Sunday, December 28, 2008

Apparently There is a Coal Shortage

Hello, friends, and welcome to After Christmas. It was a nice holiday, tho I'm glad to be on the other side of it. I'm typing as the boy takes his afternoon nap and I'm hoping he will stay asleep just a littttttle while longer. It's just me and him today and I've got alot to do.

ANYhow, I had all of this past week off of work and Dononvan had all this past week off of daycare. We had alot of fun and he was good company but the lack of routine played hell with his sleeping schedule. All that post-baby-bedtime champagne and shrimp cocktail time the husband and I were looking forward to--did'nt get too much of that in, I'm sorry to say. Christmas Eve was particularly bad, despite our dire warnings about Not Getting Any Toys. I guess when you try and raise a kid off the consumer grid you cant really leverage consumerism as discipline tool. Oops. The kid also discovered that one way to get Mom to yell is to stand on the furniture. I was going to do a photo montage of Donovan Standing on Chairs but this is the only one I have for you: The chair is in the Fussy Baby Room at the First Unitarian Church. We tried to attend their Solstice service. Mike told me afterwards that it was very nice.

Christmas was here in Pittsburgh this year and the kid got many great gifts. The most popular out of the bag was the set of Felted Ladybugs. The least successful? The apparently horrifying Jack In the Box, which sent our child shrieking into my arms. And, no, it doesn't have a clown, it has a teddy bear.I guess that's still a shock to the delicate young system. The Shanley family showered the boy with gifts and attention. Aunts Claire and Heather won that heat of the popular toy contest with their 123 book by some graphic artist whose name I'm forgetting but who, like all great artists, is from OHIO. Donny also got a swell ski vest that I plan to parade him around in once he wakes up and has some lunch.

Next came Christmas in Elyria, which was the day after Christmas. Donny cleaned up there again and made everyone very happy, especially by playing most with the paper bag his gifts were in:Unfortunately the first day of that visit was cut short as 3 hours in the car seat and a few more hours without a nap took its toll on the boy. This trip we booked a room at the Elyria Holiday Inn. Donny was very happy to have an unencumbered space in which to run. That and we mixed our parental signals by encouraging him to jump on the bed. Of course, once we left my folks' house, the boy got a second wind. Not knowing what else to do with him, we took him across the hotel parking lot to the Midway Mall. Those of you who grew up in that Mall, such as myself and Aunt Shirley, might be horrified to know that there is now an Armed Forces Recruiting Office AND a "Truth Booth," which is this big, light up marquee that plays a loop of fetus pictures. Because there is obviously no teen pregnancy problem in Elyria, Ohio, no sir. At any rate, the mall worked its magic:The next day we visited the folks again and then the Aunts. Then we drove home, dipping liberally into the tines of Christmas cookies that were forced into our hands as we left. We came back to a cluttered house which we proceeded to make more cluttered with boxes, tissue and gifts galore.

Good times and good to be back. Onwards to New Years!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Know Thyself: Ew.


That is the sound of being hit in the stomach by the realization that you are one of those mothers. Not the coiffed mothers you see in their high heeled books and very clean and fashionable wool coats, toting their coiffed children hither and yon. Not the very pleasant Moms I see at Donny's new school, who always have a smile and a greeting and who seem like the types of gals who subscribe to both Bust and Mother Jones. No--I'm the mother who forgot to put on deoderant before leaving the house because she had to write an apology note to go in the lunch bag she grabbed yesterday at Waldorf not realizing it was'nt hers and who thought "I should put a little something in that bag to make up for trashing it on the two bus rides it weathered" but decided that she was just too attached to that sample of Holiday Tea to make such a grand and selfless gesture.

That's the Mom I am.

The holidays are here and I'm whirling and scrambling and this is after I made the exectutive decision that Christmas in Ohio would be a much scaled back production. Thank god I did that in time. It all throws into high relief the need for some serious lifestyle changes. I've got a few ideas percolating but I'll keep them to myself for now. After all, this blog is supposed to be about Donovan. Not about me.

That being said, watch for photos from the Library Christmas party. I was'nt going to bring the kid but there's a hardcore fan faction here they were not taking no for an answer. More on that later.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Beadboard! Bias Tape! Wainscotting!

