Partying like it's 1999

This past weekend Dan and I attended my ten year high school reunion. This is an event that I had been eagerly anticipating due to the fact that I was extremely popular in high school. Don't believe me? Just take a gander at page 2 of my high school yearbook:

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Yes, that's me. The cropped and ironed hair is just the icing on the extremely popular cake. But wait, you ask, what is that glint in her eye? Is it youthful naiveté? the audacity of hope? Caffeine and diet pills? Here, I'll show you a close-up:

That, my friends, is what awesome looked like in 1999. And perhaps still today.. that grey button-down shirt is still in my closet. Vintage!

My 10 year reunion was held in a bar downtown. I, befitting my honorary title of coolest member of the graduating class of 2009, showed up a full hour before anyone else. I, you see, had to greet the other cool kids as they arrived. That and being too cool to normally attend parties held in bars in Boston's financial district, I was following the rule of half-hour-fashionably late, as opposed to two-hours-fashionably late which seems to be the norm among my classmates. I did have some nice chats with other parents before slipping out to relieve the babysitter, which means I left before the full on orgy started. But seriously, if you're just arriving at midnight while I'm heading out, then you just don't DESERVE to see baby pictures on my iphone. YOU'VE MISSED YOUR CHANCE!

But before my early departure I did manage to have some good chats with my former classmates. And in case they didn't notice just how exceptionally hot I'm looking these days, I made sure to remind them that I just had a baby. I JUST HAD A BABY. OH HOW ARE YOU? I JUST HAD A BABY. And if that didn't elicit the necessary "You're looking good" from my counterpart, then I casually dropped something like: YOU LOOK GREAT! I JUST LOST 45 POUNDS!

All in all the reunion was a very life-affirming experience, particularly in affirming my choice of husband. All the boys I had crushed on in high school are now either a) fat, b) homeless musicians, or c) refusing to marry their long-term girlfriends. Not a single one is as cute as my Danny, and none would be gleefully changing diapers at 2 in the morning were fate altered.

So here's a toast to being popular in a different way these days.... to being the shoulder that baby most wants to spit on, to having the hottest legs that a puppy could want to sleep on, to hair that's neither cropped nor ironed nor barely even combed and yet my husband still calls me pretty. And to still fitting into shirts that I wore in high school. Even if they are a little grungy.


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a momentous step

A while ago we stopped taking the paper. Some time later we tried to cancel the tv—unsuccessfully, due to contractual obligations. Well, gentle readers, we are now beyond the contract period and our television feed is, as of this evening, cut off.

Actually, the contract was up in August. But it takes some time to work up to these things, you know! Wish us luck as we enter this brave new world of, um, watching tv on the computer.

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smarty Harvey

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Harvey is no longer a guinea-pig. By that I don't mean that we have stopped testing industrial solvents on him—er, nor were we formerly—but that he has at five months and a bit developed rather more personality than he had at one month. If at least fifty percent of that personality is a dislike for going to sleep, so be it. We'll take it.

In all seriousness, he has become remarkably human. He turns to look at new people coming into the room, he holds out his arms for mama (not yet for me, alas!), and he can kind of keep track of toys and play with them for extended periods of time. Even if that playing mostly involves chewing on different bits, it's a big step up from the days when, if he dropped a toy from his hands, it was out of his mind as well. He's also now become aware of Rascal as a source of amusement: he loves being in Leah's or my lap when we're playing tug with the puppy, and laughs and laughs when Rascal capers. That, plus pulling the poor dog's fur when he can reach it. Ah Rascal, just wait until he can move on his own!

So yes, there's some stress in parenting, but it's well worth it to watch the kid grow and develop. I highly recommend it!

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Scrooge got scrooged

Whole Foods Cashier: That'll be $20.10
Me: Did you give me the bag discount for bringing my own two bags?
Cashier: Oh, let me look..... no.... also this turkey didn't scan. Let me ring that up again... That'll be $26.

Saved ten cents, paid an extra six. I sure got the crap end of that stick. How come it doesn't make me feel better that the world got a bit more honest over lunch?

