Tag Archives: Family

Dear Whine and Cheese

23 May

Whine: Ever since the Great Hail Debacle of ’95, when softball-sized hail came hurtling through our kitchen window (and also the windshield of my  brown 1983 Ford Fairmont), I have been just a teensy weensy bit scared of spring storms here in Texas. And also I hate getting my hair wet.

Cheese: Between the T-Storm/Large Hail warning on the radio and the peals of thunder overhead, I was very motivated to make my trip to Target quite brief. Who knew mortal danger could be such a money saver?

Dear Whine and Cheese,

I know as a family we are supposed to be spending lots of quality time together, but I’m not sure what to do. Got any suggestions?

Sincerely,

What Do I Do With All These Children

Dear What To Do,

I want to give you credit for desiring more Quality Time with your family. We all know that without enough Quality Time each and every day, all of your kids will grow up to either disown you or live in your garage indefinitely, so I think it’s important to do what you can while they are young. The good news is that Quality Time can come in many different forms:

Taking advantage of free activities in your community is one easy way to spend time together. Arriving two minutes late for the town Easter Egg hunt will allow you to park far enough away so that not only do you miss the actual egg hunt, you will also be able to push your emotionally exhausted 5 1/2 year old in a stroller while carrying your fussy toddler on your hip while your spouse carries your middle child on his shoulders, which is excellent for your cardiovascular conditioning. You will then have the opportunity to go to a local discount store to spend money on your own eggs and candy in order to recreate the hunt at home later that day in lieu of the free hunt you missed.

Doing arts and crafts is another way to stretch your children’s creativity and your patience simultaneously. Painting, gluing, eating thumbtacks and dropping loaded paintbrushes on your hair are all great ways to build fine-motor skills and digestive tolerance. Not to mention the gift-giving potential of a nice homemade gift, because who wouldn’t be touched to receive a repurposed juice bottle filled with tiny pom-poms and covered in streamers? It’s eco-friendly too!

Letting your family assist you in the kitchen also builds strong communal ties. There is something primal about letting your child mix the chicken salad and then wail unintelligibly as you wrap it in lettuce to make cute little chicken salad boats because (you discover much later) the boat lettuce was not cut at the correct angle. Baking cookies and cupcakes is also fun, as your family will develop a keen sense of when it is time to appear (when there are tastes to be had) and to disappear (when there are counters full of sticky dishes to be done).  Perhaps the disappearing act will someday transfer to the time while you are trying to shower or use the bathroom.

In the end, anything you can do to kill time enjoy each other can be considered Quality Time. Just remember, even the Von Trapps didn’t sing all the time. Sometimes they made clothes from curtains or escaped evil political regimes.  So just keep that in mind when planning your next family ordeal outing.

Sincerely,

Whine and Cheese

Dear Whine and Cheese,

How do I know if the time we’re spending together is Quality Time or if it’s just Regular Time?

Sincerely,

Does TV Count

Dear TV,

Determining the nature of your time together can be tricky business, so I have devised a Quality Time checklist for your convenience. Score one point for each item, unless otherwise noted.  If you score a ‘3’ or higher, you’ll know you have achieved Quality Time.

1. Forced participation of family members (1 point for each unwilling person)

2. A preparation/clean-up time to actual time spent ratio of at least 5-to-1 (i.e., At least 5 minutes of prep for each minute of actual enjoyment.)

3. Misunderstanding/miscommunication resulting in total meltdown. (1 point for each door slam, frustrated head banged on wall, or tantrum; 2 points if tantrum is in public or  full-out, flat on floor screaming fit.)

4. Arguments regarding trivial details

(Examples: type of sandwich for picnic, seating arrangement in vehicle, choice of dvd for road trip, color of game marker in Candy Land)

5. Exorbitant and unexpected cost (1 point for each unplanned $25 spent)

6. Pictures that make it look like you actually had fun. Pictures assist in creating the Magic Memory Filter all children need in order to look back on their childhoods with that happy, rosy glow. (And yes, pictures from the ER totally count.)

I hope this checklist can be of assistance in your quest for Quality Time.

Sincerely,

Whine and Cheese

Dear Whine and Cheese,

A really good friend of mine just published her 100th blog post and I’m very happy for her (even though it took her 2 1/2 years to do it and her posts mostly revolve around getting stuck in windows and the clean up of bodily fluids). What should I do to congratulate her?

