My online journal.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Oh Christmas cookies Oh Christmas cookies, how yummy in my tummy

Quick note while my Yogi Bedtime tea is brewing. This tea, btw, is THE MOST AWESOME TEA EVER. Aunt Jan used to have it and the flavor really is something fabulous. I am going to take my tea and some Christmas Chex Mix up to bed and I am going to read a bit of the last Twilight book before retiring for the evening. And because I REALLY want to drink my tea in bed, I am bringing up with me my floss, toothbrush, toothpaste, cup, pitcher of water (would that be a "ewer"? I really want it to be), and something to spit in. I have grown tired of having no running water on the level where I sleep, so how does that saying go -- if the mountain won't come to Mohammed then Mohammed must go to the mountain? I'm not sure whether I'm the mountain or Mohammed in that analogy; all I know is, tonight I'm eating bedtime snack IN BED. And then NOT GETTING OUT OF IT.

Cute Eddie story I already Facebooked but still must share:

I'm standing, looking at a random piece of paper that mentions "Beauty and the Beast" -- no pictures, just the typed words. Ed can't even SEE it from his angle. Then out of nowhere Eddie sings: "Beauty and the beast..." Me: Why did you sing that? Ed: "I heard it in my heart."

So weird.

Both kids are crazy-excited about Christmas. Lucy has, since the start of school, learned this school-age-kid THING where she hears something she likes and starts jumping up and down and screaming. This is SO something she has learned from other kids -- I can totally picture groups of little kids doing it. She does it any time we talk about Christmas coming soon.

Ed is quick to remind us that "It's not Christmas YET!" which is so Roman Catholic of him -- I totally remember singing "O Come O Come Emmanuel" right up into Christmas Eve and then only getting to sing "Silent Night," "Angels We Have Heard On High," etc AFTER the birth. Mom always got really annoyed by that, for one because "O Come Emmanuel" is little more than a dirge, and B. it's a total waste of all the gorgeous Christmas songs out there. I completely agree with her.

My cards are written, stuffed, and addressed (just awaiting stamps, which are awaiting purchase following Friday's payday). No letter this year -- I might write a little ditty on here closer to Christmas. Most of my presents are bought (though I totally dropped the ball on ECFE and dance-teacher gifts, and I only have a couple more days to work on Lucy's teacher-gift. I'm new at this!!). Lucy's class is making faux-gingerbread houses on Friday, with which I'm excited to help. Joel and I are taking the kids to a Santa breakfast up at the rec center on Saturday, and Joel's family is doing a pre-Christmas Christmas party on Sunday... and then Christmas break is underway! Lucy actually has school Mon and Tues next week, but all other activities are on hold until the new year. It will be nice... but what the heck are we going to DO for 2 weeks!?!?

OK my tea is ready. Good night!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Radio love

Joel just spent about an hour installing our (my) new under-cabinet radio. (Our old one has been slowly giving up the ghost for the past year or so... the volume would cut in and out... then it wouldn't play CDs... it started roaring during All Things Considered... next, the clock broke... it forgot its preset stations... then the static became unbearable. It was a very long and painful death.)

The new one plays no CDs which is OK since I am mostly switched to iPod. On that note, anybody know the best way to back up iTunes? A couple of my favorite RMHS alumni have recently lost all their iTunes and I'd like to avoid that.

So Joel drilled and twisted and knocked and screwed and now I have a functioning soundmaker to cook and blog to. And believe me, I NEED noise to cook to -- I recently wrote a love letter to NPR extolling how I do not care to cook unless NPR is on in the background. Since Joel and the kids care very much to eat, a radio was required.

Anyway, when I plugged in the iPod, the very first song it played was the song Joel and I used for our first dance at our wedding, Lyle Lovett's "She's No Lady." All together now: awwwwww!!!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

I think I need to get on Twitter.

1. What is it about a dumped cup of milk that makes little kids just sit and stare at it, making no noise or movement that would indicate they cared whatsoever that their laps, the table, the chair and floor are FULL OF MILK???

2. I'm trying to upload pics to Shutterfly -- I think I always used Snapfish in the past but I'm switching -- does it really take 2 hours to upload 200 pics?

3. Here's Eddie's lunch order, every day, for the last three months: "Cinnamon on bread wiff no crust and no top and peanut butter on the side and honey on the peanut butter."

Translation: Cut the crust off a piece of toast, sprinkle it with cinnamon, put a glob of PB on the plate and squirt a bit of honey on the PB. ("No top" simply means "open-faced") Eddie says his phrase superfast, with a nice dramatic, sing-songy ritard for the last 4 words. It's adorable.

Advent wreath

I'd decided I wanted to do some more spiritually-based Christmas traditions this year with the kiddos, so I went out looking for Advent wreaths and calendars to try to get a start.

