but here are a few pictures of Jack's second birthday:


The birthday boy under his Thomas birthday banner.


Jack's "2" balloon and his Thomas balloon, with a few of his presents.


Lily and Emma in front of the Pin the Number on Thomas game.


Jack blowing out the candles on his Thomas cake.


The birthday boy eating some cake.

Here's a bonus picture of Lily getting her first hair cut at Snippets!


Doesn't she look like she's enjoying herself? She was actually very well behaved during the cut, but she was uncomfortable trying to tilt her head in the proper positions.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

As Promised, A Gallery of Lily's Drawings


This is a drawing of Jim and I (top two figures), Lily (middle figure), and Jack and his "crew" (bottom three figures). Jack and his crew have on hats with antennae because they want to look like Lily (who has ponytails that look like anntenae). Everyone in the picture is singing!


Detail shot of Jack and his crew. Jack is the one with blue hair.


This is a castle. Notice the curtains in the window and the beautiful flowers in the yard!


This is a family portrait. The first figure is me and the next figure is Lily. We both have pony tail hair (this is how Lily is currently drawing all girls). Jim is the tall purple figure and Jack is the short figure next to him. Note how the girls are wearing dresses (triangles) and the boys have rectangle bodies. Also note that the boys have a helmet-like hairstyle. The sun is shining and there are cheerful orange clouds in the sky and green grass at the bottom.


This is a snowman and a Christmas tree. They are both alive and can walk around!


This is a beautiful flower garden. Jim helped to draw the two flowers on the left, but the rest were drawn by Lily.


This is a picture of Lily walking Oskar on a leash, Granddaddy, Jim, me and Jack and his crew. We are all singing. Jim and Granddaddy have beards (the black mark on their chins).


Detail shot of Jack's crew. They are holding hands.


This is a picture of Lily petting a unicorn. The two triangle shapes on his back are wings.

Once again, I have to say how much I love Lily's creativity in her drawings. Everyone looks so happy and cheerful and she's really starting to use a lot of colors. I'm still puzzled by the concept of Jack's "crew" though! She told me the other day that her favorite thing to do is draw, and that makes me so happy because I loved to draw at her age, too.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Bat Girl

Everyone is finally completely well in our house. Lily is running around with a Disney Princess blanket wrapped around herself, yelling "Bat Girl!" Her "cave" is the chair in the living room. She also periodically says "Eeee eeeee eeee" in what I believe is an attempt to copy a bat noise? She has put two foam heart stickers on her face, one on each cheek. I'm not sure if the stickers are general decoration or a part of the whole bat ensemble. Jack tried to talk to her, and she said "I'm not Lily! I'm Bat Lily!" Jack just looked confused. Now he runs up to her and then runs away saying "Ghost! Ghost! Scary!" Interesting how they are both playing together, but they are playing completely different games.

In between his attempts to play with Bat Lily/Ghost Lily, Jack is playing his favorite game, which is to bring me a small container and tell me it's coffee, which I must then pretend to sip while he says "Hot! Hot!" Occasionally he varies the game by accidentally "spilling" the coffee on me and saying "Oh NO! Messy! I spill!"

I'm just sitting here enjoying the show. My happiest time of the day is when both kids are playing together (or next to each other) with no fighting.

The game has taken a turn. Jack was running and shrieking "Eeee eeee eeee" and Lily called him a "Big fat bat head." Jack then went over to the window and said "Making coffee" while pretending to pour something into an empty container. Do you think Jack will end up working as a waitress? He's all about serving coffee.

Uh oh. Jack just ran over to Lily and threw Mr. Potato Head (a.k.a. Tato, according to Jack) at her. Now Lily says "Mama, something's wrong with the bat. EEEeee eeee, Hide!" When I asked her what was going on, she said "I saw a bad critter coming to destroy the house! Get out of the house! A big monster is coming to destroy the house. Come into my bat cave! You'll be safe in there!" Jack ran over and said "Eeee eee, Hide!" and "Bak Cave!" Now he is running and saying "Oooooh, Bat! Bat!" They're finally playing the same game. Lily just let him try on her bat cape/blanket, telling him "It's neato!"

