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Monday, December 22, 2008

We FINALLY made it out of the house today! We went all the way up to Bellevue. (woah). I was able to go to my Christmas book club lunch, and then we went with my parents to see the "drummer boys" of Snowflake Lane at Belle-Square (the big mall).

Now, please note, that in this picture it appears that I'm telling Rudolph off, "Go on. Get outta here. We don't want your kind..." My mom is standing there going, "hmmm, this is awkward. Yeah. Uh." But actually I was trying to tell him/her/it where the camera was located. He/she/it was a little slow on the uptake. Apparently reindeer aren't very bright (well, other than their noses, of course).

We've had over a foot of snow here!

Now check this out: THIS is dedication in snowman building. Please take note of the snow dog...located between the Snow Boy and Snow Girl.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!...Oh the weather outside is frightful…Walking in a Winter Wonderland….I’m dreaming of a white Christmas…these are just a few of the lines that are constantly playing on repeat in my brain these days. We’ve had so many days of snow and cold here. The boys didn’t have one day of school last week because of it. And this isn’t just Seattle cold – this is Little House on the Prairie cold! We went to the park for sledding with our neighbors on Friday in a nonstop snow storm. Linda made the comment that it was a “white out.” And I immediately said, “I remember when that happened to Pa! He was caught out in the blizzard and couldn’t even see his hand held out in front of his face! They had to string a rope from their house to the barn so that he could find his way to feed the live…stock. Um, I just remember that…from Little House on the Prairie. The books. Not the show. I don’t know if they covered that on an episode or not…it’s just...Wow! This snow is something else, huh?!”

The storm is SO something else, in fact, even the weather lady on the news said, “I predict that we’ll need a name for this one!” I think they name any storm front though. Even the not-very impressive ones. But they always come up with a name. And the longer the crazy weather continues here the more dramatic it becomes. Yesterday the report said something to the affect of: “You thought Thursday’s snow was bad? Just wait. It was nothing but a dress rehearsal for what is yet to come.” I’m not even kidding!

While the snow has cramped our social life a little bit, I’m not complaining too much. It’s so pretty, and we’ve been having lots of fun in it. Plus, Christmas break always means movies, board games and card games to me and snow definitely aids those plans. We went to our neighbors’ house for dinner and games last night. We had so much fun just eating, drinking and talking that we didn’t get to the games, so they came here for lunch and games today. I predict that should the weather continue in the next few days, The Great Game-Off of 2008 will be put into effect.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Seattle area currently resembles The Land Before Time – The Deep Freeze. And Cabin Fever is beginning to set in. Before a brief trip to the grocery store yesterday, the boys and I hadn’t left the house in four days. We’ve got The Cold. The nasty Cold. The Cold stays for a couple of weeks and hangs on plaguing you with new and interesting symptoms every few days…just so you don’t get bored of it. So, Monday morning, I’d decided we would stay home from preschool and take a sick day before even realizing that preschool was cancelled because of icy conditions. Then, Tuesday – same thing – preschool cancelled again because the school district was more than an hour late. And then again today. And then again probably tomorrow.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the snow. I love the Winter Wonderland. My little Christmas-obsessed heart goes pitter-patter with every mention of a possible flurry. But this has turned into an obsession. I continue to check the weather forecast on-line every few minutes as if that will change what’s actually happening – or not happening – right outside my window. And as I mentioned, we’re sick, so we need to stay home any way, and this inclement winter weather makes the decision much easier for us. But that doesn’t change the fact that Cabin Fever has begun to set in. And the longer we’re home the more obsessed with the weather I become. If we’re stuck inside, at least be pretty outside! I’m even checking the forecast on-line more frequently than!

Part of the issue with this The Cold-slash-Winter Wonderland scenario, is that this makes for a seriously anti-exercise combo. I haven’t gone for a run in a week and I haven’t been to the gym in five days. While we do have the Wii Fit and as it turns out, I’m a professional hula-hooper, it’s just not quite the same. So, what am I doing? Staying home, hibernating, and getting fatter. Feed a cold, starve a fever. ‘Tis the season. The Cold is feeding very well.

I’m pretty sure that the next time I do my Body Test on the Wii, it’s going to yell at me, “Hey Fat-Butt! What’s the deal? You been eating your weight in candy canes or something? Yeah, it’s winter, but you don’t ACTUALLY have to store up your fat reserves.”

