My online journal.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Oh, what the heck, I so rarely have pix of my own self...

Don't try to watch this if you get motion sickness.

There's no sound on the video clips with my cheapo digital camera but here you go -- Lucy in motion.

Oh, OK, one more pic:

The eye of the hurricane

That's what it feels like about now -- the Christmas show has ended and High School Musical is just about ready to get rippin'. Of course, in this "eye" we have the minor events of various Christmas and New Year celebrations to attend to... well, it's not much of an eye. Thank you SO much to everyone who made it to the Christmas show! It means the world to me when you take the time to come and support live theatre.

If you came Saturday night you saw the Out Of Control Meg Show -- I slipped and fell right on my rear in the middle of one of the dances, and then I went through a whole nother number with my left shoe unbuckled. A kicking number, mind you. Joel was sitting in the second row and made up his mind to act as a human shield, just in case the shoe went flying off in the direction of someone's head. Considering I was kicking straight at eleven of my family members, it was probably a very real danger. I am an unbelievably unprofessional actor. It's not something I'm proud of.

Here's Lucy wearing my Radio City costume:

Ed eating MEAT:

Lucy's dance show this morning:

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Fun with face-recognition! has this amazing software that can do this (I couldn't find a decent photo of myself, alas!):

Thursday, December 13, 2007

AAAUGH! Where has my week gone?!

Hey there, so it's Thursday night already. I cannot tell you how quickly my weeks fly by, especially when Joel's home Tuesday/Wednesday! Everyone in my house seems to have recovered almust fully from the Mystery Superbug ... I'm not sure about the rest of Joel's fam. I never did get whatever it was, thank goodness, but I'm remaining diligent about not sharing cups and kleenexes (you might think that one would be obvious, right?) and only biting my nails immediately after washing my hands. Compromise, I tell you, it's a wonderful thing.

My Christmas show goes up tomorrow. You should come on Sunday! It's at 2pm. Buy tickets at the door. Being in the show and also being the choreographer has been challenging. I haven't been able to watch any of the numbers in the last couple days because I've been working on my own stuff backstage including several tricky costume changes, and really all you can do to get dance numbers to look right is to practice them and there simply isn't time. One of the moms was leaving tonight and she said to the costumer "The costumes look AMAZING! ... And ... the dancing is FUN!" Ooooooh, that's soooo not a good thing. Not that I'd actually convinced myself that everything looked perfect -- well, honestly, I'm still learning how to do a whole show. So I'm hopeful I can apply this experience to High School Musical when it starts next month.

My Grandma Jake, after a couple weeks of my p's dealing with various miscommunications with her caregivers, has officially moved into her new place. My mom hasn't shared many details but apparently Gram has a 99-year-old roommate and they are going to get along like peas and carrots. Or maybe more like peas and honey... not sure.

Hey, it's Jean's birthday on Friday! Swing by her blog and wish her a happy 29th.

I guess I'm going to bed -- except I'm wired from rehearsal and from the Meximelt I snagged on the way home -- $1.38 of yummy goodness, I tell you what. And from the eight Christmas cookies I have eaten, plus the two more I'm going to eat right before I brush my teeth and go ni-night. I'll be awake in bed for the next couple hours, mentally rehearsing the "12 Days of Christmas" dance and getting stuck every single stinkin' time at the part after the weave. Yaaarrrrgh, Payter.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The poop scoop!

AKA, The Plot Thickens (or does that give you a bad visual?)

Last night, Joel felt ishy before we went to bed. By 1 AM he was up, sick as a dog. He called in to work today and has been napping on and off. Even on the happiest, healthiest weekend days, Joel's mere presence throws my entire Daily Schedule into a tailspin, so it's for the Greater Good that he's confined himself to his Man Cave in the basement.

So I lurk about the house with the dread akin to a caged turkey's while counting down the days until Thanksgiving -- much uncomfortableness is coming and I can't really do much about it.

So help us solve this mysterious Superbug:

Ed vomited late Saturday night and had several very messy diapers through Monday, but has really seemed fine since then, although he didn't really eat anything until Monday evening. Lucy had messy bottoms Monday morning and then started vomiting -- her last go was about 6PM Monday, after which she immediately perked up and demanded food. Joel got sick late Monday night and continues to feel poorly.

Joel's mom, dad, two sisters, Jeff, and at least two cousins (all of whom were at the same party on Sunday afternoon) are ALL very ill. Which would make me think: Aha! Food poisoning! Except that Ed was sick Saturday night. So what gives? Either Ed's illness was just a weird coincidence and everyone else was food-poisoned, or he managed to get everyone else sick within 24 hours.

I actually still feel great, but I'm second-guessing every little shiver, tummy-rumble, and muscle twinge. It's OK, I'm only supposed to be in a show this weekend. Oof.

I aftergott to mention that I finished the last Harry Potter book last week -- does anybody want to talk about it!??! Please?!

Monday, December 10, 2007

My kids never get sick, my kids never get sick

My kids are sick.

Actual vomiting. Who ever heard of such a thing? Ed actually seems to be rallying -- Lucy, however, is very, very sad. It's heartbreaking.

We hardly ever watch Barney, but Barney's voice sounds different to me today. Did they get a new actor, or something?

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Shout-out to any "prospecting" (hey! We have an inside joke!) ECFE moms who find me here, after I was outed by our leader, Mary Ann, whose daughter was Googling her and found my prior entry where I mentioned her. Hi!!

And now, for kid anecdotes:

(As I'm tucking Lu in for nap)

Mommy, I need my gingerbutt.

Your what?!?

My GINGERBUTT man that I made in ECFE.


Lucy's other new favorite bastardized phrase is "aftergott" -- as in, "Oh no! I aftergott to drink my milk!" and "I aftergott to bring my backpack to dance class." and "I can't show you my dance moves because I aftergott them already."

You get the gist.

Speaking of backpack, Ed thinks it's hilarious to go up behind you (assuming you're squatting down to tie Lu's shoelace or zipper her coat or wipe the jelly fingerprints off the wall... again...), wrap his arms around your neck, wrap one of his little legs around your waist, and shout: "Packpack!" So cute.

Joel thinks it's funny to get the kids to pretend they're sleeping whenever someone is about to enter the room. He always says "Quick! Quick! Sleeping!"
Ed, of course, has picked up on this. When I go into his room to get him after a nap, he squeaks "QUEEEK!" and throws himself down on his face.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Adorable things they said today.


"Why? Why? Why?" Seriously, Ed? You're not even two. Yours is not to reason why. Not for another year or so.

When we go check on him afer he's been sleeping for a while: "Book. Saur-saur. Clock. Light." Just randomly naming objects in his room, while sleeping.

If he's not yet sleeping, he will say "Kiss" and then demand one. Sweet.

And oh, the saur-saurs. Dinosaurs, to you & me. His favorite... well, that is, next to his blanket -- that same one that my aunt Mary Ann made for Lucy. It's Ed's absolute obsession. Try buckling a wiggly 20-month-old into a car seat while he's wearing a winter coat and hat and boots and mittens and clutching a giant crocheted blanket. It's a challenge.

"Some." That's when you have something he wants; generally food. "Some. SOME!"

And Lucy:

The other morning, we all got up, well, kinda early. Ed first, and I went down to get him, and Joel followed. It wasn't exactly light yet. So the three of us are just kind of slouching in the semidark kitchen (because Morning People we ain't) when Lucy strides into the kitchen, with the purposeful air of someone calling a meeting to order, and very clearly and confidently addresses our bleary threesome: "HI GUYS!"

Sunday, Faje allegedly pooped all over the house. Lucy took a diaper wipe and wiped every surface she could reach in the living room and bathroom, all the while exclaiming "My gosh Faje!"

Saturday, I was at callback auditions for High School Musical. All day. So today... guess who's latched onto "callbacks"? Mmm-hmm, my favorite little princess. But she pronounces them "cowbacks" or "cowwhacks," thoroughly befuddling Joel.

"Jesus, I love you, but I have to go to callbacks." "Mommy, where is my bag for callbacks?"

So Rob Sutherland is the HSM producer as well as my co-choreographer for the Xmas show. And, it would seem, I am spending too much time with him.

Joel: "Lu, where are you going?"

Lu: "I'm going to callbacks. Hey Dad -- oh, I mean, Rob..." (she may have said more after that, but I was laughing too hard to hear.)

Joel obliged by sitting down in the living room and demanding Lucy's headshot and resume, and then asking her what song she was going to sing.

Lu (emptying out her "audition bag" during her "callback"): "Oh! Here's my lipstick, I have to get my money out. My purse, my mirror -- hold this, please. Okay, I need it back now." Joel is impressed by her array of props. "She's Carrot Top!" he cries.

Every night as we wrestle Lu into bed, we have to keep asking her meticulously-worded questions for which all the answers lead to getting her closer to going to sleep. Like, "Who's going to brush your teeth: Mommy or Daddy?" and "What song do you want me to sing?" and "How many blankets do you want?" The answer to that last question is, invariably, "Five" because five is the largest number Lucy can possibly conceive of. Mind you, she can count to about twelve, but when it comes to actual quantities, "Five" is infinity to her. "I need five blankets..." she says, "...and one for good luck, and one for good measure."

So we finally got her tucked in for the night. Joel pressed Play on her CD player, because both she and Ed like to drift off to some tunes (right now all Ed gets is his Shish box, but it's better than nothing).

We get a bit of a rigamarole from Ed, crying as though his toenails are being plucked from his tender wittle footies until we go in there and he laughs because he GOT us! Joel talks and snuggles him a bit, and he goes back down without a fight.

A couple minutes later, we hear (from Lucy's room):

"No! (pause) No! (pause) No! (pause) No!"

(At this point we realize she must be listening to Joseph. You never know what's in that CD player.)

