Friday, September 24, 2010

Pavlov's Ducks

Its really no secret that we live in the country. I talk about it all the time. And, honestly, I wouldn't trade it for the world. It is beautiful here. The views are stunning, not to mention this is where I grew up.
However, living in the country kind of comes with it's own unique set of driving hazards. Most drivers have to mainly worry about other drivers, children darting across the road and maybe a few squirrels. Then there are some drivers that worry about the aforementioned things in additional to deer, skunks, opossums, dogs, cats, foxes and coyotes. Of course, on any given day, anyone, anywhere, can have to deal with any combination of those road hazards. But, we like to make it even more complicated where I live. In my neck of the wood, you need to add the following to the lists of potential 'car denting sure to put you in a deep ditch' road hazards: farm animals. Yes. Farm animals - horses, cows, sheep, goats, guinea hens and, well, ducks.

(Please note that where I live is so rural - note I said RURAL - NOT REDNECK - that some of the roads are not even marked with yellow and white lines.)

That's right. Ducks. Last night, after picking Madaline up from daycare, I once again, crested the top of the hill on our way home, only to suddenly need to slam on the brakes. I had gotten out of work late, which meant I got to daycare late, which meant, that we were just late. Instead of getting home by 5:45 it was going to be close to 6pm. And, so I was thinking about the impending logistical nightmare of dinner, playtime, shower, jammies, show, snack, and stories done by Madaline's 8pm bedtime when a little voice loudly interrupts my thoughts from the back seat "Mommy.....ducks - DUCKS!" It seems that the sound of my car coming over the hill is to the ducks what a dinner bell was to one of Pavlov's dogs.

"I hear it....I hear it.....go-Go-GO.....Waddle....WADDLE across the road NOW!"
So, for the 4th night in a row we waited for the ducks. I took a deep breath, blared the horn and once again sighed in annoyance while Madaline squealed with delight from the back seat. After what felt like 5 minutes which was probably really only a minute or two, we were finally on our way. Madaline spent the remainder of our ride chattering and asking me questions about ducks. Me? I may or may not have forgotten about our evening schedule and started to day dream about fluffy new down pillows for my bed.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Pretty Dress for a Pretty Little Girl

Believe it or not, I can sew. Yep. I can. Really. Granted, I haven't really sewed much of anything in the past 10 - 12 years or so, but, still, I can sew. Why am I telling you this? Well, you see, Madaline loves wearing a pretty dress. However, the weather has put a HUGE ca-bosh to her wearing said pretty dresses, since all we have on hand right now that fits are sundresses. And, sundresses are not appropriate attire when the temperature is only in the high 40's in the morning. Granted, it gets to be 70 to 80 degrees during the day, but those temps are pretty much gone by the time I pick her up from daycare. As a result, no pretty dress = a pretty miserable Madaline.
So, in looking at the fall fashions filling the shelves at the local mall and a few other local stores, I was completely underwhelmed. Now, don't get me wrong, I love to see Madaline in a fancy dress with lace, buttons and frills - but, it seems that when it comes to cold weather frocks, function is thrown to the wayside. Madaline is an active little girl - and her dresses need to be simple and allow for ease of movement. I don't need 3 yards of lace trim at the bottom that every week week I'm going to have to re-tack after she catches her foot on it and rips it from the hem. Independence is key lately - she likes to dress herself and a full placket of buttons on the back of the dress makes this difficult. And, if I did find something that I liked there was no way I was going to pay upwards of $35-$40 dollars for a dress. Especially, when I can not even remember the last time I spent that amount of money on a piece of clothing for myself.This left me with continuing to force Madaline into pants/leggings and swing tops that mimick the movement and feel of dresses OR make her a dress. In reality, I could have chosen to do nothing, as it is my husband that deals with Madaline and her dress dilemma Monday thru Friday. But, being the good 'Mother' and wife that I am - I chose option #2. Make a dress. And, that is exactly what I did. After scouring the internet for ideas, emailing a sweet friend who happens to sew much more than myself, as well as bugging her via twitter late at night, I was good to go.
I think things turned out well..... don't you?

(please excuse the CRAPPY photos - The top two I took quickly this morning before heading out the door - and no amount of editing could make them decent. The bottom one, well, I blame my 'half awake hasn't had enough coffee yet' husband)

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Monday, September 20, 2010

A Snoozing Remodel

We did a LOT of cleaning, sorting, organizing, carpet pulling and floor board replacing this weekend. And, believe it or not, we finally got some "stuff" hung up on the walls. It's been 3 years, I suppose we need to get settled at some point. Right?

So amidst the chaos that was our home on Sunday, as my husband was ripping up carpet tack strips and cutting out floor boards that needed to be replaced, Mads and I had a little conversation shortly after lunch:

"Mads, You want to go upstairs and take a little snooze?"


"You sure? Mommy will go upstairs and we can both take a little snooze" *wink wink*


"Really - Come on - Mommy wants to go take a little snooze - Don't you want to take a little snooze?" *hint hint* - Mommy wants to take a Sunday afternoon snooze*


(She has taken to calling me 'MOTHER' in certain situations where she really wants to drive her point home. Being called 'MOTHER' makes all the hairs on the back of my neck stand starigh up at attention and conjures images in my head of Mommy Dearest and Mrs. Bates.)

