Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Grandma C's Present

My mom is always concerned about getting the girls presents to them on time. 

Just typing that sentence makes me laugh out loud.  My mom has a history of making beautiful handmade gifts, that she never finishes. 

I remember the fair isles sweater that I wanted so badly when I was a kid.  She started making me one for my birthday or Christmas, I don't remember which.  When I opened my present I learned quickly that it wasn't finished.  She assured me that she would finish it soon.  When she finally did finish it she gave to my daughter and by then it was too small for her. 

Sorry, Mom, but it puts this year's wonderful gift into perspective.

I had mentioned to Mom that I had been saving all of Haley's train t-shirts that she had grown out of.  At first I saved them just because I couldn't bear to part with them.  She loved them so much.  Then I saw an ad in a magazine about making old college t-shirts into a quilt.  I told Mom about it and she said she would like to make a quilt for Haley.

I brought all of the t-shirts with me when I visited my new neice for the first time.  Mom has been working away on the quilt ever since.

She called me a couple of days before Haley's birthday and told me that it wasn't quite done.  She wondered if it would be OK if she gave it to Haley while we were visiting in Montana.  I was actually excited for her to give it to Haley then.  I think Haley gets a lot more out of presents when they are presented to her and she can open them in front of the giver.  I know I like to watch people open presents, especially my own children.  I really like it when I know it is something that they are not expecting and something that they will like a lot.

So shortly after we arrived in Montana my Mom brought out Haley's gift and asked her if she would like to open it.  "Yeah," she said as she reached for it.  Mom had to help her open it, it was in a big gift bag and she had tied the handles together with a ribbon.

I think Haley was a bit overwhelmed.  I don't know exactly why.  Maybe it was the two day drive.  Maybe it was the fact that we finally had arrived.  Maybe she was "tarred."  She looked at her gift, but there wasn't the excitement that I had expected.

When we got to the cabin that we were going to stay at for the week and picked which room Haley and her sister would stay in I got the quilt out and laid it on her bed.

Then she was excited.

She talked about it every night when she went to bed and she was excited to show it to her Aunt and Uncle and cousins when they arrived.

We have it on her bed at home now and she points at a different square each night and we talk about it.  She really loves her quilt and it is something that she will treasure for a long time. 

Notice the tracks between each square.

The back of the quilt.

Thanks Mom for getting it done - on time.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"Om Tarred"

Traveling wears Haley out.  Apparently.

As we are driving down the road we hear great big yawns and sighs.  Haley announces that she is tired.  It sounds like "Om Tarred."  Like she suddenly has a southern accent.  Well, maybe not a southern accent, perhaps an accent from the Oklahoma hills.

It cracks me up.

Everything will be quiet for a while.  We might hear the rustle of the plastic bag that Haley carries her toys in now or a quiet conversation that she is having with one of her Scheich horses. 

Then it starts.

We here a small yawn and a sigh. 

Then a louder yawn. 

Then she says "OM TARRED!" 

Her sister asks if she is sleepy. 

"Yeah.  Yeepy."

"Why don't you take a nap?" her sister offers.

Then we hear "snoring."

Then Haley says "Wake up."

Her sister says "Oh are you awake now?"


And the cycle starts again.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Happiest Place on Earth

I know what you are thinking, but it is not Disneyland.  Haley hasn't been to Disneyland.  Yet.

It takes several days to get to Montana.  Haley's Dad made a reservation at a place that he had been to, but never stayed at.  Haley had never been there.  We tried to tell her that she would like it.  All she knew was that we weren't going to be at Grandma's yet.

Haley really wanted to go to Grandma’s.

When we drove up I think she started to realize that maybe we were right.  She really would like it.

We stayed at the IzaakWalton Inn in Essex, Montana.   

The inn is built right next to the train tracks.  There is a caboose and an engine parked right next to the inn. You can actually spend the night in them.  Up on the hill there are cabooses in all colors that you can also stay the night in.  We didn’t do that because they require a two night stay, but I think we may have to try that someday.

Once inside the inn there is train memorabilia everywhere you looked.  And I mean everywhere.

 We couldn’t even get inside the doors before Haley had to stop and look and point and talk about what she saw.   

She was in heaven.
The inn is old.  It is quaint.  It is really cool.

Our room was nice.  It was basically two rooms.  We had a bed in the main room and the girls had bunk bed in theirs.  There was a sink in the main room and a bathroom with a toilet and shower off of that.  The weather was really nice so we opened our window.  We were in the middle of nowhere so there was no traffic noise, just the occasional train.  There was no TV and no phones.  We didn’t even have cell service.

