An October Tragedy

Dear Erin,

I’m thinking all your squirrels lived in the two trees you took down. Unfortunately, not all your acorns lived in those trees as well. They’ll come back eventually.

The squirrels, I mean.

This weekend, we drove with some friends over to Half Moon Bay, to their Art & Pumpkin festival. My main goal was to take cute pictures of Little Mister in a pumpkin patch. (Most of the temporary pumpkin patches around here are set up in parking lots and dominated by bouncy castles; more carnivalesque and less photogenic.) More than any other typical holiday photos, there’s something about babies with pumpkins that appeals to me. Not really sure why – the vibrant colors, maybe, or the matching chubbiness of both tiny humans and large gourds.

There was no pumpkin patch. Plenty of artsy pumpkins (velvet pumpkins, glass pumpkins, felt hat pumpkins). Plenty of pumpkin food. Some monstrous, pale, flabby grotesques that they called pumpkins. But no pumpkin patch. So we had to settle for cute pictures that are tragically pumpkinless.

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swing2This was his first time on a swing. He had a blast. I think I might go seeking a pumpkin patch again this week. It’s just too sad to have a baby to photograph and no giant vegetables to pose him with.

Bullets from the Trees

Dear Kristen,

Any naps today?  Naps are the best!  I like taking naps and could use one right about…now.  But that’s a common desire for moms with Little Men and Munchkins, right? But if you nap when they do, when do you get the other things done?  I could, I guess, let them have the run the house while I take a nap – but that sounds like chaos and child neglect all in one.  I’ll just nap when I’m an empty nester.  (You do take naps, Mom, don’t you?)

Well, over here, fall is in the air.  And the trees.  At this point of the year, Matt starts to battle leaves.  They fall and fall and fall. And the leaves in our trees are NOT pretty ones.

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See. Boring colors.

The pretty leaves are reserved for Shenandoah National Park and other picturesque places, not our yard.  We thought that with the loss of two trees last summer, we would have fewer leaves in the fall – but that doesn’t seem to be reality.  Maybe leaves are like dust bunnies and real bunnies, multiplying to the power of 4.

But today isn’t about leaves.

Its about “unicorns.”  And by “unicorns,” I mean acorns. (Munchkin called them “unicorns” for a while.)

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I’ve heard it said that you can gauge the coming winter by the number of acorns. If that’s the case, the frozen apocalypse is on its way to the Commonwealth.  Acorns are falling from the sky in RECORD numbers.  Its as if the trees are afraid there will never be another oak tree planted in the whole wide world and so they’re hedging their bets by attacking the world below with acorns, making me feel like they’re shooting bullets at our house, our cars, us.

No kidding – an acorn hit the windshield as I was driving down our road and I’m 73% sure it left a ding in the glass.  It was so loud on contact I actually jumped and Munchkin yelled from the back, “What was THAT? Mama, what – Mama what was THAT? Hey Mama.  Mommy.  Mommy. Hey Mommy. Was that an acorn?”

Look at all these!  This is about a 2 square feet section of the yard.

Look at all these! This is about a 2 square feet section of the yard.

The other weird thing is there doesn’t seem to be any squirrels to get the acorns.  We had them last year, but they’ve disappeared!  Where are they?  I don’t think Gibbs scared them away – she’s not that adept at seeing them.  Maybe the hawk that’s been hanging out ate them?  Or the acorns hit them in the head and some animal or other took the unconscious squirrels elsewhere?  I have no idea, but they certainly aren’t at our house.

So the bullets keep dropping.  And lying around waiting for the Shop-Vac to suck them up.

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But that will need to wait till the leaves are gone…

Good Thing There’s Plenty of Ice Cream

Dear Erin,

Poor Elizabeth! But congrats on getting Munchkin to … help. I’m sure she’ll only get better at it, and at least she had a good time and kept out of your hair.

Today has been a No Nap day (hate these), which means that I have neither time nor energy to write anything complicated. I’m clicking this out while he’s delightedly engaged in his jumpy seat. So at least he’s not especially grumpy today; just refuses to sleep.

So I’m just going to leave a picture here of a little something that will be winging its way to you tomorrow – Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.

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Cleaning with Toddlers (or RE-cleaning)

Dear Kristen,

Since your shelf is a little more clean (or uncluttered or empty) than you’d want, I think the breaking out of Rowling is a good option – it should fill up quickly!  I should re-read those, too, but since I can’t manage to finish Pride and Prejudice (Elizabeth has been stuck at Rosings for an uncomfortable amount of time) in the normal amount of time, I have limited hopes that Rowling would go any faster for me.

Today, a word about cleaning.

Now I would not call myself OCD by any stretch of the imagination, but I do like myself a clean kitchen.  Our kitchen comprises pretty much half of our downstairs, so a clean kitchen and a straightened family room makes me feel as if my WHOLE house was clean! (A completely clean house is not in our immediate future…I have a three year old and a golden retriever…toys and fur for days.)

It rained this weekend, so instead of working outside, I decided to clean inside.  Since Little Man’s arrival, major cleaning has been lacking, so I knew it would take a big chunk of time.  I didn’t finish COMPLETELY, but lots of scrubbing and dusting and organizing ensued, along with loud singing by the Munchkin.  And I called in the big guns.

I got help from the Munchkin.  Verdict?  Its more work for me but fun (and distracting) for her, so its a winner.

I had her wash the windows.  It only make sense – she puts 50% of the smudges on the windows.  Her compadre (Gibbs the Dog) doesn’t have opposable thumbs, so she could help.

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I think we need to work on her definition of window – after this she was spraying the stairs and car seat, too.

And the hinges.

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But they got a little cleaner and I could come behind to clean up a little more – so it worked!  A clean downstairs!

Just don’t look at my floors.

Empty, Empty, Empty

Dear Erin,

So we’re already well into October, and my “empty shelf” still looks like this:

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Pages on the Post-Its: 1215.

Way too close to “empty” still. So, as I predicted, it’s about time to break out the J.K. Rowling. (To be fair, I am amassing a decent collection of post-its on this shelf, recording pages I’ve read that aren’t physically represented.)

The only new book since the end of August is Unnatural Death, as I’m still in the midst of Wolf HallUnnatural Death is a Lord Peter Wimsey mystery that I haven’t read in quite awhile. The benefit of that was that I was halfway through the book before I was sure I was remembering the bad guy correctly. A serendipitous meeting leads to our sleuth creating a case out of practically nothing, but his crisis of conscience appears as the bodies pile up. As always, it’s a clever plot and interesting characters, including the introduction of Miss Climpson (Wimsey’s Girl Friday).

So, the project continues. We’ll see where we end up by the end of the year.