My online journal.

Friday, February 29, 2008


So once, not that long ago, I made a recipe and I think it was called Tamale Pie, which is a popular name and style of recipe... and the distinguishing characteristics of it were:

1. The ground beef got cooked at the same time as the tomatoes, onions, etc -- it seemed almost too easy but it turned out extra-delicious.
2. The tamale breading part was a little sweet.

HELP! I can't find it anywhere. It was soooo yummy.

So at ECFE on Wednesday, the leader (Mary Ann) mentioned that she had been watching Ed do something (she didn't say what) and was about to correct him, when she "realized he's only two." (To which I quickly replied that he is, in fact, only one for another nine days but please don't let me interrupt your thoughts or anything.) She went on to explain that when your children are way bigger (or way smaller) than other kids their ages, people can have incorrect expectations about what their behavior will be like. Ed, she informed me, looks like a three-year-old. I knee-jerk denied it, but some of the other moms were nodding and mentioning that Ed was indeed taller than other almost-three-year-old boys in class. And I was, like, oh holy cow, they're right -- and I didn't see it because Lucy is also an Amazon. They're proportionate to each other, sure, but I probably should have noticed that Ed is suddenly wearing 3T clothes.

This is all well and good, but it kind of hit me like a ton of bricks. I've never before had to worry about my kids' development. And I was never especially small or large for my age; and I was for sure a "late bloomer" when it came to boys and social maturity. Joel, on the other hand, was his current 5'11" in fifth grade. And it ought to come as no surprise that the kids inherited many of his physical genes.

So the other morning the kids were making noise in their room, so I lumbered downstairs and opened their door. I had brought Lucy with me to HSM rehearsal the night before.

"Mommy," Lucy says, "That show was great. Thank you for taking me."

Before I could scrape my jaw up off the tops of my feet, Lucy sneezed.

"Bless you, Eddie," said Eddie.

Still bewildered at where these polite little people came from, I said, "Bless you Lucy!"

"Thank you!" said Eddie.

Speaking of the show, during rehearsal I had to take Lu to the bathroom, where she found all kinds of delight in the automatic flusher. Something about the smallness of her body on the toilet must freak out the sensor, or something -- it flushed six or seven times while she was in there. The first time surprised her. The second time scared her a little. After the third, her eyes got really wide and she said "A hundred flushes!?!?" And after that it was a fit of shrieking-giggles every time. The soap and water are automatic in there, too -- Lucy must have thought she'd stepped onto the set of The Jetsons or something. If she'd ever seen The Jetsons, that is. Now that you mention it, I don't think I've even ever seen The Jetsons. Not that I'm complaining.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Is anybody going to listen to my story?

Jean's going to blog about Across the Universe, if she hasn't already. Awesome movie -- rent it!

I was SO happy to see "Falling Slowly" (from Once) win best song at the Oscars last night. Such a great moment.

It's Monday, which I suppose is inevitable. Lucy has bitten Ed already this morning, and he's pulled her hair. Lots of tears -- but none of them mine, which is a nice change.

Gotta get the boys down for naps -- that is, if William will finish eating! He's the only one who will touch these egg muffins I made, so I suppose I should be grateful.

Ed loves to play Hide and Seek and counts like this:
"One, Zee, Eight, Sen! Ready I come!!"

Thursday, February 14, 2008

I'm really letting myself go

I'm eating an orange... and I'm not even bothering to pick off all the white stuff. What's next -- wearing the same underwear three days in a row?

Oh, wait, I'm already doing that.

My folks are visiting this weekend (weather permitting) and we haven't seen them since Christmas. Wayyy too long! I miss my mommy and daddy. It's nice for Joel to have a little deadline to work on some of the trim in the kitchen (not like he has any time before that deadline to accomplish anything, but still, a deadline is nice).

Speaking of my parents, I think they will be delighted with the job they did when they read that my latest Serious Pet Peeve is being lied to. I think I vaguely remember my mom telling me that lying to someone is pretty much the worst thing you can do. And I've thought about it and you know, I think she really had something there.

Now I know a couple people with the tendency, when put under a little bit of pressure, to fib. It's weird, because I can tell when they're doing it. And I'm not intuitive at all. When there's a kid crying in the next room during Moms' Time at ECFE, I can NEVER tell whether it's mine. OK, that might just be an example of poor hearing. But, like, not ONCE have I had a "bad feeling" about something that actually turned out to be serious. I've never had a bad dream come true -- just the other night I dreamed that a series of tidal waves kept smashing into me and Lucy and Ed on the beach, and for sure there has been nothing even resembling a tidal wave in St Paul. So there!