Great Entertainment at Surprisingly Low Prices

So I'm on the computer at 5am this morning watching Glee while pumping out a breast (can I get a woop woop from all my momeez in da house?) and in the process I'm finding myself charmed by a series of Target commercials that are cheerfully paying for the content I'm streaming. In this particular one (played twice over the Glee episode) a mommy and daddy argue about the christmas budget while trying to preserve for their youngin the magic of Santa. There's something so funny about the way that the momma cuts off her husband by saying "Maybe Santa doesn't need any help doing Santa's job" that I quoted the commercial to my husband verbatim when he woke up.

So yeah. Two days without TV and this is what I've come to. Watching commercials on the internet and LOVING IT. This is like the methadone stage of cable withdrawal.

Harvey's first snow day

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Yesterday's rain started turning into snow at around 4:00 in the evening, but it was dark and wet and we were tired so we didn't get too excited about it then. It sure was nice out when we woke up, though!

Because we were having a home church morning, we had plenty of time to bundle up and head out for a nice long walk. Too much time to get ready, Rascal thought: he was itching to get out from the moment he woke up and saw the snow. Harvey didn't know one way or another; it's his first real snow (that October stuff didn't really count) but he doesn't really have the capacity to enjoy it yet. So we enjoyed it for him, and I think he picked up a little bit of our joy.

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Christmas presents!

We heard a sermon a week ago last Sunday (the last time we made it to church) about two ways to have a God-centered Christmas [mp3 link to the sermon here]. The first of them was the boring old "stop shopping so much and just be spiritual" thing that we hear every year, but the second—which was explained at somewhat greater length—was a suggestion to celebrate more wholeheartedly and demonstratively. Decorate like mad! Ply people with food and gifts! Go, in other words, all out! For some people, the theory goes, being fully involved in the holiday is the way to have a spiritual season and "the Best Christmas Possible". Since that was what I think anyways, I enjoyed the sermon.

The theory behind the minimalist Christmas is that celebrating the birth of Christ shouldn't be a commercial extravaganza. Sure, I can agree with that. The Christmas music playing at Whole Foods before Thanksgiving got to me too. But the yearly refrain about making Christmas a quiet family time or whatever misses a very important point. From my point of view, the problem isn't that Christmas is too commercial, it's that the rest of the year is.

Me, I hearken back to an era when Christmas might be the only time you got something store-bought: a bag of oranges or a new pair of trousers or something from the Sears catalog. That was exciting! We're too jaded now, on account of the constant instant gratification of the mall, but the solution isn't to abandon celebrating Christmas by giving presents, it's to abandon going to the mall the rest of the year! Do that, and you'll be ready from some shopping come December.

And spiritual warm-fuzzies are all well and good, but there's something to be said for tangible tokens of affection for family, friends, and neighbors. You don't have to be greedy to be excited about opening presents. And if you like giving as much as getting, I don't think you have anything to worry about in the spiritual department. At least for me, exchanging gifts brings me closer to people, and being closer to people is one way to be closer to God.

On that note, here's our holiday wish list if you want to get closer to God by giving us something!

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Pppppppth

Like any little boy, Harvey loves making noises that sound like they might come out of an airplane. And he loves being naked.

Boys are the best.

the reasons why

I didn't bike to work today. It just wouldn't have been a challenge; not like yesterday, when I did ride though the first winter storm of the season. Actually, I must be honest: I needed a bit of a rest after the snow biking. It wasn't too problematic traction-wise, but it was certainly strenuous! The worst part was listening to everyone tell me I was crazy again. They'd gotten over the rain biking, but snow was new to them. So. I guess it's like owning a big dog; fun, but you have to deal with the same reaction from folks on a daily basis.

Anyways: so why did I choose biking over driving that cold December morning? Read on!

  • I love biking, and I love snow. In combination they're awful hard to resist.
  • My car, the one with the traction, isn't feeling so good. Leah's is bad in the snow.
  • I knew everybody would be crazy with the first snowfall and driving like overcautious maniacs. I wanted to avoid that.
  • It wasn't really that cold out: above freezing, in fact.
  • I love biking.
  • Just like with the rain: if not now, then when?
  • I was afraid the bike path would freeze solid, and that it was in fact my last chance on it all winter (which remains to be seen).
  • I've been reading about someone who is much, much more hardcore than I.
  • I wanted to try it out and see how I would do.
  • I am, in fact, crazy.

See, plenty of great reasons!

