Monday, March 31, 2008

You didn't know?...

1. I like lists.

2. Ben is saying a few words. "Ball" and "Bubba" for bubbles, mostly. He has said "Mo" for more, but seems to be against it, currently. He's doing a ton more babbling that sounds an awful lot like real talking. But we're not quite there yet.

3. We sold our house.

4. Aaron tore his ACL (ligament in his knee) while playing basketball a month or so ago. He will have surgery May 8th and then be on crutches for 4 weeks, and after that, rehab for 6 months.

5. Aaron is ALSO having Lasik eye surgery done at the end of April. They prop your eyes open, cut off the top layer of your cornea with a laser, and you can go to work the next day without glasses. It just seems. so. wrong.

6. We SOLD our house!

7. Leah turns 4 in a month or so and is having a princess party.

8. Ben turns 2 in a week and is having an Elmo birthday. (Happy birthday to Aunt Ruth and Uncle Aaron, too!)

9. Did I mention that we sold our HOUSE?

10. I cut my hair. There was quite literally more hair on the floor than left on my head. Aaron cannot stop telling me how much he likes it. Which basically means he thought it was hideous before.

11. I need to post photos or the aunties will revolt. Here you go.

Do you think they are related? They humor my photo-taking in exactly the same way.

That would be Grandpa DJ demonstrating to Leah how to do a headstand. GO, GRANDPA!

We have officially sold our daughter to The Man. Not only does she adore the marketing miracle that is the Disney Princesses, her favorite restaurant is McDonald's. Clearly. And combine the two? You get one excited almost-four-year-old. (That is Jasmine's crown/tiara thingy on her head. And not her drink, by the way.)

The Minnesota Zoo has this cool little tunnel thingy on the Tropics Trail. Ben jumped right in there, of course, while I was trying to take a photo of Leah.

Leah's wingspan is not quite that of a Peregrine Falcon. But she's getting there.

The REI kids' play land includes a cave/tunnel with two sleeping bears. How fun is THAT?

How to win a princess's heart: paint her nails. And use a blow-dryer. Auntie Jess is soo in.

Timing is Everything

Friday, going to the zoo. Despite getting totally lost and going through downtown Minneapolis, I was getting Leah's coat from the van in the zoo parking lot when Amber called to say that she had just paid and was waiting by the monkeys.

Saturday, meeting the Blocks at REI. Despite procrastinating leaving Dave & Jess's (partially because Ben was enjoying a good nap), both vehicles pulled off the exit at the same time, and were able to park next to each other in the incredibly packed parking lot - think Christmas packed.

Despite our open house not happening (didn't make the paper's listing deadline), Realtor Dave called to say that he and another guy from his office, Realtor Robb, had both shown it, with some serious interest.

Later Saturday, he said we might be getting an offer. Sunday evening we did, and Monday morning WE SOLD OUR HOUSE. Without it even actually being "listed" photos made it to any website.

Realtor Dave said that he'd been talking about our house to Realtor Robb, who had a couple trying to sell a house. He said that if it sold, he'd show them ours. Theirs sold this week, and they saw ours twice. And now it's a done deal, and only $1500 under our asking price. We're leaving the washer and dryer (I wanted a new front-loading washer, anyway!) but taking the electric fireplace and the projector.

Aaron's knee surgery is May 8th, and the buyers want to close on May 23rd, which means he'll still be on crutches. Anyone want to help pack/move?

We are a bit stunned, as we are now technically homeless. I have already done some calling about apartments and such, but hopefully we'll find the right house for us soon...I'm not going to question God's timing though. He seems to have things under control.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

3 boys + 1 girl= just enough chaos

Today we were lazy. The kids slept well, with Leah not waking up until almost 8am! Nobody was bathed until 11am.

After lazing around brother Dave & SIL Jessica's house for a few more hours, we finally roused ourselves enough to go meet some friends from Rochester. Our timing was impeccable. The Blocks pulled onto the exit at the same time we did, and we met up in the parking lot of REI. Yeah, it's a store, but it has a great kids' play area, so Christina and I ditched the dads with the kids and hid in a corner to look at each other's Creative Memories albums.

The kids, son D (age 4 1/2 -sorry, Christina, I forgot the name he likes to be called...) and son J (17 months), plus my two had a BLAST running around, pretending to be bees, and trying to warn all the other children that the volcano was going to explode.

Dinner at Boston Market was awesome. How can you beat a good selection of normal, non-fried, mostly healthy food NOW? Especially when you have 4 hungry young kids. It is now THE place for us to go.

After dinner we were looking for ice cream and a gas station, preferrably a BP, for which we have a credit card with a great discount. And LO! The heaven's opened, and after driving three blocks, we saw a Dairy Queen, and directly opposite, a BP.

