The Lighthouse

the lighthouse

28 January 2011

CTKS - all about Five

Five sits at the end of the bench at the supper table, close to daddy. One night, there was a conversation going on about commands for the Lego Batman game, another about goals scored during recess hockey, and at the other end of the table next to Mama Nut, Four was making generic gun/engine noises. Amidst the chaos and confusion common to our evening meal times, Five was turned around admiring his shadow on the wall. He would stand up and say "I'm big" in a deep, growly voice (as deep and growly as a cutie patootie not-yet 3 year old voice can be). Then he'd crouch down, saying "I'm little" in a wee little voice.

While playing with random plastic dinorsaurs and other things with Mama Nut, Five had these things to say:
"I'm going to stomp some other place"
"I'm not scary. Wanna see my teeth?"
"I tripped on the giraffe" (it was a picture of a giraffe in the floor mat)

Five had been upset earlier in the day. I kept asking him if I could kiss his head (to make both him and me feel better). Very grumpy, he would always say no, with one fierce shake of his head.  A little later on, we were setting up the train set in the living room and I asked him again; Can I kiss your head now?  "Actually...." he said, "..... yes." I was going to lean over and kiss him, but he stood up, walked over to me, and tucked his head down to my level, so I could kiss the very top of him.  My heart melted to a puddle.

Five has always been a leaner. He leans into you when you're standing, or backs into you when you're sitting... and just leans. Recently, he's taken up head butting. It's an affectionate head butting. One afternoon while Mama Nut was preparing supper and the usual commotion was commoting, Five was walking back and froth from living room to kitchen, with his head down, making a constant "mmmmmmm" noise. In his mind is was probably a powerful engine sound. In the kitchen, he would bump into his mother's backside, ricochet back, turn around, head back to the living room, and then reappear again, to do it all over again.

My favourite part of the day is getting Five up from his nap. Sometimes he's very warm, sleepy, and utterly squishable. Other days he's ever so slightly cranky. On one of those days, I tried to softly coo him into a better mood, but all he said was "Bring me out of this place." meaning his room.

Much has been written about the potty training of big brother Four.  Now it is the turn of Five to learn the ways of getting treats for potty time.  Sitting in front of the patio doors on his throne, he was taking his responsibilities very seriously. Four wanted him to come and play. "No, Four" he said, sternly, "I'm sitting on the potty."

Four and Five collected their firefighters and firefighting trucks and carried them down two flights of stairs. Once in the playroom, Five discovered one had bad been forgotten in the bedroom.  "Pause the game" he told his brother, "I'll be right back."  Hearing sounds of play, he called back "Four, are you pausing?"  "Yep," Four replied, "I'm just practicing."

27 January 2011

Where am I?

In case you're beginning to think that I've wandered over the edge, I've been working with a friend in getting a new blog up and running. It came about through Providence - that wonderful coincidental timing of God that brings the right people together in the right place at the right time for the right reason.

The new blog is called The Feminine Gift. We are exploring femininity - what it means, what it looks like, how we've lost sight of it a little and how to find our way back to a deeper understanding of it.

I hope you'll take some time to explore The Feminine Gift and maybe be inspired yourself to contribute some thoughts, ideas, insights, questions, photographs, poetry... anything that strikes a feminine note with you.

I will still be writing here at the Lighthouse to keep you up to date with the continuing saga of the Peanuts and the usual deeply profound things you've been reading here.

23 January 2011

The Trees

The House of Nuts had a visit today, from Miss Tree and her family. I've known her for such a long time (because we are ancient - me being more ancienter, of course) and life has a way of crossing our paths on a regular basis, though distance tries its best to keep us apart. I am grateful for that, because Miss Tree is one of my favourite people.

Regular visitors to The Lighthouse will know that we are immensely happy here in Sohoe (our Slice of Heaven on Earth) and are infinitely glad to no longer live in the place we lived before. Not that it was a bad place, you understand - aside from the hot air of politicians blathering on while not accomplishing very much, it was a very nice place - just not for us.

One thing we miss very much about that Other Place is our dear friends. We had the pleasure of knowing wonderful and interesting people. We had the privilege of true friendship with some of them.  We haven't yet forged bonds like that here, and while the vineyards, country lanes, orchards, and simplicity offer their fine compensations, at times the heart does yearn for human connection.

So, thank you, Miss Tree, Mr. Jeff, and the Little Man, for giving us the pleasure of your company today.

We'll be keeping an eye on the real estate market of Sohoe for you!

20 January 2011


Playing Wii with Three. I think it was Sport Resort bowling.... or maybe it was baseball or tennis. Anyway, it was a game he was very good at the first time, but this second time around, it was a little more challenging for him.  To put it bluntly, my mii was beating the snot out of his mii. 

