Photo 365 #137

It’s been gray and foggy and rainy here for a good week now, maybe even a little longer. I love the atmosphere fog brings with it – I find it very inspiring – but at this time of year, I also find it rather depressing. Winter is such a dreary time of year anyway, and the fog doesn’t help.

Hence today’s picture, a reminder of sunnier times:


I miss the sun.

We had so much snow for Thanksgiving that it felt like Christmas had arrived a month ahead of schedule. But it’s been so warm (relatively speaking) lately that what snow we had has all melted, and now it feels more like November than November ever did.

All of this makes it hard for me to believe that in just three short days, it’ll be Christmas. And seriously, they’ll be short days – tonight we celebrated Miss Tadpole’s birthday, and my in-laws were able to make it for the first time in a very long time, which made the evening extra special. Tomorrow night we’re having Christmas with my family, and I still have gifts to wrap for them, so I’m really glad I’ll have a little time to do that in the morning.
We’re celebrating with our kids on Christmas Eve, then doing stockings on Christmas morning, then another family Christmas on Sunday…

It’s a good thing I’m not back to work yet, because just thinking about all of that is making me tired. Er, more tired. I love the holidays, but I’m feeling so run-down this year that it’s hard to feel my usual Christmas spirit. Hopefully I’ll be back to my usual carol-singing self this time next year.

How has this Christmas differed from prior years for you? Is the change for better or for worse?

(c) 2014. All rights reserved.

Photo 365 #136

Yep, it’s another Christmas tree picture:


Seymour’s had Data for longer than I’ve known him, but the Enterprise is a recent acquisition.  I told Seymour and Bubbles they’d wear out the batteries on it the other night; as we were setting up the tree, they kept pushing the ornament’s play button so they could hear the intro from Star Trek: The Next Generation.  It was awfully funny, and reminded me of when I was a kid.  My grandma used to have these bird ornaments that would sing when you tapped their beaks.  Her cardinal ornament was my favorite; they have such a pretty song.  I’m pretty sure I wore out its batteries. 🙂

In the end, we decided that, so long as no one shows the boys how it works, our pretty ornament will live to speak another year.

What are some of your favorite ornaments?

(c) 2014.  All rights reserved.

Photo 365 #135

sleepytadpoletinytadpoleToday Miss Tadpole turns twelve.

Twelve!  Can you believe it?  I know I can’t.  I’m sure Seymour can’t, either.  After all, she’s his first-born, his little girl.

The picture on the left is from Thanksgiving, when we were all so exhausted on the way home from Grandpa and Grandma’s house that the kids fell asleep and the grown-ups would have liked to.  She’s so big!

The picture on the right is from the year Seymour and I moved in together.  It was the first year we took the kids to Miracle on Main together, and I don’t know what she told Santa, but it was apparently pretty darn funny.  She’s so leetle!

I can’t believe how fast all our kids have grown – before I know it, they’ll be out of the house and I won’t know what to do with myself.  I’m not sure I’m ready for that yet.

P.S. I know I missed yesterday’s Photo Friday post, but with the holidays and the birthday and everything else that’s going on at the moment, I think I’m going to take a break from Photo Friday for the rest of the month.  But don’t worry – Photo Friday will return in 2015!

(c) 2014.  All rights reserved.

Photo 365 #134

Back at the beginning of the month, the boys got some early Christmas gifts from Santa Claus when he stopped by the annual Kauffman Christmas. Among other things, each of their stockings contained a Li’l Swimmer, a motorized fish bath toy. Cricket’s was a great white shark, which he thought was the coolest thing ever. Thumper’s was a clown fish:


That’s right, Thumper got Nemo.

Anyway, we finally pried the new toys free from their layers of packaging last night at bath time, and Cricket thought his shark was totally, completely, and in all other ways, awesome. Jaws zipped round the tub amid squeals of delight (and my off-key attempt at humming a few certain notes from a famous movie).

But there were also more than a few squeals of terror, especially after Nemo joined in the fun. Thumper was scared of his shiny new bath toy! I felt bad for him because he’d really looked forward to playing with it.

