My online journal.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Lucy Up-spye-down

So I'm foraging around in the fridge for some lunch, because I'm determined to use up some of the A) massive amounts of fresh produce I've bought, before it goes bad, and B) massive amounts of leftovers I've created, because I have been trying out tons of new recipes with only moderate and intermittent success.

So I come across a batch of 2-week-old garbanzos-and-couscous mixture, and I open the lid and wrinkle my nose up and give it a good sniff. And then I kind of stare at it, because I don't think it's turned rotten but I also don't think that anybody's really going to eat it, and I suddenly hear, from behind me, the little blonde voice of reason:

"Mommy, nobody likes that."

And just now, Lucy and Jayla are romping on the loveseat, when I hear "Uh oh! Uh oh!" I turn around, expecting blood or at least impending disaster, to see that the seat cushion has shifted slightly off center.
"Uh oh, Momma, this is CRAZY!"

Eddie and I totally had a conversation at breakfast today. He said "Banana?" and I said "You want a banana?" and he said "Uss?" (which I think was yes) and then when I gave it to him he said his version of "thank you!"

I think I found an Asian beetle (it actually looked a little more slimy than a traditional ladybug, and bigger too) on my tomatoes the other day. I mean, Joel's tomatoes. Anyway, I picked off the leaf it was on (the bug was chewing through it)... did I do the right thing? And how vigilant do I have to be about weeding... do I need to remove absolutely every little peep of green that isn't part of the tomato plants? And what's deadheading and do I have to do it? And when there are sad, yellow leaves at the bottom of the plant, do I have to pull those off?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I may not blog at once, but I do blog... at last.

Sort of a paraphrase from Gigi... for all you movie buffs out there.

Well! Let me tell you, it's been an eventful few days here! This post was going to be about my birthday (which was Sunday; thank you ever so much to all the family and friends who called, sent cards, emailed, or improvised "Happy Birthday" on the trombone, and Large Props to Nicole Wats for taking me out for a lovely dessert and wine at Moscow on the Hill) -- but now that it's three days ago I've really already moved on. I'm 31 now, if you were wondering.

My dad was in town last week, giving me some much-appreciated time to cook (I know that sounds bizarre, but I really love being able to make dinner sans interruption) and gallivant a little with Jean. On Saturday, I went to the Farmer's Market and bought all kinds of wonderful foods, and then I did a teeny bit of garage sailing... scoring not one, but two sets of kids' golf clubs (golf bags included), for $27. One righty set, one lefty. (!!!) I know, I'm ridiculous, but I'm determined to retire in style... and golf pays well. :) :) :) Truly, the clubs are in perfect condition (as are the bags) so what the heck. Joel's dad is excited, so I am too.

Joel started taking down our dead maple tree on Saturday... to make room for my dream luxury sand volleyball court. I can't wait! Saturday afternoon we went up to Oak Grove (north of Andover) for Vivian's 1st birthday party. The food was delish, the beach was fantastic (despite the bizarre sight of people smoking on the beach... I mean, really, who even smokes anymore??), and we got to see lots of people we hadn't seen in a while. It was very fun, even though our kids went sour kind of early. Shout-out to Adam's family members who have been lurking here for a while.

Sunday I didn't get out of my jammies until 5PM. What a perfect birthday! Jean had a softball tourney in South St Paul so we went to watch a game early in the evening. We ate ice cream cake, did some laundry, cleaned the house... not too shabby.

The kids have been enjoying the hot weather immensely. We hang out in the $7 backyard pool and Joel turns on the sprinklers sometimes. Today we went to the beach at Ft. Snelling State Park, which was AWESOME and perfect for the little ones. Imagine all 4 Watson and Gronau kids pointing crazily at the sky, shouting "AIRPLANE!!!" and then resuming their splashing around in the knee-high wateer, and that's how the morning was. Unadulterated glee.

Cousin Kate was in town this week and we had her over for dinner last night. We watched the highlights of Annie (the dance numbers, natch), drank wine-in-a-box, ate brownies and leftover ice-cream cake, and had very nice chats.

And... tomatoes! OK actually, before I go into the details of my harvest, I have to remind you people that this is not a vegetable garden that we're talking about. It's 4 lonely tomato plants. My basil plant is, I fear, headed for the great compost heap in the sky, so let's not lose our heads. But the tomatoes!! I harvested about 8 cherrys in the last couple days. The first one was truly mediocre-tasting, but the following few have been very delicious. There are several dozen green ones on the vines, so I will keep you all updated on our bounty.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Have mud, will bathe.

