My online journal.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tuesday stuff

Just taking a quick breather between loads of laundry.

Both kids have little colds. Ed hasn't been eating much, lately, except quick bursts of apple and cold cereal. I tried to whip up a little ginger-honey-lemon-garlic-zinc "tea" this morning for them, but they were having absolutely none of it. Too spicy, I guess, even when laced with OJ. I'm drinking the leftovers now and it does clear out those sinuses! Whoo!

We had Roto-Rooter out to the house this morning, for our biannual (does that mean once every 2 years? Because I want it to) drain-clean. They roto-ed out our basement drain and CHECK IT OUT I am doing WHOLE LOADS OF LAUNDRY again!! And my kitchen sink is draining better, too. And it only cost $229, which really, considering there's a 6 month guarantee that *ought* to get us through the worst part of winter (for those of you who've never had the effusive luxury of living in an older home, winter here means sllllow drainage), seems like a purty good deal. Thank you Roto-Rooter!

Tonight I'm making Nicole Watson's easy meatball-minestrone soup (with slight modifications) and I think we MIGHT actually get to open Joel's birthday presents. We have not spent a full evening together in the last ... hmmm... couple months. It stinks.

Well anyway. The kids are cute -- Ed seems, overnight, to have made another jump in his language skills. And talking with Lucy I SWEAR is sometimes almost as helpful as talking with Jean or Joel about things. I may regret saying this (and/or NEVER say it again), but I feel like she understands me. She manages to sum things up and capture the true, distilled essence of truth, and it blows my mind.

Also, the kids are having trouble falling asleep. They get in their bedroom after our carefully-orchestrated Bedtime Routine, and every night they whip themselves into a frenzy and won't fall asleep. It seems to make no difference whether or not they nap. It's SO WEIRD. And excruciating for us parents. Joel and I don't typically retire until after 10 and a couple times, now, we've had to tell the kids to GO TO SLEEP one last time before we head up. So any advice you have, would be appreciated.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Quick rant to guilt you into getting your family portrait done at ECFE

If you're reading this because you got an email from me, thanks for reading! If not, you may still be interested. So here goes:

(This part was in the email:)

My ECFE (Early Childhood Family Education) program is doing a fund-raiser that is actually kind of a really good deal, so I'm just letting you know about it. If you are at all interested in taking a "family photo" (maybe for a Christmas card? Or something?), read on.

Heather Matson ( is a mom in our program and she is volunteering her amazing photographic talent for a couple evenings this week, to help ECFE (which is otherwise funded by the St. Paul Public Schools). There is no sitting fee, and no cost whatsoever unless you want to order pictures -- and you can decide whether or not to order AFTER THE FACT so it's totally NOT one of those "choose your package before you even see the proofs" sort of deal. You'll get to look at your proofs online after the shoot. And then order -- if you want.

So here's the 411:

1. Sessions are 20 minutes long, this Thursday (Oct 2) and Friday (Oct 3) at the Dayton's Bluff rec center in St Paul. Times are available throughout the evening. Advance sign-up is required (so email me).

2. Please specify whether you prefer a black or brown backdrop.

3. Also please let me know how many people you'll bring.

4. You show up, Heather (or her lovely assistant) takes pix for 20 minutes, you go home.

5. Your proofs will be available online on October 10. You may then place orders for prints/holiday cards/whatever. Print prices are what I would call "a little steep." That said, I think they are reasonable for a professional photographer of Heather's ability. Also, a portion of the monies (I love the word "monies!") goes straight to our Dayton's Bluff ECFE program. I have a copy of the print price list right next to me here -- let me know if you want a copy/fax of it. I'll also try to get it electronically for anyone who shows interest.

I also want to say that in no way do I want to take business away from any of my very good friends who also take beautiful pictures. So if you know who I'm talking about and were considering using them instead-- please feel free to do so!