At the DQ, we did the community a service and administered a little birth control by giving those 4 young kids ice cream. The kids sat on one side of the booth, while the four adults tried to wrangle, feed, and clean up spills. We just barely had enough hands. Son D somehow catapulted his dad's spoon across the booth and onto the floor, but wise dad Matt quickly whipped out another and said, "It's okay, I've got a backup...and about 6 more, too." Parents learn quickly.

On leaving, D was hugging Leah (he's an adorably affectionate boy!) and said "We're married!" and Leah said, "No we're not! We're just kids! I'm a 3 year old, and you're a 4 year old!"

If she can only keep saying that for about 20 or so more years.

Our house was shown a couple times today, and apparently one was pretty serious! We will be home tomorrow, and YES I'll be watching Sense & Sensibility on PBS. Also, I have taken the Facebook quiz that determines which Jane Austen heroine you are like, and I'm convinced it's a fraud, because it said that I'm Eleanor Dashwood from S &S. Watch it tomorrow, and if you know me (heck, even if you don't...) you'll know that's not quite the best choice. But whatev.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Cleaning Up After Ourselves

Currently, I'm sitting peacefully in our hotel room in Minneapolis while Ben continues his well-deserved nap and Leah entertains herself. But oh, things were not always this calm and serene.

Let's take a look back, shall we?

Tuesday evening: Carpets are still wet from being shampooed (during which the kids were at Grandma's and I was in Grand Forks with my college pal Dawn-yay!) This means I can't move the furniture back into the living room yet, which means I can't clean the kitchen/dining room floors as expected.

Wednesday morning: My to-do list is publishable. In the FANTASY genre. Clean and vacuum three bathrooms, Swiffer, vacuum and wet Swiffer kit/dining floor, run a duster over the obvious areas, generally tidy up, and OH YEAH, take all the stuff out of the guest room that belongs in the previously damp family room. And the entry room floors need to be cleaned, too.

AND finish packing for our 4 day trip.

We got out of the house close to my expected time of departure. Aaron was SuperDad, not only by reminding me that freaking out completely wouldn't get the cleaning done any sooner, but he also took both kids to Leah's gymnastics class, came home to do a couple last minute repairs, and then loaded up the van and took the kids to pick up lunch at McDonald's. Boy, did I need those kids out of the house!

By the time the got back with the food, I was all done and waiting. The only thing I forgot to pack was the kids' life jackets for the hotel pool. And Aaron's swim trunks. But we supported the economy in Alexandria at the Walmart, so Aaron now has THREE pairs of swim trunks.

We stopped for dinner with Auntie Jess & Uncle Dave and the guys played some Wii...which means we ended up getting to our hotel at about 8:30pm, just after Ben had fallen asleep...for the night. Leah fell asleep earlier, but woke up for about and hour or so once we arrived.

It was a rough night, mostly resulting from neither Aaron or I having Leah go potty before bed. 'Nough said.

Thursday morning: Both kids got baths, and then we drove to a playland area to meet a friend and her two kids. HOWEVER. I made several bad direction decisions which meant we spent about an hour driving the 10 minutes it should have taken us. Oi. But we made it and fun was had by all!

Now you are officially caught up. Our "realtor's open house" is Friday, after which I am expecting a call from our own personal realtor. I'm really curious to hear what "the experts" have to say!

Sunday is our "Please, PLEASE, buy our house" open house. If you pray, please pray for lots of interest, and the miracle of an offer right away. 'Cause I really don't want a repeat of Wed. morning.

How about the "family" restrooms?

At Old Country Buffet today, in the bathroom (with PINK SOAP!) for the second of our 3 trips:

Leah: After this, I want to go check out the boys' bathroom.

me: No, we're not going to do that.

Leah: Why not?

me: Becauses Mommy's a girl, and you don't go into the boys' bathroom unless Daddy takes you.

Leah: But I want to see if the boy's bathroom has BLUE soap!

Sucker for Marketing

Yesterday we drove by a Culver's and pointed out to Leah the enormous ice cream cone waving to people from the street corner.

me: Now I want ice cream!

Aaron: Well, I guess it worked on you, huh?

me: I'm so suggestive. You could put a sardine out there and I'd be all, "Hmm, something salty and a bit fishy would be good right now!"

Leah: Sardines are for CATS!

And there's our reminder that there's another little brain at work in the backseat.

Monday, March 24, 2008

My "Is Done" List

1. Wrote my 100th blog post, appropriately, about one of my now-favorite Austen stories, Emma.

Drove the kids with me on three different errands:
2. Dropped off shredding (piles of really old bank records, etc.) at no charge! Thank you, receptionist at Record Keepers!

3. Dropped off a huge box of clothes at Boys Ranch.

4. Went to the library to get new books on CD for our trip to the Cities this weekend. The kids did so well...that new Carlson library is so much nicer to take kids!

5. Started and folded 4 or so loads of laundry.

6. Put dinner in the crockpot.

7. Attended MOMS Club book club, the novel that I finished yesterday afternoon. Dealt with Leah having a very emotional playdate with friend L. who apparently didn't want to play with least not exactly the way Leah WANTED him to play with her.