Here are some photos of last week's playdate with the Wats.
Great googly moogly!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Kid Things

Not only is Ed repeating everything we say and obeying all kinds of instructions tossed his way (Put the shoe in the bucket! Feet off the table!)... he's also neighing like a horse. Somewhat all the time, but also when he sees a pic of a horse. He can also apparently do a mean chicken, on command. His sweet nature continues to amaze me... this morning he cuddled right into Nicole Watson's shoulder before lunch and just about fell asleep there. But he's soooo sensitive. Give him the slightest correction and sometimes he just shrugs it off but other times you would swear I was ripping out his toenails.

Lucy's bedtime routine for the last monthish has been thus: the usual (brush teeth, sit potty, read book, sing song, kiss, goodnight)... plus her new bonus conversation with herself:

(mind you, this is after I give the final kiss)

"I have to sit on the potty. Really? You're kidding me. Really? You're kidding me. Okay, let's go."

At which, she swings her legs out of bed and does her little Lucy-trot to the bathroom. Where, much to my surprise, she actually does some business about 60% of the time, despite just having gone within the previous 10 minutes. Go figure.

When she's really ready for bed, I say "I love you, Little Mister" and she says:

"I love you, Big Mister! See you in the morning. Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bugs-bye bite." (Then, in a whisper:) "Good niiiiiiiiiight!"

Oh rats! I meant to tell Nicole Watson this today. So, last week we were playing at the Watsons' (mudbath photos to follow, as soon as I get 'em!) and the kids were playing with the house phone. Nicole okayed this, "As long as you don't call China." (This is something I have also often said to the kids as they play with our phone.)

Well, you guessed it, the next time Lucy's pretending to talk on the phone, we hear:

"Hello, China? China!! You want a BANANA!?!?"

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Bursting with pride!

Just got back from Duluth, where we cheered on Jean and Donna in the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon. What an awesome weekend! Joel and I rolled into Duluth around 8pm and met up with Jean, Donna, Deena, and Tim at the "finish-grounds" for the races. (Jean and I play volleyball in Apple Valley with Donna and Deena.) Our runners had to wake up at 4AM to get showered and ready, and the rest of us couldn't get back to sleep. So, hopped up on Hostess Donuts and hotel coffee, we set out to do some serious cheering.

It was an unbelievably gorgeous morning. I rode my bike out to about mile 8 of the half-marathon -- as it turns out, I was parked right in front of some historic old mansion where some grisly murders occurred awhile back (I found this out later). I started cheering for the first male runners and found it completely impossible to stop. I didn't expect any of the runners (apart form Jean and Donna) to care whether or not I jumped up and down and hollered and shook my gigantic pom-pon at them, but they did! It was so cool to get a smile, a thumbs-up, or a "thank you" from people; I felt terrible having to get on my bike to go back into town, like I was letting the rest of the pack down... those slower runners, who needed me! :) Not like there weren't thousands of other fans out there, though. I caught up with Joel, Tim, and Deena at about mile 11 (which was right across the street from our hotel); once Jean and Donna passed us, we booked it toward the finish line and got to see the gals run past us again, about three blocks from the finish line. We got to see the female marathon winner at the finish line (as well as many other marathon finishers). The whole thing was such an awesome experience. I think about the very personal, individual struggle that every single runner out there has to go through to finish his or her race, and it is so incredibly moving. The injuries, the setbacks, and whatever it is that motivated each person to take up the crazy quest of long-distance running in the first place: what a a testament to the human spirit!

Since our hotel was on the race route, we got to see many, many of the late marathon stragglers, hitting mile 24 at the five- and six-hour mark. Joel (who finished Grandma's Marathon 1997 in about six hours) went out to watch some of them by himself for a while, while Jean and I took naps (since we share a brain, I also felt like I'd run 13.1 miles).
Thanks Donna and Jean for giving us something to cheer for -- thanks Tim and Deena for being the coolest roommates/co-cheerleaders/one-uppers on the planet -- and thanks to Duluth for your beauty and hospitality.

And Oh! Some photos!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Just a couple more thangs

This photo was up on next to "Was $9.00; now $7.50!" Which seems like a really good price for a new set of naked, mannish legs.

Just a supercute photo of Joel and Ed:

Up at the lake last weekend. Yes, I know it's hard to believe but that IS actually a photo of John, smiling!

Lucy drew this face, this morning. It's me! My daughter is a genius. Where it looks like the ears are, though -- those are arms.
I asked.

Bruschetta lives!

