Saturday, November 28, 2009

O Tannenbaum!

One of my traditions is to have the Christmas decor up and lit the day after Thanksgiving. I love to extend the Christmas season as long as possible. Having a grandchild (and now two!) has made the holiday magical again. I like to load every possible half inch of our skinny tree with merriness.
Of course this is a regular Grandparent tree. See the mitten that was Helena's? And the purple ornament she made us? Next weekend we will probably start the Christmas crafting with her. Like all good grandparent trees the branches are full of things she knows and the dancers and fun things are at the bottom of the tree where she can see them.

Next year will be completely different because Miles will be more aware and crawling--or maybe even walking. That will alter the position of ornaments again :)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Who's been sleeping in my bed?

We have always sacrificed things to our kids and animals. Like our bedroom. It's a room where the only thing you can do is sleep because it is filled with three big dog crates--that the dogs actually use. We rarely have to close the doors on the crates. They just like to go in there to feel safe sometimes when I vacuum or there is a thunderstorm or I am using a kitchen appliance. The dog that rarely feels the need to hide away is Seamus so it surprised me when I found him napping in the bedroom---IN TEDDY'S BED. Teddy has the biggest crate because of his hip. Not sure if that was the allure or Seamus just liked sleeping near his buddy's scent. I hated to chase him out but Teddy needs his safe space much more than Seamus needs his squatter rights protected.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dog Ball

I was sick all of us last week which meant I had two very bored puppies at home. Fortunately Katie and Natalie were kind enough to play Dog Ball with the boys.
Seamus becomes so happy he squeals and whines with joy.
Teddy however, prefers to preen and poise. He likes to remind the girls: "I have a ball and you don't!"

Not Seamus--he will retrieve and drop the ball for anyone with those wonderful opposable thumbs that allow them to throw that ball.
Thanks girls for exercising the boys!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Something told the Wild Geese...

There's a great song/poem I like this time of year; it tends to be included in Christmas albums although actually it is a more about the autumn season. The first stanza goes:

Something told the wild geese
It was time to go.
Though the fields lay golden
Something whispered "snow."

This can be a wonderful haunting song, suited to the surreal stillness that precedes snow.

The thing is---no one told our wild geese here in the Lehigh Valley. Every time I drive buy the lakes in our area, I cannot believe how infested we are with water fowl. It's been a problem for years and doesn't seem to be getting better. I've read that this phenomenon is now referred to as "urban geese" (I'm am soooo not kidding). Geese have learned to reside year round at a number of cities, including ours. They polluted the lake and shorelines with their feces and made it a slimy mess. The geese honked and waved their wings at children as they walked by and were aggressive if nearby pedestrians had food.

About 15-20 years ago, the mayor spent a small fortune on swan decoys. The thought at the time was that swan decoys would deter the geese from staying since swans and geese are natural enemies. Someone forgot to tell the geese; they not only stayed with "woodie" but I now see a few swans existing near them--perhaps they all learned to get along.

Then the mayor decided to send the geese away--literally. A bunch were caught, tagged, and sent to some southern state where supposedly they wanted them. Like the cat who came back, the geese returned.

Someone used the geese for bow and arrow target practice about 10 years ago. The police never caught the poacher and the geese remained.

The city set off M-80s at the lake, hoping that the noise would scare off the geese. The geese stayed.

Large fines were enacted for people who fed the birds at the lakes. People respected the laws and stopped feeding the geese. Nothing changed.

The lakes were polluted with West Nile virus. Some birds died. The geese lived on.

I'm no fan of slimy lakes and I miss walking my dogs at those parks. Still, I have a bit of admiration for the resilience of this species. They have managed to humble all of us and not only adapt but endure despite us. In the last 10-15 years we have also seen a return of hawks, falcons and wild turkey to our area, who knows what will happen next in this city? Perhaps someday I will warn my grandkids that it is "a jungle out there" and I won't be exaggerating.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Come and Get It!

In November we put out the bird feeders and it always delights me how quickly the birds (and unfortunately the squirrels) make their way to our home. It is almost like a dinner bell has been rung. Within an hour the back yard is full of fluttering activity. This delights Seamus as well. Our youngest pup still hasn't realized he will never catch a squirrel and he runs outside howling to catch them (not unlike a beagle).

Friday, November 13, 2009

Go to sleep without a peep!

Mr. Miles continues to be a relaxed baby. Melanie and I were just talking about how challenging Helena was in comparison. She never wanted to sleep--FOR TWO YEARS!!! Miles has been cutting his parents a break. He gets up once in the night already and so far, has slept really well from about 2 am til at least 6 or 7. Anyone who has had infants know that 5 hours uninterrupted sleep is such a gift! My mother swears that because he was a larger baby he will be sleeping through the night in a week or two (we'll see).
All this baby-sleep happiness reminded me of an old UFO I had so I drug that out. The binding is a bit wonky--it is from when I was still following Quilt Police regulations and I had a tough time with that wee bit of fabric holding things together. Still I finished this it week and thought it would make a nice wallhanging in Miles' room.
I love the little saying fabric that I found years ago and I had fussy cut it so the child could read the sayings. I still love that fabric and wish I had more of it...

Winnie the Pooh is in the center of the block and seems appropriate for a boy's room. This is a really small wallhanging --the centers are 2.5 inch blocks but I was using up some scraps at the time. I'm just glad another UFO is complete and I'll take it down to the kids' house today.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Last ones standing.....