We ate dinner on the deck and watched trains go by.  We went for a walk and watched trains go by.  We sat in the porch swings and watched trains go by.

We bought a deck of cards and went to our room to play cards on our bed.

The only thing I would have changed about our stay would have been to request a trackside room.  Haley could hear the trains, but she had to go out of our room and walk to the end of the hall to see them.

Our breakfast the next day was just as delicious as the dinner had been the night before.  We got to watch rail equipment go by all through our meal.

We will go back, and this time I imagine that Haley will look forward to it.   

She kept saying it was a “fun time.”

Friday, July 15, 2011

My Dad

Haley never knew her other Grandpa, my Dad.  He died the year before she was born.

I can hardly believe that that was over fourteen years ago. 

My Dad would have loved Haley.  He loved her sister very much.  He really had a soft spot for little kids, but especially girls.  When we called and told him that Haley's Big Sis was born he said "Thanks for having a girl."

Haley reminds me of my Dad every day.  Not just because she was born shortly after he left us, but because she is a lot like him.  When Haley was born I looked over at her while the nurses were doing their tests on her. For a moment I saw my Dad in her face. She looked just like him.

My Dad was a motor head.  He loved cars and trucks and motorcycles and boats; anything with a motor and a tailpipe.  I remember when Haley was really little she would turn her head to the sound of a motor.  If a motorcycle went by outside she paid attention.  I don't remember if he cared much for trains, but if he saw how much she loves them I bet he would have liked them too. 

She got that from her other Grandpa.

There are many ways that Haley reminds me of my Dad.  She has looks and mannerisms that are very similar.  It's funny that although she does repeat herself a lot, she does have a tendency to not repeat herself when you want her to.  If I ask her a question and I don't hear the answer she will not say it again.  My Dad did that.

My Dad was cool.  I mean "Fonzie" cool.  His look was very much from the '50's.  He had curly hair that he slicked back into a duck tail. Yes, that is where Haley gets her curly hair from.  He wore jeans and a white t-shirt pretty much exclusively.  He rolled a pack of cigarettes up in his t-shirt sleeve up until four months before he died. 

He stopped smoking then. 

It was too late though.  When the doctors gave him four months to live it seemed like he took them at their word.  He lived those last few months to the hilt though.  He took care of business and he put his life in order.  He stopped working and started having fun.  He was a different person.  Even though I know he was in pain he seemed to enjoy the time he had left.

I miss him.

I am thinking about him now because we are heading to Montana to see my family. I will see my father in my brother and my sister. I will probably also see him in their children. He would have loved to be around them.

Along the road to Montana a huge group of bikers were heading the other direction.  The cacophony of sound that came from their bikes made me think of my Dad. 

He would have loved it. 

From the backseat I heard Haley say "Ooooh. Wow."

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Whistle

We are on the road.  Heading to Montana.

As usual Haley packed her toys about a week ahead of time.  She also packed her videos and her suitcase.  I had to repack the suitcase, but I didn't mind.  It helped her to prepare to pack it herself and it got her out of my hair for a little while.

Her Dad asked me if I had looked at her toy bag. 

I hadn't.

I did know where it was.  She had started making a pile of things in our entry right in the path that we would take if we were heading out to the garage.  Remember that was a week before we were planning on leaving.  I had to move her pile.  I told her that I found a really good place for her things and put them in the front room.

There were three bags: her green purse had several Schleich animals in it, a small purse had several Cars cars in it and then a large plastic bag that she got at the National Train Day was full of dolls, cars and other Schleich animals.

I looked through them.  I didn't see any problem with it.  I left them there.

When it was time to leave her Dad thought she had too much.  I told him that we would be gone a while and where we were going there are no toys.  I thought it would be good if she had some variety.  He let it go.

After we had been driving for about two and a half hours we heard a train whistle coming from the back seat.  Haley had packed the wooden whistle that she had gotten at National Train Day.  Her Dad and I both looked in that bag and neither one of us saw that whistle.

The nice thing is that she didn't blow it loud.  She really doesn't do that.  When she first got the whistle she couldn't even make a sound on it.  I tried to show her how to blow on it, but no sound came out when she tried.  Haley put it on a shelf in our family room and left it there.  Soon her Dad came down and blew into it.  He blew really loud.  She tried it again and this time she made a sound. 

She doesn't blow really hard into it like so many kids do when they have a whistle like that.  She actually makes it sound like a steam train whistle. 

Each steam engine has a very unique sounding whistle.  I can tell the difference between different whistles, I couldn't tell you which train was making which whistle, but I can tell that they are different.  Haley mimics them perfectly, without the aid of a wooden whistle.  So when she blows into the wooden whistle it has a unique sound.  It is actually kind of pleasant.

