Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Father, A Son and A Swan

Where Fantasy Lives

Howdy Pardners!

As promised this post will be about our wonderful visit to Story Land. Now, those of you who are not from New England may not know what Story Land is. I'll give a little's motto is "Where Fantasy Lives". I worked there for 4 summers as a teenager. It was a great first job, they taught us respect for the customer (or guest as you're called there), how to smile even when you really don't want to, and how to deal with a HUGE multitude of people (mostly small children) and not lose your mind. It was also a great place to work in that it employed many of my friends and so we had fun working there even though we were terribly underpaid for what we had to do.

The park is set in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, so it's scenery is breathtaking anyway. The park began as a kind of story book village, with attractions centered around children's stories. The initial park was actually quite small, but has grown steadily since then and even quite a bit since I worked there (cough! cough!) 20 years ago.

We left our house bright and early at 7:00 am to make the long ride to the park. On the way, we made a small detour to Pittsfield to see our old house. This was our first home we owned together and was a beautiful house. It was bittersweet for us to sell it, but the community we lived in was very bizarre and we just didn't want our children in one of the worst school systems in the state. If we could have picked up that house and moved it where there were less inbreds, we would have done it in a minute. We also found out that it's back on the market and for sale for $20,000 more then they paid for it, we'll see what happens there....

But, I digress, so after a long drive we arrived at the park to find the parking lot PACKED! I figured this far after Labor Day, not as many people would be there. I was dreading the lines I knew would be inside for all the rides, but since the park is so large, the lines weren't so bad and I think the longest we had to wait in one was probably only about 20 minutes, so not bad at all. It was completely surreal for me to enter the park and see all the things I saw as a teenager, basically unchanged at the entrance gate. I had a lot of fun working at that park, as well as having plenty of heartache when my first love started to date other girls there, ahhh, such a tangled web life is when your young.

As we progressed through the park, it became apparent how many improvements have been made, there are so many new things to see and rides to go on. I saw people that worked there when I was there 20 years ago, and that was amazing to me that some of those same people are still working there all these years later. The best new thing for Maestro and Music Man was the Professor Bigglesomething or other's Lab. They had a great time shooting foam balls all over the place and just being silly. It was too loud for Little Red, he's very noise sensitive, so I took him outside and we enjoyed some people watching while we waited for the other boys. Then Maestro wanted to go on some flying fish, which looked like a blast, but Little Red was nearing the end of his patience and was tired and did not want to do that. We had previously gone on the spinning tea cups, which everyone liked. The boys were hysterical with laughter watching the tea cups come inches from colliding with another cup before we were whisked along the track to do it all over again. Since Little Red loved the tea cups, he wanted to go on some turtles that spin. While Music Man and Maestro went on the flying fish, we went on the turtles and it was a HUGE mistake. When you only have two people in the turtle, and one of them only weighs 30 pounds that thing gets some spin going on, liked to throw us to the moon!!! Little Red was terrified and screamed through a good portion of it with me holding him as close to me as possible and telling him it was okay, I won't let him get hurt. Next to labor, that had to be the longest 2 minute ride in the history of my life. When we finally got off that and went over to see how Maestro and Music Man were fairing at the flying fish, they were flying around in a big circle having a grand old time. Pretty funny to see Music Man with the world's biggest grin on his face with Maestro giggling away, they were having so much fun.

After that, Maestro wanted to try the Polar Coaster. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this, it's a kid sized roller coaster that is made to look like the north pole, hence the Polar Coaster. Kinda funny, I think. I had to ride this horrid contraption during pre-season testing when I was 16 for almost 8 hours. I was so sick at the end of this, I vowed to never do it again. Though, to be honest, I was game, but Little Red was NOT going on that after our terrifying time in Turtle Land, so we took a train ride around the park and met them back at the train station. As we were pulling up, I could see Maestro beaming and waving at us. He had SO much fun on the Polar Coaster and wanted to do it again. I can see that he's gonna be Daddy's little thrill seeker in life. I'm much happier with my feet firmly planted on the ground, but Music Man has the part of him that just wants to jump out of planes and things like that, so now he'll have a buddy to do that crazy stuff with. It remains to be seen what Little Red will make of all that when he's older. He is only 4 and so I don't like to assume he will be this motion and sound sensitive forever, he might outgrow it. Then again, he might not. I used to love roller coasters and things when I was younger, but now that I'm an old middle aged lady, I'm not nearly so enthusiastic about them anymore.

