‘Tis the Season (for Ridiculous Lists!)

Photo: Richard the First is back on the scene! Welcome back, Richard!


Richard the First showed up yesterday morning and got himself caught in the christmas cactus. He was supposed to arrive Friday… but his “magical flight” got delayed. Then he was supposed to show up on Saturday, but “there was a snow storm in Canada.” The boys were very sympathetic, hoping that the poor little guy would be ok. Sweet children, really. Truth be told, Richie was in the wrong box. He’s never where he’s supposed to be. Anyway, we found him, so… let the annoying moving of the doll season begin!

It’s a good thing Richie has shown up because, first, my boys be actin’ a fool. This morning, they got it into their heads that the Blackmobile was a jungle gym and they could climb all over it like crazy people. Minor even showed off some of his double-bar moves between the middle seats.  Lord, I thought I was going to lose it! Second, my boys created the most ridiculous Christmas lists in the entire universe.

Really, I take that back. Major made a fairly reasonable Christmas list. He wants a blue electric guitar. That’s all he really wants. He put some other stuff on the list like legos and some matchbox cars and maybe a jet plane or something… but it was all dispassionate. He wants an electric guitar. He wants it to be blue. That’s what he wants.

Now… how we get that stuff to Maryland so that it’s under a tree will be… interesting…

So there is Major. Fine.

Minor is the ridiculous one. Minor has asked for a drone for Christmas. A DRONE!! This child can’t even SPELL drone! What in the what, Minor!?

The Husband’s jaw dropped. “Really? You’re asking Santa for a drone?”

Minor nodded his head enthusiastically.

“But what are you going to do with it?”

That child made this face that made my husband laugh. I didn’t see it, but my husband started laughing.

“What?” Minor and I both ask simultaneously.

The Husband just howled. “He just made your face! He gave me that look!”

“What look, honey?”

“That ‘that’s a damn stupid question’ look!”

Lordy. I don’t know what he’s talking about. Surely I have no such look.

Anyway, Minor is convinced that he can fly a drone if only someone were to give him the remote to one. I don’t even know where to begin. I started with the whole, “remember, this is just a list… Santa probably can’t bring you everything you ask for…”

But my Husband was giving me a look of his own. I could see his lips curl while thinking about flying a damn drone in the front yard. The hunt is on.

Now, Wife Question for The Husband and, really, all husbands who think they are getting a drone for Christmas: How you gonna fly that thing in January, February and March? Did you forget that the world is gonna be covered in snow immediately after Christmas? You think you gonna buy that baby a drone, play with it for the day or two left when the world isn’t covered in snow and then put it away? How is that going to go down? That child is going to howl to play with that thing every single day!

“We’ll fly it in the playroom…” my husband mumbled.

He gonna fly the drone in the freezing cold 3-season porch that we abandon because it’s too cold?

Stay tuned on this saga. It ain’t over.

Just in case you’re worried that Minor isn’t going to get his heart’s desire for Christmas, try not to feel too badly for him. Item number 2 on his Christmas list?  A $140 motorized Lego train. Those are just two items on the list! I’m not even mentioning the Star Wars legos, the Batman legos, the matchbox cars… Major said something about the Matchbox Garage (why is this $100???)…?

Uh huh. My children. Four and Five. Spoiled. Spoiled beyond comprehension. Might as well ask me for a Tesla Model X while we’re at it. Ridiculous!

I’m about to make that child a bunch of sock dolls for Christmas and call it a day!

Recruitment of the grandmothers is in order, then the hunt will be on. If any of you lovely readers has seen a “kid friendly” drone that you can point me to, I’d be grateful. Or, if you happen to know somebody who has a motorized Lego set that they don’t want/need and are willing to sell, maybe point them my way, too?

You’d think with such  ridiculous lists would elicit perfect behavior for the entire month, yeah? Wishful thinking? *sigh*

I think my Christmas list is going to be lottery tickets and booze. 🙂 Or maybe just a girl child. A girl child would ask for reasonable things for Christmas. Obviously.