Well, it turns out an Advent wreath can take many forms besides the three-purple-candles-and-a-pink-one I'd remembered from St. Colette. I was going to try to make one out of pine cones but couldn't locate the spool of florist-wire we used to make the bouquets for our wedding (imagine that: I couldn't find something I hadn't used in 9.5 years!)

Anyway, short story long, I didn't want to spend hours of assembly time, but I still liked the idea and decided to make it as simple as possible. And I found this website which not only explains the purpose of the tradition (mainly, just to visually count down the weeks until Christmas) but also gave a really neat way to celebrate it around our dinner table. It also incorporates readings from Isaiah, which I'd wanted to include but didn't think the kids would maintain interest in it through all 66 chapters (plus, have you READ Isaiah? The first half is exceptionally and graphically depressing). In my typical cheapskate way, I dug out one of our Christmas plates and the candles we'd used in the jack o'lanterns.

Anyway here goes: it's meant to be a jumping-off point for families/groups to "make it their own" but this is pretty much exactly what we're doing:

On the first Sunday in Advent

  • Light one purple candle (ours will be red and white, that's what we have)
  • Read Isaiah 60:2-3
  • Pray something like this:

    Lord God, we light this candle to thank you for your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, who is the light of the world. We who have sat in darkness have seen a great light, the light of Jesus Christ, our salvation. We give you thanks and praise in Jesus' name, because he lives and reigns with you in your glory, and in the unity of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

On the second Sunday in Advent

  • Light two candles
  • Read Mark 1:4
  • Pray something like this:

    Lord God, we light this candle to thank you for your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, who is the way. We who like sheep have gone astray have found the way to you through Jesus Christ. We give you thanks and praise in Jesus' name, because he lives and reigns with you in your glory, and in the unity of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

On the third Sunday in Advent

  • Light three candles
  • Read Isaiah 35:10
  • Pray something like this:

    Lord God, we light this candle to thank you for your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, who brings us great joy. We who have walked in the shadow of the valley of death have found life in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We give you thanks and praise in Jesus' name, because he lives and reigns with you in your glory, and in the unity of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

On the fourth Sunday in Advent

  • Light 4 candles
  • Read Isaiah 9:6-7
  • Pray something like this:

    Lord God, we light this candle to thank you for your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, who is the Prince of Peace. We who live in discord and strife have found peace in the promise of eternal life, through Jesus Christ. We give you thanks and praise in Jesus' name, because he lives and reigns with you in your glory, and in the unity of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

On Christmas Eve after sundown or on Christmas Day
(if you have a fifth white candle in the center)

  • Light all the purple candles and the white candle
  • Read Luke 1:68-79 and Luke 2:1-20
  • Pray something like this:

    We praise you, Lord God, because on this day, your Word became flesh in our Savior Jesus Christ, was born of a woman, and walked among us as a man. Help us to imitate your incarnation, by manifesting our faith in our conduct as well as in our speech. To you, O Lord, we give our honor, praise, worship, and love, in the most holy and precious name of the One who is born today; because He lives and reigns with you in your glory, and in the unity of the Holy Spirit, Amen.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Killing the earth through dishes

Hey, who was with me on my earlier dishwashing-detergent discussion?
I've only owned a dishwasher for 23 months but I started using Electrasol (AKA "Finish") and then started trying the more earth-friendly brands. Unfortunately the earth-friendly detergents are LOUSY.

I had a couple people recommend Seventh Generation and I'm dreadfully sorry but it is no better than the rest. I've heard Method is great but I cannot justify the cost -- it's like six times as much! Two days back on the Finish train and I'm happy as a clam, with the cleanest dishes in town.

A nice quote from Mary Hunt, author of "Everyday Cheapskate"

"The wild accumulation of things creates an endless urge to have more.

For those searching for contentment in status symbols and stuff, enough is never enough. The "have-nots" want some; the "have-enoughs" want more; even the "have-too-muches" want more still.

...Having too many things dilutes quality of life and ... having it all is highly overrated."

I just pulled about 50 CDs out of the garage that I completely forgot I even had. (50 is all I could carry -- I bet there are 50+ still in there.) Some of it is junk, like the CD from Dennis & Sally's wedding... some of it is really good music I'd just forgotten about. The point being: it's been YEARS, maybe 3 years, and I didn't miss it. At all. Well, OK, I missed my Oasis CD and that's what I was doing out there. But seriously, I need to clear this kind of clutter out of my life.

Monday, November 30, 2009


I forgot to mention, Monday Nov 30 is my parents' 35th wedding anniversary! Love you lots, Mom and Dad -- thanks for marrying each other!