After such a fun day of excitement (a perfect day for us really) we enjoyed a nice meal at a new to us restaurant in North Conway called Delaney's Hole in the Wall. The kids were so outstanding all day, very little complaining, lots of thanking us for bringing them for such a fun day. It was worth every penny spent ($96.00 just to get the 4 of us in the gate!) to see them having such a joyful time and for us to break our routine and have a fun time all together. Some very special memories were made for all of us, I know they will remember this trip forever. I remember a trip to Disney World when I was six in the same way, and we felt humbled to be giving our children the lifelong memories of their own. Remember those perfect moments I spoke about in a previous post? This was a whole day of perfect. Right down to looking at their happy faces snoozing in the dark car on the ride home, just perfect.

Music Man had to work overtime at his job to pay for this day and though I know it was hard for him to do that, I truly appreciate the time and effort he spent making that happen for us. He's such a great provider for us. We aren't materialistic people, which helps, and I can squeeze every last gasp out of a penny with my budgeting, but it's because of his hard work and longer then he'd like hours that we could do these things for the boys. So, thank you again, Music Man, you're my hero.

Wishing you flying fish and fried dough days, ~Peacemom

Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy Festivus! (or is that Christmas time?)

Happy Autumnal Equinox to your and yours!

Ahhhhh, today is a day I celebrate. Nope, I'm not a pagan (not that there's anything wrong with that), but I do so love the first official day of autumn. I will drag out the autumn decorations, change the flag to the scarecrow one and basically just get the house looking festive inside and out. This is the first year I am not sending out Happy Fall cards with some cute leaf pile picture of the boys. I know, you all think I'm crazy, but it's a deeper connection to this season then I can even explain or understand myself. It gets me in the mood to bake, but also to can, harvest, gather, hunker down at night with a good book next to the fire and snuggle in with a steaming cup of tea and watch the leaves fall. I talked about this before, how I'm not sure if it's instinct or something I have just learned to love, but autumn feels like a time of possibility to me. Most people feel that in the spring, but my blood loves the cooler temperatures. So many of my favorite things are especially enjoyable this time of the year that I feel bound to it.

I have a dear old friend (meaning length of friendship, not her age) that hates autumn, it reminds her that the long cold winter is on it's way. Now in all fairness, she lives a bit of a different lifestyle then most of us. She lives at the top of a mountain (okay, it's a very big hill, but almost a mountain) with a driveway that is impassable to all but the heartiest of vehicles (and my minivan is not exactly equipped with 4 wheel drive), she has no electricity in her home (solar panels), a composting toilet (which was only added about 4 years ago now I think, until they then had an outhouse) and only a woodstove and fireplace for heat. She and her wonderful husband live a life that's unaccustomed to most of us, and in the winter it gets a whole lot harder since she's got horses to care for with no running water in the barn and no heat. So, cleaning stalls is a whole lot more work, and keeping buckets unfrozen and schlepping water out to her animals is a very bitterly cold endeavor. Her beloved trails are filled with snowmachiners that have no clue what a loud, crazy snowmachine will do to the brain of your average Arabian horse. She's been dumped more times then any of us can count by her "psycho mare" (her monikor, not mine).

