Tuesday, February 28, 2006

A funny dream and a funny name

When Anna was a baby, I often wondered what her dreams were like. When she started talking, I tried asking her, but "stories that your mind makes up when you are sleeping," is hard for toddlers to conceptualize.

This morning when I went to wake her up, she was sitting up in bed with tousled hair and an anxious expression. "Mommy, I had a bad dream." I held her close to comfort her, and she was all sleepy-warm. "There was a snake and it was chasing me and Daddy around the house." I'm afraid she has inherited a snake fear from her Oma. "There was one happy part, though; Daddy put fire on it and killed the snake. He put it in the compost pile and it couldn't hurt us anymore because of the fire."

Colin has taken to calling me by a shortened name repeated numerous times when he wants to tell me something. Instead of Mommy he says, "Mah-ee," or "Mai" (rhymes with Thai) if he gets going really fast. As in, "Mah-ee, Mah-ee....Mai Mai Mai, look at me!" "Mai Mai Mai, its a big truck! An, an, and a trainT!!!!"

Monday, February 27, 2006

I'm Tired

I worked today, as a favor for a nearby clinic. I don't usually work on Mondays, but this clinic is close by the house. Anna thought it was great, because I dropped her off on my way to work (usually I leave way too early so Anthony has to do it). I also came and ate lunch with her.

I really like eating lunch at her school. All the kids sit at their little desks and they are so quiet! They had set up a little desk for me next to hers. I sat on the miniature chair with my knees bumping the desk, eating my sandwich. Anna whispered to me about her "lessons" and what we had to do after lunch. It is amazing what these kids do at Montessori school! They clear their plates, throw away the trash, get a small white broom and dustmop and clean the crumbs off their table, wipe down their table with a small sponge, dry the table with a small cloth, get a large blue broom and dust mop and sweep up the crumbs under the table, then sit and wait to be excused! Anna proudly told me what to do, and some of her friends rushed to get us supplies (sponges and brooms, etc).

She loved having me there, and kissed my hand several times, then told me when it was time for me to go. She gets so in "school mode," its almost like she's under mind control when she's there.

After her dad picked her up, they stopped by the clinic where I was working, and she got a tour of the hospital and a chocolate kiss - when offered a second chocolate, she said, "I'll give it to my little brother!" Anna saved them both until after dinner then proudly brought them out in the little vet clinic bag and gave one to Colin. She ate hers in little nibbles; he popped the whole thing in his mouth. Great way to end the day - with a kiss.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Blog Hijacker

Anyone who reads my comments section has virtually met my Auntie Norma through her colorful and chatty opinions of my posts. She is a vibrant character, life of the party, great singer, and was a knock-out back in the day. I love this picture my parents took of her on their last trip to England. Look at her, she is so full of laughter she can hardly contain herself!

Auntie Norma

At work there has been a lot of sadness. The parvo puppy we treated all week was euthanized on Monday. This disease breaks my heart. The owners of this dog picked out this puppy from a shelter - it was to be their young son's first dog. 2 days after they brought him home, he started getting sick and needed to be hospitalized. The days I cared for him, it was obvious that he was a sweet little dog, responding to affection when he obviously felt like total crap. They made the right decision to euthanize him when it was obvious he wasn't improving, but it totally sucks - they spend hundreds of dollars on him, he spent the last week of his life in an isolation ward, and now they can't get another puppy because their house is likely infected with the virus (an adult dog might be OK). Also, one our receptionists had her adorable and well-loved Yorkie escape and he was run over by a car. On Tuesday I had to euthanize a cat that the young college girl had since 5th grade. We tried for several days but I could not make him get better.

Seeing Norma's picture, imagining her laughing, and reading her comments all bring a smile to my face.

PS Montana continues to have a good month.

