Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ode to Ophelia

Throughout this blog I've talked about Emerson's flu, her struggles, our relationship, her Christmas gifts, her school, her well being, etc... Did I ever mention I have another child? The little fuzzy one in the background of all the photos, looking silly? Did I mention she had the flu too? And that she celebrated her first birthday since I've started this blog? A thus far undocumented birthday.

A rushed birthday celebration that we sandwiched in between holiday preparations. (Her birthday was the day before Thanksgiving this year) Here she is taking a bite of her last minute, throw-together carrot cake. Click the photo, then on to the turkey...I am a second child too, so you would think I'd try to compensate for it, but I don't. Teeth show up in her mouth without me realizing it. I don't have a sheet of paper on the fridge (and subsequently for her baby book - what baby book?) with all her first words. Her early life is not overly documented via photos or videos. I think I even said to my brother one time after setting Ophelia on the kitchen floor - with no toys - "don't step on Ophelia." But is any of this really a bad thing? I turned out ok. And my brother - frankly - is insane. Self-proclaimed, and in a good way most of the time, but insane just the same. And don't take my word for it, just look at this photo of him with my niece (also a second born)...
Anyway, I have no doubts that Ophelia is doing fine. I do feel guilty about her getting lost in the shuffle a lot of the time, but I think the benefit that her life is not overly scrutinized (as Emerson's still is - poor Emerson)

balances out the score. Ophelia is perfectly happy to toddle about entertaining herself. She's into everything all the time in a way that Emerson never was, and is a lot more physically able and determined than Emerson was. It's amazing to have two children who are so different in every way, but not surprising, and it is great the way they complement each other. And although Ophelia often times seems to be in charge, she loves her big sister, and wants to emulate her every move.
Ophelia has a sweet side. She loves babies.
And books. "Eeh?" is her favorite thing to say, which means -do this for me. Read me a book, hold my hand, turn me around, give me a cracker. And she's always in motion. Here she comes with a book...
She's a sweetie, and she's bright,
but mostly, she's just plain FUNNY. She's so funny and crazy with her noises and her big belly and her stomping around. We thought Emerson was silly, but no one tops Ophelia in this category.

She's our goofy little baby, who has turned into a toddler overnight. Her silliness is now balanced with tantrums, and she likes to be in the middle of everything. She's no longer content to sit on the sidelines. She's making her presence felt, and I'm excited to see who she will become over the next year. We love you Ophelia! We're so lucky you're here!

Sunday, March 7, 2010


When we told Emerson we were moving into this house last summer, she was pretty hesitant to leave the two little girls who lived downstairs. She kept saying things like "I don't want our own house. I like to share a house." We couldn't blame her. There is nothing better than running into your yard and having two friends waiting for you. So we came up with the best response we could: "At our new house, you can have a CAT!" (We couldn't have pets at the apartment)

So after months of putting off the promise, we came through for Emerson. Sparkle Elsley has arrived.
As far as I can tell, "Elsely" is after Emerson's best friend, whose last name is "Hensley." We don't know if they'll be such good friends next year, but the legacy will live on as long as our cat does.Getting an animal has actually been in the cards for a while. We were just waiting for the time to be right. I think it's so important for children to have beloved pets when they are growing up. All the adults I have met who didn't grow up with animals seem to be missing something in the compassion department, and when you lack compassion for something more helpless than yourself.... You get my drift.

That said, it's Matty and I that are really having our compassion meters tested lately. From her meowing all night long on her first few nights here, (which we expected) to her peeing all over our clothes, bed, and walls, (which we didn't) I think we have both had moments when we wanted to pack her back up in her kitty-carrier and send her down the river.

But the kids love her (of course they do - they don't have to clean up after her) and she is a very sweet one. So after a couple of vet bills, three different kinds of litter, and blocking off areas of our house temporarily, I put my foot down. I like having a cat around, but I'm never going to be someone who buys cat magazines, takes my cat on vacation, sends photos of the cat dressed as a reindeer to friends at Christmas-time, buys clothes for the cat, takes the cat on walks, etc... The cat will use the litter we chose, eat the food we chose, not jump on the table or counters, not scratch the kids, and not pee in the plants. Take it or leave it.

