My child the book whisperer

Our boy Harvey, he likes him some books. Big books, little books, the Economist magazine when we're done with it. When he was sick last week I read him a chapter from Winnie the Poo, a book without pictures even, and I caught him this morning mumbling to himself "Sing Ho for the life of a bear!" So there you go. Read him a book and he listens.

A few weeks ago I realized that after Harvey hears a book a few times I can remove a keyword from any sentence and he will deliver the proper word back to me with 90% accuracy. It's quite a party trick, so I decided to capture it on video. I used The Book of Jonah retold by Peter Spier because it was his favorite for the two weeks we had it out of the library, and it makes him seem all that more biblically literate.

The words Harvey delivers come up in subtitles at the bottom of the screen. Apparently other people have a hard time parsing Harvey dialect... I have no idea why, it always seems perfectly clear to me.

baby gifts

We are such a stunning example of parenthood, it seems, that everybody around us has started having babies. That and we're in our 30s, but I digress. I have a lot of baby gifts to make these days. I wish there were more to report, actually, but two gifts completed in a week should be something to crow about given the level of babitude we have in our own home at the moment. Anyway, here's a hat I made for Dan's work colleague, modeled by the lovely Zion.

zion in helmet hat for baby shower

he just slays me with that cuteness

When Harvey saw me knitting this he said casually, "You havin another baby, Mama?" I was all, "No! Certainly not! This is for Dadda's FRIEND'S baby." and then "Why, do you WANT another baby around here?" "Yeah," Harvey shrugged as if it's no big deal.

top of green hat

gratuitous knitting shot

Anyway, this hat is made entirely of scraps from other projects, which is why the dark green stops repeating after two go rounds. No one else probably notices, but it's the kind of thing that drives me so crazy I'm glad to have the hat out of the house.

cashmere pig side shot

cashmere pig

Onto a girl baby present, I sewed this sweet soft pig out of a BCBG cashmere sweater that never quite fit. That sounds extravagant and fabulously out of character, doesn't it? Let me put it in context: I bought an unworn BCBG sweater set at the thrift store for $20. I wore the sweater to death but never put on the camisole portion because it didn't cover my boobs. It's that extraneous part that just now got turned into a pig. The fancy sweater, which as I stress I bought rather cheaply, is still in my drawer.

cashmere pig front shot

oink baby!

Everyone's baby should have cashmere animals, they're just so soft and cuddly. I have two JCrew sweaters which have stopped closing over my nursing boobs; I'm trying to think up the perfect critters for the colors. Which is good because there's one other baby already been born who needs a present, and more always on the way. That's what you get for having inspirationally cute children, I guess.

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The revolution will not be discussed in the blog comments

I've been following OccupyBoston with growing joy, and feeling a little wistful that I can't just pack up and join the camp-out. That's the problem with homesteading I guess; you make all the fun happen where you are and then when fun happens elsewhere you can't just pick up and leave your dog and chickens and 30 cloth diapers a day. So I'm waiting out this round of illness to take the kids for a day trip, and otherwise following the fun on the internet. WW from the Economist Blog summarizes my feelings with more pizzaz than I could muster. The OccupyBoston blog also makes me giddy for their overall impression of smooth-running protest. We need plywood. We don't need bread. Trash pickup is at 2pm. For heaven sakes go home if you can't stay dry.

What one should not do is read the comments, which are grouchy and dispiriting. It seems to me that feelings around this movement don't split right-left or even rich-poor, but rather "Right on!" versus "Why on earth would you want to do that?" Some of us feel like we've held in our hearts forever the knowledge that the country is broken, that it's so obvious we just leap to encourage anyone who wants to do anything with honest conviction. And then there's the rest of blog readers who feel more "Meh, it's pretty good, isn't it? Don't Netflix and Peapod always arrive on time?" Thankfully these folks mostly just write in the blog comments and not on twitter or flickr, which leads me to believe that blog commenting is on its way out as an earnest metric of participation.

And since I'm plugging other people's blogs today, sing Ho for Jesus radicals today and their graphic which made me laugh:

Way to take everything one step further you guys. I'm in favor.