"No! (pause) No! (pause) No! (pause) No! (pause) No! (pause) No! (pause) No! (pause) No! (slightly longer pause) Yes! Yes! Yes!"

Joel goes into the room.

"Dad, Benjamin did it."

Did what, Lucy?

"I don't know, Dad, I can't hear because you're IN HERE."

Friday, November 30, 2007

Looking for sub in all the wrong places...

Hi there! I need a female volleyball sub (or maybe 2) for Thursday, 12/6 at 6:30 PM in Apple Valley. If interested, please call/email me ASAP. I will not be there to play -- we're missing like 4 of our regulars, which is a stinker.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Come see my Christmas show!

But first, here are the kids one year ago, and four days ago.

Now, the shameless plug:


Enjoy Holiday Entertainment for the entire family!

Please join Ashland Productions for a musical journey into a little girl's search for the true meaning of Christmas. "Once Upon a Christmas" will be performed at the Maplewood Community Center Theatre, 2100 White Bear Ave N in Maplewood.

Showtimes: Friday, December 14 at 7:30 pm; Saturday, December, 15 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, December 16 at 2:00. Tickets are $14.00 for adults and $13.00 for Seniors and Children.

Call now to reserve your tickets! 651-274-8020. (and I'm in it!!)

And God bless us, every one

Joy, joy, joy.

That's what I was going to post before that I forgot about. I am so full of joy right now.

I didn't really do a Thanksgiving post, but I adore Thanksgiving and how its only point is to express gratitude for family and all the blessings in our lives. And to eat wonderful food, prepared with love.

Joel's p's hosted the whole gang again this year, including Jean and my folks (did I say this already?). Their generosity and willingness to open their home to us all was so much appreciated. I felt like I got to spend time with my parents -- always in such short supply. We even got to have a family game night on Friday after the kids went to bed -- we missed Ellen but she did get to dine with her boyfriend's family. As my parents left, I was just overcome with a feeling of warmth, knowing that my own children were tucked safely and snugly into their warm beds -- and I know having kids isn't for everyone, but at that moment I felt like I knew that this was exactly where I needed to be in this life. I am so glad, so lucky, so blessed to have these little people to pass along traditions to, to share the family games with, to share holidays with, even when my own parents are hundreds of miles away.

We had rehearsal for the Christmas show last night and of course I got all misty during "God Bless Us Everyone" -- I'm not the first to say I loooove the Christmas season, but sometimes I do loooove the Christmas season. I think I do a good job of distancing myself from the commercialism of the holiday. The kids are only getting $75-worth of used Craigslist toys from us -- I'm sure Joel will cave in but I'm really personally trying not to spend a dime on brand-new stuff for them, since this is most likely the last Christmas I'll be able to get away with it. And Joel and I have been going to Bible study and even made it to church last Sunday(!) so I'm kind of really feeling in the true-spirit-of-Christmas mood. And I've always hated Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" song, but three separate, very reliable sources were all raving about it recently, so I'm even rethinking that long-held Scroogeishness.

PS -- We're not doing Christmas cards this year. I'm sorry. It costs around $100 to do them, not to mention hours of time to do them the way I would insist upon doing them, and it's just not going to happen this year. Please accept my sincerest apologies, and proceed with your holiday season.

I could while away my entire life waiting for Blogger to load...

Golly, where to start?

Well, OK, Wednesdays remain my favorite day of the week. Loooove ECFE, looooove the fact that I don't have to tear off somewhere at 3 in the afternoon.

Speaking of which, a Regular Babysitter has been secured for those other days -- hooray! Kudos to N-Wats for loaning me her nanny. That loud whooshing noise you hear would be me, exhaling.

So let's see, where we at? I have, of course, forgotten everything I was going to tell you about. Oh yes!

I have signed on to teach several classes for St Paul Parks & Rec in the new year. I'll be teaching Beginning Swing and Latin dance, plus a beginning "dance for fun and fitness" class (kind of a jazz-dance class with a big focus on stretching and just getting your body moving for an hour) on Wednesdays. On Mondays I'll be teaching a Hip-Hop dance class for kids age 7-13 (YIKES!!) as well as a "Baby Ballroom" class (I'm actually calling it "Dancing with the Diapers" because "Baby Ballroom" was taken) where a parent can bring his or her babe-in-arms and learn to do basic dance steps, ostensibly to soothe and/or entertain the baby.

Eddie got over his cold-thing and is really making up for lost time by being extra-goofy and extra-rambunctious. Over the weekend, watching Ed laughing like a maniac as he flung himself around the living room, Joel and I turned to each other and said, Oh, yes, there's our son Edward; we really missed him!

Lucy is running hot and cold with us -- she so astutely turns my own phrases right back on me, it's more than a little disconcerting.

Lucy, put your hat back on.

Mommy, I took it off for a reason!

Lucy, can you go potty by yourself this time?

Mommy, I can't do that because I can't really handle it.

Lucy, why did you drop your cup of milk on the floor?

Mommy, I just can't know. (Okay, so her syntax needs some work.)

Lucy, you need to put your shoes on now.

Mommy, are we running very very late?

Monday she emerged from her room after her nap and I knelt and gave her a giant hug. It must have been extra-enthusiastic, because Lucy said "Wow, Mommy... that hug was really really... (and I could tell she was searching for the most superlative word she could find)... the most beautifulest hug. You did that because you really really love me."

I just got an email from my sis El with the coolest story which I will now share with you. Background: as a bday present, El's boyfriend got her tickets to a Glen Hansard/Marketa Irglova concert in Chicago. If you haven't seen Once you have no idea what I'm talking about and I'm not going to explain it because you should just see Once.

Oh boy. It seriously was the best concert I've ever seen for the
following reasons...

-It was at the Vic which is, oh about 2 blocks from my apt.

-We were 15 ft from the stage.

-So Glen walks out by himself and starts the show playing "Say It To Me Now" on the same guitar with the hole in it from the movie. Then Marketa comes out the piano and there's also a guy on cello, bass and violin. They played just about everything from the movie, and well as some new songs, some of the Frames songs and two covers. A Van Morrison and a Bob Dylan. I've just never seen anyone sing/play with so much passion. He was literally beet red after each song. And he's so engaging with the audience, talking between all the songs. At one point, he's telling this story..."I was in N.Y. last week and I met this guy from Chicago who gave me the best compliment ever. He had just seen Once and was inspired to learn the guitar and just put out an album of his own. I don't know if he's here." (cheering from the guy standing directly behind me) "Hey Anthony! Why don't you come up here and play with us. The chords are really easy on this one."And this dude, who had been breathing down my neck all night was like, "holy crap!" And everyone made a path to the stage and he went and played with them. It was just so friggin cool! The whole thing!

Hmm, I can't figure out how to make this block quotation go away. Blast it.
Well I'll write more later maybe.

PS Auditions for High School Musical tonight!! I'm so excited!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Lucy Survives First Dentist Visit

In other news, pigs have been seen circling O'Hare, and Hell is reporting snowfall.

No, really, she did it! Just don't tell her, okay?
So I had all kinds of awesome advice from several experts on how to prep Lucy for her first dentist visit. Get the "Dora goes to the dentist" book. Have Lucy go with me to my dentist. Take a field trip to Jamie's office to let Lu look at the tools, chair, etc. Did I follow any of them? Well, I think you can probably guess the answer to that. Last night I did a mad Google search and decided to make as big a deal about it as possible, given the three hours I'd allowed myself to whip a routine dentist visit into a princess birthday party.

So when Lucy woke up this morning, it was "Guess what day it is today? HAPPY DENTIST DAY!" I sang "Happy Dentist Day to you..." about 25 times; I rewrote (on the fly) the oldie "Happy Holidays - Happy HOLidays - Happy Holidays - Happy HOLidays ..." to make it about a dancing dentist ... I had Lucy pick out her Most Beautiful Princess Dress to wear... it was exhausting. Mostly because I had also scheduled a Craigslist umbrella-stroller pickup followed by a Watson playdate for the morning.

Well anyway, short story long, Lucy was An Angel. Though it helped that the hygienist is an absolute miracle-worker. She explained everything to Lucy, from the mask, glasses, and gloves she wore, to the light overhead, to the chair, to the rotating toothbrush. Everything. I'd be lying if I said Lucy wasn't uneasy about the whole thing, but the biggest resistance we got was in actually laying her head back on the chair. And that only took a couple gentle words, followed by me gently-but-firmly nudging Lucy back onto the chair. Lucy was wonderful during the x-rays and they got some beautiful photos of her teeth. Lu was a total champ, but really so much of the credit goes to that hygienist. It was, truly, *almost* a pleasure -- and I think for a dentist visit, that's saying a lot!

Ed is still seriously under the weather. Sad, sad man. He just needs some rest and I'm hoping he'll get it with all the grandparent-time this weekend. Ohhhh golly did I really just say that?

THANK YOU to everyone for all the awesome travel tips and ideas!! You guys rock -- what a treasure of knowledge you all have among you. I should post the ones people emailed to me as well -- just in case anybody wants to reference it all later. I am so grateful and blessed to have you all reading this. Know that you are appreciated.

And so we head into Thanksgiving! Have a great one, everyone -- find a moment in all the holiday craziness to pause and recognize all the good people and things in your life. Remember that you are loved. And that's all I have to say about that.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Unbearable Sadness of Panda

Okay, there seems to be some confusion as to whether or not I was aware that books exist on the subject of travel. Just to clarify: I was. :) Thank you for checking. What I was really looking for, though, was some real-life helpful hints from people I know, trust, and love (if you're reading this, you probably qualify). For example: I know some of you have been to San Diego. I know some of you have traveled with young children. That's why I'm asking.

