Crunchy Thoughts

The thoughts are crunchier here.

March 20, 2015
by Carrie
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I promise to always turn back toward you

As part of our reading curriculum this year Lydia and I have been reading from chapter books. Actually, I’m reading them aloud and Lydia is listening. Chapter books have been a bit of a struggle with Lydia — she wants to read a book cover to cover in one sitting, so the concept of taking in a story a bit at a time has been foreign to her. We started off with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Tale of Desperaux, Matilda, and Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. She listened well to all of these books, some of them my own childhood favorites, but she still was not enthused about reading.

Last week as we were finishing up the Rats of NIMH, I picked up a book on a whim from the bookstore: Flora & Ulysses. After we were done with NIMH, we started up with our new book, which is about a girl who meets up with a very unique squirrel.

And just like that, Lydia fell in love.

Suddenly we found ourselves reading at a marathon pace whenever we could find the time — morning, evening, we were reading! The story completely captured her.

All too soon the story reached its end. We finished up the last few chapters this morning. Lydia spent the rest of the morning in a languid post-book depression. We colored some pictures from the book and Lydia worked on copying out a poem the squirrel, Ulysses, wrote for Flora.

She changed one thing, though. The original title of the poem is “Words for Flora.” She switched out “Flora” with “Mom.”

It now adorns my fridge.

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March 13, 2015
by Carrie
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sleep stories

Sam is beginning to realize he has dreams at night, so he’s usually looking forward to tell me about them in the morning. He hasn’t picked up on the word ‘dream,’ though; he calls them Sleep Stories. Man, he can be so damnably cute!

A few mornings ago he walks into the kitchen after waking up.

“Good morning, Samwise,” I greet him.

“Morning. Mommy, what happens if we don’t have a head?” Sam has been asking a lot of “What happens if . . .” questions, but this one takes me a bit by surprise. Lydia answers for me.

“We wouldn’t be able to live, so we’d die!” she cheerfully replies to Sam.

“Ohh,” Sam muses. He nonchalantly adds, “I had a Sleep Story and Lydia didn’t have a head and she came up and hugged me.”

Eeeesh. “Geez, Baby, that sounds more like a Sleep Nightmare!”

“Ohh.” Sam thinks for a minute. “Can I have a cherry Pop Tart?”

March 2, 2015
by Carrie
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words of comfort

Earlier this month my very old and trusty Panasonic pencil sharpener honed its last pencil. I had to order a new sharpener, which came in the other day.

This Monday is the first day we’ve put it through its paces. Sadly, this sharpener isn’t up to snuff compared to my old Panasonic.

“Man, this sharpener isn’t very good,” I lament to Lydia.

Lydia, ever the empathetic soul, hopped out of her chair to give me a hug and comfort me.

“Don’t worry, Mom,” she coos. “Someday, you’re gonna die.”

February 26, 2015
by Carrie
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winter wonderpoop

Over the past week the weather has been taking us through the emotional wringer with constant threats of snow, none of which ever materialized. Our latest and greatest chance was yesterday. Thankfully, I never mentioned to the kids that it might snow, so they were none the wiser when all it did was rain all day.

Right before the kids went to bed last night, the rain briefly changed over to some big, wet snowflakes. Any snow, including flurries, is an uncommon event here in Alabama, so I called Lydia over to the window to have a look before climbing into bed.

“Come look outside, Lydia,” I offer.

Lydia strolled up and looked out the window with me to see the big fluffy flakes dropping onto the deck. “It’s . . . raining? What is it?” she asked.

“What do you think it looks like, baby?”

“Ewww! It’s bird poop!”

January 19, 2015
by Carrie
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it’s all greek to me

It seems not that long ago Lydia was a fast-moving toddler running up and down the halls with her cousin, Elizabeth.

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A short five or so years later, she’s writing her cousin’s name in Greek.

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Time is weird.

January 7, 2015
by Carrie
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life with a four year old, part two

It’s snacktime. Sam has some goldfish and oranges in a bowl. He hops up in his seat and promptly knocks his spoon to the ground. <Baymax> Oh no. </Baymax>

Sam climbs down out of his seat. He grabs his spoon and puts it back in his bowl. He continues to hold his spoon while climbing back into his seat, which results in him tipping over his bowl and spilling some of the orange juice on the table.

“Wahhhhhhh!” Sam cries. I tell him to get a paper towel to wipe up his juice. Sam climbs down out of his seat, comes over and gets some paper towels. He then climbs back up into his seat and wipes up the spilled juice.

He climbs down out of his seat with the wet paper towel and throws it in the trash. Back at the table, Sam climbs back up into his seat and promptly knocks his spoon to the ground.

<Baymax> Oh no. </Baymax>

December 29, 2014
by Carrie
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kitchen complaints, episode four

Earlier this evening we sit down together as a family of four to eat dinner. I become aware of loud smacking and chomping noises to my right — Sam is wolfing down his dinner again.