And yes, with all this time at home, I could be productive – I could clean, get Christmas letters addressed, I could do the stuff I never do – like clean out the freezer and fridge, but no, with The Cold-slash-Winter Storm ’08 scenario, I’d so much rather sit, and be cozy, and check the forecast…and eat.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Dude. Yesterday was rough. We had some sort of crazy clumsy and chaos curse take hold on our home. The morning, started with Matthew in tears – not feeling well. I was scheduled to teach classes at the boys’ school and obviously I couldn’t take a sick Matthew with me. So, we worked out that Mike would work at home and I would take Zach with me. (With both boys here the reality of actually accomplishing any work would be total blarney). With that change thrown into the day’s plans, I was running a little late and hurriedly slapping make-on my face in the bathroom.

Enter Zach carrying a velvet box. The velvet boxes are used every year for presents (or for the guise of presents and are simply pretty props under the tree). Zachary comes in announcing that this one has a gift inside for me. (This is a game played every day here – it’s either your birthday or Christmas and you get to open a present – usually some random toy wrapped in the throw blanket or a book that we’ve had for years hidden under a pillow. They don’t usually conform to the standard definition of gift, but of course, we play along and act surprised every time. My favorite ‘gift’ was Mr. Potato Head’s arm, part of a LEGO construction crane and a broken bead necklace – or “pirate’s treasure” in this house. I thought that gift was quite thorough and thoughtful. I’m sure just like the gold, frankincense and myrrh brought to baby Jesus, my triad of gifts held all sorts of promise and meaning).

Anyway, Zach takes off the velvet lid to reveal the Nutcracker snow globe that I successfully stole and brought home from last Thursday’s preschool Christmas party and gift exchange. Matthew had just been saying how we “needed” a snow globe. (‘Cuz it’s maybe the one Christmas chotchke that our Christmas-house lacks). And this particular snow globe was perfect as it was not only the Nutcracker (he loves the Nutcracker) but he was dressed in his toy soldier garb complete with drum (Matthew has a thing for toy soldiers and drums…). So, needless-to-say, Matthew was THRILLED when he woke up Friday morning and found the Nutcracker snow globe on his bedside table.

And we were all devastated when the snow globe present slipped from Zach’s grip and shattered all over the bathroom floor. Glass. Snow globe mystery fluid. Glitter. Nutcracker dude. Everywhere. The first thing out of Matthew’s mouth was, “Well, we’ll have to get another snow globe.” How quickly he’d moved on! Granted he didn’t have much of a chance to get attached, we only had it for four days. I pointed out that, if that’s how we treat our first snow globe, chances are slim that another would be blessing us with its presence any time soon. This is maybe also why we don’t have any pets currently.

The snow globe was the snow ball, so to speak, that set off the day’s nonstop clumsiness. When Zach and I arrived at preschool I made the choice-slash-mistake of letting him “help” me carry in my instruments. Thankfully, all I entrusted in his care was my box of jingle bells – those are fairly indestructible and it’s a good thing, as the moment we walked in the front door, he face-planted and dumped the entire box. It was more loud than mess at least.

Classes went great, but Zach and I were tired and ready to get home at the end of the day. I was famished and very ready for a late lunch. I don’t know if it was my eagerness or just plain lack of coordination (or the curse), but I pulled a small bowl of pomegranate seeds out of the fridge only to have them slip, tip and dump all over the floor. Pomegranatey mess everywhere.

Then, when I went to change Zach’s diaper, post-lunch, I discovered a complete and total mess of explodified diaper crystal innards. If you’ve ever had a diaper explode, you know what I’m talking about. It was enough of a mess that it required actually bathing the kid (we don’t do that much, you know, it’s a big hassle this whole cleaning-your-kid thing) and having to pull out the vacuum to collect the diaper crystal debris from the carpet.

Later in the afternoon, I was met with two unpleasant realities – Matthew: yelling “Come wipe my bum!” from the bathroom where he’s presented himself in “down dog” Yoga pose for my wiping ease and Zach: standing stealthily in the corner of the family room, soberly and lethally filling the entire downstairs with fumes and quietly stating, “I’m poopy.” Yeah, ya think?!

At this point, I’m seriously thinking about buying a haz-mat suit or wrapping myself in tarp.

Finally, after a day filled with the chaos of our clumsiness and the clumsiness of chaos, we sit down to dinner. Lasagna. I think that the curse has at last been lifted when I super-mom save Zach’s bowl of red pasta gooeyness from plummeting to the carpeted floor below. Seriously, I caught that thing AS it was pole-vaulting off the edge of the table! I’m so proud of myself it takes me a moment to recognize what’s happening across from me. Mike and Matthew are wearily studying his bowl of lasagna – now located on the floor, under the table. Of course it is. It was only fair – the universe had to shift just a smidge to make up for my super-mom moves and Matthew’s bowl, of its own accord, slid from the table in order to make for one last mess.

Oh, but then I ran the garbage disposal not knowing that a fork was in it. Then, the day was complete.

Friday, December 05, 2008

You know how everyone needs a little ego-boost every now and then? Well, I got one last night…granted it was from a four year old, but still. I’ll take what I can get.