I am finishing my lunch hour with a quick entry. We were going to get the Christmas Tree last night but decided instead to get the house ready for the tree. That meant rearranging the front room, which has become Donovan’s unofficial playroom. I probably could have kept it simple and just moved the toybin from the window but, no, I rearranged one side of the room pretty drastically. I’m not sure how I feel about it but it is only for a couple of weeks, plus its to support the greater good of The Tree.

That little bit of rearranging, tho, is like the bug that bit me. As I cleaned up that room I also got together 3 grocery bags of books and a lawn bag full of clothes for Goodwill. HOORAY FOR GETTING USELESS THINGS OUT OF THE HOUSE! Our kitchen is slated for new ceiling/cabinets the 3rd week of January and, in the meantime, we need to get the damaged window replaced, plus pick out a floor and lighting.

Why am I at work? I could be sewing up new curtains or holding linoleum samples and paint samples together up to see how they look in both natural and indoor light.

Oh, wait: I’m at work so we can pay for some of this stuff.

Lunch Hour is now over…

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Donovan is Good Company

Baby Day was a resounding success. Being all alone with the boy on Saturdays can be dicey, especially on a day like today. I'm sure I could have left the house without sliding all the way down Herron Avenue on the thinnest glaze of black ice, but why risk it?

So we stayed home today. Donovan was in a really good, goofy mood all day, except for the very early meltdown which preceded an equally early afternoon nap. That gave me time to make pumpkin bread, vegetarian Shepard's Pie and, oh yeah: order lunch for myself so I would have time to work on dinner.

After Donny got up and had lunch I decided to reintroduce the fingerpaint.
Longtime readers will remember that the fingerpaint didn't go over too well the first time I tried it. I guess he's hit his fingerpaint developmental mark because he had a blast. That went so well that I cleaned him up and gave him the crayons I made for him (I melted down old regular crayons into mini muffin cups so they would be big enough for him to hold). Again, much success

Friday, December 12, 2008

Onward Through the Storm!

Its been a crazy however long since I've last posted. Not necessarily bad, mind you, but a veritable whirlwind.

And to think, the holidays aren't even here yet...

Yesterday I took a day off to attend to house stuff. Last week I had to update my Vacation Time chart at work, something I was dreading as I had just assumed I had used up all my current days and then some toting the boy to the doctor or staying home with him on snowdays. Imagine my surprise when I saw that I have an ENORMOUS amount of vacation days--11 of which I need to use up before April. I was able to do laundry, dishes, deal with the exterminator (ants: ick), and even meet Sheryl downtown for lunch. Sheryl and I share a nostalgia for patty melts and a fondness for the Tic Toc, which is reminiscent of The Attic in Higbees back in the day. The patty melts at the Tic Toc, I'm sad to say, were by no means acceptable. Still, it was sweet to be in the thick of the holiday lunch crowd. I also got to rearrange some of the artwork in the nursery so that the new furniture arrangement matches where things are on the walls.

The real excitement last night was going to pick Donny up at Waldorf as the cold weather had, by then, turned nasty and brutish. Thick wet snow as turning into a sheet of ice on the sidewalks and, while I had an umbrella, I stupidly didn't pack a hat: who needs a hat when you have an umbrella? The answer is "who ever needs both hands to steer a damn baby stroller." I knew it was going to be brutal so, since I was leaving from home, I packed some fleece snow pants and a little fleece blanket. I bundled the boy all up and more or less tied him into his stroller with the blanket. The original plan was to meet Mike at Whole Foods but I made the executive decision to go the Quiet Storm instead. QS is a little further away from Waldorf than I want it to be and, 3/4 of the way there I started frantically thinking, "What's the address? Am I going the wrong way?" Then I saw the mural and knew I was almost there. Kirsten was there when we got there and we got to hang out with her. She loves Donny and Donny couldn't get enough of her--she had him laughing and clapping and blowing raspberries--it was great to see. The kid tore thru a plate of sweet potatoes and a bottle of apple juice. By the time Mike got there, Donovan was full and dry and happy. So Kirsten and I went to Kellys and I had a gimlet, Pittsburgh Bites and a Mini Mac. Plus the ice had decided to melt. All and all a good night.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


I would like to start this entry by apologizing to the complete strangers from whom I stole images of the Waldorf School in Pittsburgh. If you would like me to remove your photos, just let me know and I will. If it helps, I thought they were excellent, which is why I filched them.

