Friday, February 29, 2008

A few of my favorite, February things

The only thing worse than February in southern Ohio is February in southern Ohio during a leap year. The leap year option adds just one more day of dreary gray, bitterly cold weather to muddle through.

I've been done with the cold and gloom for weeks now, and even Alena and Alivia are hopefully awaiting warmer weather as they sport flip flops and painted toenails around the house pretending that it's warm outside too.

We can't have too much more cold ahead, can we? I'm optimistic than in another four weeks we'll at least be able to leave the house without mittens and hats. Let's hope.

In the meantime, I've tried to pass the February days appreciating what's inside rather than out, and basking in the warm glow of the little things that make me smile. I've compiled a list of my top ten picks.

10. Wine.
I've spent February sampling new picks from Jungle Jim's amazing wine department. Each time the girls and I do our weekend grocery shopping I pick up a bottle I've not tasted before and look forward to experiencing it over the course of the next week. The girls too have adopted their wine-drinking-at-dinner ritual that includes the unleaded varietal.

9. Alena's writing practice.
I'd venture to say at the beginning of the month you couldn't have read a single "letter" Alena wrote. She's spent our time indoors improving her control of a pencil and has made wonderful progress.

8. Alena and Alivia's new sunglasses.
A trip to Walmart with dad and the two conned him into new sunglasses. You can't see them sporting their new shades without feeling a little less February.

7. Cashmere Mafia.
The writer's strike denied me of the one thing February has going for it, not much else to do but watch TV. I have been sucked into this new "smutty" drama as Jason would describe it, and it's given me something to look forward to on Wednesday nights.

6. Before bath time dancing.
Each night after dinner and before bath time we take requests for songs the girls want to hear. The scene always plays out the same ... dancing, striping down for baths and more dancing (this time naked). They are free and fantastic. Alysse has even gotten into the act during this last week shaking her little baby booty.

5. The democratic primary.
I'm a sucker for an election. Period. This one has proven to be an even greater fix for my political addiction than originally expected. And proof March holds the potential for greater things - the Ohio primary election.

4. Trace's amazing eyes.
Each time Trace sees something for the first time that he finds particularly interesting his eyes double in size. It's as though opening them a bit further, allows him to better take in the new lesson. Wednesday it was banging a hard, plastic ball on the bottom of a metal bucket. He instantly fell in love the racket the two produced and his eyes grew the size of the balls we were playing with.

3. Alysse's demonstrated use of ordinary objects.
This month has seen an explosion in Alysse's interaction with the world around her. She now throws objects in the trash can, "talks" on toy telephones and has made attempts at wearing Alena and Alivia's costume high heels. She's become a little person of the world.

2. Stories before bed.
Each night after baths, Alena and/or Alivia get to make a book selection for storytime before bed. We grant the task to the one who behaved especially well during the day or made a simple gesture worth rewarding ... some days we even have two "book pickers." They then pick the "book reader" (either mom or dad) and we have storytime before snuggling under the covers. I love this part of the day.

1. Alivia's nightly cheek rub.
The little pixie and I have amassed quite a nightime ritual for tucking her in each night. There are shadow puppets, big kisses, nice kisses and hugs involved. My favorite part, though, is something she started all on her own. As I'm bent over after the nice kiss and finishing our long hug, she puts her little palm on my cheek and gives it a gentle rub. Her hand is incredibly soft and the gentleness of her touch is heartwarming. I've come to look forward to this every night and it's definitely been my favorite thing of February.

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