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malfunction

Harvey didn't get his afternoon nap, and then he slept from 4:30 to 7:30. Now he's still awake. Doesn't he know that his parents should be asleep after 9:00 on a Saturday night?!

label-making

a picture I'm very excited about this year's jam and pickle varieties, and even more excited about this years labels, which were one of today's products. Using stock photos and ordering glossy sticker paper to print them on brings the price of these select preserves up even more, making any pretense of economy in this home canning endeavor more ridiculous than ever. But the pretty pictures are mine to keep for next year and following, and there's plenty of paper in the package, so we'll start to break even one of these days! Right?

Sadly, the glossy labels won't be here in time for Hanukkah gift-giving. I imagined that Staples would have such a thing, but they did not. So the internet had to provide, with some delay. I only hope they come in before Christmas!

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cards of Christmas past

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Since our this year's Christmas card is about to "drop", I thought I'd provide a little retrospective of previous years' efforts. Above you can see the outside of last year's card; the inside is after the jump. The idea to use the song came first, and the design followed.

The year before that Leah had a great idea about featuring Rascal in a scene from Isaiah. She did the photoshopping of the lion and lamb, and I finished up with the other layout.

In 2006 I failed utterly at producing a card for the first time in at least three years, so Leah made some beautiful hand-made cards for our closest friends and relatives. Luckily we didn't know so many people back then!

2005 was the year we got Rascal, so of course he was the main feature; we didn't even feel the need to spruce him up with any photoshop work.

There were cards before that, but I can't seem to find them. There was another computer then, as I recall. If they do turn up I'll add them to this post, for the sake of the historical record. And if you want to get on our Christmas card list so you can see fabulous products like these first-hand, just let us know... or, better yet, send us a card this year! We love getting cards, and of course we always reciprocate.

What about this year's? Well, I'm afraid I can't reveal it until after everyone gets a chance to receive their paper copies: wouldn't want to spoil the surprise! The things always look better on paper anyways.

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hanukkah oh hanukkah

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We celebrated Hanukkah yesterday and a grand time was had by all. Besides Harvey, the biggest hit was the wooden puzzles Leah got for all the young folks: they were much more difficult than we ever hoped, and kept everyone occupied for quite some time. Great-Grandma Faye (pictured above) gave many of us yo-yos, which were almost as popular. The two occupations together—and all the food too, probably—kept us from doing any dreidel-playing, which is good because it means I got to keep my whole roll of pennies. I never have much luck with the gambling.

Harvey enjoyed the attention, of course, and was in return enjoyed by a variety of friends and relatives (such as Uncle Jake above). As well as some clothes, he received a stuffed The Snowman, with which he was quite pleased: it's as big as he is, but lighter and fuzzier. All and all it was good practice for Christmas!

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careful!

I took a good spill on the way to work this morning. Most of the snow is melted from the bike path, but there's still a few patches of frozen slush that've made things very bumpy indeed the past couple days. Today, though, they were more deadly that before thanks to much colder temperatures and a little bit of snow overnight. The worst patch was on a bridge over a creek, and it was rather worse than I expected: so much so that as soon as I rode onto the ice I lost traction and the bike slid out right in front of me. I went over onto my back, where, happily, I was padded with a backpack filled with all sorts of spare warm garments. So no pain to speak of, nor did I get wet at all, even sliding ten feet or so before I came to a stop some distance removed from the bike. It must have all been very impressive; I wish someone had caught it on video for me to see!

I walked my bike over that spot on my way home.

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Is cold today

As I'm looking on our town website to figure out how to get Harvey a social security card (don't get me started on that...) I notice a helpful box reminding me of the outside weather:

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Hi winter! You snuck up on me, didn't you? I was all, LA LA LA, fall weather is pleasant and brisk, and then BOOM! I'm walking the dog and I can't feel my fingers. And I can't yell for him because my jaw is frozen. And I'm wearing the same smelly long-johns day after day after day. And on some of those days I don't get to shower. Actually, maybe that last bit of info is going too far...

In the past I have said things such as "I hate winter," which I will not stoop to uttering now. I don't want to offend the friends of winter lobbying group within my household. I will say that the newfound difficulty with going anywhere outside of the house makes me more inclined to live my life entirely within these two floors. Which is appropriate for a new mom. But still, showering might be in order...