But sometimes, these fibs, they are obvious. Then there's the times they aren't obvious... and then when I discover the truth I feel like the idiot. There's not much that rankles me more than being made to feel like an idiot. This probably stems from 7th grade when the Cool Girls were talking about their periods, and I thought they were talking about smoking, and they said "What we're talking about has nothing to do with you" and I said "YEAH? AND IT NEVER WILL EITHER!" and when you're in 7th grade, there is certainly nothing humorous about self-effacement, especially in regards to delayed puberty. Now? My lack of breasts is comedy. Then? Devastating tragedy. Where was I?

Right, lying. So I make it a point to tell the truth, even when, on the surface, it might seem easier to tell a little white lie. And if you can muster up the courage to do the same, I would truly appreciate it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Loving my 3-year-old... and then changing my mind

I'm sitting at my new desk, on the chair that's a little too short for it I think, and Lucy is peeling an orange herself (a newfound skill). All of a sudden she hollers "I HAVE TO SIT ON THE POTTY WIFFYOU!" (as she does) and dashes off through the kitchen. She makes it into the hall but, lord love 'er, her little reflexes aren't fully developed and she skids right past the turn to the bathroom and winds up in the middle of the living room, a little dazed, unable to figure out what the heck she's doing in the living room.

We retrace our steps and get to the bathroom door, which is shut because I shut it because I tried to call my sister and about three seconds later I found both Lucy and Ed STANDING ON THE TOILET and Will standing on the floor right beneath them and I thought, you know what? I oughtta keep the bathroom door closed, anyway so Lucy and I get to the bathroom door and she comes to a dead stop and turns to me and says, "Is somebody IN there?" and I was all, "Who on EARTH could possibly be IN there?" and she just thinks that's the silliest thing in the world.

And she's wearing that blue-striped sweater that for some reason brings out this gorgeous blue in her eyes.

But then she drops baby Will's cell phone on the floor ... again ... LOUDLY, and Eddie starts crying in his room because he's so unbelievably tired because he was boppin' around in his crib until 11:00 last night and then woke up shouting "CEREAL!" at 7AM. And I'm all, "It's time for your island, Lu."

I'm going to make some spinach-carrot brownies. Ick.

Walk hard (it's laminate!)

This morning as I was trying to take care of some bid'ness (checking my email quick before ECFE), Lucy grabbed Will's toy cell phone and started shouting into it:

"Christopher! Christopher I CAN'T! Don't call me back! Eating food is not eating food! Nothing is left! But you told me that everyone's going to eat peanut butter! Do you understand me? NO, CHRISTOPHER!! 'BYE!"

Strange child.

So I was supposed to teach three dance classes on Wednesday nights through St Paul Parks and Rec. Beginning swing dancing, beginning Latin dancing, and a beginning jazz dance class. I have ZERO people signed up for any of them. I know this because I checked the internet registration site.

This is super aggravating, for a number of reasons.

1. I have taught the swing and Latin classes before and had dozens of signups.

2. Back when that happened, St Paul Parks and Rec was actually sending printed class catalogs to every household in the city. Due to budget cuts, they now print brochures that are available ONLY at the rec sites themselves. They also list the classes on the internet... if you know where to look.

2a. Even if you know where to look, the web site is extremely difficult to navigate. Here it is:

It took me several tries and two phone calls to the director to find MY OWN classes. Here, I'll give you a shot at it. Go there and look for an adult swing dance class on Wednesday nights at Hazel Park Rec Center. See how you can select a "Corridor" but then you can also select a "Location"? Confusing. See how the "Age Group" options include "Teen/Adult (13 and up)" but also "Adult (18 and up)"? And how, if you select the Teen/Adult option you don't get any of the classes listed as "Adult"? See how the default session at the bottom is "Winter" but some classes are actually listed under "Spring" only? See how you can choose "Music, Dance, and Theatre" but there are some dance classes listed instead under "Health and Fitness"? ARRRRGH!

3. St Paul Parks & Rec is completely separate from St Paul Community Education. But Community Ed holds all the same type of classes... and they still send out catalogs!

4. Now try registering online. All right, maybe they've fixed it since I tried to register for something last September -- now that I think of it, in Aggravation #2a I forgot to mention that they did fix some of my classes' internet-search programming to make it a little more intuitive.

In a way, I'm relieved not to have to teach the classes. But it's really frustrating to think there's so much opportunity for the Parks and Rec department, but NOBODY can figure out about the registration procedure.

To take my mind off it, here are some pix of the kitchen... with floor!!