Occupation video

I find this video of the OccupyWallstreet infrastructure rather endearing. It seems to answer the hyenas who say that "low work ethic" must be the barrier to getting young people jobs. Create a different sort of economy, and everyone is more than pleased to work.

idle hands

This week I've started to enforce the "idle-free zone" that is allegedly in effect at Harrington school, where I work. Really! I've knocked on several car windows and asked folks to shot off their engines if they were going to be waiting in the parking lot. I was motivated to begin this anti-social behavior by watching a woman talking on the phone as she sat in her BMW X6, which is the ugliest and most ridiculous consumer motor vehicle I have ever seen (my opinion; yours may differ if you have no taste, or more money than sense).

Anyways, I would have felt that I was picking on this poor taste-bereft woman had I not similarly asked other idlers to turn off their stupid cars, so I did. I'm not sure why they didn't shut off their engines unasked, truth be told; the outside temperature was very pleasant, so neither air conditioning or heat could have been called for, and I understand that the radios in modern cars work even when the motor is not running. A while ago listening to baseball on the radio we heard one of those silly "just one thing" environmental tokenism PSAs about not idling your car, and both Leah and I thought it was ridiculous. "If everyone reduces their idling time by five minutes"?! Who could even do that? Unless I'm sitting in traffic I don't idle my car that much in an entire year! (not counting warming up the engine in the winter—which I don't even have to do that much, thanks to the bicycle!). I guess we were wrong; the message is needed.

So yeah, I'm totally smugger-than-thou on this issue and cannot understand why anyone would leave their engine running a second longer than necessary with gasoline at three-and-a-half dollars a gallon. Then again, I can't understand why anyone would buy a SUV-sports car "crossover" either, and yet they continue to be made and purchased, so my views are clearly not universally held. Which I suppose already knew. But at least I saved the world three, maybe even four minutes of pointless automobile exhaust and wasted fossil fuels. And that's only this week: maybe next week I can make it five!

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partners in chaos

Harvey and Rascal have kind of an ambiguous relationship. When he was our only dependent, Rascal was used to nothing but doting care; Harvey's attention is much more of a mixed blessing for the dog. Now that Harvey can run, after a fashion, a new phase has opened up in their interaction. Harvey chases Rascal around the house, which he doesn't like, but he also chases him around outside, which is much more to his taste. There's also the fact that Harvey can open doors; a few days ago, as I was struggling to get the chickens inside, I heard H call from the porch, "Rascal's comin outside!" Thanks, kid.

Twice in the last few days they've managed an even more impressive feat. The yard is now all fenced in, which is why I can be so blasé about Harvey letting Rascal out whenever he feels like, but we do prefer that both of them stay inside the fence. Two days ago and again today they got under the front porch through the open panel inside the fence, which is fine—nice and cool under there—but less fine is that Harvey opened up the lattice on the other side and let the dog out. Rascal was, I'm sure, very grateful, and showed by running all around the neighbors' houses.

On his first attempt Harvey didn't even manage to get out himself: he got one foot through but then the lattice snapped back and he was trapped for who knows how long before we happened to look for him. "I'm stuck!" he said, with some equanimity. After I freed him I made sure to send him back the way he came. He learned from that effort, because today they both got out without a problem and when we looked for them we were surprised to see Harvey sitting calmly on the front steps as Rascal investigated our neighbor's garage.

But they're not in any way fast friends, which I suppose is a good thing. Harvey can get at just about all the food in the kitchen, and he knows that Rascal wishes he could do likewise; if they were really in cahoots we'd have no more bread or cheese or peanuts and sick dog. It just happens that sometimes their interests align. Too bad for us they are both mostly interested in chaos. I don't have any hope for Rascal in this regard, but when do kids start wanting to clean up?

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what we're enjoying these days

Enjoying the cool fall days...

zion enjoying the cold

knit knit knit!

