"You will be a better mom because you are a theologian, and a better theologian because you are a mom."

Is it true? In this blog, I explore the interplay and intersection of motherhood and theologianhood.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Dining Entertainment

The girls and I are never bored at a meal so long as Patrick is eating with us. Here's some proof.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Patrick Blowing his Nose

Seriously, it's one of his favorite things to do. Maybe because it seems so grown up.

The World Through Patrick's Eyes

I remember hearing once that babies are like little research scientists. They are born into this world without really knowing how it works, so, as soon as they are able, they embark on an experimental quest to figure out their world. I have been thinking recently that in Patrick's Aristotelian categorization of inanimate objects, there would be two main categories.

Undoubtedly, one of Patrick's favorite things to do is throw. I guarantee he has thrown each of the objects in the above photo at least once. The only joy that surpasses a simple throw of an object is the joy that comes with throwing an object down the stairs. In particular Patrick likes to throw down videos, DVDs, and their cases (they make such a loud crash on the tile at the bottom!). But he's also game for socks, towels, clothing, bath toys, or whatever might be laying in the hallway parallel with the staircase. You might notice in the above photo that my tea kettle has a chip in the enamel; that's thanks to Patrick giving it a good toss in the kitchen pantry. In case you are wondering, Patrick does have a nice supply of balls of various shapes and sizes, including a new O-ball and some flashing balls from Christmas. He loves playing catch with anyone who will play, and I daresay he has exceptionally good aim for a 14 month old. If you observe him playing, however, you will notice that he does not see throwing as something to be limited to balls. He (repeatedly) threw Eva's new mini-keyboard (which miraculously did NOT break). After chasing his new runaway train, he captured it, turned around and went for the Hail Mary pass to his mom. I would venture to say that everyone in the family has suffered minor bruises from Patrick's pastime, but as of now we have no major injuries (and only a few broken objects). The other category, then, is
Not Throwable:
Try as he might, Patrick would not be able to throw the above chair. And there are certain items of this size and smaller that he obviously does not even attempt to throw.

Having mulled over Patrick's two categories for a few days, I finally chose breakfast as a time to announce to my husband my observation of Patrick's dichotomous categorization. Needless to say, my claim was immediately destabilized by the sound of scraping on the tile entryway. I was forced to add another category.

 Because, of course, there are some things that Patrick is unable to throw but they still provide him with entertainment because they are moveable. He can't actually throw an empty laundry hamper, but he can push it down the stairs and watch it fall. A full laundry hamper he can take for a walk down the hallway. I think light switches would also go in this category. Thanks to Grandpa Bob's bonding time with Patrick, my son thinks switches of all sorts are there solely for his personal enjoyment. Generally he can't reach light switches, but unfortunately the heater service switch is right at his level. I never leave the laundry area without checking to make sure Patrick hasn't turned off our heat.

Undoubtedly Patrick has other categories operating in his encounter with the world, but despite this, I think his most important designation for an inanimate object has to do with whether or not he can chuck it at a sister.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Eva's "Private Speech"

"Private speech" is what it's called when kids make up little stories to themselves, often using figurines or dolls or whatever. Although sometimes these moments seem silly, research shows that good private speech is an important indicator of success in school. Anyway, here's a window into a moment of Eva's private speech that I caught.

The setting is the kitchen, and the figurine she was playing with was a plastic statue of St. Anthony of Padua where he is holding the Christ child.

JC: I would like to go for a walk.
St.A: OK, but you should ask your mom. (St. Anthony slides over to a candle of La Virgen de Guadalupe so that Jesus can ask his mom if he can go for a walk with St. Anthony.)
JC: She said I can go.
(St. Anthony looks down at his feet)
St.A: Oh, but I'm not wearing any shoes!
JC: That's OK. You don't need shoes. Let's go!

And I think St. Anthony did take the Christ child on a little stroll.

A few days later, Eva was playing with the Fisher Price Nativity Set. I noticed that all three camels, the cow, the donkey, and goats were all lined up, so I asked Eva why that was so. Her response: "Well, they were going to get their picture taken for the wedding, but the bride and the groom are not there yet."

Monday, December 19, 2011

Convenience Detracting from Conversion

My work is on penance, specifically the virtue of penance, and in particular looking at the time period of 1955-1975 in the United States. Since beginning this work, I've come to see ways in which my own experience of Catholicism has been missing some important pieces (ha ha, like penance!). There are many acts of the virtue of penance, including (but not limited to) examination of conscience, partaking of the sacrament, almsgiving, fasting, prayer, spiritual and corporal works of mercy. One other important act of penance is the offering up of involuntary mortifications. 