Jack is dragging the blanket and saying "Oooh, oooh, Monsters! Monsters!" After a couple of passes by me, he got tired of dragging the giant blanket, and now he's just running around yelling about monsters without the "bat cape." Lily told him to get out of her house, so apparently they aren't playing together any more.

Now Lily is showing me how she "cleans" the window by pulling on the window cord to get water for washing and also to dry the window. Jack went over to see if he could get in on the action, but Lily threw his paper airplane to draw him away. Oh, now I see. Pulling the cord makes a towel come out for the drying process. After a few minutes, Lily proudly announced to me, "All clean!" and Jack the parrot said "All clean! All clean!" Now Lily is showing him how to clean the window. He paid very careful attention, but then he turned and ran around pretending to be an airplane until he fell on the floor. Lily said "I'll do your job for you." When he heard that, he came back over to the window. Lily said "Your job is all done!" Jack made a few swipes at the window and said "All done. Thank you!"

Now she's showing him how to do it again. Apparently, on Jack's side of the window, you rub a lego block on the window for soap and then squirt the window with a different block. Then "Your work's all done!" she says. Jack copies every move and says "I clean up. Clean up. All done!"

Now if only I could get them to play this game with real cloths and water, I would have one less household chore to take care of.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Greetings from Sick World!

Now we have flu in the house. Who knew that even if one gets herself vaccinated and vaccinates both of her children, she can still get the flu? I admit, I knew on some level that the vaccine didn't cover every strain of flu, but I figured the odds were slim to none of catching something. We think I caught it from the neighbor's boy, who was actually taken to the ER for his because it caused a terrible asthma attack. Anyway, between that and the lingering Cold of Doom that keeps going around our house, there hasn't been much motivation for me to blog lately. I'm just praying that neither of the kids comes down with it, because there was much vomiting involved and I really don't want to go through that again, even as a bystander.

In other news, I have a few new interests that I want to share. First, I'm really excited about joining, which is a forum for people who love to knit and crochet. I'm still on the waiting list for my invite, but I should be on-line there some time next week. I've found several projects to put in my queue and I'm currently working on two knitting projects and a crochet project. A bunch of the cool ladies from my parenting forum are already on line and we've been talking about and trading projects already, so I think belonging to a forum dedicated to needle arts will be fun! I bid on a set of 15 pairs of bamboo knitting needles (0-17) in anticipation and won the auction for $14.97 (including shipping). All of my old needles were destroyed in the Great Flood of Our Basement in 2006. So I encourage everyone who knits to join and friend me once you get on (or e-mail me to let me know if you're already a member). C'mon, it's fun!

My other interest right now is decluttering. My mom found a great blog where a woman is trying to get rid of 365 things in a year by donating, selling, free-cycling or throwing them away. I think it would be fun to document my own attempt to declutter, so I may start posting about that once a week. It will be a motivation to get rid of all our extra junk. I'm proud enough that I emptied and organized (1) our nightmare of an office; (2) the guestroom closet; and (3) Lily's two bedroom closets. This is the first time all of the closets on the first floor are neat enough that I wouldn't mind a stranger walking in and opening them. Even better, when I need to lay my hands on something, I can quickly find it in one of my anal-retentively labeled IKEA storage boxes! It gives me an overwhelming sense of omnipotence, I have to tell you.

My third interest is collecting Adams Calyx ware in the Regent pattern. You can see several examples of it here. The pattern was my great grandmother's, and she gave my mother all of her china. Since the pattern I chose at 23 when I got married no longer matches my taste, I decided I would add to my mother's collection. After a couple of months of eBay, I have 4 complete place settings (teacup, saucer, bread plate, salad plate and dinner plate). I've found I can get them much cheaper on eBay than on I think I'll save Replacements for those items that are particularly hard to find, like the cream and sugar set and the salt and pepper set. I'm going to ask Jim to buy me the teapot for my next birthday/Mother's Day/Wedding anniversary extravaganza! It's a little dear, so I figure it could count for all three presents.

Anyway, these are my latest obsessions. The crocheting project (a sweater for me) is the only thing keeping me sane as we enter week 8 (or is it 9? 10?) of being bound to the house by sickness and/or bad weather.