So, though I understand her reticence for the finer colors and cooler temperatures, there's also a big part of me that is just plain jealous. Out of her windows she sees beauty and nature all around her. Her husband built a good portion of the house himself and put huge picture windows in the front to capitalize on the passive solar design and it's a view most of us can only dream about. She also has animal visitors (the bear that gets into the barn is not so welcome, but otherwise...) and she gets the chance to watch turkeys, deer and many other species visit her homestead. Ahhhh, to live in wilderness again. They also get to maintain such a smaller footprint on the planet, it's wonderful. They have raised recycling to a high art. I consider myself an avid recycler, have been for years, but I think they might have about one bag of trash a year and the rest is recycled. The environmentalist in me is a little green eyed and wished there was a way for us to live with a smaller footprint ourselves. It's a little harder to do with 2 children and the mountain of stuff that they invariably come with them. We often wonder how all these toys have taken over our lives. is my best friend right now as I do my best to clean closets and stashes out to make room for winter things.

Even though, all these years I've loved autumn, I can't convince her of it's intrinsic beauty. She sees leaves changing and she gets depressed. I see the same and feel a thrill and warmth and my brain somehow comes to life in a way it does not the rest of the year. I tried to convince her years ago that if you embrace the fun parts of winter (like cross country skiing, snowshoeing, sliding) that it's more fun and makes for a much less painful 4-5 months of the year. She has done well with the winter sports embracing, and does lots of that now. But I find it so interesting that two people can experience one season so differently. Makes me shake my head for sure!

Well, we took the boys to Storyland this past weekend and my next post will be all about that little moment of perfectness. A fun time was had by all. Until then, cook something in your crockpot, dig out your slippers and pour that cup of's Autumn Equinox today!

Sending you the peace of fluttering leaves, ~Peacemom

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Such Sweet Relief

Hello All,
I have only one topic for you today. Little Red Fontleroy has finally decided that the toilet is NOT a terrifying monster that will suck him down into the black hole of pipes and is FINALLY using the contraption for it's intended purpose! Well, at least partly. After I did not have a patience filled day yesterday and I will admit, I did some yelling and REFUSED to cave to the threat of his bladder bursting if I didn't get him a pull up. I finally was able to convince him that NOTHING terrible happens when any of the rest of his family members manages to use it, he relented and gave it a try and now he's a CHAMPION at this whole thing. Music Man, who does not have to spend his days trying to convince the little stubborn goat that he needs to do this, has a bit more patience with this whole process then I do anymore. After all, I've been steeped in this fight for 10 months. Music Man has his own challenges each day going off to earn the bread on the table, but I had gotten to the point where, when Little Red started his freaking out routine, I would just take only so much and then he was removed from the offending device.

Music Man spent a lot of time on Sunday sitting on the bathroom floor, playing games, reading, singing songs and whatever else took place while I was off shopping for a few hours. He was actually able to get Little Red to do a little bit, and that was the start of it, I think. The next day, we went the whole day without the pull up, I refused to give in and low and behold, just before supper time, he went (camel bladder managed to hold it for 8 hours, though!). Liked to flood the house. I will abashedly admit, I was doing a jig, hugging him, and singing songs for him and Maestro, who's been a great cheerleader through this whole time, even got in on the act. And he was duly rewarded for his antics with the same Kissables candies his brother got for finally using the daggone thing. Music Man brought home a set of 5 big matchbox type cars and for each day Little Red keeps doing this, he gets a car at the end of the day (for the next 5 days, not forever of course). And in that box is a coveted PICKUP TRUCK. Little Red LOVES pickup trucks. So, he has to wait until the 5th day before he gets that one, but he's thrilled it's in there and so happily sits on the toilet when I ask him to. This whole process has been a bit of a dark cloud for our family and I for one am very happy for the sweet relief it's granting all of us. Hallelujah!

That's my only topic and for those of you who've been on this path with us, I thank you for your support, advice and listening ability to deal with my venting. We've all been in this together, so thank you for your love and support. And I wish for those of you with this challenge to come, a much shorter duration for your little ones!

Fabulous days to you, too ~Peacemom

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Our own cooking show

Good Morn to you,
Just wanted to post a recipe for some yummy pumpkin bread that Little Red and I made the other day. He's really becoming quite adept with the mixer and is loving not fighting over who gets to mix the wet or dry ingredients. Since both boys love to help cook, and both love to do the wet ingredients, we have to switch off who does what each time we cook together. Now, Little Red gets to do wet AND dry and life is good in his little world. This having big bro gone to school for 4 hours each day is not all bad after all.

