November 30, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Our Thanksgiving weekend was great. Turkey Day was full of food and family and more food and more family. Andrew and Thomas had a blast playing with their cousins Connor and Camryn and are asking when they can do that again. (Hint, hint Amber!)

Friday began with a visit to the pediatrician where we picked up a prednisone** prescription for Thomas who has been hacking up his left lung for 10 days. It ended with dinner downtown with good friends and their kids and then a visit from Santa as he arrived for the season on the rooftop of Weaver's. It's a Lawrence tradition that he's rescued from the roof by a fire truck, which was mesmerizing for Andrew and terrifying for Thomas. We're doing our best to scar our kids at every turn. **SIDENOTE: Prednisone is a miracle drug in its ability to get T's lungs back on track. However, the devil is somewhere in it. He was literally bouncing off furniture and kitchen cabinets tonight dancing with one shoe on, yelling, "I a peanut!" over. and. over. Wow.

Saturday brought a great KU football victory over MU and more lounging around the house in total laziness. The boys and I actually did venture down the street to eat pizza with friends and watch the game. We also put up our Christmas tree and boy, howdy, did I have help. And, 36 hours later I can guarantee that no more than 10% of the ornaments are in the same place in which they began. Say it with me...constant rearranging. Andrew also got in the spirit by turning himself into Rudolph while no one was watching. He cut out his antlers all by himself!

Today brought snow. Real snow. We had flurries yesterday but it didn't really stick. Today we awoke to a dusting on everything and big, fat flakes. We've already gotten our money's worth out of our new snow boots.

Last year Andrew would ask to go out but had no one but the dog to go with him. I'm so delighted that Thomas is up to the challenge this year and they seemed to have a lot of fun. It's amazing how kids don't notice that it's freezing cold and they're wet.

All in all, we had a great weekend and Monday looks pretty unappealing after four days of all four of us at home. Thomas begins life as a big Preschool 1 kid tomorrow so I'll need to turn in early to weather that emotional storm! Wish me luck.

November 26, 2008

My heroes

A couple of weeks ago, Andrew and Mark headed out to Best Buy on a Sunday afternoon to buy, if I recall, a memory card for the camera. They returned an hour later with only one thing. Guitar Hero for the Wii. I was not particularly pleased with the purchase.

We sort of "owed" Andrew Guitar Hero from last Christmas but I felt as though we had made up for that obligation with the purchase of the Wii. And, I felt sure that he wasn't going to be able to manuever it and it would turn out to be nothing but an expensive source of frustration to his little hands. Also, admittedly, I thought that Mark had purchased it mainly because Mark wanted it for himself and I could picture him playing it a few times and forgetting about it.

At first, I was right. It was simply too difficult for Andrew to hold the guitar, hit the chords, strum at the right time and just generally hold it all together. His first attempts resulted in lots of missed notes, short play times before being booed offstage by the Guitar Hero band and, as predicted, disappointment. What I failed to remember was that he's his father's son. He was determined and wasn't afraid to fail a time or twenty.

Also, I underestimated how much Thomas would love to watch Andrew play Guitar Hero. He became his cheering section and adopted an old toy guitar we had purchased at a garage sale as his very own Guitar Hero gear.

That brings us to today when I can proudly tell you that Andrew has mastered several songs on the Easy setting and can play them with 80% accuracy from start to finish. Thomas has learned the lyrics to songs such as Pat Benatar's, Hit Me With Your Best Shot and Foghat's, Slow Ride. I'm torn as to whether it's cute or troubling to hear a two-year-old begging for someone to play Barracuda so he can dance along. Along the way they've both perfected their rockstar stance and their best air guitar moves. I think they've possibly seen those modeled by Daddy?

The best part is that when Andrew's finished, he'll let me play and Thomas will serve as my backup. I can't really think of a better way to spend a cold Saturday morning!

Evidence of their new found passion...

If you need us, we'll be in our basement fighting over the guitar.

November 18, 2008

Revisionist history

At the kids' school, Thanksgiving brings the annual Pre 1/Pre 2 Thanksgiving Feast to life. The Pre 1 and Pre 2 classrooms take turns participating in the big feast either as Pilgrims or Indians. (Yes, I know that the proper term is Native American or something even more up-to-date, but this is the traditional Thanksgiving terminology and we're going with it.)

It's Pre 2's turn to be the Indians this year which is delightful to Andrew because for three years now he's somehow gotten caught in the middle of a Thanksgiving nightmare in which he has only been part of Team Pilgrim. The first year it was such a fun activity that he didn't really care. Plus, he was little and he didn't know the difference. In subsequent years he has really thought it would be more fun to be part of the Indian delegation but it's just never worked out for him. Pilgrims are alright and all, but the draw of the Thanksgiving feast is not in eating turkey or stuffing but in the lead-up. The kids spend all week learning about the first Thanksgiving feast and creating their outfits to attend their own version.