Also, I know I keep mentioning all of the terrific pictures I have to show here and upload on my Snapfish account, and then leaving you all hanging. Someday soon I'll gather the fortitude necessary to get them on my computer and uploaded. You know from experience that uploading pictures to my blog can become an epic battle between me and the force of evil that is Blogger. The thought of doing it now just makes me too tired for words. I have a movie to show you, too. I'm really nervous about that one because I've never tried to upload and post a movie before. that you have patiently waded through my personal news, here's what you were all really waiting to read: Two stories by Lily as well as an in-depth interview!!!

The Bird

Once upon a time there was a bird. He flied in the sky, but he was hungry. He saw a berry tree, he went down to it. He liked the berries on that tree. He was so happy he called his friends over. The end.

lily mama (typed by Lily herself. I believe it is meant to show that she made up the story and I typed it for her.)

Lily: I want to tell about a good thing. I want to tell another story.

The Shy Kitten

Once upon a time there was a shy kitten. He would not go near a house. He knew somebody would get him out because that was a house where no one liked kitties. So he went to see his friend, Butterfly. And he helped Butterfly gather nectar for his family. Then he helped him gather the flowers. He went through the flowers and took some flowers for his mom and gave them to her. The end.

lily mama (typed by Lily herself)

Interview with the Author, Lily Deeds

Mama: How did you like having Emma (her neighbor friend) overnight this weekend?

Lily: I liked it.

M: What did you do?

L: I played with her.

M: what did you play?

L: I played makeup.

M: How did you play makeup?

L: We put it on by finger, but we washed it off.

M: What else did you play?

L: I liked playing with her.

M: What time did you go to sleep?

L: I don't know.

M: Did you stay up late?

L: No, we stayed up all night.

M: Were you tired the next day?

L: Yes.... No.

M: Is it yes or no?

L: No.

M: What is your favorite color?

L: Pink.

M: Why?

L: Because I like the color it makes.

M: What is your favorite food?

L: Ice cream and cake! (Makes slurping sound) Lots of sweet stuff is what I like!

M: What is your favorite cartoon show?

L: Whatever you say my favorite cartoon show is... Secret Squirrel and Adam Ant. I like Secret Squirrel, he's secret!

M: What do you think about your brother Jack?

L: I think he is a very odd baby.

M: Why?

L: Because I like how funny he is.

M: What does he do that's funny?

L: He pretends to go to work. He pretends to go to work.

M: What is your favorite book?

L: If you say so, my favorite book is Lily's Plastic Purse.

M: Why is that your favorite?

L: Because she has glasses with a chain like Mr. Slinger, her teacher, and she has shiny coins that are jingly, and when her purse is open it makes music!

M: Are we done with the interview?

L: No! Ask me another question, like "How do you like your cat?"

M: How do you like your cat?

L: I love him because he's a soft friend.

M: How do you like having parties here?

L: Because I do like them here, because there's cake and there's always a balloon to take home.

M: What do you think will be different about you when you're five?

L: Because I'll be five years old and I won't really know. Because I'll be bigger than four.

M: What do you think kindergarten will be like?

L: It will be fun but I haven't got used to it yet, so I'll try it a few more times.

M: What's your favorite thing to do at preschool?

L: Color!

M: What kind of things do you like to color?

L: Paper, but they have lots of drawing inside things.

M: Are we done with the interview?

L: No.

M: What kind of things to you draw on the paper?

L: Lots of fun things, but there's lots of things to color inside of.

M: Who are your friends at school?

L: All of my friends. All of the friends in school are my friends.

M: If you could buy any outfit, what would it be?

L: It would be a pretty dress. A white dress with pretty yellow flowers and a tiara that was purple with pretty little gems on it. If my cat wored [sic] a dress it would be so funny. I would like it if my kitty Oskar would wear a dress. It would look do funny on him!

M: What thing to you hate the most?

L: I hate the most because... because I don't like to go to bed.

M: What food do you hate the most?

L: I hate the most dinner, because it doesn't taste as good as dessert.

M: What color do you hate the most?

L: None.