He's been having some fun with me during this time. I've purchased a few workbooks and we do our "school work" for 1/2 hour each day and we have set up a bit of a routine already. Once we wave our final goodbye to Maestro each day, we usually hop in the car if we need to go somewhere and head out first. This gives Little Red something to look forward to as he's always ready for an adventure. And let me tell you now, anyone who doesn't have at least two children wouldn't know's absolute heaven shopping with just one of the boys at a time. Instead of dancing around, singing, knocking things off shelves, chattering incessantly, the list goes on, Little Red interacts with me, is well behaved, asks me questions, isn't hopping around like an ant with his butt on fire, it's all good.

After errands are completed, we usually come home, have that 1/2 hour of school work, then it's snack time. After snack time, we usually will make something together, some days it's cooking, some days arts and crafts, whatever the mood strikes me that day. Then, here's mommy's one big guilty pleasure that I've not been able to indulge since they stopped napping years ago...I turn on...shhhhh....don't tell anyone else, okay?....the Food Network....and watch a cooking show! A whole half hour of cooking, and no one jabbers through the whole thing, I can actually hear it AND get to increase my brain power instead of just listening to (let's face it, can't watch it) Curious George for the 453rd time. Oh, I love it! And, Little Red even likes it too. He says things like "YUMMY, that looks good" and "Can we make that, Mommy", oh it's music to my ears. I so rarely get to watch any TV that is adult TV and to be honest, most of the time, I don't care. I prefer to read at night once I crawl wearily into bed, so it works out just fine most of the time. But, I do miss the days when Music Man and I would snuggle up on the couch with some buffalo wings and the drink of choice and camp out for whole afternoons in the fall and winter and watch the Sox or Pats and enjoy a peaceful afternoon together. Though I'm not a football fan at all, I am a Music Man fan, and snuggling up on the couch with him didn't need an excuse! Time alone? We NEVER get that now, and I do mean NEVER. You parents know what I'm talking about, I know you do. I guess as they get older perhaps this will change, but I'm not holding my breath. I think life as we knew it is gone for good. But, when I look at my wonderful little men, I don't mind so much, they are more inviting then a Sox game most days!!

Now that the cooler temps are rolling in, I hope you'll try this delicious bread recipe. The boys like it a lot and have been eating muffins for breakfast for 2 days now.

Little Red's Pumpkin Bread

1 cup canola oil

2 1/2 cups sugar (I didn't say this was high nutrition this time around, did I?)

4 eggs

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 1/3 cup all purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

1 cup water

1 15 oz can pumpkin

1 cup dried cranberries, raisins, or both

Grease bottom and 1/2 in up sides of three 8x4" loaf pans (or one 9x5" and 12 muffin cups), set aside. In an extra large mixing bowl beat sugar and oil with electric mixer on medium speed. Add eggs and beat well; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl combine flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add dry mixture and water alternately to sugar mixture, beating on low speed after each addition just until combined.
Beat in pumpkin. Stir in cranberries and/or raisins.
Spoon batter into prepared pans. Bake in a 350 degree oven 55-60 minutes or until wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, cool completely on racks. Yum mo!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seals, Porpoises and Autumn, Oh My!

Top O' The Mornin' to Ya'll,
That's my Irish and Southern roots coming through. I have to say I'm in an exceptionally good mood this morning...those of you who read my previous post regarding the coming of autumn will know why.

This morning, I woke up to a cold nose. Then, I snuggled down deep in the blankets, of which there were 3, and coming to consciousness, had a realization. As I peeked open my eyes, they fell on the love of my life shivering and curled up. So, I pulled the quilt up to his ears and smiled. Yes, that crisp air has arrived. Autumn is officially in the air. That smell of clean air, which living this close to 93 you can imagine is not all that common, that slipper weather feeling, ahhhhh, so lovely. It made my little heart sing right out loud.

