Monday, May 17, 2010

The House Is Still Standing

It's Day 3 of "Andy Stays Home with the Kids." For all my joking that I'm slowly coming unglued, I'm really not. I'm even enjoying it.

On Saturday, we dropped Deborah off at the airport, and, after asking around, learned of a mini-parking lot at the end of the runway where we could watch the airplanes take off and land. Fort Wayne International (what, they have one flight a week from Canada?) isn't the busiest airport, so we just got to see Deborah's plane leave.

Sunday, we made it to church, and I did my stint in the recording booth. Apparently someone explained our situation in Sunday school, because lots of people were going out of their way to stop, say hi, and see how it was going.

Today, I got everyone up and dressed (I remembered the Risanna's shoes this time!) and got the whole crew over to the piano teacher's house for an early lesson. The lesson was a new experience for me; Mrs Popenfoose took the time to explain what I should be watching for as Fiona practices. Fiona's doing really well. Obviously she gets her musical talent from Deborah!

So far, things are going smoothly. Sure, the baby is sick, and won't eat or drink much — especially frustrating, given that I put twice as much work into her food — but we're dealing with it OK, I think. Every bite is a victory. I'm not sure I can say the same for the rest of our meals. I can cook; I can cook well; it's just obviously not a part of my everyday routine. So far, I've only succumbed to the "make it quick" temptation twice — frozen pizza and mac 'n' cheese — but at least I added some tuna, tomatoes, and chives to the macaroni, which turns it into something edible, rather than just a glaringly orange heap of cheap carbohydrates. Tonight, I'm going to strive for some real food. Gallo pinto, perhaps.

I'm learning to combine trips wherever possible. I'm not going to bundle everyone into the car for a trip to the local Redbox (ice cream floats and a movie have been the norm once the kids are in bed) but I do make a note that it can be combined with a trip to the library, or somesuch. A lot more planning ahead than I'm used to.

Lastly, I think I've been hard on single parents. Raising kids alone isn't an easy thing, and up until yesterday, I would have characterized it as, if not a selfish choice, then at the very least an uninformed one. Then, as I was strolling across the parking lot at Lowe's, I realized: It must have been really bad, if this was the better choice. For all of you saying "Duh!" right now, I'm sorry. I'll walk a mile in your shoes, but my feet stink, OK?

That's all for now. I'm going to go hunt down some recipes...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Early Morning Phone calls

6 a.m. phone calls are rarely good news. When you've been expecting it, it's really only necessary for the phone to ring for you to know what's happened. I was up already, feeding a grumpy Risanna when the call came through that Grandma Renaud had died.

The second call came in at 8:30, just after I'd finished passing the news along to Deborah—sleep is precious in this house; you don't wake anyone unless you have to. We now had a date and time for the funeral, and all the "what if" conversations we'd been having over the last few days swung into action.

By late afternoon, I'd dropped two weeks' pay on plane tickets for Deborah to fly up to New Hampshire. Paul would be driving up, and picking up May and her belongings on the way. (In this sense, the timing was perfect: May just finished her 2-year term at YWAM, and would have needed to pack up and return home then anyway.)

It feels good to be doing something, to have a plan in place. I'm still working out what I'm going to be doing Saturday through Tuesday, given that I'll be home with the kids, and, in the absence of the usual kid-watchers, unable to work. There's still things like Fiona's school, choir practice, and piano lessons, but the rest of the time is wide-open, which means that I'll be going nuts unless I figure out a plan, both for the daytime, and when I'm the lone conscious soul in the house. Anyone with kids in the Warsaw area up for a play date? Anyone want to come over for a game night or a movie after the kids are in bed? The more the merrier....

* * *

My little bit of whining here also makes me realize how much I respect I have for the grandmother Deborah whose funeral Deborah is going to. An orphan since a very young age, a widow for some fifty years, she still managed to raise five kids. In her 80s, she was the go-to person in her area if you wanted a nanny to take care of triplets and quadruplets. Sheesh, what kind of wuss am I, to dread a whole weekend unsupported?

Saturday, May 08, 2010

95 Years is a Good Long Time

Great Grammy: Alice Renaud, with Fiona and Aiden in December 2007.

My grandmother-in-law is in the hospital, and the relatives are starting to gather at my in-law's house in New Hampshire. It doesn't look like she's going to be repeating her role in the town parade in June as the town's oldest living citizen.

It's strange to be standing around, talking with Deborah about plans for when she's gone. Who would go, who would stay, who would drive, or fly, and with whom.

There's a lot going through my head right now. Little of it lends itself to words.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Screeeee...Crash! ...yum, yum, yum.

One of our favorite daily reads around here is Cake Wrecks ("When professional cakes go horribly, hilariously wrong.") Deborah is so much a fan that, while her mother (being an erstwhile pro cake decorator herself) was here, they made a Cake Wreck of their own.

We think the pink cake was at fault.

I've heard of fender-benders, but fondant-benders?

Actually, it wasn't just Deborah and her mother; most of us, including Paul, got into the act, staying up well past midnight. It was fun. (My contribution? I used my mad color-matching skilzz to turn what threatened to be an orange-and-pink cake into a pink-and-dark-pink cake, and then also matched the fondant to that same color. Oh, and I twirled some fondant strips around pencils.)

The police cake has yet to arrive on the scene. Think the insurance cake will cover us?

* * *

Often lampooned on Cake Wrecks is the subject of spelling. (How many ways ARE there of mis-spelling "Birthday"? You'd be amazed.) Fortunately, they don't take the over-used Grammar Nazi approach, but try to be funny, instead. (I define "Grammar Nazi" as anyone who would rather correct your wording than respond to the substance of what you've said. I've known many.)

But what do you do when you know you're writing for someone whose grammar skills vastly outstrip your own? What if your intended recipient is a renowned editrix and and proofreader for an academic publisher? Well, if you're my friend/co-worker Amy, you get a cake with three deliberate mistakes...

...and a tube of red frosting to make corrections:

Amy found nine!

(You can read the full thing over here. Thanks for sharing the photos, Amy!)

The best part of these "wrecks," though, is this: No matter how it was decorated, you get to eat the evidence. Yum!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Uncommon Talents

I was doling out snacks one afternoon, and I started reading the recipe on this box of crackers:

Most of us, I think, can divide things in half, or in quarters, without too much difficulty. Many of us can do thirds and sixths. But this is the first time I've ever seen directions calling for eighteen equal pieces. I worked out a way to do it, but it took me a minute or two. Good thing they didn't call for 29 equal sections...

Monday, May 03, 2010

The Whole Tooth, and Nothing But the Tooth

Fiona, with one front tooth:

See? It's loose!

Fiona, with no front teeth:

I think it swallowed.

Fiona, with... hey, wait a minute....

OK, I couldn't resist. (Not that I tried...) These are actually marshmallow bunny teeth that the kids got in an Easter basket.

What's the going rate for the Tooth Fairy these days?

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Hello again

Long time no post, eh? Truth is that this is very much a photo-driven blog; if I haven't taken a picture of it, chances are, I won't remember to write about it. I only finally got the last of my March pictures off the camera a few days ago; I'm downloading today's as I write — only a hundred or so to go. (Yeah, I took 113 pictures today alone. Back when I used film, this was an expensive proposition!)

So: More soon. I'm catching up!