(This is as close as I could get to a recent photo of them together. Sorry)

Here's what I know about their courtship: they met sometime in the winter of 1973-74 in the American Airlines employee parking lot -- Mom (who also worked for AA at the time) was supposed to catch a ride home with someone whose car wouldn't start, and Dad stopped by to see what the trouble was, and they pulled tennis racquets out of the trunk and hit around a little while waiting for a tow. Later that winter they wound up on the same ski trip out west... and they were married that November, 1974.

They always maintain that Dad never asked Mom to marry him; I think sometime in late summer 1974, Nana (Dad's mom) asked them when they were getting married and they chose November. Mom wore Dad's brother (my uncle) Tom's then-wife's wedding dress and Dad wore a blue ruffly shirt with a tuxedo and Dad's brother Jack and Mom's sister Jan stood up for them and they had a small reception at one of Mom's aunt's or grandma's houses in Chicago.

Happy Anniversary you guys!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thankful. (Oh but don't expect a whole mooshy post about that)

Hello my darlings!
Long time no post, I know. And look, this one will be a total waste of your time.

We had a really wonderful Thanksgiving with Joel's parents in Monti (including a WAY fun ride on the new Northstar Lightrail -- highly recommend it!) and then got to meet Alley Joel and Cara's new baby, Elizabeth, and then drove down to Rolling Meadows for some post-Thanksgiving family time. Jean flew in, too, and Ellen and her boyfriend came out from the city, and it was so great to all get together. On the way home we stopped briefly in Milwaukee to catch up with Peg and John and Jack and there's nothing like old friends you can just pick right back up with.

I'm super-psyched about the Christmas season this year -- we've got a nice mix of family, adult, and girls-only parties; some old traditions to carry on... and some new ones to start. I am bummed that the Anita Kerr Singers' 1969 album "Spend this Holiday with Me" isn't available except on vinyl, but I DID get to hear it once, to kick my season off right. And my dad made it up to me by handing over one of Grandma Jake's Jane Monheit CDs. Happiness!

Tomorrow night I meet my Wilder Foundation Neighborhood Leadership Program coachee (this is the program I participated in last year; this year, despite my utter lack of experience, I am a "coach") -- she's a young woman from Liberia (and I'm a little embarrassed to admit I just Googled that to see where it was -- and to save you the trouble, it's on the west coast of Africa) who sounds super energetic and enthusiastic (from what I can tell from her 4-page questionnaire). I'm excited to meet her, but nervous because I have to essentially sit down and interview her for maybe 30 minutes. I hope she picks up on our shared enthusiasm and doesn't mind my spazzy ignorance. If she's looking for a cheerleader we'll be a good fit; if she's looking for a wealth of contacts and resources, well... perhaps I can show her how to work the Internets.

OK anyway! The kids were total angels all weekend -- golly do I adore them. And now I must hit the sack -- a great big month is looming.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Being a part of something special MAKES you special." -- Rachel Berry, Glee

Hey there, just a quick Thursday morning update --
Joel, the kids and I have spent much of the week battling various coughs, fevers, and colds -- the kids had fevers earlier this week and last night coughed a lot throughout the night (but still slept okay, I think)... Joel was feeling yucky for a couple days... and I have been hanging in there but this morning woke up stuffy and migrainey. Ugh! We've been SO lucky the past several years that I guess it's just our turn to go through this massive yuckiness.

Annie has been going just great -- we've had several sold-out houses, and this weekend we have 4 performances, 3 of which are already sold out. It's SO exciting to be part of something like this. I feel like every time I do a big show (which I haven't, now, for 4.5 years!), I come away with some awesome new friends. It's a wonderful and exhausting experience.

Meanwhile, our yard is absolutely blanketed with oak leaves. It's been gorgeous here the last 5 days but a cloudy front has moved in and it really looks like November today. Every once in a while little mini-tornadoes of leaves pick up and spin a little bit. I remember one day last fall (it was a nice day -- the windows were open in the car) I stopped at a stop sign down the block. And a little mini-leaf-tornado started coming at our car, and a bunch of teenagers on the corner started hollering as though they thought it was going to carry them away. It blew right through the car and honestly it was a teeny bit scary! I much prefer to watch it from inside my cozy home.

It's 8:37 AM and Eddie's still sleeping, though I can hear him coughing so I bet he's waking up. I called us in sick to Bible study this morning, which is a bummer, but I would really prefer that Lucy save her energy for school this afternoon. Also we have conferences with her teacher this evening -- very exciting, can't wait! And I've got a show tonight so I'm going to try to get the house in decent order for the weekend and then relax a bit. Possibly snuggling with my Neti Pot, some kleenexes, and several tubes of Airborne and Zicam.