“Sam, slow down and enjoy your food,” I admonish.

Sam, taking me literally, looks me dead in the eye then stuffs his entire sandwich in his mouth in agonizingly slow motion.

December 25, 2014
by Carrie
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christmas, a reminiscence

Earlier this week we were at my sister’s house to celebrate a combination Christmas/Jonathan’s first birthday. Christmas just got that much more interesting. My sister and I reminisced on how excited we would get before Christmas — Christmas Eve was always the longest day of the year, we never could sleep so the night went that much longer, and that final jump of excitement as we ran down the hall to see if Santa had come. I loved Christmas as a kid and it’s still my favorite holiday. However, instead of being insanely excited for Santa, now my sister and I look forward to watching our children go nuts.

The first Christmas I vaguely recall was when I was five. We were still living in Memphis, and I remember my great excitement in that wood-paneled living room when I saw what Santa brought — a Disney train set. The next Christmas we were in Georgia and I recollect that one better. Cathy and I both got Real Baby dolls. That was the beginning of our yearly baby doll from Santa. I’m proud to say I still have my Real Baby, dubbed Andrew after Mom ripped off the really crappy wig. In fact, Andrew is currently on Lydia’s bed.

After that year, we moved to Alabama, so the Christmases blend in together somewhat. At some point around 3rd or 4th grade it became impossible for me to sleep on Christmas Eve, so I ended up roping Cathy into staying up as well. We tried in vain to speed up the time by playing Christmas with our Pound Purries all night, with each cat receiving a bunch of presents to open under their little twelve inch tree.

By then, Cathy and I had gotten into the horrible habit of venturing out around 1 or 2 a.m. to see what Santa had brought. I never thought much of it at the time but now that I’m a parent, I recognize how my own parents missed seeing our reactions when we walked into the living room. One year, Dad got smart and left the TV on all night. This kept Cathy and me at bay for quite some time, or at least until the television station went off the air and the TV was left with static. Those were the days, man. Using Cathy as a shield, we silently sneaked down the hall to see if Dad was truly watching television. When we got in the foyer, I nudged Cathy into the living room where there was nary a father to be found. Next year, my parents finally thwarted us by decreeing we were not to come into the living room until 7:00 a.m. That rule stood until high school.

We had a few more-eventful-than-normal Christmases as well. One year we woke up to an incredibly cold house. We had power and gas, but our heater was completely out. We gathered close to the fireplace as we unwrapped presents that year. I got a fluffy plush snake — Kaa from The Jungle Book — and I kept him wrapped around my neck like a scarf. A few days later when we were able to get someone to come out and have a look at the furnace, it turned out we were really lucky. The pilot light had somehow malfunctioned and was too big, eventually burning a hole into the computer board which in turn shut off the furnace. If the furnace had not shut down, there was a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. We were very fortunate indeed.

Another Christmas I wound up getting sick. I’m sure my sister would say I got sick every Christmas (and thus avoided doing all the pre-Christmas cleaning), but this was different. My asthma had flared up and I was content to sit still and not move unless I had to. I received a Calvin and Hobbes comic book, and I would read it and laugh, then COUGH COUGH COUGH, then read it some more and laugh, then COUGH COUGH COUGH. Despite being sick, I do have fond memories of that Christmas. By that evening, though, my parents decided to take me to the E.R., where I received a breathing treatment and steroids as an extra Christmas bonus. There are super weird people in the E.R. in Christmas, let me tell you.

Since I am a child of the 80s, it was inevitable that for one Christmas I got a pink radio. Ohh, how I loved that radio. I have many memories of listening to Debbie Gibson on that thing. Early that Christmas morning, Dad showed me how to use the radio. He turned the dial to 90.3 FM and we listened to an instrumental bit of Christmas music while Dad sipped on his first of many cups of coffee.

After Christmas morning and the excitement of the presents, our grandparents and other family would drop in for Christmas lunch. One Christmas I vividly remember a conversation between my grandmother and my great grandmother as they reminisced on stuffing intestines with sausage for Christmas dinner. I don’t think I was as keen on eating after that.

Now that the kids are six and four, I am very aware that these are the Christmases that they will remember. This crazy feeling of excitement is what they will savor when they’re older. They’ll look back on this Christmas as the year everybody had the flu, and that’s okay. Neither the flu or hospital visits or unusually cold living rooms can dampen that awesome thing that is Christmas.

I will also rest easy knowing we have carbon monoxide detectors placed in strategic locations.

December 24, 2014
by Carrie
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christmas eve update

T’was the night before Christmas,
And all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring,
Because they’re trying to get over the flu.

christmas eve sam 2014

Times the cat has eaten the tree and barfed: 0!
Number of medications the children are taking: 4
Ornaments children have broken: 0
Ornaments Mommy has broken: 1
Presents children have found: 0!