The Christmas Edition

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

As promised (and only a few days late) here are pictures from our Holiday. By some miracle, Santa brought Gregory presents instead of coal, and Rebecca gave out her own gifts for the first time ever, thanks to her school's PTA gift fair. Boy does that girl have an eye for a bargain! Without further ado, here's a pictorial account of the big night/morning.

Rebecca hangs her stocking.

The kids leave a snack for Santa. Rebecca insists we need to leave something red for Rudolph, and after a minute of frantic brainstorming/pulling apart the fridge we find some red grapes which she deems acceptable red nosed reindeer fodder.

As a special treat, I let Gregory sleep in Rebecca's bed. I issue stern warnings that Santa only stops at houses where the children are asleep, and Gregory has a moment of panic, "You mean I had to be good ALL year???".

Morning comes all too quickly, and lo and behold, Santa was here. Let the opening begin!

Rebecca told an elaborate story about buying a guitar for Dad, but she surprises everyone when it turns out to be a Patriots Flag.

My Dad's special gift to me, my sister, and my brother, we each get a pair of Marion Bronze bookends made by his Grandparents.

Gregory's favorite gift is "my Bumblebee (transformer - the only thing he asked for during the past 3 months), my motorcycle (bicycle), Wolverine, and my truck". Rebecca says her favorite gift "has to be my coyote". Her Auntie Jiffy gave her this because the kid loves coyotes. Rebecca added the tutu, and wants me to sew a matching cape.

Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas. Next stop, 2010!

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Christmas Bling

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas! Hope everyone had a great day. We had lots of fun here at Casa Corbin opening presents, eating, and celebrating. I'll post pictures tomorrow but I wanted to share this video. We went for a ride last night to check out Christmas lights last night and thought this house was quite spectacular.

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Cookies and Carols

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Lots of Christmas fun going on at Chez Corbin this weekend. Today we made my grandparent's Christmas press cookies. I posted the recipe here. The kids helped with all the steps, especially the decorating part.

After cookies, I cleaned up and the kiddies practiced a 'show'. Is anyone else's kids obsessed with forcing their parents to watch these endless 'shows' (kids, I loved every minute)? Here's a taste:

And since I know you want it, here's more:
Er, they probably shouldn't quit their day jobs.

My talented little muffins are all tucked away in bed now and a big snow storm is on its way. Here's a parting photo of what you get when you combine 1/2 a dozen cookies, no nap, and a 3 year old:

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How To Get On The Nice List

Thursday, December 17, 2009

At 6, Rebecca looks a lot like me. As a baby, she looked more like her Dad. She certainly didn't look anything like my baby pictures. Suddenly, around 2.5 years, she morphed into a little mini-me. Now, wherever we go, people comment on how much we look alike. Saturday was no exception. The 2 of us went to get our hair cut. She had me go first and then climbed into the chair and instructed the hairdresser to cut her hair 'like Mummy'. There had already been talk about our resemblance, and as the snipping began, it turned to how her hair is similar to mine - thin, slightly wavy, etc. After a minute of that, Rebecca piped in with "I'm so happy I'm a little mini of my Mummy". It melted my heart (and lifted her up a notch on Santa's nice list).

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Memories Of Our First Christmas, And Our First Major Incompatibility

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Gregory searches for the perfect tree.

Saturday morning we packed ourselves into the van in search of our Christmas tree. This yearly ritual always brings back memories of our first cohabiting Christmas, when we blended together 2 different lifetimes of Christmas memories, and discovered our first real incompatibility.

Go back to the late 1990's. Back before we had kids, when we were living in a dumpy 500 square foot apartment. Imagine owning no lights, no ornaments, and no decorations. Picking the tree was the easy part. The real challenge came when we talked about what we would buy to decorate it. Greg had grown up with white lights and color coordinated, uniform glass ornaments. All blue and silver, or all red. Whatever. All round. All the same size. To Greg, this is what a Christmas tree was supposed to look like. Orderly. Sophisticated. To me, it was what they put up in a department store. Impersonal. Muted. Boring.

My ideal Christmas tree was a little different. We always had the multi-colored lights, with a hodgepodge of ornaments collected over 2 generations of Christmases. Old scratched silver and gold bells, sewn cloth ornaments, the gingerbread house my sister made out of a milk carton and some felt when she was in the brownies (still my favorite ornament to this day!). I loved the character of each different ornament and the fun, colored lights. I couldn't imagine opening gifts under a dull, colorless tree. We had found our first real incompatibility.

Here's what we did. Greg's birthday is early December. It's always a challenge to have to come up with 2 gifts in December and back then we were on a really tight budget. I wanted to find something meaningful, that we could afford. I thought and thought - about what he likes, what makes him happy. This made me think of all the joy and love he brought me. I wanted to spend all my Christmases with this man, no matter what color lights we used. Soon I knew what I had to do. I marched down to CVS, bought a few strands of white lights, and wrapped them in some birthday paper.

His birthday fell on a Friday night, and we celebrated by going to pick our tree. Then I gave him his present. Surprised but happy, he strung up the white lights. The next day we hit Walmart (yes, back then we did shop at Walmart). We bought a box of plain red, silver and gold glass balls. They were uniform. They were cheap. But they were special because they were the first ornaments we ever owned.

