Monday, December 29, 2008

ice cream and collard greens

I've been away so long that I barely know what day it is. We gave the children such a late lunch that we thought they wouldn't want dinner. Little John had a slice of cake with ice cream just before bedtime and then requested his own big plate of collards and a slice of bread.

My mother and I are drinking gin and tonics out of season.

(I'm going home wednesday morning)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Breakin' Up Christmas

Hooray Jake, hooray John
Breakin’ up Christmas all night long
Santa Claus come, done and gone
Breaking up Christmas right straight along
Don’t you remember a long time ago
The old folks danced the doesey-doe

I was singing this to myself this afternoon wondered if I had posted about it last year when I read it in Hillbilly Savants. I was thinking today about how fun it would be to have an old time dance in my imaginary farmhouse of the future. Next year, the year after.

My brother and his wife came over for the afternoon, and he fried up a batch of oysters. My mother made a pot of mussels, collard greens, "the" potato salad, a green salad, homemade rolls, and pound cake. There was Guiness, irish music, and the cutting of trees with a chainsaw. Little John loved that part and helped with the stick collecting. The littles collected a huge basket of giant acorns and were outside all afternoon. It was so grey but nearly seventy degrees. We sat outside tonight until it was dark and a bat was out hunting above the garden.

Friday, December 26, 2008

soul flower shopping

note to self from the road

be back soon

Sunday, December 21, 2008

under the tree

I made it to Granny and Grampy's house in four hours and forty five minutes. No stops. Small John was amazed to discover that a small boy can go to the potty before he goes on a trip. We crossed Afton mountain under full dense fog, and as we descended on the other side Ella said that she felt like the tooth fairy flying along under the pillow.

At some point I found a cheesy radio station playing lush hip hopped up Christmas carols and we sang and "danced" our way through the final hour.

By ten all the littles were fed and played and filled with food and cookies and ready to be tucked into their little side by side twin beds.

Now it is sunday and John and Ella have gone out with their grandparents to see a play, Peter Pan. Ruby is bouncing away under the christmas lights, sucking her thumb and talking gibberish to ber feet. She and I had a lovely nap this morning, my first in months.

Solstice. My father died eleven years ago yesterday.

Friday, December 19, 2008


oya baka mama: Planetarium

Ella's space homework reminded me of this Adrienne Rich poem.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

wrap and mail

Our living room is the pre-post office.

I bought a stuffed puppy for John today right under his nose, and he didn't even notice. Daddy found the kooky Western Store even though their giant horse blew down in the wind and found a real belt for the little man. A cowboy belt, no less.

This is all coming together, but can we transport it over the river and through the woods in a compact car?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

littles asleep

littles asleep, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

The house is finally quiet and I'm going to make a quick little baby owl for a special friend at Ella's school. I made a nest for it yesterday out of some brown wool yarn and some oatmeal colored mohair.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I have crafted

Fifty homemade cards.
So much to do before the rocket ship blasts off to Christmasland on Saturday.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

always the crazy legs

always the crazy legs, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Ella and I went to the Nutcracker this afternoon, just the two of us.

my girl

my girl, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

ella and her mouse friend at the Nutcracker

ruby june, six months old

Originally uploaded by ellajohn

Friday, December 12, 2008


What this life needs is a little grace. A little gratitude. Instead I'm caught up in the circle of eight pm bedtime and six am mornings. There have been too many arguments about who is going to drink out of what color cup, and who is going to sit in which little chair. I'm living in some distorted version of Goldilocks. I am so tired of being the divider and the teller of what is fair.

the final official letters to Hainta

Dear Santa
Me want a upside down car
A bob belt, no, real belt
a cupcake maker
dog, real
cat, real
rabbit, real

nothing else


Dear Santa Claus,
I want an American Girl doll and a pottery wheel and a cupcake maker. I have tried to be good. Ruby wants a baby doll about the size of a banana.


Thursday, December 11, 2008


Pork Chops with gravy
Turnip, parsnip, white potato, and sweet potato puree
Turnip greens

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


3, originally uploaded by ellajohn.


