Winter Storm Stella finally arrived.  Thankfully, my area did NOT get the 12″-18″ predicted.  I think we barely got 5″, which is fine with me, since I’m totally ready for Spring, even though this winter has been quite mild, thankfully.  As I type, sleet is still falling, but I think that all of the snow has moved to the east.  I’m very glad that I didn’t need to dig out and try to get to work (which apparently is operating as business as usual, because it’s not on the list of closed businesses).  Even the ob/gyn office where I’m a patient is closed (most likely because the doctors’ children’s schools are closed).  The kids, of course, are disappointed again, because they wanted way more snow to build a HUGE snow fort.

Last night at dinner–tacos for the preschooler’s birthday–my husband was joking that the boys should go outside in the snow today and do their best impression of the famous scene from A Streetcar Named Desire in which Marlon Brando screams, “Stelllaaa!”  My older daughter said, “I’ll do it!”  My husband then tried to explain to the kids the significance of the scene, but it went right over their heads.

We had another chocolate Oreo cake for the preschooler’s birthday.  My husband was not as happy with this one as with the one from last week.  The chocolate icing didn’t spread as nicely, so it wasn’t as “picture-perfect” as the previous cake, but it was still delicious!  The birthday boy ate most of his piece, happily shoveling in big pieces of chocolate.

The little kids are bugging to go outside, and the big boys are helping their dad clear the snow while I help my older daughter with schoolwork, and now the baby woke up, so I guess writing time is over for me for now.




“In-between” Weather

Yesterday it was sunny, with daytime temperatures in the 60s, unusually warm for a pre-Spring day in early March in central PA, and the kids and my husband spent a good bit of time outside.  Although the sun was warm, the wind was chilly, and became strong enough to blow off the clothes line the sheet and blanket that I’d washed and hung there to dry, even though I used extra clothes pins to keep them on the line.

My husband claimed that it was 75 degrees F in his workshop, but it seemed a lot more chilly than that to me when I was there to see the LED light array that he’d configured for our indoor greenhouse, even though I was wearing my lightweight jacket that usually keeps me warm enough in Spring and in Autumn.  The kindergartner was racing up and down the driveway on his bike.  He’ll be off training wheels by late Spring/early summer if he keeps practicing every day that it’s nice enough to ride.

When the baby woke up between 15h00 and 16h00, I decided that it was nice enough to take her outside so that she could get some fresh air.  First, however, she needed a diaper change and another bottle.  After she had finished her bottle, I put a pair of fleece pants and a jacket with a hood over her romper, and then lay her on my bed so that I had my hands free to pick up something–I forget what.  She promptly fell asleep, so I took off the pants and jacket and put her back in her bassinet instead of taking her out.  I didn’t want to disturb her if she needed to sleep again.

Overnight, winter barged in again, and we woke up to a snow storm–the first this month–and freezing temperatures.  My older daughter wanted the baby to see the snow, so she held the baby so that she was facing the window, and the baby did seem to be looking at the falling snow.  So cute!

At some point after noon, the sun came out, and snow began to melt from the trees.  Even though it’s now pretty slushy, my kindergartner still wanted to play outside, so I helped him put on his snow pants and boots, and he played happily for a while before getting cold enough to come in again.  He was a bit disappointed that we didn’t get more than a coating of snow–maybe half of an inch; I didn’t go outside to measure it–but I told him that we may get more snow next week.  Weather forecasters are saying that we may see a Nor’easter next Tuesday.  Winter is definitely not over, even though the official beginning of Spring is only ten days away.



Another Unseasonably Warm Day

Weather-wise, today was almost a mirror of yesterday–sunny and unseasonably warm–and I took advantage of it to walk and watch the kids play after my short afternoon nap.  The kindergartner is now more confident on his bike, and I know that we’ll be taking off the training wheels in the next few months.  (We could have probably taken them off last year, but he didn’t ride very much then to get the balance that he needs to ride on only two wheels.)

