Friday, January 28, 2011

Snow, Old School

I'm sure no one has missed its presence, but it has snowed this year in frequencies and volumes that I cannot remember since childhood. I have vague childhood memories of very tall snow mounds, lots of snow days, and walking to school, uphill, both ways, with no shoes. (No, I don't, but aren't those the stories I will tell my child?) I remember January of 1987, when it snowed every, single day; some big storms, some flurries, but EVERY day. I remember a stretch of 1996 when we were battered with several large snow storms in a row. Really, though, I don't remember too many winters like this.

We had a small storm before Christmas that Duncan thought our Elf-on-the-Shelf brought with him. It brought with it our first snow delay (maybe 4 inches). Then there was the December 26 storm of 2010 that pounded the northeast with nearly two feet of snow. Then there was the storm about 10 days ago that caused the rare closing of our boarding school for the day; we had 16" when we measured, and it snowed for a couple of hours after that, so we'll say 18". That's a lot of snow. And in between, we had these "little" storms that dumped between 1 and 5". Yesterday, for example, we got 5". I'm tempted to go out into the yard, away from the drifts and piles, to measure it; however, it's clearly deeper than my boots, and I don't have a measuring stick that long. Let's just call it "a lot." I don't mind the snow as long as I don't have to go anywhere, and it's not going to interfere with my administering state exams at school (hint, hint, Mother Nature). It carries this nostalgia. It makes me feel a little better about global warming (even if that's an ill informed opinion). It's old school snow.

That was a whole lot of introduction for this little observation I wanted to share with you.  Yesterday, I was checking the 10 day weather forecast on The Weather Channel, because it's my new hobby.  I check it not just every day, but several times a day; it's my new addiction. I said "Well, Duncan.  It might snow Friday night and Saturday, and it might snow next Tuesday and Wednesday." He replied in amazement (dare I project disgust?) "AGAIN?  Again and again and again and again?"
Need I say more?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Too Much Screen Time

Jamie left today for a conference. Although I have gone away numerous times since Duncan was born, this is only the second time Jamie has gone away so it's a bit novel for Duncan and me. Duncan has promised to be helpful and a good listener. So far, he has offered to help with dishes, the lunches, and the shoveling as well as getting himself dressed and getting ready for school. He thinks he can earn 100 "helping points" on his behavior chart (a good day is 4). I'm not sure what that would earn, honestly. I haven't calculated the rewards that high.  I've heard rumors that Duncan is a model citizen when I am away. We'll see how it goes. It will be interesting, in any case. Two eye opening conversations we have had since I picked him up at 4 (42 minutes ago):

D:  "When you are away, usually Daddy and I have a treat."
M:  "What kind of treat?"
D:  "Like a candy at dinner.  We can do that if you want."

M:  "It's your computer day today.  What do you think you want to play."
D:  "I don't think I want to do that.  I don't like to have too much screen time."
M:  "OK, well you CAN play if you want to."
D:  "OK.  I will."

When I'm not around, does he tell people "I don't usually like processed foods." "I don't like to have too much screen time"?  What is that?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Duncan asked me to knit him a new scarf to go with his new coat. I know the days of my son requesting knitted goods are numbered so I tackled it enthusiastically (well, up until the very end).  We made a special trip to the yarn store, where he picked out red and black Polar Fleece, and one week later, voila.

Last year, one of my New Year's resolutions was to "make more stuff." I didn't do as well with that resolution as I would have liked, but I did okay. I did manage to knit scarves for each of Duncan's 4 teachers, and I knitted a hat for Duncan. I knitted a belated scarf for one of my former students.  I knitted coasters that I forgot about until I unearthed them from my project bag. I also started a number of things I didn't finish (hush...), including one sock (I did finish the sock - I just didn't finish its mate), and worked on a large project that isn't yet finished (hush...). I will try again this year; all I can do is try. As soon as my size 13, 14" circular needles come in, I'm all ready to try a cowl.

In the meantime, we have this cozy scarf that a little boy showed off proudly to his teacher, and for the boy, the scarf, the pride, and the appreciative teacher, I am truly thankful.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Independence 101

Duncan is going through a VERY welcome stage of wanting to do things for himself - not all things, mind you - but it's nice that he has an interest. He is more willing to dress himself, has been more attentive to his bathroom needs, and twice this week went to the bathroom by himself in the nighttime. Twice last weekend he marched into the kitchen and announced that he was going to make his lunch. Dubious, I envisioned him planning a meal of Christmas cookies, cheese, and whipped cream. Cautiously, I asked him what he was planning to have. "A cheese sandwich", for starters. "With what?" I demanded; he KNOWS he has to have a vegetable and fruit. "Some tomatoes and a clementine."

And he did. He ate more too, without the annoying, nagging prompting that we normally have to provide at mealtime.

Today, we all came home early from school. The weather was lousy. Jamie and I were done teaching for the day and thought it would be prudent to get home and stay there in case things stayed icy. We don't like to disrupt nap time at daycare so we picked Duncan up at 1:30. I had missed lunch. The lunch meeting I had scheduled for today had been canceled; I had taken some oatmeal, just in case, but hadn't gotten around to cooking it. While we were taking of our shoes and coats, I announced "I'm STARVING. I need to have some lunch."

Duncan said "Mama, I will make you a cheese sandwich."

And he did.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Polar Express

As part of our pre-Christmas shenanigans, we took Duncan for a ride on The Polar Express. This is a great local event (I've heard they have them in other locations). Children and their families board an historic train at the Berkshire Scenic Railway Museum in Lenox, MA. During the 20-30 minute trip to Stockbridge, a conductor punches the tickets and volunteers read the story aloud. At the Stockbridge station, passengers are treated to hot chocolate and cookies. Santa boards at Stockbridge and visits with all the children on the way back. Each child receives the gift of a silver bell from Santa, the first gift of Christmas!

It was a wet and rainy day, but the decorations at the station and on the train helped make it festive!

Children are encouraged to wear pajamas.  Many adults did too.

The Golden Ticket!


Waiting for Santa is HARD WORK!

The collective gasp of the children as Santa boarded the car was priceless. 

Even the wet December rain could not dampen the magic of Christmas!

If this is something you'd like to do, keep an eye on the tickets. Jamie ordered ours as soon as he heard they were on sale, and they had already sold MANY; I think that was in August. Jamie thought it was a little pricey for the event, but I really thought the return trip with Santa was magical. It made a believer out of me!