Saturday, December 28, 2013

04 μικρο-μακρο (Micro-Macro)

 Running strings across the stairwell seems to be a common game in our house. Sometimes, it's a spider web, sometimes a impromptu zip line for – for – uh, wood blocks? Someday someone is going to injure themselves on these contraptions.

[photo removed]

One of the items on the boy's Christmas list was a pulley for the outdoor playhouse. My brother, who has a machine shop, actually made them a pulley, a beautiful wood pulley from mahogany and walnut and climbing ropes.  It might be too beautiful for the playhouse. Before giving them the pulley, my brother asked me,

"Are you sure you want them to have a pulley? I can imagine Noah lifting Mattias into the air with this thing."

If you remember simple machines from physics, a pulley reduces the effort needed to lift an item. My brother's device has four pulleys, which, I THINK, means the effort to lift something is one-quarter that which would otherwise be required.

So, yes, they could lift each other.

And now that I've seen the beautifully crafted pulley that my brother made, I'm having some second thoughts about letting the boys use the pulley. Hmm.

Monday, December 23, 2013


[photo removed]
This year, one of our children is floating out of beliefdom. One of our children is oblivious. And one has no reason whatsoever to doubt that Santa just happened to be skiing the same day and the same place that he was.

Friday, December 20, 2013

03 μικρο-μακρο (Micro-Macro)

[photo removed, sorry. I do that after a few weeks...]

Watching babies figuring out how to get around? Awesome.

[photo removed]

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Furniture Anticipation

My parents are giving us their old living room furniture: basically, tables and shelves. They bought it in the mid 70s. The furniture really looks like it's from the mid 70s. It's not terribly stylish, even in a vintage kind of way. My Dad called it "timeless." Um. I don't know...maybe not. But it is solid wood and it held up 22 years of abuse from my brothers and me. I think it could make it another 18 years in our home.

Here's the thing: we've moved a lot and we've never felt like we could invest in nice furniture: first, because we were leaving behind furniture every two years when we moved, and second, because, hello! kids destroy furniture! The furniture we have is either Ikea or it's something we inherited and managed to keep a hold of. Since moving into our house three years ago and settling in, I've felt like it might be time to get something other than Ikea Lack tables... but, you know, kids! and not wasting money! and not having a lot of money in the first place! Every year at Christmas (and my birthday, which happens to be the same day) we have these long, protracted conversations about my dream coffee table and my dream console table and my dream furniture for the living room. Nothing ever happens because 1) I can't find exactly what I want (I'm soooo picky), 2) I can't bring myself to spend money on something cheaper/less desirable that will be destroyed quickly, 3) Even given oodles of money, do I really want to risk the perfect coffee table being ruined by the kids?

We would always end up giving up. Well, someday...I console myself, it's fun to dream, right?

Truthfully, I DO like anticipation, but the lack of any potential options was becoming a real drag on the anticipation fun. When my parents offered to ship their old furniture to us, it felt like the perfect solution. Solid, reliable, dated furniture that makes me a little nostalgic. And I can finally stop fussing about not having a coffee table. And I won't have to worry about my kids destroying it! Hurray! The furniture is suppose to arrive the 20th or 23rd. Fingers crossed, thumbs pressed; NOW I am savoring the anticipation.

This is where a coffee table should be.
Nope, sorry, kiddos, that's not a coat tree.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

02 μικρο-μακρο (Micro-Macro)

[photo removed]

After we got a whole bunch of rain in October, we took the boys on a tour of the neighborhood to see the damage. In retrospect, maybe not such a good idea; Noah's separation anxiety began shortly thereafter. It took a professional to see that connection. We thought we were just helping our kids be explorers.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

01 μικρο-μακρο (Micro-Macro)

Come on, who can resist putting Greek letters in the title of their post? RIGHT?!?

This is a Pop Up Candy Shop at our house.

Let's do a series, okay? Photos: Same scene, two photos: one detail, one context.

Monday, December 9, 2013


It's still really cold here. I spent the weekend eating chocolate chip cookies and brownies to increase my already sufficient insulation. The boys were a little annoyed when they discovered the empty pan of brownies that I'd made ostensibly for them. Oh well, you snooze, you...freeze. Or how about: you snoze, you froze? No? Snoze isn't a word?

Noah and Fritz actually went skiing in this cold. They came home happy and NOT frozen, which I suppose, just goes to show all the high-tech snow gear really does work. Or that brownies are truly not necessary for survival. Fritz sent me this photo of Noah on the slope (looks almost exactly like the photos from last year. At some point we'll stop taking the same photo, or at least, get Noah some different colored ski gear):

[photo removed]

I panicked and texted Fritz back to "Cover Noah's nose! Cover his nose!"

One of the parenting books I've been reading recently says that this is about the age where boys really start to look up to their father (or other male figures). The book claimed it's really important around age 7 or 8 for boys to spend time with their dads, doing the things that their dads like to do. So I'm really happy to see Noah and Fritz head out together. Somehow, it feels like there's now a distance between Noah and me that wasn't there before. I mean: part of it is Trixie (she consumes a lot of time!) and part of it is just Noah's age. It sure does make me a little wistful. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, perhaps?

And I'm eager to join them! How long until we can put Trixie on skis? Like four years? SIGH.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

the strange state of pending snow

For some reason, snow here in the metro area is always pre-empted by the smell of the cattle yards. It makes little sense, because all morning, we've watched the clouds building over the mountains to the west. By noon, the clouds have blocked out the sun above us. Yet, it is the cattle yards – which lie to the northeast, almost the opposite direction –  that we smell so distinctly in the hours before the snow begins.

Red sky at morning, shepherd take warning...
Even if you don't watch television, it's impossible not to be affected by the the drum of anticipation that comes with a sharp change in the weather. One teacher is joking about having survival meals in her car. Costco is unusually busy, and the cashier tells me that everyone is stocking up for the coming cold. I, too, feel the sudden urge to get out of the house while I still (easily) can. My last minute shopping list feels revealing: What do you need to have if three days of single digit temperatures and snow are coming?

70% Lindt chocolate bars
chocolate chips

I add "play dough" to the list while Mattias bounces up and down on the sofa. 

I think about other things I should do NOW: put gas in the car, hang up the christmas lights. Apparently, sharp changes in the weather bring out the consumer in me. 

Which reminds me of Christmas shopping and all the Christmas shopping that I have yet to do. Well, the internet should still be working, I tell myself. Best to save up my internet time for the coming days.

I confess, I can't help but roll my eyes at myself (and everyone around me), just a bit. Colder, some snow, is it really such big deal? 

No, of course not. As long as I have some chocolate bars, we'll be fine.