Monday, February 28, 2011


We have lived through February. Well, we've still got a few hours to go, but it looks like we shall survive them. DOB got back from his trip OK, I went on my trip OK, I'm still waiting to hear that I'm an official lawyer and hoping the word comes soon.


We had snow last week. Multiple times. This is wrong, wrong, wrong for the end of February. It's crocus and daffodil-shoot time! The ducklings still had a good time in the snow (except for D3, who had a good time coming back inside and curling up under a blanket).


We are starting to house-hunt and working on persuading mortgage companies that we are good, steady sort of people despite the gaps in our employment history. This is definitely the wrong time of year to look at bank-owned houses in the dark and the cold.


It has been brought to my attention that I am posting all the cute kid stuff on Facebook these days. This is not really because I don't like blogging anymore, but because I don't have to think up a title on Facebook. Or feel like I'm making it too short if I only post a two-sentence conversation. Nonetheless, here is an accumulation for those who would like to see it:

D1 & D2: "Hey, we found some full bottles of whiskey!" Me: "Those are *empty* bottles of *sparkling cider*." I think they've been reading too much Tintin.

D1's proposed science experiment: "I think we should all get olives or oranges on our fingers and see who can poke through the fastest."

Today in church I learned that my new square-heeled pumps are exactly the right height to serve as garages for Hot Wheels.

Beauty tip: The day of an important formal dinner is probably not the best time to make multicolored playdough with your kids.

D4: I'm not going to cry at AWANA. Crying is for naptime and bedtime.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

D2 Quantifies His Hunger

D2: "I am hungrier than 100 wolves!"

QOC: "What about 101 wolves?"

D2: "I am as hungry as 101 wolves."

DOB: "What about 102 wolves?"

D2: "They would be hungrier than me."

(I'm thinking if the meal had been potato soup instead of spaghetti he would only have been as hungry as, say, three wolves.)

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

What a Day Looks Like

At least, a day like today . . .

6 a.m. DOB's alarm goes off. He hits snooze a couple of times, then gets up. I get up, get dressed and go upstairs to fix his breakfast (two egg sandwiches on rye, to go, plus an orange); pack his lunch (yesterday's leftovers); start the skillet granola for the kids' breakfast; remember that it's my day to fix supper, panic, consider the leftovers, then start a big pot of black beans to go with the eight cups of leftover rice; and start fixing cheese sandwiches for lunch. Wonder why I always wind up trying to cook three meals at once.
6:30 a.m. DOB grabs his breakfast and lunch and leaves. I sneak back to my room and hide out on the computer until
7:30 a.m. when the noise of ducklings playing in the living room becomes too loud to avoid. I get up and change and dress the twins and convince the big kids to make their beds and get dressed. D2 decides to wear a hooded t-shirt--backwards.
8 a.m. We eat breakfast downstairs (The skillet granola didn't turn out very well today--I don't think I should let the oil and honey heat in the skillet before the oats.) Various meltdowns over who gets how many seconds of which items. We have morning prayers and I tell them the story of the Transfiguration.
8:45ish I take the breakfast dishes back upstairs and clean things up. D4 follows me and races his bike all morning. The other three are busy downstairs, doing something that does not involve screaming, so I don't investigate. Hooray for me, I remember to turn the beans off so they don't burn while we're gone.
9:45ish We get socks and shoes and jackets on and get in the van. Wednesday is our running errands day, but we have a short list today, so we're getting a late start.
10:10ish We arrive at the library. I decide to park between the library and the waterfront park (they're a block apart) since we are having a picnic at the park afterwards. We fill our bag with reserves, then head back to the children's section. D1 selects some more fairy tales (as always); D2 decides he wants books about sea creatures and then spots The Lorax and is lost to the world. D3 and D4 play with the puzzles and pull board books off the shelf.
10:50ish I notice that the children's section of the library is starting to smell really bad. I notice that it is coming from D4's direction. I decide it is time to head back to the van.
11:00 We finally make it to the front desk and I check out. The librarian gets her day's amusement watching me try to get the right coat back on the right kid and rouse D2, who is now lying on the floor in the middle of the library reading The Lorax.
11:05 We walk the half-block out to the van, hauling a very full library bag and a couple of extra stacks, only to realize that I left the purse at the counter in the library. I briefly consider leaving the bag by the van (it's a sunny, dry day), consider the awful consequences if someone made off with them, and haul the full bag, two extra stacks, and four kids all back to the library. The smiling librarian hands over my purse.
11:10 We get back to the van and I realize I never brought the diaper bag at all. Fortunately I also never clean out the van, and there's a stray diaper and some paper towels that will serve.
11:20 We finally make it to the park with our lunch and a large bag of stale bread for the birds. We suddenly become the most popular people at the park as birds gather around looking for bread and children gather around looking for bread to give to the birds.
11:50 We eat our lunch. (Toasted cheese, peppers, apples)
12:00 We head back to the car via the beach. D4 is still freaked out by the beach after we nearly got caught by the rising tide last fall. We all take note of bird footprints in the sand.
12:20 We get to the grocery store to pick up the week's supply of milk, plus bananas on general principles and avocados and spinach to go with supper. D4 insists on getting a car cart.
1:00 We pick up the regular babysitter (shall we call her MP, for Mary Poppins?) who comes on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons. I am deeply grateful to have someone of sufficient stature to help with hauling everything in.
1:30 The older ducklings are already playing The Adventures of Robin Hood on CD while they cut pictures out of magazines; MP is getting the twins ready for naps. I retire to my room. Over the next three and a half hours, I do two hours of legal work, plus a small amount of napping, reading (A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink, not as great as its back represents but has some interesting further reading recommendations), laundry folding, and checking message boards. I consider going for a walk, but figure I have had lots of fresh air and walking today.
5:00 I head upstairs to fix supper. The twins are back up and MP has organized a game of hide and seek.
6:00 We sit down to supper (black beans with rice, hardboiled eggs, steamed spinach, guacamole, orange slices) with Their Majesties; they will take MP back home on their way to visit Her Majesty's parents.
6:45 DOB pulls in as we are clearing the supper dishes. He walks in and settles the crisis that has arisen while he is walking in the door (D2 has knocked down D4's sofa cushion fort); when he heads downstairs D2 and D4 commence to happily building forts together. I bring him his supper downstairs and go back up to do the dishes. D1 gets her pajamas on right after supper since it is her night to have a special play time with DOB. D3 starts coloring, then gets annoyed when her hands get covered with ink and soaks her dress washing it off.
7:20 I finish the dishes and persuade D4 to accompany me downstairs; D1, D2, and D3 are all piled on the loveseat reading new library books. D3 apparently has already memorized Each Peach Pear Plum from someone reading it to her. DOB finishes his supper and he and D1 go off to race cars. I get the other three ready for bed and read to them.
7:50 We have evening prayers and tuck everyone into bed.
8:00 I fix dessert and tea for me and DOB. I start writing this.
9:00 We should have already quit and headed for bed by now.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011


