Ten Days of Solo Parenting Thanks to the Fire Life

This morning, FireDad gave me a kiss at his usual departure time when he’s working his normal shift day. Except he won’t return until Friday evening. And then he’ll leave again on Monday morning, coming home again the following Friday night. That’s right. I’m solo parenting for ten days thanks to the fire department. Whoopee!

FireDad is off at the Fire Academy learning all there is to know about being a Fire Investigator. The Fire Investigator is the one who gets to poke around the scene of a fire after it has been safely extinguished and determine what caused the initial spark. Was it an electrical issue? Did someone fall asleep in bed with a cigarette? Did someone leave a candle lit when they left the house? Or was it something a bit more sinister? There are signs and clues to all of these, of course, and I know absolutely none of them. I do know that if i was to leave a candle burning when I left the house, my firefighter husband would not be pleased. That’s about all I know.

I’m thrilled that FireDad is off learning new things. I believe this is a great move for his career. But, man, I already miss him. Okay, well, maybe not quite yet. I’m used to being alone with the boys for 24 hours at a time. In fact, I can even handle 36 hours on my own. By tomorrow night, after the boys are in bed, it will likely hit me that I have no partner in parenting crime this week. During the holidays, no less, and leading right up to our anniversary. This proves my point, though, that it is better to do your holiday shopping early. Can you imagine me attempting to hit stores with two children all by my lonesome? No thanks.

The good news is that FireDad’s hotel offers free WiFi. I set him up with Skype last night so that we can have a video conference with the boys in the evening. He hasn’t left us for two weeks since BigBrother was not-quite-two (his last year in the Army). They don’t remember their daddy being gone for a long time. And I’ve never been alone with two children for such a long time either. We thought the ability to see each other and for the boys to see him would benefit the lot of us. I think we’ll probably do a conference tonight before bath and we’ll try after bath tomorrow for story time to see which works best. I love living in this technological age. It makes our time apart a little bit easier to handle. (I also wrote about video conferencing with family members over at BlogHer today. Go chime in!)

The next two weeks are rather busy. Take for example today when I tried to take BigBrother to preschool only to remember that he has today off. That’s my first fail of this experiment in solo parenting. Next on our agenda will be to visit the library and pay the fine(s). I’m also insane enough to be taking them to visit Santa tomorrow, complete in their Christmas outfits, for pictures. By myself. Add in actual school days (not fake ones), various conference calls this week and next, deadlines, job assignments, wrapping presents, a fun conference thing that involves driving, mailing things, addressing the Christmas cards and remembering to mail them as well, friends, cleaning, eating, and maybe even sleeping and I’m tired already. And that’s not the half of it. But, even still, I’m confident everything will be okay. It’s just ten days.


Thankfully I’ll get to see this face in between thanks to the wonders of the Interwebz.

Scruffy Due to Overnight Fire

I may tackle him when he comes in the door. Especially if he has coffee.

I should probably wrap his Christmas presents while he’s gone… no? Just in case this experience is so horrific that I want to return his Christmas presents by the end of the ten day time period. You know. Let me just add that to my lengthy list of things to do between now and then. Check!

[/end NaBloPoMo. I WIN!]


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Weekend Outtakes: Fire Tree

We decorated our Christmas tree yesterday. I only showed you a glimpse of our new star (not a bow, not an angel) and thought that I’d talk a little more about what went into decorating this year. Previously, our tree was a mish-mosh of old ornaments, colors and randomness. My obsessive compulsive tendencies couldn’t handle the mismatched cornucopia of colors and styles. It took me awhile to pick a direction but after thinking about what we had the most of, the answer was obvious: a fire tree.

Over the years, we have collected a number of firefighter specific ornaments. When I say “a number,” I do mean “lots and lots,” of course. I started thinking about their coloring as I hopped from shop to shop after the Christmas decorations were put out in stores (which was before Halloween this year and while some may find that deplorable, it helped in my hunt). I fell in love with a mix of red, apple green and white ornaments at The Store That Has Everything from Ornaments to Soy Based Yogurt. It turns out that the mix was a popular one this year because I found accenting smaller ornaments at just about every store I went to over the few weeks it took me to make my decision. I purchased a huge bundle of them from the initial store (50 larger ornaments) and a bunch of teeny ornaments from various stores. The colors are gorgeous.


In fact, when I started to pull out our specialty ornaments, I realized that the new ones were perfectly complementary to the ornament that is always displayed front and center on our Christmas tree: Santa as a firefighter.

Santa as a Firefighter

We have a few variations of snowmen as firefighters as well. The reds of their hats or whole bodies were also perfect for the new coloring of our Christmas tree.

Snowman Firefighter 1

Snowman Firefighter 2

Jingle Snowman Firefighter

Yes, that last one is actually a bell. And it does jingle. But don’t tell the boys. Please.

We have another Santa but I always put him off to the side now. He was a gift from the owners of Teach, Bank, Blog back in 2005, just a month after BigBrother was born. I love the ornament but I feel bad that it doesn’t have LittleBrother’s name on it. So he hangs off on the side that faces my computer now. I smile at him and he watches me to make sure I’m being nice, not naughty.

2005 Santa

One ornament doesn’t really match the color theme but definitely fits the fire theme. A firefighter dalmatian, complete with axe. He may be in yellow and blue but he’s a welcome addition to our fire tree.

Firefighter Dalmatian


The funniest fire themed ornament on our tree is a firefighter… Pez dispenser ornament. It makes me laugh every time I see it.


We also have a special series of ornaments on our tree. Robert’s Fire Catalog releases an ornament every year with the date and a different fire truck. I have purchased one for FireDad every year since we have been married. While we were engaged on Christmas Eve 2003 and I’d like to have an ornament from that year as well, I can’t seem to get my hands on one from that year. Such is life. 2004 is my favorite. 2005 is kind of… pink. 2009 may or may not be opened on Christmas morning. Guess FireDad will just have to find out.






One of the gems of the tree is a Hallmark ornament that is a 1938 fire truck. Our batteries are dead so it doesn’t currently do anything except match our colors and look generally awesome. It sits close to FireDad’s recliner so that he can pretend he’s like Jay Leno and has an antique fire truck. Someday.

Fire Truck

I hope to add another ornament or two, other than the one from Fire Catalog, this year. As such, if you’re ever stuck for a gift idea for our family or any firefighter, consider an ornament. They’re usually easy to find. Santa as a firefighter is a recurring theme year after year, likewise with the snowmen as a firefighter. Hallmark almost always has a fire truck ornament but I’m not always quick enough to get them before they’re sold out of our local Hallmark. (20 firefighters on our local department plus the surrounding volunteer departments mean that fire truck ornaments go pretty quickly around here. Ebay is always an option.)

In the end, I’m in love with our “new” Christmas tree. I even bought a new tree skirt. And, yes, that is a firefighter snowman sitting next to the tree. I am pleased that our new Christmas tree not only matches itself but reflects our family. Fire trucks, firefighters and the color green. I mean, it’s a win-win-win for us all!

Fire Tree

Especially with a star on top.