So while this is a decent deal, I also want to say that the ECFE program is INCREDIBLE and has totally changed our lives as a family. It's essentially preschool at public-school prices (and if you have kids that age, you know that pretty much doesn't hardly exist) -- with a parent-education component that is immensely informative and nurturing. This year our ECFE Advisory Council had to kick in almost $10,000 of its own money to completely fund the 4-year-old program that Lucy is in this year, because the city budget is so tight. And this is the only ECFE 4-year-old program of its kind in the city.

The St Paul Public Schools' 4yo program is so full that there is a waiting list this year that is hundreds of students long, and yet there isn't enough money to fund the 4yo program at our site. If you've talked with me at all in the past year, you know how madly in love with ECFE I am. I feel like it builds communities and neighborhoods, and is helping us to raise our children in a gentle, loving, nurturing way and teaching us all to be better citizens of this planet.

The teachers are excellent and I am a MUCH more confident, informed, and happy mother than I was before I started ECFE. The kids and I have made friends who I hope we keep for a very long time.

Anyway, let me know if you want some pix taken. Thank you!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Summer, I hardly knew ye

"They" say that today is to be the final gorgeous summer day, for a while. To celebrate, we met the Dalys at the park and picnicked. Except I ran out of time to find food for myself, so I subsisted on an apple and the peanut butter-honey drippings from the kids' sammies until I could get home and make myself what I am NOW eating, which is:

homegrown tomatoes, chopped
homegrown basil, shredded
fresh mozzarella balls, halved
kosher salt
balsamic vinegar

...and it is the bestest summer treat. And it's 80 degrees and sunny and I'm wondering if maybe I ought to start harvesting some of our 20-ish pumpkins in our patch? The vines aren't totally dead and I think they could still get a little deeper-colored orange, so I think I'm going to wait. But if anybody has any better expertise in this matter, I am listening.

And, did'ja catch that Twins game last night!? Hooo-eee, what a barn-burner! And it came on top of my coed team winning our two games, as well -- short-staffed though we were. Jean hit two triples (or a home run and a half, as she likes to say), Joel hit 2 home runs and I hit a single-with-a-three-base-error AND Larry The Homeless Man did not have to babysit the kids. It was a good night!

Tonight is opening night for High School Musical, and tomorrow Joel and I compete in the Great Urban Race in Minneapolis. We are still taking submissions for costume ideas -- so feel free to jump in with your thoughts. We have at our disposal several wigs (1 black afro and 2 blonde ladies' wigs), 2 1993 Monticello football jerseys, 1 1994 purple WSU dance team costume, an unlimited supply of Meg-sized fancy dresses, 2 pairs of ski goggles, and 2 adult-sized bell-bottomed 1970s spandex unitards, complete with sequins and maybe some fringe.

Well, I'll let you know how that all shakes out. Ciao for now...

Monday, September 22, 2008

See my show ON TV! KARE 11! Tuesday at 10pm!

Hey gang! Well, after a very emotional morning (the kids miss Joel. Big time. And I do too, stupid mustache and all) we finally made it (only an hour late!) to our playdate with the Watsons, where Mama Nicole let me cry and whine, and managed to tell me with a straight face that I was neither crazy nor a bad mama. For which I would like to now crown her Supreme Goddess of the Universe.

Now for the really random:

I rented Baby Mama (starring Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, etc) for myself last night and MAN that is a funny movie! And very sweet and touching. And the commentary is excellent, so much so that I am going to watch the rest of it into the wee hours of tonight, if only I can ever pry myself away from this computer.

Dooce is right about edamame: it is the Vegetable of the Gods and now ranks in my Top 5... OK, Top 8 foods of All Time. Jean and I got some edamame from Pei Wei a couple weekends ago, and I'm SO glad for A. Dooce's informative tutorial video and B. the Pei Wei experience, so I knew exactly the preparation steps AND how the stuff ought to look and taste. The kosher salt is an absolute necessity during cooking, and don't forget to sprinkle it with more as you serve it. I also tossed it with a bit of olive oil, which gave it that ultimate salt-fat combo that makes my lips go all numb. Anyway, it was a total hit; even Joel and Lucy liked it, and I'm going to make it all the time.