I think she has chosen to take it, because we haven't had problems for a week or so. As Emerson said to Matty the other day. "Daddy, now there are five of us in the family."
As for the trees - there is no logging truck in our driveway to date. We can still hope for a cold snap - it is, after all, only the beginning of March - but we may have to live another summer in tree limbo. I have to admit that I've been enjoying the warm weather just as much as the next person. I'll never be one to kick a gift horse in the mouth.
Ophelia has been enjoying her new boots - almost as much as she enjoys saying "BOOTS!" She still has a little trouble walking in them though...
This weather also makes me look forward to summer - a time that is less structured. School and swimming and music and all that stuff is nice, but after doing it all for the entire school year, it's nice to just nice to wake up in the morning and have nowhere to be.

And the house is coming along. We've been working on the kitchen lately - I'm not sure what Ophelia is going to do when she can't sit in the cupboards anymore.
Love that ugly linoleum! But it's going to have to stay for now, because the beach calls...

And who needs a sling when you can just use a blanket?

Monday, March 1, 2010

What Winter?

Am I the only person in this neck of the woods that thinks we got the shaft on winter this year? I remember it being really cold for a few weeks around the holidays, and I can count the number of snowstorms we had on one hand. Since mid- January it's felt like spring was just around the corner, and now we're heading into March and it feels like April. I'm sure a lot of people will want to punch me in the face for saying this (all those people who I've heard say they are ready for winter to end) but can we just have one month of regular winter here? I'm not ready for spring on the first of March.

Although I really would like some more time for winter sports (Emerson had her first ski trip two weeks ago, which went well - being slammed in the face with a moving j-bar aside) I also have an ulterior motive for wanting winter to hang on a little bit longer. After six months of waiting and planning - conversations and meetings with the Department of Conservation, hoping a logger would take our job, finding a logger that could move our wood, getting cutting plans approved by the state and the conservation committee, running it past all the neighbors, finding out our property boundaries, blah - we FINALLY have a logger coming over to thin out the trees on our property and let in some sunshine! But the ground has to be frozen for him to start and finish. It will be a race, even if we do get another cold snap. I know I can deal with one more summer in a leaf cave with a moss yard and a moss roof, but I would really prefer it if I didn't have too.

So bye-bye trees. You are lovely, but there are just too many of you. Hopefully the logger doesn't take you all. (Or take all the nice hardwood and leave us with a bunch of dark pines...)

And Emerson would like to try out her brand new size 12 ice skates too. (I've been cramming her toes into her old ones all season). Here are some photos from skiing.

As usual, I have to give a huge shout out to my dad, who pulled Emerson up the hill about a hundred times after her j-bar fiasco. "This is how real Vermonters learn anyway. Who needs a fucking j-bar?" Emerson is still telling people she used the "Poppy j-bar".Weeeeeee....

Although I don't want winter to end just yet, there has been spring and summer talk around our house as of late. (Which is what March should be - April is the "doing" month, March is still the planning stage) We're starting to lay out what our outdoor projects are going to be this year, and although both of us would love to do a lot of planting, I think that's going to have to wait at least until next year. We have to wait and see if the logger can finish the job this year, and then we'll have A LOT of clean up to take care of, and a lot of watching the sun and the land to see where the most viable place to plant will be. In the meantime, we'll be building a french drain along the front side of our house to keep the water out of the basement, and building a play-scape for the girls. So this year it will be a few herbs and tomatoes and lots of farm share for us!

We're also starting to think about where we want to go on vacation this year. We had such a great time last year, that it will be hard to recreate, but we're going to try! We'll definitely be camping for two weeks again, it's just a matter of where, and of balancing out a place that offers something for the adults and the kids. We were thinking of going to Canada again - northern Quebec this time - or down to Tennessee/North Carolina way. But that all could change...

There is so much more to say, but I'm going to uphold some more of my un-resolutions: spending very little time on the computer - which really contradicts my "blog every week" un-resolution doesn't it? - and go to bed before I fall down from exhaustion. There's more to life...

I do have to say that we are once again upping the ante on home improvements. I walked into our house after being in Vermont for the week and it was NOT great to be home. I already have Matty following through on his kitchen cabinet plan. (And to his credit, he did finish painting our bedroom and our bedroom closet while I was gone)

Sleeping downstairs has made some room for unpacking a little bit more. Emerson's room has transformed to a guest room/office. Progress is slow.
But it is progress.