In the first half of the 20th century, these involuntary sufferings were often profound, resulting from things like the Great Depression or World War II. The waves of Catholic immigrants to the U.S. were usually poor and it took a lot of hard work for them to survive. Living near NYC, I recently went to Ellis Island and saw a video that really brought that tough journey by boat alive for me as I imagined G-Grandma Anna's trip. 

In my current life of convenience, it was hard to imagine ever undergoing such challenges. But on the other hand, convenience can detract from continual conversion. As I said, my experience of Catholicism was basically devoid of the concept "offer it up," that is, offering up suffering, sickness, and inconvenience as prayer for others in need or as penance for one's sins. Since I've discovered this concept, my life has become much happier. 

Now, of course, I don't undergo the kind of suffering that comes with a month of boat-travel or having a husband away in the Navy during a world war or being penniless and somehow trying to feed a family. But I do have occasional suffering in the form of mild sickness, and I have lots of little inconveniences associated with being a full-time mom and trying to write a dissertation. In our era, I think the usual conclusion when there is such an inconvenience is to try to fix that convenience, rather than offering it up. Take the ancient refrigerator we inherited with this house. After a couple of years of being annoyed with its randomly freezing items in the fridge, not having enough space for produce, not having an icemaker, and having broken shelves and drawers, I decided to rid myself of this inconvenience and rallied up support for getting a new refrigerator. 

Said refrigerator is a stainless steel French-door bottom freezer with room in the doors for milk and huge produce drawers. Great. Perfect. Inconvenience solved and (whew!) no chance of having to offer that up again! Likewise, I recently became convinced that an iPad would solve all of my problems. For example, I'd like to read in bed in a dark room (baby's in the room with me, asleep). I'd also like to read online sources for my research on a separate screen from the one on which I'm taking notes or writing. And I'd like to have a way on the first floor (my computer is in my office on the third floor) to look up recipes or zip codes or even check my email during the day. I've got a nice life, with all the necessities covered and a much more comfortable lifestyle than any of my ancestors, mind you. And yet for some reason, I became obsessed with this idea of an iPad to make my life just a little bit easier. Despite the fact that I recently learned from a friend of mine that iPads actually do NOT do your laundry for you, I think I may have one under the tree five days from now.

IPad aside, when I reflect on that earlier time period of Catholicism compared with Catholicism today, it strikes me that they simply had more involuntary mortification in the form of inconveniences and that offering it up was a major coping mechanism for surviving these discomforts. They had more practice with such suffering and hence became better at it. I'm not trying to romanticize it, of course, because I'm sure if they'd had a choice most if not all would have chosen to live more comfortably, as their descendants have chosen (nor am I asking God for such difficulties to come my way). Nonetheless, my point is that it seems convenience can detract from conversion. Even the word convenience has agreement and harmony as its etymology, where as the word conversion comes from a sense of turning upside down in dramatic change.

In no way to I mean to minimize the suffering that we now undergo. People still lose spouses to sickness, suffer from chronic illnesses, undergo natural disasters like hurricanes or tornadoes, become unemployed and so on. We who are parents of young children also endure the normal more minor challenges of lack of sleep, kids damaging or destroying possessions, etc. But these entirely sanctifiable situations more often become lost on us today because offering up suffering is not second-nature to us the way it was to our ancestors. We are more likely to complain and to seek ways of eliminating such inconveniences when instead we can use them in a penitential sense, for our good and the good of others. Moreover, we seem to have an attitude wherein we expect life to be free of such inconveniences, which, of course, it's not.

So, when we have a new refrigerator or a new iPad and they make life a little easier, this is a good reason to give thanks to God! But when we suffer inconveniences (did I mention the new leak under the kitchen sink due to installing a water line to the new refrigerator's ice maker?), this also is a good opportunity to grow closer to God by acknowledging them and offering them as prayer. This may not make life more comfortable or easier, but it does make life a little happier, in the beatitude-final end sort of way.

 (Kit Kittredge is from the American Girl series and grew up during the Great Depression. The books describe her experience of going from having a beautiful bedroom to being forced into an unfinished attic so her family could take on borders to keep their house when her dad lost his job. Kit is constantly described wearing too-small clothes and even a dress made of a chicken-feed sack! At age eight, she is already resourceful and hardworking. And, ironically, a Kit doll costs much, much more than her family would have ever been able to spend on her for a gift. Maia and I love the Kit stories, and now the irony of an expensive Kit doll resides in our house, thanks to an early Christmas gift from Grandma. Doesn't Maia look happy? And in the above photo, doesn't she kind of look like Kit?)

