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The communicative baby

Snow days are supposed to be really hard for parents unused to spending all day every day at home with their kids who can’t get outside and run around as much as they normally would. This week hasn’t been without its frustrations–Spouse and I still need to get work done–but as the week has gone on, both kids have become increasingly chilled out. Nuala is back to finding her own fun most of the time and the baby is napping better than she ever has. It’s enough to contemplate quitting one’s job and home-schooling. …OK, not really. But it has been awfully nice to spend so much time with them. We get to see lots of Bea, who is getting more intentional and communicative every day. She does call and response with whomever is in the other room. She knows everyone’s name and lots of key words like “nurse” (which elicits the response of clawing and burrowing into my chest and sometimes planting her mouth on any bare skin visible, including my face). She loves to “flop” on the couch, throwing herself down on the cushions when you ask her if she’s going to flop. She crawls toward the bathroom and looks back at you, knowing she’s going to hear, “No, no, no!” and as soon as she does, she shakes her head no. The head-shaking is particularly adorable and I thought you should see it:

Snowpocalypse 2015

Friends, we have had a lot of snow. More snow than this area ever gets. We also live near the top of one of the biggest hills in town and fine sledding can be had within a 5-minute walk. It’s a steep hill and there are some interesting obstacles to heighten the difficulty and danger of reaching the bottom unscathed. Also, the bottom of the hill is a street. Most sledders end up in it, but fortunately this week the streets have been pretty impassable by car so there haven’t been any casualties of that sort.

Being in town, it attracts a motley crew of older teens and young twentysomethings with poor judgment and intense thirst (this explains the slew of beer cans and bottles left at the top of the hill). They were out on the first day, Tuesday, so we waited until Wednesday to sled, when it was good and windy (wind chills below zero, but my girl is intrepid and had lots of layers under ski pants and a water-resistant puffy coat), too unpleasant for half-drunk thrill-seekers. We didn’t have a sled since every store in town had completely sold out of sleds, shovels, and any other winter survival gear, but the aforementioned college students had left sled detritus of varying quality on the top of the hill. Among the trash was a cracked disc sled that, as far as I was concerned, was still perfectly usable. Having spent decades honing my skills on Mom and Dad’s huge hill with all kids of sledding material, I positioned my rear end on the disc just so, had Nuala sit on my lap, and away we went. We got 6 or 7 good runs down the hill, losing another piece on every pass, until the sled broke apart into pieces too small for me to balance on. Luckily, we are pals with a guy who was able to snag a shovel AND a sled for us when he was out and about in the afternoon so we got to enjoy a little more action before the deep freeze settled over town from Wednesday afternoon to Friday morning.

We waited until Friday afternoon, when the temperature got all the way up to the low 20s, to get back out on the hill. After a few death-defying trips down, Nuala and I figured it was time for her to try it on her own. We moved to a less dangerous part of the hill and let ‘er rip. Be advised that the action ended fine–my battery just crapped out at the precise moment when she came to a stop.

Her method of stopping is “starfish.” I like it.

I haven’t been able to run all week, but the severity of our weather helped convince me that an enforced rest week wasn’t such a big deal after all. Yesterday helped cement that perspective, since I got a glimpse of what I’ve been aiming for with all the running, biking, swimming, Jillian-ing, and general working out I’ve done over the last several years: being fit enough to play with an energetic kid as she grows up and becomes more energetic. I pulled her up the hill in the sled several times and never really broke a sweat. We ran up the hill several times and it was no bigger deal for me than it was for her, and she’s a perpetual motion machine. I don’t think I could have done that if I’d gotten my training runs in this week, so I’m going with “blessing in disguise.”

Temperatures are rising, but the weather will continue to be nasty in different ways throughout the weekend so I’ll miss my 14-mile long run tomorrow. Hopefully the rain will melt the snow before Tuesday morning, so even if it’s bitter cold again at 5am I’ll be ready to get back on track with my training plan. The snow has been tons of fun but I’m ready for spring.

Princess Tea

Before a foot of snow dropped on us, we froze our bundoons off getting to the annual Princess Tea at Christ Episcopal Church downtown. Girls from the local high school dress up as Disney princesses and take turns performing their signature song while little girls run around in princess attire (or something like princess attire), fueled by delicious snacks and sweets. The best part is that most of them know each other so you can let them run while you catch up with their moms.

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Of course the highlight was the finale, when “Elsa” sang “Let it Go” and tossed glitter “snow” out onto the crowd of squealing little girls. I told another mom it was like the reverse of a Tom Jones concert, substituting glitter for panties. I am nothing if not classy.

Nuala got a handful of glitter:

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DSC_0097And got to play with her best friend:

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And see my friend Cheryl who was there as a volunteer in her beautiful Indian getup:

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Bird feeder. Sorta.

The girl next door loves birds and Nuala loves the girl next door, so Nuala now loves birds. The girl next door let her borrow a book about backyard birdwatching. In this book was a picture of a platform bird feeder that Nuala saw and asked, “Mom! Can you build me this?!” Some scrap lumber in the basement, a couple of power tools and a half hour resulted in this:

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It’s not pretty, but it is functional, and now we have birds to watch out the back door!

January 23 snow

The night before the morning we headed to Louisville to celebrate a late Christmas, it snowed. Our backyard is fantastic in the morning regardless of weather, but it was really something in snow.

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Things she says

A few weeks ago, I had an 8×10 printed of this photo:

DSC_0228That’s Spouse, his little brother, and the beloved family dog Kelly. It’s now sitting on the piano ready to go up on display if and when I get the chance to hammer some picture hangers into the wall. Nuala has taken a liking to the photo, mostly because it’s a dog making a funny face. She asked Spouse about Kelly, how old she was, and whether she’d died already. Spouse said yes, regrettably, Kelly had died a long time ago.

Without missing a beat, Nuala asked, “Did you see her bones?”

Because when animals die, you get to see their bones. Like the dinosaurs, I guess. Anyway, it felt pretty good to laugh until I cried.

Repeating actions on purpose:

And dancing:

Oh, I cannot tell you how much I love the dancing.

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