8. After dinner, the whole family went to Walmart for those last minute necessities - light bulbs, Swiffer duster refills, peanut butter, etc.

9. Cleaned sink with some fantastic cleaning stuff. It's shining! With very little elbow grease. Perfect.
10. Cleaned the light cover for the kitchen overhead light.

11. Washed the fan cover for the master bathroom.

12. Put Ben to bed, and bathed Leah. Leah to bed.

13. Washed the window over the door (using an 8' ladder).

14. Ate some Cherry M&M's . Very good. Recommended.

15. Talked to Mom on the phone.

16. Called the hotel we are staying at to check on shuttle service for Aaron to get to his conference. Also called the conference hotel to check for cancellations. Nope. They are stilled "fully committed".

17. Making my to-do list for the last full day before vacating the house. YIKES!


Emma was on PBS's Masterpiece Theater last night, and I hate to say it, but I think I liked Hollywood's version better.

MPT's Kate Beckinsale, although very hot as a vampress in the Underworld movies when she's fighting werewolves, doesn't have the same beauty in this period clothing - Gwyneth Paltrow seemed born to where them. Also, Gywennie made a much happier Emma - Kate's seemed meaner. To those of you who haven't read/watched (and let's face it, you're probably not reading this post anyway) this may seem like a negligible detail. But whether or not you enjoy Emma hinges on if you think she is kind but misguided, or if you think she's just snotty and cruel.

Hollywood's Jeremy Northam as Mr. Knightley made it very understandable how this much younger woman could fall in love with him. In addition, Hollywood's Emma spent much more time showing their friendship, and not just Mr. Knightley being angry at Emma. In MPT's Emma, I found myself wondering why she didn't lash out at him, and it was much harder to believe that she really loved him. The dude was always angry. I didn't get that impression of him from the actual novel. Even argumentative is not the same thing as yelling all the time.

Plus, I couldn't get over the feeling that Mark Strong (MP's Knightley) looked like a Muppet. Maybe it was just me.

Both movies were faithful (mostly, of course) to the book, although they seemed to emphasize different plot lines. Hollywood focused on Knightley and Emma's friendship, and MPT spent more time illustrating the Frank Weston/Jane Fairfax/ Emma love triangle. If you could combine these scripts, you'd have all the Emma any fan could ask for.

Next week: Sense & Sensibility, with no time for me to watch the Emma Thompson & Kate Winslet "Hollywood" version. Oh, how I suffer.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

See, what a morning, gloriously bright,
With the dawning of hope in Jerusalem;
Folded the grave-clothes,
tomb filled with light,
As the angels announce, "Christ is risen!"
See God's salvation plan,
Wrought in love, borne in pain, paid in sacrifice,
Fulfilled in Christ, the Man,
For He lives: Christ is risen from the dead!

See Mary weeping, "Where is He laid?"
As in sorrow she turns from the empty tomb;
Hears a voice speaking, calling her name;
It's the Master, the Lord raised to life again!
The voice that spans the years,
Speaking life, stirring hope, bringing peace to us,
Will sound till He appears, For He lives:
Christ is risen from the dead!

One with the Father, Ancient of Days,
Through the Spirit who clothes faith with certainty.
Honor and blessing, glory and praise
To the King crowned with pow'r and authority!
And we are raised with Him,
Death is dead, love has won, Christ has conquered;
And we shall reign with Him,
For He lives: Christ is risen from the dead!

"See, What a Morning" (Resurrection Hymn) Words and Music by Keith Getty and Stuart TownendCopyright © 2003 Kingsway Thankyou Music

Friday, March 21, 2008

Preparing for glaciers next

Yesterday was the first day of spring...and it felt like spring was an actual possibility. Us North Dakotans don't get too excited about the equinoxes, since our seasons don't seem to follow them very closely. It's not unheard of to get snow in April, and whoever designs the Easter dresses for little girls clearly has not a clue about our weather patterns, as around the same time these filmy dresses are in stores there is also a run on white cardigan sweaters and tights.

Here's a couple photos of Leah and Ben and neighbor pals Gavin and Nolan just the other day:

Today we woke up to the most beautiful scene....for December. About 6 inches of snow was already on the ground, and it continued to snow for most of the day. Wet, wet snow.

Leah made snow angels, and we had another snowball fight - even Ben got into it this time. It's his snowball that hit Leah in the face just before that last photo.
And some Leah-isms for those of you who love them:
Leah and I have a script we follow at least a couple times a day. "Mommy, I'm hungry/bored." I'll say, "What do you want to eat/do?" "I don't know, what do you think?" And we've decided that I'll give ONE option, and if she doesn't like it, she has to come up with something on her own. Here's the rest of one conversation:
Leah - "Mommy, I want to do some art. What should I do?"
Me - "Water painting."
Leah - very encouragingly - "That's a good idea!"
Leah was whining tonight about her bedtime. Aaron said, "How old do you think you'll be when you'll get to stay up later?" Leah answered right away, "Three?"

