Wednesday, July 30, 2008

So far, so good.

Okay, I'm home minus two molars. I slept for a couple hours and feel pretty good, although I still feel like I could nap again. It's either the drugs or because Ben woke me up 3 or 4 times last night, and THEN I spent 10 minutes in the bathroom at 3am. You're oh-so welcome for that little detail.

No nausea yet. The surgeon asked if I had been "drifted off to sleep" before, and I said yes, when I broke my arm in 2nd grade. The parents reported no ill effects, so the Doc thought I should be fine. He also said the drug he gave me would metabolize quickly, meaning it would go through my system quickly.

He was pretty confident that I would be a believer in oral surgery. He said I didn't need to watch the patient video beforehand, and I agreed, since in that 5 minutes I could tell that most of it didn't apply to me. Doc said, "This will take about 5 minutes." His confidence was reassuring, and I don't remember being told to "pick a dream"...or really dreaming much, anyway.

And with that, I'm off to try for some MORE dreams. Thanks for all your horror stories.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Don't Worry, I Have Wisdom to Spare

A couple of things have been going on around here lately, other than the normal unpack-organize-collapse box-grab another box routine. If I can get all these boxes taken care of in a year, I'll be happy. My theory is to expect the absolute worst, and since that rarely happens, almost every time you'll be pleased with the results.

Anyway. Last weekend we were so happy to have my uncle Howard and his family (wife Laura, and sons aging 14, 7ish, and 3 1/2 year old twins) here for a couple days, although they stayed at mom & dad's and Mom cooked every meal, even the one we ate here! My kids thoroughly enjoyed the company of the twins - MUCH running was done. And there was some chasing, darting, and dashing done as well!

We spent Saturday early afternoon at Buffalo River State Park swimming and eating. That night my house hosted its first "official" event, and I'm thrilled to say that it lived up to our expectations.

The house will get another chance to show its hospitality when Aaron's cousin Beth and HER family (husband Dave, son D (age 8) and daughter B (age 6) stay here tomorrow night. They live overseas during the year, so we usually try to see them for a day or so in the summer when they are home.

There's just this one little glitch in the plan: I am having my wisdom teeth removed tomorrow morning. I only have my top two, and they are fully erupted (that sounds so much more dramatic than just saying they're there), so my dentist reassures me that it is the best case scenario for removal - should be the least painful/involved. Of course I am still opting to have anesthesia. And I'm actually more worried about THAT than the teeth. I really would like to talk to Beth and Dave a bit, and maybe eat some of the great meals I have planned (already shopped for and flagged in the recipe book, just in case I'm completely incoherent).

But we'll see. I've heard stories of varying horrifics from everyone, so I'm not sure what to expect. Thanks to Mom, who will be driving me to and from the clinic, and to friend Amy, who will be staying with the kids (bonus playdate for Leah!) while I'm gone. And thanks to YOU, who hopefully will still come back and read after I neglect to post for a day or two. What am I saying? OF COURSE you'll come back!
Especially if I promise you an especially amusing photo of Aaron. See you soon!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Be Careful What You Wish For

Ladies, I'm talking to you.

You know how when you ask your husband how you look, and he kind of half-grunts "Fine," without even looking at you? The nerve.

Or you want to buy a rug or maybe paint a wall, so you ask him his opinion, and he simply replies, "Whatever you want, dear."

And maybe, when you were engaged and happily planning your wedding, you asked him (mostly joking) what color the bridesmaid dresses should be. He, of course, simply laughed and then offered, "Hunter orange" or "camouflage" or something equally hilarious. And you simply went about planning your dream day, all the while nagging him to "be more involved!"

Well, I'm here to tell you - enjoy what you have. Because I am married to that "involved", "observant" and genuinely caring guy. And it's not always bad! Fortunately he has a "good eye", so things usually turn out well.

Aaron did indeed have an opinion on our bridesmaid dresses...I mentioned that my favorite color was red, and he quickly and unhesitatingly showed his disapproval, and thought we should do something more "neutral". This was about 9 years ago, before the breakthrough of brown dresses...we were still into evergreen and purple in those days (No, not together...even the 90's had their limit!)

We ended up with perfectly lovely matte silver dresses, which went great with our snowflake theme (December 18th in North Dakota - kinda seemed obvious).

Then there is the spot-on clothing critique. One Sunday morning early in our marriage, we had an argument before church that went something like this:

Him: Are you really going to wear that skirt to church?
Me: Yeah..why? What's wrong with it?
Him: Don't you think it's a little short? People are going to be distracted by your legs. (Yeah, yeah, I know this is kind of sweet, but I wasn't getting distracted from the potential disagreement!)
Me: Right. Who?
Him: The youth group boys.
Me: Come on! None of them ever sit in our row!