So, right, we're flying into LAX, getting a hotel for a couple of nights to kind of get the kids acclimated to the new time zone and maybe enjoy some January sunshine, and then we're going to be spending about 4 days down in La Jolla. We're mostly going to go hang out with my friend Alison and her family (since I haven't even met her husband and daughter yet!) but also just to escape from Winter in Minnesota for a few days.

I think I'd like to acquire/borrow 2 umbrella strollers for the trip. The double stroller, I think, is too bulky to lug about, and the kids are so little that neither one can really walk long distances without getting whiny and adirectional. So if you have any leads for me, let me know. Also I think we might be purchasing a portable DVD player in the near future (for car rides and especially for the plane ride) so if you own one, send your review my way. Thanks!

Also! Sad Panda update -- Eddie has a cold or something. So we had a really rough weekend of basically cheesing out in the living room for two straight days. No, seriously, it was rough. The weather has been especially Novembery the last couple days (here's what I mean: it's 2:30 PM and the sky is exactly the same color as the street, and there isn't even enough ambient light to wash dishes by) and yesterday I never took off my pajamas all day. This works OK with me but not so much with Eddie, who does occasionally require a diaper change -- which he did not get yesterday. Oops.

Lucy's going in for her first big-girl dentist visit tomorrow, and I do not anticipate at all that it will go well. In unrelated news, the other day Lucy and Ed were playing very nicely and quietly together in Lucy's room, and all of a sudden I hear her, with supreme confidence and volume, yet apropos of nothing, say: "I am the HERO of this land!!!"

Friday, November 16, 2007

Three random thinghys

There is nothing more disgusting than my kitchen floor. Seriously, how can one batch of blueberry pancake syrup make an entire 11x15 space so unbelievably sticky??

It really bothers me when people store their cups upside-down in the cupboard. If you're doing it to avoid dust, then you simply need to drink more.

Joel and the kids and I are going to southern California on vacation in January! Need your travel tips/recommendations/must-sees. Help!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

You are not lost!

Hey, don't leave! This is still my blog. Please stay. Thanks!

You said it was snowing, Mom, so WHY CAN'T I GO SLEDDING!??!

One good thing about this new electronic age we live in is that it's so easy to go back and look up when things happened (assuming they were recorded in a cell phone or email or somesuch). One of the oddities of my personal brand of perfectionism, in addition to having perfectly-folded t-shirts but a sinkful of dirty dishes, is that for some reason it Really Matters to me exactly when things happened. Like, did that summer camp I taught at start in June or July? Did Lucy cut her first teeth at 8 or 9 months?

It also REALLY irritates me that Ed couldn't have been born 5 days earlier, so he and Lucy could be precisely 18 months apart. It throws off my math and my estimations of things. I know, I know, seriously, do I have time to be bothered by such things?

So let's see, what's new with the kids. Ed's dentist appointment was uneventful -- x-rays show no root damage, nor other larger cracks. His 4 canines have all poked their little heads out and his mouth seems to be giving him less trouble overall. He's such a sweet little baby man. He's so cuddly and loves hugs and snuggling. And he, too, has started singing along with all the music in the house. He can't keep up with Lucy's tempo so he just chimes in the last word of every phrase. He can get all the way through "Baby Mine" with me like that:

Me: Baby mine, don't you...

Ed: Kyyy

ME: Baby mine, dry your...

Ed: Eye!

On and on like that. The whole song, bridge and all. He does get tripped up on the very end, where we do the last line three times, changing "you are so precious to me, cute as can be" to "you are so precious to me, and your daddy" and then back again. The other day I handed him a ball, and he said (I swear): "Thank you, I really like it." I even have another mom as a witness. She witnessed the Baby Mine responsorial, too, so you can ask her about that as well.

Speaking of moms, I'm going to plug ECFE (Early Childhood Family Education) for a bit. Their advertising (well, what I'd seen) was really crummy (like, I got a handout in the hospital) and I only tried it out because I heard good things from some very reputable sources. Now, I'm really lucky to have my own personal network of moms-who-were-my-friends-first, and we do get to talk a lot about raising our respective kids, but I had no idea how valuable I'd find ECFE's 90-minute conversations strictly about raising kids. Most of the moms in my group have school-age kids, which is so great because they have a bit of perspective on living with kids Lucy and Ed's ages. But they also have kids under age 5, so it's not like they're done with toddlers -- they're still working on their younger ones. The group is led by Mary Ann Cogelow, who has an incredible depth and breadth of knowledge and education, plus a self-effacing style that makes her really accessible and human. Anyway, I sooooo look forward to Wednesday mornings. Plus we moms take turns bringing snacks. And I think you know just how I feel about snacks.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Clever Title Here.

So I don't have a lot of time to write these days. Who does? You say. I know. It's just... kinda crazy around here. I feel like I'm just barely hanging on to order in the household, despite having an entire 24 hours to myself over the weekend. Like, I did all that catching up, and now there's MORE laundry to do?? WHAT!?! It seems so unfair.

The two adult social-dance classes I'm teaching, at least, are winding down. One class left for each one. I'm choreographing Ashland's Christmas show, though, and that's picking up. (The show will be the weekend of Dec. 14 -- please come!) I went to my first rehearsal for that last night. My Tuesday/Thursday afternoon classes continue to be a source of grief, as far as finding people to watch the kids. I hate abusing friends and relatives; but I also hate taking the kids to Dee's, which is a logistical nightmare, incredibly inconvenient, and also a little expensive. Argh. I'm so sorry to keep whining about that.

I'm really enjoying my Wednesday morning ECFE classes. It's a great group of moms in class -- and even though we're all white (well, this week anyway), there's a really interesting range of backgrounds and cultures. I feel like we have some really good talks about important childrearing issues, and we delve into some uncomfortable topics as well. Last week we talked about shaming your children (and how we do it unintentionally). This week we brought up some behavioral issues with all our kids, and there was also a lively discussion about St Paul Public Schools' language immersion schools (there is a Chinese Immersion and a Spanish Immersion school, and maybe more). It's fascinating and wonderful to spend time with educated, informed, thoughtful women who live in my city and send their kids to the public schools here.

Now, I love the suburbs -- I grew up in the suburbs and I imagine living there again someday. But right now I'm so glad to be a city dweller. St Paul has so much to offer, and I feel like I'm only beginning to scratch its surface. And since I'm pretty sure we're not moving anytime soon, I feel compelled to really commit myself, somehow, to St Paul. I want to patronize her markets, restaurants, stores, and libraries. I (oh blast it, I just realized I didn't stop at Rainbow after ECFE and now I'll NEVER get out to get my groceries!! Gaaaah!) feel like I have been living in a shell, or a bubble, until I had kids. I felt like I was just biding my time in St Paul until I could move on to a "better" life somewhere else. But that was my mistake. There is a richness of culture and experiences here in the city of which I want to fully be a part and take full advantage. Criminy, and we've only been living here six years. Yeesh.

So we're starting to hunker down for the winter -- I tore out the Great Tomato Experiment over the weekend (but not before harvesting, with great hopefulness in my heart that they will ever ripen, 40 more green tomatoes). Joel cleaned out the gutters and did some cursory raking (one good thing about the un-fenced-in yard is that the detritus from the nearby trees does, eventually, take its leave ... pun acknowledged). I've been wearing my wool socks around the house, treading with vigilant lightness so as not to slip on the floor. As long as I remember to keep piling on the layers, I stay pretty cozy, even with the thermostat at 61 during the day.

The kids are their same wonderful selves, as always -- Lucy came home (with Joel and Ed) on Sunday, walked in her room, and gasped: "Mommy, you organized!" She's been talking for weeks about going to some wedding (sometimes she's the one getting married, but usually it's Faje. Lucy is always the one responsible for the catering, and she's always running late in getting the food in "the car" -- which is Aunt Jan's old leather chair that we keep in the living room). Yup, Faje keeps her invisible little head in on the action at all times. Lucy seems to be doing pretty well in her away-from-mom activities; though I'm thinking maybe I won't send her to preschool at all next year. Well, that's what I'm thinking this week. The SPPS have 4-year-old programs but not one for threes. And I could pay to send her to a private Three program but A) where exactly am I going to come up with an extra $130-$500 per month? and B) I can't imagine what they're learning in there that she won't get from staying in ECFE and dance class and maybe I can even sign her up for a couple other classes, for the price. Oh, I don't know, I'm actually totally conflicted about it.

Ed's a little terror -- his 4 little canine teeth have poked their way through his gums, and the chip in his front tooth has gotten a little bigger. I'm still at a loss as to what to do -- Jamie (my wonderful dental-assistant sister-in-law) says I could take him in, but there's really nothing they could do. She said if I did take him in, to just take him to his regular doctor. All the other moms I talk to say to take him in to a dentist. I even got some great pediatric dental recommendations, but ... argh. I don't know. OK OK I'll make an appointment. Argh.
Well honestly, I could go on forever, but there is dinner to be prepped, dishes to wash, laundry to tackle, and dances to be choreographed. Where the devil did my Lily Allen CD go!?!?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

OK, OK, twist my arm...

Halloween pix!

Our first-annual Halloween Pirate-Style Dinner: Giant Turkey Drumsticks to chank on!

Lucy was supposed to be the lion, but of course it was princess-or-nothing for her. And the lion costume was WAY too cute to waste.

Ensign Leopold...

That's Jean as the Reindeer of Death. I'm going as "Lucy's Real Mom" in the blond wig. Or, a princess witch. At this moment Lucy was a Hawaiian Indian Princess.

Joel as Rudolph, the Red-Nosed DEMON.

I dunno, there's something (and I can't believe I'm going to use this word) organic and wonderful about just opening up a box of costume parts and accessories and letting everyone have at it. I'm all for choosing one specific costume a month ahead of time and going full-out... but the impromptu dress-up kind of seemed to embody the real spirit of the holiday.