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my annual cold post

For people who boast that they live in a place with more weather than most, New Englanders sure like to complain about it. I don't know, maybe that's part of the boasting. Yes, it was colder today than it has been for some time. No, it was not worth declaring a state of emergency over it, nor should the administration have needed to request—nay, demand—that I cut my traffic duties short in order to avoid cold-related injuries. I insisted that I didn't mind it a bit, which is a good thing because in the event they couldn't find anyone to take over from me: everyone else was sure they would mind.

Actually, I continue to be surprised at how warm biking makes me. Even today, when the thermometer read 10° as I was leaving the house, I needed to stop and take off layers. I started with my ski mittens on, then switched to my double-thick fleece mittens, and then down to just the thin layer of fleece. I also ditched the thin windbreaker and unzipped my fleece coat. I could have even taken the fleece coat off, I think, and finished the ride in the same clothes as I wore inside all day—which has been my practice most days so far with temperature ranges from 20° to, oh 45° or so. So in other words, I have not yet discovered the lower bound beyond which the heat generated from aerobic exercise is stripped away faster than I'm able to replenish it.

That's only as long as I'm moving, of course. I took the precaution of sticking my big LL Bean field coat on the dork rack (the coat that I've worn every day of every winter for most of my life, until I started this biking thing this year). I needed it for the traffic work, what with the standing still and all—but even there, I had to wait about five minutes before I was cool enough to put it on. I also wanted it just in case I got a flat or wrecked or something. I didn't want to end up hypothermic by the side of the road; if that happened, I'd never be able to make fun of folks for complaining about the cold again!

(I do wish I had a picture of cold from the commute. I do not, because I'm afraid to take my camera along: it is large and fragile. Someday I'll work up the courage, though.)

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mood improvement

After a day at work that was very disappointing, to say the least, I took a little detour on the ride home. I wanted to distract myself from moping and grumping, and a little off-road action seemed like it would be just the thing. Even though there isn't any hilly terrain handy on my route, I figured that dealing with the snow and frozen ruts would be interesting enough to take my mind off my troubles. As soon as I got a little way down the trail, though, I came to something even more interesting than bumps: vast sheets of ice stretching among the trees and brush, where the torrential rains of November had filled up the swamps. I hesitated for a moment, of course, but in my fatalistic mood I figured I might as well give it a shot.

And as it turns out, riding on smooth ice went remarkably well. As long as I didn't try to turn or stop, that is. Or turn too fast at least: I soon found that by avoiding sudden movements I could actually get around pretty skillfuly, and enjoyed myself for a couple minutes slaloming around the frozen-in trees. As delightful as that was, though, it was topped a few minutes later when the path led down to a whole frozen lake, or at least a pond—a vast expanse of clean ice, in any case, with a smooth clear shoreline that let me ride right down onto it. Which I did! This time, the lack of obstacles let me build up some pretty fair straight-ahead speed, and let me tell you, it's something for improving your mood to be skimming across shining white ice at twilight on a crisp 15° F December evening. There was even an island to circumnavigate. It was only three or four falls until I managed to get all the way around on one try.

Much happier, I resumed my homeward course. I was so excited by my new-found ice-biking skills that I even hazarded riding the frozen bridge that felled me the other day. I fell again, of course. Still, the most fun commute I've had in some time, and just what I needed to get the weekend off to a good start.

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appreciation

This evening one set of grandparents hosted Harvey at their house while the other set took us out to dinner. Good deal... thanks, guys! California was nice all those years ago, but we never would have survived out there on our own.

neighhborhooding

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We got some more snow this morning. I guess it was a pretty big storm: folks were certainly worried about it last night, to the extent that it led to our evening entertainment being stripped of its intermission in order to get us out of there before ten (no complaints here!). In the event the first flurries didn't start until after midnight, but by the time we work up things were well under way—well enough for us to decide to forgo church, even though church boldly decided to go ahead despite the weather. When our street's not plowed and snow is falling at a significant fraction of an inch an hour, we prefer not to go out. Which is good, because we had some fun things to do today in our very own neighborhood!

First, our neighbors—Mark, Mary, and their three kids—came over to make gingerbread houses. We had houses ready-made for the two bigger childrens, which they decorated under the supervision of Mary and Leah. Mark and I designed a luxurious gingerbread manse and began construction. The babies played.

