Saturday, February 28, 2009


One afternoon this week, on what was as I recall a particularly busy day at work, Doodle called late in the afternoon to breathlessly report that the door on our oven had shattered, raining glass all over the kitchen. Fortunately no one was in the kitchen at the time, but according to eyewitness reports the noise was pretty loud. The oven wasn't even in use at the time. The interior metal and window glass of the door remain intact, but the exterior of the door, made of glass, is no more. I googled "GE Spectra XL 44 range glass" and discovered that this is not an uncommon occurrence, although it seemed to happen to most people more quickly than it did to us. I bought this range 7 years ago. I'm a bit surprised that GE never recalled the door. While the GE customer service rep was very nice and helpful, she didn't tell me what I wanted to hear about recall/replacement. The cost of a new door and labor is almost as much as a new range, so today I bought a new gas range. This one is stainless and has five burners. Doodle is particularly excited about the griddle for pancakes, etc. We can't wait for it to be delivered next week, and the best part is that the door isn't glass.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Tootle has had ear tubes since she was three years old. Cleft kids tend to have short Eustachian tubes which means that fluid collects in the ears if there is no intervention. Until the tube surgery, performed when Tootle had been with us for about five months, it was like Tootle was hearing things underwater. She's now on the third tube in her left ear and the second one in her right ear. Last summer we found out that the one in the right ear had come out but that a natural hole remained, doing the same thing that the tube did so that her hearing was very minimally affected. Rather than replacing the tube immediately, we decided to retest her hearing in six months. Yesterday was the retest, and Tootle's hearing was normal or above normal. The natural hole is still there, although it is smaller. We'll be retesting again in six months. I'm thrilled that we've been able to put off yet another surgery at least for now. The ENT say that she is likely to need tubes until she is a teenager, or grows large enough that fluid from her Eustachian tubes doesn't back up into her ears. In the meantime, we'll keep Tootle's preferential seating at the front of the class in place.

Monday, February 23, 2009


I finally took a few minutes to learn how to use the Tom Tom that my mom got me for Christmas. I used it for the first time when my mom and I drove to Pennsylvania for Aunt Mary's funeral last week. At the lunch that followed the service, I found out that the vast majority of my relatives have names for their GPS devices (Garmina, Sophie, etc.). When I told the girls, Doodle quickly suggested the name Sally. I agreed, stunned by her brilliance in choosing a name that means "to set out on a trip or excursion" in verb form. Thus far, I'm impressed with Sally's ability to reset the course when I don't quite follow her instructions. She's a kinder, gentler back seat driver than my family members.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Junior Blogger

Doodle decided last night that she wanted her own blog to post some of the many photos that she takes each week. She's ready for the grand unveiling at Kamera Kid. She calls herself Shutterbug. Maybe I should change her name here.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Master Manipulator and Cookie Monster

The last time we saw my mom's twin sister, Tootle buttered her up big time, telling her that she makes the best cookies, and then sprinkled a layer of guilt on top, saying that she was really hungry for sugar cookies. At the funeral yesterday, my aunt gave me a large container of sugar cookies to bring home for Tootle. Apparently my aunt likes to bake when she's upset. Tootle proudly wears the dual titles of Master Manipulator and Cookie Monster. She even had a cookie as part of her breakfast this morning.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Memories of Aunt Mary

My Aunt Mary died on Monday, a little more than a week after falling down the stairs at her home. Mary, 85, was my mom's second oldest sister. My mom and her twin are the babies of the family of 10 children. In the past few days, I've looked back at photos that I took of Mary through the years. In nearly every picture, she is holding a baby, whether it was one of her four grandchildren, great nieces or nephews, or Doodle. She was one of the most nurturing people I've ever known, always caring and always available to listen and to cook you a fabulous meal. My most recent photo of Mary was taken at our family reunion in June as she celebrated her 60 year anniversary with the love of her life. She and her husband had a rock solid marriage and their love for each other was always written on their faces. My uncle isn't well and recently had to go into a nursing home; I expect that they will be reunited in heaven soon.

When I was growing up, Aunt Mary's and Aunt Ethel's families shared a large brownstone house. Every summer I would spend a week at their house, surrounded by six fun cousins and my wonderful aunts and their husbands. Once when I was nine or so I got homesick and decided that I was packing up and going home; I think Mary was the one who found me outside and led me back inside. Even though Mary's death was sudden and heartbreaking, and I don't like being in a world without her in it, I feel so fortunate to have had Mary's influence in my life.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Doodle made these for her classmates. The "ipod" is a box of candy hearts; the ear buds are Hershey Kisses.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Many Faces of Tootle

Tootle has a larger than life personality and an unlimited number of expressions. These were all captured in less than five minutes as she relaxed in the tree. She may have a future as an actress.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Just Hanging

We had a very low key weekend as I try to fight off a cold. The weather was so gorgeous that Doodle could have played her soccer game outdoors today. After the indoor game we spent hours outside enjoying the sunshine while climbing trees, riding bikes, and taking a rare break from winter weather.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

As Seen on TV

Doodle and Tootle love infomercials. They started begging for the Snugg*ie a few months ago, and I finally succumbed and bought two of the one size fits all blankets with sleeves for our household. They arrived yesterday and tonight both girls curled up on the sofa to read, enveloped in blue synthetic fleece. This item appears to be all the rage: The Today Show did a piece on the Snugg*ie this morning and the hosts all wore them in the studio. Then a coworker brought one into what has been our rather chilly office. We made our 6 foot 5 inch colleague try it on, and it fit him perfectly (even if he looked like a monk), so you can imagine how huge these are on the girls. I won't allow them to walk in them; they would definitely get tangled in the extra fabric and fall. I haven't tried the Snugg*ie yet; Nana loves it. I must be strong and hold out against the Big City Slid*er that they all covet.

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Dorky Mimic

Last year Tootle's best friend was a boy; their teacher thought of them as a pair and seriously wondered how they would make it through the summer without one another every day. This year Tootle and J are in the same class again, but their friendship has cooled off. I suspect that the other boys teased J about playing with a girl so much. Tootle has been hurt by this change in their relationship, but she has lots of friends so it hasn't been too devastating. Tonight at bedtime we had the following conversation about Tootle's day:

Tootle: During the first half of recess I played with J and N (both boys). That was unusual. They were chasing my friends (all girls) so I told J I wouldn't do that. He said he would play with me. That was really unusual. We played Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Me: What did you do? Sing Funkytown or Witch Doctor?

Tootle: No we were fighting chipmunks who were transfomers. I was Simon and J was Alvin.

Me: Did you at least use high squeaky voices like this (I did a pretty good imitation, or so I thought)?

Tootle: No. Mom, you are such a dork.