The Dalys came over for trick-or-treating after dinner, and we did a five-block canvass of our neighborhood. The kids held up really well, despite having to be reminded to yell "Trick or Treat!" at every single house. And to say "Thank you" after they got the candy, at Every. Single. House. And despite the incredible hilliness of our neighborhood -- the kids really had to work for their loot!

The Daly girls were SO adorable in their matching teddy bear costumes (Carol you're going to post pix, right???). Ed was a hit as the lion -- he even remembered to say "TWEET!" almost every time. And Lucy was very happy to be the princess... thank goodness.

I was reading a Midwestern Living magazine (that I cannot seem to stop receiving even though I can hardly stand its smarminess) article about holiday traditions and so I've been thinking a lot about our own family traditions, of which there has been a pathetic dearth. I mean, MY family has traditions, and JOEL's family has traditions, but we haven't really started establishing our own. Well anyway, in the article one mom they interviewed was talking about how the family eats a casserole the night they decorate the Christmas tree and the mom was like "Eating a simple food like a casserole keeps us grounded...." and I was like, COME ON, nobody in real life says things like that. A casserole is easy to throw together and easy to reheat and easy to chow down on and call it a whole meal -- that's why you make a casserole. Not to remind yourself that beneath all the perfect decos you harvested from your own personal forest you happen to own behind your amazing home that's being featured in a beautiful-if-smarmy magazine, you're still just real people at heart.

So I'm really sorry I used the word "organic" earlier. It won't happen again.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A mind of her own... inherited from us.

Update on Lucy and Halloween:

"Lucy, tomorrow night we're going to go on a walk. You don't have to dress in a costume, but Eddie will."

"Oh Daddy, I just want to go to Halloween."

"Lucy, do you want to wear a costume?"

"Yes, I want to wear a costume and go trick-or-treating."


"So, Lu... what do you want to be?"

"Um, a princess."

Gee, no kidding.

I forgot to mention that last Sunday morning we were doing second-breakfast with my folks and Lucy was getting super tired from Grandparent Overindulgence so she started to have a whining freak-out at the table. As in, she wanted the entire 28-oz jar of jelly on her piece of toasted bread. And also not.

So she got some quiet time by herself in the bedroom. My mom went in after a minute and asked Lucy if she knew why she was in a time-out.

"I threw a fit," she answered.

Gee, no kidding.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Glory be!

Then the door burst open wide!
And my daddy stepped inside!
And he kissed my mama's face!
And he brushed her tears away!
The night Chicago died Na-na na, na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na-na-na...

This song is stuck in my head. Yes, indeed. Oh, and Jean, Paper Lace is the band.

Ed is supposed to be napping but instead he's in his crib saying "Ready, go. Wheeeee!!" What a goofball.

We had an awesome weekend in Chicagoland! We got in to RM very late on Thursday night but the kids slept almost the whole way in the car, and were total angels. We got to see Stu and Julie and the twins, and Matt and Megan and Charlie, plus Nick and Estelle, and we got to spend lots of quality time with Ellen's boyfriend Dwayne Blazer. He taught us the trick to being the wittiest person in the room, and elevated our family banter to a new level of sarcasm. Oh, and Ed slipped on a rocking-whale at the playground and chipped his two front teeth. Poor little snaggletooth.

Ed climbed into bed with Lucy on Saturday morning at my parents' house, and she was trying to read him a book but he was getting wiggly. "Don't go, Eddie!" Lucy said. "I'm nice! I'm friendly!"

Lu had her last dance class of the session this morning, and I picked up Joel at work so we could all watch. All the other kids in class said their names, and of course Lucy insisted she was "Cinderella." She did pretty well as far as following along with the movements, but she latched onto another little girl and together they kind of went into goof-off mode: spending more time dancing/pretending to nap with each other than listening to Miss Lee. Oh, well. Ed was devastated that he couldn't join in the dancing and I had to let him run around in the hall for the second half of class.

Oh, PS Mom: I still have your camera. Sorry!

It's a gorgeous fall day here -- the oak tree in our front yard is radiant orange, with the sun streaming through. I picked about eight more tomatoes this morning -- 90% of the plants are totally dead, but there's still quite a bit of good fruit boldly clinging to life. I want to go pick up some pumpkins for the kids, even though Lucy has officically filed for Conscientious Objector status for Halloween.

I'd better start picking up this dump. Oof, it's tough to be gone for the whole weekend.

Don't forget, everybody, tomorrow (Tuesday) everybody in America gets a free taco from Taco Bell!! from 2-5 PM. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A beautiful day in the neighborhood

Much to my chagrin and despite all my positive thinking to the contrary, it's really turning into autumn. The trees are truly gorgeous but our heat has been kicking on for the last couple of days. We really enjoyed receiving last month's energy bill, which was like eight dollars. But those days are short-lived.

This week is my one-year anniversary of being home with the kids! I deserve a gold watch but I bought myself a new pair of Gap jeans instead. Buying jeans at the Gap is ridiculous ("The Classic" -- "The Essential" -- "The Curvy""The High Waist" -- "The Long and Lean" -- give me a break!!) but ultimately satisfying (it turns out my rear end is rather pleasantly-shaped -- but who knew, since I had been ignorantly if contentedly drowning in a pair of Dollhouse stretch jeans that I had already worn straight through two pregnancies).
Please think nice thoughts for the people in Southern California whose homes are threatened by the fires -- specifically, my friend Alison and her family. One fire about 5 minutes from Alison's house was started by an arsonist -- I had thought they were all just wildfires. Anyway, it's got to be really scary to be living out there right now.
Also, I found which is a blog by professional dancers. It's really cool.
Also a quick Lucy tidbit: when she's sitting on the pot and I'm sitting on the edge of the tub (because she likes company), she often will reach out and massage that little wrinkle that I get right between my eyebrows when I frown. I'm sure she just thinks the wrinkle is weird-looking but I think it's a sweet gesture -- don't frown, Mommy.

Monday, October 22, 2007

What've I been up to?

Jean and I went to see Urinetown (yes, again -- this time at Bloomington Civic Theatre) on Saturday night. So basically I've missed all but one American League playoff game (and I missed all the NL games because the Powers That Be decided to televise them only on cable -- and then they wonder why the ratings were dismal). World Series starts Wednesday, and I can actually watch the first game. Can't wait!!

Urinetown was fantastic. Though in several aspects, I liked Heritage's production earlier this summer, better. Much better. But really BCT's show was incredible as well. We got to sit right in front of John Command, who was spittin' nails about Patrick Morgan's microphone going in and out. It's fun to get that inside look at the behind-the-scenes action -- though we didn't exactly have a choice.

Lucy told me yesterday that she HAD to put on some makeup because she looks "scaredy." So there's something else I have to stop saying.

We really had a fabulous weekend -- on Saturday, the sun finally came out, PLUS I got an extra-good deal on a bunch of Craig's List toys for the kids for Xmas, PLUS I got to go to the new Trader Joe's in Woodbury, plus Joel and I took the kids on a "nature hike" at Battle Creek Park, plus we scored a couple little treats (Aladdin and Beauty & the Beast on VHS, plus some "shish" swim trunks for Ed) at a garage sale. And I mowed the lawn in the sunshine. It was, like, my perfect day. On Sunday Jean and I went for a run (once around Phalen (3 mi)-- her first post-marathon run and my first run in several months) and surprisingly, I made it the whole way. Then Joel and I cleaned the garage -- or no, wait, that was on Saturday. Well, it got done and so did all the laundry and we have enough leftover dinners to make it through the entire week so it's Monday and I feel like I've got a nice solid jump on the week.

Which is great because I found out at the end of last week that I'm also choreographing Ashland's Christmas show. And then over the weekend, when I off-handedly asked how many people were in this Christmas show, I found out that oh, by the way, I'm also IN the show. Yikes! I'm sure Joel is really skeptical of how I'm going to bend the laws of time and space to fulfill these extra commitments. I'm interested to see how it all works out, myself.

Hey, I just found out that my cousin Amy is in the hospital with some pretty serious medical issues. Read her blog for more info, and send some healthy thoughts to her and her family.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Mom's version of the William Tell Overture

My Aunt Rosemary sent me a link to this YouTube video that I think is totally awesome.

It made me grin insanely for a few minutes -- but you know how I am about singing. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Desperately Seeking Discipline

Because I can scarcely keep track of my own stuff, I do not expect you to. So before I launch into this post, I remind you, dear reader, that on Tuesdays I teach elementary-school kids a "theatre class" consisting of acting, singing, and dancing.

So despite the godawful timing and logistics of the class (it's 3:30-5pm on Tuesdays in Mahtomedi, and Daycare Dee can only keep the kids until, like, 4:45 and we only have one set of car seats so Joel has to scramble out of work to get the kids and then hang out at Target for half an hour until I can pick the three of them up and really I need to find a better solution because Joel is getting peeved), I do love teaching it.

Except for the talking.

The class is right after school, so the kids have a LOT of energy to expend and a LOT to catch up on. Understandable. And some activities we do do seem to hold their attention enough. But during some of the other stuff, there is nonstop chattering going on. Waiting in line to take a turn speaking? Chattering.

Or this one kid is doing handstands instead of watching his peers take their turns performing. I ask him to stop. I joke -- handstands are awesome, I love doing them myself, I'm all for tumbling but this is not tumbling class! And the next time I turn around, there's Tyler, doing another handstand.

It drives me insaaaaane and as someone with no education training, I feel desperately ill-equipped to deal with it. I want to just scream at them, but that's totally not the right thing to do -- not to mention I am still trying to get my voice back 100% after my brave battle with the double dose of chest cold/marathon cheering. The only thing I really know how to do is give time-outs, so I don't call them that but I did send 2 kids to go sit out and not participate in whatever activity we were doing at the time. The girl took it well (despite the fact that "Sheila was talking to me FIRST!") and came back at the end of the activity to take her turn. But poor Tyler the Handstand Boy sat out the entire rest of the class, refusing to rejoin even when I went over and asked him nicely to please come back, we're all having fun, and maybe if your mother would cut your hair I could actually see your face to talk to you.

