Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Here in Lewis Mountain, we have water so hard it would disown its mother. It also layers itself on the sink and taps, making cleaning them virtually impossible.
Impossible, that is, without magic eraser. I recently discovered the Eraser's shining powers, and went to town on my sink, that very day.
When Kevin came home, I told him about it.
"...and look how nice and shiny the sink is! Isn't it nice?" I asked him.
"Mhmm." said Kevin from behind the paper. "Very nice."
I glanced at him and saw his complete lack of interest. "You don't care!" I cried, turning back to the sink, doing my best to appear to be stricken with grief.
Alarmed, he put the paper down and nearly jumped out of his chair, overcome with remorse, probably. Then he noticed that I was faking.
He looked at me disapprovingly.
"Someone who's on the emotional roller-coaster that you're on shouldn't make jokes like that!"

I just laughed.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Baby Sign Language

Katherine has learned to say "change!"
Her hand sign isn't exactly the same as mine, but it's close enough that we both know what she means. I am enormously excited about this success, and suddenly want to teach her everything: Please. Thank you. More. Milk. Mommy. Daddy. Apple Crisp. And all those other signs you hear about.
The tricky part is, of course, that anything I teach her I must first master myself.
It's the story of my life.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Life has a Score

Last Saturday, Kevin recruited some strong men to move a piano into our house.
And then suddenly, he's living in a documentary.
The classical music begins.
Kevin waits for his cue. Around bar 14, he begins.
"...and here, on your left, you will see the ruins of an ancient castle, once occupied by Sir Walter Carmange, of Shropshire.
...Moving on, now, ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to draw your attention to this fine example of Romanesque architecture, built in the late 1400's by one of the Queen's closest advisers, Sir James Aylward..."

And so I discover that, in Kevin's experience, classical music has been (mostly) restricted to the soundtrack for documentaries about the United Kingdom.
Now, quite suddenly, Little House on Lewis Mountain - on all day, every day - has a score of its own.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Now nothing makes a mom more defensive than...

Parental Labeling.

You've probably heard of it. In fact, you've probably done it, subconsciously. Or maybe even consciously.
"She's too easygoing." "He's too strict." "They're too organized." "They're all over the place." "She's too proud of him." "She's a mom, but acts as if she was still single." "She's so scared of germs, she washes the baby's hands after a diaper change." "Her kid will get more than his peck of dirt." "They're too suburban." "They're too redneck."

Everyone does it. And who does it better than one's family? They have known you longer than everyone else. They have a vested interest in your children as grandparents, uncles, and aunts. They watch you more closely than they would watch a friend, knowing where you come from and expecting certain things of you.

Families are expert labelers.

I became aware of my family's label for me shortly after my baby reached 2 months. I wasn't surprised to be labeled; I knew *I* did it. What did surprise me, though, was the label itself. "Dinah," they said, "is a worrywart."
A worrywart! Dinah the calm, Dinah the sensible, Dinah the rational - Dinah the worrywart??
Was I?
I knew where it had started. My baby has allergies. Before I figured out what exactly she was reacting to, she spent about 60% of the time feeling sick. Rash, itchyness, congestion, fussiness, and general blah-ness were common.
I told mom about it one day.
"She's sick at least 60% of the time." I said. "It's awful. I'm not drinking milk for a while, to see if that causes it, too. I know nuts are bad already."
The next day, Katherine was doing fine (a 40% day, obviously), and I went to mom's to do laundry.
Says mom: "She looks the picture of health." (Katherine smiles and coos at her.) "I don't know what you're worried about.
I never thought you would be like that, Dinah, worrying about your baby all the time."

I smiled wryly. "Neither did I."

I considered my worries legitimate in the face of that unknown allergy that was making my baby unhealthy and unhappy. But mom, and others in the family, as I soon discovered, thought that babies are just sensitive little people and I should get used to it.

They had a point. They had experience with babies. They *knew.*

But then again, she is my baby. I have experience with this particular baby. I *knew.* I reached up, peeled the label off my forehead, and stuffed it into the garbage can.

If I've labeled you, I take it back. I didn't know.

The moral of this story: You'll never be able to label with complete accuracy. Bring the labeler back to Staples and get your money back. Buy chocolate instead. Relax and enjoy.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Little House Tour

It's about time I showed some updated pictures of our house. As it stands, the picture in your mind is probably something like this:

Or even this:
Which is not the way it looks today; not at all.
And so, here's a tour through my house, showing you some of my favorite things.

Pot lights.

My shiny new faucet and deep sink.

Cream-colored counter-top and my favorite dish.

Blue Thistle walls and a light fixture I really love.


Flowers from Kevin

Cupboard doors. I can only show the doors, because the bathroom isn't finished, yet...

Guacamole paint upstairs,

...with white trim.
And, oh!

my baby is awake! End of tour!

You know you have it good when…

  1. You press a button and your van door opens.
  2. You iron four shirts and you think that was a lot.
  3. Your baby shakes her head ‘no’ to tell you when she doesn’t need a change.
  4. You accidentally put extra sugar in your batch of cookies and have to double the recipe.
  5. Your husband says to leave the dishes because he wants to snuggle.
  6. You realize that God has been at work in your life, because an incident that would have bothered you terribly a year ago doesn’t faze you at all.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sturdy Legs

I was talking to mom, and told her that we got Katherine a Jolly Jumper.
"She's too little." said mom. "I would never put a baby in one of those until they were at least 9 months."
Says I: "But Sophia has one, and she's only a wee bit older."

Mom paused for a moment, then recovered.

"But Sophia has such sturdy legs."