This post kept getting delayed, then longer, then delayed further. But here it is at last!
We didn't have any activities planned for Tuesday, but we did have a couple of errands that needed running. Specifically, we needed to restock our yoghurt inventory, to keep up with the recent voracious demand of the two scraelings in residence, and we needed to stop by the Social Security office. See, one of the things about the home birth is that we never had to fill out the SSN application they make you do in the hospital; it was just one of those "whenever you get around to it" things. Ha. Considering we didn't even get around to requesting a copy of Eleri's birth certificate until she was about 8 months old, you can probably extrapolate from there to come to the conclusion that we weren't exactly brimming with anxiety over getting the lass her Social Security number in a timely manner.
However, with tax season fast approaching, this has become a critical item on the To-Do list, since we won't be able to claim her as a dependent if she doesn't exist in the eyes of the government. And since our printer is being a surly teenager again right now, I figured the easiest thing to do would be to pop over to the local Social Security office (all of a mile away from our house, if that) and pick up the application in person.
You wouldn't think a Tuesday afternoon would be a ridiculously busy time at the SSO (I wouldn't anyway), but when we arrived, the line was nearly to the door. There was a security guard posted near the entrance, but there were several signs posted that informed us in no uncertain terms that the guard was there solely for the safety of the Social Security personnel and was NOT - repeat, NOT - able to answer any questions whatsoever. Well, fine, though I'm certain he would have been more than capable to answer the two questions I did have (Are there any SSN applications available out somewhere, or do I have to wait in this line to actually talk to someone? and Is it always this busy, or would there be a better time for me to return with my two small and impatient children?). There were some brochures in a display right near the door, and a counter past the security guard's desk that appeared to maybe have some paperwork available but might have just had more brochures and provided a writing surface. Not wanting to be rude, or to lose my place in line (since 3 more people came in right after we did), I stood in the line for a few minutes, waiting to see if it would move quickly. It didn't. Soren was alternately coughing and whining, and I could quickly see that our choices were boiling down to waiting half an eternity or bailing and trying another day.
I decided to bail, but fortunately thought I would cut ahead through the line and see if by some miracle the applications were available on the counter ahead of us. They were (folded into thirds so they looked like brochures from afar), so we snagged one and beat a hasty retreat. I don't look forward to returning to submit the application, which we will have to do (once I find where I stashed Eleri's birth cert). Maybe I can go one of the days when Soren's at playschool or something.
Since it was another rare day with temperatures in the high 40s, we made our way next to the park, where the kiddos romped and played and had themselves a grand old time. Eleri discovered the little hanging chime/xylophone toy and played with that for the first time. Soren helped me push her in the swing, though he kept coming in too close and getting knocked backward by her. Hehe. It's way fun that they can both play at the park now. I've been able to take Eleri out of the pouch more and more when we go places. It's great.
Yoghurt acquisition followed our park excursion. Seriously, the kids have really been chowing down the yoghurt lately. Tom joked the other day that they must be little spies in training (referring of course to Michael Westen and his unexplained but undeniable love of the stuff). Stocks replenished, we made our way home.
Wednesday morning was coooold, but we got up and out and did our mall walking. It started snowing a bit in the afternoon, and we were due to get a bunch of snow through the evening and overnight, so Tom got out of work early. Good thing, too. I heard many horror stories, a few days later, about people dealing with hellish commutes home that evening.
Since I don't have much to share about Wednesday, aside from the weather and our morning's activity, I thought I'd mention our recent efforts to slowly start improving Soren's enunciation. He's got a bit of a lisp and consistently pronounces TH as F ("I'm firsty!" "I would like free crackers!"), so Tom & I are trying to get him used to doing the whole TH thing correctly.
I realize that this probably makes us sound like asses, so I'd like to clarify that this isn't a matter of grave concern to us. I mean, come on, the little lisp is cute. We're not making a big deal about it or anything, but the truth is that it'll probably be easier for him to start becoming aware of it now, rather than let it become really ingrained such that he has to have speech therapy in elementary school. (Or maybe he'd grow out of it on his own. What do we know?)