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Back to the Books

Do you like booklists? Yeah, me too. Do you also like to cross off how many you've read? I thought so! You seem like the type.

Here's a few links for you:

Books you can't live without Not a bad list! I've read lots on here...I must have excellent taste. Either that or I'm a sheep. Baa.

101 Great Books for college-bound students That would be one well-read college student. Or, person in general.

Time's Complete List This is the kind of list that makes me feel really dumb. Although usually if I haven't heard of the book, I've at least heard of the author, and vice versa. Usually.

Modern Library's 100 Best Novels I read somewhere that these were voted on, and the cultists stuffed the "box", so that's how The Satanic Verses made it on there. Whew.

ALSO, here's a fun blog that I came across somehow. This girl, Sonya, photographs and interviews people she finds reading out and about in San Francisco. She's very unbiased in her interviews, and it's really interesting the stories people have. Plus, she updates VERY frequently. Check it out! People Reading

So here's how I keep track of what I've read. I choose a pretty journal, and on each page I make an entry of each book. Title, author, # of pages, brief synopsis, any language/sex/gore ('cause you tend to forget that stuff if you liked the book, and then you go and recommend it to some poor 7th grader....), grade level appropriateness, and then any other notes. If the movie version stunk, I'll put that there, or if I have a cool teaching idea, I'll stick that in too.

I also keep track of how many books I read each year. I like statistics. (In practice. NOT the class, just to clarify.) I noticed that you can totally tell which years I had my babies, just by looking at my book totals.

2000 - 55 books. This is the year I started subbing, and I would literally read a book in A day sometimes. I started journaling about my books that year because after a month I couldn't remember what I'd read. Just plain sick.

2001 - 33
2002- 26
2003- 17
2008- 10 so far.

Can you pick out the baby years? In case you're wondering, I primarily read while nursing or in the bathroom. I'm dedicated, I tell ya.

My favorite book of all time, all genres, is The Count of Monte Cristo. It's got it all...action, comedy (kind of), romance, intrigue...and the movie does not do it justice.

Of course, I have favorites within genres, too...fav play, The Glass Menagerie and Macbeth.
British lit, Jane Eyre and Emma. And Persuasion. Historical Fiction, The Red Tent. Mystery, And Then There Was None. Chick lit, Bridget Jones' Diary. Fantasy, the Harry Potter novels. Yes, all of them. I can SO do that - just TRY to stop me!

Do you have any favorites? Or just a favorite genre? I'm not too adventurous...I know what I like, and I stick to it! How about you?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

We'll wait for long division, too.

Leah has this Time & Money workbook that she's enjoying. We stopped at the half hour section on Time, but this Money thing is fun! We are working on nickels now, which means counting by fives would be helpful. I started by writing a list of "the fives" along with how many nickels equal that: 2-10, 3-15, 4-20, etc. This has helped, but Mom figured she had a better way...write out 1-10 in a row, and then 11-20 underneath, etc. Then highlite the 5's column and the 10's column as a visual.

Mom showed this to Leah, and right away, her first comment was: "Can you write a bunch of numbers so I can highlight them?"

I think multiplication may be a little beyond her.

She had her first day in her new level of gymnastics today, too, which I have been nervously anticpating since I became one of those moms who push their kids into classes beyond the recommendation of their teachers. Coach Mary was a little hesitant to give me the green lite to sign her up for Super Tots, but I was sure she'd do fine. Which she DID! Besides being too short to reach the bars, she did just fine. Paid attention, followed directions, and did pretty well for her first time. I'm so relieved! Because it's really just a reflection on my parenting, of course.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Don't ask how she feels about Ben

Yesterday Leah caught wind of a plot against her: We were all going to Target, so her friend A. wouldn't be able to come play at the last minute (as a favor to his mom). Evil, evil parents, we are. She spent a good amount of time crying and when I said, "Sometimes you have to spend time with just your family," she started crying, "I don't LIKE you guys!" Nice. Especially since 10 minutes later in the car she was asking for a treat at Target.

Last night she also was telling Aaron how, "Mommy doesn't know how to make rice krispie bars," AS SHE WAS EATING ONE THAT I'D MADE.

And today? What did I hear all day? "Mommy, I WANT you." Which is accompanied by outstretched arms and a plaintive expression. This is my cue to pick her up and carry her around...did you know she'll be FOUR in a month or so? Granted, she's a small four year old, but really. Mommies aren't made for hauling around 30+ lb. kids. And there's that other kid, too, that likes to be least he's not able to preface the request with "I don't like you."