I wore the skirt, and shortly after we were seated in our usual row at church, five youth group boys walked by us to sit in the empty seats next to us. I skipped the above-the-knee-skirts on Sunday mornings for quite a while.

But here is where I draw the line: interior design. Yes, I know his dad owns a commercial painting business, and all the kids can paint like the wind. But does Aaron REALLY know better than an actual trained and working DESIGNER?

Cause folks, we had one of those people at our house Friday for a consultation, and when I relayed her advice to Aaron, he disagreed with about half of it.

Now, I am a rule follower. Which also means that if a professional gives me advice in their field, I want to follow unquestioningly. The closest I've gotten to arguing with a medical professional is telling my dental hygienist that I don't floss. In that tone that clearly says, "So don't try to make me."

This designer lady, Leah from Scheels Home & Hardware, gave me lots of recommendations, most of which I whole-heartedly agree with, like painting the entire "big room" one color, and making it a neutral instead of my beloved green, so as to avoid the look of a swamp. Also, I really like her advice on making a little sitting area on the far end of the big room (it's really big, folks) with chairs instead of a couch: it's more affordable AND easier to move if we want to clear more space.

The point of contention is the built-in bookshelves on either side of the fireplace. Designer Leah said that we should paint them white to lighten up the room and complement the white in the kitchen, directly opposite and open. She also said that white is "fresh and crisp" whereas black is "sophisticated and elegant" - and she and I agreed that those last two words do NOT describe the decorating style at our house.

When I told Aaron about the white, we had THIS conversation:
Me: The designer said that we should paint the built-ins white, and the back of them green.
Him: WHITE?! WHITE with GREEN? What are you trying to do, make this all Martha Stewart?

Me: Martha Stewart? What's wrong with THAT? She has great style!
Him: It's all girly!
Me: Well, why don't I just leave and you can decorate however you want!
Him: I feel like you want ME to leave!
Me: Why don't you just NOT CARE like most men?! That's why you have the garage and the yard!

And we ended in a huff. Aaron wants to paint them black, and I still think white is best. But, since he is the painter in the family, I'm willing to let him have his way. Until I decide it needs to be redone. In white.

I Know I'm a Better Cake Decorator Than...

...whoever made THIS cake. Thanks for the link, Kate!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

One Wicked Cool Show

Okay, so Saturday afternoon in Chicago, Ruth, her friend Kaye, and I were sitting at Kaye's apartment, wondering what theater show we were going see that evening. There was a list several computer-screens long online, and I looked at every one for at least a split second.

A couple looked good, especially Dead Man's Cellphone which was playing at the Steppenwolf Theater, which I've actually heard of. We called for tickets, but they were sold out and it was the last night of the show's run.
So we tried our second choice, Wicked. Can you believe it was our SECOND choice? We just didn't think we would be lucky enough to get tickets on the day of the performance. But we checked with Ruth's favorite classifieds source, Craigslist. And BEHOLD. There was a set of 2 or 4 tickets available for $50 each. Sweet! We called and got 3.

Wicked tells the backstory of the witches from the Land of Oz. Turns out that the wicked one wasn't so much and neither was the good one! And they were evidently friends. Who knew? It's a great story with universal appeal, and includes lots of references to the mama show, The Wizard of Oz. I love those inside jokes. Like, "Yum! What's in this punch?" "Lemons, and limes, and melons." "Oh My!"
It is based on the book of the same name by Gregory Maguire, which I've heard has a good deal more adult content than the musical. Our book club decided to skip it after hearing some questionable reports from others, but now I'm sufficiently interested to try it for reals.


After we dropped off at Ruth's work the SEVEN pairs of Nine West shoes we had bought, we walked over to the theater. And...okay, now that we look at the hard copies Ruth printed for us, it appears that we have been given EIGHT tickets. Big whoops on the part of the clerk. Luckily for them we didn't have five other friends who wanted to go with us. And lucky for us we didn't try it, because four of those extra seats already had people in them.

Where were our seats, you ask? Oh, only against the BACK WALL of the BALCONY. The only saving grace was that they were in the center, so there actually were a few rows that were farther away from the stage than us.

And what a stage. An emerald map of Oz was projected on the black curtain, and above the entire stage was an enormous dragon with wings outstretched.

Once that curtain went up, the sets themselves were minimal, but the costumes were extravagant. All the Munchkins/Ozians/students at the "college" were decked out to the extreme. Elphaba (aka "Wicked Witch of the West") wore the most simple costume, but her identifying characteristic was more along the lines of makeup - her skin was green. Remember that little detail? Kind of a birth defect, apparently. Galinda (aka "Glinda the Good Witch of the North") wore mostly white outfits, but doesn't don the famous ballgown until the end.