The Pilgrims spend hours crafting construction paper Pilgrim hats and little collars that they wear to the luncheon. Any kind of hat is fun but a Pilgrim hat does require only black and white paper and last year he pronounced the collar "uncomfortable." This is, after all, the kid who asks for tags to be cut out of his shoes because they bother him. And also, Pilgrims are, well, refined. I think that Andrew is starting to understand that there's a time and place for decorum - even if he doesn't put that understanding into practice - but when given a choice, being a Pilgrim just isn't all that exciting.

Being an Indian, on the other hand, is full of promise. There's the headdress to start. It's got feathers on it. Lots of them. And, they're not black and white but every color that's availble in a construction paper multipack. Then there's the part where the Indians weren't British so they weren't - at least in the version that he's buying - nearly so stiff. He's definitely of the opinion that he's on the cool team this year. He's so excited about it that he made an extra headband today for Thomas which he's way more pleased with than his brother is but we'll not break that news just yet.

On the way home from school today I asked him what he was learning about the Pilgrims and Indians and our normally totally-obsessively-into-the-details child relayed this:

Me: Can you tell me about the first Thanksgiving?

Andrew: Yes. The Pilgrims came here and wanted to eat a big dinner but the Indians didn't know how to cook so the Pilgrims taught them everything about cooking and they taught them how to cook corn.

Me: Are you sure that the Indians didn't already know that?

Andrew: No, but the Indians did have fancy houses so they taught the Pilgrims how to build those.

Me: OK. I think we might need to talk to Erica about the story you're hearing.

Andrew: No, I've got it right, mommy. And the most important part is how they were all very, very thankful.

Me: What were they thankful for, do you think?

Andrew: They were thankful for each other just like we're thankful for each other.

So much about that wasn't quite right but yet I somehow think he's getting the point.

November 16, 2008

Is it wrong to love something so much?

Since I've last posted I believe our nation has elected a new President and we here at House Henderson have new lights. I know that most of America is still talking about the Obamas and wondering how Barack's security briefings are rolling and whether they're going to choose a poodle or a rescue dog, but really, people, have I mentioned I have new lights?

Of course, there's a knock-knock joke in all of our recent home updating and it starts off something like, "How many holes does it take to install one recessed light?" From there it unravels into one of Andrew's jokes where the punchline is a little difficult to decipher but goes something like, "a whole heck of a lot and it costs three times what you anticipated to and takes three times as long." We're still not quite finished but we're within sight so for now I'm posting the mid-process shot.

I know you're now riveted and will be waiting for the true "after" shots because it's fascinating to look at photos of someone else's ceiling and also because, seriously, how far off course could a project go to have required so. many. holes.

In addition to the lighting in the kitchen and entry, I have long-coveted new kitchen appliances. After some discussion and some seriously depressing Morgan Stanley statements I decided it wasn't prudent to move ahead with new appliances right now and that just the lights would be plenty to absorb six weeks before Christmas. I decided that I didn't want a new fridge until we could do all new appliances at the same time. I was kind of at peace with the ugly refrigerator with no ice maker. That's of course the cue for the 1980's-era Amana to begin a slow death. For a few days we were in denial, then we just decided we could live without the top shelf because it seemed to be the only one not cooling. It went south from there and we ended up with an emergency fridge purchase on the books, too.

It doesn't match anything else in the kitchen and it wasn't planned but let me just tell you it's a thing of beauty and I never, ever imagined that I could be so pleased with a new appliance. This life I'm leading is SO GLAMOROUS! With that said, part of the reason I've been slow in posting recently is that I'm pretty busy each evening with the new fridge. I'll update again soon once the lights are complete. Until then I've got condiments to rearrange in the door bins and fake stainless steel to caress.

ETA: My husband has let me know that he doesn't feel as though it was fair of me to have originally said in this post that he was the one who put the kibosh on buying all new appliances so I have edited this post to more accurately reflect our joint decision making. :-)

November 4, 2008

Random thoughts on the election evening

I'm thinking that whomever dreamed up just randomly gaining or losing an hour a couple of times a year to maximize our daylight hours was probably a genius. However, I'm also thinking that genius didn't have a two-year-old. This morning ours began asking for a ride downstairs at 5:42 a.m. A week ago we would have deemed that wake-up call to be reasonable and would have even felt like it could have been worse. That was back in the good old days when 5:42 was 6:42. 6:42 a.m. I can live with - 5:42 a.m. stinks. Someone send the kid a memo.