As I padded down the stairs to make a cup of Pumpkin Spice Tea (thanks, Sis!), I was greeted by cold floors. Our kitchen floor is tile and it gets downright cold in the wintertime. But this morning, that just added to my sense of joy. I realized I better dig out my warm wool clogs that I wear for slippers. I make an annual trek to the Kittery Trading Post (or the KTP as we affectionately refer to it) in Kittery, Maine to buy a new pair of wool socks each autumn. I add these to the collection of socks I have already accumulated and wear these with my clogs as slippers all winter long. I've even been crazy enough to wear them while shoveling snow if the mood strikes me. That trek to the KTP has become an autumn tradition for me, I also like to pick up a new sweatshirt as I pretty much live in them all winter. I know, fleece is all the rage, and I do own some, but I still enjoy the cottony softness of a new sweatshirt. I also know that there are stores closer that I could buy these products, but before a gallon of gas became almost as expensive a new car, I used to make this drive. I just love the place and can't seem to really start fall until I go. I've been doing this for the better part of 15 years. I love to walk the whole place and imagine myself needing the stuff I see.

We did buy our sea kayaks there about 8 years ago, however they've not seen water since Maestro was in utero. We still have the knowledge that if we wanted to (and could get a sitter!), we could hop in those boats for some high adventure. We spent many great hours on the water with those before we had the kids and mortgage payments. We've often talk of selling them, and we may still do it, to get a canoe that we can all go in. Something akin to selling the sports car to get the minivan. But, that would really take away that chance for "just us" adventure, and perhaps we're clinging to our youth now that we're both middle aged, who knows. But, neither one of us seems to be in a big rush to see those 'yaks go, so there they sit forelornly on the moss in the back yard, just begging for an adventure. Maybe, just maybe, we'll have to try to arrange for one this autumn.

Being on the water in the autumn is so amazing. As you paddle in quiet, you are able to see things that no boat with an engine will get to witness. We had the chance, while staying in Acadia a few year ago to kayak into an area that had porpoises. They would come very close to the boat and spout and you'd see the spray so close to you because you are on water level. It was a thrilling feeling. As you look over the bow of the boat, you see a little seal head pop up mere few feet away. They are so curious about kayakers, it's as if they just can't believe we could be on their world and not make all that noise that a motor does. As you slip silently through the water, flaming leaves reflecting back skyward and you just feel completely encompassed by autumn. I love to hike in the autumn as well, but kayaking then, well, that's magic. You see migrating birds, frogs fat and happy and ready for their mud slumber and all the animals that you might miss other times of the year. We saw huge starfish in the ocean in Seal Cove on Mt. Desert, sea urchins you can pluck right from the frigid autumn water. Those are some of the miracles of autumn in New England.

Well, I also feel as if I want to bake something when the temps get colder. Little Red and I baked banana bread together during our time without Maestro the other day. It was gone in a shot since we all love baked stuff here. It's not hard to see how the "Autumn 10" happens around here. I love to bake, this is my favorite time of the year to do it, and cookies are always so welcome. Music Man is a total cookie hound. If I make a batch of whole wheat chocolate chip cookies, they are guaranteed to be gone in 3 days. I also love to pick apples and there will be some fun pictures of those adventures soon as well, perhaps we'll be doing that this weekend. I can't pick apples unless I need to wear flannel while I'm doing it. It just doesn't make for a fun page in the scrapbook if we're all in shorts and tee shirts, now does it?

Well, lots of stream of consciousness in this writing. Hope you're all enjoying the spattering of color on the leaves, the crisp morning air and the start of frost on the pumpkins in your world. If you're not here, then perhaps you can put a little of this in your heart and feel the excitment and miracles autumn has to bring.

Wishing you the thrill of spouting porpoises in your autumn days, ~Peacemom

Monday, September 8, 2008

Local food movement, join today

Hello All,
I've been on the local food movement for about 5 months now. REALLY into it, so forgive me if I sound a little insane. Some of you may appreciate my passion about it, and some may not, that's okay either way.