I sat on the front half of my seat for the entire show, and not ONCE did I ever think, "Okay, I get it, lets get on with the show." The first half was 1 1/2 hour long, and it flew by. Every song was incredible, and although I did not purchase the soundtrack afterwards, it will soon be in my possession, I predict.

At intermission, we all attempted to make it to the bathroom. Along with, oh, about 60 other women. The bathroom was across the balcony lobby from our door, and the line was half way back to the door. We decided to wait until afterwards.

And I tried. I really did. But in the middle of the third to the last song, I sincerely felt that I may either wet myself or be sick. So I decided to make a run for it. I bolted to the door and down the steps to the lobby, where two ushers were relaxing. Never one to put appearances before comfort, I dashed over to the ladies room and "went" as fast as I could. The music was quite audible, so I knew I wasn't missing any more plot, but still. I didn't want to miss more than necessary. So on the way back, I ran even faster. (Cause you know, this time I didn't have a full bladder.)

The same two ushers are still there (in 30 seconds, they hadn't found anything to do!) and I decided to announce the obvious. "WORST! TIMING! EVER!" They laughed.

I made it back before the end of the song, and Kaye and Ruth assured me that I'd chosen a good time (like, before I needed new pants).

I cried during the curtain call, as I usually do, since I'm processing and absorbing the entire show at once. Also, appreciating all the work and effort of so many people, and how it combines to be such an incredible example of human talent and creativity.


I love the theater. And my sister. Thanks for a very fun evening!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sibling Relations

I'm in the kitchen, and I hear the kids come in the back door. Ben starts crying, sounding more important than the usual "I didn't get my WAAAAY!" whine.

They come into the kitchen, Ben rubbing his head and Leah saying, "I'm sorry, Ben."
Me: What happened?
Ben : WAAAAH!
Leah: (says something I can't hear over Ben's wailing)
Me: WHAT happened?
Leah: He acci-dentally didn't get his head through the door when I was closing it.


Leah has been really into "jokes" lately. They are SOO hilarious, hoo boy! You are really missing out here, NBC! Forget Conan - Leah should take over for Leno.
Example from lunch today:

Leah: If I had eyeballs for breakfast, then I would have snot for lunch! Ha ha!

She and Ben were sitting under the table (who knows why) and she was telling him jokes in a similar vein. Then I heard: "Um, Ben? Did you forget to laugh?"

Me too, Ben. Me too.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

As IF!

We watched Clueless Sunday evening in Ruth & Tim's apartment, but this story is about another evening in front of the television.

Friday evening after eating at Gloria's, we were hanging out at the apartment. Ruth was playing Harry Potter on Wii and the rest of us were watching her cast spells. Jenn and I were sitting on the couch, and in waltzes Ryan, the guy that rode to Chicago along with Jenn and Eric from Minneapolis.

Now, Ryan had showed up at the apartment earlier (unexpected!) and then spent 30 minutes in the bathroom. The ONLY bathroom. As we were all trying to get cleaned up to go to dinner. Ruth was not impressed. Tim was even less so.

So anyway, Ryan waltzed into the room and then plopped himself down between me and Jenn. This is not a big couch, folks. He was definitely invading my personal space, unless he intended to hit on me. But as seating was limited, I decided to try to deal.

We were all chatting away, and then Ruth and I started talking about how we went to the book release party for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the last in the series. I mentioned how we dressed up as professors and had a blast.

And then it happened.

One of the single rudest things ever done in my presence in the last 10 years or so.

Ryan raised his hand to the side of his face, and whispered behind it to Jenn. And then put it down and acted like nothing had happened.

Later Ruth and I would discuss how unbelievable this was, and how Ruth was watching Jenn as it happened, and she even was kind of in shock.

I tried to practice my old coping skill of repeating this mantra: "It's not about you. It's not about you."

In real life, this works great. Just because someone is laughing or whispering doesn't mean it's about me, and as long as it doesn't include pointing in my direction, I can usually handle this quite well. Of course, I've developed this technique about 20 years after the height of its usefulness, but better late than never, right?

However, it was a little hard to believe my mantra with that telling hand raised.

There were two things that made this humiliating little situation bearable:

1) I was not the one committing the faux pas. And believe me, when you put your foot in your mouth as often as I do, ANYONE else's error is considered a success on my part.

2) Ryan was such an immature little boy of 24, and we were all united in our share dislike of him. Of course, he was completely unaware of that fact.