Eva at 3!

Ah, the middle child gets so neglected and forgotten... So here, one week later, are some photos from Eva's birthday party and the day of her birthday. Eva wanted a "flower party," I think inspired by the cakes she sees at Costco with their pretty flowers. But of course, I never buy cakes, I always make them. For this party I had my first attempt at cake pops. "Gluing" on those "petals" (pink Jelly Bellys) was TOUGH. I could definitely do them better if I did them again (in fact, I have made cake pops again since, and they were better).

 What do you do at a "flower" party? Well, I had picked up some vases at a rummage sale (about 10 cents each). Then I bought several different bouquets at Trader Joe's on the day of the party. The girls chose ribbons to put around the vases, chose flowers from the various bouquets, trimmed the stems, made their own new flower arrangements, filled their vases with water and flower food, and voila! The girls all had a great time making bouquets.
 We sang to Eva, who had two layer cake, one layer strawberry, one layer lemon with strawberry jam icing inside and lemon buttercream outside - and don't forget the flowers to decorate it!
 She'd been practicing blowing out our Advent candles each night (usually without permission!), so she was ready to go for the big moment. What a fun age 3 is! She enjoyed every moment of the party.
 Then, a few days later, on her actual birthday, she came down to this pile of gifts. Her big gifts this year were a scooter and a mini-trampoline (both from grandparents), both of which have already gotten lots of use. She also got a nice set of princess boots that light up as well as some rain boots with a matching umbrella. Daddy picked her up some helium birthday balloons that completed the set of gifts. What joy! We had an Oreo/pudding dessert on her birthday.
So far, Eva is a pretty good 3 year old. She's still under 30 pounds but LOTS of fun!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

I think it's fair to say that one of our approaches to raising the kids Catholic is to give them a sense of how fun it is to be Catholic. Advent, though primarily a penitential season of joyful anticipation, is full of fun because it brings the lighting the Advent wreath and singing "O Come, O Come Emmanuel," each night before dinner, chocolate-filled Advent calendars (say "Maranatha" if you want your chocolate!), and, of course, there are some great feasts in Advent, like the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Another great feast is St. Nicholas, a Catholic bishop who lived in what is now Turkey. So the kids put out their shoes before bed tonight. And we moved our St. Nicholas icon to watch over the shoes tonight.
And, here's what the kids will find in the morning. Candy canes to represent St. Nicholas' crozier. Some Hershey's kisses to represent charity. Maia gets some gum just because she always wants it and I don't usually let her have any. And the kids each get a small gift too. Maia gets goggles, Eva gets a floatation belt, Patrick gets an O-ball and a plush crib sheet. So there, being Catholic is fun - not just all "offer it up" when you're sick (although Maia is getting good at that too!).

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Fr. Bacon

After the girls and I crashed a reception for a new candidate to the diaconate/priesthood (one of Jeff's former students, but Jeff wasn't with us) in our church hall, we had this conversation on the way home:

M: So we should call him Fr. Carmine.
TM: Well, not yet...
M: That's right. He's not a priest yet or a deacon. But when he is a priest, I will call him FATHER Carmine.
E: And when he is a priest, I will call him BACON.
M: Eva, that's not appropriate!
E: Then, when he is a priest, I will call him FATHER BACON.

I have no idea why Eva thought of this.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Delayed Halloween

 It was Friday, October 28th. Patrick tried on his robot Halloween costume.

 Eva tried to decide between being a gorilla and a flower.

Grandpa and Nana came, bringing pumpkin muffins and ready to enjoy Halloween weekend. On Saturday morning, they took the kids to the library Halloween party.
 But by the time they came home... it was snowing
 Eva was happy to take off her costume and put on her new winter coat.
 Maia was thrilled to be able to build a snowman in October... even if the tree was bummed to have its branches touching the ground.

At the Church Halloween party on October 30th, Eva won the silliest costume award as a gorilla. But what would happen? The message finally came: school was delayed, and trick-or-treating postponed until Tuesday, November 1st. On Monday, there was a new message: school canceled, trick-or-treating postponed until Friday, along with the school parties and costume parade.

What? Postponed until Friday???? How can Halloween be postponed? The kids demanded to know. While city crews cleaned up the numerous downed branches and power/cable/telephone lines, moms fretted over how to explain the change on short notice...

