My online journal.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

I can't believe she's gone.

I just can't believe she's gone.

My Aunt Jan passed away very suddenly and very unexpectedly this weekend while she and Jean were canoeing in Wisconsin. She was 55 and in seemingly perfect health. The cause is as of yet undetermined, and my entire family and I are all still in shock. My grandmother has lost her daughter; my mother and uncle have lost their sister; my sisters and I have lost our aunt... and countless others have lost an amazing woman, musician and friend.

Jan was a reader at our wedding six years ago today. She hosted Lucy's baby shower. She was Jean's godmother, travel companion, and tennis- and piano-partner. She adored and doted on Lucy and Eddie. As the phone calls come in we are learning how many people's lives she touched. Please either pray or "send power" to my family during this excruciating time. And please give all your loved ones a giant hug and tell them how much they mean to you.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Band Name of the Day

I've been getting the Pioneer Press every morning for HOW long now? And I just discovered the section where they have the Band Name of the Day. They have a bunch of contributions from readers, generally "cute kid stories" or "hey, I noticed this" kind of thing, and at the very end they take some weird juxtaposition of words and call it the Band Name of the Day. It's usually something like "Hairy Coffee" or "Dancing Interns." I had no point there but I like the feature.

Only three notes from the AI finale tonight:
1. Best part of the night: when the real Clay Aiken came out during the Clay-Aiken-impersonator's song. The expression on the impersonator's face was that of someone who's just won the lotto. And Clay Aiken now looks EXACTLY like Paul McCartney circa 1962, only slightly less heterosexual. Making the impersonator the only one onstage who actually looked like Clay Aiken. It was a bizarre and wonderful moment.

2. I used to think Toni Braxton was super-talented and classy. Like a new Aretha Franklin or somebody. And then she shows up on AI, and she's all mumbling through her song, and wearing that trampy white dress, and grinding on my man Taylor! Toni, I thought you were better than that. I really did. And how weird is it that Taylor sang with Toni Braxton, given Carol's post earlier this week?!??! Like, if Toni and Taylor married, she'd be Toni Braxton-Hicks!! Wild!

3. Taylor Won! Taylor Won! Party time! Excellent! Woo hoo! Woo hoo!

Back to real life. Eddie scared me a little today by eating on one side at 8:30 AM, and then on the other side at 9:30 (breastfeeding nazis: I normally feed one side right after the other but I had to get Lucy out of her booster and entertained with her toys before I could finish). Okay, that wasn't the scary part. He then slept from 10:30 AM until 2:30 PM!! I actually called the doctor, and I knew it was silly, but I just needed to make sure Mr. Rip Van Winkle was all right. Especially with the weird engorgement issues (not mastitis, and all better now) I've been having. So the nurse who called back mentioned a growth spurt, and I said to myself, "Self? Your son's head does look a little bigger." So I whipped out the tape measure. His head grew THREE-QUARTERS OF AN INCH in two weeks. Ow! And really, he does look less pinheady.

So I'm putting Lu to bed tonight and Ed was already in his crib, and Lu said "Ni-night" to Jean and gave her a kiss good night, and then looked around the living room and said "Where Eddie?" And when I said "Well, Eddie already went to bed" she toddled over to his door and peeked in and whispered "Ni-night Eddie!" before heading into her own room. It never occurred to me that it would be important to her to say ni-night to all of her family members. She is so far ahead of me.

Speaking of which, did I mention this? She's counting to ten. I am not joking. I'm sure she doesn't know what the words mean, but she generally gets the sequence right. All right, she usually flips eight and nine. She's always liked nine better anyway.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

My husband brings all the boys to the yard

Okay, it's like, 75 degrees and sunny right now. Way too beautyful to be bloggering! BUT I needed to update a little.

Joel was a ROCK STAR of a husband this morning. He let me mow the lawn so he could spend some time with the kids (and I could get some exercise!). He assembled Lulu's new toddler bed. Threw in some laundry. Did dishes. Finished the lawn (he doesn't like it when I do the hills). Let me shower. Want a husband like that? I could teach you, but I'd have to charge. ;)

Not to be outdone, I personally de-ssembled Lucy's crib, moved it into Ed's room and re-assembled it, solo. I know, I'm amazing. :) Both kids are napping and I have some stuff to do, but have a great day, ok?

Oh, some of my awesomest cousins have new blogs. I'll add links... sometime.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Dumpster Diving... or whatever the opposite of that is. A potato chip?