He had his boring white, red, gold and silver tree. About a week later, CVS was giving out free ornaments. A little ceramic bear in a Santa hat. I took one home and hung it on the back side of the tree. My little token to my childhood Christmas tree. When Greg got home from work, he noticed it immediately (how he found it so quickly, hidden in the back is beyond me). But he decided he could live with it and the CVS bear stayed on the tree.

I thought that would be the end, and decided I could live with endless Christmases of boring, uniform trees, so imagine my surprise Christmas morning when I found 3 strands of colored lights wrapped under our tree. 'For next year' Greg told me. And then we had our solution. One year we put up white lights, the next year colored. It has become our family tradition. Every year we've added a few unique ornaments to our uniform glass balls, and Greg has learned to love like them. This year is a white year, but I've come to love the white lights almost as much as I love the colored ones. They are brighter. The ornaments are easier to see, and sparkle more brightly in the bright white light. Most important, they remind me of that first Christmas.

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Rebecca's Door

Thursday, December 10, 2009

There's nothing like being shown up by your 6 year old. This morning I was enjoying a little early morning blogging (I know, I have a problem), when my little Becky-Boo padded in to say good morning. I showed her yesterday's post, and she was particularly fascinated by my lame attempt to draw Gregory's nightmare door. After studying the photo, she asked, "Mommy, can I draw on the door?". I checked the clock, quickly showed her how to pick colors and use the paint brush in Gimp, loaded the door picture, and then exited to the kitchen to pack her lunch for school. Ten minutes later, I called her in to eat her bagel. She never appeared, so I went into the bedroom and found her still in her pajamas, still sitting at my laptop, engrossed in her drawing. I caught a glimpse of the screen and felt amazement. Here is a side by side comparison of our work:

My scary door faceRebecca's door

Granted, I didn't try very hard on mine, but she is only 6, and this was the first time she ever used graphics software. Dude, she totally showed me up! Her's has teeth. And nostrils. She must get her artistic ability from her Dad. On a related note, she almost missed the bus. On another related note, I'm expecting to be woken up at 3:00 AM by Rebecca having a nightmare about her door.

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Winter Wonderland Wakeup

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Showcasing my astounding
graphic design abilities!

Our kids have embarked on a diabolical mission to deprive us parents of as much sleep as possible. Not a happy development - anyone who knows me knows I need me some sleep. It's mostly Gregory. He's developed an irrational fear of the doors in our house (he's not afraid of what he thinks might be on the other side of the door, but the actual rectangular piece of wood). All I can get out of him is that he thinks the 2 squares at the top of the door look like eyes. Go figure. Anyway, he's been waking up most nights between the hours of 1 and 5 AM. He pads down the stairs and climbs into our bed, following up with his patented 'I scared' with a request for 'something to drink', 'kid TV', or usually, both. Kids, here's a little secret. Your Mom and Dad will let you get away with just about anything, if it means they don't have to get up between the hours of 1 and 5 AM. If we can get him to go back to sleep, or even lay quietly, a lot of the time we just let him be and go back to sleep ourselves(bad us!).

Sunday morning was a prime example. He came downstairs sometime around 4:00 AM, asking for 'kid TV'. He tossed and turned for at least an hour, managing to bump into Greg or myself every time one of us started drifting back to sleep. Finally, under threat of being sent back to his bed, he quieted down and miraculously fell asleep. By 6 AM, Greg and I had rejoined the sweet world of Sunday morning sleep.

But fate was against us. Saturday night into early Sunday morning we had our first December snow fall here in Central Massachusetts. Only a couple of inches, but apparently that's enough to be wildly exciting in the pre-Christmas world of a 6 year old. At 7 AM, Rebecca burst into our room yelling 'Wake up! Waaake upppp! It's a Winter Wonderland outside. Wake Up! Waaake uppp!'

This didn't go over so well, except with Gregory who went from sleep to wide awake in 2 secondes flat. He jumped out of bed, and excitedly ran around the house with his big sister, looking out the windows. OK, that last part was kind of cute, even though I knew my Sunday morning slumber was over.

Here they are playing in the snow. Is anybody else's kids obsessed with pretending to be bears?

To make sure we don't let down our guard, Mother Nature hit us with another snowstorm today. School was canceled and Rebecca ventured out into the icy outdoors this morning for about an hour before declaring 'the storm is too much for me'.

She promptly changed back into her pj's, put on 'Spirit', and drank some hot cocoa from her very cool bunny mug (I know you guys are all jealous of the bunny mug!).
Nature has been on a making herself known around here lately. Last night on the way home from gymnastics a coyote ran in front of our van, only 50 feet away from our driveway. There was no traffic on the road, so I stopped and turned the car slightly until our headlights washed across him. He just stood there on the other side of a stone wall, staring at us for a minute, and turned away and trotted toward the far side of the field. Rebecca was got a good look at him and was very excited since coyotes are one of her favorite animals.

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An Afternoon of 'Culture' at the Nutcracker

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Rebecca and Gregory at the Nutcracker

This afternoon, my Mom and I took the kids to The Nutcracker Ballet at the Hanover Theater in Worcester. I hadn't planned to bring Gregory, but I had an extra ticket (and no babysitter), so Mom and I bravely decided to give it a try. We figured we could always take turns out in the lobby with him if he got too unruly.

