Category Archives: Drawings

Snow and ice and vipers, oh my!

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I got “grown up” markers for Christmas:)

“Stay away from us if you don’t want to get sick! We have a viper!”

“A virus.”

“A virus!”

The day before the snow came, two of the boys came down with a “viper.” Poor boys; I found one draped motionless and silent on an armchair, and another fast asleep and rosy cheeked on the sofa.

“Dad says this viper is really catching.”

As usual, Dad was right – the next day, when the snow hit, three of us fell one after the other, like dominoes. However, two of the boys were already better, and two of us weren’t sick until the evening, so we got some good sledding in on the first day. The snow was too cold to pack to make a snowman – that was the very first thing our four-year-old wanted to try. But the sledding was awesome.

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Mostly awesome

Our back yard is a hill of four tiers – that is, it slopes, then levels out briefly, four times before you hit the woods. I wasn’t sure whether a sled would stop at each tier, or just keep going – it turns out it keeps going, and fast! It was fun, for the oldest and I, but not safe for the littlest ones, so they sledded down the side yard.

The littles reacted differently to sledding. I brought the two middle ones on a ride down the hill and into the driveway. The smaller hopped out ready for more, but the other was silent and a little solemn.

“Did you like that?” I asked him.

“Y-es,” he said uncertainly. Then he looked at me with a troubled expression, and said, “But I wasn’t having fun.”

“Oh! Was it too scary?” I asked. He nodded. “It is a little scary,” I said.

That little one left to set off stomp rockets (a wonderful invention, and a present from Gramp and Granny for Christmas) in the back yard, while the littlest ones and I kept on.

They loved it. Both spilled out once; and another time, the bigger boy in front spilled out, leaving a pile of snow and his two-year-old brother in the sled. I looked at the latter, to see how he’d taken this latest ride. He beamed up at me.

“We crashing!” he said happily.

While the boys were busy in the snow I took a ride or two solo down the big hill. The first time, I ran into a couple of briars that had looked more harmless than they proved to be. But I thought I’d smashed them down pretty well, so that they wouldn’t hurt me the second time. What I didn’t reckon on was that the second time I went down, I’d go much further than the first time, since the trail was packed; and I ended up in a much worse briar patch (see above.) Ouch.

We were snowed in for five days. When I told my brother in Minnesota how many inches of snow it was that shut down our fair city in the mountains, he laughed loud and long. We hardly ever get snow here, so when we do it’s a big deal. As a North Carolina parent pointed out to me when we first moved here, “They may laugh at us in Minnesota. But there, if you slide off the road, you aren’t liable to fall very far. That isn’t the case here.” A good point.

Now the warmer weather is back again, and we don’t need to light the stove anymore. The warmer weather is nice, but it really is lovely to build a fire and feel it warm the house – and to smell woodsmoke outside from the neighbors’ chimneys and our own.

 

Christmas Lights

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“There will be many beautiful lights [this Christmas]. You – be a light. Be the face of Christ for others.”

Fr. A. said this way back in the beginning of Advent. A Saturday or two later I was back in evening Mass again, seated behind a tall man. He had snow white hair, and wore a bone white sweater. Though I was directly behind, I could see that he actively participated in the Mass, singing the songs, and so on. When it came time for the sign of peace he turned around. His face was tan and deeply wrinkled and his eyes were brown, and he gave me the most beautiful, kindly smile. There was no judgement in his face, no kind of mask – just an expression of kindness and goodness. His look warmed me inside, and the warmth lasted a long time. For Christ plays in ten thousand places, says Hopkins’ wonderful poem; lovely in eyes and limbs not his, to the Father, through the features of men’s faces. I wish I could be more like that man!

Merry Christmas, my dear people. May your ham’s glaze be beauteous and your potatoes done to a turn, and may your children (and grandchildren) eat their vegetables without complaining one bit.

 

Astro

This is Astro, our pet bunny.

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Astro, drawn by our nine-year-old

Or at an rate, this is what he looks like some of the time. Ordinarily, he appears as a mild-mannered rabbit. But by night, (and on occasion by day, as needed), he is Astro, the Crime-Fighting Rocket Rabbit! Defender of Liberty! Opponent of Oppression! Baleful Bane of Purveyors of Perfidy!

That’s what Daddy says, anyway. The boys are intrigued, but a little skeptical.

Every so often someone will look toward the rabbit’s enclosure and remark, “Where’s Astro?”

“He’s out fighting crime, of course,” Daddy will calmly reply.

The children watch, and within a few minutes the bunny comes into view.

“No, he’s right there!” they cry.

“Looks like he’s back. I told you he was quick. He goes very fast with his rocket jet-pack.”

The children still aren’t sure. It’s fun to have a rabbit with a secret life.

 

Busy

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Although it is summer vacation, things seem busy, but partly that is because things are a little disorganized without a school schedule. It is hot, not dreadful, but we are indoors more, and the boys are doing lots of drawing. Gramp and Granny (that is a portrait of them, above) came for a wonderful visit last week. My husband and I got to go on a mini vacation. We sat by a lake in rocking chairs – I did nothing but look at flowers and geese and clouds and trees for simply an age. I haven’t done that in years!! It was lovely. Gramp and Granny, you are the best.

There was an old woman

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“Oh, I look old.” I cringed at my reflection in the rearview mirror. “Do I look old?” I asked my oldest, regretting asking him even as the words came out.

“No,” he replied solemnly. “Not at all.” He thought a bit and added, “People in their thirties are not old.”

“You’re right, of course,” I replied hastily. But still – it is jarring to see oneself growing older and wrinklier.

“There was an old woman who lived in a shoe…” I guess I am not too old. And our house is unique but it’s not even remotely like a shoe.

We had a quiet day, blissfully free of incident. We’ve been playing “family” a lot lately, my four-year-old and I. He plays the dad, I’m the mom, and the baby is the baby. Yesterday we began by taking many family naps. We piled up on the sofa, dad, mom, and baby, kissed each other goodnight, and slept until the rooster crowed, then we got up. We repeated this process several times. After that it was time to go into town, which is downstairs.

Once in “town,” the baby wandered into the guest room (there is an alarm clock radio in there, and he loves to turn it on) and “dad” declared, “All right. Let’s go to the kid store and get a kid.”

The guest room is the kid store, as it turns out, and I thought (like a grown up) that the “kid” to be procured was the baby. But shortly after, outside by the swings, J informed me that he had a son of his own, whom he was swinging in the baby swing.

“That’s wonderful!” I said. “What is your son’s name?”

“Canoe,” he replied. “He’s really cute.” I said I could well believe it.

“He has the power to transform into a fish,” he added, in an offhand way.

“Well, that’s handy,” I replied.

After a while he and baby and I wandered to the top of the hill. It must be nice, being a baby. All you have to do is point to a little bike, look up, and say “Ma!” and you get gently rolled all around the yard, with your little feet resting on the frame. Rough life.

After a while I saw J twirling under the trees. “Where’s Canoe?” I asked.

“Oh … he blew away,” he replied.

“What!? You can’t just let your baby blow away!” I made as if to “catch” the imaginary blowing-away baby, but J objected strenuously to this. I objected myself, saying that he wasn’t being much of a father.

We’ve been watching Bugs Bunny and other Loony Tunes lately, and one of the episodes introduced the boys to the term “poop deck.” To their glee, this provides a loophole to be exploited in the face of the household prohibition on potty language. I ignore their frequent and gleeful references to poop decks. Things like this make me long wistfully for a child rearing handbook. But, all will come out all right in the wash, I do firmly believe.