We recently had some family pics done -- please drop me a line if you want to see them.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


Hey there! That bollywood wedding dance I choreo-ed is on youtube:

I'm so proud! But such is the plight of the choreographer: now I really want to perform it myself. :)

Friday, October 30, 2009


Our darling neighbors, the Alleys, moved last week and they got the MOST AWESOME TRUCK.
We carved pumpkins 2 weeks early. We ended up with 5 pumpkins out of our garden (#6 got harvested and then I knocked it off the retaining wall with the van -- it exploded upon impact).
We let Lucy draw the faces on the pumpkins with marker, and then Joel and I took some artistic liberties with her vision (with steak knives). If you click on the photo below to enlarge, you can see that the pumpkin on the right has 2 top choppers to represent Ed's missing ones, and the pumpkin on the left has 1 lower tooth, for Lucy's (oh, whoops, upon inspection the Lucy-tooth one is not pictured here -- sorry!). The squirrels have since done some pretty severe damage.
Here are the kids dressed for tumbling this morning:
People ask Ed whether he's a pirate, a warrior, a knight, a soldier... and he always responds "I'm a HERO." And I can't even tell you how many times I had to answer "Mama, where is my Sword of Truth?" this morning. Lots.
Aaaaand... Lucy waiting for the bus.
Joel helped her look up "Flappers" on the internet and everything.

At her school, they let the teachers choose whether or not to celebrate, and I'm surprised how delighted I am that Lucy's class is having a party. I don't really have strong feelings about Halloween (neither for nor against -- though I sure like candy! and dressing up!), but I was a bit appalled when I heard last year that some schools were prohibiting kids from dressing up at all... to the point where they said that kids with any sort of color in their hair would be sent home. I mean, it's a public school and presumably kids would be allowed to have different-colored hair any other day of the school year, but not on Halloween? At some point I feel like that's starting to infringe on civil liberties... but I also think it's a mistake to think that being respectful of diverse cultures means we don't celebrate anything. I mean, how else are we supposed to understand each other and get along in this crazy world, if we don't acknowledge what different cultures get excited about, and why? Plus I usually think more parties is generally a good thing.

Monday, October 26, 2009

It's a new week, thank goodness

Last week was not a good week for us -- I came down with some dreadful fever/achey thing on Thurs and was pretty much in a tunnel until Sunday. Thank goodness my dad was here to help with the kids and make me tea and buy me Jarlsberg and ginger snaps and caramel-coffee ice cream.
Ed has grown another inch since September. This pic is from their first tumbling class, about a month ago.

Beautiful princesses:

Monday, October 19, 2009


Connor passed away yesterday afternoon -- the update is on the caringbridge site.

No Bad News

"No Bad News" is the title of a song I was choreographing last night, for Hastings HS's women's show choir. It's a fun gospel-y type piece, from The Wiz. You can YouTube it for some entertainment.

Unfortunately, that hasn't been the theme around here lately. We found out last week that one of my aunts is very, very sick.

We also found out that our 4-year-old neighbor boy, Connor, has been in an intentional, medically-induced coma for the last 7 weeks as he awaits a heart transplant. He's had 3 open heart surgeries in his life and his family's health insurance has been completely exhausted. They are a sweet, quiet family who would love to be able to see their little boy open his eyes and smile again.

And I opened up the paper today to find the obit of Josh Moon, a 13-year-old boy who'd been really involved in Ashland in the last few years. If you saw Guys & Dolls, the Ashland teens' 2008 summer camp show, he played Lieutenant Brannigan. That kid worked SO HARD to get that Irish accent right, and we were all so proud of him. He had a brain tumor.

Anyway, so my heart has been torn in two these last few days. Of course I'm so grateful for Lucy and Ed and Joel -- we carved pumpkins yesterday and I will post pics later. But I'm also really thankful for the Bible study I've been going to the last few weeks. It's really easy to get mired down in the WHY and the HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN of bad news, and I know I'm not strong enough to tough it all out on my own. Not only that, but I'm often hit with this feeling that I want to DO something to help, but haven't been able to figure it out. Through the study I've been able to pray and open myself up to God's wishes -- one of our actual prayers last week was simply, "Lord, what do you want me to do?" -- and I'm not joking, He gave me some great ideas. How about the timing on THAT! Awesome!

Anyway, one teeny little thing I can do is post some more info on Connor. If you are a bajillionaire looking for a cause, here you go:

Fundraiser for Connor
Saturday, November 7
Casa Vieja Mexican Grill
2176 West 7th Street, St. Paul, MN 55116
$10 All-You-Can-Eat Taco Bar from 1:00-6:00 PM
Raffle - silent auction - petting zoo - games - music

Donations may be sent to:
Highgrove Community Federal Credit Union
1804 7th St. W.
St. Paul, MN 55116
attn: Love for Connor Benefit

More information:
Local news story, KSTP
Connor's CaringBridge site

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The tooth is out!

Lucy lost her first tooth today. I wish I'd videotaped her phone calls to both sets of grandparents, and three of her aunts.

