November 30th was the last day you could legally text while driving in Wisconsin.  I'm not really a text and drive kinda gal, so this isn't going to be much of a change for me. However, in the past four and a half years I have learned some important and unique features related specifically to driving in Lancaster that have nothing to do with texting.

1) We have a traffic cop. Seriously. Like in old time movies. He, however, does not wear a navy blue uniform and white gloves. But he has a really interesting mustache. 

2) There is a hitching post at the grocery store. That is used. Regularly.

3) Stop signs are optional. The older you get the more optional they are. By the time you are ninety I believe you are actually supposed to speed up.

4) The square is confusing to out of towners.  For residents, it should be treated as an NASCAR track.

4) Pedestrians do not have the right of way anywhere, but especially on the square (see above).  This is particularly true at any "Right turn, no stop" stop signs.  Apparently this means that you MAY not stop. Not even if a pack of nuns and orphans carrying kittens are in the middle of the street.   

5) People claim they will move out of town if Lancaster ever got a stop light.

6) I think it is legal to drive your lawn mower on city streets. My husband does anyway.

And mostly unrelated to traffic...but still weird...

The delivery guy will deliver your packages to your house even if the wrong address is on the label.  However, he may also deliver your packages to the wrong house if he knows someone you know lives there. I guess he assumes you'll work it out.  

With the birth of wee Miss Lucy Drew last week, we now have a triumvirate of babies.  Ben, our December boy, is exactly 167 days and a couple hours older than Nora, the June Bug.  And Nora is exactly 167 days and a couple hours older than the new girl.  Not only is that an awfully weird coincidence, the spacing is quite fabulous as equipment, clothing, toys, and advice is passed down at regular intervals.  We've learned such important tidbits as...
  • Childbirth can take anywhere from three hours (Nora) and involve a nearly automatic c-section, to 29 hours (Lucy) and go the way nature intended (even if the epidural didn't), to almost two days and involve both several hours of pushing follwed by a c-section (Ben). In all cases it is a medical event.
  • Normal rectal temperature for a four month old is 100.4, not 98.6. So stop freaking out.
  • Car seats are really really heavy and you will get calouses. Demand the car seat stroller be passed down ASAP. 
  • Don't hold off on the bibs until the kid is eating solids...there are a whole host of other items that come out of that end that you may not be expecting.
  • A baby swing is possibly the most important piece of furniture you will ever own.
  • The nursing books ALL LIE. It is going to hurt. A LOT. It will go away.
  • With that in mind, don't let your husband put your Soothies nursing pads in the freezer. Though well intentioned, the result is a bit intense. 
  • So far, babies begin eating dog food at 11 months.
  • Dogs who are otherwise unconcerned around babies, start to get a little nervous when they start moving of their own accord.
  • Just cause it sounds logical in the baby book doesn't mean it is going to work. Babies have no interest in logic. At all.
  • Try it again in another month.
  • Try it again in two months.
  • If he/she is still doing it at age thirty, then it is the time to worry.
  • Perhaps most importantly...
    • You're going to get a lot of really weird (and sometimes annoying) advice. Ignore it.
    • At least one person is going to make it obvious that they think you are an abusive parent because of the name you spent months considering and finally bestoyed lovingly upon you're child. It's okay to fantasize about beating the crap out of them.
    • At some point, your child will be dressed in 100% gender appropriate clothing (probably involving butterflies and/or tractors), and some stranger will say "What an adorable little girl/boy" (and get it completely wrong).  The appropriate response is "Yes he is an adorable little girl, isn't he."
  • Yes, newborn's eyes are supposed to do that.

    Moms and babes

Sarah, Ben, and Nora

The new gal

Recipe for a truly deeelightful Thanksgiving:
One 10:30 am brunch
Fourteen fabulous relatives from both sides of the family
Twenty (or so) delicious breakfast and traditional Thanksgiving dishes

Remove all need for anyone to cook, clean, or entertain family for the day.  Spend the remainder of the afternoon lounging, reading, and hanging out with family.  Stir and serve hot.

The whole gang from one end of the table.

The whole gang from the other end of the table.