M: What clothing do you hate the most?

L: None.

What's your favorite number?

L: 4. Because it's me, I am four!

M: What's your favorite letter?

L: Oh, L. It's in my name!

M: Is there anything else about you that you'd like to tell

L: Yeah, I like how pretty my hair is.

M: Is that it?

L: Yeah. Now you can write some of your stuff. You can write a story or something.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Will the Sickness Never End?

Jack and I are still sick. We both have runny noses, croupy coughs and fevers. I have officially been sick since before New Years. Jack, who went for his 2 year well baby appointment on Monday, does not have strep throat or an ear infection, so I guess what we have is some kind of virus. We weren't feeling too hot until today. We're hanging out at home and took a nap pretty early this morning. I think we both seem a lot more energetic this afternoon.

Jack had to go in for a blood draw this morning at Melrose Wakefield Hospital as a part of his well baby check up. I waited until today because (1) neither of us felt well enough to do it on Monday, and (2) I didn't want to bring Lily. Lily told Jack he was going to get a shot that hurts the last time he needed one, and I didn't want to have to deal with whatever she would have said about the blood draw. The draw is a routine test for lead levels, which is required in Massachusetts. He'll need it for his records when he starts Kindercare part time next month.

Lily has had a big week. When my father was here for Jack's birthday, we ate at the Chinese buffet at the Mandarin in Reading. Since it was just after the Chinese New Year, we all got a present of $1 when we entered the restaurant. We all gave Lily our dollar bills (except Jack, who kept his of course). She decided to use them to buy a stuffed animal from Barnes & Noble. She saw several animals she wanted a few weeks ago when we picked up a birthday present for her friend Clare.

She didn't have enough New Years money to buy her animal, so we offered to pay her for doing some chores around the house. She reluctantly cleaned up the living room one night and set the table. Then she pointed out that she had "millions of money" in her piggy bank. We opened it up and I'll be damned if she didn't have $10.00 in change in there. With the dollar her Granddaddy gave her before he left, her New Years money and the piggy bank, Lily had $15.00 in her wallet to spend at Barnes & Noble.

We went over to B & N after ballet class on Wednesday and she looked at the various animals. Initially, she told me she wanted the unicorn she had seen. The unicorn was $7.95. She had also expressed interest in a guinea pig and a reindeer (both $7.95). Once we arrived in the store, she found a white Westie dog that she liked (no tag). Then she found a "soft kitty" that she liked ($7.95). I reminded her that she already has 4 cats, but she basically ignored me. We checked out a different section of the store. There we found large unicors for $14.95 each. She liked the one posed lying down, but was unhappy that it had a purple ribbon on its neck. The one with the pink ribbon was standing up, and she didn't like that pose. Then she found another soft kitty ($7.95) and proposed buying it. Almost as soon as the words left her mouth, she found a white puppy ($7.95) and snatched it up. She immediately told me its name was Sarah and that it wanted to come home with her. We ended up walking back and forth between the two sections a few more times, but Lily ultimately chose Sarah.

At the register, Lily said "How will I know what money to give?" I told her that I would take out the right amount from her wallet. She handed me the wallet when we got to the register. With my member discount, the dog was about $7.50. Lily said "Do we have to give her all of my money?" I assured her she would have some left over, and she said "Good, because I'm going to save to buy one of those soft kitties." I said she would have to do some chores to earn money, and she said "Only if I get to make up the chores. I don't like your chores."

Since I haven't really posted about it, Jack's birthday was a success. He had a Thomas cake and Thomas balloons and the kids played pin the number on Thomas and got Thomas tattoos and Thomas gift bags. Jack had three guests: our neighbors Tyler and Emma and our family friend Connor. Connor, who's about 9 months younger than Jack is just as big as him! Connor and Jack had a great time playing with the Thomas train set and Little People Fire Truck Jack got. Lily played with the older kids, although Tyler (5) also enjoyed the train set quite a bit.

Jack literally screamed with joy when he saw me bringing the balloons in from the car. It is my favorite memory from the day. Also, the expression on his face when he saw that his Thomas cake had a real Thomas train on it that road around on a little track was priceless. Worth every penny.

