Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow Day

This was to be my one Duncan-free day of the holiday season, and my to-do list was enormous. Instead, we are bracing for a storm, and Duncan is having a snow day.  I'm heading out for supplies so I can bake up a storm during the...well...storm.  Duncan and Jamie are headed out to the train station to buy tickets for our trip to the city on Monday (more details to follow).  Much like Tilly, I believe I will be scratching things off my list, not because they are finished but because I'm acknowledging they won't get done.  Baking, wrapping in secret in the office, and frantically paying outrageous shipping to get things here on time are about all I can accomplish with the little monkey underfoot, even with a great Daddy who is planning to take over so I can get some things done. to go.  Broken by Duncan today:  1 red glass ball. 

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree!

When Duncan was younger, we worried about him falling into the tree or knocking it over.  Now, he's pretty steady on his feet, but he loves to be a part of things.  He loves the feeling of power and control, whatever his 2 1/2 year old self can have agency over.  He enjoyed decorating the tree, and even making some ornaments for it, but a tree stylist he is not.  His favored method is to put all the ornaments on five branches, and even though he knows he is not to touch the ornaments, they move suspiciously when we are not in the room so that they hang in clumps around the bottom.  I love this tree, and I especially love having a little person to make those kinds of priceless ornaments that will be heirlooms in twenty years.  Jason and John should particularly enjoy our new pipe-cleaner ball.  This is the best tree, ever.

Forest for the Trees

Two weekends ago, we went to Battenfeld Farm to cut down a Christmas tree. We've frequented a selection of local establishments, but Battenfeld is, by far, our favorite. We usually look for about an hour and end up picking the first tree we looked at; that wasn't quite the way it worked this year. At second glance, the first glance tree proved to be too crooked of stem even to be able to be straightened by our super duper high tech tree stand. The second was fatter and fuller and, once we got it inside, proved to be equally crooked, although the tree stand did not fail us. You'd never know how crooked this tree is unless you look under its skirt, and you're all too polite for that.

Battenfeld's has turned into a nice bit of agriventure. Families from all over have always tailgated at the farm, and they continue to do so. Lunch is available for purchase. Mr. and Mrs. Claus were on scene to pose for photographs, and two beautiful obsidian-black stallions provided sleigh rides. As we ate our hot dogs, a marching band of bagpipers entertained us. I was shocked to see so many bagpipers in one place; bagpipers are hard to come by, let alone a piping Santa in a kilt.

We fondly remembered other tree trips: the trip we took with Joe when we had to hike ALL OVER the farm for hours for his tree; our trip with Paul and She Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken for the trees that were really spiky and painful to brush up against; the year I was 6 months pregnant, and the tree farm was covered in a foot of snow, and I couldn't find anything I liked, finally collapsing in a tearful, sobbing heap in the snow; the year we bought Duncan's first tree. I feel vaguely selfish cutting down such a large, living plant solely to decorate my house, but the memories are truly priceless.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Pee from the Heavens

I realize I haven't said much lately about the favorite subject of this blog:  Duncan.  Duncan is currently very excited about singing.  This is his newest "Twinkle Twinkle," but hopefully soon I'll be able to post some "Over the River and through the Woods" and some Christmas carols.  Enjoy!

All materials used in the production of this post are biodegradable.  Well, not really, but I couldn't let a post go by without addressing the environment.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Salt and Vinegar

Just for fun, I cleaned the bathroom with vinegar and baking soda.  After reading all the evil things about chemicals and what they're doing to the environment and to my family and me, I thought I owed it to myself at least to TRY something different.  I had read a lot about natural cleaning solutions, and, to be honest, if I had a carbon offset for every time my mother told me I could clean everything with vinegar, I wouldn't have to worry about the future of the polar ice caps.

So, to make a short story long, I cleaned the bathroom with vinegar and baking soda.  It was okay; I survived.  When I left at the end, I felt that the bathroom was genuinely clean.  Sure it smelled like Easter eggs, but I'm not sure ammonia smells particularly good either.  The difference is, we've been taught by the media to believe that the smells of bleach and ammonia are clean; we've been taught that vinegar belongs on salad.  I cheated a little bit.  I still used my Clorox toilet wand for the porcelain fixture, for a couple of reasons.  I do have one of those toxic bleach cakes in the tank, and bleach and vinegar apparently produce toxic fumes.  Also, I really don't like to touch the toilet, and Duncan really DOES like to touch the toilet.  I have a hard time not believing bleach is important there.  Vinegar and baking soda were FANTASTIC on the tub, where they made quick work of soap scum.  And (see next paragraph) I sprayed an environmentally friendly spray on the counter when it was all over, just because it smelled nice.

Did I like it?  I still had difficulty believing the bathroom was clean, but I'm convinced my doubt results from 43 years of conditioning by the chemical industry.  Yes, I know that there are nonchemical, environmentally friendly cleaning products available, and I own several of them. Method makes cleaning products that I want to eat or wear on my person because they smell delectable.  Flushable, eucalyptus wipes, grapefruit dish soap...yummy.  I think I'll transition to them slowly so the cost does not seem so prohibitive.  In the meantime, I bought the largest bottle of white vinegar and the largest box of baking soda I could find; the combination cost less than $5.00, and, if I wanted to, I could eat my bathroom.