When I didn’t want to walk anymore, I started to clean up the piles of toys, empty boxes, and other items that have accumulated in the one garage bay; the piles have been keeping me from parking my van in the garage.  (Thankfully the winter here hasn’t been terrible so I haven’t had the motivation to make room for the van to keep it out of the ice and snow.)  I didn’t exactly feel that I had more energy for that task; instead, I did it more because I hoped that all of the movement would help to trigger labor.  (No such luck, so far, anyway.)

Since funny movies didn’t help to induce labor, I thought that maybe instead, I needed to watch something scary, so after I got the kids to bed, finished loading and setting the dishwasher, I sat down to watch The Walking Dead with my husband, who watches every episode.  Although I love the character development and interaction–and I was almost tearing up at Carol and Darryl’s reunion–I don’t like the fighting and I really hate the idea that there are groups of people (such as the “Saviors”) who terrorize other survivor groups who just want to be left alone and live their lives as best they can.

Although my husband is a fan of the drama series, he doesn’t really like to watch The Talking Dead because he’s more interested in the characters than in the actors and people who produce the series, but I talked him into watching it.  Now I like Jerry (Cooper Andrews)!

Now it’s really late, so I’ll post this and get some sleep.

A Gorgeous, Spring-like Day

Today was absolutely gorgeous–nearly 70 °F and sunny–and a completely abnormal day for mid-February and the Saturday of Presidents’ Day weekend.  It was an early tease of Spring.  The kids wanted to be outside in shorts, but I told them it’s still winter, no matter how warm it is outside, and they needed to wear pants.  (We’d be shivering if a summer day were this temperature.)  Usually on Presidents’ Day weekend we get some sort of snow storm; I will NOT complain about not getting one! Last year it was literally freezing and, if I recall correctly, cloudy and gray.

My oldest hung sheets on the line to dry, and I skipped my nap to take a slow walk and get some much-needed air and Vitamin D (and try to coax this baby to come out!).  The kids enjoyed being outside, and at one point they were racing each other in the driveway. The preschooler peddled happily on  his trike, and only got upset when he didn’t have the strength or coordination to peddle up the hill.

Despite the Spring-like weather, we had homemade, fresh chicken corn soup for dinner. While we were eating, I told my husband that after dinner we should all get in the van and he should take us on a drive down a bumpy country road to encourage my body to go into labor, but we didn’t get to that because soon after we saw a police car zoom up the street with lights and sirens blazing, we began to notice LOTS of traffic on our road.  For over 2 hours, traffic was slowly crawling past our house in both directions.  As it turns out, a section of the main road (a state road) less than half a mile east of our house.was closed in both directions (north and south) because of “fire activity,” and fire police were redirecting traffic onto our road to the next intersection, to connect again with the state road.  Good thing I wasn’t in labor during that time!  The incident still appears on the list with active units, but the traffic is no longer bumper-to-bumper outside of our house.

Spared the Worst of Winter Storm Niko

Eight days past my due date. Still pregnant. :sigh:

Along with household chores and helping kids with schoolwork–they still had school–I helped my kindergartner in and out of his snow suit twice before and after he tried to build a fort in the barely 1″ of snow that our area received from Winter Storm Niko.  When the older kids went out after their classes were done for the day, they spent more time tromping through the snow and making as many tracks as possible, just because the snow was there, it seemed.

Although they had fun in the snow, the kids were disappointed that we didn’t get more, but I was relieved. We could have had much more.  Most of the snow fell to the east of us and in New York and New England. The kids have been waiting for snow; I told them a week ago that we’ll get snow in the next 2 weeks. We usually get a storm with substantial accumulation (6″+) around Presidents’ Day weekend; I would be surprised if the trend doesn’t continue this year.

When not doing chores or helping the kids, I was reading Remote by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. I’m 3/4 of the way through; I plan to finish the book tonight after I post this.  At some point I plan to post my personal takeaways from the book.  I’m really hoping that I can use some of the tips in the book to arrange a more flexible work schedule after my leave.

Another Day of Spring-like Weather

First off, let me make it clear:  I am NOT complaining about the unseasonably warm weather the past 2 days.  When it’s nice enough to hang laundry outside in February in central PA, I’m a happy camper!  Today I got sheets, blankets, and a comforter on the line, and the sun and steady breeze dried them before dark. Yay!