"My tooth is loose. No, it's gone. It's out. I lost it in dance class. It fell onto my TONGUE! It's sooooo small! I can't even believe how small it is. I want to keep it one more night so I can look at it tomorrow. I love you too, do you want to talk to your sister/brother/daughter/son?"

Friday, October 09, 2009

Friday night update

Hey gang, sorry I've been real lazy. Just thought I would check in to say hello... Hello! Things are good.

Real quick:

Lucy is enjoying school (she cannot WAIT to get on that bus every day, and gets off it with a giant smile at 4pm) although every day she comes home and says she has a bad day. This mostly seems to be due to her not being able to use the computer in the room. I have no idea what the deal is with computer use -- when they get to use it and how turns are determined -- but I do know that girl loves computer time.

Ed and I are adjusting to our afternoons alone. I usually try to schedule grocery trips during the afternoons now, and Ed is only sometimes reluctant to be dragged about town. Generally he's a trooper, loving anything he can "help" with. Like holding the Cub Foods ad after I have torn all the good coupons out of it. Ed hasn't been napping since mid-summer, but he passed right out yesterday afternoon at around 3pm. I thought he was just playing in his bed, but next thing you know it's 3:30 and I'm dragging him out of a surprisingly deep slumber. Then tonight after I put him to bed, he was playing with some plastic animals while lying on his back in bed, and dropped one of the animals on his face. It hurt quite a bit (judging from the tears). Silly little man.

Oh! I should also mention, a couple weeks ago I was babysitting for a friend's 2 kids, age 4 and 1, in the afternoon. The baby was napping and Ed and Henry were playing on the main level when Ed knocked his face on a doorknob. His first breath, understandably, was just a wail -- but in his second breath, mid-cry, he whimpered "I woke up the baaaaaabbby!!!" My sweet guy.

Jean and her boyf Cameron ran the Twin Cities Marathon last Sunday and Jean kicked some serious butt, finishing under 4 hours, 15 minutes. Cameron finished too -- quite a feat considering his bum knee. Joel's sister Julie and her fiance Jeff ran the 10-mile and we got to see them, too -- I'm so proud of all 4 of them! We had a really lovely, albeit brief, visit with Joel's parents, Cameron's parents, MY parents, Ellen, and Jean's friends Rhi, Rachel and Carolyn.

Lucy's loose bottom teeth are REALLY loose and I can see one of her permanent teeth poking through already. I also think one of her top front teeth might be loose. The wiggling and subsequent pain is really bugging her, and her whining is really bugging me. Though I completely understand -- I have dreams about loose teeth and it's no fun!

My various activities (ECFE, rollerblading, volleyball, Annie, Bible study, dance classes -- to name a few) are keeping me hoppin' and keeping my house a cluttery mess. I've found some help in -- she advocates not "trying to catch up" with regards to housework, but starting where you are and just cleaning for 10- or 15-minute bursts. It's helped me out a lot; though I keep falling off the wagon, the good news is the wagon is willing to stop and wait for me to get back on.

The other day Ed was talking to himself and I heard him say "Just, ahh, walk around, enjoy the fun!" He has a great future ahead of him on a theme park welcoming committee.

Today I was telling Lucy how Julie was going to drive Lu and Ed up to Monti this weekend to see Joel's parents. Lucy asked me to make sure I packed some snacks for the drive, because "Julie doesn't know that we get cranky when we don't get snacks." I do appreciate her forethought.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

He makes a point

Ed: Mama what are you drinking?

Me: Coffee. Do you want some?


Well, you're stinky, and I keep you around.

But do you drink me?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Daddy, pass me a crab leg!

I'm not going to make this all long-winded and mushy -- not because I'm not good at getting all long-winded and mushy, because I assure you I am -- but because it's late-ish Sunday night and I've got some massive reading to dive into and also the chair at my computer is incredibly uncomfortable. But:

Happy 35th Birthday Joel!

Yes, early in the morning on Monday, 9/21, Joel turns 35. Hard to believe I've been a part of 1/3 of his life. Lots of people go on about having married their Best Friend and how their spouse is the Most Amazing this or that, and while I do have a penchant for hyperbole I'm just going to say, Boofer, I love you very very much and I am so grateful for who you are. I keep finding myself delighted to share our journey, our home, and our kids... and maybe this year you could work on those windowsills in the kitchen?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Some sadness, a little nostalgia

Posting from tumbling class!
The kids are starting tumbling today -- I know, total overkill on the enrichment activities this fall. I think the class is only 6 or 7 weeks though. And it sure is nice to get a break!