The most amazing thing was Gregory actually sat still through the entire first half, and most of the second half of the show. I was stunned at how well behaved and enraptured he was during the show. He was actually quieter than his big sister (there's something to be said for seeing it the 1st time - this was Rebecca's 4th year). Rebecca did OK, but all the excitement of Christmas, getting dressed up, snow on the ride to the theater, and an MnM cookie in the lobby was a little too much for her.

Grandma shows Gregory the
orchestra before the show

The dancer's were great - especially the sugar plum fairy and her consort. Our seats were in the 2nd row, which has both advantages and disadvantages:

  • Disadvantage: When you are further back, it looks more like the dancers are gliding on the stage - when you're really close, you can see how hard they are actually working.
  • Advantage: you can see really well - especially important when you are with really short people, such as the kids and my Mom (just kidding Mom!).
  • Disadvantage: you can see really well. Yes, this can also be a disadvantage. Sorry if this is too much info, but if we can put a man on the moon, don't we have the technology to create a pair of men's ballet tights that you can't see through? I had to resist the urge to put my hand in front of Rebecca's eyes.

On the way home, we went around the van and everyone talked about their favorite parts. Grandma and I loved the final dance of the sugar plum fairy and her consort (they were both really wonderful dancers!). Gregory's (surprise, surprise) was when the Nutcracker killed the mouse king. He briefly declared he was going to grow up to be the Nutcracker so he could kill the mouse king, but has already returned to his previous ambition of becoming the abominable snowman (see Wednesday's post). Rebecca's favorite part was when "the toy soldier shot the mouse in the butt". Nothing like a little culture for the kids (this was also Grandma's second favorite part!).

In other news, our misfit toys are back downstairs in their box, dreaming of next Christmas. This development was the result of a misfit toy throwing episode the kids had with our TV yesterday. Also, today is Greg's 38th birthday. Happy Birthday honey! How does it feel to be in your late 30's? Sorry - I have to milk it for the next 20 days - XOXOXOX!

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We're All Misfits

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Rebecca with her favorite
Rudolph character

Last night was the annual showing of the beloved Rankin and Bass produced "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" on NBC. This is a big event in our house. Rebecca remembered it from last year, although she did make a running jump onto the couch to hide behind me when the abominable snowman first showed up. Gregory fell asleep mid Christmas special last year, so this was his first real experience with the celebration in claynation. He was very taken with the monster (you could almost say obsessed) and throughout any scene that didn't roar, he was pondering the whereabouts of the furry beast. He did have trouble distinguishing between Yukon and Santa Claus. Even though I explained several times that Yukon has the red beard, and Santa has the white beard, he was still commenting this morning that "Santa pulled out Bumblebee's teeth and pushed him over".

I'm a little embarrassed to say this is one of my favorite Christmas specials (probably something to do with the fact that it is only shown once a year, and I refuse to buy a copy for the house - it would definitely lose something if the kids watched it over and over). I enjoyed catching some of the puns from an era when the adult jokes in kid's movies were more subtle. Here's a few I liked:

  • Hey, what do you say we both be independent together, huh? - Hermey

  • How do you like that? Even among misfits you're a misfit. - Yukon

  • Well for the first year the Donner's did a pretty good job of hiding Rudolphs - non conformity. - Burl Ives Snowman

If that's not enough red nosed goodness for you, here's some trivia I found after extensive Internet research (I went to IMDB->Rudolph->trivia):

  • Why is Dolly for Sue, who is apparently a perfectly ordinary doll, living on the Island of Misfit Toys? Greg and I have actually discussed this on numerous occasions! This gripping debate raged on for decades, until official word from Rankin-Bass recently decided the issue: Dolly for Sue is a "misfit" because she has psychological problems - she feels unloved.

  • But Who's Counting Dept.: When Santa's sleigh finally takes off into the storm near the end of the film, it's being pulled by SIX reindeer instead of eight, with Rudolph leading the way.

  • Yukon Cornelius' stalwart sled dogs include a Cocker Spaniel, a Poodle, a Saint Bernard, a Collie, and a Dachshund.

  • At the conclusion of "Holly Jolly Christmas", Hermie the elf can be seen dancing (and flirting) with an equally attentive girl elf, suggesting a budding romance.

The fruits of our labor - impromptu cave
and a boat load of Rudolph characters
Can you guess which one was Gregory's favorite?

After last night, I figured today would be the perfect day to pull out our misfit toy collection. Back in 1998, way before our push to live more sustainably, CVS sold stuffed versions of all the Rudolph characters. Greg and I bought every single one, and hung them around our old apartment for a few years. Then the toys spent a few years in storage, until Rebecca was about 4. We've pulled them out on a limited basis, but this year I decided to go all out. Rebecca and I wanted to surprise Gregory, so before he got home from daycare today we cleaned off the kid's coloring table and made an impromptu mountain ice cave out of some pillows, a box, and a sheet. We set out every single stuffed Rudolph character and waited. When he finally got home, he was beside himself. Guess which character he went for first? The two kids spent the last hour before bed playing Rudolph. Now I just have to figure out how to make Santa's castle ...