... and the inexplicably warm ones

enjoying outside time in the heat

ahh, new england weather

Enjoying building projects...

chicken coop inside

and letting them sleep out there for the first time with extreme trepidation

...and the ungrateful occupants

chicken outside coop

would still prefer a plastic box in the dining room

Enjoying outings with the family...

family photo

at least our heads are all in the shot

... even if it's hard to capture on film that we're ever in the same place at the same time.

And excited that fall's just beginning!

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What makes a bad day?

Our morning window for doing anything extends between 10 and noon, after Zion's morning nap but before Harvey's lunch and rest. During that window Zion needs a clean diaper at least 3 times and Harvey at least 2. That means a trip to Market Basket must include no less than 5 diaper changes, if we're lucky 2 of them by the car and only 3 of them in the store squatting next to a shopping cart.

This morning it was the library instead of the supermarket. Harvey leaked through his first pair of pants as soon as we arrived and needed a second diaper 30 minutes later, but I missed the moment for the third change and he leaked through his replacement pair of pants. I didn't have a second spare so I took him to the car to bring him home in a diaper. I put Zion in his seat and had Harvey lean against the door. I took off the wet shoes, the wet pants and slipped the diaper off between his legs, which is fine for a wet diaper, but the offending specimen was poopy. And now so was my hand. And the Moby. And the ground. And the side of the car.

The thing about having your hand completely immersed in shit is that the sensation isn't all that unpleasant... it's the smell and the knowledge of the germs that lift the hairs on your neck, but it's not like poop is caustic or even clammy. On its own it's surprisingly not unpleasant. Anyway...

The baby is screaming because he's sleepy and teething and Harvey is screaming that he doesn't want his socks to touch the concrete and I have the epiphany that this isn't just A BAD day, this is EVERY DAY. Every day is tantrums and diaper leaks and kneeling in the parking lot trying to locate the wet wipes. Every day is more hours putting children to bed than hours they actually sleep. Every day is carrot sticks and sandwiches and nursing a child who spits it back up in my face. Every day is 35 wet or poopy diapers that need to pass through my hands.

I could let it bother me or I could not let it bother me.

"This is the gift of God: that everyone may find satisfaction in her toil." (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13, paraphrased.)

Today I'm choosing to take this poopy day, this poopy week, this poopy life and turn it into something that looks more like satisfaction.

Oh, and for the folks coming over my house for dinner tonight, don't worry. I washed my hands at least five times before cooking. And the last time I used dawn dish detergent. A LOT of it.

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Cute things Harvey's said so far today:

"No, Zion doesn't want to sleep! He wants to play and play and play!"

"There's a cat over there looking for something new for himself!"

"I want to be warm and comfy!"

"I got ketchup all over my fingers!"

"Hi Dadda! Mama ate a piece of my sandwich!"

(Hey, Harvey! keep being cute but stop telling on me!)

UPDATED WITH BEDTIME CUTENESS: "Can we go to church after we're all done praying and sleeping?"
Well Harvey, it's Thursday so after we're all done praying and sleeping three more times we can go to church.

this moment

When I read the comments on Soule Mama I lose all will to live—or at least to make any effort at creating a vibrant website that reflects the activities and interests of our family in an entertaining and reliably periodical fashion. So many people writing blogs out there that are somehow more popular than ours by an order of magnitude or two despite each filled with the same inanities as any other. At least our inanities are unique! I am bitter, bitter. I feel the same way when I'm passed by another cyclist.

It's horrible of me, I know: I should be rejoicing in the outpouring of creativity by thousands of people worldwide who want to live a more authentic lifestyle. They're all knitting and baking and getting chickens just like us—and, Leah tells me, moving to farms. Surely this is a good thing? But they're none of them cynical enough for me. Too much woo.

Bah humbug.

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at the dying of the day

Last night we started thinking about going to bed at maybe quarter past seven. Today circumstances have conspired to keep us up somewhat later, but while Leah claims to still have energy to burn I've definitely been ready for a nap since 8:00 at the latest. What can I say: it's dark by then! I take my inspiration from the chickens, who make sure they're up on their roost while they can still see what they're doing, and are sound asleep by full dark. That's the way to be.