Rarely have I seen anyone ignore social etiquette as blatently and as personally. I'll take a belch or fart any day over a hand-protected whisper.

And just be happy that I had the good grace to overlook it and not draw more attention to your insensitivity. We'll just call it MANNERS. Manners, Ryan. Ryan, Manners. There. Now that you've met, feel free to spend more time together.

My Kind of Vacation

No kids. No schedule.

I just got back from spending the weekend with my sister Ruth in Chicago. And we had FUN.

Lots of good food (Columbian at Gloria's, French at La Creperie, and Thai at Noodles in the Pot. Also, eggs for breakfast and an appetizer dinner, all cooked by Ruthie.)

Lots of good shopping (Nine West sandals 60% off! H & M!)

Lots of visiting (with Ruth & Tim of course, but also with their pals Kay, Dana, and Jenn & Eric from Minneapolis).

And a little show called Wicked. I will post more about it later, but know this. Nothing you have heard about this show is an exaggeration. It really is THAT GOOD.

That is all for now. I am still trying to settle into my house, and the kids and I are heading to a wading pool this afternoon.

One more thing. Last night, Aaron picked me up at the airport and brought me home to a little surprise birthday party! Just our friends the G family, best buddy Crystal, and my folks, but it was so nice to be welcomed home like that!

The sweetest part, to me...When Leah gave me a hug as I stepped in the door, she started getting teary-eyed and choked up. I gave her lots of kisses and hugs, and after a bit, she ran off with her friends. But I LOVED IT. Happy Birthday to me!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I HAVE the POWER. I think.

I think I spent most of today in power struggles with Ben. And Aaron managed to call from work four times - always in the middle of one.

A few of the situations - bear in mind that we consider Ben to be an exceptionally well behaved 2 year old, one who has even been known to listen & obey when we say "SLOW DOWN!". This IS the definition of exceptional two-year old behavior.

1. The kids were coloring at their little table, and I heard all the crayons hit the floor, being dumped from their newly assigned container (may have to rethink that, by the way). I went into the room and commanded Ben to pick them up. He shook his head very forcefully and said "Uh-uh!" I counted. Still nothing. I took his hand, folded his fingers over some crayons, lifted it, and dropped the crayons over the bucket. Another couple of times, and he started doing it on his own. Success.

2. The kids had fishy crackers for snack in the morning, and just before lunch Ben found Leah's bowl, with crackers left in it. Of course, as soon as Leah noticed that, she claimed them as her own. I told Ben to hand them over to the rightful owner. Aaand, he dumped them on the floor, then handed her the empty bowl. Tricky, tricky!

Oh, and so many other small battles that it really makes me tired just thinking about them, much less typing it for you to read. But you can probably imagine.

I think I mostly won.

She's Still At It

Some friends were over helping us unload. Totally unprompted, while the kids are getting drinks of water, Leah looks right at A and says, "I live here, you know."

One of our neighbors loves our kids. She's a grandma-type who has already offered to babysit, and she's astute enough to realize that Ben is kind of shy and needs to warm up to new people. She looked at him the other day and said, "I'm just going to stop by every day for a few minutes until you get used to seeing me." What a great understanding of what kids need.

True to her word, this neighbor, P, dropped by today to warn us about some mouse poison they had put out. She also reminded Leah of the treats that she has at her house for when kids come to visit her.

After P left, Leah turned to me, and very seriously asked, "Mommy, what does 'Double-Stuff Oreos' mean?"

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

From the Middle of the Maze

My house is total chaos. Right now I feel overwhelmed even THINKING about trying to make sense out of it.

My kitchen is my oasis (which is completely ironic, if you know how I feel about cooking). All the kitchen boxes discovered have been unpacked and distributed, and I can actually find the things I'm looking for - unless they are still boxed at Mom & Dad's. And I still have about 5 sets of empty cupboards. Target clearance, here I come!

I was organized tonight to make a fresh, homemade dinner tonight. Success!

Speaking of Target, I just returned from that wonderland with lovely delightful items that will hopefully make living in this crazy place a bit easier. Like a stick vacuum. Because Swiffering this floor is ridiculous.

Also, it is really dirty. Last night, after Mom and friend J helped me unpack assorted kitchen items, all six of our feet were black. Just from the kitchen tile floor. Yuck.

On Friday I escape. I am going to Chicago to visit my little sister BY MYSELF. No husband, no kids, just me and a hot-pink carry-on suitcase. Before I leave I have a long list of things to accomplish - like organizing the desk area and getting the kids' stuff out and situated. Also, Aaron has requested that I make a menu of sorts and make sure the groceries are in the house. I guess I can handle that - he's threatened McDonald's every night otherwise.