Anyway! We're making it kind of like a game, currently. Overexaggerated TH sounds with tongue sticking halfway out of the mouth, giggles all around, that sort of thing. But within a few days he'd already started saying "thirsty" correctly more often than not (or at least as often as not). Probably because it's become one of his two new catch phrases and so gets practiced many, many times a day (along with "I'm hungry!"...though both are actually code for "I want attention!").
The take-home message from this little story is that little kids learn (and un-learn) remarkably fast.
Oh, I guess there was one more thing for Wednesday. I made it back to the gym for the first time in over a week. Stupid head-cold, keeping me from torturing myself as often as planned. Also, I really do try not to judge, but it's difficult for me to refrain from giving the stink-eye to people hogging up all five (six?) treadmills and only using them to walk at 3.5 miles an hour or slower. I know, I KNOW...people at different levels of fitness (and elderliness) have equal right to use the equipment available, and I'm a little more willing to justify utilization of a gym treadmill for long stretches of walking when it's 34 degrees and slippery outside than I am on a lovely evening in the middle of summer. But seriously. All of the treadmills were occupied by walkers when I arrived (can none of you use one of the many free ellipticals?), and I know for a fact that the dude on the end had long since exceeded the "20 minute maximum when people are waiting." But whatever. I'm sure when I'm old I'll be just as unwilling to yield valuable treadmill time to the whipper-snappers waiting to show off with their fancy jogging.
Snow day! Well, for some of us. Tom still had to go to work, though he had a two-hour delay. Our two activities for the day, however, relied upon the operation of Fairfax County Park Authority establishments, and those were all closed down. So we hunkered down and did our best to keep cabin fever at bay. The kids, however, were literally running laps in the living room by 10am, so it was a rather long and trying day, in the end. I probably should have bundled the kids up and gone to tromp around in the snow, but with our various sicknesses not quite vanquished, that seemed like a poor idea.
After Eleri went down for her morning nap, Soren and I spent some time playing with the digital cameras. I set him up a Flickr account of his very own, so you can check out some of the pictures he takes. I'll periodically upload the ones I think are interesting.
We all managed to survive the afternoon, and then tasty chicken burritos were consumed for dinner. I don't know if the fancy, organic, free-range chicken I bought actually tasted any better than the "regular" stuff, but it certainly didn't taste worse, and we buy chicken infrequently enough that it shouldn't be a huge addition to our usual grocery bill. And I'll admit it does ease my conscience at least a tiny bit to buy the non-torture meat when possible.
Friday playschool day! We had to drive to Woodbridge this time, so we left extra early. The roads were mostly clear, though there were a few of the smaller streets that hadn't been recently plowed/salted. There was some excitement when we sort of slid through a stop sign while trying to make a turn and ended up momentarily stuck in a (tiny) snowbank. This all happened at a very slow speed, and yes, I remembered to turn into the skid. Anyway, we managed to arrive at our destination unharmed and on time, so that was quite good. A's mom and I opted to hang out in Woodbridge, rather than deal with traffic and drive back to Alexandria, so we (and Eleri) had a nice time visiting.
By all accounts, a fine time was had by all at playschool (and Soren was, yet again, more sad about having to leave than anything), so it was definitely a successful morning overall. And by the time we were headed home, the worst of the ice had melted, so there were no further slip-sliding incidents.
In the evening, we had Max, Agnes & Alice over for a delicious dinner of sushi. (You can see Eleri above, chewing on our order list.) It was a fine way indeed to round out the week.
Back to the barn this week! I had another ride on Comet, which was challenging but good. As much as I like all the snow and wintery weather, I'll be quite happy to welcome the warmer mornings of Spring, out at the barn.
Home, lunch, then back out again for a follow-up at the dentist's office. Everything seems to be healing fairly well, though I'm not out of the woods yet as far as the cracked tooth is concerned. Additional monitoring will be required, but the next check's not for a few weeks.
Unrelated to anything else, I totally have to play around with the fish eye lens tomorrow and take pictures like these before all the snow melts.
That's it for now. I'll do my darndest to get this week's video post up tomorrow.