So I guess next week they get a little talk about respecting each other's performances by paying attention, blah bah... I wish I knew what to do.

Oh rats I have to get up at the crack of dawn and make apple cake for ECFE tomorrow. But I really want to see how the Red Sox-Indians game ends. Blast it!!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Elephantitis of the tomato and apple

I harvested about 4 more cups of tomatoes today -- is this normal for the middle of October? Will these things ever die?

Also the Gronaus took us to Karen and Skip Olson's house on Saturday for an impromptu apple-pick. We came home with, I kid you not, probably 50 pounds of apples. So... I'm planning on making pie. And applesauce. And apple cake. Yeepers.

At some point over the weekend, Grammy Donna taught Lucy this song:

I love him, I love him, I love him
And where he goes I'll follow, I'll follow, I'll follow
He'll always be my true love, my true love, my true love
From now until forever, forever, forever...

Apparently not content with the chorus, Lucy also learned the entire verse:

I will follow him
Follow him wherever he may go
There isn't an ocean too deep
A mountain so high it can keep!
Keep me away!!
Away from my love!!!

Lu's not so good on the pronouns (it's usually "I will follow you...") But truly, Joel and I about wet ourselves in the van today when Lucy busted it out. Amazing.

Of course, she's still stuck on Joseph too -- Potiphar being her favorite scene. I mean, really, of all the wonderful family-friendly scenes in that show, she latches on to Potiphar? There's no accounting for tastes.

Speaking of tastes, Ed got a nice taste of Lucyflesh on Thursday when he took a hearty bite out of her face. He didn't draw blood, but Lu has eight very distinct tooth-shaped bruises right on her right cheek.

HEY! Bloomington Civic Theatre is doing Urinetown, opening next weekend. On Saturday the 20th they are offering 2-for-1 tickets. Jean and I are going. You should come too! Let me know if you want in and I will give you the code or whatever. I think you just have to say "email special" when you order the tickets, or whatever.

Joel wants you to know that his knee is doing OK. The swelling has gone down considerably (it was the size of a cantaloupe on Friday and is now almost back to normal) and he continues to gimp about. The pain comes and goes but seems to be improving. Also he is incredibly sexy and hott and he assures you, dear readers, that his upper body has lost neither its superhuman strength nor its chiseled definition.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

And we all settled down for a good mid-week nap...

Joel had his torn meniscus removed from his knee this morning. The nurses said he chatted away the whole time he wasn't sleeping (they ended up not giving him the general anesthetic but rather just a "knee block" with some sedative). He was indeed able (and encouraged) to walk on it afterward -- but now he's in the basement enjoying some football movie along with a hearty dose of Vicodin.

On top of my hourly savage coughing fits, I came down with a stinker of a migraine while Joel was being operated on. Let me tell you, we were quite a pair, limping and skulking our way out of St. John's day surgery center at 10:30 this morning.

My dad is here, thank goodness, to help with the household duties and of course the child-entertainment duties.

Jean's been back at work all week -- apparently her toes and toenails (what remains of them) are in rough shape, and she's been having some foot and calf pain too. But other than that she seems a-ok.

I'm thinking about brewing a cup of tea and settling in with the crossword puzzle. I've got about eight songs to choreograph but I suppose that can all be put on hold for a while. Happy Wednesday to all...

Monday, October 08, 2007


Above, at mile 8.5.

Below, about 1 block from the finish line:

Jean finished the marathon!

Congratulations, Beansie. You're an inspiration.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Oh, and Joel's having knee surgery on Oct 10.

Well! This is certainly going to be More Like It.

Just got back from the kids' first official "field trip" to Afton Apple Orchard. SO much fun, and the best way to pass a gorgeous fall morning! I was pleasantly surprised, and actually I continue to be, by how well some of these ECFE things are orchestrated. Truly, they have so much experience with kids this age -- just plug new kids right in every year and you're set.

For example, they installed 15 car seats into a school bus in what seemed like 30 seconds. Incredible. Getting 2 car seats in my van takes about a half-hour for me -- these gals are whizzes. When we got the the orchard, there was plenty of time allowed for the kids to play at the playground or observe/feed/pet the sheep, llamas, goats (my kids' fave), cows, donkeys, and pigs, before we all loaded onto the hayride for an apple-pickin' tour. Each person got to pick three apples, which sounds kinda lame-o but really it was perfect for the attention span of 15 under-5-year-olds. We saw horses, got to see a pumpkin growing on a tree (seriously), sampled some apple cider, and sang the "Louisiana Hayride" song (actually just me). Then we tucked into lunch, played in the mud, and loaded back on the van. It was a perfect little outing and I'm sure the kids are going to nap well if they would just allow themselves to fall asleep.

Sooooo... what the heck's been going on the last couple weeks? Unfortunately September has been ripped off my calendar, because I just don't remember. I suppose I could work backward.

Last night I really thought I was coming down with something: allover aches and a really sore throat. But I realized I'd done a lot of talking in the prior few days, plus my dance class on Monday was particularly intense, so I gargled some salt water, took some ibu, sucked on a Cold-Eez and really today I feel about 80% better.

The sore throat also could have been caused by walking about 10 blocks in the rain yesterday -- nobody told me it was going to rain! I'd packed up the kids and hustled them onto the bus for a lovely excursion to the Children's Museum -- but it was not to be. The kids were uber-crabby and sprinting off in opposite directions at all times. I could not even keep them both in the same exhibit -- a nightmare. Neither one even napped after that, which was actually a good thing because I had to hustle them over to Dee's at 3pm so I could go teach my new class.

Back it up! You say. Class? What class?

Remember Ashland Productions, home of the "Joseph" summer camp I helped direct? Ashland has an afterschool theatre program for elementary-school kids, and I'm going to help direct it. We play theatre games and icebreaker/get-to-know-each-other games, and I teach the kids a song and dance each time. It is every other Tuesday from 3:30-5pm.

What a dreadful time of day! You say.

You're right! My kids are generally napsy-doodles at that time. Except Lucy's down to only a couple actual naps a week (Don't pick Tuesday, Lu!) and... well, that's the only good thing. So I'm planning to take them to Dee's (my old daycare provider) house for about 2 hours, every other Tuesday. It's 20 bucks each time, and I'm not entirely certain I'll be making that back in income... but it's something I really want to do. Anyone interested in filling Dee's role for less than $20? You're hired!

In addition to the after-school program, Ashland has two show choirs that I'm also helping out with. If you know me, you know show choir has been my true passion since 1992, so I'm extra-excited to get my hands on those kids.

Last weekend we left the kids with Joel's folks and trekked down to Madison for my cousin Mary's wedding. I discovered a new drink (the UV Blue Lemonade) and had some nice convos with many mostly-drunk relatives. It was a good little getaway for us, and also for the kids, who thoroughly enjoyed the relaxed bedtimes and abundance of new toys at Grammy and Papa's house.

After we picked up the kids on Sunday, we swung by this place for an open house. The home is AMAZING and tantalizingly close to being affordable -- but, not. *Shrug* It is fun to dream.

We had a meeting with a contractor last night to talk about the possibility of opening up the wall to Ed's room and turning it into a dining room. He's a family friend (holy cats, I better not be old enough to have "family friends"!) and we had a great, educational chat and visit with him. It really helped put a lot of things into perspective and that actually reminds me I need to email him and tell him that in addition to a dishwasher (not named Joel) I also MUST have a couple more functioning electrical outlets in the kitchen.

So! Because we have so ungodly much going on, and because we were gone all weekend so lots of housework was neglected... my children are being ignored. Not at this instant, mind you, because they are blissfully napping, but in general, I am finding there is simply not enough time in the day to spend all morning goofing off with them and still expect myself to get all the dishes/cooking/laundry/choreography done, that needs to get done.

Whic brings me to: where's the balance between "homemaker" and "stay-at-home-mom"? Because I read two articles recently about SAHMs, and both said that my staying home ought to "ease some of the housework burden" on my husband, ostensibly allowing him to "focus more on his career." I don't think that's happening. And I don't mean JG's not focusing, I just mean that I still think he does a ton of dishes, dusting, vacuuming, baths, and general pickup -- and he would, even if I didn't have 100 evening activities to dash off to. Some of which bring in some extra money. So what's my responsibility? Is it to roll around in the living room with the kiddos, paint their faces, do crafts (I still haven't done a single craft with them, I swear, I just can't handle whatever disgusting mess would ensue... but maybe I'm thinking of the wrong crafts? And where does one purchase "alum" for making homemade play-dough?)... or is it to organize the bills, do the dishes, change out the laundry, scrub the toilets, dust and vacuum? I'm sure it's some kind of balance; I'm just finding it hard to strike it.

Let's see, what are the kids doing?

Lucy is still really enjoying her dance class (still despite her claims to the contrary). It amazes me that she's making these friends, whom she can name, and I have no idea who they are. Chloe? Reed? Hattie? Leah? Who are you?
Two weeks ago they worked on "pas de chat" ("step of the cat") and this week it was "zig-zags". The other day I caught Lucy demonstrating to Ed how to walk backward... now slow... now fast! But that's as close to a demo as I can get from her.

Ed is jabbering away as usual -- if he wants you to follow him, he'll run ahead, reach his hand behind him, and say "ummm-ON! ummm-ON!" He will give "knuckles" now ("NUCK-ull!") and then pump his fist "Yesss!" afterward. When he goes down a slide at the playground, he stands up at the end and claps for himself: "Yaaayyy!!" and sometimes "Ta-Daa!" and then says "Bow?" and neatly ducks his head before running off to try something else.

