Thursday, February 25, 2010

today the robins came

Today the robins came. Can spring be far behind? The snow recedes more and more everyday; patches of brown, water-clogged earth showing through. The house drips with the moisture of two storms worth of snow returning to liquid form. The bushes, long pressed by the weight of the whiteness, shrug their shoulders and the snow slumps off with a thud. The bushes shudder and rise, they are resilient and they will return to their bushiness after a while. They are glad to be free.

Today the sky is gunmetal gray with some paleness intermixed. It is the backdrop of winter, framed by the skinny, scraggly, naked branches of a thousand and one trees. The sun struggles, shining its wan rays weakly here and there, noncommittal, inconstant. My face feels gray, my soul is wan, weak with the pressing winter, longing for color and warmth.

But the robins were here today. They hopped and flitted about in my yard, their ruddy breasts plumped out, their charcoal wings lifting them up to rest now in the holly tree, now in a bush, now in the hill in the neighbor's yard. They twittered and chattered, chirping and flapping; busy pecking and prodding for seeds or a tasty grub- something to fill their stomachs. Their busyness brought life to this cold street, this winter deadened place with no green or life showing. They gladdened my heart with their self-important hopping and pecking. They stayed all morning then moved on to bring their friendly chatter to another yard. I think a little warmth entered my heart, suffused by a flutter of wings, harbingers of spring.

Monday, February 22, 2010

New Friends

Our friends Mark and Beth spent the afternoon and evening at our house yesterday after church- Ruthie and Mac love baby Liam, who is 3 months old. They also love Ethan, Liam's 2 year-old older brother, affectionately nicknamed Wheat Thin. We kept Ethan when Beth and Mark were in the hospital having Liam. When Ethan woke up and came downstairs that morning and I told Ruthie and Mac who he was and how he got to be at our house in the night, Ruthie looked very thoughtful for a few minutes and then she asked me quietly, "Is his name really Wheat Thin?" I laughed and laughed, and assured her his name was ETHAN not Wheat Thin. They do sound remarkably alike, don't they? So now we call him Wheat Thin, very appropriately because he loves crackers.

Mark is a Marine, and we know they'll be moving before too long, so we need to get as much time with them as we can before they go!

Rooty Tooty...

Not looking so fresh OR fruity, but oh well. I just couldn't pass it up.

Winter Visitors

My friend Jessie and her three kids came down from Brooklyn for a couple days last week, and we had such fun with them. Winter is hard on moms, and it was so nice to have something to look forward to slap in the middle of forbidding February. As Jessie says, "with 3 small children there are no vacations, only diversions," and we did manage to have a diverting time. It was really wonderful to me to just sit and catch up with Jessie- we even got to go out and walk around Old Town Alexandria and get a cup of coffee. (Moms also do not usually have quality phone conversations due to multiple distractions, so an uninterrupted conversation is such a rare jewel.) The top picture (which I stole from Jessie's blog) is sweet Claire and her buddy Harris. They are about a month apart, and they had fun commiserating about being the "third child." More pics...
Here is Georgia (7) with Harris and Mac in front of the Lincoln Memorial, but with the Washington Monument in the background. This was a beautifully sunny day in the 40s, but the wind was wicked. Up by the Washington Monument, Ruthie and Georgia were literally knocked down by a huge gust of wind. It was crazy!
Eben (4) and Georgia with Honest Abe.

Ruthie and Georgia by the ice skating rink in the middle of the National Gallery's Sculpture Garden. The girls really bonded and had such fun playing and talking, just like sisters.

Inside the National Gallery, at the beautiful fountain surrounded by flowers. A taste of spring, so tantalizing and sweet- and two sweet girls!

Eben, Ruthie, me and Georgia at the National Gallery, picture by Jessie.

Ruthie with Renoir's Dancer.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

For Reflection...

We spotted this automobile wackiness yesterday at Mt. Vernon. These folks have created a Subaru mosaic masterpiece of reflectors. I am really wishing I could see this car at night. I am also really wondering how this came about. Was it like those ladies who end up with 135 cats in their house- just one cat more, who'll notice? And who cares, I mean, it's a Subaru! Or was it a prank-their teenage kid did it one night and they woke up to mosaic madness? Maybe it was the result of a bet. Or maybe it is Cyndi Lauper's car. I could totally see her driving this. Well, maybe not a Subaru Mosaic-mobile, I guess she'd have a pink convertible Mosaic-mobile with a fuzzy steering wheel cover. Whatever the case, I am so glad I saw this example of vehicular mayhem. It is extreme. It makes me laugh.

Protection Detail

This is how Mac walks/runs with whoever is pushing the stroller. Jay noticed that it is rather like a Secret Service agent running alongside the Presidential Limo. Mac has natural protective instincts. He just needs a few tips from his Uncle Greg to perfect his skills. And a pair of dark sunglasses and a wire coming out of his ear. But even now, Harris is safe. His big brother has got his back.

Happy Birthday, George!

Because yesterday was Presidents' Day, the Mt. Vernon estate was open free of admission, with a special Birthday party for Pres. Washington (thought his actual b-day is the 22nd). We had been warned to not try to go on this day because everyone and their brother goes when it's free, but since all the snow and with more expected during the day, AND since the estate is only a few minutes down the road, we decided to give it a try. We did not expect to get in the mansion, but we walked around the grounds, and even got to chat with Martha. I was glad to get to see everything with snow on the ground, and it did start snowing while we were there. It was a fun, easy sightseeing adventure, and the kids were very excited to visit George's place again.
Ruthie loves George's daughter, Patsy. She and Mac now "play" Jack and Patsy around the house, and I am either Martha or George. It is a good way to get them to do some chores around the house.
The lovely mansion amid a blanket of snow.

