Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Fire Man

A poem, by Maddie (inspired by our new UU Church's candlelight Solstice service)

Flickering and popping,
Lighting up the world without stopping,
we owe fire our life, you know.
And even so, we rarely treasure it.
Fire being big or small, you cannot measure it
At all.

It can be a candlelight or a bonfire lighting up
for easy sight.
It comes from a spark or a candle.
Without it we'd be in the dark.
But even so, fire can be a vandal.
So I hope you enjoyed this scandal.

Now, do not cry; it's not a permanent goodbye.
And I can assure you I don't lie.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Meet the Robinsons

We gave this movie a pass in the theaters because the reviews were so tepid. What were they thinking?! I rented it for the kids this week after striking out with Pirates3 and Harry Potter5, and found it absolutely charming! Kinetic and kooky, with absolutely wonderful themes about success and the importance of failures, family and the stories we tell about them and the importance of letting go of the unhappy stories we tell about our past!

Steve loved it too and we both cried a bit. The kids were, oddly enough, less enthralled by it that we were, but they still liked it.

Friday, December 14, 2007

New Desk

Yesterday, I woke up feeling mildly depressed again, which I've hesitated to blog about, as I know that recounting depressive thinking (it's crazy cold and it's only early December, I'm trapped in a house with two kids and no friends, what have I done with this move) only strengthens it, and I know that I could tell myself a different story and feel very cozy and happy (it's a beautiful winter's scene outside, the kids are happily engaged in their new home, I can putter about to my heart's content).

But nonetheless I was feeling down yesterday morning, then I had a long and wonderful conversation with my Mom, which made me feel 100 percent better and more connected. So I decided to call up a friend I haven't seen yet since this move and invite her and her three girls over. What a wonderful afternoon we had, making homemade pizza and scented soaps and talking!

They stayed till early evening, then I spent the next 4 1/2 hours putting together a new desk for Maddie, an early Christmas present. Luckily, I'm not working right now, as I managed to slice, bruise and blister my hands pretty good in the process. But it's done, and with any luck, I may be able to reclaim the dining room table for actual eating! We'll create a work station for Harry today.

Here's Maddie and Harry sitting at the desk this morning, sketching. Maddie wanted to place it in front of the dining room window so she could sketch Cherry and Snowflake, our two resident front-yard squirrels, while they nosh on seeds and peanuts.

Here's a drawing Maddie did of Cherry (and yes, she did the animals in the corners too, which are glued to magnets -- I think that's Fang on the lower left)

And here's Harry's sketch of the back of our digital camera!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Birthdays and more snow...

Hmm, which present to open first. A huge thank you to Great Aunts/Uncles Diane, Richard, Toby & David for finding the time to send packages and cards with money in them! It was very fun for Harry to receive presents at his new home, as torturous as it was to wait to open them...

There's never a shortage of present openers at birthday parties, is there....

Sunny doesn't care which family she snuggles up with, as long as they've got warm feet...

Our friends Jill and her daughter Addy braved the snowfall to come, bless them! Jill plays rock-em sock-em robot with cousin Owen.

Harry was quite enthralled with this camera-mounted remote-controlled spy car that Nic picked out for him (though the face he makes trying to shut one eye and see the video feed is kind of freaky to me...)

The icing was so slippery the cake fell over shortly after this was taken. Still tasted great!

The cake has an image of Redwall Abbey on it.

All in all, a lovely party, despite the snow that kept folks away and the still-new, still-strange environs.

A few days after Harry's party, we got yet another snow! It's lovely each time and I can enjoy it until I start thinking about the fact that it's not even officially winter yet and we've already had three snows in the four weeks we've been here for god's sake! Then I calm down and remember how everyone says the weather changes constantly here and I'm sure it will be warm(ish) and sunny again soon... Right??

Maddie working on a snowfort after our latest four inches of snow yesterday.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Daily coyote

Getting ready for Harry's birthday party on a cold and snowy day, but wanted to post a link to this wonderful blog.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The best mortgage lender ever!