And, off she wandered into the living room to see if she could help her Dad. Because, well, playing with power tools and a hammer that weighs as much as her is way more fun that helping Mommy sort through 3 years worth of accumulated paper & magazines. Next thing I know - I'm walking by the living room on my way to the recycle bin in the kitchen and I spy Madaline curled up on the couch. And, it was almost as if it didn't really register in my brain, until I was dumping the papers in the bin and I heard the squealing buzz of the saw start up again. She's was napping. With the the piles of toys, the sawing, stacks of books, hammering, the occasional yelling between rooms, and slamming doors - My, 'NO...I'M NOT TIRED MOTHER' took a snooze. And, me? I went back to sorting papers and junk.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Chirp Chirp Ribbit Ribbit

We spend a LOT of time outside. It really does not matter what time of year it is. If it's cold, then we just layer on a sweatshirt. And, well, if it's warm, we put up the deck umbrella and do our best to stay hydrated. As a result Madaline is always looking for something in the back yard - flowers, bugs, dirt, creepy crawlies. You name it, she will find it. Well, she'll try anyway.Madaline has recently become increasingly interested in looking for frogs and catching crickets. We had an abundance of crickets in the back yard a few weeks ago. In true 'Mom of the Month' form, I handed my daughter an empty Starbucks iced coffee cup, with the lid (it was right on top in the recycle bin) and told her to catch away. Little did I know that we would have a few extra guests ON the dinner table that evening. However, now that the weather has turned cold, the crickets are few and far between. But, she still searches for them them everyday.
And, I did I mention the frogs? Oh my good gracious, this child's obsession with frogs. A few weeks ago she found one in the upper Orchard. It lived for a few days in the "hopper" on the back of her trike. The "hopper" on her trike is kinda like the bucket on the back of a dump truck - only on the back of her trike. (Gosh, I hope that makes sense) She lovingly put some grass and some water in the "hopper" for the little frog - and declared that it was a new pet. However, a heat wave rolled through (95+ degree days) and that proved to be the demise of the frog in the hopper. (yuck!) And, I think I nearly fainted on the spot as my husband told her we might invest in an aquarium of sorts and she could have a real frog in the house as a means of easing the blow of the dead fried frog in her hopper.My husband thinks it GREAT that Madaline loves nature, the outdoors and these little creatures. And, I agree with him. To a certain extent. What I don't love? The rogue cricket that is hiding and chirping in my kitchen for a few weeks now. And, AND, the some day prospect of a frog in my dining room, albeit in an aquarium.

Ahhhh.......Can't we just get some goldfish?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Looking Back and Thinking Forward

Two weeks ago, I would have said that we had another month of summer left. At least it felt that way. But, in the last few days, the weather has shifted. The days have grown shorter and the nighttime darkness has gotten longer. The winds have picked up, the sky has taken on a gray hue and the temperature hovers under 60. Once again we conquer the daily battle of convincing Madaline to wear closed toe shoes, the need for socks, pants and the ever oppressive and dreaded jacket. And, so, last night, long after the Mayhem Maker was in bed, I wandered through the house, reluctantly closing windows and latching them to seal out the cold air that likes to whistle its way into the house. As I wandered from room to room, seeing Madaline's mischievous Morris & Murphy curled on the couch, piles of folded laundry that needs to be put away, a stray block under the side table, I suddenly found myself outside on the deck. The crisp breeze un-tucking a wayward hair from behind my ear as I wrapped my sweater around me a bit more tightly while listening to the sounds of fall filling the air. I could hear the great pines swaying gently back and forth, a few rogue crickets desperately singing for summer to stay, and the spooky hoot of a distant owl. Suddenly, out of the corner my eye, in the pale glow from the streetlight out front, as I witnessed a few leaves fall from the neighbors giant oak tree I felt the memories of summer settle themselves onto the scrapbook pages of my mind.We have had a busy summer. And, as we cling desperately to these last few days of warmness there is much we have ahead of us. With tears in our eyes and love in our hearts, will will say Goodbye to our beloved Olly when she leaves on Sunday for Wales. We will do our best to patiently cross 98 days off our calendar until she returns on December 18th. There are apples to be picked. Apples that will fill The Townsend Bakery with the sweet simmering smell of homemade applesauce and warm sticky yumminess of my favorite apple cake . Halloween costumes need to be chosen and crafted with love by Grammy. And, once again, we will take a Saturday afternoon drive, 45 minutes up the East side of Seneca Lake, to step our way through the Great Pumpkin Patch, in search of the perfect pumpkin to make the most goolish of jack-o-lanterns.
And, as I stood under a dark blue blanket spotted with stars, looking back and thinking forward, I realized it was time to say goodbye to summer. And so, just like that, we will welcome fall and all the Magnificent Mayhem it is sure to bring.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Day at the Fair

Holding baby chicksGoing for a pony ride
Getting to feed a giraffeNot to mention seeing pigs, beef cows, llamas, sheep, dueling high diving pirates, a butter sculpture, watching pig races, eating hot dogs and ice cream! All of this lead to one VERY tired and zonked out Mayhem Maker at the end of the day.
It was a LOT to see and do over the course of 6 hours! What a great day as a family at the GREAT New York State Fair!

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