Jack's presents on the day included:

Thomas Stop and Go Train Set and Play-Doh pack (from Mama and Papa)
Little People Fire Truck (from Connor)
Little People Dump Truck set (from the Coles)
Toy Table Saw (from Tyler and Emma, goes great with his toy drill from Christmas!)
Hard hat and big scoop loader (from Grammy and Granddaddy)
Musical saxophone and Pirate Potato Head (from Grandma and Grandpa)
Fishing Set (from Aunt Marcy, Uncle Jonathan, Claire and Andrew)
Small dump truck and scoop loader (from Lily)
Gerald McBoing Boing book (from Cindy Cole)

I hope I'm not forgetting anything! He has really played with everything, especially the saxophone. He gave us quite a performance the other night, and he expects us to applaud wildly at the end. If we don't, he claps for himself until we do!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Hey, What's Under My Couch?

I had a bumper crop of detritus under the couch this week. More importantly, I have solved the mysterious disappearance of two new sippy cups that Jim purchased last week. Also, I made $1.50 in couch change! Here's this week's list:

Fresh produce flyer from Shaw's supermarket
Christmas pillow
Wooden frog pull toy
3 children's books
2 brand new sippy cups
Tigger doll
1 empty Play-Doh container
Plastic tea pot lid
Inflatable ball from Jack's infant play mat that has been in storage for months
Hair brush
1 of Lily's brown shoes
1 binky
Penguin ruler
Disney music player (broken)
Seal doll
Homemade paper frisbee
Bionicle figure
Plastic bread roll
Yellow plastic ball
Blue crayon
Fimo clay bead necklace (given to Lily for her dress up play)
Small pink koosk ball
Approximately 20 loose pages from Lily's Strawberry Shortcake note pad
1 Sacagawea dollar coin
2 quarters
1 rubber coaster
1 heart shaped pink foam sticker
1 blue marble
1 Hot Wheels car
Pink, light-up spinning top
2 pipe cleaners
Blue string
1 White Pearl eraser
1 Chuck E. Cheese token
1 red magic marker cap

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Sorry for the Radio Silence

...but we've been busy lately! Doing what, I can't tell you. I just know that it seems like we've been running around hither and yon and getting very little accomplished.

Jack is getting excited for his birthday. If you ask him how old he is, he'll either say "one" or "preshents (presents)!" If you ask him what he's getting on his birthday, he'll tell you "preshents." He helped me pick out his birthday cake -- he asked for "TOM-moss (Thomas the Tank Engine)." The cake he chose has a real Thomas train on some tracks as a decoration. If you ask him about it, he'll say "TOM-moss cake!" and get very excited.

Lily is somewhat excited for his birthday, mostly for the cake and party favors, I think. She doesn't like the spotlight to stray too far from herself, so I think there may be some acting out on the actual day. I am going to take her shopping on Friday to choose a gift for Jack. I'm curious to see what she picks out. Probably Polly Pocket or some other gift that she'll enjoy!

Lily has been drawing up a storm lately and has done several wonderful pictures. One of them shows me, Jim, Lily and Jack and two other people the same size as Jack. Lily explained that the other two kids are "Jack's crew." When I asked what a crew was, Lily told me "They are the people that help you out!" She later drew a second picture, and Jack had a crew in that picture, too. In fact, Jack and his crew were wearing hats with antennae on them, according to Lily.

Now, I don't know about you, but I associate the word "crew" to mean a group of men associated with an under boss in the Mafia. That or people working on a pirate ship. Oh yeah, or gang members. But I mostly associate it with the Mafia. I asked Lily where she heard that term and she said "I don't know." I asked why Jack had a crew, and she said cryptically, "He just does." I asked why she didn't have a crew, and she said "I do! My crew is Uni and Snowflake (her unicorns), but you can't see them (they are invisible, as you may remember)."

So I am left to wonder a few things. Is Jack in the Mafia, or do the matching hats signify some kind of gang? When Lily said "he just does," was that code for "if I told you I'd have to kill you"? When did Jack find the time to go out and recruit a crew??? More importantly, will they show up at his birthday and demand gift bags like the other guests?