So I've been crazy-emotional the last couple weeks -- first with all of Lucy's big milestones, and then with the deaths of Patrick Swayze and Mary Travers, and the scare with Garrison Keillor. I was talking to Jean last night and I realized that all three of them are icons in, respectively, dance, music and writing -- three huge influences in my life. I've never been a huge celebrity-follower (I remember being in 7th grade and cutting out a picture of Christian Slater to hang on my mirror, just because it seemed like the thing for a 13-year-old girl to do, not because I actually cared much about him) but I really admire all three of them and, without being conscious of it, had hoped to meet them or otherwise experience them in person one day. I guess there's still hope for Mr. Keillor, especially since he lives in my city, though I'm sure his fan mail bag is overflowing at the moment.

In an additional blow to my own immortality, last night was our final softball doubleheader of the year. I hate the offseason -- it's long and cold and miserable. Our team is really close-knit -- a lot of the guys have known each other since elementary school -- and we have been playing together for the last 3 years. It's the best softball team I've ever been on. I genuinely like every single person on the team, and they're all nice people and, as a bonus, solid ballplayers. One of our girls badly sprained her ankle earlier in the season, and while she was replaced by an equally-solid, equally-nice gal, it made me realize that now that we're all nearing (or well-past) 30, it only takes one silly play with one silly injury to make it someone's last game. It might have been the 2 beers I drank, but I was hit with how young and strong and beautiful we all are, and how fleeting is this moment of our lives.

Lu and Ed just took turns on the balance beam. I remember them learning to walk on the kitchen floor, watching as their little 14-month-old inner ears caught and corrected their balance. They're so stinkin' BIG now.

Lucy seems to be enjoying school -- she's always excited to get on the bus, smiling when she hops off, and has dived right into the elementary-school culture of trading (in her case, giving away colorful tattoos in exchange for a napkin/string/paperclip parachute, a purple pencil, red marker, and a cardboard princess purse). I'm really ambivalent about the trading. I'm glad she's interacting socially with other kids, but I just hope the older kids on the bus aren't manipulating her. She told me yesterday that she gave away one of her necklaces (which is FINE, she's got a mazillion) in exchange for what looked like a flash drive. I'm sure it was someone's garbage, but it weirded me out a little -- what if someone's mom is looking for it? Also, Lucy told me the girl told her not to tell anyone, which I HATE, and we had a nice discussion about that. Lu then said that they were planning to trade back, which I okayed. I just don't know.

Today is her first show-and-tell. Each kid brings something that starts with the letter of the week -- this week it's A. Lucy eschewed her Ariel doll and the apple and avocado I offered, and instead drew a picture of an apple, cut it out, taped it to the front of one of her homemade books (several pieces of paper stapled together), and wrote "APPLE BY LUCY GRONAU" on the front. I'm so very proud.

Lucy also had her first dance class this week. The girls are adorable in their matching black leos and pink tights, and I always enjoy meeting other crazy mamas.

And my dad was in town this week to help Jean do a 24-mile training run. Marathon's in 15 days!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Wha wha wha WHAAAAT?

Holy moses, Lucy has TWO LOOSE TEETH. Her bottom middle two -- which makes me think this is actually happening.

Seriously, did she have to get TWO loose teeth only 4 days after starting school, which was only 8 days after turning 5?? Not fair to emotional, prone-to-tears Mama.

Also, a blog I read had "Funny things Mamas catch themselves saying" the other day, and this was my own personal contribution:

"Where are your pants and underwear? Did you say "they're tinkled"? Please show me where you tinkled. No, I mean, I see that you tinkled in your pants and underwear, but where were you STANDING when you tinkled? Please help me follow this trail of wet footprints. Thank you for showing me. Now please go get a rag so we can mop it up."

Also I forgot to mention that the day Lucy left for preschool, Eddie kept walking around the house singing the part of "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" where Timon sings "I can see what's happening... And they don't have a clue... (etc...) Our trio's down to two." It made me cry even harder.

In fun news, Joel's sister Julie got her wedding dress! And also chose the bridesmaid dresses, and I am just delighted!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Echoing the sentiments of most Minnesotans

Conversation with Eddie this morning. He had picked up the Vikings section of the PiPress and was entranced by the large, artsy illustration of Brett Favre paddling (I think what he's technically doing is "punting," but given the football connotation I think that would confuse) a Viking boat, wearing a cheesehead with Viking horns coming out of it.

Ed: What's in that cheese?

Me: Brett Favre's head.

Ed: Cheese on his HEAD!? And HORNS!? Get that cheese off of his HEAD!

Oh, little Ed, in time you will learn: you can never fully excise the cheese.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

First Day of School!

Blogger won't let me post video and Facebook won't give me photos, so here's our Lucy's first day of school! In photos!

If you want the video, join FB.

OK sorry this will be so short, but it's sooo late...

Joel made cake-cakes for the kids this morning. With blueberry syrup, nummmm...

Lucy, workin' on a puzzle just to pass the morning away. My beautiful big little girl.

The bus isn't coming for 20 minutes but we are rarin' to go. Van is parked out front, ready for Eddie and me to jump in just as soon as Lucy gets on her bus!