So last night it took a full hour and many crocodile-tears and some backup from my sister, but I managed to get both kids bathed AND all their finger- and toenails clipped. Phew. It's one of those that, once it's done, I feel SO much better... but getting it done is a large challenge.

This morning, some of our alley-neighbors pulled in a huge dumpster to clean out their rabbit-warren of a home. Here are some ensuing conversations.

Joel: Hey, did'ja see the dumpster back there? After dark, I'm totally tossing the toilet (that we'd pulled out of the basement in, oh, January and is STILL sitting in our yard) and the tire (that for some wild reason a maple tree had been allowed to grow through and it has taken Joel the entire 4.5 years we have lived here to remove from said tree) in there.

Me: Sweet!

Fast-forward to this morning. I return home from an errand and see the guys tossing stuff in the dumpster. And I say, well I may not have any makeup on but I'm still going to see how far my "feminine wiles" can get me! So I grab Lucy, hoist her up on my hip and saunter over to the guys.

Me: Hieee.

Guy #1 (who is the Hobbit version of Alley Joel): How's it going?

Me: Great! Say, I was just wondering, and you can totally say no, would you maybe have some extra room in this thing... I have an old toilet and tire, do you think maybe I could toss 'em in there?

Guy #1: Sure! We're never going to fill this thing up. Do you need me to carry the stuff for you?

Me (aside to self): Yess! I still got it!

Guy #2: Hey, thanks for asking. You know, lotsa people would probably have just thrown their stuff in there.

Me: Really? That's so rude!

Mom, you'll be delighted to hear that we have acquired a toddler bed (crib size) and mattress for Lucy, so she doesn't have to have a "big girl" bed just yet. I'm excited to make the switch because Ed is getting WAY too big for the bassinet-part of his pack-n-play.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


if you click on a photo, it gets bigger.

Lindsay Lohan and me: soul mates?

Hello my darlings!
I'm sorry I've been slacking a bit. I am kind of gearing up to go back to work... by spending LESS time on the computer. Um, I know, that makes no sense. Took the kids to Como Zoo today with my sister. That place is just fantastic. Tons of cool animals, close to home and the price is right! Then we had a Taco Bell picnic in my yard afterward. It felt like summer: heavenly.

Hmm, not much to talk about I guess. I'll be missing "AI" tonight because I'm going to an info session about the nursing program at St. Kate's.

I did want to give a shout-out to the woman wearing denim-on-denim (gaah! Lindsay Lohan's pet peeve! And one of mine!) at Target yesterday, who had the unbelievable gall to get in the checkout line behind me and Jean and the two kids, and to comment on the fact that they had only one register open, and then, when they did open another register, to saunter over to that open register without even a courtesy "do you want to go first?" glance in our direction. Both Jean's and my jaws hit our respective shoes and I am pretty sure I said, loudly, "Who does that?!?"
Anyway, so the only question for her now is which hell (Fashion Hell or Raised-in-a-Barn Hell) gets first dibs.

Oh. And also: the other day on the Channel 4 news, some blonde field reporter said: "Police think the perpetrators would have went down this alley..." WHAT!??!?! How can a professional newscaster be allowed to speak like that?? Anyway, you should boycott Channel 4. I am.

Yeah! Mail's here! Best part of the day. Bring on the formula coupons and Pottery Barn catalogs!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Beauty and the daddy

So Lucy and I were reading a generic "Beauty and the Beast" book yesterday (generic, as in, non-Disney-sanctioned), and every time dark-haired Beauty appeared on a page, Lucy would point and say "Mommy!"

Flattered, I encouraged her. "Yup, Mommy is a beautiful princess!" I said. When we came to the end and the blond prince appeared, she pointed again and said "Daddy!"

"Yes! That looks like Daddy!"

So last night I was getting Lu ready for bed while "America's Next Top Model" was on (I wasn't watching it, of course, it was just on. See, there's a difference). The models were lanking around, doin' their model-thing, and Lucy pointed again and said, "Mommy!"

Well, my goodness! She must have a very high opinion of her mother! And I must be really, really, ridiculously good-looking! Hurrah!

Okay, so this morning, I was holding Lu on my lap while I looked up a couple things online. Alas, she said "Daddy" while pointing to photos of, in turn, Kyle Lohse and Adam Rosenbaum. Neither of whom are at all bad-looking, but also neither of whom look particularly like Joel. So probably, any grownup female is "Mom" and any grownup man is "Dad." Rats.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I want the spoon.