There was then a brief period of down time, which I used to bake crackers for the first time ever: I was committed to bringing a dip to the next neighborhood event, but I had nothing for folks to dip in it. So, necessity is etc. Only this case the offspring was not invention, but just getting off my butt and making something I've wanted to try for quite some time. Leah says the things are tasty, so it looks like our long cracker fast may be over.

Then of course we had to bring the dip and crackers and our beautiful selves to the party, where we ate and visited to our heart's content and where Harvey got to sit on Santa's lap for a present and photo op. Santa looked very familiar, for some reason, like we had seen him somewhere else earlier today... Unfortunately, Daddy did not bring his camera due to trying to get out the door too fast, so we will have to rely on the kindness of others to send us some of the many photographs that did get taken of our little bundle of joy.

So a delightful day by all accounts. If only the vacation had already started, life would be perfect.

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Whale sounds via stereo also make your baby feel at one with the universe

I was chatting with a friend yesterday about birth and other topics, and she dropped the bomb eyebrows raised that her friend had done a WATER BIRTH with her first child, so that, you know,the birth is more soooooothing to the baby because the water reminds it of the womb. And then we looked at each other in eyebrow-raised silence.

Over and over again I've heard this ridiculous explanation (often with one or both eyebrows raised) that water birth is eeeeeasier on the baby. And every time they say it, they have to draw out one of the vowels to convey the full California-ness of this explanation. I'd like the meet the goddess-worshiping hippy who first made up this story. And punch her in the mouth.

For the rest of us God-fearing water-birthers,this explanation makes us look like crazy lunatics. And while some of us certainly are crazy lunatics, the notion reinforces the cloud of wary uncertainty around home birth and those who practice it.

If you have ever given birth in water, you know for certain these three facts:

1) The purpose of a tub of water is to lessen the pain on your pelvis when you're flying without drugs. In the open air it hurts like a mofo. Inside the tub, less so.

2) The experience of the baby is not one of luxuriating in the water and soaking up its womb-like calming properties. The moment the baby slides out he is lifted from the water so that he can breathe.

3) For a baby, emerging into the air is not as traumatic as having its head squeezed through your birth canal. A hot tub will not help him in this respect.

When I was first learning about home birth and read some excellent books such as this one, I too had prejudices against the tub, until I read over and over again that the birth tub was the one thing (perhaps the only thing?) that makes the pain of birth manageable in the home setting. After going through the experience myself, I completely agree. Labor in the tub was doable, even not as as bad as I had imagined. By contrast, in the first hour of my labor before I went into the tub I was fantasizing fondly about death.

So this should serve as a brief explanation on why we're NOT freakish hippies for doing a water birth at home. Certainly not. We're freakish hippies for draining the soiled water into our tomato patch.

We had to, after all. It's filled with nutrients. And EEEEENERGY.

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an update on the condition of local holiday decorations

With all the snow yesterday, I must admit to feeling some concern for welfare of our local inflatable Christmas decorations. Would they be tragically stifled by the falling snow, in this case even before they were able to joyously welcome our Savior's birth? Well, I just got back from taking Rascal for a walk around the block and I am able to report that they all seemed to have pulled through just fine, with a little shoveling out by their caretakers. Good thing we dodged that bullet!

Also, for those of you who feel like creeping secularism is robbing the holiday of all meaning, take heart: newly set up around the corner is an inflatable creche scene, complete with a glowing, internally-lit baby Jesus. Admittedly his swaddling clothes and light level make him look a little bit like mutant radioactive mummy, but it's the thought that counts!

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Merry Christmas

To the best of my knowledge everyone for whom we have mailing addresses has already received their annual holiday card from us, unless your name happens to be Matt, in which case ITS IN THE MAIL! At any rate, it seems safe to unveil our latest christmas card design. Dan may have more to say later about its painstaking creation, but for this post suffice it to say that All we like sheep wish you a very merry Christmas!

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cold commute pictures at last

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I finally brought the camera with me to work today. I figured since I was carrying everything else in the universe—jars of jam for gifts, books to go back to the library, uncountable pieces of back-up winter gear—one more thing wouldn't make a difference. And indeed it didn't, individually. Unfortunately, I wasn't in the best mood to pause and take photographs thanks to some delay in actually progressing towards the school. Beset by problems mechanical and navigational (read: things broke and I went the wrong way) I didn't have the leisurely ride I had hoped for.