Got a quick chance to take my camera to the Old North Bridge today. We haven’t had our first good snow yet, but the stage is certainly set. The leaves are gone and the trees are ready. It’s cold enough for stuff to happen. I’m certainly not wishing for it, but my mind has turned over to it. It was nice to get over to the bridge before it’s too slippery to go over.


It was also a fantastic opportunity to experiment with the telephoto lens that came with the camera. I also have a wide angle but didn’t have time to break it out. Still, wow, right? So much better than what the cell phone was taking!


I have a lot to learn! Good thing I’m surrounded by such a naturally beautiful place. I have to get as much in as possible before the damn snow. Stay away, snow! Stay away!

Hope you are having a good Monday, Dear Reader. It’s hard to get back into things after such a long break. There is a lot to do, Dear Reader. Let’s get it done!

Until Wednesday, take care.


Time to Sprint


Photo: The two little bears discovered the train tracks behind the house. They were so happy when they figured out what is behind the neeewwwww house.

December 28th. That’s the move date.

Or, at least, that’s the stuff move date. That’s the out of this place move date. It’s the husband, at least, lives in the house move date. It will probably be the Kyra and Bears move into her mom’s move date.

December 28th.

What a time, huh? What a crazy time! I have to have this entire place packed before Christmas. In the meantime, our (very unhappy) landlord already has a showing for this place on Friday, so I’m going to spend my week getting this place “show ready.” With babies. Mission impossible.

Pretty much, the rest of my year is Mission Impossible.

Let’s look at the task list:

  • Write Sixty Thousand more words of my “draft zero” by November 30th
  • Take good pictures of the boys for the Christmas Card
  • Create the Christmas Card on Shutterfly and order them for arrival by Black Friday.
  • Cook and Serve Thanksgiving dinner at Mom’s.  (only serving 6, thank God).
  • Write the Christmas Letter and give it to The Husband for editing, formatting, and printing.
  • Send the freaking Christmas Card and Christmas Letter to some 60 people.
  • Orchestrate the finding and purchasing of at least 24 gifts within a budget. (I actually like this part. I’m really good at this part.)
  • Have those items shipped up and down the Eastern Seaboard so they can be under various trees at the right time.
  • Bake gingerbread and other items for various important day-to-day people in our lives, like co-workers and Ursa Major’s teachers and a few friends.
  • Deal with the contractor to keep him on budget and on schedule
  • Beg, borrow, and steal to figure out a way to purchase appliances for our new kitchen (we have none and no money to buy them at the moment)
  • Make executive decisions about light fixtures, ceiling fans and two vanities for the bathrooms.
  • Begin the process of sewing or purchasing curtains for the house (I have to dress 20 windows).
  • Purchase Christmas outfits for the boys (and try to come up with one for myself).
  • Do Christmas–Also known as the 6 Days of Stressful Celebration.
  • Pack the house while maintaining its functionality and comfort for the boys.
  • Make sure that Ursa Major still makes it to preschool every day.
  • Maintain the house in “show ready” condition until it is rented by someone.
  • 3 meals a day without fail.
  • 2 loads of laundry a day without fail.


Is that all? Seriously? Is that all?


Here is the good news: Work on the house started today. We spent a lot of time in the house yesterday, just looking over things, showing it off to my folks, inspecting the work on the septic (picture in a second) and considering all of the things that we need to have time.

This is what is currently in my front yard thanks to the new septic:


Oh. My. Agorsh. So freaking ugly. That’s the vent pipe for my new septic, in the middle of my (very desolate) front yard. No, I can’t move it and I can’t get rid of it. Hate hate hate hate hate!!! Totally wasn’t there before when we were purchasing the house. Not a deal breaker, but aaauuuugh. Please send your suggestions as to what I can do with this ugly, ugly thing!! My uncles suggested that I put a bird house on it. How would I do that, though? I dunno… Maybe I need to surround it by huge hedges? I think that would be equally ugly…

But the biggest problem with the house and I’m only just now wrapping my head around fixing is the kitchen:

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It is so beautiful and yet so non-functional right now. No dishwasher, a tiny stove, a fridge that doesn’t work, barely any cabinet space and negligible counter-space. We have just enough money to open up the wall between it and the dining room, opening up the main floor of the house… but no more after that to really bring it up to a modern standard. I’m going to spend the next two months going on a campaign to raise funds from the family to make it happen.