Various Things

D4 is enraptured with the William Blake poem, "The Tyger." We borrowed a book from the library that included it along with a vivid illustration of a tiger, and now he begs for it, "Tiger tiger burning bright, in da forest of da night!" However, trying to explain poetic imagery to a curious but literal-minded 2 and a half year old is a challenge.

Blake: "Tyger, tyger, burning bright/In the forest of the night."
D4: You said bright! It's not bright!
QOC: Well, it's bright orange.
Blake: "What immortal hand or eye/could frame thy fearful symmetry? In what distant deeps or skies/burnt the fire of thine eyes?"
D4: You said fire! There's no fire!
QOC: Well, the tiger kind of looks like a fire.
Blake: (continues on to the end of the poem.)
D4: Read it again!

D4 also believes he, personally, owns the Eiffel Tower and has climbed it many times. He talks about it in long, convoluted stories that we can barely follow. If it turns up in a picture in a book (which it does often, because we're studying France right now), he won't let us ever turn the page again.

Thanks to some good friends, we got some amazing portraits of the ducklings last weekend, which I will post when I get around to it. What amused me was the way the different ducklings reacted to the picture shoot. D1 was cooperative, but stiff. The photographer started asking her about her favorite story (Cinderella) and she immediately became relaxed and animated for some great shots. D2 was somewhat abstracted, and when the photographer started asking him about Robin Hood, he became so abstracted he could hardly look at the camera. D4 was cooperative but clueless. D3 sat down on the stool, tipped her head just so, and smiled her most photogenic smile.

Sadly, DOB's grandfather died last weekend. He has flown out there for the funeral (and, conveniently, his sister's wedding and the brotherly Super Bowl bash). Well, actually he's flying to Minneapolis this morning and then hoping they start flying planes into Ohio again sometime soon. They keep canceling his flight and moving it later owing to the blizzard. B5 is flying back with him.

I'm going to be taking a course in Seattle in two weeks that will allow me to get my active law license back. It's an intense two-day course meant to be almost as annoying as retaking the bar exam. With that and the trip to Ohio, DOB and I will be apart nearly as much this month as we have in our previous seven and a half years.