Monday, February 20, 2006


This month marks one year that I've been keeping my blog. When I started, I put a lot of thought into what I wanted my blog to be and what audience I had in mind. I didn't think about how much time I would spend on it, or how much pleasure I would get out of keeping it. It has been a great way to keep in touch with relatives near and far - much better than sending out a random email from time to time. This way, people can check it when they feel like it.

I mostly like the record of daily life it gives me. When I go back and read entries, even from just 3 months ago, I've already forgotten those cute things the kids said, or moved on from the veterinary cases I shared. I also love the dialogue its inspired, from fellow bloggers with similar perspectives, or from my relatives across the pond.

This month also marks the 1 year anniversary of our acquisition of that debonair feline, Claudio. I love this guy so much, he was exactly the cat I was looking for. I knew the right cat would come into our home and the right time, as this one did with little help from Kareen - she is the one who rescued him and brought him in for me to neuter and hopefully adopt - grazie/thanks!

Tonight he curled up in Anna's lap for the first time, and she was so tickled!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Its not with the prius, but

Slightly scary self portrait. See, straight bangs, curly hair. For you Steph!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Project Completed

Anthony and Uncle Volker have been busy. They built this compost system, according to plans seen on Gardening By the Yard. Anthony still watches this corny show on HGTV every weekend. There are three bins divided by welded wire mesh, so you can have coarse, medium, and finished compost. The front doors are removable so you can easily turn the compost.

They also rented a sod cutter and removed a large section of time- and water-consuming grass, extending our herb/flower bed. Then they filled it in with crushed granite. The compost bins fit in this beautiful new bed.

I am very excited about the new compost, as our current pile is in a deep plastic bin in the chicken coop - hard to get to, impossible to turn, and not easy to utilize the completed product which is always on the very bottom. Also, there will be plenty of room for large amounts of compost, therefore no more piles of plastic bags full of rotting leaves in the corners of our yard. Last year when our neighbors were throwing all this organic matter away, Anthony volunteered to take them, and thought it would be great to just let them compost away - prebagged as they were - until the next season when he could use them. Seriously.

Danke schoen, Volker!

New compost system.

Chickens by the old compost bin.

Mountain Laurel. Its in early bloom, much to the bees' delight. Smells like grape CoolAid.

Cabbages - the only thing growing in our garden currently.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Catch Up

Hey, guys, sorry I've been out... We've been hosting Anthony's mom and his Uncle Volker from Germany. Volker is one of my favorite people on this earth, and it just doesn't seem like when someone from that far away is visiting that you should spend your evenings blogging.

We've gone a little crazy in the Hybrid department, too. We got a Toyota Prius. We figured out that if Anthony turns his company car in and charges the company for miles, we actually make money on a hybrid. And we can feel better about our lack of pollutants. So, now we have 4 cars in the driveway - the Highlander, the Prius, the old van (clean and waiting to be sold), and the old company car (to be picked up next week, good riddance).

4 cars, 4 people - the American way, right? Actually, I can't believe we have 2 NEW cars! 2 Hybrids! A co-worker said to me, "The only way you could be more virtuous (cue angel music) is if you buy all your meat at Whole Foods, because they support humane slaughter."

Anthony and Volker have been working on a new compost system for our backyard. All day Sunday they worked on their project while I watched the kids. Normally, this would be something I would look forward to after a few working days except this day the kids were AWFUL! They were whining and crying, sometimes in unison all day. I had to go to the grocery store with them, a chore I usually avoid at all costs on Sundays, but I had no choice since it was our turn to buy Snack for the week for Anna's school. The store was of course crowded with grumpy people pushing hugely laden carts, while my kids whined for candy (which we never buy!) and argued about who go to hold the cracker box. There were 2 cracker boxes, and they both wanted to hold the one the other had. Finally, I put both boxes into the cart and pushed the wailing children through the aisles. Later at home, Anna and I did a neat cooking project that she'd seen on ZOOM - it was fruit smoothie popsicles. After we stacked them all in the freezer, she threw herself on the floor in full blown tantrum because she couldn't eat them NOW! Never mind my clever unbaked cake analogy - she wanted to eat her raw popsicles RIGHT AWAY! What a way to drain all the fun out of a Sunday afternoon project - just in time for all the clean up. Colin refused to nap. It was a day of nonending demands, all proceeded with, "Mommy,..."