Hello again and happy Wednesday. At least, I think it is Wednesday.

In case there was ever a need for any empirical evidence that Joel mostly doesn't hear anything I tell him, let me tell you a little story:

Last week I made something for dinner. What it was, is not important -- what matters is that I made it in our big, nice Calphalon skillet. Typically this pan is used on our stovetop; however, it also happens to be oven-safe, and since I'd had to brown the meat on the stove and then bake it, I saw no need to dirty another pan. OK so the pan is in the oven, and the timer dings. Jean and Joel are in the kitchen, and I'm upstairs getting changed for volleyball, or something. Joel hollers up: "What does that dinger mean?" And I holler back "Take it out of the oven!".

Then I remember the last time I'd baked something in this pan. I had removed it from the oven, set it on the stove, and promptly grabbed the long handle with my bare hand. Oh yes, in the immortal words of Maurice Chevalier, I remember it well. When I cook with the pan on the stovetop, the handle doesn't get hot. No need for an oven mitt. When the pan comes out of the oven, I assure you, it is hot as blazes.

So, remembering this, I scurry down the stairs, yelling all the way "Don't grab the handle! Don't grab the handle!" in my best Don Knotts-"Citizen's arrest!" voice. For dramatic effect (and to make sure Joel understood), I yelled it a couple more times upon my arrival in the kitchen. Let me emphasize here that I was yelling especially loud and making large, sweeping arm gestures. Extra-dramatic. Even for me.

Panting slightly, I explained that the handle is very hot (which, I know, ought to be obvious since it just came out of the oven) and to remember not to touch it.

I continue getting ready for volleyball.

Two minutes later, I hear a medium-sized crash and some male swearing.

Joel grabbed the handle. Of course, he burned his hand, and had to spend the rest of the evening alternating between icing four of his fingers, and simply holding his hand up above his head to slow the blood flow.

He says he "Listen[s] to [me], but just do[es]n't seem to hear" me. Hmm.

OK, 'nuff of that. Time for a plant update!! The tomatoes have been watered every day, often twice-a-day, and there are actual tomatoes starting to grow. It's very exciting. The plants are even starting to exude that "tomato plant smell" that I didn't even know I knew, but I recall from my youth. It's a great smell. The basil plant in my kitchen is also, well, I hesitate to use the word "thriving" but I've been harvesting basil and somehow also encouraging the new growth. It looks pretty healthy, if I do say so. Oh hey! Green-thumbs out there: does it matter that I put them in a pot sans a drain? I could try to re-pot again if necessary. They seem to be doing OK but I don't know if the lack of a drain is going to cause a problem eventually. Help?

Last night after vball I showered and then went straight to sleep. I awoke at 6:30, feeling very refreshed... and looking just like Justin Guarini. On a no-hair-gel day. (OK not quite as curly.) I didn't even know my hair could do that. Even Joel was impressed. So... it's a little humid this week.

There was something else I was going to ask for a general opinion on... but I have forgotten what it was. Something terribly urgent and fascinating, I'm sure. Cripes, what was it?

Cute kid story of the day: Monday I was admonishing Ed for something, which of course he took very hard and started to cry. Lucy looked at me very seriously and said: "Mommy, you broke my Eddie's heart."

Sunday, June 10, 2007

How am I going to NOT forget Ed's appt tomorrow morning?

For the weekend, Joel and I took the kids up to the lake for the first time of the season. (That is at least two too many prepositional phrases for one sentence.) The first thing that caught our attention was how BIG Lucy looked running around the place! We've been looking at pix of her up there last year, and the year before, and my gosh she is just huge. Her legs look like they've just sprouted. It helped, of course, that she was wearing one of last year's dresses that now just barely covers her behind.

Both kids were just adorable all weekend, despite their disrupted sleep regimens. They sat in the water for hours, scooping up rocks and sand and getting all wiggly when it was time to reapply the sunscreen (which needed to be about every hour -- those kids are so dang fair!). Ed passed out into a coma-like sleep every time we took him out in the "big boat." And I really discovered that, apart from the occasional waterskiing, I could entirely do without a motored boat. You can see and hear so much more, and have such better conversations, and really enjoy the lake more in a human-powered boat... which we were able to discover when we took out the Gronaus' little rowboat for a bit of exploring this morning. I don't think Joel shares my enthusiasm, but I'd really like to pick up a canoe or some kayaks in the future.