Being a boy Peanut, he is very competitive. He tries to take things in stride, but it is very hard for him, and very personal to him to be beaten by his Tante.

"I feel like I'm going to die tomorrow!" was his very plaintive cry.  Poor boy.

19 January 2011

We buy our pasta in bulk

Well, you can imagine how much pasta - how much anything - a family of 8 (6 boys, 2 girls) goes through.  The girls go through lotions and potions, but the boys go through pasta (and heating vent covers... but that's a topic for another day) like there's no tomorrow. It only makes sense to buy things like pasta and cereal in bulk amounts, which means we know the staff at Schmcostco by name because even the forklift-required-sized box of spaghetti does run out eventually and we find ourselves back at the store, stocking up once more... rather frequently.

While the size is convenient for our circumstances, the sheer volume of product can be disastrous if butter fingers manage to spill, drop, or knock it over. You'd think that would be instigated by Peanuts One through Five, but I must tell you, dear Reader, that most of the time it happens because of Yours Truly. More than once I have let the giant tub of margarine slip through my fingers to shatter on the floor (yes, tubs of margarine do shatter) causing margarine to spray on the lower third of the kitchen surfaces. Nice.

You'd think that a box of pasta would be so much easier, so much less apocalyptic, than greasy, shiny margarine... but you'd be wrong.  I had two pots bubbling and steaming on the stove tonight, poised right on the cusp of 'attend to me NOW or supper will be ruined forever' when I reached up into the pantry cupboard to take down the box of pasta.  Remember I told you we buy the forklift-required-sized boxes?  I reached for my target box with one hand, while the other was engaged in holding up the other two boxes of little fancy pastas that were piled on top of the spaghetti noodles.  I could feel steam from the stove dampening my back, so I moved perhaps a little more quickly than I should have, and the spaghetti box was precariously balanced in my grip. It tipped down at the back... which to my surprise was open.

That is how I learned that 27 pounds of dry spaghetti sounds like a rain storm when it hits the kitchen floor.

11 January 2011

Of mail and rejection

It's official. It came in the mail today: a fat envelope with my name and address on it, in my own handwriting.  Somehow, that made the news inside that much more personal.

"Dear Tess," it began, "thank you for writing to us at Blah Blah Blah. We love to hear from our readers, and we appreciate your insight.
Thank you so much for your article ideas.... " more blah blah blah meant to make me feel better "... but unfortunately your stories do not suit our editorial needs at this time. We wish you every success..." blah blah blah.

I was rejected once before, but that was just for a story I jotted off quickly for an online fiction journal.  This one came from an actual query with pieces I wrote from the part in me that really wants to be recognized as a writer. I addressed the editor of the magazine in question, and did my best to be enticing, charming, and relevant. I included a self-addressed, stamped envelope and mailed off my hopes and dreams.  Hey!  That means I paid to receive that bad news, darn it all!

Anyway.  I mailed off the package some time ago, and since then we have had Christmas and our crazy post-Christmas move, (there was also a mad trip to the Swedish store and the resultant construction of newly purchased Swedish flat-pack torture devices) so I had almost forgotten about the hopes-and-dreams envelope.

While I am a little disappointed to not be accepted by the Blah Blah Blah people, I knew in my heart of hearts that we're not a good match, they and I. I don't know where I belong as a writer, but I do know I'll find it - or be found by it - eventually.  In the meantime, I've taken this one important step which every writer before me has taken: the submission.  And I've got the official rejection letter to prove it.

07 January 2011


Playing a fun game with Five, in which he ran the length of the kitchen to be trapped between my legs, I tried to teach him that there was a secret password to gain his freedom: open sesame.  In the mind of a not-quite-three-year-old, this became "Open sesa-you".

"How many books does one person need, anyway?" asked Number One Nephew, who is always to be found with a book in hand, on his fourth trip up the stairs carrying a box of books.

Having recently moved to a new house, we of course had to make a trip to The Swedish Store, for a new house has new storage needs. It was an hour long drive there, and a very long wait for lunch, and then a many more hours of touring the displays in crowded conditions. All the Peanuts were ever so good, particularly Five who was perched in the seat of the shopping cart. While grown-ups (especially the women) can go into raptures over tea towels, duvet covers and lampshades, there isn't much to appeal to a small boy. We neared the check out at last, but were stalled in the vast warehouse where stacks of brown boxes reach to the rafters, trying to find the particular white shelf we were after.  Finally, in desperation, and in perfect, grown-up seriousness, Five announced, "Mummy, are you ever gonna talk to me?  I can't do this all day!"

They break your heart, these little people do.