Lucy is still insisting that I call Ed "little prince" and calling herself "Singer-lella." She's also started speaking in gibberish, for no good reason. Usually when she's trying to pull your attention, or trying to distract you from something naughty she did.

I will round this out by saying that you know you're a grownup when you start experiencing things coming full circle -- like, when you actually live in a place long enough to see a huge road construction project begin and then end. Or when you actually have to replace something you've never had to replace before, like throw pillows. It somehow gives you the wisdom of age to be able to say "nothing lasts forever" and really have lived it.

Jean's running the marathon this Sunday -- take a quick minute to send her power! If you somehow didn't cadge an invitation to the post-marathon party starting around 1:30 PM Sunday, it's a more-the-merrier thing and you should try to swing by. Cheers!

Mortgage market?
See other sheet
Ed: Umm-ON!
Lucy's gibberish and drawings: what I draw? A cup. Purple. Daddy. The wind. Friday. The "new Faje": Koo-koo.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Just a bite

Imagine a garage-sized pile of debris: newspapers, dance shoes, laundry, wet towels, apples, CDs, kleenexes, papers, papers, and more papers -- all the flotsam and jetsom of our lives here on 4th Street.

Enter: ME (lifting a dirty sock and one of Lucy's drawings off my head): Hey. I'm still here. I've got to get back to work. But I'll blog again soon.

Till then...

Friday, September 21, 2007

...Tomorrow Comes!! ...My Amazing Colored Coat!! ...You Can't Stop the Beat!! and what-have-you

Yesterday Lucy bit Eddie. She hadn't napped, see, and he had his mitts on her Sad Puppy. But, you might ask, how did you know Lu bit Ed, because you were cooking dinner and not paying attention to your children?

Because Ed told me. He actually said "Bit me!" It may have been "You bit me" or "It bit me" but I couldn't make out the first word. I heard him say it (from the kitchen, where I was preparing dinner and ignoring my children) and thought, oh, that was Lucy, except why was she speaking in Ed's voice? Anyway, I think that was his first full sentence. "___ bit me!"

We went back for Day 2 of ECFE yesterday (I volunteer in the little kids' room on the day we don't actually go to class, so I got to hang out with Ned). It was not good. For one, Lucy was overwhelmed by being away from me 2 mornings in a row. For two, I was in the room with Ed and the other 2 "teachers" (both 60-something women) and I don't really have my daycare-sea-legs yet. So we'll see how this Thursday thing goes.

Also! I just realized an error of omission (when, rereading my last post, I hit the lone comma at the end a paragraph). I forgot to finish the story about Ed at the end of the song, at ECFE class. You know how in most Broadway-style-showstopping-songs, there's a large, long note at the end? I assure you, there is. Well, we listen to a lot of Broadway around this joint, so at the end of the song we all belt out the last note and raise our arms in victory and elation and hope for a better tomorrow. So... Ed now does this at the end of all songs. Which is amusing to strangers.

Lucy started crying mid-nap about 20 minutes ago, so I went in there to hear "My mouf hurts!" So I peeked inside, and Lu has a jumbo canker sore. Ooooh, those smart. So I told her I was sorry about it hurting, and that it would go away in a few days, and then I told her that, yes, she HAD to try to go back to sleep for a while (because it's only 2pm fer chrissakes and I am not yet mentally prepared for The Late-Afternoon Child-Rearing).

So she asked Why, of course, because she's three, and I said You have to sleep so you can grow big and strong and not to mention, don't you remember yesterday when you didn't nap and how sad you were the whole rest of the day?

And she thought for a sec, and said, If I sleep I will grow big, like you?

And I said, Yes, big and strong like Mommy.

And she said, And I can have a beer?

She's in there now, but I can hear her playing her harmonica... like a lonesome cowgirl idling away a lazy afternoon, waiting for the herd to finish its afternoon graze.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

What the devil is falling on my roof -- it sounds like bricks!!

Apparently it's International Talk Like a Pirate Day -- I know this because I got an email from my sister Jean. You wouldn't know it if you checked her blog, though, because she didn't post on it, just like she didn't post on the fact that she ran 21 miles on Saturday, without stopping. Isn't she awesome?!?

Lucy's dance class is apparently going fine -- I was able to peek in and see about three minutes' worth of activity and it sure looked like the Pants was joining in. Of course, after class I asked Lucy how it went and she told me she didn't want to be in the jungle and that Miss Lee yelled at her. Both of which I highly doubt.

Ed is talking like crazy. He invented a game where he pokes someone (usually Lucy) in the bellybutton and says "Bee!" ... and lots more good-natured poking and "Bee!"ing ensues, much to his delight. He likes to "beesh" his own teeth by holding the toothbrush in his head and shaking his entire head back and forth. He is constantly pointing at things and saying "Uttdat?" which, I just read somewhere, is how kids increase their vocabulary. Well, I mean, obviously.

At ECFE class today, the kids had no problem with the separation (us moms were in a room together the whole time). Ed's teacher said that Ed asked for me a couple times, but was very easily distracted. She also commented that he ate tons of snack (surprise, surprise) and that he REALLY enjoyed the song they sang,

Lucy's new favorite song is still Elton John's Your Song (which Lu calls It's a Little Bit Funny). She also likes Goodnight My Someone from "The Music Man" and makes sure to remind me, before I start singing it to her, that the lyrics during the bridge are "True love can be whispered from heart to heart..." and not " to star..." which is how I had previously (and errantly) been singing it. "Sing heart to heart this time, Mommy." Lucy also reminds me to close my eyes when I sing the last high note, because that's how Kristin Chenoweth does it. Geez Martha. A stickler for accuracy.

So despite what I told everyone, I am indeed teaching some adult social dance lessons this fall, for that same group I taught in the spring. We're doing West Coast Swing and Hustle this time around, and I certainly have my work cut out for me. It's been 5 years since I taught West Coast to anybody, and it's a tricky little dance. But the group is fun.

I hope it's not too early to get excited about this, but I believe I will be choreographing Ashland Productions' version of "High School Musical," which audition in November and go up in March. I am so excited I can hardly stand it -- and I get to work with some of my favorite people on such an incredibly fun and high-energy show. Can't wait!

Lucy has a new imaginary friend: Hoo-Hoo. Hoo-Hoo is a red spider (but sometimes it's Eddie). Lucy found my old theatre scrapbook (I say old because the last show I did was 2.5 years ago) and was astounded that Mommy is there right next to the Pharaoh in pictures from "Joseph." And that Mommy is an Egyptian. And a cowgirl. And Mrs. Potiphar.

And seriously? I know she's no Yo Yo Ma, but that girl can sing every word in the "Joseph" soundtrack, on key, with all the right pauses and inflections, and seriously minimal prompting. And if you don't believe me, give me a call and I'll give her the phone so she can sing it to you. Even if it's not musical genius, it's pretty dang entertaining.

I told Lu she could take the scrapbook into her room with her for Quiet Time (our new euphemism for naptime) and Lucy told me she would let me know when she was ready to be tucked in and have a song and a kiss and a hug. And I thought "right, this is going to be a battle" but no, about 5 minutes later, she opened the door, came out, asked for her tuck-in/song/kiss/hug, and climbed right into bed. Do I have these kids trained, or what?!? :) She'd left the scrapbook on the floor, and as I was about the exit she showed great concern that I was going to "step on it and smash it." So she made me do a giant leap over it, which I did, in exchange for her very tired but very satisfied smile.

Joel's bday is on Friday -- any gift ideas? He is excruciating to buy for. No hobbies to speak of, and he gets all his clothes from his mom. Which sounds bad, but honestly she's just super-generous. I might revert to buying him a large block of cheese, as I've done in the past.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Oh, Mr. Adams, you are driving me to homicide!

Both kids had regular checkups this AM -- now that I don't have to get up for work every morning, I forget that the kids frequently really do sleep until 7:30, and that I do, too, and that getting them to a 7:45 appointment really is kind of pushing it a bit. And yes, it's almost been a year. I'm a slow learner.

The appointment actually went swimmingly. Lucy asked the whole way there if she was getting a shot, and I really had no idea whether or not she was getting one, so I didn't quite know what to tell her. Then, when she found out Ed was getting one, and would get a sticker for his trouble, she decided she wanted a shot. Except she kept saying "take a shot."


"Mommy, am I going to take a shot?"

"Mama, I want to take a shot before Eddie does!"

So we got a couple weird looks from the nurses at the station. Dr. Brown (the new ped at the clinic) was very nice, but you could tell she wasn't quite accustomed to such little ones. She didn't handle Ed's squirming with the aplomb you'd sort of expect from a pediatrician, and then she gave Ed a completely full paper cup of water and proceeded to totally hover/freak about him spilling it, which of course he did, but mostly because she was sort of grabbing at him and/or the cup. Ed actually can drink well from a normal cup, thankyouverymuch, but not when it's full to the brim and certainly not when he's being swatted at.

Both kids seem to be doing just fine, developmentally (tho I wasn't questioning that). Lu weighs 36 lb. and is in the 90th percentile for both height and weight. Ed weighs 26 lbs (but it's a real heavy 26, I tell you what) and I didn't get his percentages because I was sort of focused on the kids, who at the time were dumping out their dry-cereal crumbs all over the rug. I knew (from the pencil marks on our wall at home) that both kids have gained more than 3" in the last 9 months (also because I've had to swap out all of last year's pants for both of them -- yay, new pants!).

Lucy did end up getting a shot (Hep A, they both got), and of course she insisted on going first. And thank goodness for that, because no way would she have "taken her shot" if she'd had to witness Eddie's shot beforehand.

Afterward, I treated myself to the cheapest Caribou ever (house blend with milk -- still tastes heavenly!), thanks to the extra quarters Joel collects in our key tray at home. Then we swung over to Dayton's Bluff Elementary for our first ECFE class!