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Thanksgiving, Part Deux

Monday, November 30, 2009

My Mom and Dad did their traditional post-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday. Years ago, M & D relinquished the Thursday dinner, in favor of having it a day or 2 later so that everyone can come. And come we did. The total headcount was 17, and through some clever maneuvering, they got everyone in the dining room, with the exception of the 3 little kids (Rebecca, Cousin Evan, and Gregory) who were at the kids table, 5 feet away in the living room. We ate, watched the kids run around, ate, watched the kids see who could do the best gorilla walk, ate, watched the kids repeatedly hurdle Uncle Kenny's legs. You get the picture. Speaking of pictures, here's a couple:

Rebecca holds the cutest baby ever, my niece and goddaughter Nora.

Sisters and brother: Shannon, Rebecca, Gregory and Sumner

I just can't get enough of Miss Nora

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Gregory enjoys some cheese

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! We had a great, low key Thanksgiving here at Casa Corbin. Greg cooked up a delicious dinner and I made my signature hot mulled cider. Rebecca said her favorite part of the day was playing with Moose (Kenny's dog) and Gregory said his favorite part was 'eating cheese with my mouth'. Tomorrow we're heading to Mom and Dad's for Thanksgiving, part deux. In the spirit of the Holiday, here's a sampling of things I'm grateful for:


Little girls

Little boys

I feel so lucky to be where I am, married to a wonderful man (and a great cook!) with such good friends and a loving family. Thank you!

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Enchanted Nature Calls

Monday, November 23, 2009

A glorious start

The kids and I took advantage of the unseasonably warm November afternoon and went for a hike around the Wachusett Meadow Bird Sanctuary. This beautiful set of trails is only a 15 minute drive from our home, and I'm sorry to say today was the first trip we made all year! We traipsed around the the trails coat free for 2.5 hours. Here's the break down of how we spent our precious November afternoon: 1 hour hiking, 1 hour trying to find a bathroom, 1/2 hour playing on rocks.

Read the rest here...

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StumbleUpon Me

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The inner web developer (a.k.a. dork) in me is showing through. I've been playing with social networking and added a link at the bottom of each post to link to the newest way to get visitors, StumbleUpon. I'm not crazy about the kludgy graphic - they had some other smaller ones I might try out. What do you think? Is anyone else using StumbleUpon?

I also added my Twitter updates to the sidebar. If you want to connect, follow me and I will do the same! Is it too cluttered or should I keep adding more social networking bling?

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Daniel Johnston Live In Boston

Friday, November 20, 2009

I love having a chance to catch up! I've been meaning to post this for a month but have had some problems getting the video onto YouTube. Problems seem to be solved, so here's the scoop. For those of you unfamiliar with Daniel Johnston, you can get an idea of his remarkable life from the documentary The Devil and Daniel Johnston. Greg and I were lucky enough to get tickets to see him at the Paradise Rock club in Boston back in October. If you can get past his untrained voice, you will hear some of the most heartbreakingly beautiful lyrics. We took this clip with our digital camera because it is both my kid's favorite Daniel Johnston song, and we wanted to play it for them.

We were delighted by the enthusiasm of the crowd for Daniel, and also the youth of many of the fans. During the second half of the show the opening band came out and played with him. That was kind of annoying because the drummer and guitarist played way to loud and made it difficult to hear Daniel. The saving grace? Daniel seemed to enjoy singing with them, and after the life this man has led and the toll his illness has taken on him, it was great to see him experiencing some well deserved happiness.

Here's my baby singing his favorite line from the same song:

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I'm Glad I'm Not The Only One Who Found This Funny

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Due to the horrid flu that has recently made the rounds through my house, I'm currently short on blogging material. Instead, let me share this incident which occurred a few weeks ago when leaving Rebecca's gymnastics lesson:

It actually started on the way into the lesson. We were running 1 minute late, as usual, and as we ran across the parking lot I casually pointed my key ring toward my unique, gold, 2006 Toyota Sienna and hit the lock button. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the parking lights flare, and I also barely noted to myself the little, black, plastic lock button made a weird clicking sound when I pushed it.

Fast forward an hour. Rebecca and I are back out in the parking lot, gymnastics lesson complete. We arrive at the gold Sienna, and I push the unlock button on my controller. Nothing. I try door handle. Nothing. It's locked.

'Uh oh', I think, 'Maybe I broke the controller, or the battery is dead'. Suddenly, that weird clicking sound the controller made becomes the center of my awareness. I hit the unlock button again. Nothing. I decided I better do it the old-fashioned way, and use the regular key. I stick it in the lock, and try to turn it. Nothing. I try to turn it harder. Still nothing. This is more serious than I thought.

I go around back and try the trunk door. Nothing. I try to use the key on the passenger side door. Nothing. I blindly panic and start randomly pushing buttons on the controller. Nothing. The whole time Rebecca is telling me in a loud, high pitched voice that she is cold and hungry.

I pull out my phone to call Greg. While dialing, Rebecca says 'let me try' and reaches for the keys. I absently hand them to her so she'll be occupied while I try to think of what I'm going to tell Greg. He answers his phone.

Greg: 'Hi Honey.'

Me: 'Hey, um how was your day?'

Greg: 'Fine, what's up?'

Me: 'Where are you?'

Greg: 'Passing the Big Y' (about 1 minute from home, and about 20 minutes from the gym). I notice out of the corner of my eye Rebecca doing something with the keys and the van door. I decide not to worry about it. It's not like she can break a lock that's already broken, right?

Me: 'We're at the Sterling gym. I can't get the van open.'

Greg: 'What do you mean you can't get the van open?'

Me: 'The clicker doesn't do anything when I push the buttons, I think it's broken.'