The first time she did it her Dad and I were both started, mainly because we had both looked in her bag and hadn't seen it.  We made that comment to each other. 

We didn't comment about it to her.  She blew it about three times and then put it back in the bag.  A little while later she did it again.  Just the same, a few times and that's all. 

So far it is not a problem.  I may have to take it away from her, but not yet.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Haley's Birthday

Haley had a great birthday, she got to see the Daylight twice.  We told her that was her present.  She didn't seem to think that was a problem, she loves the Daylight.

As the day wore on though I got the feeling that she was missing something.  She wandered around the house like she was looking for something.

Her sister and I went shopping for her birthday while she and her Dad were out watching the steam engine the first time.  We wrapped them and got everything ready.  The next time they went out I put everything out.  This is what she came home to.

She said "Wow" when she walked in the door.

She got mostly clothes this year.  She gets a calalog from a store called Justice.  She is almost too big for their clothes.  She likes to look at the catalog and point at her favorite clothes.  Her sister had been paying attention to the clothes that she liked the most.  We got those.  I also got her a new train shirt depicting another favorite steam enging the UP 844.

We couldn't resist one other thing.

And then there were the cupcakes of course.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Surprise Visit

Haley's Big Sis has a cool summer gig.  She gets to be a Zoo Teen.  It is an awesome program where kids get to volunteer at the zoo in a number of ways.  She is very excited about it.

She gets to go to the zoo twice a week all summer long.  Our zoo is not exactly close so it is a bit of a drive.  I don't mind.  I think this is a great opportunity for her. 

The thing that I don't want to do is drive to the zoo and back four times a week with Haley and listen to her cry when we don't go in.  I also don't want to go to the zoo with Haley twice a week all summer.  I plan to leave her at home with her Dad most of the time. 

Ironically the second time that I had to take her sister to the zoo her Dad was out of town.  I had to take Haley with me.  I chose the easy way out and surprised her with a trip to the zoo.

There was one little problem.  Her sister needed to be dropped off really early.

It was good news for me because I had no problem finding a parking space.  We were forty five minutes early.  Haley wanted to go in.  We could not go in of course.  We were also the first people there and I wasn't interested in standing in line for forty five minutes.  We sat in the car with Haley crying her eyes out and me alternately trying to cajole her and wiping her nose.

She kept yelling "Goats!"

After a while I decided we could get out of the car.  We basically just walked around outside the zoo.  It didn't really satisfy her.  She wanted to see the goats.  I told her that if she looked through the fence she could see the goat.  She wouldn't look through the fence.

People started to show up so we decided to stand in line.  Haley just kept saying "Goats."  The man in front of us turned around after about the twentieth time and said "Don't you want to see any other animals?"

She was quiet a moment.


He just laughed.

Haley enjoyed her visit at the zoo.  She didn't seem fazed at all about seeing her sister working.  We walked around following her whims all day.  We rode the train, of course.

When Big Sis's shift was just about over we started heading toward the exit.  Haley said "Store."  We went into the store and Haley chose a small plastic cougar and a small plastic african wild dog.  Her sister texted me and told me that her shift was over, she wanted to know where we were.  I told her we were in the gift shop and that she could meet us there.

It worked out pretty well, considering.  We might do that again a couple more times.  I hope the wait will go a little better.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Hand Phone

My entire family is gathering for what is becoming our annual summer get together.  This year my Mom is "hosting" and we are all meeting up in Montana.

Haley found out that we were going to visit Grandma.  I don't remember if I told her or if her Dad did.  All I know is that she has been very excited to go.  She keeps talking about going to Grandma's house.  I have explained to her that we are actually going to be staying in a different house.  We are renting a cabin in Montana.  It will be within driving distance of Mom's house, but we are not staying there.  I don't think she gets it.

She likes to go to Grandma's house in Montana for several reasons.  Of course she loves to see her Grandma and she likes to see the trains that go by Grandma's house, but she also likes to see Grandma's cat Scooter.

She has been talking about Scooter.

She says "Grandma's house.  Scooter.  Awwww.  Cute"

The other day I heard her talking and walking through the house.  She came up behind me and offered me her Handphone.

Haley's Handphone is like her cell phone.  Haley does not have a cell phone.  She doesn't really talk on the phone at all.  She loves to listen to her Grandma and Grandpa when they talk to her Dad. She rarely joins the conversation, she just listens and giggles.