We were way early, which was actually part of the plan, so we hung out at the playground for a bit. There's a whole section there just for little kids and mine were so happy. It's actually a really nice park, with lots of softball fields and surrounded by some lovely old Victorian homes. So lovely, in fact, that it really got me thinking: I wonder if we could pick up one of these giant old beauties for not too much money? Since we're considering a big kitchen remodel in our current digs, and since we're starting to feel truly committed to living in St Paul (more on that later), why the heck not? I've always wanted to live in a big old home with interesting architechture. Well anyway, while I was daydreaming Eddie dirtied his diaper, so we did a quick change and skipped inside for class.

My initial impression, last week, of the ECFE leaders, was extremely positive. But today, for some reason, I was less delighted about being there. They told us parents that today, the first class, would be "non-separating" (meaning the kids stay with the parents), except that they still sorta-militantly separate the little kids from the bigger kids, so if a parent has kids of different ages (like ME!), I did have to be separated from at least one of my kids during the whole class. And really, Ed is so easy-going that he was fine, except he kept escaping from his class to find me and Lu in the next room. And Lucy was not OK with me leaving (not to mention I'd promised her, based on the info I'd received, that I wouldn't be leaving her), so she had a couple fits.

Which brings me to my next point: I'd spent a bit of brainpower leading myself to believe that Lu is particularly bright for her age, and while she may very well be, as I watch her in dance class and at ECFE today, I see that she really does act her age. Which is only barely-3. So, sure, she can sing all the words to Your Song mostly on-key -- emotionally, however, she really is still a very little girl. It's good for me to see her interacting with the other kids, who are all a *little* older than she.

OK, OK, a couple more Lucy stories.

She got lots of art supplies for her birthday, and she was at Jean's house playing with markers the other day. She brought home one of her works-in-progress and insisted that we hang it up high on the fridge, so Ed couldn't get to it.
Later, we had to bring it down so she could continue to draw on it. By the time she was done, the entire page was nearly covered in dark-blue or black marker. For the next few days, she would often refer to it as "my dark drawing" -- like a moody artiste holding her current masterpiece in the highest reverence. "Momma, where is my dark drawing?"

Story #2. Last week Joel brought the kids to my softball games. There wasn't really any safe place to sit, so the kids were in the dirt. Lu filled Julie's Gatorade bottle with dirt, rocks, and various weeds. And treasured it. She made sure Joel put it in a safe place that night, and the next day she recovered it. It stays outside, but she often asks about her bottle of dirt. Unlike the "dark drawing", the "bottle of dirt" masquerades not as a science-fair project, or a terrarium for beloved bugs. Nope, it's a bottle of dirt. Lu likes to add things to it, like rocks, or more dirt. More power to her, I guess.

Last story: I don't know quite how to document this one, but a while ago we were talking to Lucy about going to a party. And then we were talking about going to some other party that we hadn't quite been invited to -- I have no idea what party this might have been -- and we used the term "crash the party."
A few days later, we were at the park with the Dalys, and we invited Josie to come to Lu's little birthday party. Later at the park, Josie fell and scraped her leg. Oops! We said, Josie crashed! Josie was very upset and I think Lucy empathized. Or, wait, sympathized? DANG!
The next day Joel and I were talking about Lu's upcoming party, and we asked Lu who was coming. "Josie's going to crash my party," she told us. It took me a while to sort out the root of that, and I was really impressed how she put all that together.

Injury update!

- Joel probably has a torn meniscus in his knee -- MRI results next week.

- The pain in my thumb actually kept me awake much of Monday night. Today I took a tip from Nicole Watson (cue Joel: And if Nicole Watson jumped off a bridge, would you do it too? Me: If Nicole Watson jumped off a bridge, I bet she had an awfully good reason for doing it, and it's probably something I should seriously consider.) and coated the tip of my thumb (with the dangling flap in place) with Krazy-Glue. It was genius for a few hours -- I could almost use my thumb like a normal person ought to be able to. Then it got wet, though, and the glue-tip popped off, bringing with it most of the dangly flap as well. So I removed the dangly-flap and am back to a band-aid, but the pain is mostly gone and I'm going to try to air the whole thing out tonight in hopes of spurring new-skin-growth as much as possible.

I should add that I only sorta took the tip from Nicole -- she has something called Liquid Skin that she uses on the boys' various wounds in order to avoid trips to the emergency room for stitches, and so far so good. She only said it was "like" Krazy Glue... and since I'd already spent my entire Liquid Skin budget on Caribou this morning, I had to make do.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

All they want is a little blood

Just got off the phone with a lovely woman from the American Red Cross. Actual transcript:

Lovely woman: Is Megan available?

Me: Oh, Lord, a telemarketer. Yes, this is Megan.

LW: I'm Lisa from the American Red Cross and...

Me: Hey, excuse me, I'm sorry, but you guys call me seriously once a week asking me to donate, and last time I donated, back in April, I passed out and bonked my head, and every time you call I ask please not to call me until, like, September, and...

Oh, wait, it's totally September, isn't it.


Oh, dear, I'm sorry.


Well, obviously I jarred something loose back in April -- can you put me on the list for, say, December?

LW: Sure.

Me: Okay, thanks.

Total idiot, yours truly.

Joel went in for an MRI this morning, for his knee. Results next week.

Lucy had her first dance class yesterday, and I was a nervous wreck -- she'd spent the entire morning whining "I don't WANNA go to dance class!!!" so I was gearing up for a big old fight. And then, when we got there, they kicked out the parents right away. I had visions of Lucy refusing to give her name, or telling the teacher she was "Fajhe" (more on that later), or simply dancing on her own in front of the mirror, with her "listening ears" turned firmly off. But apparently she was a champ. I peeked in through the blinds (which wasn't easy, mind you) and it sort of looked like she was doing the moves along with the rest of the class.

Afterward, Lu told me that she didn't sit in her spot, but the teacher told me Lu was "a hoot" (whatever that means) and the teacher wasn't actually shedding tears, nor bleeding, at the end of class, so I'm guessing it went all right. Ed and I got some quality time waiting in the hall, and he made friends with a pudgy little 14-month-old Josephine, so truly it wasn't half bad. And Lucy took a terrific nap yesterday afternoon. Which is the most important thing, after all.

I went to an intermediate-level dance class yesterday evening at Dance Spectrum on Grand Ave. I loved it! It was incredibly challenging, but there were only 4 gals in the class and I didn't feel totally outclassed. We did about a 40-minute warmup, which was a serious workout, and the instructor is adorable and fun -- she reminds me of the second can-can dancer in Moulin Rouge; the one who rats out Satine. But much nicer. And probably not a prostitute. Although she did make a comment about one of the other teachers, who is "like 34 or 35" and, amazingly enough, still dancing. Oooh, that one hurt a little bit. So, maybe part-prostitute.

Fazje! Right. So Lucy has this imaginary shape-shifting ethnic friend named "Fajhe." I spell it that way because sometimes Lu pronounces it "Faje" and sometimes it's much more like "Fazhe". Anyway, Fajhe has been around for several months; maybe even the better part of a year. Sometimes Eddie is Fajhe; sometimes I'm Fajhe. Sometimes Lu herself is Fajhe. Sometimes Fajhe gets scapegoated for various wrong-doings around the house; sometimes Fajhe is "still using" one of the toys that Ed tries to appropriate. It all seems like pretty-standard imaginary-friend fare, so we go along with it and enjoy it.

There should be a much-funnier story about Fajhe right here, but I simply do not have one. Oops!

I did want to mention that I sliced off the tip of my thumb slicing tomatoes on Sunday. I sort of forgot that I'd had my knives sharpened. At the moment it happened, I had some serious flashbacks to my mom doing the same thing one day in the kitchen. Hers was much worse, if I recall correctly -- I think she may have gone in for stitches, and I vaguely remember it being a larger slice off her thumb than mine. It is really hard going through life with only one thumb, though, I tell you what.

Well, I've got a johnny-glasses pile of dishes waiting for me that I'd better tackle. Ick. When are we acquiring that dishwasher, again??

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Chupacabra, the goat-sucker

Ohhh, boy, I am rapidly getting in too deep.
My fall schedule is just about booked to the hilt, and I am getting scared. I took the kids to register for a Wednesday ECFE class this morning, and ended up committing to volunteer one other morning per week. I also have a few moms (you know who you are!) with whom I like to enjoy weekly playdates... not to mention I just got a notice that there are FREE toddler-oriented open gyms at several within-city-limits St Paul rec centers. Lucy has a Monday AM dance class -- and there go my mornings.

I'm taking a Monday evening dance class, and the adult group I taught Swing to last spring is thinking of engaging me for weekly lessons (woo-hoo!), and I'm playing volleyball on Thursday nights, and I'm supposed to be working more (I hope?) with Ashland this fall -- not to mention my "fall" softball league still has a few weeks left... yikes! Why do I do this to myself?

Well anyway, to be honest I am SUPER excited about all the new things starting up. Most of all, my dance class I get to take. FINally. But I'm also happily anticipating the ECFE class, which I now realize I should have told the kids is like "school" because they do use the words "school" and "teacher" and "class" and I think that would have gotten Lucy, anyway, a little more jazzed about it. I'm also excited because the ECFE people might have me volunteer to watch the kids for the Spanish-speaking class on Tuesday mornings, so I'd get to practice my Spanish and also expose my kids to a once-a-week Spanish-immersion playdate. For free!

Oh, hey, let's play Am I the Only One Who Does This?
Sometimes I spell things wrong on purpose, to entertain myself or because it reminds me of something.

Like, "Best Buoy" instead of "Best Buy."
Or "Congrels" instead of "Congress."
Or "transunconstitutional" instead of "transcontinental."