All I request of Ruth and BIL Tim in Chicago is that they don't have me open any cardboard boxes or decide where to put anything.

Anything except me on their couch, that is.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

12 hours to M-Day

Okay. Most of our rental house is packed up. All that remains is...oh, alright, a lot. But there's only so much I can do with both kids running around at the same time.

They helped re-pack the box of spices, though (the first box got a soggy bottom while sitting in the basement), with Ben tossing the little half-bottles in like softballs.

Tomorrow I'm hoping that our volunteer from church, Jeff, will bring a few members from his football team to help us move the "big stuff" in the morning. Mom will have the kids all day, at my insistence. NO, we do not need your help moving this time! Take a break and enjoy your grandkids.

Here's where I start to believe (a tiny bit) in karma: Jeff is the guy Aaron was playing against when he hurt his knee in the first place. So now I'm hoping that guilt is a good motivator.

If all goes as planned, we should be set up at "the new house" and be sleeping there tomorrow night. I don't know when we'll have our Internet set up, so maybe I should write a few posts ahead, just in case....well, we'll see.

Poor Aaron worked all weekend, and hasn't been home all day. Let's hope he gets a good night's rest, or tomorrow will be even more of a challenge.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Slacker Saturday

It's kind of sad that my 200th post is a Slacker Saturday, but oh well! Maybe I'll wax poetic about my 201st post....or not.

Show and Tell

A kindergarten teacher gave her class a "show and tell" assignment.
Each student was instructed to bring in an object to share with the
class that represented their religion.

The first student got up in front of the class and said, "My name is Benjamin
and I am Jewish and this is a Star of David."

The second student got up in front of the class and said, "My name is Mary.
I'm a Catholic and this is a Rosary."

The third student got in up front of the class and said, "My name is Tommy.
I am a Lutheran, and this is a casserole."

Friday, July 11, 2008

My Sweet Blabbermouth

A couple of conversations today with my eldest child, 4 year old Leah:

In the van:

Leah: "I think I would like to get some kittens some day."
Me: "Yeah? Well, maybe one. They grow up to be cats you know!"
Leah: laughing..."Uh huh! Or maybe a puppy."
Me: "No, I don't think we'll ever get a puppy."
Leah: "Why not?"
Me: "Cause Mommy & Daddy don't really like puppies."
Leah: "Why not?"
Me: "Cause you have to pick up poop..."
Leah: "Where do cats go...to the bathroom?"

Then we had a lengthy discussion about the benefits of litter boxes. But what I loved was how carefully she chose the word "bathroom". It was like, she wasn't sure if cats go "potty" and "poopy".

Later, at the new house:

Leah: "I'm going to open every cabinet and drawer, okay?"
Me: "OH-kay."
Leah: "Well, all of them that I can reach, that is."

I swear to you, she said "that is". She's going to be the most pretentious-sound kindergartner ev-ah.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

My Least Favorite Color

So, we got to see our house for reals this afternoon! The owners were still there, and hadn't finished cleaning, but were super nice. The Lady had put all the manuals together in a bag along with the numbers of everyone that they've had do services...you know, the weed sprayer, sprinkler guy, etc.

And she included her own phone number, just in case we have any questions later.

That, folks, is VERY BRAVE. 'Cause she has no idea what kind of wackos we could be, right?

Our first plans are to fence the yard and get a swingset, and we HAD planned to wait to do the interior stuff (walls, carpet, trim) until the weather gets cold again.

Buuut, that was before I got a look at the upstairs bedrooms. I mean a really good, uninterrupted long look.

And what I saw was my Least Favorite Color. It's a non-color. That no-man's-land between pink, brown & taupe. And it HAS TO GO.

Shouldn't be too hard - the kids rooms are pretty easy, but I still have to decide what we are doing with the master bedroom. Our previous room was a Miami-ish sea green, and worked fine, but nothing I really want to repeat. I'm thinking of a neutral and getting a duvet/comforter with blues & tans.

Of course, first we have to decide on whether or not we are going to get a king size bed instead of our queen. Any thoughts?

My folks told us theirs when we got married. Here's a transcript of that conversation:

Us: Aaron's folks bought us our bed as our wedding present.
Them: What did you get?
Us: A queen size Serta.
Them: NO! You DIDN'T get a QUEEN!
Us: (in horror & shock) YES! Why? What's the matter with that?
Them: Well, a queen-size mattress won't fit in the van!
Me: Mom, Dad, we don't HAVE a van. YOU do.
Them: Oh yeah. That's right. I guess we just moved so often in that van...