I'm here! Despite reports to the contrary, I have not fallen right off the face of the Earth. Which is a funny phrase. Because if you're standing next to someone, and they fall off the Earth, you would stand there and watch as they were forcefully ejected off into the sky. See? Now isn't that weird?

Eddie Money had his 2-month checkup today. He is gynormous. 15 pounds and 25.5 inches long, which are the 98th and 99th percentiles, respectively. So we get those numbers and then the doctor saunters in and says, "Sooo, how is he eating?" And I was, like, are you kidding? Oh, but just in case you were starting to gaze woefully at your own underachieving, normal-sized child's body, get this: Eddie has a pin-head. His head-measurement percentile? 17th. Yowsa. So basically, though 98% of other 2-month-old boys' bodies are smaller than Eddie's, 83% of them have larger heads. How embarrassing.

Word, so I owe you an AI recap. I'm working on it! Hang tight there, dawg, and I'll work it on out for ya. It's all love. Or something.

Oh, right, the title: "I want the spoon." That, my friends, was Lucy's first full sentence (we think). I mean, she's been saying "Where Eddie?" and "Hey, poo-poo!" but that was the first full, diagrammable, subject-verb-predicate-or-whatever, sentence. It sprang from her little lips Monday evening at the end of a delish meal of BBQ ribs, just as I was about to tear off for dance class. My parents, aunt and grandmother were all beside themselves that they got to witness it. Never mind that it was technically a fork!

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Hang on Sloopy

Okay, I know I've been a bad, bad blogger... the most effort I've made in the last few weeks has been toward my American Idol reviews, and even those have been eroding a little. Or that could be because there is one fewer singer every week. Hmm.

My parents have been in town this weekend, and man has it been nice to bust out of the usual routine a bit. This morning I got to play tennis with my mom, aunt and sister -- and Jean and I also got to play some coed softball in the afternoon.

Eddie's been an angel for the grandparents, totally putting up with me coming and going. I've had to pump a couple times when my "activities" didn't quite mesh with feeding-times, and he's been taking the bottle like a champ. What a guy.

Lucy is, simply, hilarious. Just a joy to behold. I adore her.

So the bummer-news this week is that our beloved Neighborinos, the Watsons, will be moving. They're buying a house actually not too far from Jean. We all knew we wouldn't all be staying in the 'hood forever, but it is still a very sad prospect for us Gronaus. We will miss them something awful.

The fabu-news this week is that our friends Becky and Adam had their baby girl! Vivian Jade was born on May 4 and we can't wait to meet her! Congratulations!!

So I'm sitting in bed, typing and enjoying the breeze coming through the window, and the lovely solitude and quiet, and then I stop and go: "quiet?! Something's wrong." Nothing was wrong, except that I'd forgotten to turn on the "parent unit" of the baby monitor. It was only 20 minutes, and I'm sure the Buckets is fine down there.

So we are trying to sell our bassinet. Know anyone who needs one? Eddie has outgrown it (and he is on the brink of outgrowing the bassinet-part of his pack-n-play too, holy cats!). We were asking $30 but I would take any offer at all at this point -- just want to get rid of the sucker.

Hmm, what else can I say? That just might do it for now. Happy Monday!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Dorky McDorkergirl, the least-talented paparrazza on the planet.

Lindsay Lohan, in the center, facing front. She has red hair. Okay, wait, the next one is better.

John C. Reilly, Virginia Madsen and Kevin Kline. These you should be able to pick out. Oh!! John C. Reilly TOTALLY waved at me. It helped that I was wearing an enormous yellow anorak, standing on a step, waving like a dang freak show and hollering "We love you Mr. Cellophane!"

Just kidding about the hollering part.

Oops, I tried to put a caption on this one but I am not that good. The dark-haired woman in the back (facing away from me) is Lily Tomlin; the blond wearing glasses (or just with a thick dark unibrow, it's hard to tell from here) is Meryl Streep.

This is a tulip from our yard. Yes, OUR yard, home of the Happiest Dandelions on the Planet, A.K.A. "Grass Alcatraz." I can't believe I actually took a picture of a friggin flower. Anyhoo, it's pretty, isn't it?

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

American Idol, 5/2

I apologize. I wanted to do something super-extra clever this week... but I'm coming up short of ideas and time. Time mostly. You understand, no?

Oh, and also we only took notes for the first song; Lucy and Eddie were taking up all our attentions during the second half of the show. So my second-half notes are going to be 100% by my memory of last evening. Which is now 17 hours old. And not good.

"On Broadway" -- Awesome! Loved it. It was like he finally let go and just sang the heck out of it.

