Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Week(s) in Review: February Wrap-Up, Longing for Spring

(So, apparently one of the goals I should set for myself with this blog is "regular posting schedule." Duly noted.)

It's been a couple of weeks since I've written, weeks in which we've celebrated Valentine's Day, experienced One Gigantic Monster Snowstorm, hosted my mom for a visit, and more.

Valentine's Day: I love seasonality and holidays, but unfortunately never got around to fun stuff like making homemade Valentines, etc., this year. We did have a special Valentine's family dinner, consisting of spaghetti with red sauce; garlic breadsticks shaped into X's and O's; the molded strawberry jello salad (red) with a sour cream/strawberry juice layer (pink) that was such a hit at Christmas, only this time done with the heart insert on the Jello mold; and brownies with a heart shape in the middle of the pan created from broken bits of leftover Christmas candy canes. We also exchanged (storebought) cards, small heart-shaped boxes of candy, and gave my daughter Melissa and Doug puzzles featuring princesses and horses.

President's Day: Didn't do much for that, either, except that the four-year-old and I made some coconut-cherry cookies with a recipe from an old Taste of Home magazine. (They're President's Day cookies because of the George Washington connection to cherries, of course.) She's an enthusiastic stirrer/mixer operator/dumper in of ingredients, and I let her get some scissors practice by cutting the maraschino cherries into smaller bits.

She was in a musical mood for a while there, resulting in things like singing "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" incredibly loudly and with the wrong words (she somehow replaced "mild" with "wild") as well as "Jingle Bells" -- so that I had to explain what  a "one-horse open sleigh" (rather than a "10-horse two-ton sleigh") is. There was also a brief pretend concert with the toy piano and guitar Santa brought her for Christmas 2009.

After her church choir practice, which happened to be the day before her very good friend's fifth birthday (we sang "Happy Birthday" to J, a rather reserved child who doesn't like to be the center of attention -- what was that they say about opposites attracting? -- in the parking lot after choir), we had an interesting conversation on the drive home: "She's gonna be five and I'm only four, and it's Not Fair!" I gave up on the explanations after a while and just agreed with her. "You're right. It's not fair."

We've also been having constant conversations about whether "x food" is "healthy" or not, I think in part prompted by the discussion(s) resulting from having to stop her from opening the children's vitamins meant to be donated to our church's mission trip to Haiti. The gist of these conversations is that "your doctor says you don't need vitamins, because you eat so many healthy foods, but some kids aren't lucky enough to have enough healthy foods to eat."

 The healthy food conversations are also coming in part because I'm doing a winter weight loss/maintain (not gain) program at work, which I'm making sure to talk about in front of the four-year-old in terms of "health," not "weight." (It's being done by teams -- which got weighed as teams on the shipping scale at the beginning of the challenge, and will do so again at the end.)

And speaking of food-related conversations, we also made a grocery store stop the other evening. At one point she asked if we were going home now, and I told her that no, we had to pay first. Her response: "'Cause if you don't pay, God will be mad." This is part of her interpretation of the 10 Commandments.

I don't think it's exactly stealing, but I wouldn't want it repeated -- although a one-off was kind of...intriguing -- when my hairdresser actually paid the four-year-old two dollars when I got my hair cut (finally; it's been since August). The reasoning behind this was that the four-year-old, who was fascinated with the in-wall vacuum, actually completely cleaned up the cutting area of hair, resulting in the hairdresser not having to do any work at all.

Also related to girly "glamour," we spent an evening making bracelets and rings out of Play-Doh. Our other popular manipulative of late has been the Legos, which have been transformed into an ice cream stand, a picnic table, a swimming pool, a parade float .... can you tell that the wishful thinking around here is longing for spring and summer?

Not surprising, really, especially considering that our snowstorm a week ago dumped Nineteen. Inches. of Snow. on top of our already existing piles in the space of time between mid-Sunday morning (yes, we missed church) and Monday evening, when it finally stopped. I think the current total snow tally for this winter is something like 79 inches, and we are up there among the top three snowiest winters in recorded Minnesota history.

I attempted to have a cozy day of soup during our snowed-in period -- but unfortunately managed to break our ceramic pasta/serving bowl as I was pouring soup into it. We salvaged some of the corn chowder, but the bowl -- a wedding present that my husband particularly liked -- was a loss. Plus, I ended up having to pull the stove out from the wall and scrub the sides of it, plus the kitchen floor behind and underneath -- as well as the rest of it while I was down there; might as well -- to deal with the results of the corn chowder avalanche.

This past weekend, we attempted to embrace the snow (sort of) by engaging in some snow painting with food coloring-colored water in some empty dish soap squeeze bottles - and then playing with the soccer ball. Luckily, it's bright pink, so it shows up well in the snow, and the huge berms of snow on either side of the sidewalk deflect it from going out into the street. The snow is too deep to play in the yard.

We also thought of spring during my mom's visit when we accompanied Grandma to a couple of fabric stores to pick out fabric for spring/Easter (and maybe the spring family wedding) dresses and skirts. Which resulted in having the four-year-old try on some dresses from her closet to see what size pattern still fit -- and looking at how long her legs have become, so that some of those dresses now look the style on little girls in the 1950s, way up the thighs barely covering the rear ends. We're adding another tier of flounces to the Easter dress pattern to make it longer -- and one of the dresses from the closet has now become a shirt.

Our weekend excursions also included a trip to Target to hear the reading of Dr. Seuss stories, and a trip to Michael's for the demonstration of the My First Science Kit.

And, one reason my mom was visiting was to babysit while my husband and I got our taxes done, and also went to a movie (The King's Speech: very good, and we saw it before it won the Oscar. By a day. We're so prescient.) and checked out a new Vietnamese restaurant in our town (much improved under the new ownership).

And now...it's March. Isn't this the month spring is supposed to start?

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