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We finally got snow.  After only having snow on December 26 and most of the state having a brown Christmas while the rest of the country got hit, we are making up for lost time.  We've had three snow days and a delayed opening in the past two weeks.  This coming week we will have either heavy snow and winds or a blizzard-depends whether or not the storm tracks along the coast or further out to sea.  And the temps?  They'll be frigid for at least the next week.
So what do you do with weather like this?  Yes, there is sledding and skiing and snowboarding, but there is also hanging out around the house playing games and going out for pizza with the whole family when Aidan's first badge ceremony for Tiger Scouts gets canceled due to heavy snow (how many of you learned to spell cancelled with two Ls and get frustrated that one of the rules that made sense in grammar has been changed?).  Here are some pictures from the last couple of weeks:
 
 
I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by law; and that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.
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Today, I got to stand up, raise my right hand, and take the oath of allegiance on Aidan's behalf.  We got his gold sealed certificate of citizenship.  He wanted to know why there was an eagle on everything and what that meant.  He got a little flag, which he loves.  The lady stamped her name on his hand, which he also loves.  We then went to social security and he got the other hand stamped with their stamp.  And on the way home I cried.  Not a lot, but when it hit me, it really hit me hard.  I wish my father were alive (1923-1993).  He used to lecture us on the value of citizenship, about how if you didn't use your vote you'd lost your vote, about how lucky we were to have the rights we do in this country.  The amazing thing is, Dad's family came here in 1630, so it's not like he was a first generation American, but he never forgot the value of citizenship.  And today I was, literally, flooded with the meaning of it.  Aidan--not so much so.  He fell asleep on the way home.
 
 

The weekend actually began on Friday.  First we went to the doctor's office where Aidan got not one, not two, but three shots.  Reaction and fever didn't set in until later that night, so he was able to play with the kids at daycare where we went for his last pizza day--they have them once a month--and showed up just in time for some sprinkler fun.

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We also stopped in at my sister's bakery, where she and my niece were busily preparing for Saturday's sales.
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Then later in the evening we met PB, RB, and MB at the park in town.
On Friday night and Saturday, Aidan was pretty sick from his shots-feverish and tired-so we laid low, but on Saturday afternoon we went to visit my mother and were just in time for a pretty powerful and short-lived thunderstorm.  We sat with her out on the porch and listened to the thunder, lightning, and windchimes.  Aidan loved it.  He has asked at least a dozen times since when we could hang windchimes on our porch (I think I got some from a brother for Christmas, but the porch wasn't built until last year and the ceiling still isn't finished, so I haven't hung them yet).
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Mom turned 81 on Sunday.  She stopped hiking the mountain for her birthday two summers ago, which is how Aidan and I got her to ourselves on Saturday afternoon (a very rare and special treat), but on Sunday all of the hikers were gathered at the house and at the bog to play, so we joined them for a while.
Then in the evening we joined GB and JC for a cookout using the new grill she got at last weekend's bridal shower.  BB is walking now, and he is curious about everything!
When we got home, to yet more rain, Aidan and I sat on the porch and talked about windchimes, and "camping" out on the porch sometime when it is raining.  The fact that he had a sleeping bag was news to him, so of course he had to see it right away, and he then spread it out on the t.v. room floor to watch Iron Man.
 
 

It took several days to finish putting my various videos on YouTube (they were scattered in different folders) but here they are.  The first are in China:

And then here we are at home:

 
 

We had three days off which was good, since G and I both had flu bugs of different sorts, and Aidan enjoyed the rest.  LB is the only one who wasn't really hit over the last couple of weeks with anything.  Running the wood stove probably didn't help us any, but you can't beat the price of our wood (free).

We weren't too sick to be contagious, so on Sunday I watched BB while our son went to sign papers for a new (newer used, that is) car, and on Monday RB spent the day with us since his mother did have to work.