Oh, Mom and Dad. I love you and your moving expertise. This time, I hope your help is only needed to entertain the kids.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Soakin' Up the Summer

Folks, I am pooped. Today has been exceptionally busy and energy-draining. Here's why:

1. Ben woke up about half and hour earlier than usual, so I missed out on that extra sleep.

2. My Mother-In-Law arrived at about 8am. She WAS expected. In fact, another reason I missed out on sleep is that I was nervous she was going to get lost and call for directions and I wouldn't hear the phone.

3. After MIL Bobbie got caught up on the kids' most recent accomplishments and Ben had given her two kisses (nearly a miracle...) I left her with them to get ready for the day.

And then the day began.

4. The four of us headed to downtown, where we stopped at Zandbroz, O'Day Cache, and a new teashop, Teaberry. Bobbie said she wanted to "just look at things" and the first two stores are great places to do this. Of course, we did buy a few things, too.

5. Zandbroz has a toy section that includes a train table set up for playing. Ben was in love with this thing. Which was great while we were there - Bobbie was free to peruse the lovely book section to her heart's content. Leaving, however, proved to be more difficult. Ben DID NOT want to leave the train table. I was the picture of the bad mom - I counted...to two, not three, warned, pretended to leave, all those things that make a parent look weak and puts the kid in charge.

And then I did what I should have done right away - I picked him up and started walking to the door. He shrieked and yelled and kicked, right up until he saw his stroller, which he loves. And then we were pretty much fine. Snacks and hats were given once we were outside, and all was well again.

6. We had a stroller for Leah, too, which was a lifesaver, especially at the O'Day Cache, which, despite the lovely owner saying "was a very kid-friendly store" most definitely was NOT. It had all sorts of lovely items from top to bottom, and a narrow aisle just wide enough for an umbrella stroller.

The most kid-friendly part was the free little tub of play-doh and bouncy balls that the kids got. Thanks!

7. On to Teaberry. Bobbie is really into coffee AND tea, and since I had just read this article today, it was THE place I wanted to take her. We each had a Boba tea, and since the place was empty at this time of day, the kids had free reign. The owner of this store again was a kid lover, because they got another freebie - little pineapple cakes! They ran around rolling their bouncy balls, which of course meant that one of them was lost forever. Fortunately it went unnoticed in the hustle of heading out to our next stop.

8. We shot off next to a Chinese buffet near Aaron's work to meet him for lunch, although he didn't make it there for another half hour.

9. After lunch, I us to the golf course where Father-In-Law Clarence & BIL Josh were done playing in a golf tournament. We loaded them and their clubs up and headed to the hotel where Josh and his wife Erica are staying tonight. On the way, I gave them the driving tour of our new house & neighborhood.

10. We finally got home at about 2pm, and the Parents In Law headed home. Josh entertained the kids for a bit while I decompressed. Then I started getting the kids ready for our NEXT excursion - a MOMS club backyard play.

11. We arrive at the hostess's house, and Leah, already in her swimsuit, hits the slip n slide right away. I think she talks to me 3 times in the next 2 hours.

12. Ben loves the water table, but doesn't want his suit on until an hour or so later. And his favorite toy? A freakishly realistic toy snake.

We had lots of fun, and there were a ton of babies there....at least 5, all within a month of each other.

13. Home again, home again, jiggety jog. Dinner at home with Aaron & Josh, hanging out until SIL Erica arrives, and more hanging out.

Oh wait. I did get a couple of boxes packed in there. Cause this week isn't all fun and games, folks - we MOVE in just days.

Let THAT reality sink in for a minute.

I'm not quite sure how we're going to get out of this house without making a zillion and one trips. And I still need to dumpster dive for some more boxes.

Photos of the Fourth: A Series

For the narration to go with these photos, see this post.



This photo (above) is the one taken just before a half-inch section of flaming sparkler landed in her lap. Her hands never left her ears, and fortunately my obsessive photo-taking was beneficial in this case, because no one else was close enough to do anything in time.


Ben takes a similar stance when confronted with dogs. Not in general, but if they get within about 10 feet of him, he starts trying to climb the parent lucky enough to be holding him. And it doesn't really matter the size or how "friendly" they are. The owner telling him, "He won't bite, he just wants to lick you," doesn't work either, and I don't really blame him. Most puppy tongues are almost the size of his face.
We have had lots of activity today, which I'll tell you all about later tonight.
Pins & needles, I know.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Just trying to eat responsibly, folks.

9pm tonight.

Me: I'm hungry. Should I have ice cream or chips & salsa?
Aaron: Honestly, chips & salsa is the healthier choice.