When am I going to learn that when I'm real crabby, all I need is some exercise? I took my first en pointe ballet class last night (well... kinda. I have to go acquire some pointe shoes, now) and I broke a sweat for the first time in weeks (doing something other than brushing Ed's teeth, that is) and it felt wonderful. It's a great small group of gals and I am really excited to keep working.

Bummer is, I had to miss the filming of an Eric Perkins "Perk at Play" episode at High School Musical rehearsal tonight! Sounds like the kids will be on the 10:00 news tomorrow night (Tuesday, Sept 23) on Channel 11 (NBC) here. I can't wait to see how they all look! I heard they were working on the "Head in the Game" number so that would be so cool to see some of my choreography on TV. Mia Michaels, watch out -- har-dee-har-har. And I'm hoping it will be some great publicity for the show -- meaning, I hope they get the show info right and I hope lots of people buy tickets!

When I got home from ballet, Papa G and Ed were watching Ice Age (again) and Lucy had passed out on the couch. That is one tired little girl -- busy day for her, with playdate-ECFE-dance class all back to back. Tomorrow is our day of rest, I think. Uh, is it raining out?

OK I gots a date with Baby Mama.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Way to step up, people.

So I'm currently in a five-way tie for 48th place in the "favorite parenting blog" contest at Divine Caroline. I'm not going to lie to you, though: having to register there is a giant deterrent and I'm impressed I have even the 9 votes I do.

I haven't even voted for myself. :(

See, what I think needs to happen is, I need to get out of the "mommy blog" label and into the "Neighborhood/World" category, which has 1/3 of the number of nominees. MOST OF WHICH ARE MOMS! Cheating whores!! I'd be in the top 10 with my nine votes, there!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Random convos around the house

Joel: "Eddie eats dirt."
Ed: "Eddie eats skirt?"
Lucy: "I've seen THAT movie!"

Lucy (singing a Veggie Tales song): "Pizza Angel, I'm on my knees... Hey, pickles don't have knees, am I right?"

Lucy (as I finish reading her a story from her new Jesus Storybook Bible): "Who's this story for?"
Me: "It's for you!"
Lucy: "Story for ME?!? Well, I LOVE it."

Me (after Ed had asked for something he couldn't have, like a cookie): "I'm sorry, no."
Ed: "I'm sorry YES."

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Typing with a clubfinger

Or whatever... I have my right "tall man" (the doc said "I can tell you're a mom of little ones") taped to my right ring finger, in an attempt to heal said "tall man" from the mysterious injury I sustained trying to do a backflip back in June (the doc also said "Kinda old to be doing backflips, aren't we?" to which I took great offense). Tall man is not broken, which I kinda knew, but I bet there's something wrong with a tendon in there, or something, so I'm trying to immobilize it a bit to see whether it improves. So any grevious typos can be attributed to me typing with this strange clubfinger.

I'm going to make neither attempt nor promise to blog more regularly. The spirit moves me today, as Ed is taking a very late nap and Lucy is happily cutting-and-gluing away at her "desk" (read: whichever countertop or table surface she has currently appropriated). Also because it is such a unbelievably gorgeous late-summer day. Jean came over this morning to babysit while I went in for x-rays; we then played some tennis (thank you Lu and Ed for entertaining yourselves for a while!) and enjoyed a picnic lunch (thank you Lu and Jean for packing it!) and some playground time before hustling back home to head to ECFE for our first Thursday session.

Our ECFE schedule is bizarro this year, so I won't attempt to go into detail. But Thursdays are the days I get my "parent class" which is something I really look forward to. Since the class is a Kindergarten-prep class, today we started talking about school readiness and what it means. The teacher and my fellow parent-students reiterated how "readiness" cannot be measured by how well a child writes his/her letters, or by how high he/she can count, or other "academic standards" that modern preschools often, unfortunately, try to push upon families. (Modern families, so terribly busy as we all are, are susceptible to fall for these "easy measures" of how a child is developing. It's an easy way to compare kids: Darla writes all her letters, upper and lower case! Buford can add and subtract!) But rather, we need to take the time to consider the whole child: social, verbal, and emotional levels as well as an eagerness and excitement about learning.