Every year I threaten to rip out the roses--I don't really have the time or the ambition to maintain them the way I should. Despite my negligence, they remain the book ends of the growing season: blooming early in the cool spring and bravely withstanding the early frosts of fall.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

New Big Sis and Thank You Auntie Sandra!

Helena is a new Big Sister! YEH!!!! So of course we all brought her gifts today in honor of her new role :) . This was a neat gift she got from her Auntie Sandra in Canada. It is a really neat pillow case in a special cloth case which I think she decided to use to carry her plastic kittens (kinda apt considering Sandra and her cat, Zoomer). Helena says "THANK YOU AUNTIE SANDRA!"
Checking out those little fingers. Today Miles was very alert, looking all around --particularly at his sister.

Everyone that came to the house today got a special greeting. Helena would take them by the hand, lead them to the baby and solemnly (with a dramatic wave of her hand) make her introduction: "This is Miles." It was a very important job.


The Sunday Report

Miles continues to be a sweet and contented baby. He sleeps most of the time and can lift his head (briefly) already! He is heavy though, I'm not used to holding such a big lad :)
He is coming home today and when I visited our camera shop, I noticed they do "welcome home baby" banners. Unfortunately, the banner wouldn't be done until next week so we improvised. I ordered a 12 x 24 inch photograph of Miles and just had "Welcome home" printed on the photo. Found a big ol' poster frame, used up some of my scrapbooking supplies and VOILA: one welcome home poster for new babette!

Influenza continues to be a huge problem in our valley. My son Peter has it now and fortunately, he wasn't around the baby or parents. I am staying away from him because I don't want to give it to the baby or DH--who leaves for Bolivia in two days (flu in South America--YIKES).

Yesterday hubby and I were driving around doing errands and noticed a large back up of cars---for miles. All day DH and I speculated what the problem might have been. Turned out the hospital was giving out flu vaccines at the local amusement park and cars were lined up for about 5 MILES and waited 3-4 HOURS to get it. After DH leaves, I will be hibernating a bit in hopes of not catching and getting Christmas presents completed. We are even thinking of not visiting with therapy dog Seamus until this flu thing is a bit resolved--I don't want to catch it and even worse would be to transmit it to elderly. In the meantime we are washing our hands like crazy and eating healthy. Tomorrow I have a doctor's appointment and will just ask for the flu shot. I wish my husband would get the H1N1 shot (he's eligible) but he is resistant to that yet. Hopefully he won't get sick while he is away (I swear he catches things in the airplanes!!!).

Today we will focus on the positive things and take food and presents to the new parents after they get home. I can't wait to see Helena's reaction to her new brother!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Miles' First Day.....

After we visited the hospital yesterday, we took this picture to our photography store. They are blowing it up to 12 x 24 inches with "Welcome Home Miles" printed on it. It should be ready later today and we will take it to the house (plus food) for when the kids bring Miles' home (hopefully tomorrow).
The hospital is actually enforcing a strict visitation policy due the swine flu. Only 2 visitors at a time and no children--so Helena hasn't met her brother yet. I know she will be a good sister to him when he gets home but it is hard not seeing him. Today (fortunately) she has a birthday party to go to so that will keep her busy!
Miles looks a lot like his sister Helena did when she was born and so far we think he has inherited his Daddy's collick, ears and the wide feet of his grandfather (poor kid)!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

BOY OH BOY!!!!!!!!

A DAY EARLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Melanie went into labor and her water broke before dinner. We all rushed to the hospital and at 8:40 pm, Miles made his appearance. Thankfully, all are well. For those of you who don't know Melanie, she HAD to have this C-section--she is a tiny petite woman and the doctor said they got to Miles just in time--because he was
9 lb, 6 oz!!!!!!!!!!! and 20 1/2 inches long. We are so grateful that she is okay and that Miles is doing so well. He is already trying to lift his head and moving all around. I think he is going to be a calm baby too. He just has a sweet serenity to him (am I gushing like a grandma??). So here is his first pic (5 minutes old), before he even was weighed, measured, etc:

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Attic Treasures

Yesterday I went to put something in the attic storage space and became.....well annoyed with the mess. I don't tackle the attic in the summer, it's too hot up there, and things have a tendency to pile up. This time, I opened one of the trunks I've been carrying with me since--well pre-marriage. I found some things I had been bugging my Aunt for--pictures and papers from my father's family. The treasures ended up consuming my day and I am still scanning and photocopying everything so I can make a scrapbook for my son.

Tomorrow Aunt Carole and I are getting together to go over everything and take a ride out to some of the old family houses. I can't wait to find out who this precious girl is! She has the sweetest face and look at her bracelet! The boy I know is Ralph, his name is on the back of the photo. I love that he has a cane and a gold pocket watch. Love the piano shawl he is leaning on; I think it is a tapestry....
Well off to do cleaning and some shopping. I need to buy cookie pans before the holiday baking commences.....

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

It was a fun Halloween!

Usually, I don't like Halloween; partly because I don't like the horror, partly because my least favorite color is orange and partly because I had orange and black birthday cakes my entire childhood. This year I had fun though "boo-ing" loved ones. The teddy bears were for our granddaughter, Helena and Kaylin, my niece's one year old. The dogs I made for my niece Nicole (away at college), our neighbors who own George the cat (included on the wallhanging) and a new friend, Cindy, who recently donated a lot of fabric to me. I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving projects now :) DH is going to be working a lot the next month and doing so more little gifts, as well as finishing some Christmas presents, should keep me busy.