From just inside the new back door:

From the hallway:

From the old back door:

Those crazy Watson boys! (This is Will):

My angels:

Monday, February 11, 2008

Si se pueden

See, I would have thought "Yes we can" in Spanish would've been "Si, podemos." Which is why I speak English.

PS I can't figure out how to make an accent mark. Gaaaah!

So, I've had no internets for the last fourish days. I'm back.

Ed's developed this habit, nay, compulsion of carrying one small toy in each hand. Cars, animals, Barney, whatever he can find.

Lucy has started writing songs. Complex songs, mostly about her day and random other things that have come up. She also talks a lot about her invisible friend, Arizona (sometimes "Ellerzona"), who has died. Or sometimes it's Eller's mother who has died. Morbid little child. I'm guessing she watches too many Disney movies.

This afternoon Lucy asked for a kitten. She promised to take care of it. I can't believe this is starting already.

While I was internetsless, I started some incomplete thoughts which I will now publish. Seriously incomplete. Here goes:

I was reading the Bulletin Board in the Pioneer Press the other day and someone wrote in about how their parents didn't raise them to sit around and watch people work.

Now, I'm not saying my parents DID raise me to sit around and watch people work, but I think they may have enabled me. My parents and many others of their generation are exceptional workers. They show up somewhere and immediately pitch right in and workworkwork. There's a grandma/volunteer at ECFE who, during snacktime, zips around the table, asking kids if they want more snack or refilling water cups. Pushes in chairs, sweeps the floor, BUSTLES. I sit back and observe, holding my little bowl of Goldfish crackers, waiting for one of the munchkins to start looking hungry.

I strive to be a worker. I am not a worker. At our church there's lots of setup and takedown to do: stacking and moving of chairs, packing of things into boxes, folding tables, packing up the nursery fixin's. Joel manages to dive in and make himself useful. I kind of stand there, oscillating, trying to figure out what I can work on. I don't know if I'm afraid to mess it up, or if I just lack the ability to SEE what job I ought to tackle.

I don't LIKE sitting around and watching people work -- but I'm not a self-starter. You give me a task and I will totally do it... but I kind of want to be told. I'm REALLY good at taking direction; not so good at occupying myself in a way that others might find valuable.

So, I sorta resent being judged as a nonworker, especially when seriously? I spent the entire weekend working. Hard. I know that putting the DVDs back on the shelf for the mazillionth time isn't technically "cleaning" since there isn't any dirt involved. I know that folding sheets the right way (meaning the one way that will make it so they will all actually fit inside the linen closet without exploding into my face every time I go in there to grab a washcloth) probably seems like a waste of time, but I assure you it is necessary for the functioning of the household.

I kinda lost track of what I was talking about.

Well anyway, it's as good a time as any for a couple plugs. I'm sure you know this but I'm choreographing a production of "High School Musical". We open March 7 and run through most of March. It's going to be really good and you should definitely buy your tickets ASAP!!

Ashland is also sponsoring a show featuring Laura Osnes, the gal who won the TV show "Grease: You're The One That I Want" last year and is currently starring on Broadway as Sandy. Laura played Dorothy in Ashland's "Wizard of Oz" several years ago, and since Broadway is dark on Mondays, Ashland is flying her in for one night on Monday, Feb. 25. Some of the youth show choir groups I work with will be performing that night, as well. Tickets are $35 -- come see a real-life Broadway star in person!

Also, I haven't talked much about this yet, but Joel and the kids and I have started going to a teeny little church and we are really getting so much out of it. It's called HopeSpring and if you are at all searching for a church or some spirituality, I encourage you to come to a 9:30 AM Sunday service at the White Bear Lake Armory. HopeSpring is the antimegachurch -- typical attendance on Sunday is about 15 people (including Lucy and Eddie). Our dear friends Cara and Alley Joel first invited us (Alley Joel is the pastor's cousin) and Joel and I have been surprised and amazed at how much we are learning and growing in our faith.

Joel asked me to share an Eddie story from this evening: we were all eating the bean & ham soup I made for dinner. Ed was eating the soup with his fingers, of course -- he's exceptionally tactile. He grabbed a giant piece of ham in his fist (like only a not-quite-2-year-old boy can do) and declared, "Mmm, good! CHICKEN! Bawck-bawck-bawck!" and started pumping his right elbow up and down (in a one-armed version of the universal sign for "chicken," of course).

Ham, Eddie, it's ham. Pig. Oink.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

I'm no electrician...