For dinner tonight I served an almost exclusively organic, local meal. Now, if you think about where your food comes from, you may or may not know. I know where all but the ground turkey I bought (though it was organic) for meatloaf came from.

I dug new baby potatoes from my garden last week and they spent the week hardening off and getting ready for their winter storage in the bulkhead. Hopefully, this will work out and they won't freeze up. This was my first year growing potatoes, and it was seriously fun. It was like a treasure hunt harvesting them, you should have seen the boys and I elbow deep in dirt fishing around like we were looking for a crock o' gold. When we'd locate a big one, we'd get all giddy and see who had the biggest one as we went along. Anyways, they are so easy to grow, you can do it in some of those large plastic bucket tubs. Just fill with dirt, plant the spud seeds, cover with hay and let 'em go. They needed very little attention and in fact all I did was water and make sure they were covered in hay as they grew. You have to add more hay on top as they get bigger plant tops, but other then that, no weeding, no attention except water. Try it, you won't be disappointed. They are the most delicious potatoes I've ever had. I put a bit of kosher salt in the boiling water, a little pat of butter at the end, so yummy.

The green beans were also new for me this year as I don't really like green beans. But, they are going like gang busters as well. All the boys in the house love them, so I relented and planted some this year. I've already harvested enough to put some away in the freezer for winter. I found I actually like them when I grow them myself, fresh and snappy and good. The boys will eat them fresh off the vine, but not if I cook them (can anyone explain this to me?), so they get their daily fiber snacking on those while we pick. The boys each have their own small garden bed, and Maestro wanted to plant broccoli, carrots, spinach and beets in his this year. So, we grabbed one of his carrots and two of mine and made some honey-thyme glazed carrots. I told him that his carrot was the best I've ever had, and he glowed. The boys gobbled those carrots up and Maestro had the pride of planting, growing and harvesting something that became part of our family's dinner. It's a great thing to teach a child to grow food. They get a much better appreciation for it when they contribute to it themselves. Little Red only wanted to do flowers in his bed this year, but he told me next year he wants to do cucumbers, that's his favorite veggie.

So, I have really put some thought into having as many meals be local for us as possible this summer and I can say with all honesty, it's been the best summer eating we've ever had. I love that I'm giving my money to farmers that are in my community. That my money stays in the community in which I live, supporting farmers that care about the same community I do and not giving my money to grocery mongers or worse, MalWart Super Stores. It's a wonderful sense of satisfaction to grow and harvest your own food as well. My little plot is very small by most standards. I have four beds that are 4' x 8', and one of them is all strawberries. And let me tell you, those are the best little heavenly bits of sunshine on the planet. Anyway, my garden is organic, and I've not figured out how to keep all the pests at bay, but after some trial and error, I've figured out a few. Planting marigolds in and amongst the veggies will keep lots of insects away, as will nasturtiums. They have a very deliciously edible flower that goes great in a salad, they are peppery and good. I was able to ward off the local groundhog after he mowed down my first round of broccoli and lettuce with fox urine placed every 10 feet around the garden on saturated cotton balls. I don't really want to think about how they collect that stuff to sell it, but it worked like a charm. We've agreed to live in harmony with each other, that little brown fur ball and I.

So, anyways, I feel like I'm contributing in a very important way to trying to save our planet. The less fossil fuel we spend getting our food, the better for all of us. I love knowing that none of the food on my dinner table traveled more then 5 miles to get there. And that my hands contributed to the bounty that's truly nourishing my husband and children. Nothing artificial or dyed or high fructosed there, just good old fashioned food. I just wish there was a way for me to grow enough to last the whole year through! I've put up some local produce for winter in our freezer and canned some stuff as well, and tomorrow I will be canning some sweet pepper relish with red bell peppers I've grown myself. Along with the jalapenos that are right there next to them on my little plot. My sister tells me I HAVE to do more this year, so I guess that's telling me I did okay with it last year. I share when I can and that's also an important part of gardening for me.