I am working on hooking videos up to my site, but here are some photos for now:

 
 

So here is how our week went:
Monday-I got Aidan up and got him ready to go with PB to daycare, but he didn't really understand.  I called mid-day and he had sobbed most of the morning.  I spoke with him on the phone and in a very trembly voice he said, "Mommy, I go home".  So I left work half an hour later and picked him up.  He had been better because they went outside, which he loves, and he got to play with RB out there, and he then made his family mural with pictures I sent.  He had just laid down for naptime with the other kids but wasn't asleep, so in his mind Mommy comes after night-night.
Tuesday-I got Aidan up and had him watch and help me as I packed his bag for the day.  We talked about how Mommy would come after night night.  I called midday and they said he was having a much better day, though PB said he had told her four times-twice in the car and twice at daycare-that Mommy would come after night-night.  So I left work as soon as I could and picked him up.  He was very excited to show me everything he had done and every place that his picture was (on his chair, in the mural, on the attendance chart), and though he had laid down during naptime, he hadn't slept.
Wednesday-Snow day.  He and RB stayed home with me.
Thursday-Delayed opening for me, but Aidan had already gone to "school".  I then got stuck in a snowbank and didn't make it in to work.  When I picked him up, he didn't want to leave.  We went from there to see the doctor who determined that he had an ear infection and we then got some amoxicillin.  Aidan is so smart that on Wednesday he told me "ear hurt, eat food" at the same time that he pushed his lunch away and pointed to those body parts.
Friday-Had my sister with me (the kindergarten teacher) so Aidan ignored me in favor of her, showed her everything in the place, and then was happy to go home. 

The two boys with their milk jugs and clothes pins


Aidan decided that instead of trying to get the clothes pins into the milk bottle, he should use his to decorate it.  (RB has the solid wood pins, so he couldn't do this)

Proud of his new PJs


 
 

Aidan's most recent words have been "excuse me" after burping, "you're welcome" (he used to say thank you, too after hearing thank you) and then with his usual humor, "no hug daddy" or "no hug mommy" which means that he wants to get a hug.  His vocabulary is really very extensive, so the list is long.  It includes whole sentences like, "Mommy, come here, sit next to Aidan", and "I want to go work with Daddy", and then it includes short sentences and negatives like "no go night-night".

We went to visit our travel mate (the grandmother, not the mother and child) at the fire station where she works, he got all excited about having ham for lunch, he checked out every tool in my brother's furniture making shop, he went to his aunt and uncle's 25th wedding anniversary party, visited my brother's garage where one of the caterpillars was inside being worked on (he calls every yellow earth mover a caterpillar), and has generally been very busy.

 
 

UPDATE:  As of December 24, 2008 when PSNH closed its operations for the holiday, they announced that 99.9 per cent of the households that lost power in early December had their power restored.  Hopefully that means the people I know are now restored after two full weeks without power.

I know that some of you who read this blog are religious.  If you pray, please pray for the Northeast and especially for the people that I work with and teach.  Last Friday the ice storm hit and still today, Sunday a week later, several families in the district I teach in have no power.  Some have been told that if it is not restored by today, it will be several weeks before it can be.  So I know a lot of people without water, without a primary source of heat, without electricity.  They cannot cook, take a bath, flush the toilet, or do laundry.  Many already have had their pipes freeze and burst.  They cannot buy a tree or get ready for Christmas.  They need all your prayers.

Now, on a lighter note, we all got out in the deep snow today.  LB and Aidan first tried to make a snowman (Aidan loves Frosty) but the snow is too powdery.  That did not keep them from trying to throw snowballs at one another and G and I.  Eventually they ended up sledding while G and I stacked firewood.  Here are some shots:

 
 

Aidan knew exactly what the haircutting kit was for.  He showed me how the razor should be used, and he very much did not like the scissors when I used them to trim around the ears afterwards.  Here he is before the cut, showing off the new cut, and then during cleanup, both of himself and the floor.

 
 

Returning to work was great for me.  Aidan did just as I expected-fine the first day, not so fine the second, and very unhappy the third.  On the fourth he stayed with G, and on the fifth he was with me since we lost power and I didn't work.

Here are some random photos from our week:

Aidan decides that he loves turkey, after all.  He came out into the kitchen, sniffed it, said yum-yum and rubbed his belly, then spent a good twenty minutes with the baster.  He also decided that he loves cranberry sauce.

Entertaining in the dark-Aidan loves to operate the camera-forgive our grimy appearance (no showers or baths until the electricity came back on)

We went shopping both to get it done and also to get warm.  Here are the boys, both smiling at the same time, with Santa Claus.

Getting into the Christmas spirit now that the lights are back on.  LB was playing carols in the background (driving me crazy-I can either listen to music or have conversations, but not do both at the same time).  Aidan was trying to be ever so helpful with his first tree.  Mangus was trying to check everything out and also get out of the way (not too successful there).  But we finally got the thing up and lit.