Wednesday, February 19, 2014

I'm Doing Something Right

Today, after Quiet Time, Lucia said she didn't want to use the iPad: she wanted to make peg dolls instead. "Can we make peg dolls, Mama?" she asked, excitedly clutching a new shipment of wooden pegs that had arrived in the mail. Yes, little one. Yes, yes, we can.

Greta woke up from her nap just before we began, so make no mistake: this was not an hour of quiet mother-and-daughter crafting at the kitchen table. It was more a scenario of the girls spreading all of my felt across the kitchen floor to make an "island" and me madly glue-gunning as they attempted again and again to unwind all my yarn, like pesky kittens. Still: any request for crafting, especially when it's chosen over something like the iPad, is, I will say, a satisfying moment for this mama.

Winter Respite

After another snowy week last week, I was counting the seconds until we could go to Connellsville and have a few days of R n' R, where it wouldn't matter if we were snowed in because Lucia and Greta wouldn't even know we were there, so focused they would be on Gra and Pop-Pop. Alas, we got another snowstorm on Thursday, so we couldn't leave that afternoon as we'd planned. I wanted to just get in the car and go; Andrew pointed out we couldn't even leave our driveway.

Friday, we gave the girls their Valentine's Day gifts in the morning. I'll digress here to say that after years of assuming everyone gave Valentine's Day gifts to their kiddos, I see now I was wrong. It doesn't matter. I like planning their little Valentine's Day surprises, and this year I (fine, WE) gave them each a mermaid Hello Kitty, some colored pens, a few tiny notebooks, a unicorn necklace, a book, a coloring book, and a tiny teaset featuring the very kawaii Rikkukuma bear, which I ordered from eBay and which arrived from China.

After we got everything packed up, we finally started out for PA, and we didn't have too bad a drive. We got there just before dinner on Friday, and it pretty much immediately began snowing again. We managed to get out for some shopping on Saturday, and then it snowed again on Sunday. We left much earlier than we wanted to on Monday because--yes--we had to beat yet another snowstorm. Despite our shorter-than-planned trip, it was immensely relaxing. For me and Andrew. Mom and Dad were on constant granddaughter duty, playing with Sophia dolls, sticking staticky balloons to legs and arms, coloring, jumping on beds, reading books, and playing with countless other things, including the beloved water droppers.

Everyone had fun. I'm so glad we managed to get there, despite the dicey traveling. And the girls were great travelers--even Lucia napped on the way back. A successful trip all around. My fingers are crossed that we've seen the last of the snow. Ha! Hahaha!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Another Tuesday. Tuesdays can go so many ways. They're always long, with no preschool or babysitter, and in such snowy, cold weather we're always completely cooped up. Running an errand is usually a good thing to do, except when trying to get Greta ready for an outing is more stressful than just staying home. So today we stayed home. I thought I'd try to remember and record all the many things we did and played with today, just for fun:

Reading books (including a new book Andrew brought home from work--"Tea Time with Sophia Grace and Rosie")

Having a snack (granola bars)

Setting up a large expanse of pillows, doll crib, and doll bed and putting a variety of stuffed animals down for a nap

Coloring. Lots of coloring.

Sit N' Spin / rocking horse trade-offs

Fort-building in the basement, with the red storage bins I still haven't used for organizing my life

Dancing (Greta)

Shopping-cart pushing (Greta)

Clothespin fairies--they're lost in the woods, can't find their friends, much wailing and lamenting


Making Valentines for Lucia's class party tomorrow (I got Lucia to sign about half of them before she refused to do anymore; she also insisted she didn't know how to write the letter C)

Pop beads

And finally--the Melissa & Doug wooden dollhouse and Little People farm came out late in the day, and a fairly elaborate game ensued. This was the most attention either girl has paid to the dollhouse in the year we've owned it. We even made little carpets for the rooms and accessorized with some tiny Barbie foods. Then all the dollhouse dolls, some other dolls, a few peg dolls, and Lucia and Greta all sat in a line for "school." I led them all in some renditions of "Doe A Dear" and "She'll Be Comin' Round the Mountain."

Then it was time for TV shows and dinner and even though Andrew had to go to a work dinner and miss bedtime, we all survived. Well, more or less--Lucia pulled down a towel rack while dancing in the tub (something we've said again and again not to do); but we'll be getting a new bathroom soon, so no real harm done.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Fun Things

Lucia at dinnertime:  "Eating dinner is not fun. I like playing and drawing."

Lucia, looking at the refrigerator: "Mama, when are we getting a new refrigerator?" "When we get a new kitchen." [Panic-stricken face:] "But...but...When we get a new kitchen we have to TAKE ALL THE FOOD OUT OF THIS REFRIGERATOR FIRST!"

We let the girls watch some Olympic figure skating this afternoon, which they loved. But Lucia seemed troubled that each skater was on the ice by herself. "Where are her friends?" she kept asking. She seemed relieved when the skaters returned to their coaches and teammates.