...but I'm guessing this is some kind of code violation:

That gray plug on the far left is for the STOVE, ladies and germs. And yes, that's the toaster on the floor. Yeesh. Most of the time I keep this entire power-strip setup covered with the lid from my biggest roasting pan, just to make sure the kids don't electrocute themselves.

Here's a little "before-and-after" action with the new tile, hardware, and countertop (OK so you can't really see the countertop):



I like how the mess in either picture is exactly the same in volume but totally different in composition. I can almost tell what I'm making for dinner in each shot, if I really think about it.

Also, the tile has since been grouted. And I am hoping for electrical outlets tonight maybe!!

Here's the dining room. Yes, that blue is the actual color. I wanted it to be "soothing." I dunno.

Here's a pic from inside the dining room, toward the new back door and the kitchen:

And here's one from just inside the new back door. I think the point of this one was to show the color of the walls. Or something:

This picture is really just for Bridget: doesn't Ryan have the same jammies as Ed here?

I miss this weather.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Hi there, excuse me, could I just have my old brain back please?

We were in church yesterday and Ed shouted at the top of his lungs: "GOD GOD GOD GOD GOD."

And Friday night Jean and I took the kids swimming, and on the way home Lucy said, "Mommy turn on some music!"
And Jean and I were sorta talking so I sorta ignored my daughter. Not five seconds later Lucy said "Mommy I'm STARVING."
I didn't even have enough time to take the breath I was going to take to answer her when I heard, in her I'm going to say something cute now tone, "I'm STARVING for some MUSIC."

OK so seriously, we are having some major whining issues with Lucy. "I need you to HOLD ME. I need you to CARRY ME. I need you to FEED ME." ALL the TIME. She still has her sweet side, but I feel like we see it less and less often. I tried explaining to her that even though she isn't "a baby" anymore, she'll always be MY baby and I will always love her so much. And that even though Baby Will is around a lot and requires my attention, I'm not his mommy but I AM LUCY'S mommy. And she is still my baby even if I can't treat her like a baby much anymore.

She responds with tears, saying "Mommy, this baby still needs to be carried."

And here I'd thought referring to yourself in the third person went out with Terrell Owens.

Saturday Joel started tiling our backsplash, in the cobalt-blue tile of my dreams that reminds me of Spain and makes me so happy... and that also happens to be a quarter of the cost of the blue-glass tile I'd originally had my eye on. He took a break at 10AM and we went to the St Paul School Fair down at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium at the RiverCenter. We confirmed that Lu can't start in one of the St Paul Public Schools' (SPPS) 4-year-old programs for another year and a half (because her birthday is September 2 and the cutoff is September 1). They don't do any early enrollment for the 4-y-o programs, but weirdly, she COULD get admitted to Kindergarten early if we wished (so essentially she could skip the 4-yr program entirely).

I don't really wish, but I do see her playing with Nathan down the street and with Paige Lier, who are both going to be TWO years ahead of her in school, and ... I just wonder if we'll be holding her back. I'm entirely sure we're going to stick with our guns and keep her back the year; I hate to have her be the last one in her class to get her drivers license, and I especially hate to have her always struggling to keep up.

The one thing I was really impressed with was the variety of options through SPPS. They have several language-immersion schools... a World-Cultures magnet school... a year-round school... an "open" school where K-12 all mixes together... a couple Montessori options... an aerospace magnet... a school just for gifted kids... and (my favorite!) a Creative Arts school where the kids learn everything through music, dance, and theatre. They had videos and photos of the kids playing the part of waves, molecues, and light beams. It sounds seriously awesome. WAY better than sitting behind a desk all day. I'm feeling better and better about our decision to stay in St Paul. I know our school decisions are going to be way more time-consuming and challenging than they would be if we lived in the 'burbs, but I think the opportunities for enrichment are far greater. I'm kind of excited!

Whoops, back to work, Will is here! Bring on the patty-cake!

Friday, February 01, 2008

...and where is that Hole In The Head I ordered off Amazon?!?

Yesterday Ed got a bit of frostnip on his fingers because it took me more than three stinkin minutes to get little Will strapped into his car seat on the way to ECFE.

Last night I got pulled over (actually NOT for speeding, honestly!) because the tabs on my Corolla are 5 months expired. And then I couldn't find any current proof of insurance anywhere in the car.

And this afternoon I ran the dishwasher and I now have two kitchen-sinkfuls of disgusting water that is absolutely not going anywhere.

I was about to ask that nice Obama supporter who came to the door today if she would give me a nice paper cut and then pour lemon juice into it. I would thank God it's Friday, except that means that a plumber is going to cost, like, $600 instead of $200 like it might normally.