Aaron: But I had ice cream, and it was goooood.

Congratulations, whoever you are.

We are invited to a wedding. This is the play-by-play of me opening the lovely invite:

Me: What? Who are these people?
Aaron: It's (his Brother's) friend So-&-So.
Me: Oh, you've got to be kidding. We don't even know them!

Surely this has happened to you as well. The guy of the couple was Brother's roommate in college and has stayed buddies. In fact, Brother is the best man.

The couple HAS been to our house a couple times, and we did go out for dinner with them once, with Brother & SIL. But still. When I opened the invitation, I didn't recognize any last names, so clearly I didn't feel any "connection" that warranted sharing that vital info.

Brother gave the invite to Aaron last night, along with this honest assessment of the situation: "They're just inviting you because they don't think you'll go but they want a gift."

Oh, that steams me. So we may just go. I mean, Aaron and I like to dance and don't usually get a chance. It's in town here, so no traveling would be necessary. And we do know a few others who will be there, just because they are also Brother's friends.

Even if it wasn't a deliberate ploy for a gift, if you invite someone to your wedding, you should be prepared for them to attend, especially if they live in the same town. And we'll bring a nice enough gift, I guess...but these folks are quite a ways down on our gift scale, behind Siblings, Nieces/Nephews, Cousins, Bestish Friends, Friends We Really Like But Don't Know All That Well, Neighbors, and then, maybe....Friends of our Siblings.

Oh, but there's also a category even below that one that we got a wedding invite to last summer: Former Friends of Siblings.

This girl sent me an invitation to her wedding, and the last time I have seen her was....I honestly don't remember. Because she's not my friend. She WAS my younger sister's friend...back in fourth grade. Her mom and mine are cousins and good friends, but really - that's expanding the invitation circle pretty far, in my opinion. AND the wedding was a good 10 hour drive away.

So, NO, I don't think I'll be attending. But congratulations anyway. And I'm honestly sorry I forgot to send a card.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Birthday, You Fabulous Country, You!

Hope you have had a wonderful 4th of July! I am posting late today as I sit in our hotel room waiting for Leah to chat herself to sleep. The girl was singing "Jesus Loves Me" just a minute ago.

We are spending the weekend out of town to celebrate my niece Meghan's wedding reception tomorrow night. This evening we had a family barbecue hosted by her husband's aunt & uncle - it was very fun to have a place to congregate. Because that's what Aaron's family does - there are simply too many of them to just "get together". It's like someone called an assembly or something.

Leah found a buddy in 6-year old Kate, or as she introduced herself, "Kite". This is because "Kite" is from Australia. The girls had a blast running around being goofy. I have photographic proof.

I finally got to join the party after sitting in the van for what seemed like an eternity with two sleeping children getting their desperately needed naps. Ben woke up earlier and was retrieved by Aaron, but Leah slept on for another half hour or so. I even did evil things like switch the air conditioner on and off and whisper her name when she'd shift, but she STILL didn't wake up.

I redeemed myself later by beating the sparks from a sparkler out of her lap with my bare hands. Boo ya.

Fireworks started going off, and Ben was reaching the end of his rope anyways and had resorted to clinging to Aaron and shuddering every time one went off, so we headed back to our hotel room.

Where we have two queen beds, one for us and one for Leah, and Ben's pack & play between the two. Which means that whenever either of the kids makes a squawk all night, I'll be waking up to make sure they don't wake the other one. And squawks they will make, because they both talk in their sleep. God bless them, they got it from their mother, who got it from HER mother. We're talking generations of moms waking up one thousand times a night.

But I got my pictures of the kids in their red, white, & blue outfits holding sparklers, so I'm happy. We hit the pool in the morning.

Rock on, America.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

It's, Like, So Junior High

I’ve blocked out most of my junior high years (and at least a couple of my senior high years, as well). What I do remember is feeling very self-conscious and convinced that if anyone happened to laugh while I was present it was because they were laughing at ME.

Now this strikes me as insanely self-centered.

Every once in awhile something triggers those memories again, and if I’m lucky, I’m on the winning side – that is, the side of reality, that not everyone is laughing AT me, or doesn’t like me because they didn’t sit by me.

Just recently, such an incident occurred that reinforced my belief that as grown women and mothers, we still fall prey to huge insecurities.

I was talking to my good friend – let’s call her A – the other day, and mentioned that I was getting together with friend B. A said that she didn’t think that B liked her.

I mentioned this crazy assumption to a mutual good friend of mine and A’s, friend C. And then C said she didn’t think that B liked HER either! C also said that she thinks that B may be a bit snooty, although she admitted that people have told her they thought the same thing of herself.