The kids had a conniption when I asked them to stand by the flowers. "Too many BUGS!" So.. how about by the tomatoes? "Tooo WET!!" Grrrr.

This is her bus! Doesn't she look elated?

As soon as Lucy got on the bus, Eddie started hollering "HURRY MOM!!" and we did have to make tracks to beat the bus back to school (Lucy is the last pickup and the first drop-off, which is a GIANT relief for Mom). We joined some other parents-with-cameras, one of whom had actually attempted to ride the bus, too. Ummm, no, that would be against the rules, hello!

Walking from the bus into school

First day at Nokomis! Ed wanted to go in, and then wanted to play on the playground (with about a thousand other enormous children). Instead, we had ice cream cones on the deck. I only cried a little.

Waiting at the stop 2/3 of a block up the street.

Off the bus came the Girl Of Seventy Birthdays! She said school was fine -- bits and pieces of the story have been dribbling out all night.
Mostly they sat on the rug.
Bu they did go play outside and it was REALLY hot and sweaty.
They played musical instruments.
When LUCY is a teacher, SHE is going to make sure NOBODY is talking when she is talking.
There were 2 Ethans in class and one got a time-out. The other one got his musical instrument taken away.
Lucy got tired and wanted to take a nap.
She got to lead the line.
There is NO TALKING AT ALL IN THE HALL which Lu isn't real happy about.
But she saw her friend Lily twice in the hall.
Lots of kids were wearing gym shoes.

...And she gets to go back tomorrow!

Monday, September 07, 2009

Cranberries not done yet, singer says

Well it's Ed's half-birthday today which officially makes my babies 3.5 and 5, respectively! And I, miraculously, remain the same charming 29 I was when Lu was born. Incredible!

The other day Joel looked at the wall where we measure the kids' heights every 6 months, and he pointed to the highest line and (without stooping and squinting to read the name) asked, "Who is this?" and, need I remind you, we only HAVE 2 kids so it's pretty hard to lose track of them, but I also squidged up my nose and cocked my head and looked at the line, joining Joel in disbelief that we could POSSIBLY have a child as tall as that top line.

Which, for the record, is just under 45" off the ground, which isn't all that tall for a person but is a MONSTROUS GIANT for someone who emerged from my womb a mere 5 years ago, 19" long and 8.5 lbs.

Anyway, so Lucy the 5 Year Old Wonder is beginning PreK on Thursday -- but a LOT of stuff has to happen before then: tomorrow AM I have to get 2 cavities filled; we have a conference with Lucy's teacher (during which I will be drooling out the side of my numbed-up face, HURRAY), then in the evening I have to teach the first of my Bollywood dance lessons, followed by one more dance lesson. Wednesday is ECFE registration day -- I volunteer -- and I *think* my rehearsals for Annie start that night as well. Thursday morning I'm supposed to get up at 6 to go rollerblading with some other mamas, and that afternoon is Lucy's first day!! Egads!!

Next week I start Bible study and the kids start tumbling, and Lucy is also taking dance (don't let me forget to register her!). And Joel and I are still playing softball for the next few weeks. So this next month is going to be a massive wake-up call for our lackadaisical, don't-bother-putting-my-contacts-in-until-11-AM, gee-I-guess-I-can-throw-dinner-together-at-the-last-second, sure-you-can-change-into-your-jammies-at-2pm summer schedules.

Today was a wonderful sendoff to our Summer O Fun -- we hit the State Fair (which, for you non-Minnesotans, is a BIG DEAL) yesterday with Joel's p's, they spent the night, and we woke up with a fabulous egg-and-sausage smorgasbord. After they took off, Joel and the kids and I hit our park up the road, armed with gardening gloves, trash bags, and a broom -- and we weeded the sand, broomed the sidewalks, and picked up candy wrappers, cigarette butts, broken glass and popsicle sticks until the place looked like a nice, well-kept city park again. We also met a nice gal who works in the theatre department at Central High School and who knows a gal who was in my Wilder NLP group last year*. Anyway.

After that we were hungry and hot, so we packed some lunches and hit the beach at Lake Phalen, where we met another Nokomis family (Joel and the dad had been in Daddy ECFE together last year*).

*This is how you can tell my kids are hitting school-age; I've started referring to "years" in terms of the school years. I stopped doing this when I graduated college in 1998 and it was a shock then, as much as it is now to be switching back.

The beach was great and perfect and lovely, and we got some ice cream and a pound of free grapes at Cub afterward. Joel SWEARS the kids picked Peppermint Bon-Bon -- his FAVORITE -- themselves. They didn't disagree.