 Friday November 4th the sun came out. Maia wore three different costumes: Tinkerbell to her school party, Belle to her school parade, and flower princess to go trick-or-treating.
Eva was scared by these typical neighborhood Halloween decorations, as well as all the people in scary masks. Patrick was unfazed, almost bored. Maia was SO happy. Why can't every day be a day where you get to walk around with your friends to people's houses where they give you candy?

And for Mom and Dad, well... finally, Halloween is OVER.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

He's One!

Patrick had his birthday on the 15th. Here are the highlights.

Patrick tries out his new wheely bug.

Eva demonstrates how to have more fun with the wheely bug.

Patrick opens gifts.

Patrick "eats" cupcake, cookie monster fashion.

Olives are for Sharing

Possibly the only thing that surpasses the joy of eating an olive off of one's own finger is feeding another with it...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Freedom and Lack of Choice

Recently I've been drawn into thinking about freedom and choice. Well, ok, I'm working on a chapter of my dissertation on varying views of obligation, obedience, freedom, and responsibility. But this was brought home to me more practically just in my own daily life. To repeat the infamous Fr. Bob, to be free is to give ourselves away. The more we give ourselves away, the freer we become. We probably all can think of examples of people that just seem to give themselves away to others, whether through their work, their family, their neighbors, or however. These are the happiest people around.

Now, darn it, we all sometimes have to do things that we don't want to do. This is when we might feel that our "freedom" is being limited. Here I am having to do the dishes, sweep the floor, wash a load of laundry and do other menial house chores in addition to feeding and caring for three children when what I really want to do is to relax, read, exercise, attend parish Vespers, etc. and generally engage in Sabbath rest. In such a situation, we might have at least three options. 1. Don't do what we "have" to do. For the tasks listed above, this would really just be procrastination as of course the chores don't disappear, but rather increase. 2. Do the tasks begrudgingly or, if not begrudgingly, with a sense of disinterested resignation. 3. Do the tasks lovingly and with a spirit of generosity.

A great lie of our modern day society is that if our interior disposition does not perfectly match our exterior action we are simply hypocrites... or worse, we are "not being true to ourselves" and hence limiting our self-actualization. So if we can't do it #3 (lovingly and with a spirit of generosity), then we shouldn't do it at all. In certain cases, this may actually be the case. For example, if living in a service community where one housemate neglects washing her breakfast dishes, and you do them for her, all the while thinking negative thoughts about her and harboring anger about your doing her task, this could be harmful. Even when living with a spouse, if you pick up his laundry to put it in the hamper every morning, and do it in a begrudging nature, it is probably better, as in the other case mentioned, to address the conflict and clarify expectations so as to come to an agreement.

But on the other hand, there are times, especially in a marriage, where a spouse may be sick/injured or pregnant or out of town, and you may have to do a full day of both childcare and house care (sometimes to the detriment of your dissertation!). Obviously it would be great to do this with enthusiasm, love, and generosity - the quintessential peaceful attitude that we imagine the Blessed Virgin might have possessed. But with our human weakness we may find it hard to "bear the ills of life cheerfully," as it were. And we are not hypocritical, nor are we lacking in "self-fulfillment" if we embrace those crosses with resignation; rather we are staying true to our commitments despite what may seem to be personal cost. In some way, we are humbling ourselves by admitting that there is no "choice," no avoiding the tasks, and, rather than procrastinating, beginning and then beginning again (after changing that diaper). If we can do this, we will have earned the right to say, "We are unprofitable servants. We have done what we were obliged to do" (Lk 17:10).

True freedom - and we see it in the lives of the saints - is one step beyond this, however. It comes only when we are giving ourselves away in doing these tasks. It comes when we cheerfully (rather than reluctantly and with great annoyance) interrupt the typing of a blogpost in order to nurse a half-asleep baby. Obviously it is better to interrupt a blogpost to nurse a baby begrudgingly than to turn off the baby monitor and ignore the crying, but it is BEST to respond with a spirit of generosity. "Bearing the ills of life" is great, but what makes it penitential is "patient suffering" (BC Q.221) This intention is what supernaturalizes the ills of life, turning difficulty into opportunity.