Greg: 'Did you try the key?'

Me: 'Yes, it didn't work either. It's really broken.'

Greg: 'Oh no. Do this. Go around back, and see if it works on the back door.'

As I'm getting ready to tell him I already tried that, I notice an older lady striding across parking lot yelling in my direction.

Me: 'I'll call you back'. I flip my phone shut quickly and instinctively grab my keys from Rebecca so this crazy lady doesn't see I'm letting my 6 year old attempt to manually turn my key in a non-working lock.

Lady: 'That's my car - your car is over there.' She points toward the center of the parking lot. 'It's wide open'.

Me: Laughing lamely as the light finally dawns in one blazing second. 'Oh - I can't believe I did that!'

Lady: Glares at me, both her kids are staring at us in amazement. 'This is my car.'

Me: Feeling mortified, the only thing I have to add is the inanely lame 'We have the same car.'

Lady: 'Your car is wide open. It's over there.' She's really pissed!

Me: My fight or flight instinct kicks in. While hurriedly fleeing toward my car, I mutter a lame 'Thanks.' I see my van. The automatic side door is wide open thanks to my earlier button pushing frenzy. I try to give Rebecca as short an explanation as possible about what just happened. I glance back over my shoulder - the angry lady is inspecting her lock for damage.

Rebecca and I get in our unlocked van and buckle up. I put my working key in the ignition and start her up. My phone rings - it's Greg.

Me: (Trying to sound cool). 'Hello?'

Greg: 'What happened?'

Me: 'We're in.' Maybe he won't ask for details.

Greg: 'Did you get in through the back door?'

Me: 'Um no.' There's no point in hiding the truth. 'Actually, I was trying to get into the wrong car.'

Greg: Silence.

Me: 'There was another gold Sienna parked close to us. I hung up on you because this lady was yelling at me. It was her van and she was really pissed.'

Greg: Laughing uncontrollably. 'I'm so glad I'm married to you.'

Thanks for understanding and appreciating me honey! I love you! (and I hope I didn't give you the swine flu - how are you feeling?).

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Not What I had In Mind

Friday, November 13, 2009

A week of rest and relaxation. Sounds good right? Not when it's a result of being clobbered by the flu! I'm finally (mostly) over the horrid virus that has had me down for the past week. Thank you to my marvelous husband for doing everything while I was sick. I came down with it last Friday, and Saturday was the worst day (high fever, excruciating back pain, headache not touched by Motrin or Tylenol). Greg was supposed to work, but I called him about 45 minutes into his day and asked him to come home (the first time I've done this in 14 years). He did, and I didn't get up again until yesterday. I don't know if it was H1N1 or regular flu - they are no longer testing - just assuming that if you have a fever and live in an H1N1 affected area (pretty much the whole country right now), you have H1N1. I ended up with a secondary infection in my lungs and have been on antibiotics since Monday. So there hasn't been a lot of other stuff going on in our house this week. Here's a few random pictures:

Gregory helped to clean the meringue off the Kitchen Aid beaters today. Because what's better for recovering from the flu than Lemon Meringue Pie?
Greg and Gregory spent most of Monday on leaf removal while I continued my flu holiday. Greg took this picture for me so I could see my little guy enjoying some unseasonably warm November weather.
This one is from November 1st when Rebecca (furthest to the right) and her ballet friends attended 'Tea with Clara'. This involves heading out to the Hanover Theater where the girls have cookies and 'tea' (juice), and then are read 'The Nutcracker' by Clara (the girl dancing as Clara in the ballet next month). This year the girls even got to dance to a score from the Nutcracker, lead by Clara. Rebecca loved it, although she wasn't feeling great. Turns out this was day 1 of the flu for her - hopefully we didn't infect Clara. Rebecca is feeling better now and was able to go to school this week, after having her own week off.

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Sunday, November 8, 2009


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The Plague Continues

Friday, November 6, 2009

Bored, slightly sick 3 year old

Yup, for 17 contiguous days now we've had at least 1 sick person in our household. And for the past 10 days I've been one of them. For the past 3 days I've had both Gregory and Rebecca home sick, and been sick myself. Yesterday I got hit with a new cold, on top of my lingering flu symptoms and today it felt like my head was about to explode. Here's a small excerpt from my day home alone with 2 sick kids, for those of you who don't have kids yet, don't.

Sorry about my whining. I don't mean that - do have kids. My kids have given me the greatest joy I've ever known. Just be prepared for the occasional day like this:

We went to see the doctor today. Turns out Rebecca has the flu (probably H1N1, but they are no longer testing for it) and a secondary sinus infection. Gregory has a cold and ear infection. The doctor does not believe that he has the flu on top of that because of his high level of energy and I second that. Can anyone think of anything worse than feeling like you were hit by a truck, and having to care for a sick 6 year old, and an energetic, bored, slightly sick 3 year old for 13 hours straight by yourself? I stopped at CVS on the way home from the doctor's office and filled prescriptions for antibiotics for both kids. Here's the sequence of events after we got home. Actions are in italics:

Me: Stumble in the door carrying prescriptions, masks from doctor's office and whining 3 year old. Drop everything and open an unhealthy can of organic Spaghetti-O's since it's past lunch time and Gregory is starving.

Rebecca (shrill whining voice from the living room): Mom, I can't get Animal Planet on the TV.