Martha stopped to chat with us (with her attendant on the left and random Asian tourists on the right), and invited us back to her parlor to warm up. She is so friendly and wonderful.

This is the backyard of the mansion, overlooking the slate-gray, wintry Potomac. Mac loves the Potomac and wants to go see it everyday we go somewhere. "Can we go see the Potomac, Mommy?"

Playing in George's backyard.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Oh, Did I Mention...

Ummm, more snow forecast for Monday. Are you serious? Just a few inches. Ok. Ok.

Keep on Smiling

Here are our newest snow friends- the Captain and his Wife (built on Sunday.)

They were looking sharp, then the second storm hit...

I couldn't believe that the Captain's hat stayed on. And when I brushed the snow off...

Still smiling! But I think they are headed for Hawaii real soon. Oh, and Twiggy? He didn't make it. No traces of him have been found as of today. Sorry Twigster.

The Blizzard of 2010 Part Dos

Just when we thought 26 inches was great, and dug ourselves out by Sunday morning, Round Two hit on Tuesday. It snowed from about 5 pm Tuesday until about 2 or 3 pm on Wednesday, amounting to another 10 inches. This second blizzard was very windy- we had gusts up to 40 mph, and it was something to see the huge, snow-laden trees on our street bouncing and swaying. We never lost power, thank God, and weathered the storm without much trouble. We really can't believe this winter- I mean, we wanted some seasons, and we sure got them. Spring will be triply sweet this year. Here are some pics from our Snowpocalypse, as they are calling it up here. (They are also saying the Vancouver Olympics should be moved here- they are having to cart in snow up there. I think we got all their snow here.)

The lovely holly tree outside my kitchen window was a-flutter with little birdies all through the storm. I am glad I put out some feeders. I love sitting by my sink and watching the different ones. Here you can see a Black-capped chickadee and some type of creeper. There is a woodpecker that comes every morning, and we also see Tufted Titmice, Cardinals, and Juncos.

Snow way!

Say it isn't snow!

Rootie on the mountain of snow at the foot of the driveway.

Two icicles for licking. Ruthie is standing in between our van and the house.

Monday, February 08, 2010

The Blizzard of 2010

We got walloped- our total was just under 26 inches! Here is our backyard during the storm.

Ruthie and Mac worked on making Valentines during the storm. They did go out to play, but it was really really cold and blustery.

Jay doing some shoveling, shoveling and more shoveling. I think he shoveled 4 times total.

Our patio furniture turned into recliners! So cozy and chic!

We built a snow tunnel to connect the snow fort to the driveway.

Ruthie sucking on an icicle on our snow couch.

Look at the walls of snow along the sidewalk! You can imagine that little Mac had trouble getting around in the yard.

The entrance to our neighborhood.

Our street sign.

Beautiful sunset on Sunday evening, after a fun day in the snow.

Friday, February 05, 2010

To the snow he says, "Fall on the earth"...

As I said several posts ago, I knew January would return with a vengeance. The forecast is 16-24 inches of snow today and tomorrow! The total for this area so far this winter is 24 inches, which is above normal. My theory is that the Lord knew how much Ruthie and Mac were excited about living in Virginia where it snows, and he has opened up his storehouses of snow to show them what he can do. I know that's a bit child-centric, but I know he delights in delighting his children, and bringing himself glory. So bring on the snow.

For to the snow he says, 'Fall on the earth,' likewise to the downpour, his mighty downpour.
Job 37:6

He gives snow like wool; he scatters hoarfrost like ashes.
Psalm 147:16

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


Twiggy the Snowman

We had another beautiful, snowy Saturday with about 6-7 inches on the ground. It is extremely powdery snow, so our snowman is sort of like a runway model. Skinny, smug, and emotionally fragile. (Apologies to all runway models.)

What Brings Joy to a Mother's Heart, too?

As you can see, Harris is getting his two eye-teeth before his two front teeth! He is again deviating from his bro and sis, and making his own way in the world. And of course it is adorable. Harris was so sick and cranky last week that every smile seems so precious this week. He was lethargic and miserable, laying on me for as long as I would hold him. I knew he was feeling better when he was up to his old trick of trying to launch himself off the boppy after nursing.

What brings joy to a mother's heart?

When Ruthie made her bed, after I only asked her once, and look at what an amazing job she did! I love the folded jammies with socks on top. So exciting.

When it Rains it Pours

We are on the mend here. Still some sniffles, two of us are on antibiotics, and the Saltine crackers have been pushed to the back of the pantry. I think the silver lining of everyone getting colds and a stomach flu in the same week is that you get it all over with at once. It makes for an awful, intense week of cleaning up and being up in the night, but like a mild hurricane, it blows through, and you clean up with a sigh of relief.

I was talking to my friend Kim yesterday and we were laughing about what becomes a vacation when you are a mother of three small ones. Mine was spending three and a half hours at the ER on Sunday. Just me, a book, and a throbbing ear infection. All that was missing was a cocktail and a deck chair.