Monday, March 17, 2008

March Minutes

March Minutes for the Salem book club

A. Six members present. Where were YOU?:)

B. Discussion of Imperial Woman
1. Power is not for everyone...why didn't Tsu Hsi get this?
2. Loving a child does not mean that you completely indulge them - in fact, it may be the opposite.
3. How much of Tsu Hsi's story was factual? What was made up? We are curious.

C. Other discussion of China
1. Watermelon seeds (eaten like sunflower seeds here) - just don't leave the shells on temple steps.
2. Eunuchs. Lots of discussion, all of which I've been banned from repeating. Sorry.
3. Temple of Heaven (in Beijing) - could have been a temple of Christian-like worship originally, before dragon-worship came into dominance?

D. Book schedule
1. April 26th- Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay Pulitzer Prize winning book by Michael Chabon.
2. May - back to classics with Last of the Mohicans My mom just finished it and loved it.
3. June - A Tree Grows in Brooklyn Starr and Liz are backing this one up. Coming of age novel.
4. July - Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier (Girl with a Pearl Earring) We'll read it despite the "sweeping generalization" that we all want to always be in England...just because that where a lot of the classics take place!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Cute Overload strikes again

If you have not found this site, you are seriously missing out on a good time-waster. That and Scrabulous (Facebook is where it's AT!)

So, there's this trend going on over at CO with people sending in photos of their pets with treats balanced on their paws...or plain eating distance. And now there's this video of a Japanese (what else?) game show about this trick. And ohmygoodness, are people up in arms over it. Some call it cute and/or funny (I'm one of them...stinkin' hilarious) and others are crying torture and/or animal cruelty. You can decide.

For me, that chimp sneaking his hand over to the bananas like, "Maybe if I just touch it a leetle he won't notice..." is primo video clippage.

And I'm so glad we get to see those patient animals demolish the treats. Yay, them!

This may lead to our promised discussion on cats...

Being a Mom - It's Criminal

Just when I think there's nothing to write about...MSN always comes through for me.

Did you hear about this? This mom left her two year old sleeping in her car while she took her other two daughters to put money in a Salvation Army bucket. Some criminal. Anyway, a "peace officer" (not sure what that is. Cop without a gun?) saw her and questioned her. After calling her husband, who told her not to say anything till he got there, she refused to tell the officer her OR the child's name. They ARRESTED her. Without waiting for the husband to get there, even.

She faced charges of child endangerment and obstruction of justice - the cops said that without names, they didn't know if the child had been kidnapped or what (understandable, but if they had waited for the husband, it would have been fine.) She could have gotten up to a year in jail or a $2500 fine. Charges were dropped, thank goodness.

Here's my problem. The punishment of a "crime" should not be more severe than the actual situation. This mom was never out of sight of her child (she didn't go in the store), and she made every precaution (alarm activated, flashers on). What she's guilty of is not wanting to wake up her 2 year old just to step out of the car and back again. A lecture from the cop would have been plenty, and she probably would have cooperated better if not afraid of arrest. It's not like she took off running and leaped over a chain link fence. At the most, they could have waited for hubby to show up. The kid was fine, and there were 2 other kids with the mom - probably not the typical kidnapping scene. And what kidnapper stops at a Walmart, for pete's sake!? And to donate money, too!

That situation is one that gets played out every day, for better or for worse, and usually with less precautions. What mom here in the frigid midwest hasn't left their child in the running vehicle while she dropped off a movie, or some other little errand? Granted, Fargo is not a huge city, and we have a sense of safetly living here.

But here's the pain inflicted on her family because the officer got involved.

1)Mom is freaked out, which means the kids are freaked out. 2 older kids watching mom get arrested? That's probably punishment enough for a vast array of motherhood related crimes.

2) What happened to the kids while mom was getting ducked into the cop car? Were they left unattended? Because that is DEFINITELY worse that what the mom did in the first place.

3) Mom is probably in jail for at least a couple of hours until bail is made. Those poor kids are now wondering WHAT is happening to mom. Is she coming home? Yikes. I'm sure they had a peaceful evening.

4) Lawyers? Not cheap. And I'm sure they got one.

5)If ever there was a case for emotional effects of a situation, this is it. Her trial was to be yesterday, and this happened before Christmas (Salvation Army buckets?) - so for 3 months or so they've had hanging over their heads that mommy could be gone for a YEAR. Not to mention the stigma of a mom with jail time under her belt. Which might be more acceptable for the under 25, pre-baby set. But I wouldn't want to have to deal with that now.

I hope that family has supportive friends and that they won't be cut off by any not wanting connections to a "criminal" mom.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Back in my teaching days, I had all sorts of deadlines:

Essays need to be returned to students before the next is due, so they can learn from mistakes. (Note: I finished grading my last set of essays the afternoon before I went into labor with Leah.)

Grades need to be in by such-and-such time, along with a comment for each student, if possible.

Requests - buses for field trips, copying orders, special equipment for a lesson - all need to be made by specific dates.