Because I cook three meals a day, ya’ll. This just isn’t optional.

Now, I promise that I won’t turn this blog into a “This Old House” kind of space. It’s still gonna be about me and these two little bears. But I certainly have a new passion here, so I’m going to share. I also know that all of the work we’re going to do to this thing is going to have a direct impact on my two boys and their standard of living. It’s gonna come up, so, you know, brace yourselves!

Speaking of my little bears, you should have seen them playing in the front yard this weekend. They are so happy for the space, and Ursa Major was delighted to tell everyone “This is the neeeewwww house! Look at the neeewwwwwwwww house!”

And the more time I spent in it, the more I realized that this is a house where two little boys are going to get into a lot of trouble. Because there are a lot of closets and built-ins and funky corners where the boys can hide!




What’s that, you ask? Oh, nothing, just a two-story carriage house!!!! I’ve been calling it a barn… basically, a horse used to live in here. You can see where they used to store the hay.

Lord, I hope we can get to it before the boys become old enough to a) figure out how to get into it and b) find all of the nooks and crannies in it that are probably full of super dangerous stuff that little boys like to play with.

Believe it or not, the barn has electricity. I have a vision of making this into a mancave for The Husband. You’d think that he’d be totally pleased with that vision, but he’s really resisting it. He’s all “We have other priorities right now.”

Yes, dude, I know. I’m just saying that one day it could be your man cave! It’s the one part of this domain that I am not laying claim to!!

Men. Never freaking satisfied.

I think that the room with the most potential is the 3-season porch:

3-Season Porch (front door) 2 IMG_20131110_110532_743

It is a nice sized and sunny space, perfect for a playroom, I think, for the boys. I know that they are going to outgrow this space at a point in time, but for the moment, I think it would be the perfect space for them. I’m looking forward to transforming it into a cozy and beautiful spot for it. The best part about it? You can see and hear the trains from it. Ursa Major got his view back–he’ll be able to watch the trains all day long just like he used to. I think I might try to make it a train-station themed room. We’ll see. Maximizing space so that it doesn’t feel cramped is going to be essential here. I also have a heat problem–it’s not insulated and it doesn’t have a heater. The windows don’t open, either, so I might have a summer problem… It was not cold in that room when we were in it yesterday, but it was certainly cool. So I’ll need to find a heating solution…

And here is my favorite part of the house:

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There is just a lot of detail and charm to this house. The wood is still beautiful, the details are still prominent. Unfortunately, we are going to have to lose the dinning room built-in, but both of the built-ins in the bathrooms will stay. The beautiful front door, which separates the 3- It is going to be so much fun to honor the history of the house, retain what makes it special, and yet appoint it in a way the brings it into this century. I just cannot wait.

Oh… and now that I know that we have enough money to do so, we’re going to turn in Ursa Minor’s application for preschool tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to doing that in front of Peggy.

I ain’t goin’ no where.


This isn’t any other Monday here in America. It’s Veteran’s Day. A time for us to pause and say thank you to those who volunteer to protect American freedom. Two generations of my family on my father’s side, and my late maternal grandfather, are Army veterans. I make it a point, especially when I’m with my sons, to say thank you when I’m speaking to someone in uniform (or who otherwise indicates that they serve/have served). It is important to me that my sons understand that their days without worry about car bombs or fire fights in the streets or repressive government are thanks to the men and women who make it their life and passion to keep us safe. I don’t know how many non-military families in our country are out there actively teaching these lessons. I know that my boys don’t understand what “military” means right now. But I teach my sons through example, and this is one example that is extremely important to me. We mothers who live and raise our children in a free world, have a responsibility to teach the lessons: To tell the stories, to demand the honor and respect, to say thank you, and to make sure that our children never to take it for granted. Even if we don’t serve ourselves, or if our children choose paths that are not in the service of their nation, it is on our shoulders and within our purview to make sure that our children respect the responsibility and sacrifice that some choose to take up.

And if you are a military veteran, and you’ve somehow found my blog, Thank You. I honor you.

See you Wednesday. 🙂