When she was small she used to hold her hand up to her face (not all the way to her ear) and talk.  She would talk to her "Fairy Godmother" and her cat and dog, to her Grandparents and sometimes to her Dad when he was out of town.  I loved the conversations she would have.  She would nod and laugh and say things like "Uh. Huh.  Right.  Good.  O.K.  Bye."

I haven't seen her use her Handphone much lately so I was a little surprised that she was holding her hand out to me and expecting me to talk.

I said "Who is it?


I took the Handphone and held it up to my ear.

"Hi Scooter, how are you?...Yes, we are coming to see you.  Yes, Haley is really excited to see you too... Are you getting along with that baby?...Oh, good....OK, we will see you soon.  Bye."

I "handed" back her Handphone and she walked away.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

What a weekend!

Haley got to see the Daylight both days last weekend.  It made two round trips through the Columbia River Gorge.

Her Dad decided to take her even thought he knew it would be a long day for her.  She had a great time.  They stopped along the route in strategic places so they could watch it go by.  He didn't take a lot of pictures.

It really wore her out though.  She fell asleep on the way home.

When she got home she was so excited.  She told me all about it.  Her favorite word to describe the weekend was "Awesome!"  She said it over and over.

"Awesome.  Awesome.  Awesome."

I'll allow it. 

I have seen the SP 4449 in action and I agree.  It is awesome!

I am kind of jealous; of all of the trains that my husband watches it is my favorite.

Friday, July 8, 2011


As I sit down to write today's post I realize that what I am about to tell you will seem very familiar.  After all it has been established that she has a One Track Mind.

Haley is anticipating a trip.  She wants to pack.  She is excited. 

As much as I have told her the actual day that we are going to leave she still wakes up every morning expecting today to be the day.  I tell her which day we are leaving and then we have a ten minute discussion about it. 

Her repeating her questions. 

Me repeating my answers.

She points at the calendar about twenty times a day.

This is my life.  It is the way it has been all summer.  All two weeks of it.  First Haley anticipated seeing the Daylight.  Then she saw it.  Then her birthday.  Then the fireworks.  Now Haley is anticipating our next trip.

When I think about the things that I could write in this blog I am sometimes at a loss.  I feel like I am just repeating myself.  Sometimes something happens that is just so precious or so maddening and I feel like I must share.  It is usually a desire on my part to share.  I like to share her funnies with her Dad and her Sister, but sometimes they are with me and so I must share with you.

But.  Sometimes nothing interesting happens.  Sometimes it is the same thing every day.  And by the same thing, I mean the SAME THING.

Haley wakes up before the rest of us.  She goes to the computer.  She looks at YouTube or the Daylight sight or the Disney site or the dolls site that she likes.  She takes a virtual walk through town, or through her Grandparents town.

I wake up and we eat breakfast.

She goes back to the computer or she wants to watch a show.  If she watches a show once you can bet she will watch it at least eight times in a day.

If I don't have something specific planned this is what she does.

If we are planning on going somewhere and she knows about it.  We have the discussions.  All day.  Every day.  Over and over and over.

Sometimes I just don't tell her.  Sometimes I spring it on her. 

She enjoys it just as much and I sure enjoy it more.

Friday, July 1, 2011

What are we saving?

Haley does not do well with the time change, called Daylight Saving Time.  She is maturing though, she wasn't quite as bad this year as she has been in the past. 

When she was little it meant weeks of screaming and crying at bedtime.  It meant she wouldn't sleep through the night.  It meant I didn't get enough sleep and therefore was not equipped to deal properly with my unhappy child.

Routine is very important for Haley.  I always put her to bed at 9:00 pm - always - not only for her sake, but for my own as well.  Several times this spring when we were walking up the stairs to her bedroom she would point out the window.  Sometimes she does this and says "Dark. Night."  I always assumes that means that she is agreeing with me.  Yes, I am going to bed now because it is dark. 

She didn't say "Dark. Night."  She just pointed out the window.  I said something benign like "It was a nice day today wasn't it?", or "Do you see the pretty trees?" 

After about the third day I realized she was pointing out the window because she was probably thinking to herself, Why am I going to bed it is not even dark yet?

Morning is worse though. 

Haley is up at the crack of dawn.  Literally.  When the light comes in her window she is up.  For a while there that meant 4:30 am.  It was driving me crazy.  I remembered a curtain panel that I had bought, but never used one night and hooked it to her curtains with clothes pins. 

We magically got two extra hours of sleep that night. 

The curtain also helps her to go to bed at night.  When I close her bedroom door it is actually very dark in her room.  She is no longer getting up and coming back downstairs. Now I just need to bite the bullet and buy some actual room darkening shades.

I now know that they will be worth it.


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