The Return of Normalcy

Dear Kristen,

I actually expected your shelf to be more full at this point, but when you think of all the children’s books (and some ebooks, too perhaps?) not everything can go on the shelf.  Is it working out, though?  Seems to be.

Over here, I would be glad to send you some of the cold.  There has been very little venturing outside the house.  And flurries in Florida??!?!!  Crazy!

Despite the cold, we have returned to a bit of normalcy considering all the craziness that has been re-construction, snow, and ice.

The house is done!  WOOOHOOO!

So routines can pick up where they left off without having to dodge nail guns and wet paint.  And with routine comes crazy Munchkin moments.  The latest?

She’s figured out how to work the CD and DVD player.  I know.  I wasn’t ready either.

She changes discs, starts Veggie movies without asking, and just blew out our ear drums by turning the sound up to its highest level.  We are now walking around talking a little louder than normal.



But its nice to have things back to normal – as normal as life ever is.  And if the snow would stop shutting down the area, we could do REALLY normal things.  Like go get more milk.


**We just spent the last twenty minutes reading St. George and the Dragon a few times.  Munchkin was upset that the dragon was hurt and didn’t get better.  Don’t know what to think about that…



A Year and a Day

Dear Erin,

Naps are good; they can make the gloomiest days better. Or, at least they can make them pass more quickly. I hope things have brightened up for you since Monday, although I do keep hearing about the cold and snow over on your coast. It really would be nice if we could do some kind of weather-share program. We take some of your chill and precipitation, and you get some of our sunny warmth. Not all of it, mind you, but some. I think that would suit both the Old Dominion and the Golden State pretty well until spring.

Did you realize that yesterday was our 1-year blog anniversary? Congratulations to us! A year and a day ago, you wrote the first post, explaining our (rather odd) blog name, and since then, we’ve written 135 posts (counting this one); posted 443 pictures (now, that’s kind of crazy); seen the Munchkin grow up a lot; written at least 20 times about different crafts (sewing, knitting, paper crafting); written at least 11 times on cooking (that’s all you, sister); read who knows how many books and seen ditto movies – and reviewed 18 of them (hmm, that’s a record to try to break next year); experienced several disasters; done some traveling and enjoyed the great outdoors (39 “adventures”!); and periodically given in to the desire to pontificate. (Okay, that last is just me.) I’ve moved house and am in the last months of waiting on a blessing that this time last year I never thought we’d receive. You’ve gone through several remodels, both expected and not, and made your home cozier than ever.

Last week was the Yarn Harlot’s 10-year blog anniversary, and while I can’t quite imagine that we’ll make such a milestone, it’s certainly something to strive for. This past Saturday was also Bakingdom’s 4-year blog anniversary, so we’re in pretty good company all around. I wonder what Cracker Sisters might look like in 4 years…

Speculation later, though.

Hey, look how far I’ve gotten in the first month of reading a shelf’s worth of books!

Read Book Shelf January

Not very.

I’ve blown the picture up so you can read the post-it on the back of the shelf, because it is very important that you know I’ve read more than one kid’s book and one magazine over the course of the month. In fact, I realized that I’ve actually read more than that 205 pages that I recorded; it should be more like 240 or so, but who’s counting? (Yes, yes, it’s me.)

I hope February looks more impressive, just for vanity’s sake, but to be honest, I’m not unhappy with the amount I’ve read. This has been a busy month, and I have gotten more done than it looks like. At some point, those pages should manifest themselves on that shelf physically, so I’m not really worried about it. And in the meantime, that particular book (Howl’s Moving Castle) was fun, and it may give me both something to write about here in the future and a solid addition to our library.

So, here’s to a whole year of writing, to a year of growth and changes, and to hopes for the next year. May our next almost-150 posts be better than our last!

PS. Doesn’t “A Year and a Day” sound like a phrase out of a fairy tale? My delight about that makes me do a little dance of happiness in my head.

A Case of the Mondays

Dear Kristen,

This is my current condition.  Mondays can be…not as cool as Fridays.  So I’m looking forward to a day of snuggles, naps, and fun in a box!


Not quite the Dr. Seuss variety that comes with a Cat in a Hat – but its served to provide endless fun!

This past week has had some fun events (and COLD events) and I wanted to share those with you.

1. The snow:

Ready for the snow!

Ready for the snow!

Snowmen really don't work if the snow isn't wet....

Snowmen really don’t work if the snow isn’t wet….

Where's Daddy going? I'll go, too!

Where’s Daddy going? I’ll go, too!