ANYhow, Saturday was not only Baby Day: it was the Winter Festival at Donovan's new school. I found out about the Winter Festival from Sheryl, who not only told me it was happening but also informed me that lunch would be available, there would be a tea room, taffy pulling and candle dipping. When I asked her why she knew more about my kid's school than I did, she informed me that a flyer for the event had been posted in front of the toilet at her restaurant for a few weeks.

That made me feel a little better.

Donovan and I met Sheryl and Becky there. It was great to see them but Donny was having a rough time when we first got there. He was hungry, tired and it was so busy and crowded that he just wanted Mom and no one else. Not very conducive for conversation. Becky and Sheryl went to see the marionette show (which they said was excellent) and Donny and I sat in the improvised tearoom where he had a little cry on my shoulder and then ate some of the lunch I packed for him.This is the room that was set up as a tearoom--very lovely.

The Winterfest was very nice but what made me happiest was the opportunity to look more closely at the building itself. Its an 1867 mansion that used to be a catholic school. That line of provenance means that many, many original details of the mansion are still intact, despite the fact that it is a building in full and current use. There's just the thinnest coat of shabbiness, mostly kept at bay by cleaning and caring, but I do love things that are falling apart, even if its just a little fraying around the edges. The place doesn't necessarily feel like Hogwarts--maybe its the Victorian era Ladyschool that Hogwarts students attend before they leave home. At any rate, Donny and I got to poke around the first two floors after we had lunch in the crazy-ass lovely auditorium. The stupid camera I brought with me died but here is someone else's photo of that ceiling--a much better photo than I'd be able to take with a baby in one hand and a bowl of Pasta Fasoli in the other. On Friday, Donny's report for that day said that his class had entertained themselves playing with hula hoops in the auditorium. Now that I know they mean THIS auditorium, well, that's even better!

The main home where the classes take place also features a freestanding chapel from, I think, 1903. Its all lovely brick and craftsmanesque stained glass, very small and cozy. Sheryl, Becky, Donny and I were going to listen to a musical group there but Donny remembered how much he likes to shriek so he and I had to leave. I did manage to get a few photos, tho, before the camera shuddered and died.

After all that we caught the bus home. Turns out it was probably the last bus for the time being as the roads were getting bad. Good timing
Tonight Mike and Donovan and I went over to Mike's folks place where they feed us pork roast and let the baby run around their house in circles. Nice way to end the weekend.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Thankful That's Over

I suppose you are wondering how Thanksgiving was. Well, I hope you had a nice one with your loved ones. The three of us went to Ohio to spend it with my family. This was a tough one as my Dad was'nt there, being how he was at the nursing home. He got to come home the next day and, between the getting to Ohio, helping clean for company, helping with the meal and then getting Dad settled in the next day--well, it was great to see everyone but I would'nt call it relaxing.

I don't know what planet conjuncted where but Donovan was on his super best behavior. My aunts had dinner with us and he gave them both kisses several times over. He hugged my Mom probably 8 out of every 10 times she asked him to, he even gave my Dad a hug at the nursing home, which must have been tricky seeing how Donny is short and my Dad was in a wheelchair. Donovan was a little bit pissy during the actual Thanksgiving meal but he made up for it by laughing hysterically while playing in the front room with my Aunt Rose. I'd forgotten that she's fun to play with. Maybe if she lives to be about 90 she can teach him how to swing a bat and how to fly a kite, just like she taught me...

The other big news is that Donovan started at the Waldorf school this week. Its only been two days but, so far, he seems to like it. It was rough leaving him the first day because the other kids seems so much bigger. Not just sizewise but talking and they way they moved and played--how could I leave my Fauntleroy with such ruffians? My hope is that being around older kids will kick Donny over the humps of not talking and still using a bottle. And the smoking and the experimenting with alcohol. That too.

The Waldorf schedule has us on a much earlier schedule so I really need to go to bed. Here are some Thanksgiving photos. Nothing terribly holidaycentric but hopefully you'll like them:
As my Mom can't cook and I did'nt have the time, the meal was catered by Cracker Barrel. And it was lame. BUT I appreciate the fact that Cracker Barrel 1) kept my blind 83 year old mother out of the kitchen and 2) that they provided my son with a box to play in.
The chair is a toddler rocking chair that my Mom stripped and refinished for my sister. I grew up using it too. Donny loves it and has mastered the art of sitting down in it butt first, as opposed to kneeling in it and trying to stand up.