Me: Hold on, let me get lunch started.

Gregory (climbing up to kitchen table): Mommy, talk to me!

Me: Just a minute. Let me get lunch started, and I need to give you each your first dose of medicine.

Rebecca: I don't want to take my medicine.

Me: Finish dumping Spaghetti-O's in pan and run to living room to turn on Animal Planet.

Gregory: Momma, talk to me!

Me: Rebecca, you have to take your medicine.

Me: Return to kitchen and start measuring out Gregory's antibiotic.

Rebecca (shrill whining voice from the living room): I want juice!

Me: Just a minute!

Me: Finish measuring Gregory's medicine. Bring it over to him and get him to drink it. Return to counter and start measuring Rebecca's medicine.

Gregory: Mommy, I just peed in my pants.

Me: Go use the potty! (When he has accidents, it's a small amount, and means he needs to do a lot more immediately).

Gregory: Come with me. I'm scared of the door (for some inexplicable reason, he has developed an intense fear of all the doors in our house).

Me: Stop measuring Rebecca's medicine. Carry Gregory to bathroom, turn on light. Stand there while he finishes peeing. Remove his wet pants and throw them down the laundry chute. Run back to kitchen and pick up Rebecca's medicine.

Gregory: Momma, talk to me! (As he climbs back on kitchen chair, sans pants).

Me: Gregory, just a minute. Let me give your sister her medicine, and I'll get you some pants.

Rebecca: I don't want to take my medicine.

Me: Carry medicine into living room and try to get Rebecca to drink it. She pushes it away.

Rebecca: Ugh - that's going to make me throw up.

Gregory (whining voice from kitchen): Momma, Momma, MOMMA!!


Gregory: I'm hungry.

Me: Force Rebecca to drink medicine.

Rebecca: That's disgusting. I'm going to throw up.

Me: Come have some Spaghetti-O's. It will take the taste out of your mouth.

Gregory: Momma, Momma, MOMMA!!

Me: Run upstairs, grab Gregory some sweatpants. He has no clean underwear upstairs - he will have to go commando.

Gregory: I'm hungry!

Rebecca: I want juice.

Me: Run downstairs. Put sweatpants on Gregory. Wash hands.

Gregory: Momma, talk to me!

Me (while spooning Spaghetti-O's into bowl): I can't right now. Eat your Spaghetti-O's.

Gregory: They're too hot.

Unhappy sick Rebecca

I won't torture you with any more. Did I mention I had a splitting headache and stuffed head the whole time, and all I wanted was to take some decongestant and some Advil and go to sleep? Hopefully the antibiotics will help, and they will start feeling better tomorrow.

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They Should Just Paint a Big 'P' On Our Door

Monday, November 2, 2009

New paint

For plague. That's right. Rebecca, Greg, Me, Gregory, now Rebecca again. It's been a steady stream of illness here at Chez Corbin. Here's an after picture of our long overdue house painting (I can't believe I forgot to take a before picture). Luckily our door is already red so the big red 'P' won't stand out too much when they come through marking the infected houses. Please excuse the leaves. Greg actually had the lawn completely leave free last Sunday, but it is the season.

Pajama Day

Only allowed when sick

Here's some more pictures I meant to post last week, but due to my illness and new addiction to watching 'Heroes' episodes on demand from Netflix I never got my act together. Fortunately I've entered the disappointing Season 3 and am starting to get my life back. Here's Rebecca going to 'Pajama Day' at school on Friday, and Gregory laying in our bed eating 'jelly and toast' - something that is highly forbidden, except when he is sick.

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Happy Halloween

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Princess Leia and Yoda

Happy Halloween everyone! Hope everyone's little ghosts and goblins had a safe and happy holiday. We had some big plans for today - Charlie Gowel's 1st birthday at Robbin's Farm Park in Arlington, and then on to Newburyport for Hallowtreem. Unfortunately, Gregory developped a bug that gave him an 103 degree fever Friday night. So he and I laid low today while Greg took Rebecca to Charlie's party. Gregory seemed to be feeling much better after a day of rest, and it was an unseasonally warm 65 degree night here in central Massachusetts. So we decided to let him go out trick-or-treating for an hour, but to stay close to home in case he started running a temp again. With much regret, we stayed home from Hallowtreem, and made a quick trip around the closest block. Probably a wiser decision - after about 1/2 an hour Gregory had enough and was ready for home. Rebecca was disappointed, but her Princess Leia hair was definitely ready to pack it in.

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Nora Gets Baptized

Monday, October 26, 2009

Nora enjoys her first cupcake ever.

Yesterday I got the honor of being a Godparent to my little niece Nora, a.k.a. the cutest baby ever. I was very happy to stand up there with my brother, and my mom (since neither Kenny or I are 'good' enough Catholics to get a letter of verification - sorry Mom) and see that little bubble charm the priest and entire congregation. What a smiley girl!

Rebecca, Evan and Gregory did pretty well in church, except for Gregory's pew climbing incident. That little guy is fast! Unfortunately Greg was sick with an ear infection and sinus infection, so he ended up staying home. We really missed him but he is already starting to feel better now that the antibiotics are starting to kick in. Jif and Chris had a nice party at their place on what turned out to be a glorious day weather wise. The general consensus was that we should get Nora baptized more often if that is how the weather is going to turn out for her big day. Gregory was very pleased by his first exposure to orange soda.