Last night was the preschool board and staff holiday potluck. See, I was just officially hired on as the music teacher at the boys’ preschool. In exchange for Zach’s tuition, I’ll teach my classes there two days a month. Yep, our little Zach is in school now! And la-oving it! He’s by far the youngest in the “early 3’s” class. (The rest of the kids turn 3 by December 31st. He won’t until April 28th! But because Mrs. Mac had Matthew in her class last year, she knows us and she’s seen that Zach is ready, she made an exception for him). And he’s not only the youngest; he’s also the only boy. The class is six little girls…and Zach! It’s hilarious.

Anyway, this tuition-for-music-classes swap officially started this week. Zach will be in preschool every Thursday and Friday morning, and I’ll teach one Monday and one Thursday a month. While, we’ve just officially started I have taught a couple of times already. I volunteered my musical services to the teachers – once before Halloween and once before Thanksgiving so that we could do some of the fun holiday-themed music that I’ve done in my other classes.

Back to my ego boost ‘cuz that’s what this is really about. Ever since I did the couple of classes, one of the little girls, Elizabeth, in the other 4/5yr. old class always looks at me shyly and whispers to her mom, “That’s Ms. Jenny. She’s the one who sings and does music.” This isn’t out of the ordinary. I’m occasionally accosted at the grocery store or the park by a herd of admiring 2-5 year olds chanting, “Ms. Jenny. Ms. Jenny. Ms. Jenny.” OK, not really, but I would say that the majority of people who seem to REALLY like me (and that I bump into out in public) are under the age of 5 and know me as “Ms. Jenny” and somehow I’m magical because I shake shakers and dance with scarves.

So, Elizabeth’s mom Becky was at the preschool potluck last night. It was the first chance that I’ve had to actually meet and REALLY get to talk to some of the other moms. Becky, just like her daughter, kind of watched me shyly from across the room. She smiled when we made eye contact but didn’t make an attempt to come and chat…which was fine, I was talking to other ladies. Anyway, when I went over to get a plate (to fill up with all sorts of high-calorie and very-bad-for-you holiday appetizers and desserts), she approached me.

“Hi…!” I say (still not yet knowing her name so consciously avoiding it).

“Ms. Jenny,” she says, with a piercing gaze, “My daughter is obsessed with you. She talks about you all the time.”

“Oh, hahaha (weird giggle), that’s cute,” I say. “She’s been great in class.”

“No, you don’t get it. Like she’s OBSESSED with you. You are her…,” she searches for the right word, “You are her Miley Cyrus. Her Hannah Montana. If there were Ms. Jenny bed sheets and posters, she would TOTALLY have them. A Ms. Jenny t-shirt? She would wear it all the time.” (The flash thought crosses my mind, hmmmm, is there something to this? Should I consider coming out with a bedding line? Maybe an action figure?! You know you’ve really made it if you have an action figure).

She continues, “I couldn’t tell her that you would be here tonight or there’s no way she would’ve gone to bed. I’m sure she would have waited up to hear all about it. And the times that you’ve come to do music? She has talked about you non-stop for the rest of the day. And then, thanks to your song sheet we have all the words to all the songs you do. We’re singing them ALL the time.” (Hmmm, I don’t know if this last part is a good or bad thing).

“Well, then you better not tell her, I’m coming in next Friday to do music. She might not sleep for a week!” I semi-snort-joke.

Becky looks at me seriously, “You’re right. I won’t. It would be like Christmas Eve and waiting for Santa’s arrival…EVERY night.”

Another mom comes up and Becky fills her in on just how obsessed Elizabeth is with me. Yes, apparently Elizabeth is the president of the Ms. Jenny fan club. I tell the women, that I definitely don’t mind the obsessed fans. Oh no, I can handle it. We continue chatting and eventually move on to less Ms. Jenny-themed topics.

While Elizabeth is maybe a bit over the top and if she starts staking out my house, I will consider beefing up security; fame is just part of the game. And I must push through. Plus, I need all the ego-boosting I can get. All I have to do is sing a couple of words and people shout at me. Both Zach and Matthew, yell, “MOMMY! NO SINGING!...STOP SINGING! … only BOYS are allowed to sing!” I’m sure it’s kind of like the preacher’s kid being the one who rebels. Or the doctor’s kid getting so sick and tired of hearing about washing his hands, exercising and eating right that he’s just plain nasty. You get the idea. I’m the music teacher, therefore I get scolded and mocked for anything musical done in my home. It is the cross that I must bare. And since my own kids don’t think I rock, I’ll get my admiring fans elsewhere! Quite frankly, I may go out of my way to talk to little Elizabeth not to make her day, but to make mine!