I don't usually do endorsements (don't want to sully the purity of my blog) but I just have to rave about Navy Federal Credit Union (thanks Dad, for being in the Marines!) We just got a call today from our loan processor to tell us that we were getting a rebate from NFCU for taking out our home loan with them. Now, mind you, this is a $70,000 loan, not very big potatoes, and they charged us a grand total of $421 to process the loan (and that included $350 for an appraisal), but they issued us a $2,000 rebate!!

Needless to say, I'm feeling very warm and fuzzy towards them right now. In fact, I'm willing to overlook the two returned check fees they charged me this month in the midst of all the moving chaos.

Closing went well -- we actually met our home seller, Kate. That's how you do it here in friendly Colorado. No escrow companies here, the title company handles the close. So Kate, our vivacious young title agent Candace, and our respective real estate agents sat down at a big table and signed documents for 45 minutes. I was really impressed when Candace explained how title insurance worked using our actual neighbors as examples. That admiration dissipated when Candace confessed that she and Kate were friends and that she had actually helped Kate remodel the house when she first bought it.

Kate was a young woman who seemed both sad and relieved to be done with the house. She'd bought it with a "no-good" ex and put a ton of work into it, ripping off plastic wallpaper and taking down mirrored wall panels, scraping popcorn and removing weird faux ceiling beams. I had a much greater appreciation for all she'd done, after realizing that I probably wouldn't have bought the house in its original state. (Previously, I'd been noticing only the work that still needed to be done -- the bathroom that needs a remodel, the peeling kitchen countertops and the worn carpeting.)

She said we had wonderful neighbors, which I was glad to hear, and reccomended a potential babysitter across the street from us. And, once all the paperwork was signed, she said, "now I can tell you, let the water run in the upstairs bathtub on the coldest nights of the year or the pipe freezes and you can't use it until it warms up again." I thought it was so funny that she was worried we'd back out of the sale if we knew that in advance.

It was quite nice to actually meet the person who lived her before us. It seems so strange to turn a home over to someone else sight unseen. Steve and I wrote out a letter to our buyer in Murrieta, explaining the various apple trees and grape vines in the garden and how to care for them, when we mailed her the mailbox keys we'd accidentally taken with us. She kindly sent us 9 pounds of mail that hadn't been forwarded, but without even a note. Which of course convinced me that she's mad at us because we couldn't get all the dog pee smell out of the upstairs carpet before we left. (sigh.)

What an interesting and fraught process buying and selling a house is....

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Playing doctor

The kids have been having fun with a new game, thanks to a craft-related accident I had last night.

Maddie has been wanting to make homemade paper by shredding paper products, blending them into a pulp, suspending them in water and sieving through the water with a screen to create a sheet of artsy-looking paper. I was trying to peel the plastic sleeve off a roll of metal window screening when I jammed a piece of wire under the skin of my thumb about an inch. I thought the wire had broken off under my skin, so I had Steve try to dig it out with tweezer and needle while I closed my eyes and chanted OMmmmmm. Turns out there was just a fragment of metal in me, not a long wire.

Shortly thereafter, Harry announced that he wanted us to make him a patient with a wire that needed to be removed. (I was convinced he was processing his trauma through play acting, but Steve thinks Harry just thought it was cool to see Steve operating on me. Gives you a little insight into our respective issues or lack thereof.)

So we set Harry up with a potato (who was working on his car when it exploded and impaled him with wire, nails and other objects) and Harry carefully removed foreign bodies with tweezers. Maddie got into the game, and all evening long, she searched out various food items that could be skewered with unpleasant objects, doused them with red food coloring and sent them down to Dr. Harry in the basement.

The game continues today, and here's Maddie and Patient Potato (who apparently works at a munitions dump with lax occupational safety regulations):

Here's Dr. Harry at work:

Next up, a Banana in bad shape. What happened to him? "A carton of sour-humored milk attacked him," says Maddie.