Monday, December 08, 2008

Winter Fire

dress up, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

On Sunday afternoon we had more than twenty children and their parents over for lunch and playtime. We had planned a bonfire, but the fire chief here in Smalltown said that the wind was blowing too hard. All these little people, instead of bundling up and being outside a bit, had to run up and down and all around our tiny little house. Luckily, they did so in costume. I wish I'd gotten to spend more time with each and every person here.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

way to go

stickers, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

Ella made a reward sticker book for me. I get one whenever I do anything especially nice for her.

I know.

Saturday, December 06, 2008


Didn't we buy Ella and alarm clock for a reason?

Friday, December 05, 2008

the power of sleep and why I don't get any

I've already missed posting every day. Last night I fell asleep with the children when I put them to bed. I suppose I'm lucky I got that extra hour or so because Ella woke me up at five muttering about television. When I pointed out the time she spent the next hour clinking change together in the next room until she could watch Martha Speaks.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Christmas shopping. I still have some making to do, but I managed to never go to a mall. Mr Fed Ex arrived with the last package tonight, and now I just need to hunker down with my wool and my doll parts and my card making supplies and brew a few pots of tea.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

roungh morning, smooth landing

Seven is trying to derail me. Before breakfast this morning she was rubber stamping in a nightgown at the dining room table. I admire her passion for crafts just after six am, but she couldn't seem to get her day pointed towards getting to the first grade on time, and by eight o'clock I was ready to lose it. Of course we made it with time to spare, but we had to have the talk about ways to make our mornings easier. Crayons and pencils only after breakfast, clothes, hairbrush and toothbrush.

The second advent stocking contained three candy canes and a note. We would paint wooden ornaments after school. Three, you wonder? I didn't tell you about my secret fourth child? She is eight and lives next door. She likes to come over about two minutes after she gets off of the school bus, and she goes home right after dinner. Her mother works and there are only teenage boys in the house, and, besides, over here we have crafts, games, toys, kids, and homemade food. The girls painted their ornaments and then sprinkled them with that fine Martha Stewart glitter.

Stocking number three contains Lindor truffles. I'm off to bed.

Monday, December 01, 2008

writing time

writing time, originally uploaded by ellajohn.

It is very easy to not come here and write something down, especially now that I can post Ruby's bouncing videos, but I'm going to try to post every day of the month of December.

Thursday we drove to Farmville for Thanksgiving dinner at my brother's house. We were joined by my mother and my sister in law's parents for a potluck feast. I took cornbread dressing with pecans and apples, and kale from our farmer's market. I also took all the ingredients for the avocado, mango, pomegranate guacamole from November's Gourmet. John smoked the turkey outside, and my mother made her grandmother's Irish rolls. There was broccoli, a root vegetable mash, and glazed tomatoes. Shelly made what was perhaps the best cake I've every eaten, an apple spice cake with caramel frosting. I'll probably violate all kinds of copyright laws when I put the recipe here in a few days. Let's just say it was stunning.

My brother gave me some deer antlers for the children's nature table. As we drove down the pitch black country road heading towards home I was holding the antlers and said to John, "Watch out for the deer tonight." It was as though I summoned him. A huge buck with giant antlers was on the driver's side, and as we slowed down he panicked and crashed across the road and into the front bumper. What a sick feeling. He made it into the woods, but our bumper was cracked. Those legs just look so fragile. Luckily, two out of three littles were sleeping and didn't even feel the bump. The next day little John was walking around the house holding the antlers to his head asking if I had taken them off of uncle John's dog.

My mother came to our house the day after Thanksgiving and stayed until this morning. We barely left the house all weekend, a quick trip to the craft store and to the grocery store for supplies. We went to the local produce stand to get some dried beans called "yellow eyes" that I'd heard about. They sell local apples and have baskets of sidemeat and hamhocks. I didn't see the salt fish, but that is on the sign on the outside. There weren't any other customers, just three old men watching television and one woman at the register.

Yesterday the children and I put up our advent stockings, and this morning their December first stocking contained sterling Christmas ornaments from Ri, a Santa for John, an angel for Ella, and a snowflake for Ruby. Each day I put in a chocolate, a little candy cane, or a note describing the day's activity, cookie baking, cake making, hot chocolate, ornament painting, etc. A little gnome doll travels from stocking to stocking, and the treat is under the gnome in the morning.

morning snow

morning snow
Originally uploaded by ellajohn

ruby june

ruby june, originally uploaded by ellajohn.