Friday, December 30, 2005

Larry and I are so glad to be home, in our own house. We're both sounding like George Bailey at the end of It's A Wonderful Life - Hello, drafty old house! Hello, falling down apple tree! All the kitchen chairs are breaking - isn't that terrific! You'd think we'd been away a year instead of a week. It just felt like a year. But we're back. We survived. Some highlights:

Rachel's potty-training progress has gone right down the toilet. I knew we were doomed the first day of our trip when I took her into a rest stop bathroom to go pee. She said, "It smells funny here. I'll pee at home." Good thing I brought some diapers.

We had to caravan, as we can't fit everyone into one vehicle. Even so, both cars were packed full of stuff. Unfortunately, I don't like doing the driving on long trips. My back starts hurting, my knees start hurting, my hips start hurting (no, I'm not done complaining). To top it off, I harbor the conviction that I am going to die of deep-vein thrombosis from sitting in one position too long. So Larry, in a foolish attempt to flatter me, congratulated me on driving all the way from Mass to Maine on the third day. Give me a break - what choice did I have? Refuse to go on and live at Westover Air Force Base the rest of my life? When I pointed this out to Larry, his face lit up and he said, "You're right - it's the deathground principle!" For those of you as uninformed as I am, he was referring to Chinese military strategy as discussed by Sun Tzu (apparently the East's answer to Clausewitz) - it seems Chinese generals would purposely place their troops in positions where they would have to either fight or die - no retreat possible. I don't know whether to feel flattered that I passed the test or annoyed that my husband deems it acceptable to manipulate me using battle tactics he learned at the War College.

Anyway, I survived the drive; I'm sure a few years of therapy (psychological and chiropractic) will undo any damage that's been done.

Anna is apparently the only person in our family to feel inconvenienced by having to share a hotel room with 7 other people. I almost left her behind in Massachusetts.

McDonald's is everywhere, but it is extremely hard to find exactly the same McDonald's as last year - you know, the one with the best playland ever. We had to settle for the second-best playland, which made certain members of our family very sad. The restroom there was pretty good, however.

I spent most of my vacation driving and doing laundry (not at the same time, but wouldn't that be a good idea?). The best laundryroom was at the Air Force base in Massachusetts - 4 stackable washer/dryers in a row, so I could do all our laundry at once. I am definitely installing one of those stackables in our kitchen once all the kids grow up and leave. Then I would never again have to walk into our laundry/utility room/Larry's storage unit. It would be very good for our marriage. I found myself wondering what sort of laundryroom Mrs. Claus has. Does she have to wash all the elves' clothes too, or do their wives do that? Do elves have wives? Does Santa Claus frown on civil unions? These are the sort of questions that run through my mind when I spend most of my Christmas vacation doing laundry.

Uncle Frank is apparently getting more lenient in his dotage. He actually let the kids help decorate the tree this year. Up until now, he has never even let them touch the tree. Maybe it's because we make him watch the Grinch every year, and he's finally taking the hint.

A lot more happened, but I think I am trying to block it out. It's less painful that way. I know I've said this before, but there's no place like home. There's no place like home. There's no place like home.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Christmas is Coming...

It's been a while since my last letter, but not much has happened around here of note. I have decided that perhaps it would be best if I took a little time to clean my oven more often than, say, once every few years. Nothing like a minor grease fire to make me reevaluate my housekeeping methods. The fire was a great learning opportunity, however - the kids got to see how effective baking soda really is on a kitchen conflagration. And I think the flames actually burnt off a lot of the greasy buildup. So it wasn't a total loss.

After faithfully exercising for the past 3 1/2 months at the Y, I've come to the inescapable conclusion that exercise makes me fat. Apparently, I am not the only one to think so. The other day, as I was bending over to wipe out the tub, Rachel happily said, "Mommy, you have a big bottom." That kid used to be cute; I don't know what happened. When I shared my scientific findings on exercise with Larry, he muttered something about the chocolate factor, whatever that means. Hey, is it my fault the Y is dumb enough to have a candy machine in the lobby?

Rachel woke up one morning recently and apparently decided that using the potty was a pretty good idea. I would like to note here that this happened at the exact same age that Anna learned to use the potty, which leads me to think that it really didn't matter what I did as far as toilet-training went. What I need is a set of identical twins to test this theory on.

In case Anna reads this, I would like to state as a disclaimer that of course Anna has always used the potty and would never dream of doing otherwise.

I suppose I should be writing a Christmas-type newsletter right now, sharing the year's highlights and all. Unfortunately, I don't remember a darn thing that happened before the baby was born in May. And since then...well, you've been kept up to date on all the excitement. I'm not truly in the Christmas spirit right now, as we have to drive up to Maine this Wednesday to celebrate with Larry's family. I don't see why we have to do that, as we have a perfectly good tree right here at home. His family's okay, but not worth a 12 hour drive with 6 kids in two vans. Larry, of course, does not share this opinion. If someone would like to steal our van late Tuesday night, I'll give you my keys. Just don't return it until the 26th.