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The Wizard Of Oz

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rebecca at the Hanover Theater

After a weekend with no Internet (how did we ever survive back in the olden days?), Verizon has me back online. Rebecca and I attended 'The Wizard of Oz' Saturday afternoon at our favorite venue, the Hanover Theater in Worcester, Mass. The musical was great with some neat high tech effects (some kind of sheer screen was in front of the stage during the tornado scene which they used to create a 3D illusion with the events on the stage occurring in the middle of the tornado). They stuck pretty close to the movie - even down to making everything sepia tones (through lighting and costumes?) in the Kansas scenes, and vibrant color in the Oz scenes. Rebecca said she loved the show, and wasn't afraid at all, although she did grab my hand several times when the lights were dimmed between scenes - to make sure I wasn't scared ;-).

Sunday we had a North Conway reunion with the other Corbin family and the Treems over to our place for lots of food (chicken ring, homemade crab rangoon, sausages and hot dogs, backed mac-n-cheese, and apple crisp), and to watch a thorough thrashing of the Tennessee Titans by our New England Patriots. The kids picked up right where they left off in August, racing around the house, putting on 'shows', and having a great time.

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Mussel Man

Monday, October 12, 2009


Gregory has always been our good eater. I was amazed when he was 2, he started eating shrimp. But I figured he would get to kindergarten at least before he ate something that I won't. I was wrong - we recently learned he loves mussels - yech! He must get it from his Dad - the two of them put away 2.5 pounds of mussels this weekend.

New "fluffy" haircut

Rebecca got a really cute haircut Saturday - she decided to go pretty short. She's really pleased with it and enjoys "fluffing" it.

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You Should See The Other Kid

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Gregory's eye has turned some spectacular colors in the aftermath of his run in with the hall table. There was still a lot of swelling this morning so we brought him to the pediatrician this afternoon for a quick look. She thinks he's fine - nothing broken - and that we should expect his face to look like a rainbow for the next 7 to 10 days. Guess we won't be taking that Christmas card picture anytime soon.

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The Good, the Bad, and the Ouch

Sunday, September 27, 2009

It's been an eventful weekend here at Chez Corbin. The good is all the fun we've had. Friday night we attended the Fall Festival at Rebecca's school. The only dinner choice was hot dogs, which my vegetarian self found kind of odd. So Greg and the kids ate hot dogs and I had apple crisp for supper - oh how I suffer (not!). There was face painting, Blinky the clown, and lots of screaming K - 5th graders. The fun continued into Saturday with a trip to the playground, the town library, and Kids Fest at Mount Wachusett. With a forecast of rain all day Sunday, every family within a fifty mile radius decided to hit Kids Fest on Saturday, and it was packed. Long lines everywhere - the bouncy castles, the cafeteria, the games. I had planned to buy the kids lunch there but the cafeteria line was so long, we ended up hitting all the free sample booths for bags of chips, pretzels, goldfish and fruit gummies. Yup, all four food groups! That didn't really cut it so we hit Papa Gino's on the way home for some pizza. Today we watched the Patriot's beat a very good Atlanta Falcon's team and fed the kids homemade lentil vegetable soup (trying to make up for yesterday).

So that was the good. The bad? I've had a miserable cold all weekend. My brother Kenny was supposed to come stay with us for the week (he's working a booth at The Big E), and also had a bad cold. Greg feels like he's coming down with something and Rebecca had a headache all afternoon - probably also coming down with it since she's the only one left who hasn't had it yet. Cold and flu season is here.

And the ouch? My poor baby boy decided to climb up on the hall table to get his sister's Leapster, and it tipped over and landed on his face. He now has a shiner that would make John Lester flinch, and a healthy fear of the hall table. His 'booboo' slowed him down for about forty-five minutes but he was soon back to his wild man self, trying to dive into the tub during his bath (repeatedly), and showing off his 'trick' (which starts with a little dance, followed by slow motion running, hurling his Sponge Bob foam football at the TV, and ends with a cartwheel). The good news is he has made tremendous progress on the potty training front, and we are hoping to be completely diaper free within the next week or two!!

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A New Faire

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Rebecca's face painting

This Sunday, my very generous mother-in-law took the family to King Richard's Faire in Carver, Massachusetts. Unfortunately, this was also the weekend we had set aside for Gregory's potty training, and had already started working him up to it when we got the fair invitation. It turned out that we were still trying to turn the tide of the battle on day three, so we made the hard decision to keep him at home with Greg, to continue the potty battle, while I brought Rebecca to the fair with her yia-yia, aunts, uncles and cousins. Somehow I always get the short end of the stick (not!). And we ended up with a glorious, sunny fall day to boot!