We went home, I started making up the Bollywood dance, and Joel and the kids watched a movie in the basement. Then we grilled up some steaks and almost-the-last of our summer veggies (cherry tomatoes, green peps, and zukes from our garden, plus store-bought onions and mushrooms, grilled with Italian dressing -- holy Moses, it's the best treat ever). The sun set on our summer and I can tell from the 10-day forecast that fall is imminent, and even though we're going to have great pumpkins this year, and even though the trick-or-treat bag Lucy was making today is super-cute... I'm just not quite ready to let go. Well, wish me luck with the fillings.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Twitter for morons stuck in 2005

I've been thinking, I should TOTALLY get on Twitter, because my life is SO FASCINATING. Like, I would have tweeted all these things today:

Whatever that water is? that collects inside pumpkin vines? smells EXACTLY like baby puke.

Mmmm... homemade bruschetta....

Crockpot recipes! Need your crockpot recipes!

Right, it's such a shame that my cell phone is so old it doesn't even have a camera. And has to be charged by plugging it into a potato.

Happy 5th Birthday Lucy!

Yup, Lucy is 5 as of September 2 at 3:34 AM, and this marks about 5 years of this blog! So crazy. Lucy's had an incredibly exciting and exhausting week, beginning with auditions for Annie on Monday, middling with a visit from Grampa Books, a trip to her new dance studio, and a couple bday parties, and starting to wind down with meeting her teacher, Ms. Kristie, at Nokomis last night.

A couple pictures from birthday stuff (chronologically backwards, because Blogger is as disturbingly silly as naked clowns playing string instruments):

Princess Dresses! (From Valu Thrift! Thank you Valu Thrift -- got the following 4 dresses + 2 really nice books for the same price as one lone Target fairy costume)

Lucy requested crab legs for dinner. Ed realllly liked the ice cream cake:

Chicken hat from Jean, Barbie house (with toilet and functioning washing machine) from the Books!

They don't make Dairy Queen ice cream cake like they used to. But it still tastes OK.

And one more princess dress from Auntie Ellen!

Aaaaaand.... the other day I found this COMPLETELY REVOLTING thing on my bell pepper plant. Check it out (IRL it was about 1 inch long):

Upon discovery, I was able to stop screaming long enough to tell Joel to go out and take care of it; when he did, he found that it was a dried-up, empty shell, all split up its back. I cannot imagine the horrible, disgusting changeling that emerged from this atrocity. OK, I CAN imagine. And it goes something like this:

Thursday, August 20, 2009


I'm sitting here wondering why I have this crazy sense of deja-vu and I realize: I LIVED THIS SAME DAY TWO YEARS AGO!!

Yes, that's right, it's the end-of-August, where Joel gets to go on a 3-day golf trip and I get to stay home and care for our progeny IN THE RAIN. I get to look forward to softball and Jamie babysitting, only to have it RAINED OUT. I do suppose this year there's much less poop. Phew.

Other news: our pumpkins are ginormous; we've got a couple that are maybe nearly 2 feet in diameter. We also have zucchini (finally!) and tomatoes coming out of our ears, so slide me any great recipes you've got. And it turns out that my 3 green pepper plants might actually produce colored peppers as well! I left a bunch on the plants, to see how big they'd get, and lo and behold some are turning reddish. So that's kind of fun.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Garden update

My friend Peg asked for this, and just in case there's even one single other person who might be interested...

OK, taking a walk around the garden, starting with the main patch:

Facing south. Far left is rhubarb, now spent for the year (much to Joel's delighted relief... did I tell you, last time I made a rhubarb pie, Joel said "Rhubarb AGAIN!?!" I mean, really, Joel, your wife is BAKING A PIE and you are complaining. Sheesh).

On the right of the above photo, and on the left of the one below, we have raspberries. Mostly eaten by the gol-blum Japanese beetles. To the right of this shot are the strawberries, finally weeded (phew).

Below we have a super-diverse section of the garden: from left to right there are strawberries, snap or snow peas (I don't know the difference and I don't know what the seed packets said), spinach (now mostly gone), the crazy walking onion and crazy dill, followed by more peas and then the watermelons and the pumpkins on the far upper-right of the shot.

Close-up of the pumpkins -- we've got maybe 5 pumpkins, and this one is the size of a basketball already.

Watermelons; we planted 2 different kinds and this one has a few little melons -- the biggest (shown here) is maybe the size of my hand?

Still walking in a counterclockwise circle -- this is a better shot of the peas in the foreground

Still walking... the crazy onion is in the middle:

Above is one of three green pepper plants. We've eaten about 3 peppers so far... so good!

Below we have three-plus zucchini plants and the sunflower.

The zukes have been slow to grow. I picked one the other day and this seems to be the next one coming below (attached to the flower)

Our tomato patch (4 plants), with basil in the front.

Close-up of our 2 early-growing tomato plants; a cherry and an early-girl. The basil is flowering and I'm trying to pinch off the flowers but it might be too late.