Of course, we may intellectually understand that generosity, cheerfulness, patience, love, etc. are the best path, but we may find ourselves falling into resignation by the end of the day, especially when that day started before 6:00 a.m. and is now on its 14th hour. It reminds me of something I read in the Divine Office to the effect that virtue is best developed in the evening. It's much easier to be patient and kind disciplining a child in the morning than in the evening (especially when she's hanging from the handle of the brand-new refrigerator). So these failures are when we rectify our intentions, when we say an act of contrition, make a resolution, and make it specific, e.g. not just "I will be more patient tomorrow and not yell angrily," but "Tomorrow I will prepare dinner earlier so I can devote more attention to my children at that time of day when they are most likely to be difficult."

Even with such intentions, we will fail. But we cannot let the lack of perfection in our interior life allow us to give up trying out of a fear that we are somehow hypocritical or not true to ourselves when we perform unwanted tasks. Our freedom is at stake here. To be free is to give ourselves away - to want to do that and to do it lovingly. We start by doing what we have to do, but, with God's grace, we end with doing what we have to do in the way God wants us to do it.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Rash Patterns

One day last week I was helping Maia with her homework, identifying picture patterns like heart-star-heart-star-heart-star, etc. She had just come home from her friend Julia's house, and she had some silver rhinestone nail stickers on her forehead. But this detail is just background for the dream I had that night.

I dreamed that my kids had a medical problem, and, per the usual, I called my good friend Carla, who is also Patrick's godmother, and who (praise God!) is a pediatrician. So here's the dream:

TM: All three kids have rashes, and I'm wondering what I should do.
C: Where is it located?
TM: It's on their bellies. Gosh, I wonder if it's something they ate?
C: Can you describe it for me? What does it look like?
TM: Sure, it's a pattern.
C: What kind of a pattern?
TM: It goes circle-circle-square-square-circle-circle-square-square.
C (completely unphased): And is it raised at all?
TM: Yes, it looks a little like, well, like rhinestones.

I can't remember if she was able to identify the rash based on that info, but if she wasn't it's certainly no reflection on her skill as a doctor!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sibling Games

Eva and Patrick have come up with some unique ways to entertain themselves when big sis is absent.

This spoon game went on for about ten minutes, but I only caught the end, when Patrick was starting to get fussy.

The hitting a mixing bowl on Patrick's head game at first struck me as cruel, but Patrick was laughing so hard I couldn't stop them from continuing.

"Dad loves chocolate cake!"

Inspired by the story "Spot Bakes a Cake," I let the girls decorate Jeff's birthday cake (he was 33 on the 5th). The final result actually does look pretty similar to the picture in the Spot book (minus the dog bones). And it gave us the chance to throw out random quotations from the book, such as "Dad loves chocolate cake!"

And if I say so myself... it was delicious too!

Student of the Month

 She's only been in school for one month and already the accolades are coming in. Here she is, Kindergarten-AM's Student of the Month (with her proud sister jumping into the photo).

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Park Professional

A trip to the park with Eva often results in various surprised - and sometimes horrified - looks from the adults at the park (mainly it seems to be the grandmothers who look horrified... and sometimes they even throw in a concerned comment to me, passive agressively indicating that I don't adequately assure for my daughter's safety.) Is it that surprising that a not-yet three year old's favorite park past time is scaling every pole in sight?

Untitled from Theologian Mom on Vimeo.

And is there anything wrong with Eva wanting to swing as high as I can possibly push her?

Name Practice

Now that Maia is in kindergarten, it's always fun to check her backpack when she gets home from school. I look in her folder and see what she's done that day, or what she needs to do (yes, she has homework),  and I get lots of notes from the PTA as well.

 Just recently she came home from school with this "Name Practice" sheet. No doubt the teacher had in mind that she practice writing M-a-i-a, capital M, lower case aia. But apparently Maia thought such an exercise would be boring and silly. So she did her own interpretation of "practicing" writing her  name. Line #1: capital block letters (with some numbers to boot). Line #2: curly capital letters, and the beginning of the alphabet in caps. Line #3: castle letters, followed by some shape-drawing. Line #4: heart-star pattern, and don't forget the ice cream cone. Line #5: connected letters. Wow, I bet she was the only student who practiced so creatively.
Perfectly in keeping with her personality, I might mention. When Maia is assigned a task she finds uninteresting, she either does it as quickly as possible so she can get onto the next task, or she manages to make the task interesting somehow. Maybe I should add some castle letters to my dissertation...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Football Season Begins...

In the midst of all the other things going on, like Jeff being gone on a week-long retreat, hurricane-fighting, my parents visiting, and Jeff starting school, I had a wonderful surprise when I realized on Friday that football season started the next day! I got all the kids geared up in their ND shirts.