I also have to come clean about my new bathing suit. Take a deep breath: it has a skirt. I know, I KNOW! It's a 2-piece, but it's way more material than I'm accustomed to wearing at the beach. I feel like something out of the 1920s -- in fact, Joel has taken to calling it my "bathing costume". The good news is, it hides my bizarre stomach. And as an added bonus, the skirt means I don't even have to think twice about what my backside looks like. Because I haven't glanced back there in a while. Yeesh.

Sat nite Joel and I were able to sneak out for a late show of Ocean's 13. The movie wasn't bad at all. I think we're calling that our anniversary celebration. Which is more than a little disappointing.

I found out today that I did not get into nursing school -- I'm not even on the wait list. I'm disappointed, of course; being rejected stinks! So I'm going to try to focus my energies on, well, the kids of course, and some theatre stuff. I'm going to actually take some dance classes. Oh! And I forgot to mention, at my meeting for that summer camp thing last week? There are 5 "counselors" and the only one I hadn't met yet went to my high school. What are the stinkin' chances?? She was 10 years behind me (too young even for Ellen to know her, egads) but she had Mr. Stelk, and Mr. McCrory, and Mrs. Good, and she was in New Directions and was the overall director for V-Show. Exactly three of you will know the significance of this info, but it's pretty cool. She's an amazing girl, in the theatre program at the U, and I'm really excited to get to know her and work with her.

I'm watching (well, kinda -- it's on next to my head) the Tony Awards. I love all the production numbers, and seeing all the theatre legends close-up. Ooooh, there's Swoosie Kurtz!

Friday, June 08, 2007

Rush for a change of atmosphere

So usually when I overschedule myself and get committed and involved in too many things, I don't realize it until I'm in the thick of it, and it's too late to rework my plan, or rethink things, or whatever.

But I'm starting to get worked up about the rest of my summer... and it hasn't hardly even started yet.

I agreed to be a counselor for this kids' (age 6-18) theatre camp through Ashland Productions, and while I am sure it will be super fun and exciting and great experience... it's a "day job" (9-4) for three full weeks, plus a large time commitment for the three following weekends. So:

A. I'm more than a little nervous about planning the lessons for these kids; such a wide variety of ages and such a large number, and need I remind you I was never an education major? And I haven't taught any sort of kids in a while? And I certainly haven't taught jazz/Broadway-style dance in a while? I'm just having a hard time wrapping my mind around all I have to do to prepare...

and B. I'm freaking out about what, exactly, my kids are going to do for these three weeks. My folks are taking them the first week but I just haven't arranged for the remaining two weeks yet and, well, I'm just getting very nervous.

So on top of this I taught my first 20-minute "preschool" dance class this morning, to Lucy and Josie. I wanted to start VERY small, with just Lu and one other kid, to try to get my format/planning down and try to remember where my weak spots are. I remembered my weak spots pretty quickly (ex: I know I need to KNOW the dances down pat) and it actually went pretty well. Lu and Jo both showed *some* interest, which is actually decent for 2-y-os. We'll tweak it a bit each week and I think it will be good.

Oh and I was supposed to pack this morning to go to the lake this evening. And I have not.

And I've just been having bizarre dreams that keep creeping into my thoughts all day. Like, I dreamt I was in a plane crash. And I dreamt I was on a plane without any sides (like, all the passengers had to hang on to a central pole to keep from being flung from the plane) -- I guess they were sort of the same dream, sort of. And I remember desperately trying to scribble a note to my kids before the plane went down, but all I could find was a pencil and I really wanted a pen... and then I dreamed that I got the letter telling me whether I got into nursing school, except it was so cryptic I couldn't even read it so I couldn't tell whether or not I got in. I know, I know, who cares? But throughout my days I have little flashbacks to these dreams, and I'm feeling kind of haunted.

And I've been having all sorts of food issues -- like I am always hungry, and nothing I eat seems to satisfy me, and usually a good bowl of sugary cereal has been my failsafe tide-me-over snack, but maybe they changed the formula for Cocoa Krispies because I seriously eat a giant bowl and it does nothing for me; in fact, I'm almost hungrier than when I started! Argh!

Oh, and Lu has wet her bed the last 2 nights. Drat. And she's suddenly become very self-conscious of her usual singing and perform-ey things; she won't read the pigeon book anymore, and if we catch her singing aloud she stops right away, or immediately switches into singing gibberish.

Ed's adorable, but kind of clingy/sad; maybe getting more teeth. The other day we went to the Dari-ette after dinner, and Joel was feeding Ed bites of his strawberry shake. Before every bite, Ed would say "peeeeeese!" and then after every bite: "ake-you". Very polite.