Anyway, I'm gonna totally dig this class. Hurray!

So Lucy is painting on her easel out in the gazebo. She just hollered in "I made brown! I made it with red and orange and green!" And I looked out and, well, she sure did.

She was taking her "quiet time" today (which is often a struggle) in the living room, and I was trying to just get a little QT of my own, upstairs in my heavily-pillowed bed. She hollers, much to my dismay (as I am loving having my feet up and my eyes closed): "MOOOOOOM!" And when I holler "WHAT!?" back she hollers, "I LOVE YOU!" What a peach.

OK painting time is done and Ed needs to wake up. Did I mention it's a gorgeous day, and I am about as happy as it's possible for a human to be?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Uhh... some kind of nomination?

Well, I'll be honest: I don't really know what to think of this at all. Apparently I've been nominated for a "Love! This Site Award" through

I have never heard of Divine Caroline, and the "nomination notification" was delivered to my Spam file, but I did find it and it looks legitimate... in that it doesn't appear to be a bunch of criminals trying to scam any of us out of our hard-earned money.

Also I think they're giving away ACTUAL MONEY as a prize! And I pledge to you that, if I win anything, I WILL SPLIT IT WITH YOU in a completely arbitrary pro-rata system. I promise!! So vote for me!

EDIT: OK, while it's super-nice to be nominated, I'm already like 698 votes behind "Bring the Rain" and a couple other tearjerking blogs that are probably much more worthy. In addition, I can't for the life of me figure out how to post the "voting button" on my site. I stink at HTML and unfortunately so does everybody else I know. So I'll just say it's an honor to be nominated, thank you to whomever did it, and have a nice day!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Pix from Lu's bday

The infamous Doll Cake.

I made homemade spaghetti sauce and it was a FEAST.

Real short update: I have been thinking about Lucy and school, and Ed too, for one because it's back-to-school time, and second because our options just keep expanding. While I really don't see myself as homeschooling material, some mamas I really respect are going that route. And it's only been in the last year that I've realized that the St. Paul Public Schools are a very good option. I had totally ruled out private schools, but then I think thoughts that might make that possible. And Minnesota's open enrollment really throws the floodgates open.

So I came across this wonderful essay that I now paste here for your enjoyment.

Also! I bought a book, totally on a whim, for a friend's child's birthday. It's The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, by local author Kate DiCamillo. I picked it up because of Ed's name in the title, and because I'd heard good things about DiCamillo, and because I thought a 5-year-old girl would like being read a chapter book about a bunny.

So I was flipping through it, because I love books, and of course there is a little dog in it named... Lucy. Sweet! And all this happened several weeks ago, but I just happened to plug "Kate DiCamillo Secret Edward" into Google (because I forgot the title and replaced "miraculous" with "secret") and I came up with some notes on how the story is an allegory of Christian faith and resurrection.

Who knew!? How cool is that? Say, do any of you know anything else about this book? Because now I totally want to get a copy and read it to my kids. Except apparently Ed the bunny actually gets nailed to a cross. Yikes.

And as though I didn't already get questions about my kids' names relating to the Lucy and Edmund in (Christian author) C.S. Lewis's Narnia series. Sooooo interesting.

Oh!! And the MOST FUNNEST news for you all!