"Home" (Michael Buble) -- Ooh, wee, Elliott, that was so boring!

"Kiss" (Prince) -- At the time she was singing this, I thought the theme was "songs from the year you were born" and I was appalled that Paris is so young that she was born the year "Kiss" was a hit. But then it was brought to my attention that I probably only remembered this song from the movie "Pretty Woman" which came out after the song. But then it was brought to my attention that Paris is only 16ish and was born in 1990... No wait, can that POSSIBLY be right?? Holy crud, it is. Okay, I am old. Anyway, with all that going on, who even knows how she sang? I think it was actually pretty good.

"Be Without You" (Mary J. Blige) -- I sooo can't get into whatever genre of music this song is.

"Renegade" (Styx)
"I Dare You" (Shinedown)
Jean thought his voice sounded really good (which sounds like a tepid compliment but she said it very enthusiastically, I promise), and I thought Chris kicked ass. Joel said he thought it was pitchy and that I could put that in my back pocket and smoke it.

"Against All Odds" (Phil Collins)
"Black Horse in a Cherry Tree" (KT Turnstall)
You ever know someone who is especially lovely, but so much so that people comment on how beautiful she is, like, ALL THE TIME? And like, sure, she is ridiculously good-looking, but maybe not, because you've heard it so many times and are tired of hearing it, because ain't nobody saying that kind of stuff about you, you're pretty sure? But then she opens her mouth, and she's just so dang nice, too... kind of makes you think maybe she has some hideous foot-fungus or something, because the universe must have some kind of balance? That's Katharine. I'm just glad I don't have to hang around with her in real life.

"Play That Funky Music" (Wild Cherry)
Jean and I Just. Love. Him. Have I mentioned that before? Because we do. Love him.

"Something" (the Bea'les)
Ooh, wee, Taylor, hate to say it, but that was boring!

And one side note: there must be a product invented that allows one-armed people to do things, such as scrape out the inside of a sour-cream container. What is it? And why is it not marketed to new mothers? And where can I get one??

P.S. Congrats to my baby sister Ellen who is moving into her new apartment in Wrigleyville/Lakeview today. Let's all of us old/married/parents live vicariously through her!

"Look at this place... call it a mess" (actual song lyric on the radio right now!)

Random happenings from the fort:

In our alley, we have, arguably, the largest parking space on our block. We happily and readily let our friends park there for snow emergencies, or when they're constructing new garages, etc. Apparently the space's loveliness has attracted the attention of others, as well -- some neighbors we've never spoken to just asked if they could leave a car there for an hour. Which is totally fine. I am delighted to share our abundance of concrete with the teeming masses. Except they parked their little Nissan right in front of the garage door. And, like, I'm not going anywhere in the next hour, but cripes, there is room for approximately four cars on our slab, three of which could park without blocking our garage access. People. Use your brains.

I accidentally clocked Lucy in the eyeball with my elbow this morning. No harm done, but it came about three minutes after a little lesson about "not hitting people. Ever." Oops.

Eddie is such a funny little monkey. He's worked himself into a great little schedule -- a morning nap (or two!)... a little afternoon wakey time, another little nap, some evening wakey and then out like a light between 8 and 10 AM. Sleeps until 2, 3, or 4 AM(depending on the lateness of the last evening feeding)... then sleeps until about 8 (with another feeding at 6 or 7 AM). He's a champion feeder. Never really goes more than 10 minutes on one side, then happily takes the second for another 10. We are so, so lucky to have such an easygoing little guy. And he's smiling lots these days, and yesterday he cried "real tears". We were so entertained by his crying yesterday (eyes darting around quietly, followed by a lower-lip tremble and then a big "WAAAA!") that we forgot that it probably meant he needed something. He's got his 2-month (two months, I can't even believe it!!) checkup next week -- I'll post more after that.

Lucy's new fun thing is splashing in the toilet water. Gross, gross, gross. At least it was cleaned on Monday.

We're on a new "eating-healthy" kick. I'm busting out all my old issues of "Cooking Light" and we've found a couple SUPER tasty salads, of all things. But my real weakness is desserts. Cookies, ice cream, jelly-on-graham-crackers: you name it, if it's sugary goodness, I am all over it. Oh, and it doesn't help when I take a "light" recipe and go "well, it says fat-free sour cream but all I have is full-fat... I'm sure it's fine!" Drat. So I'll be trying a little harder.

Oh my gosh they just moved their turquoise 1982 conversion van onto our slab too. What must!