It's always so easy to smile BEFORE the game begins, isn't it? I'm glad I snapped these photos prior to the disastrous opening drive and all that eventually followed, including the two severe weather delays.


 Do you see that great big smile on Maia's face? This was how she looked in the moments before heading to her first day of school. Not a nervous, sad, or scared bone in her body. Pure joy, like she just could NOT wait to get to school and be relieved of the boredom of summer. If she had cried, I would have cried because I've been sentimental about my baby going off to school (thank goodness it's only half-day kindergarten). She had a great first day, too, although a half-day of half-day kindergarten is only a couple of hours.
 You can see her bookbag is loaded down with lots of school supplies... like baby wipes, kleenex, and an art smock! Ah, kindergarten!
When asked how school was after her first session ended, Maia said, "Well, we didn't really do very much. Just color, listen to a story, and have a snack." But she seemed happy anyway.

Post-Hurricane Surprise

We were so happy that we made it through Hurricane Irene without any major damage. So you might imagine our surprise on Wednesday morning when Jeff opened the kitchen shade to see this in our back yard:

At first, he thought one of our trees had fallen in the back. But closer investigation revealed it was *merely* a branch off a neighbor's tree.

 It took out our shed and the fence next to the shed.
 The only thing damaged within the shed was that rake!
 The above photo proves that this was a branch and not an entire tree.

 Here's the inside of the shed.
 Maia thought it was fantastic to climb on a tree branch she never could have reached were it still on the tree.
 And here's the tree that dropped the branch, although you probably can't see the break-off point because of the lighting.
The girls are enjoying it while it lasts. For hubby and I, it's an annoying homeowner's problem. I have to admit I've been wanting a new shed, since the one we had was ancient. But on the other hand, insurance-calling, tree removal, and shed-building are now several more things to do on an extensive to-do list.

Mostly, we just feel blessed that we weren't outside when the branch fell. As you may be able to tell in the above picture, the weight of the branch and the saturation of the ground combined to make the branch implant about a foot below the surface. Had I and the three kids been playing in the backyard at the time, we'd have been goners for sure, since this is the part of the yard where we are usually located. But thanks to Tropical Storm Lee's extensive rain, we were stuck indoors, praise God!

Kids and Mass

Lots of low points, but we'll stick to the highlights of taking the kids to Mass:

Patrick: Waves to the statue of Mary as we pass by before entering the church.
Maia: Finally says all the responses and prayers!
Eva: One day, as Fr. Jim walked from the confessional to the sacristy in his cassock, Eva exclaimed, "There's Fr. Jim! And he's wearing his nightgown!!!!" When we told him about it later, Fr. Jim explained, "No, Eva, that's my day-gown!" Now Eva loves to call the cassock a nightgown because she knows she'll get a giggle from the folks around her.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Hobby

Untitled from Theologian Mom on Vimeo.

Patrick's favorite thing to do at 10.5 months? Kick-the-ball. He can spend about 30 minutes just walking around the house, kicking a ball. I didn't get a great video of it, but the above will have to suffice. Maybe he'll be into soccer.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Irene

We survived, and actually, Irene was not too bad for us. Our neighbor had a generator, and he put an extension cord through our window so we could keep our fridge, Internet and a couple of lamps running for the twelve hours that we were without power. (Many people in our area still don't  have power, including the church!) Here's the shot of the extension cord through the window:

Here are a couple of pictures of our street the night before the storm hit.

And here's the street with the flooding.
Here's a little farther west down our street, about 200 ft or so from our house. The water here was about two feet deep, but receded quickly.

It wasn't too windy, so Maia and Eva got a chance to wade in the water. That's Maia standing in our driveway.
Eva was proud of herself for rescuing this worm. But then she put it back down in the water, so it was a short-lived rescue.
Here's our backyard, the night before the storm:
And here it is as a swamp (sorry it's blurry, the camera wanted to focus on the rain, but couldn't). Happy to say the big old oak in the neighbor's yard survived.

Here's some tree damage across the street from us:

Perhaps it was because it was the "eye" of the storm that the sun surprisingly made an appearance.

Our neighbor Anna helped out so the girls weren't swept away by the current!
There is a lot of clean-up underway, but it is a lovely sunny day in the low 80s here. Our boro made out OK overall. The boro next to us has a river that flooded out basically every house near it, even imploding three basements. Our household guardian angel did a great job holding the chimney up, keeping the trees rooted, and keeping water out of the basement!