Tonight then, on our way home from a Christmas party, we missed our turn and ended up a few miles further east than we should have been. As we were discussing where and when to turn around, Thumper spoke up from the back of the car: “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…”

So remember, when the sharks of life get you down, be they adorable battery-operated clown fish or missed turns on a darkened road, take a page from Thumper’s book and just keep swimming. Or driving. Or something.

(c) 2014. All rights reserved.

Photo 365 #132

I can’t believe I missed this yesterday, but since I did, I guess I’ll post it today.

See, yesterday was my dad’s birthday.  He’d have been 80.  I really miss him, especially at this time of year.  Four years ago at Christmas, we told him he’d have to wait six months for his Christmas gift – a new grandson.  But he only made it three months before he passed away, so he never got to know the boys.  But he doted on Bubbles.

Bubbles was named for my dad, and he always said he had to stick around to corrupt him.  He couldn’t wait till Bubbles got big enough to teach him all about hobos and trains and girls and whatever other things he could think of to pass along (like incriminating stories of me, most likely).  I wish the boys could have known him, too – he’d have gotten such a kick out of them: Cricket is so matter-of-fact that it’s hilarious, and Thumper is a regular chip off the ol’ block.

Fun family memories are right this way…

Photo 365 #131

It’s hard to beat a sweet treat every now and then:


One of my favorite treats as a kid was sliced bananas with sugar (or sprinkles – sprinkles are always good, too), so when Seymour brought home a couple of green bunches last week, I couldn’t wait to dig in.  But then, of course, we headed out to the hospital before they’d ripened, and before I knew it they were starting to spot.

So this morning, I dug in.  And they tasted every bit as sweet as I could have hoped.  You slice up the bananas into a bowl, sprinkle a quantity of sugar over them, then stir it all up.  The sugar and the banana secretions (for lack of a better word) combine to form a syrup, and it’s a little bowl of heaven.

What are some of your favorite childhood treats?

(c) 2014.  All rights reserved.

Photo 365 #130

Sometimes, it’s the simple things in life that are the sweetest.


Like visits from best friends on cloudy days, or – in this case – a night out with great food, great friends, and great fun.  I still maintain that Gaelic Storm concerts need to be an annual thing.  Who knows?  Maybe 2015 will be the year we revisit the Englert and have a rollicking good time!

What simple things do you enjoy?

(c) 2014.  All rights reserved.

Photo 365 #129

Abdominal surgery is the pits. Recovery means relaxing and taking it easy, but those are both easier said than done when you have two toddlers running around the house at mach 10. Luckily, Miss Tadpole and Bubbles have been wonderful helpers. They’ve been Toddler Distractors and Chefs Supreme, and Miss Tadpole was even a Baby Shower Ambassador this morning.


Last night, she fixed supper by herself for the first time. Bubbles fixed dinner, a frozen pizza, but Miss Tadpole fixed up a pan of Hamburger Helper. I sat in the kitchen and supervised, and everything came out wonderfully. That’s the best-tasting Hamburger Helper I’ve had in quite a while, as a matter of fact.

I hope I’m feeling better soon so that the kids can return to being kids. But in the meantime, I am unbelievably proud of the way they’ve stepped up to help out while I’m recovering. 🙂

How do your kids make you proud?

(c) 2014. All rights reserved.

Photo 365 #128


One of the good things about my return trip to Mayo Clinic was the opportunity to get a picture of this gorgeous poinsettia tree. I’d seen it last week when we were there for my initial consultation, but by the time I saw it, we were in a hurry to get to a couple of other places, it was late, and I just didn’t take the time to photograph it.

After trying to capture the brilliant crimson of the poinsettia near my desk at work, I wondered if I’d have to underexpose this image, but it came out perfectly on the first try. If I hadn’t been feeling so rotten (and if we hadn’t been in such a hurry to pick up the kids), I’d have played around a bit and taken a few more shots. But surgery sucks, and long post-surgery drives suck even more, so I only got one.

Still, it’s beautiful. Hope your weekend is just as rosy! 🙂

(c) 2014. All rights reserved.