Enjoying the bounty that is truly mine,~ Peacemom

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sunflower Sunshine

I think what I've decided to do is just plunk a few of my nature shots in here and there. I really love photographing nature and my children, that's my two passions in life. Hope you enjoy them!

Time, it goes so fast

Last evening we enjoyed a lovely time at our niece's Sweet Sixteen party. It was hosted by her parents at a local restaurant. Almost the whole extended family was able to attend and a couple of her friends as well. It was a surprise for her, she did not know everyone would be there and it was a really fun evening. We let the boys stay up until 10:00, which is the latest they'd ever stayed up on purpose. Maestro told me, "Mommy, I will remember this night for my whole life". I bet he will. We all have some memories or other from childhood that stayed with us for some reasons, and I know this will be one for him.

On a side note, they are so funny riding in the car at night because they so rarely do and all the lights and cars with their lights on fascinate them. It's funny how this thrill goes away as you age, now I just try to see what's coming at me without all the glare from the other headlights leading me into a ditch! The world is definitely a different view in the dark of night.

The niece's turning sixteen is a bit surreal for Music Man and I. I have known her since she was five, and it doesn't seem possible to me that almost 11 years has gone by since I met her. My own sister's daughter is turning sixteen in May and that's just not possible to me either. I remember holding her little ten week premature body in my hands and thinking how amazing that she was here. And now, she's turning sixteen and going to be driving and having boyfriends and working and it's just crazy how the time has passed me by. I will sometimes transfer times in my life to put things into perspective for myself, do you do this? Like I say to myself, I met our niece when she was the same age that Maestro is now. That's amazing to me! To see her practically a grown woman and to know that she was just where Maestro is now when we met is really something to me. Of course, it then leads me to think -I wonder what my own boys will be like at her age. I was thinking, as I looked at her boyfriend last night, someday that will by my son at his girlfriend's Sweet Sixteen party and of course I teared up. Hey, I'm a weepy kind of girl right now with all the milestone changes going on in our lives. I know, my brain works in strange and mysterious ways, it's tough for me to keep up with me sometimes!

The boys had a few playmates last night with the extended family of my niece. Her father comes from a large family of 5 children and one of the brothers has 3 girls of his own. There are 4 children in our niece's family, and so they had a bunch of other children to play with. My boys are not at all shy. They dive right in there and join the mayhem, it's pretty fun to watch. I love that they are like that. I have so many feelings about preschool and always wonder if we shouldn't have put Maestro in for the social factor, but then, we see him playing with the other kids and the choice to keep him home was a good one. His personality is such that he's very friendly and fun and makes friends without a problem, so I feel good that the years he spent with us here at home were good ones for him. Little Red is not so outgoing as his big bro, but he will follow him into the mayhem and then join in himself. He's not a child that will run out and play with other children by himself. He's more reserved and finds playing alone is just fine with him, thank you very much. Often, if he's in a group of kids, he'll still play by himself, but observes the others. If he knows one of the children, he MIGHT be encouraged to join in, but he's always relied on his brother to lead the way for him and that's been an adjustment for his little soul. One of the things we'll concentrate on while Maestro is off on his quest of higher learning each afternoon is getting him to join in playing with other children. Right now, if I take him to the playground, he'll just lay in the dirt and play cars by himself. We don't go anywhere without toy cars.

Any of you that personally know Little Red knows he's completely and totally obsessed with cars. He knows every make and model of every car. Once he hears what it is once or twice, he commits it to memory and then will spew those out to you the entire time you're driving him somewhere. Now, this is amazing in and of itself, that he knows the characteristics of each type of car and can tell you what they are. BUT, I am not a person who really cares much about what type of car other people are driving. AND I'm expected to be interested in all these cars both the boys know. This is hard for me, after a while I put on the fake enthusiasm voice (come on, you parents know what I'm talking about, the one that makes your kids think their passions are interesting to you even though you really don't care at all which car is just like your neighbor's, or friend's, or grandparents, etc) and answer with a "yah, I see it!".