Lucia and Andrew played outside in the ice-snow for a long time today. Andrew pulled Lucia on the sled; Lucia sucked on icicles; and they played an elaborate game of princess/giant/witch/etc. Greta, for her part, refused to go outside or even put on any socks. For one second, she agreed to go outside; I got as far as her snowpants before she mutinied. We stood at the kitchen window and watched Lucia and Andrew instead. Andrew threw some snowballs at the window, which Greta thought was hilarious.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

More Snow, More Snow, and Still More Snow. And Peg Dolls.

This has been the longest week of my entire life. I feel like the past six days have pummeled me. I last posted on Tuesday, and the rest of the week proved to still be long and ridiculous. Wednesday morning we woke to yet another wintry wonderland, everything snow-covered, all the tree branches coated in ice. School and sitter: cancelled. Andrew worked from home, but the day was just long, long, long. I have no memory of how we spent it. I'm sure it involved coloring and dancing and the Sit N Spin, maybe the Squinkie fairies, perhaps the "slide" I make for them out of an old Ikea shelf. Yes: we did the slide. I remember now. There was a lot of jostling and arguing and pushing and it all ended very unhappily for all.

That afternoon, pushed to the limit of feasible activities, I dumped the food-coloring-tinted ice cubes into a Pyrex baking dish, announced "Rainbow ice!", and left them to it. They squealed with excitement and managed to find ways to play with the cubes. They, too, are desperate.

Thursday, thank goodness, was a normal day. Normal: I mean Lucia had preschool, and we managed to get out of the house. However, the parking lot outside the preschool hadn't been plowed or shoveled, and I couldn't get into any parking spaces; I finally revved up and heaved my car into one, only to immediately realize that was probably really stupid. Nonetheless, I got the girls out of the car, high-stepped through icy, treacherous snow, and then Lucia immediately wiped out on a sheet of ice. She was sobbing, Greta was terrified, I couldn't pick up either girl because my arms were full of shoes and Lucia's lunchbox; and then when Greta and I finally got back into the car, I couldn't get out of my parking space. Of course. A preschool father had to push me out.

Then I took Greta to speech therapy, where she refused to engage with the therapist in any way. Her only spoken word throughout the session was a quiet, firm, unarguable "No." "Greta, would you like to play with this plane?" "No." "Greta--can you say 'peep peep'?" "No." Sigh.

Friday: another day at home. I thought I was going to lose my mind. It was too cold to go outside. I tried to engage them in a Valentine's Day craft, gluing construction paper hearts to a larger paper heart; Lucia was uninterested. Greta actually made quite a pretty one, methodically covering her heart with glue and sticking on other hearts, but then, against all reason, began peeling all the hearts back off. Most were stuck by that point, which enraged her, and by the time she was done her heart was a pile of crumpled, gluey pieces. We then made some paper flowers from a flower-making kit and stuck them to straws. They loved it for approximately three minutes. The day went on more or less like this.

The only thing I can count as a success this week is the girls' new collection of twelve peg dolls. I made them over the past few days, and the girls love them. Who wouldn't, really? They play with them and arrange them and let them have little tea parties. Watching them play with their "wooden dolls," as Lucia calls them, handmade by me, makes me feel like a Good Mother, straight out of Little House on the Prairie. Throwing ice cubes into a Pyrex--not so much. (However, those rainbow ice cubes were more legitimately fun today, when I threw them off the porch and they skittered across the icy snow for Lucia to run after while Andrew shoveled off the porch steps.)

More pictures of the peg dolls to come. I'm kind of obsessed with them: they've become much too real to me. Being snowbound with small children for a week does funny things to one's mind.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Snow, Snow, and More Snow

Monday: snow day. Just a ton of snow. Snow and snow and snow. Snow covering our car and coating all the tree branches. Preschool was cancelled; I had to cancel the sitter since it was too dangerous to drive. At least Andrew worked from home so at least I didn't go totally insane. Still, our across-the-street neighbor does occasionally wonder if we're all dead inside, since on days like this our car just sits there in the driveway, snow-covered, and not a soul is seen outside our house. Our entire life on these winter days takes place within these walls.

And then today--Tuesday is always my long day, and today was doubly long since it followed an identical yesterday. At least the roads were clear today, so I took the girls to Target, where the "fun carts" were not only buried in snow but also encrusted in ice. With my boot, I kicked and cleared one well enough to push inside; and then a very nice employee helped me clear and dry off the rest. So at least we had some out-of-the-house time.

I bought the girls spray bottles and told them we'd go home and "paint the snow," which we did: I filled the bottles with food-coloring-tinted water, and we sprayed the snow purple and red and green. Of course, getting Greta ready to go outside was impossible, accomplished only by giving her a bowl of M&Ms. The painting was only mildly satisfying--I would put way more food coloring in next time, or just dilute some actual paint--but the girls were very excited about eating icicles and "hiding" in the snowy playhouse. Then we had some hot chocolate, poured the rest of the colored water into ice-cube trays (I have no idea what to do with our "rainbow ice cubes", but since school is already cancelled for tomorrow, I thought I'd better get some activities in gear), ate lunch, had nap- and quiet time, baked mini muffins, did a few pages of paint-with-water, mourned the Bibis I put in with the laundry, watched Doc McStuffins, cooked meatloaf, celebrated the return of the Bibis from the dryer, and somehow got through the rest of our day.

And tomorrow will be more of the same.