The bike path in Lexington is plowed, and it is wonderful. In fact, it being plowed is the best Christmas present ever, and I would like to express those sentiments to the Lexington DPW. Do you think they get email or should I, like, send them a letter? The bike path in Bedford is not plowed, and it is terrible. Having not rode yesterday (not wimped out, I had to do errands!) I assumed that I could push through what was probably only light snow, and it's only about a mile, right? I could not push through. I tried, but in fact only made it about 8 feet. Really. I like ice, but so far I have to say that I need some more practice with the snow biking. So I had to detour some distance out of my way on the roads.

And biking on the roads isn't nearly as fun, because of the cars. I even almost got run off the road by a school bus! I can tell you, when I was doing traffic duty later I didn't hold up the line of cars when he wanted to pull out, like I usually do! Because of all the people almost killing me, I was in a foul mood by the time I got to work. I was thus ready to about bite the head off of anyone who made a comment about how I must be so cold, or don't I notice it's cold, or I'm crazy for riding when it's so cold. You know. "I'm not talking about that anymore" was the politest of my planned responses.

In the event, however, no one said anything beyond asking if I was able to take the bike path. Really, they were all very polite and pleasant. Don't you just hate that when you're grumpy! But you know, I can never stay grumpy for long.

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busy elves

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Despite all-encompassing fatigue, Leah and I stayed up late this evening—til now, in fact!—to work on Christmas. It's some fun! There's a few more things I might like to get done, but if none of it happens that's fine too. Well, a couple things to wrap are less negotiable. Leah is a little more stressed, but I think we're going to make it. Plus, we're skipping the late service tomorrow night so we might actually get some sleep!

Behold, I am the handmaiden of the Lord!

Imagine, if you will, that you are sitting on a linolium floor, staring up at a high school boy in a dress who is telling you, somewhat haltingly, that you will "conceive in your womb and bear a son." And then you must say, with all the holiness you can muster, "How can this be since I am a virgin?"

This is the theatrical challenge I face in lo three hours. The costumes are sown, the lines are memorized... all that's left is the improbable portrayal of the holy family that we must execute this afternoon. Acting ability = stretched.

On the other hand, Harvey is going to be the cutest baby Jesus this town has ever seen!

We will post pictures of Harvey's acting debut, as well as results from all our holiday elfing in not too long. In the mean time, may heaven's wishes of peace on earth and goodwill to all mankind manifest themselves in your household this evening.

Merry Christmas!

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Harvey's first Christmas!

For Chanukah my parents gave us a HD video camera. In this case, HD clearly stands for Harvey Douglas. Please enjoy our first forays into home movie making with these scenes from Harvey's first Christmas.

Christmas review

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We celebrated Christmas at my parents' house just like I've done every year of my life and Leah's done for the past five or six years. Tom and Nelly were there this year, which was nice. So was Harvey, of course, and he made a difference to how we did things. Stocking presents here at home, for example. Which we did at 5:00 in the morning, for some reason... (you may blame me, I believe).

So after that it was nice to have a relaxing day. We got over there at around 10:30, ate some breakfast, opened some presents, took a walk, opened more presents, sat around... things like that. We may have gotten a little cranky towards the end, but that was just due to lack of sleep. Leah is remedying that right now for herself, and I will do likewise in just a moment.

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practically dressing himself

Harvey has now had clothes put on him enough times that he has a pretty good idea of what he has to do to get his arms into his shirts. Gone are the days when the only possibility was reaching through the arm-hole to pull his hand through, and he now rarely grabs at the sleeve as it goes on. Nope, mostly now he pulls his hand in until he feels the arm-hole, then sticks it out until his thumb is once again in sucking position. Just like any adult puts on a shirt, in other words—minus the thumb-sucking in most cases. Even though we know he's a human being and is bound to learn these things with enough repetition, it's still kind of amazing.

Now if only he had the same sort of awareness for pants. Though it could be that he does, but he just hates wearing them...

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My Christmas Angel

On Christmas morning we all went out for a walk, my three boys and me, and as sometimes happens on such occasions Harvey fell asleep on the journey home. I slowly removed the straps from the baby carrier, placed the sleeping bundle down on the bed, and backed away. This was what I saw:

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That's my little Christmas angel!