I went out to the store about an hour ago—those circumstances again—and I was kind of amazed everything was still open. Twenty of nine! Who on earth is up and about at that hour? Not many Whole Foods shoppers, but apparently enough to make the late closing worthwhile; it's like a whole parallel world I know nothing about.

You might say it isn't that long since I was complaining that there isn't anything to do after 10:00, when just about everything around here is shuttered for the night, but it was long: some 15 years since I roamed the darkened streets of Lexington as an energetic young teenager. More to the point, 15 years and a couple of kids. Plus we're farmers now. Those chickens may go to sleep early, but they're up with the sun! Oh wait, I have to get up like 45 minutes before the sun puts in any kind of appearance these days, don't I. Who knew chickens had it so good?!

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entertaining

I was fortunate today to entertain the very lovely Ms. Helen DeWitt. Helen is in town to promote her newly published novel Lightning Rods, which is wildly diverting. I read it over the course of a weekend while walking around holding a baby, and while breast-feeding, and while pretending to listen to Harvey's monologues. It's really laugh out loud funny, and you should definitely buy it or take it our from your local library. Our Minuteman library network has 6 copies already, but they're all out currently and there are 5 holds on the returning ones. Which is to say you'll have to wait a month if you want to read it for free, so you'd better just buy it now, you stingy Massachusetts puritans.

Oh, unless you're like REALLY puritans. Because there's some sex involved in the story.

We invited Helen over for Passover when she was in town two years ago. The wine was cheap and we didn't have enough food and we had extension cords running through the house down to the basement which was flooding. Also, Harvey screamed for several hours. I remember thinking: I am the least cut out person in the world to offer hospitality to anyone.

And yet, to hear Helen speak of it, it was a very pleasant evening. I don't think there's a moral to the story other than that there is a God, and he is very very gracious.

Speaking of God being gracious, Harvey didn't pitch a fit all day and even regaled Helen with a reading from Kangaroos Have Joeys. Why else do I have children, if not to make them do all the entertaining for me?

If this doesn't just warm your heart you're not picturing his cartoonishly squeaky voice

After putting Zion down for a nap I sit down at the table where Harvey is eating his lunch.

"Good seein you, Mama" Harvey says.
"It's good seeing you too, Harvey" I say.
"Good seein Zion too, and Dadda and Rascal too and chickens too!"

Yes it is. Gosh I love that kid.
I gave him a second cookie for cuteness.

I finished the bible! Good thing that's done.

Last January I made a new-years resolution to read the entire bible cover to cover in one year. I was prompted to do so by reading a book called Radical by David Platt. Truth be told I didn't find its message very radical. He raises the question "What if we actually followed what Jesus said?" to which I say "Great! Let's talk about giving all our money to the poor and forgiving our debtors!" But no, he mostly meant trying to convert people, which is not a very radical message at all. On the contrary. I've heard that one quite a bit before.

But what did snag my attention was one of his action items to a more radical life: read every word of the bible in a year. He asks the question "How could your life NOT be changed by reading every word of God's word?"

How could it not? I'll SHOW you how! Once such a gauntlet was thrown I had a hard time refusing the challenge.

Preconceptions

I felt like I had already read a lot of the bible before. Growing up I attended Hebrew school three times a week, so I felt pretty comfortable with my knowledge of the Genesis stories. I knew the highlights of Exodus: what we learn from Passover and then from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream coat. I knew of the kings Saul, David, and Solomon, their rises to power and the major sins that brought them down (or, whatever, didn't. Biblical history isn't as moralizing as we'd like it to be.) I felt like if you've read three psalms you've read em all. The first three Gospels were things I read recently. The letters I've studied on Wednesday nights.

Revelation was something I never intended to read.

Logistics

The bible has a lot of words in it, some of them interesting. Some of them are numbers, like in the book of Numbers. I read every single number printed in numbers, though I can't say I got anything out of it other than some sort of bizarre pride in my resolute follow-through. I also didn't get much from reading the endless genealogies either, though because I was pregnant during 4 months of this project I did cast about for baby names during the process. (We were set on Zion even before the pregnancy, which was good since I failed to convince Dan that Jubilee was the best female alternative.)