Lucy's getting kind of destructive. This morning while I was showering, she dumped out every single huge Rubbermaid container of toys, tipped over every toy that stands up on its own (including her "kitchen" and all her chairs), tipped over the lamp in Ed's room, and basically made a gigantic mess. Grr. But then she goes and does something adorable... apparently last night right after bedtime there was a loud firecracker down the street and Joel went to check the kids quick and Lucy was standing right by her door:
"Did you hear that, Daddy?"
"Yes, it was loud!"
"You check on Eddie?"
Joel will edit the conversation later, I'm sure -- I don't remember the rest, but he said it was very sweet.

Oh! Oh! OK one more Lucy story: we had the Watsons over here on Tuesday to play, and all the kids were running around "nay-kay" in the yard. Lucy went inside to tinkle, as she does, and returned. Well, then the boys wanted to tinkle too, so Nicole had them stand by the tree in our yard. Not to be outdone, naked Lucy marched right up next to the naked boys, grabbed the tree, and took a poop right there in the grass.

It was definitely one of those gotta-laugh-or-I'll-cry moments. I was watching her do it, and at first I thought she had a pine cone or a rock stuck between her bee-cheeks.... but no. A poop. Great googly moogly.

Oh, and this is sort of somrthing that goes along with the very first point of this post: I totally forgot to take Ed to his 15-month checkup this morning. Like, it was on the calendar... I knew about it... the office called to confirm it... I just didn't remember to go. I took it really hard, cried a bit -- I hate being that guy! I rescheduled for Monday but it drives me crazy that I could forget that. Add this to the fact that I was making dinner last night and honestly could not think of what day of the week it was. It could have been Monday, I was pretty sure it wasn't Friday... or was it? I think I am losing my mind. *shaking head*

Hey, I'm pretty sure my friend Mandy had her baby girl yesterday... she was having a scheduled C. Hoping everything went well for them.

Monday, June 04, 2007

What Lucy doing? Why not?

I hate it when entire weeks get away from me!

Well, as far as writing here, I mean. I actually know just where the entire week went, and it was thoroughly enjoyable, thankyouverymuch.

I didn't watch Jayla at all last week or this week. No big deal, but it kind of made me feel like I was on vacation a bit. I played volleyball and softball and took the kids to Joel's softball game last week, only to be caught in one of those superquick downpours that we've been having.

I haven't been running. I do want to take it up again... but Im giving myself a little break. I'm on vacation, remember?

We had a wonderful laid-back weekend here at home. I rode my bike to the farmers' market on Saturday and then ran my other two errands on bike as well. I won't lie; the hills in this 'hood are challenging. But it felt great to be out and about and not using any gas. Now I'm working on getting Joel to ride his bike to work. Riiiiiight. ;)

Went back to the farmers' market Sunday AM so Joel could buy some tomato plants. "What!?!?" you may ask. Yes, plants -- Joel really wants a vegetable garden. I told him that I would try to remember to water the plants but that I would NOT become emotionally invested in this alleged "vegetable garden." I think he said that was all right. Although I did buy myself a couple little basil plants too... poor doomed little buggers.

We went to church after the FM on Sunday, and then Joel's old buddy Jared made a surprise visit. It was SO great to see that cat! Nothing about him has changed in the slightest. Joel's p's and sisters came over Sunday afternoon too and we had a lovely visit. Donna and I took the kids to TJ Maxx and I, against my better judgement and against five years' worth of precedent, actually purchased a hand towel for my bathroom.

Lucy's been having some tummy issues for the past week, but the good news is it's been a couple weeks with no accidents -- that includes dry nights as well! Now we just have to figure out how to wean her off the M&M reward. Oh, PS, the title of this post is all Lucy says these days. I do not know why she wants me to verify that she's drawing pictures, or putting Mr. Potato Head together, or pulling all the blankets/babies/pillows/books off her bed to "make it a boat" (I also don't know why the bed has to be completely naked in order to be a boat). And I really don't know why she asks "Why not?" instead of just "Why?" like a normal almost-3-year-old. I do know that it's really hard to mentally convert "Why not?" into "Why?" so that I can answer it properly. Because she means "Why?" ...And "Why not?" never makes any syntactical sense.

Ed is a hilarious little fool, climbing like a monkey and always acting the ham. And he's so, so sweet... snuggly when he's tired... and always happy to present his bare feet to your face for a zrbrt.

This morning we had a fun playdate with a family down the street from us. It is so cool getting to know nice, fun, new people!

Alas, dishes and laundry and dinner-making await.