B is a sit-back-and-watch kind of person.

Unfortunately, friends A & C are ALSO sit-back-and-watch people. And in addition to appearing snooty, these folks can also be intimidating for others to approach – they just look so comfortable by themselves – “I don’t want to bother them…”

Fortunately, I am a go-up-and-talk kind of person. I can sit back for about 5 minutes, enough to figure out the social politics a bit, and then I start to get stir crazy and have to jump into conversation. And believe it or not, I can talk to just about anyone, thanks to the variety of experiences of my siblings and in-laws. I like to introduce and be introduced (first & last names, please – it’s a teacher thing!). I think I’m still compensating for feeling so socially outcast in high school, but at least this is functional.

So here’s the challenge. I’m not saying you have to be best friends with everyone. Having an intimate friendship takes time and effort, and there simply isn’t enough hours in the day to maintain more than a few of them.

But please. If there is someone that you feel doesn’t like you, and you truly have nothing to base that feeling on except for that they don’t talk to you, MAKE THE FIRST MOVE. Go talk to them. My bet is that unless they are a genuine snooty-poot or clinically shy, they’ll brighten right up and be happy to talk to you. Give it a shot – let’s finally leave junior high behind us.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I'm Such a Hoser.

This would be proof that we actually have watered the perennial beds around the house at least once. Of course the kids needed to be watered, also.

And of course, Aaron and I had to have a "discussion" about it, and it went something like this:

Me: squirting kids with water.

Aaron: Geez, Liz, they're soaked.

Me: Well, it's hot out!

Aaron: Isn't the water cold?

Me: Well, I've got my thumb over the end to spray, and it isn't numb, so it can't be too cold. Now be quiet! If you were doing this, it would be totally fine, so just let ME have some fun with them!

Aaron: Didn't respond, left, and came back with the camera.

Score: Liz: 1 Aaron: 0 Kids: 100







Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Come ON, people!

Today I have a bit of a bone to pick with certain members of the human race.
No, not you.

THESE people:
1) Random vandalizers
2) Unhelpful shoppers

Here’s my beef with these people. (Are there any vegetarian-friendly clich├ęs for arguments? Or do only carnivores have disagreements?)

1) This morning I took the garbage out to the corner and discovered that someone had bend over the realtor’s “For Sale” sign in our yard. And I mean bent the metal 90 degrees, right over onto the ground.

Now, I realize that the housing market is pretty tough right now with a lot of houses on the market, but I’m not really an advocate of solving a problem with violence. Especially wussy anonymous violence. If you feel that strongly about something, at least leave your name (preferably NOT in spray paint) so that we can continue the discussion.

This is actually the SECOND time something like this has happened. On a previous morning, I found our sign pulled out of the ground, lying on the grass.

I’m chalking this up to either a disgruntled home owner also trying to sell OR one of the drawbacks of living on a busy street with close-ish proximity to both the downtown area AND the university.

2) It was time to replace the battery in the van. It has died on us (with little provocation) twice – once while Aaron was listening to the radio, waiting for me to finish tidying up before the realty open house. We had to have the realtor give us a jump so we could leave. Aw-w-kward. The last time was the other day at Lowe’s – Aaron had left the lights on for the 20 minutes we were inside (swearing that there had been no warning alarm, of course!).

So we bought a new battery at Sears. Aaron had me bring the old one in today for recycling, and the $10 refund we’d get in return.

Have you ever carried a car battery? Those suckers are heavy. I don’t know if it weighed more than Ben, but it was quite a bit less helpful in the carrying, what with its lack of extremities wrapping around my waist and neck.

I parked as close to the appropriate door as possible without using Aaron’s handicapped parking tag (which I DID consider) and schlepped the thing across the road. Approaching the door just ahead of me were two young men. They ended up getting there about 2 or 3 long strides in front of me AND LET THE DOOR CLOSE.

Now, it has usually been my experience that even without a 20 lb. box in your hands, most people will hold the door for someone coming after them, or at least give it a shove in transition.
Considering my circumstances, I really expected this to be the case. It was not to be.

As if to counteract their lack of consideration, a girl heading OUT the same door saw me struggling to remove my sunglasses and then open the 2nd door, and hurried to open it for me. THANK YOU for accentuating the lack of consideration of the two guys. I thought it was just me.

Now if someone would just apologize to our innocent yard sign.

Pretty Pretty Princess



This game was one of Leah's birthday presents, and one of her favorite games now. Something about the jewelry and WINNING is right up her alley.
Although I do think that some feminists might hate this game. Something about the princess theme, and winning by collecting all the jewelry...just seems kind of indoctrinational.