I read the books of the bible in the order in which they appear, because I wanted to read the bible I'm used to and I didn't want to have a study guide or some such thing to lose somewhere and waylay the project. There was only one point when I thought I would never make it through, and that's when I hit the psalms. Leviticus I liked and Numbers I plowed through the way one ploddingly attacks the middle of a marathon, but the psalms just made me want to hit my head against a wall. There's no narrative flow, often not even within a psalm, and they're all so much the same I found it impossible to keep my place from one day to the next. In the end I skipped the book of psalms and went back to finish it last after reading everything else. I innovated my approach by using a tiny stick-it to mark the next psalm I had to read next; that way I could immediately tell where I had to start and prevent the infuriating suspicion that I had read a single psalm twice.

Post-Conceptions

If I had ever had the urge to tell someone "the bible says" before, it is completely gone from me now.

The bible is a very long book which says a very many things, some of which are contradictory. If I were to pick a single commandment-type theme that runs through the bible, it would be this:

DON'T WORSHIP OTHER GODS.

God seems to be pretty set on this point. Don't bow down to idols, stop making idols, seriously you guys stop worshiping idols. By volume, I'd have to wager that this is the most repeated command in the whole bible. Other than that, I'd say the meaning of the commandments are up for discussion.

There are a lot of different books in the bible. They were written by different people. Ezekiel and Revelations were apparently written by paranoid schizophrenics. Some letters ring truer than others. As Shane Claiborne puts it: that's why God invented highlighters.


What's the worst thing in the bible?

A while ago Dan posed the question: What is the worst thing in the bible? I thought of that a bit while reading through the thing, and I've come up with two answers. The most heart-wrenching moment in the bible, for me, is when Abraham sends Hagar into the desert with toddler Ishmael.

When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, "I cannot watch the boy die."
(Genesis 21:15-16)

A week into January I thought: I can't go on. Genesis is too real.

Granted, there are plenty of references later on to women eating their babies or dashing them] against walls, but they're written rather impersonally so we don't feel connected to the characters.

But God ends up saving Hagar and Ishmael, so I think the worst thing in the bible is the list of curses at the end of Deuteronomy which warns what will happen if we don't follow God's law:

You will live in constant suspense, filled with dread both night and day, never sure of your life. In the morning you will say, "If only it were evening!" and in the evening, "If only it were morning!" — because of the terror that will fill your hearts and the sights that your eyes will see. The Lord will send you back in ships to Egypt on a journey I said you should never make again. There you will offer yourselves for sale to your enemies as male and females slaves, BUT NO ONE WILL BUY YOU.

(Deuteronomy 28:66-68) (emphasis mine. Isn't that horrible?)

In Summary

Since I finished in October, I can honestly say that reading the entire bible in a year is not hard. I hope to do it again next year, although I think I'm gonna put in for a different translation on my Christmas list. Sometimes in church we read psalms from "The Message" translation and they seem a whole lot more accessible.

Meanwhile, I have the next two months to work on some other end-of-year goals. Like the Christmas presents. Oh God the Christmas presents.

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oh, those chickens

I think this would be as good a time as any to point out that getting chickens was my idea from the beginning. Since Leah calls them "my chickens"—I mean, she says literally that, meaning of course that they're her chickens—she gets to go check their doors and food and things in the rain and dark, but that doesn't mean I don't care about them. I'm always on the look out for tasty kitchen scraps or extra greens from the garden for them, and yesterday I even brought them an almost-whole pumpkin I spotted in the street on our walk. They were very appreciative, and we didn't see anyone who knew us well enough to ask why I was carrying a smashed pumpkin. Cute little things, chickens. I've already put in my breed requests for the next batch.

marbles make very small bumps in the road

Zion and Harvey in matching fleece pajamas

we need the flash to capture pj shots

Harvey and Zion are best buds so far. Harvey loves giving his little brother toys and kisses and attention, and is always very solicitous of his well being: "Is Zion happy?" is always on his lips, when Zion is indeed happy and also when he's quite obviously not. Perhaps in the latter case it's a bit of wishful thinking. He even doesn't mind being quiet when Zion needs to sleep or losing parental attention when Zion needs that. But it occurs to me that their relationship may soon be in for a bit of a change.