Because it was so nice, all of the kids, even the preschooler, wanted to play outside this afternoon.  The youngest was so cute, proudly getting his shoes and jacket.  (Even if the air temperature was close to 60 °F, it’s still winter, so I made the kids wear jackets, reminding them that I do NOT want them to become ill and risk bringing germs to the baby, whenever baby decides to come.)

Even I enjoyed the unusually warm weather. I mustered up enough energy to walk down the block with the preschooler and let him play on a neighborhood play set for a while. He loves the swings and spent most of his time on one. I was very glad that he didn’t complain when I said it was time to go home again. (If I hadn’t felt such the urge to empty my bladder, we might have stayed longer.)

At some point this afternoon while I was helping one of the boys, my daughter made 5-dozen chewy chocolate cookies with peanut butter chips. I didn’t help her with it, so I don’t know what exactly went wrong, but when I bit into one, all I tasted was cocoa powder. She either didn’t add enough sugar, or added too much salt or cocoa powder.  She was very disappointed about how her cookies turned out; I reminded her that everyone makes mistakes, and that’s how we learn and grow. We are not perfect. I told her that we’ll try to salvage the cookies by crumbing them and mixing them with more sugar & butter and making them into crust, and she can always try another batch of cookies.  She’ll need to wait a few days before making more, though, because we’re out of both peanut butter and chocolate chips.  She used all of the peanut butter chips, and I used all of the chocolate chips for muffins the other day.  If we get the snow (5-8″)  predicted for tomorrow, we won’t be going shopping for a few days.  Who knows; maybe the baby will come in the next 24 hours.

If It’s Tuesday, It Must Be Raining

For several years now, my husband and I have noticed that more often than not, if our area receives rain, that rain will come on a Tuesday, especially on those Tuesdays when we want to go to our favorite farmer’s market, which is open only on Tuesdays. (In our area, each local farmer’s market is open on a different day.)  This pattern has held true more times than it hasn’t, especially in the months with warmer weather, when we try to go to that market every week.

Today was no different; the pattern of rain on a Tuesday continued.  Since my family wanted for dinner what we call super salad, which we haven’t had for months, my husband decided to go to the market first thing this morning to get the fresh produce–tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, peppers, onions, and carrots, all of which are so much better from the farm stands than from even our favorite local grocery store, and often at a greater quantity for less money–which we serve along with grilled chicken, baby shrimp, shredded cheese, hard-boiled eggs, and a small amount each of croutons, plus salad dressing.  Of course, as soon as he ready to leave the house for the market, the rain began to pour. It hasn’t rained in 2 weeks.

Thankfully the rain did not last all day.  By the time my husband came home with the produce and other salad items that we didn’t have, the clouds were clearing and the sun was peaking through them.  By the afternoon, the air temperature was in the 50s, and the kids played outside after school and before helping to get everything ready for dinner.

The older kids like to help wash and cut the veggies, shred the lettuce and the cheese, and put all of the food on the table.  Instead of mixing everything in one big bowl, we put each food item in a separate bowl on the table and everyone gets to build his or her own salad. We’ve done it this way since our oldest was old enough to eat salad, so each person gets exactly what he or she wants in a salad, and there’s no complaining about not wanting to eat a certain item.  We don’t force any of the kids to eat all of the food items; our rule is that they need to try a new food item, but it’s OK if they don’t like it.  Once they’ve tried a food item and decided that they don’t like it, we don’t expect them to eat it again.  They all love salad night, and they all eat enough of a variety of food that they’re not missing nutrients by not eating a specific food.

Below are a couple of photos that I took before dinner.  (I should have taken photos of each kid’s plate full of salad; as it is, I have only one good photo from my phone of the bowls of produce before everyone began assembling their salads.)

One BIG carrot and a red pepper

A rainbow of produce + sliced hard-boiled eggs & grilled chicken. (That’s my daughter’s hand reaching for a piece of carrot, one of her favorite veggies.)