So, time and family changes are interesting and makes me fell so old sometimes. Having had children a little later in life, Music Man and I have to get used to being the oldest parents in the room with children as young as ours. I waited a long time to find my wonderful prince and dated a few frogs along the way. Since we didn't have any children until I was 34, it's interesting to see that woman in their mid 20's have children my age. I sometimes feel like I could be their grandmother or something! This is the 40th year of my life, and so far, it's been a pretty good one.

Musing on time passage ~Peacemom

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Serenity Blooms, Mt. Desert, Acadia Nat'l. Park

But, political at 5?

Hello All,
I have to tell you of some of the bizarre things that have been going on around here. Now, I know, the political scene is heating up (Palin? Alaska? Really?) and the country is all a tither with the musings of this party and that party. BUT, you have to remember that we don't watch news, and the kids do not see any commercials and then this may amaze you as much as it did me. Osmosis in young people is unreal.

Yesterday morning, I was reviewing my email and (I know, I know, I told you, I should not do it, but honest, I was only reading the headlines). Maestro often likes to come into my office in the morning. He sits on the floor and draws with the markers and paper that have somehow taken up permanent residence on my floor. I wasn't paying all that much attention to his ramblings, because, let's face it folks, it was 7:02 in the morning and I'm not down a cup of tea yet.

So, he was drawing and chattering away and after about 15 minutes he says, "Look, Mommy, what do you think?". There before me was a big McCain sign. my first reaction was horror of course. I don't want to offend any of you, but if you know me, you just know that will cause involuntary revulsion and if he is voted president, I may just go under the covers and not come out for 4 years. Anyways, stomach clenching, I said "Huh. What's that?". He then went on to show me the Barak Obama sign that followed (this one had a sun on it, I'm happy to report), Carol Shea-Porter, John Sununu, Stephen, Jeb Bradley and Jean Shaheen. They also had what they were running for under their names. He asked me if he could put the Obama sign on the lawn and suddenly it struck me where he'd seen all of these. Up until he asked that question, I was amazed that he knew who the candidates were and that all of these were spelled correctly. He had seen the signs on other people's lawns on his bus route home from school. This is one of the pitfalls of a child who can read so young and so well. That and the fact that we stopped trying to get things by him by spelling them when he was 2 because he knew what we were spelling.

I had to explain that first off, the paper he wrote it on wouldn't last the elements outside for long and second that we don't want to post our political views for God and the neighborhood to see. Though I've just posted this on here, it's one of those things that I think should be personal knowledge and not start some neighborhood debate with any possible lurking wacko that might just camouflage himself as your nice neighbor. More on how seemingly nice neighbors can go bad in a later post.

Then later that afternoon, Little Red and I were outside enjoying some subtropical temperatures (thanks Gustav), and he spotted a dandelion that had turned to seed. You know, the white puff ball on a stick that is completely irresistible when you're a kid (okay, so for me as well). He ran over and picked it and told me he would make a wish. His wish, are you sitting down? was put this way. "I wish for the future of America". You can picture my jaw on the pavement as I asked 4 year old him to repeat himself. "I wish for the future of America". I asked him "Where did you hear that?" . He replied, "I made it up". Now, clearly, he couldn't have made it up and had to have heard it somewhere, but I was just floored. I just said, "well, that's a good wish, Buddy".

It's so interesting to me to see how their little brains process things. And how they just pick up stuff that we don't give a second thought these days. It also shows me how much all those aforementioned negative influences can be learned in ways we never thought about. If my 5 year old can tell me who all the candidates are and what they are running for, he could certainly learn how to shoot someone watching this activity on some horrifying commercial for yet another violent movie. But, I was just amazed, truly I was. They are little sponges and though I see it all the time, this really struck me as noteworthy. Maybe the signs you'll see in a few years will say "Maestro or Little Red for President".

Humbled by their intelligence, ~Peacemom