Nowadays, in my lazy stay-at-home mom life (ha. Only those of you who are a SAHM know how sarcastic that comment is) these are my deadlines:

Finish reading Imperial Woman by Pearl S. Buck by Saturday night for book club. I'm halfway there.

Read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan for the MOMS book club, Easter Monday.

Get the house ready for our first open house, to coincide with our being out of town for four days. Potential thieves, beware. We have loyal and attentive neighbors. This deadline is two weeks away.

Send out invites for Ben's Elmo-themed birthday, April 8th.

These do not seem so important - there isn't a paycheck involved, after all, and there's really no one checking up on me. Except for the nine other book club ladies, that is. And that realtor guy.

But somehow the stress I put myself under to accomplish them is much the same as in my past. I even REQUESTED a deadline for the open house, lest I find myself procrastinating until July. The snow is melting, and people are itching for new yards to fuss over, new walls to paint- let them be mine!

Aaron asked last night, "What happens if our house sells right away? That's a lot of pressure!"
To that I replied, "Bring it on! We can stay in a hotel, rent a place, or even go to my mom and dad's - I'll take it!" Mom even offcially extended the invitation, poor crazy lady. She probably doesn't think we'll actually take her up on it.

I create deadlines of my own because without them, I'm afraid I would collapse into an unmotivated glob of skin and bones. What would be the point of doing laundry? If we're running short, I'll throw a load in. Or washing dishes? If I need a pot, I'll wash it. Just that one.

I can't live my life that way. Which is why the laundry gets done on Monday/Tuesday, the bathrooms get cleaned Tuesday, vacuuming is done upstairs on Thursday, and downstairs every-other Friday. I have used a card file for other, less frequent tasks, but have gotten very lazy about that, too. Maybe I'll start fresh in a new house. Yeah, that's the ticket! A new house is a GREAT that doesn't have an actual date.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Love them doggies

I am not a dog person. I make no bones about it...pun totally intended. However, I am related to dog people who cannot fathom why I am NOT a dog person.

I grew up on a farm, and the first of several (many several) dogs was Dusty. She was a gem who lived to a ripe old age, even managing to survive for a year or so after getting stuck in a mud pit (not to be taken lightly in an area with dirt so clay-ey they make it into Hebron Brick) for two days. She was very dehydrated, and got some much needed TLC until she recovered.

After Dusty, we weren't able to keep dogs around for very long. Farm life is hard, and Pepper was doing well until a stack wagon (to make haystacks, duh) door fell and ended his short, joyful life. Just when he was starting to be such a good herder!

Somewhere in there we adopted Dede from friends in town. What a dog. She was a cockapoo - not the ideal farm dog, but she lived for quite awhile, managing to terrorize our chickens and kill off most of our cats in the process. Cockle burrs were not her friend.

Along with Dede, we had a cocker spaniel...for a couple of months. We never knew what happened to her....

After Pepper died, Dad got an Australian cattle-dog named Mick (named after Crocodile Dundee Mick), who liked to chase his pickup. One day he got a little too close.

Another adoptee, adult lab Shadow, fully enjoyed his new found freedom since being released from the big city. He ran and ran. One day, he ran so much he gave himself a heart attack.

This is starting to sound like "And Then There Were None" - possibly the best of Agatha Christie's novels. But it gets more cheerful!

Duke (black Lab) and Elsa (chocolate Lab) came soon after each other. They were opposite personalities. Duke was the typical "puppy" personality, but soo friendly. He let kids dress him in doll clothes for pete's sake! Elsa was quietly elegant. You'd never even TRY to put clothes on would be so far beneath her dignity. Elsa died a couple years ago after being sick for awhile, but Duke is still alive and kicking.

I think I learned early not to form attachments to dogs, as they don't stick around long. Plus, farm dogs don't get regular baths, and tend to pick up big 'ol ticks and lots of manure in the course of their adventures.

But. I can totally appreciate the attachments others have to their canines. I found this totally sweet post on the best of Craigslist, and it was too great not to pass on. Plus, since it was on CL and not a forward with a chain letter attached, I am less likely to hate it's emotional lure and appreciate it as a genuine act of kindness.

Do you have memories of a special dog in your past? Even if you're not a dog person...We'll discuss cats another day!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Photos on Demand

So, certain members of my family are requesting more photos of the kids. And since I know where I get my bread-and-butter (that is, comments...) I'll comply.

We don't have dogs, so we borrow our neighbors. In the summer the kids watch Skip and Ally from the deck, but it's covered with a foot and a half of snow right now. They settled for watching from a chair inside.

Friends Amber & John visited with their baby N - she's 3 months old, and Ben was enraptured. He used to be jealous when I'd hold another baby, but in the last couple of months he finds them thrilling. As I was holding N, my arms straight out (cause this 3 mo. old likes to stand, not cuddle...aren't her parents in for fun?!) , Ben ducked under my arm, sat on my lap, and poked her right in the eye! I really don't think he meant to...he was just pointing at her cute face, and didn't realize how close she was. Yes, that was it.