Christmas Making 2009

The last few months have been a blur of yarn and thread and the same three rows of stitches ripped out over and over. Now that it's all over, I think the little elves in our family are entitled to brag a bit. So here, in short, is a sampling of the projects we made for Christmas 2009.

First off, here's Harvey's new stocking (from Santa's point of view).

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... which got filled with ornaments by Dan:

And Dan really took strides in the quilting department this year, turning out some nifty potholders, including this one for his mom:

I had a quilt in the works for Harvey this year, but it's back in the to-be-finished pile after being hurled across the room a few hundred times. To calm myself down I made some embroidery for some of our bible study friends:

And finally finished a new Hat for Harvey (as seen in this video). Third time's the charm in hat patterns it seems this year... I've got one too-big and one too-small hat waiting in the wings for any friends with children of deformed head sizes.

You can see from the photographer's angle that Dan was most charmed by the pom pom. I guess more pom poms are in the future for the squibix family.

Returning to the sewing machine, I refused to be out-done by Dan's beautiful white and blue ornament for Harvey, and so I knocked out this lamb-headed taggie blanket between the hours of 6 and 9 on Christmas morning.

This present is also pictured in the video. Edited out of the video was Dan's mom saying "Can you imagine making a toy from scratch on Christmas morning for a 6-month old who doesn't even know that it's Christmas?" Yes, I can imagine. It's called having a mental illness.

But the big present this year, the one that I had planned from September and which took me perhaps three months to complete, was this sweater for Dan.

My first adult sweater... indeed my first adult knitting project that doesn't fall under the category of "accessory." This project came from the book Men's Knits by Erika Knight, and I can't recommend this book enough. Unlike a certain baby knitting book that deserves to be burned for kindling (I'll never get those hours back, Natural Knits for Kids!) this book has patterns which are well written, beautifully photographed, and generally do what they say they're going to do. Which is to say, make an awesome sweater for my special snowbunny.

As always, there were some projects that took weeks in the knitting but somehow can't make it to a five minutes photo shoot. These include hats for Tom and Lisa, a beautifully cabled cowl neck for Dan which he will likely never wear, and the Jam, oh the Jam, that deserves a post for itself!

We've already got big plans for Christmas 2010! Including plan #1, start earlier, #2 photograph more, and #3 chill the f—- out, it's only Christmas! Merry Christmas everybody!

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too old for a solo car date?

One of our christmas presents from ma and pa Archibald was a set of IKEA folding chairs so that we could more comfortably seat our weekly bible study crew without resorting to a sewing bench and several upturned buckets. Well, the present was more of a promise of folding chairs, since IKEA is far away. Specifically, we would go pick out the folding chairs, and Dan's mom would watch the baby and provide financial reimbursement.

So this evening Dan, Tom, and I giddily waved goodbye to Harvey and piled into Dan's mom's station wagon headed for IKEA. My heart beat quickly with the promise of linden-berry tort and an undisturbed hour wandering tiny Scandinavian apartments. I was so giddy with the thought of adult furniture shopping that literally skipped through the parking lot into the store. But after a few short moments inside my outlook totally changed. The store was filled with mothers and babies.. babies being pushed in carriages, babies being carried in front packs... babies lovingly cradled by their fathers sitting on couches of model living rooms. waaaaaAAAAAAA-I-WANT-MY-BABY!!! WHERE'S MY BABY??? I MISS MY BABY!!!

It seems that becoming a mother has limited my attention span for adult activities. Time away from Harvey that is pleasurable = about 45 minutes. After that I start to fidget, I get visibly cranky, I spin my wheels any way I can until I can fly back to H's sticky embrace.

Seventeen million hours later, we managed to buy not only five folding chairs for fifteen dollars a piece, but a desk set for Tom, several picture frames, and an array of baby-proofing safety equipment. And to see me fly out of the car when we pulled into Grandma's driveway... well, let's just say that I didn't bother getting too dignified during my precious hours of adult time.

Fortunately Harvey still had some kisses left over for me.

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Harvey the music video star

I apologize in advance for posting this video, since nothing much happens in it except two solid minutes of Harvey smiling, but Harvey's contract demands that we post a certain number of videos per week, and were short on editing time today. We're trying to renegotiate for 2010, but it seems that he holds all the cards. So here it is, a one-shot concept video. The concept is that Harvey is cute. Happy new year!