Andrew came home from school today prepared to take the United States' citizenship test. His teacher set-up a little mock voting booth in their classroom and each student cast a ballot either for Obama or McCain and then she taught them about the electoral college. He knows that one of these dudes needs 270 votes to take it all tonight and he also knows that here in lowly Kansas we've only got six points in the ring. He informed me that while I'm now old enough to be President he didn't think I was qualified and he's a little concerned about Wyatt's ability to someday run for President since he's Japanese and all...

I had planned a post tonight that would show off the two beautiful new lighting projects we've conquered here at Chez Henderson this week. On Sunday Mark slaved for three hours on hanging a new light in our entry way that is, if I do say so myself even though I chose it, perfect there. It's a wrought-iron and frosted glass number that is a dramatic improvement over the Star Trek-inspired heap we had lived with for seven years.

The second project is recessed lighting for the kitchen. Installing recessed lighting into a ceiling that has another story above it comes with some challenges and risks. We knew there would be no guarantees about exactly how things looked up in the ceiling until the electrician actually starting drilling some holes. We had been warned and were proceeding cautiously (Mark) and enthusiastically (me) anyway. My new friend Steve, the electrician, talked me through the process this morning and then got to drilling. It turns out that our kitchen ceiling is full of rogue water pipes, vents and various other impediments to drilling evenly-spaced holes for recessed lighting. The result is that I now have a kitchen ceiling that looks like swiss cheese, not enough fixtures installed to adequately light the room and a hot date with Howard the sheetrock repair specialist later this week before more lighting work can continue. Oh, and I have a husband who hasn't said a word but who has a face saying, "I told you so!"

Pictures to come when it's not so depressing.

November 3, 2008

I okay

It's that time of year again when you don't have to look far to read or view some bit of news about flu season being just around the corner. And, with that comes the flu shot clinic on every corner.*

Our pediatrician's office runs a flu shot clinic three times a week during November. It's designed with ease-of-use and convenience in mind, apparently. Rather than burden me, the parent, with a specific appointment time, said office has a system where all you have to do is sign up for a clinic time a mere three or four months in advance and then you're given a window of time in which you can show up and have your kids vaccinated. It's kind of like the cable guy telling you they'll be at your house between noon and 5, except in reverse. You just show up during your assigned clinic time and play cable guy at their office instead of at home.

Today was our assigned day. Our assigned time was between 1:30 and 4 p.m. Because of some pesky details called naps and jobs, I knew we weren't going to arrive until about 3:48 p.m. and was braced for the wait. I picked up the boys at school and once we were all safely buckled I broke the news that we were going to have a special treat of Cold Stone Creamery this afternoon. Right after we waited for hours to get a shot.

I was mentally-prepared for some feedback on this plan but the surprise was that the commentary came not from Andrew but Thomas. Andrew calmly said that he would like to go first and that he would like mint ice cream when we were finished. Thomas had other thoughts.

The first thing he said was that he wanted Juice Stop, not Cold Stone. I assured him we could arrange that. Then, he sat quietly for a few minutes. Very quietly. Strangely quietly. When I finally asked him if he was alright he said, "I no need shot, mommy. I just have Juice Stop."

Andrew helped me explain to him that the shot was to *hopefully* keep him from getting a very bad sickness this winter and he assured us both, in a controlled yet forceful voice, that he "not get sick. Not get shot."

We rode along in silence for another 30 seconds or so before he began telling me that, "I okay, mommy. I no need shot. I okay." That, my friends, is what we call positive self-talk. He proceeded to say that approximately 1,349 more times between that spot in the road and the examination room. It was so repetitive that even Andrew the repeater was laughing out loud with me. He then told the receptionist, "I no get shot. I okay," and then he told the person who took us back to the exam room and, of course, he shared that discourse with the nurse giving the shots as well.

Andrew went first and didn't flinch. Thomas went next and insisted on having the shot in his arm just like Andrew rather than his leg. The nurse started to overrule him but then he started in with the, "I no get shot. I okay" and she relented.

The upshot is his arm is sore - sore like he went to bed with a cold pack on it at his request - and they've been officially vaccinated. Now all that's left to do is buy stock in Purell, hope they got it right this year and repeat the mantra. "I okay."

*I'm certain there are people out there, maybe even people who read this blog, who believe that flu shots are ineffective, unnecessary and possibly even unsafe. To you I say, you may be right. However, Andrew had the flu as a baby and it was horrible and both of my kids have "asthma" right on their medical charts so when the allergist and pediatrician tell you it's a must, I'm willing to give it a whirl.