I thought of it when I got home this morning and noticed how many marbles there were on the floor. Harvey, always a fan, got a new bagful at Jo and Eugene's sale yesterday, and today he was enjoying them by dispersing them evenly around the house. I found one in the basement, to give you some extent of his thoroughness. And it's not just marbles that he likes to have convenient and accessible: dime-sized refrigerator magnets, tiny lego pieces, buttons; there's no end to his appreciation of the small and multitudinous.

You see the problem. Zion doesn't move much now, but he's already working on it; working, too, on getting those little fingers together to pick things up (the "put them in the mouth" part is already fully operational). Will Harvey resent having to limit his playtime excesses in the interests of keeping his brother from choking? Only time will tell. In my dreams I imagine that H will have discovered the joys of sorting and organizing by the time Z gets fully mobile, and will delight in putting everything away neatly totally on his own. That's totally possible, right other parents?

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at least Halloween costumes are done...

We have an errand to the toy store that I had planned for today - Zion got two presents which are duplicates of toys he already owns, and I must take them back before their 30-day exchange window runs out. I was all packed to go today, but Harvey screamed and threw a fit. He was not having any part of the toy store; all he wanted in the world was for me to sit at the sewing machine and make him a stuffed pig.

"Let's go to the toy store!" I say excitedly.

"Nooooooooo! I need a piiiiiiig! You made a pig for a baby but now it's gone!!!!"

"Harvey, that pig was for baby Vivian. I'll make you another pig somed—"

"Noooooo! Make it NOW!!!!!!!

"But Harvey, the toy store has trains! I will buy you a train!"

"I already got a train in my basket!" he says tearing up. "I need a piiiiiig!!!!"

This is the monster my hippy values have created. Refuses toy store. Wants nothing more than to sit behind me at the sewing machine.

Also he needed a nap.

Pig pieces are cut now and Harvey is asleep, but Zion is not cooperating. Oh for a bigger studio with room for an exersaucer.

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grumpy thoughts about cycling

I wonder if there's something I'm missing when it comes to cycling properly. The last few days I've seen several other cyclists—cyclists who, from their outfits and expensive rides, seemed likely to know what they were doing—peddling furiously for a few several seconds and then coasting for perhaps twice as long, before repeating the process. I always thought that was the cadence of a youngster on a "bmx" bike, the kind with an unfavorable gear ratio and a too-low seat. On an expensive road bike, not so much. Maybe it's some kind of a warm-up thing? I don't know. I try and keep my cadence as steady as I can, mostly because if I let it slow down too much I'm afraid I'll stop and never be able to get going again.

I don't know enough about the subject to teach it in gym class certainly. If I did I could tell the kiddies that they shouldn't ride on big roads and that they need to wear bright colors on the bicycle. And teach them hand signals! Essential for riding around the block. I suppose that it's nice that the subject comes up at all in the public school, but too me it seems like just another way to make riding a bike strictly a leisure-time activity. These kids should be riding to school! Although maybe not tomorrow; I hear there's snow in the forecast.

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base hoop boy

Harvey is a little confused about sports terminology. Baseball seems to be the template of all sports for him, so when he noticed basketball hoops for the first time he decidedly called them "base hoops" and so they have remained in his lexicon for several months now.

At first I thought he was saying "space hoops" because they were so high up. But when I asked him "space hoop?" he said with a laugh "NOOOOO!"

A basketball is a "base hoop ball."

He declared to Dan recently during a game of catch "We're base hoop men!"