Calgon, take me away!
At the end of the day, I asked Anthony if my ears were bleeding. Concerned, he checked my lobes, asking if Anna had pulled my earring. "No," I said, "My ears hurt from listening to them WHINE and CRY all day!" If you can get a sinus headache, I had a brat earache. Anth laughed, and Volker said maybe it was the full moon.

Actually, I think it was the lack of sleep from having fun visitors all weekend. Things are better since the routine (early to bed/early to rise) has been reestablished.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Truth or Consequences

Last week we were driving home from Anna's school, and she said, "We went down on the slide backwards, and that's against the rules."

"And what was the consequence of that?" I asked her.

"What does KWON-SE-KWENSE mean, Mommy?" she said. So, I explained to her the consequence of some of her actions at home, how it is the result of something that you do, or don't do. I asked her if she understood, and she said yes.

"So, what was the consequence of going down the slide the wrong way?"

"The kwonsequence was we had to sit on the bench, and that is boring and NO FUN." Ah yes, well put.

Tonight, she wasn't allowed to have more water at bedtime unless she peed in the toilet. She tried, but couldn't produce anything.

"What is the consequence of that, Mommy?" she asked me.

Oh sweetheart, good use of that word in a sentence, but I still can't give you any more water!

Monday, February 06, 2006


Colin is going through all kinds of new things. Today was the first day spent entirely in big-boy underpants. For the non-parent types, that first venture out of the house without diapers on is a little scary. But Colin does well as long as you sit him on the potty every 30 minutes or so. After that you risk an accident, even through the plastic training pants I bought him. He still only asks to use the potty if he's naked. We are definitely making progress, though!

We also switched him (finally) from the crib to the big bed, mostly because he was climbing out of the crib, sometimes with perilous results. Last night was the first night, and he cried a little for his crib (unfortunately still in view) but pretty quickly went to sleep. He only got up once in the middle of the night, but that was because he was soaking wet.

Tonight's been a little bit different story - he's gotten up numerous times. The lure of all those toys and books is just so tempting. Oops - just checked again, and he was actually still in bed this time. Hopefully he'll drop off soon.

The inspiration for Colin's name came from my father's brother; we chose his name to reflect my English heritage, as Anna reflects Anthony's German heritage. Colin was a name I heard a lot growing up, and I always liked the sound of it. After we chose it for my son, my father said how nice it was to hear a familiar name again from his childhood - he and Uncle Colin were closest in age and played together a lot as youngsters.

Sadly, my Uncle Colin died early Sunday morning. He'd had a lifetime of illnesses, and it was a blessing he was able to live so long. He was able to come home from hospital before he died, and his wife and daughter were with him. My thoughts and prayers are with you, Paula, and to your mum and Billy. Also, deepest sympathies to my dad and Auntie Norma.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

New 'Do

I got my haircut yesterday, for the first time in many moons -- it made me think of my sister Steph, whose French hairdresser told her, "You really needed zee haircut."

I went to a new stylist, and she was great. She gave me some style which I was severely lacking. But she did say my bangs were "dating" me. She said, "Promise me you'll do them straight - no more bubble bangs!"

Sheesh! Actually, she was really nice, and gave me lots of tips for fixing my hair, although it remains to be seen if I can actually reproduce the style at home.

Mostly, I did not want to become like another mom vet at my work, who got a really great haircut but then did not cut a hair again for at least 2 years! It grew from her collar down to waistline, and we insisted it needed a trim, but she said she decided that out of protest she wouldn't cut it again until Bush was out of office! Fortunately, she reneged on that pledge a few months ago.