Leah with princess pals J, Lydia, and A. Guess what? Lydia's mommy Valerie started a blog, too! Of course, Leah will be having a princess birthday party this May, along with at least 2 of her friends.

Grandma got coerced into a game of Go Fish - Barbie style. Matching colors and shapes. Ben gets the matches, so that he's happy and doesn't go monster on the whole pile.

Here is Ben and his two buds Gavin and Nolan, from the Maus House. Somehow mom Crystal and I have ended up buying them several matching outfits, including their coats & hats for this winter. This is the first photo we've got of them, and only because the boys came over to play and Ben wanted to fit in!
So here's a funny story about these three little boys. Crystal and the boys came over to bring me a shamrock plant. We chatted for a couple minutes (to our husbands, that usually means half an hour, but this time it really was just a couple minutes) and then they headed home. I got upstairs, and the doorbell rang. Crystal's at the door, and I'm all, "What the...?" And I realize she's standing there holding BEN by the hand! He's not wearing a coat or shoes! Apparently, he'd been standing by the storm door when I opened it for the Maus gang, and slipped out SOMEHOW without me seeing. I guess he's a Houdini. Anyway, Crystal said he went down the steps and was all ready to play... Before you get too concerned, it was actually 32 degrees today, so he didn't get frostbit.
There, is that enough for you aunties?

Friday, March 7, 2008

2nd Generation Cheapskate

It's probably more generations than that, but here's our legacy:

Tonight at dinner, Aaron commented on a magazine subscription offer, "Three dollars off? That makes it even cheaper!"

Leah: "That's even less than I thought!"

me: "Do you even know what we're talking about?"

Leah: "No!"

Making Jane Proud

Embroidery. Hand sewing. It's an ancient women's craft (sorry, all you embroidery guys out are definitely in the minority) that Jane Austen's women all engaged in, while maintaining lively banter and flirtations.

I have previous training with a needle and thread. Among my many unused talents (besides quilting, playing piano, and baking pies...I'm not joking) is embroidery. When I was a brand-new 4-Her, at about 10 years old, I made stuffed stegosaurus sampler. Each plate on the stego's back displayed a different stitch. And YEAH, I won Reserve Grand Champion. At my first Achievement Days. I'm still thrilled, except that I should have had the actual Grand. Some cheap looking plastic canvas thing won. Mom was sure it was because the kid's family was basically 4-H mafia.

Crystal from Two Peas is adding baby shoes to her product line up, and I have volunteered to help. As long as she makes me VP, AND as long as I only have to do what I WANT to do. I think that sounds like a succesful partnership, right? Lucky Crystal!

These baby shoes are so darn cute. And fortunately, the shoes only involve the blanket stitch, which is very easy. The only trick is to make the stitches the same length and width from each other. This is a time consuming project, but one that is enjoyable and highly stress-free.

Here's a sample of my stitching, before they are whip-stitched together.

These are some cute buggers once together. Especially the fish and bird shoes. Oh yes, my friends. The only thing cuter than blanket-stitched felt shoes on baby feet is felt birds and fish on baby feet. All they are needing yet is the ribbon or elastic to hold them on. If you're in town, come on down to the Meritcare Parents' Fair and check out the booth!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

She'll Hate Me When She's 12

Here's quotes from Leah tonight during bathtime:

me: "Why are you scratching your butt while you're on the potty?"
Leah: "Oh's a trick I learned."

clarification: Leah was scratching her butt CHEEK. She's had rather chapped cheeks lately, and not the pair on her face.

after she's been soaking in the tub for 10 minutes, I go in to rinse her off.
me: "Have you been tooting in here?"
Leah: "Yep. Toots make bubbles in the water."

I am SOO pulling these out on prom night!

Contact Me

If you would like to comment, but feel that the comment section is JUST SO PUBLIC, I have now added a hotmail account.

Click on my "full profile" and under "contact", there should be a link to my email:

I know it's hard to remember, but TRY, PEOPLE!

Feel free to use it! I'd love to hear from you...and if it's mean, I'll try desperately not to take it personally.

Movie: Wild Hogs

Yes. You read right. My decidedly non-Harley husband and I, who are not yet middle-aged, watched this movie about four middle-age guys and their motorcycles. And yes, every easy joke was fully taken advantage of.

What made it more entertaining for me was imagining my dad (owner of a bright yellow Victory) and my uncle/godfadda Dean (owner of an honest-to-goodness Harley) on their yearly cross-country ride, standing up to a rowdy gang of honest-to-goodness BIKERS. I'd like to think that they'd be smart enough not to stop at that particular establishment in the first place, but testosterone has been known to make people do odd things.