Of course, this can go a little to far. When Harvey re-found his baseball glove he looked at it for a while and then said excitedly, "It's! it's! uh... It's my base hoop mitten!"

early snow

a trace of snow on the grass around the chicken run

just a dusting

We had some snow last night, which was a little startling. Sure it was forecasted, but I had pooh-poohed the prediction so thoroughly I just about put it out of my mind. So we were excited when, about to leave small group, we noticed that the rain had become something much more interesting. Well, most of us were excited, especially the other kids in the group; Harvey, however, wasn't really. I don't think it's that he doesn't like snow particularly, more that it was nearly 9:00 and his sleepy brain couldn't handle any new information. "The snow's fallin on my pajamas!" he wailed as we carried him to the car.

It fell on just about everything, and stuck much more than a first snowfall before the end of October had any right to. On our apple trees, for example, which led me to marvel at how long it's seemed since we planted them in April. How can weeks and months go by so quickly and the year as a whole so slowly? I think feeling like we've had Zion around absolutely forever has something to do with it.

He's obviously too young yet to enjoy the snow much, though he did look delightfully rosy-cheeked after our walk this evening. Harvey I think will come around. There's four to eight inches in the forecast for tomorrow night, if you can believe that, so maybe we'll be able to modify his early opinion with a snowman or two.

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flower sow

So I did end up sewing Harvey that pig he'd whined about on Tuesday. I couldn't put off the project for too long. Cashmere animals... upcycling... who could resist such a request? It's as if he spent the day whining "mama, why can't you spend an evening eating chocolate?"

flower pig from the front

oink

I cut up an old J.Crew sweater, my favorite former sweater, actually, from the days before children. Alas, it was never destined to fit me again. I used to wear a size small, if you can believe it. Even though I've lost all the weight from my second pregnancy, and only 2 lbs to go to my pre-Harvey weight, I will never again be a size small. Something happened to my, er, mid region in the process of having two babies. And now there are too many sweaters waiting to be turned into stuffed animals and far far too few in my drawers. Oh well. At least I get to see this pretty pattern on a daily basis.

flower pig from the side

flower power

Harvey was delighted to meed his new friend on Wednesday morning. Unfortunately he has seen me working on Dan's christmas present lately and started whining for a sweater of his own. Perhaps I can sew him some horses to hold?

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snow joke

the garden (and wheelbarrow) covered with snow

we were almost ready for it

It was supposed to be Halloween today, but it snowed yesterday and a whole lot of things got cancelled. Imagine our surprise!

In fact, we weren't taken completely unaware, since the forecast looked pretty dire. We cleaned up the garden, tried desperately to get the car with passable winter traction running, and made sure to head home in good time after helping the Adamses make their final moving preparations. The rain changed to snow when we were about halfway home.

Harvey with the first snowman of winter 2011-2012

snow pals

As I predicted Harvey was much more appreciative this time, especially when primed with a bedtime reading of The Snowy Day. Yesterday morning dawned bright and clear so we were able to make it to church, and there was still plenty of snow left when we got home for the entertainments pictured above. There's still a fair amount now, in fact, even after a full day of heavy dripping from the eaves. Not enough, though, to explain the continued round of cancellations: I was home from work today, and will be again tomorrow, which is of course wonderful from a family point of view though slightly taxing on the finances.

a downed tree blocking the road

can't go over it, can't go under it...

But there are still things like that clogging up the works everywhere, we understand, not to mention vast swathes of houses and businesses (and schools) without electricity. Not that we're bothered at all: we only lost power for an undetermined but brief amount of time while we were sleeping Saturday night, and while we did have to detour through a muddy dirt parking lot to avoid the particular fallen tree in the photo (and make other divers course corrections as needed for other hazards) we were able to get everywhere we were going without any real trouble.

Unless, that is, you count going to other people's houses to get candy, something that Harvey was particularly excited about. We even practiced at home to make sure he had his "trick-or-treat" down. He did, but at the first house he went to we got the sad news that Halloween has been rescheduled for Saturday. Is that even possible?!

So. Harvey is mollified by one piece of candy from our supply (which has now been opened and so is at risk of not surviving until next weekend...), and I suppose we'll do the whole thing again. I also suppose I'll have to go back to work at some point. But not tomorrow!

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