 Nora and Auntie Katy

With Mimmi

 With Great Grandma Mayne

 Great Grandpa and Nora showing each other their "baby blues"

 With Great Grandpa Mayne

 With Grandpy Steve

With Cousins Nikki and Paige (after having a bit of a fuss)

Nora is five and a half months old. I would guess this is on the early end of first haircuts.  However, she had what I believe is called a mullet.  And a large bald spot. And a comb over.  I considered pulling it into a ponytail a la middle aged biker dude, but decided she might resent that eventually and it would end up being part of a discussion with her therapist.  So we asked Aunt Katy to give her a haircut. She, Aunt Katy, and Grandma celebrated with a container of Cool Whip while I was in the shower washing the dye out of my hair

We started Miss Nora on solids a little sooner than we'd planned to as doc thought it might help with the puking (it does...but only when it involves solids...she still projectile vomits milk like a champ).  My mom and I spent a couple days making and freezing baby food so Nora would get to try local, in-season stuff during the never-ending Wisconsin winter...thank goodness for farmer's markets, orchards, and families with gardens!  So far, she's pretty much loved everything we've given her. 

  • Butternut squash from Grandma and Grandpa Carroll's garden
  • Pumpkin from Farmer's Market (ESPECIALLY pumpkin curry)
  • Beets from Farmer's Market
  • Carrots from Farmer's Market
  • Winter Spinach from Driftless Market
  • Apples from Wilson's Apple Orchard
  • Pears* from Great Grandma and Grandpa Mayne's
  • Peaches* from Lancaster
  • Green beans from Farmer's Market
  • Oatmeal (okay, she has rice cereal too, but I think it tastes like paste...and I don't want her to be the paste eating kids, so we're sticking with oatmeal)
  • Bananas, both fresh and in a jar - she prefers the out of a jar
*It remains to be seen how much of the peaches and pears she will actually get to eat, as I tend to eat most of them for her.

Mike made her chicken stock last night so we have a local, free range, sodium free version for her, and Grandpa Tom got a buck last weekend.  We've requested some venison steaks to grind up for Miss Daisy Do.

She's also had ice cream Brendan and Sonya's wedding and most recently at Mimmi's birthday party.  Boy did her eyes light up then! 
But anyway...without further ado...I now present, baby with stuff on her face...




Two of my favorite people, Julie and Brad, welcomed a baby girl into the world at 1:06am this morning.  (If 29 hours of labor can be considered "welcoming" someone).  Lucy Drew measured in at 8.1 lbs, 20 inches and based on the two pictures I've seen, looks an awful lot like her daddy to me, with her mommy's coloring.  I can't wait to meet the little bean.  Nora is excited to go camping with her next summer. Or, Nora may just have been excited because there was something shiny. But we'll say it is because she is excited Lucy will be available for camping. 

This is what passses for entertainment when you live in the boonies, have no TV, and sometimes go to sleep at 7:30 pm.  Not that I'm complaining...I kind of love it. :)

Husband: "Gee honey.  What would you like to do tonight?"
Me: "I was thinking perhaps you could get the weed wacker out of the garage and take care of the shrubbery growing on your face."

 Husband: "We want a SHRUBBERY!"
Me: "Thank you, dear."
Husband: "You're welcome."

Husband disappears into bathroom.  Re-emerges a minute or two later.
Husband: "How's this?"
Me: "What's this?"

Husband disappears into bathroom. Re-emerges a minute or two later.
Me: Oh dear.
Husband: Growls as he assumes bikers must.

 You get the point....and yet it continues...

Eventually re-emerges looking like someone's Eastern European cousin...

 Oh dear....

He really does clean up quite nicely though.

Step One: Decide that sitting politely in the bouncer is booooooring.

 Step Two: Fake a little stretch.

Step three: Casually notice something interesting on the counter.

Step four: Lean over to get a closer look.

 Step Five: Realize the error of your ways.
"Biiiiiiiiinnnnnnnkeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!  Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Is it just me or is Thanksgiving rapidly becoming a forgotten holiday?  The fact that stores were stocking Christmas crap next to the Halloween flotsam just a few weeks ago with nary a turkey in sight makes me wonder.  And there are a whole heckava lot of Christmas decorations up already.  Not that I'm complaining (well, I'm complaining about the Christmas decorations, but that is another rant).  A holiday centered around a giant pile of meat isn't really my cup of tea.  Perhaps Thanksgiving should be renamed the Day-To-Hang-Out-With-The-"Other"-Side-Of-The-Family (you know, the one you don't like as much).  Or perhaps its true purpose could be teaching children about the importance of a hearty meal before venturing out in the middle of the night to buy a bunch of stuff* you didn't realize you needed until you saw it advertised in the Black Friday insert.  I'll get off my soapbox now and eat my tofurky quietly. Thank you for your attention.

*How much did you have the SPEND to save $3000? That's all I'm asking! 

Notice the Christmas crap already available for your holiday viewing pleasure on Nov 13.