Anyway. Do you know who is IN this movie? Testosterone. Tim Allen, John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, and, um, William H. Macy (whose bare bottom I have now seen TWICE). Also, Ray Liotta and John C. McGinley (Dr. Cox from Scrubs, playing disturbingly against type). It was worth watching the movie just to see these guys play off each other, especially in the extras.

And there WERE a couple of females! And they are a couple of my favs: Jill Hennesey (Crossing Jordan) and Marissa Tomei. Those gals are great!

My favorite line, said by William Macy: "The music moves me, but it moves me ugly." Ha ha!

Also, I found this hilarious: In the outtakes section, three of the guys are laying on an air mattress sleeping, waiting to start the scene. Travolta is facing the camera, with Macy's arm draped over him.

*click* scene starts. Travolta's head jerks up, " What, what the..." And Macy says, "Okay, wait a minute," to the crew, and to Travolta, "Did you fall asleep?" Travolta, sleepily, "Yeeahhh..."

After I got done laughing, I felt kind of bad for him. I mean, that's a rude awakening.

This movie is not for movie snobs. Aaron and I laugh at all the cheap shots, and enjoy all the easy jokes. If you do, too, and don't mind a few naughty words or naked butts (there's a nice shot of McGinley's, too), you'll probably enjoy this movie. But don't gripe to me if you don''ve been warned.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Status: on the Move

Here's where we stand on our prospective move. Because I know you need an update.

Boxes packed: Many. I've cleared the house of nearly all knick-knack type items. The kids closets have been nearly emptied. Our laundry room has clean work space for the first time in years. Well, two years.

Heaviest box/size: Contains Aaron's golf ball collection, our decorative water fountain (about 1 cubic foot in size - probably about 5 pounds itself) plus three small cement sculptures. Not the best packing move, admittedly.

Cleaning: Um, I've wiped down the bottoms of the toilets. And I'm agonizing over all the vents and and ledges that are yet to be cleaned. And HOW to keep windows clean? Not to mention our kitchen table, which is Leah's art station, and our counter, which is where paperwork goes to die.

Prospective houses seen (and rejected): Five.

Houses on the roster to see (and reject): Four. Aaron has ALREADY rejected two of them.

Great features that are deal killers for us: Indoor pool. Riverside lot. Detached garage - do you KNOW how cold it has been this winter?

And there we stand, folks. Hopefully sometime this month we'll get this house on the market. Somehow. Any advice for keeping your sanity? That isn't from H&G TV?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Law & Order: Preschool Crime Scene

Cue music.

The scene: The family room. Toys are everywhere, including the basket of stuffed animals that has been overturned.

The victim: Leah.

The perpetrator: Ben.

Leah has her arms full of Beanie Baby sized animals, including 3 puppies. Ben runs up and grabs one of the puppies. Leah immediately starts screaming and wailing, "No, Ben, it's MINE! Stop! No, Ben! AUGH!" The scene is repeated several times. Officer Mommy, responding to the call, realizes that the perp is only after one particular puppy, the beagle. She tries to negotiate a compromise, wherein Leah would allow Ben to have just that darn beagle. The victim insists that she needs ALL THREE puppies, of that EXACT size, even thought there is another puppy laying undisturbed by BOTH kids involved. It's bigger than the ones Leah has.

The victim insists (loudly, with much wailing and crying) that it's NOT FAIR of the perp to take the puppy she so clearly wants.

Let's review the facts.

Leah (victim): 5 stuffed animals - 3 puppies, a hippo and a kitty
Ben (perpetrator): ZERO stuffed animals.

Officer Mommy resolved the situation by giving the beagle to Ben and giving Leah jail time until she calmed down. Ben discarded the beagle as soon as Leah reported to jail.

Case closed.


Sunday, March 2, 2008

Supporting PBS

I just pledged a decent amount of cash to PBS. You are probably admiring my altruistic tendencies and wishing you could be so generous. But don't fool yourself. I only did it for the gifts.

Last year I scored tickets to the Blue Man Group when they were here in Fargo. We've been wanting to see them for awhile, and we had great seats for a very impressive show - except for the highly annoying kid behind us. That's another post. Remind me.

Tonight, I got myself my own copy of Bleak House (novel by Charles Dickens). I borrowed a friend's copy and loved it - not enough to pick up the VERY thick book, yet...- and now I get my own! I'll also be getting my very own Complete Jane Austen mug. Yay!

You should call and get something fun, too! Or forego the gift, and be completely unselfish. Show me up. I don't mind. I got my goodies, and I'm happy!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Gaining the scorn of dogs everywhere

I came across this listing on Craigslist last night, and immediately thought of my sister Ruth and her cats Mimi and Birdie. I don't know if either of them would stand for such treatment, but that red kerchief with curls is darn cute!

I can't decide if the look on Snowman's face is humiliation or mere tolerance. He definitely doesn't look happy. From the listing, it doesn't sound as if the owner actually made the hats Who On Earth spends their time making hats for cats?