Remember a couple months ago, I wrote a post entitled "Shed no tears for me..." ?? No? Well you can go look it up if you wish, but I'm warning you, it's no Shakespeare. Or even Margaret Mitchell. Anyhoo, the gal who inspired it found the post when she Googled herself, and she wrote a response! It turns out she's a fellow theatre geek (or she used to be)... a fellow mama... a fellow writer... a fellow skeptic of he WSU dance department. Anyway, you may read her very eloquent post here ( I totally want to be her new very best friend in the whole world, but I may have made that a little too obvious as she hasn't replied to my invitation for coffee. Nor the dozen roses I sent. Nor the singing telegram, nor the dead fish I left on her doorstep, nor the urine-bombs thrown by the now-unemployed RNC anarchists. *sigh*

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Lucy turns 4

Hey Lu! You turned four years old at 3:34 this morning. You were sleeping at the time, thank goodness, because you were suffering from a giant Grandparent Hangover after a very long and very wonderful Labor Day weekend. You woke up this morning at 7ish and hollered from the bottom of the stairs: "Mom, I'm FOUR!" It made me smile, and as you know I don't typically smile before I've had coffee. Good work. As I dismounted the stairs and congratulated you on 48 months of life, you told me you didn't really feel much bigger. I hope you're saying the same thing when you're 44.

Lucy, you are FUNNY. I wish I had tape-recorded our conversations in the grocery store today. You'd brought your own list, of course, which magically had lots of the same stuff that my list did, which is amazing considering the only letters you write really well now are O and L. And Y and C. I want you to know that our comedic dialogue regarding our competing grocery lists garnered LOTS of chuckles from passing shoppers and store employees. Lucy, lots of grownups don't laugh very often. You brought some joy to some people today.

Lu, this is the first birthday of yours that you've been truly aware of. You had a perma-grin on your face all day, and I was so proud and happy that we could make it a special day for you. I'm proud of the conversations you carried on with all your callers today: Grammy and Papa, the Bookses, and Ellen. You loved listening to Jamie's voice mail. You must have replayed over 100 times that e-card that Joel's Aunt Denise sent. I can't believe you figured out in, like, 10 seconds how to use the mouse pad on my computer. I seriously showed you once. (Tip to anyone wanting to delight a 4-year-old: send an e-card that they can click on for animation and music. Best Free Gift Ever.)

Lucy, I have so many dreams for you. I hope you stay kind and caring (it melts my heart when you bring Ed his magic blanket when he's sad). People notice kindness, and it is far too rare in our world. People notice when you're interested in them, too, and I know you'll learn different ways of asking about people besides "So, how was your day?" Which is actually not a bad start at all.

I hope you keep asking All Those Questions ("Mommy does Jesus love lions? Trees? Those wires running across the yard?"). As much as it infuriates me when you repeat my phrases back to me ("It's really not a good time for me." "I will do what you ask, as soon as I am able." "Mommy I'm just very frustrated with you right now."), I adore that you keep asking about the nuances of language and context. If you choose not to be any kind of performer (which will be a GIANT mistake, but who's asking me? I'm just the mother), you should know that your confidence, and your ability to talk to anyone about anything, will serve you well no matter where your life takes you. So will your creativity.

Lucy, I know we're going to butt heads for probably ever. We will be so lucky if we get to butt heads forever. Both your dad and I are stubborn... so you got a double-dose. Know that I think you and your brother are two of the most beautiful creatures on the planet. Know that I am hugely proud of the person you are becoming. When you do that Lion King show, complete with "welcome-to-the-show" curtain speech plus your very own singing, dancing, and stage-managing (whick mostly consists of you bossing Ed about where to carry Sad Puppy who's playing the part of Baby Simba), I just fall to pieces. I watch you lose yourself entirely in interpreting the music, and I admire your utter lack of fear or self-consciousness. I am amazed at the information you retain in that brain of yours -- trivia about the whereabouts of every single one of your toys, and the various dramatic plots you've got them involved in. I can always count on you to find things that go missing in the house -- well, except the keys that one time, and I kinda blame your dad for that.

Keep listening, Lucy, and keep learning. Watch closely to see how your words and actions affect people. Use your gifts for good, not for evil. Keep reminding me to be patient with you and Ed. And keep talking to me -- except not after 8:30 PM nor while I am cooking. I love you to pieces. Happy fourth birthday.