2. A ballet: Stavna’s production of Snow White

Mommy/Daughter date to see Miss Mandy dance!

Mommy/Munchkin date to see Miss Mandy dance!

3. …..Can’t remember.  Sleep is calling and its a warm bed that awaits…..

So happy napping!

Snow in the Backwoods

Dear Erin,

Charles doesn’t seem too cut up about the arcade, all things considered. But then again, he managed to get through the video in the childbirth class last night without seeming very stressed out – until afterward. So I might just be oblivious.

Did Munchkin have fun in the snow? It looked like it was deep enough to make a decent snow angel, although any Olafs might have turned out a bit small. I remember a snowman we made on the side of the road once. Was it on the way to New Hampshire for Christmas one year? He was pretty small and not very impressive, and the only detail I really remember is that he had plenty of green hair made out of evergreen branches, but we had a lot of fun.

This talk of snow makes me think of the Little House on the Prairie books, which Charles and I are reading right now. Not being terribly interested in narrative realism as a child, I had only ever read the first one – Little House in the Big Woods – and my husband considered that a blind spot that needed to be rectified. So when we were at a certain large bookstore a couple weeks ago, we bought what we considered the necessary beginnings of a child’s library, which included a collector’s edition of five of the Little House books bound as one.

I’ve been reading them out loud to him, a couple chapters each night. Two days ago, we finished Little House in the Big Woods, and last night we started on Farmer Boy. And snow figures prominently in both, so far. Snow like I can’t imagine having to live with on a regular basis. I think I would just cry from the cold. In reading these books, I’m that much more convinced of my probable inability to live anywhere with a real winter. (So congratulations to you, Florida girl! You’re doing better than I could, and you have been for years.)

Other things that have struck me during this reading? It is hard to tell, since the story is told from a child’s perspective, but Ingalls Wilder’s family seems incredibly isolated. Her parents are painted as completely content, yet I wonder about their mental health. I mean, on the one hand, the pioneer life is quite romantic, what with the wolves literally at the door and your life depending on your wits and wisdom every day. On the other hand, how did her mother not get depressed, basically alone all day every day? Why could her father apparently not settle down and be content but had to keep moving every few years? What possessed them – in the midst of the Victorian age – to live a life wherein nearly every tool had to be jerry-rigged out of local materials? Most of their contemporaries, even on the frontiers that were disappearing, seemed to take every opportunity to buy pre-made goods.

Still, from a child’s perspective, for a child audience, the romance and the exoticism of a frontier life in bygone days is what stands out. It’s strange that the book was too realistic for me when I was little, and now it’s not realistic enough. Oh well; the hazards of reading as an adult without nostalgia are impossible to escape sometimes.

I did laugh when I heard that Ingalls Wilder and her husband ended up in the Panhandle briefly during their own adulthood. As in, I felt superior – with no real reason, I admit. The tough pioneers apparently couldn’t handle the crackers, not to mention the heat. So maybe I would freeze solid during their winter, but they melted during our summer, and our own dirt scratch farmers apparently drove them crazy. Ah, it makes me proud to be a Floridian.

Snowy Snow Snow!

Dear Kristen,

Was Charles sad to give up the arcade?  I remember when he put it together, so it has been a close companion for a long time.  Perhaps the prospect of preparing for future projects took some of the sadness away?  And maybe all those board games upstairs can help dull the pain….

Here on the east coast, we braced and then experienced Janus.  Since when did they start naming winter storms?  It seems that until recently, it was just hurricanes, but maybe they’ve always done this and I wasn’t paying attention?  It certainly makes it seem VERY epic!

And the pictures from the situation in the Northeast ARE epic.  The travel situation seems particularly adventurous and frustrating.  (Aunt Pam?!?!  Are you stuck in the airport??) We didn’t get nearly as much as they did, but our neck of the woods freaks out about snow, even the whopping two inches we got.

The local school systems preemptively canceled school for Tuesday since the forecast said snow would start when the high schoolers were on their way to school and they were calling for 3-6 inches, a veritable blizzard around here.  It didn’t actually start until 3:00 pm.  Free day off from school!

But there is snow today and FRIGID temperatures for this cracker.  High of 29°.  The kind of cold that freezes your breath in your lungs, if you’re me that is!


We WILL be playing in the snow.  To prepare for the snow, Munchkin has been asking to make a snowman and listen to “Snowman song,” by which she means Olaf’s solo in Frozen.  Its been on repeat.  So we will try to make an Olaf outside.  We will NOT, however, be outside too terribly long.

Wish we could pack some up and send it to you guys!  Instead, I’ll pray for you to get rain!