King Richard's Faire is a Renaissance fair that comes to southern Mass every September. I've never been to this type of event so I found the whole thing fascinating. When we parked our minivan next to a Camry full of adults in full medieval costume (and no, they were not employees), I realized we were not in Kansas anymore. It's a celebration of fantasy complete with elaborate costumes, jousting matches, 'royalty' strolling through the grounds conversing with us common folk, muscle powered carnival rides and fantastic animals, where pretty much anything goes. The best part? For me it was the employees. I think it must take a special kind of person to work at a Renaissance fair, and the way many of them got into their role was contagious. The worst part? The commercialism! The price of entry for a child 5-11 is $15, and $26 for adults. That totaled $41 just for Rebecca and I to get in. I would have sucked it up without complaining, but for almost every activity inside the gate you also had to pay. As we walked through the gate, we were surrounded by a vast number of storefronts selling everything from costumes to musical instruments to housewares, all medieval themed and all extremely pricey. The there was face painting, food and drinks which I guess I can understand, but they were also way overpriced. The worst was the rides. $3 per body to ride on a boat shaped swing, that you had to swing yourself. It was just a wooden boat hanging from ropes. With five kids, plus an adult to help them, it was close to $20 to go on a three minute swing ride! A small 'maze' with a 10 foot slide at the end? $2 per person and it took all of three minutes to get through it. Didn't they just charge $41 for the two of us to get in? Come on. They could do the same thing at the playground for free. Lucky for Rebecca, the day was on yia-yia, who is much more generous than myself.

Hercules, the liger

The only thing that you didn't have to pay extra for was the entertainment, which was pretty good. My favorite was the wild cat show, although I spent the whole thing with a six year old on my shoulders since it was so packed we couldn't get anywhere near close enough for Rebecca to see on her own. The highlight was Hercules, the liger. Hercules is a lion/tiger hybrid who measures 11 feet long when fully stretched out. His birth was an 'accident' (it's illegal to purposely breed the two cats), and he is in the Book of World Records (I assume they meant Guinness, although they didn't actually specify that), as the biggest cat ever recorded. Interestingly, the fact that his father is a lion and his mother is a tiger is significant in producing his gigantic size. If his mother were a lion, and his father a tiger, he would be called a tion, and he would be a dwarf instead of a giant. At least that's what they told us. My picture doesn't do him justice, he is actually curled up in it, but I had a forty pound six year old on my shoulders when they had him stretch so I couldn't get a picture of that.

My next favorite show was the Aerial Angels, three fire eating, aerial silk performers from Michigan who include a great deal of humor into their clever act. Rebecca loved the pony ride (she got three of them) and she even got to hold a falcon. Yia-yia made sure she and her cousins got to ride on whatever they wanted, and on her way out she told me "this is the best fair ever". I must say it was quite the excursion into fantasy land. Thanks Charlene for giving us such a nice day.

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The Sterling Fair

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Gregory admires a pig

We made our annual trip to the Sterling Fair today, after a one year hiatus due to torrential downpours last September. For anyone who has never been, the Sterling Fair is part agricultural fair, part cheesy carnival, held every September on the runways of the Sterling airport. Rebecca had a vague recollection (last time she had just turned 4) and of course Gregory had no idea what to expect.

We hit the agricultural part, which is actually my favorite, first. This consisted of large exhibits of stinky but cute farm animals including cows, horses, goats, pigs, bunnies and donkeys. The kids LOVE this, and want to stop and look at every one of the thousands of livestock. I have to say my favorite animal was a 14 month old pig. He was very cute, and did I mention that he was six feet long? At 14 months? Does anyone know what age a pig is considered full grown? I have no idea, but if this guy gets much bigger, they may need to build a bigger stall.

We took a brief stroll through the craft competition displays, which mostly consisted of Greg and I repeatedly yelling "Don't touch that!". They did have some
gorgeous quilts, and an elaborately decorated fairy house built entirely out of materials found in woods. The latter was built by a thirteen year old girl and was really cool.

The last part of the agricultural section is the horse and oxen pull. I never thought I'd say something like this, but I love the animal pull competitions (the tractor pull doesn't do it for me, but the men love it - must be a guy thing). Today they were doing the horse pull, and I could have watched it all day. If you've never seen it, they have this metal sled thing on a dirt track with 1600 pound blocks stacked on it. The sled has a ring on one end which they slip over a hook attached to a harness attached to a team of enormous horses. The participant must then pull the sled a certain distance (in the horse pull it's about twenty feet). After each team has a go, they take a huge front-end loader and add another 1600 pound cement block to the sled, and repeat the process. If a team cannot pull the sled, they are out, and the last team left wins the event. It's kind of like watching bull riding or the strong man competition on TV - you can't believe you're watching it, but you are, and actually find it somewhat interesting. (OK, the strong man competition isn't all that interesting, but you know what I mean). We only watched the beginning, so maybe it gets more painful when the sled gets really heavy?

Rebecca on an old school motorcycle ride

Rebecca would have watched the horses all day, but Gregory was more interested in climbing the metal bleachers so pretty soon we moved on. Onto the cheesy carnival part. You know - ridiculously overpriced deathtraps, I mean rides, and the worst food you can imagine. We took a ride on the ferris wheel ($10 worth of tickets for the four of us for one ride). The kids rode the merry-go-round, and each got to pick one more ride, and our $20 worth of tickets were gone. While I was waiting for Rebecca to finish the sparkly motorcycle ride, I was eavesdropping on the people standing next to me. Greg was on the other side of the fair putting Gregory on the truck ride, so I needed something to entertain me. I was stunned to hear the Dad say he had spent $80 on tickets so far that day. His wife had spent $60 and the grandmother had spent $40. Guys, that's almost $200 on shifty carnival rides. You should have spent that money on a couple of season's passes to Six Flags. The rides are much better and you can go for a full year. I don't get it.

Anyway, that was it. Lots of fun as usual and now I'm all set with shady carnival rides until next year.

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