Okay, so I don't have occasion to write the word "transcontinental" all that often in my line of work. Or, like, I pluralize semi-collective nouns, like "celeries" and "milks." OK, so do you ever do that?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Graph paper and fresh cilantro

You wouldn't think it would be that hard to find either of these items, would you? I assure you, it is nigh-on impossible. Blimey!

Let's see, Lucy turned 3 on Sunday and fully enjoyed (and is still stringing out) her week as the birthday princess. We had a great weekend up at the lake an now we're gently easing into our fall schedule, as our summer sports start to die down and the fall activities rise to take their places.

Shout out to my mom, who made matching mom-and-daughter aprons for me and Lu. Lucy loves hers (I do too!) and I hope a picture will be forthcoming. In the meanwhile, these will have to suffice:
Some random shots from last week...

Lu-La opening (and wearing) gifts from G&G Books
Ed, this morning (he's a man-bug!).

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Falling slowly / Sing your melody / I'll sing along

Jean bought me a copy of the soundtrack to Once, mostly because she didn't want her copy out of her posession for as long as it would take for me to burn myself a copy. She and I went to see this movie a few weeks ago and it was ... just wonderful. Which sounds cheesy, but it totally wasn't. The music and the movie are simply fantastic and quietly moving. Anyway, I recommend both.

Belated congratulations to a few of my peeps:

Michelle and Jeff welcomed Anna Catherine last week. She's a beauty!

Nikki completed the 3-day, 60-mile Susan J. Komen 3-Day. An incredible accomplishment for a great cause.

Ellen and her bud Gretchen came in 77th out of 300 teams (out of about 500 non-finishing teams) in Chicago's City Chase, a super-bizarre "Amazing Race"-type gig where you run, walk, or use public transportation to complete a series of challenges, like learning and performing a striptease dance, letting a python crawl inside your shirt, rappelling down a 15-story building, and asking total strangers to donate $25 for Special Olympics... all throughout the city of Chicago. Ellen phoned us about 2pm on Saturday to ask for help solving some word puzzles -- Jean was way more help than I.

My coed softball team tied for the league championship and there are rumours of a travelling trophy. Can't wait to get my hands on it! Uh, just kidding... I typically have no clue what the score is or even whether or not we're winning, during the games.

My coed volleyball team won our first round of playoffs, so we live to play another week for the championship. We might need another female player next Tuesday night; any volunteers?

Eddie, oh Eddie! We have full convos with him now. Granted, his lines are one word at a time. But he repeats absolutely everything -- he does every letter of the alphabet (repeating the sound) when we read "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" to him.

Lucy turns 3 on Sunday (insert shocked face here) so it's been Lu's Birthday Week of Fun for the last few days. Some of her friends came over for a little soiree on Monday night... she got to open some gifts from G&G Books tonight... and Sunday we'll be doing a little cake-and-gifts up at the lake, I think. Lucy has eschewed naps twice this week (and may I remind you, it's only Wednesday), but she does manage to stay in her room for about 2 hours, singing and banging around but being relatively quiet. I tell you, it's as good as a nap to me.

Joel's knee continues to ail him, so he went back to the doc today. This doc said there probably is something slightly torn, so Joel's going to see an orthopedist in September. Surgery is not a certainty at this point, but JG's taking it easy by only working his upper body at the Y (I roll my eyes as he launches into wayyy-too-detailed explanations of curls, flies, hammers, and whatevertheheck else he does there; I miss the simpler days of Joel's Y membership, when I was regaled with stories of naked men's junk propped up on the sink).

Well, that seems like a decent place to sign off for the time being.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Ramalama Bang Bang

If you're not in the mood to hear me feel sorry for myself, I recommend you go read somebody else's blog. Try or Plenty of happy, self-effacing moms there. Or find some of the flood victims in southern Minnesota... there's some actual tragedy for you.

Right. So it's been raining for six full days. It stopped for about two hours yesterday evening, and it has stopped now; in fact, if my entire assortment of mismatched lawn furniture wasn't as soaked through as a fully-clothed-and-diapered toddler who flings himself into the bathtub... but i'm getting ahead of myself.

My daddy coming home soon?
No, Lu, he'll be home in three more days.
Where daddy go?
He's working far away.
He's going to have dinner with us.
No, no, he's not.

Wednesday was great. I biked the kids to the bank and Target in the AM and made it home (the bike trailer actually holds two giant boxes of diapers! Who'd'a thunk?) only having to walk three of the gigantic hills along the way. And how many gigantic hills are there, total? Why, three, thanks for asking. Oh, and by "walk" of course I mean "push my 40-year-old 10-speed, dragging 65 pounds of kid and 10 pounds of diapers and Borax behind it, uphill, in 99.5% humidity."

But I got the errands done without having to strap the kids in the car. Wednesday naps were A-OK, and we met up with the Riggs family at the park before dinner. And the sun came out! Hooray!

I was even going to skip the baths, but I was feeling ambitious (Joel's usually the bath dispenser). Bathed Ed. Dried, diapered and jammied him. Lovingly lotioned his little dry patches. Started a new bath for Lu. Ran to the kitchen to throw something in the trash, and


Then silence.

Then, "Eddie fell in the tub!"

I run into the bathroom, and yup, there's Ned, sitting in water up to his little baby waist, fully dressed. And fully drenched. And fully delighted with himself for figuring out how to get into the bathtub all by himself. Yayyyy, Eddie. Argggh. So there goes another $.25 overnight diaper. Damn, damn.

Apparently that was foreshadowing for Thursday: Bride of Wednesday. Pouring rain, unceasing, all morning. And I discover at about 9AM that, to paraphrase MacArthur Park: someone left the stroller out in the rain... I don't think that I can hold it, 'cuz it takes so long to fold it... and I'll never go on an evening walk agaaaaaaain!!

Oh, God, I'm getting delusional. Well anyway. I plugged through Thursday, through unbelievably truncated naps (Ed actually sobbed through his entire brief nap; when I went in to see what his deal was, he crawled into my arms and said "Hi!" like he'd just been waiting patiently for me to go get him), through my first attempt at actually baking bread (to be honest, it was absolutely delicious), through getting my period (sorry TMA for any boys who might be reading), through a Johnny-glasses diarrhea explosion (not mine! Ed's!) all over the entire contents of my rather large and chock-full drawer of Tupperware containers.

"What I smell?" asks Lucy.

Holy-sonofamotherlessgoat, there's poop everywhere. I dump Ned in the tub, nay-kay him up and hose him down. And scrub him out. And rinse out the tub (which reminds me, now I have to go actually scrub out the tub, damn it). And rediaper him, and then gate off the kitchen so the kids don't spread the liquid poop to even farther reaches of the house, and I am hollering because Eddie is desperately trying to defeat the gate, and Lucy is totally abetting him, and I am up to my elbows in Clorox wipes and poopy Tupperware.

Not to mention, neither of my kids have eaten more than three bites of dinner. Or lunch. Here's what they do deign to eat:

cold cereal
peanut butter and jelly shammiches
graham crackers
salmon (they are mad about salmon)

Oh, and Lucy will eat cherry tomatoes.

So I plugged through all of this, because Jamie was coming at 7pm to watch the kids while I went to play softball. I was so excited to play softball. I love softball. And I love getting out of the house when I am single-momming it. And I was so happy to get to spend the entire day with my kids before kissing them good-night and heading off to play softball.

Remember all that rain I mentioned? It makes fields soggy. No softball.

So I call Jamie to tell her.

"Great!" She says. "Now I can go for a run!"

Great, Jamie, I'm so happy for you.

So I call Jean to make sure she'd heard.

"Great!" She says. "Now I can go for a run!"

Great, Jean, I'm so happy for you.

"Yeah! This is so perfect! Um, Meg, are you okay?"

Oh, sure, sure, I'm just gritting my teeth so hard that I busted a filling.

So I call Joel, to whine a little and also because Lucy wanted to talk to him.

"I'm almost done golfing, can I call you right back?"

Oh, dear, honey, no, I'm sorry, that's not the right answer. Try gushing with sympathy, and after a few minutes of that, tell me you're going to take me on a date somewhere and that you've totally planned the whole thing and maybe throw in a nice little compliment, like You made a veggie egg bake for dinner tonight? With extra cheese in hopes that the kids would actually eat it? That sounds great, I miss homecooked meals. And don't call me back while you're pooping, either, I seriously cannot take it.

So there was just wayy too much screaming and whining and crabbiness in the house, and that didn't even include the kids, so I decided bedtime was at 7:00 tonight instead of 8, and as I have Ed on my lap and Lu by my side and we've finished our two lovely bedtime books and we're just starting our first lovely bedtime song, Ed decides to chomp on my thumb. The thumb with the fingernail that's a little too short today as it is, and is a little owie anyway -- he bites down on it like it's a BLT. I scream and immediately burst into tears. Can I even tell you how much it hurt? It's an hour later and it still hurts like the dickens. It's reminiscent of the time I burned my hand on hot soup while waitressing at the HobNob back in the summer of '97. Instant, unbelievable pain. Anyway, my tears totally freaked out both kids (I remember reading somewhere that parents really need to try to quell their emotions because toddlers can't handle the idea of their parents being out of control, and it could ruin their little brains).

So... I'm stuck alone with these kids for the next 22 hours. Say a little prayer for all of us.

Oh! I did find an amazing time-waster at -- the kitchen planning tool! It's the coolest thing -- you can draw your kitchen and change/move things as you wish and then view the whole thing 3D. It's seriously awesome. I spent 3 hours (kids' naps and bedtime!) yesterday goofing around with it, which is another reason I had six hours' worth of dishes to do today.

Well, listen. It's 8:30 and I think the Twins game is still on the radio. Plus I know there's ice cream in the fridge with my name on it. Plus I know I can scrounge up a vodka-tonic if I work a little. Ciao. On to a better tomorrow.