Sincerely,

Loyal Reader

Dear Loyal,

Your friend obviously sounds like a delightful (although perhaps slightly disturbed) person. After showering her with lavish gifts and diet coke, I recommend spending some Quality Time commenting on her 100th post and reading through some of her old stories. I hear her take on potty training is informative as well as her handy tips on procrastinating and grocery shopping. I was in the mood for a good laugh-cry, so I read this and this.

And I’m sure, being the delightful person she is, she would want you to know how grateful she is to have a reader friend like you. I would hazard a guess that she really enjoys getting to tell her stories and feel so accepted and encouraged both in parenting and in writing for such a nice person as you.

With Much Love and Gratitude,

Whine and Cheese

Business Class

8 Sep

Whine: Summer is officially over. I sent The Sisters off to their first day of preschool today. That means no more lazy mornings or swimming days or sleeping in our clothes then wearing them the next day. Darn. I might have to start doing laundry.

Cheese: Did you not hear me??? I sent the Sisters off to preschool! I drove several miles in the Sister-free car jamming to Psalty the Singing Songbook before realizing I didn’t have to.

I met some old friends for lunch a few weeks ago. You know, friends so old they remember those bangs you had in the 9th grade and still love you, so they’re really not going to care if you drag your three kids along for lunch. So I did. I spent most of lunch shushing, cutting up of spaghetti, and generally keeping things at a dull roar between bites of my Pasta Fagioli. Not to mention holding Brother Bear at arms’ length on the march to the bathroom because he had exploded in his cute little outfit. Unfortunately I had changes of clothes for everyone but him. Which left me with the choice: parade his naked little self back through the Olive Garden or dress him in Lil’ Sis’ clothes.

Let’s just say he looks pretty good in ruffles.

"But it's a very masculine ruffle, sweetie. . ."

I know businesspeople of varying stripes often meet for lunch to meet and get things done, but I’d put my ‘working lunch’ up against theirs anytime. If you get to eat all your food uninteruppted, you’re not working hard enough.

In a similar vein, ‘vacationing’ with kids, as I may have mentioned in a previous post (or two, or three), is about 1 part vacation and 99 parts work-your-butt-off. One of my friends has decided that any trip with her kids is to be considered a ‘business trip’ and I am going to embrace her terminology from here on out. Too bad I can’t expense it, too.

In the last six weeks we’ve taken two flights and driven 40+ hours, hopped on buses, trams and rental cars.

Traveling with three kids under the age of five is crazy. As in Barnum and Bailey, three-ring circus crazy. My trip to Florida with my mom was no exception. Lil’ Sis had a freak out of epic proportions which began in earnest when the ticket agent had the nerve to take her carseat and put it on the luggage conveyor. The screaming continued from the ticket desk, through security, into the bathroom with those dreadful automatic-flushing potties all the way to the jetway, with intermittent breaks for breath. Finally my mom (aka The Amazing Gigi) got her to calm down by holding her in a vise grip and singing in her ear.

We arrived in Atlanta, ran the gauntlet that is the world’s busiest airport, pushing a stroller, car seats draped over our shoulders, dragging multiple suitcases and trying somewhat unsuccessfully to retain our grips on both the children and our sanity, includng a very family UNfriendly tram to the rental car counter. If my Go-Go-Gadget-Mommy-Arms had been about fifteen seconds slower, Lil’ Sis would have been standing on the tram platform watching the rest of us chug away , which I found highly unsatisfactory. (Suffice it to say we convinced Alamo Rental to give us a ride on the return trip.) The five-hour drive from ATL to Tallahassee was the easiest part of the trip and THAT is saying something.

Our battle scars faded quickly once we arrived at the Promised Land. Hugs and kisses between cousins, introducing Brother Bear to his Aunt Wren, sitting on the couch with my sister eating ice cream pretty much gave me some much-needed travel amnesia. Which apparently Big Sis also had, as she spent the entire week referring to her cousins as “That Girl” and “The Little One” and my sister as “The Person Who Owns This House.” When my brother-in-law came home from being gone all week she rushed to hug him saying “Welcome Home, Uncle Steve!!!” (His name is Dave.)

(From L to R) The Little One, Big Sis, That Girl

We got home from Florida. The return trip was so easy in comparison, there’s not much to tell besides that fact that Lil’ Sis would NOT use the airport potty due to the automatic flushers and held it for seven hours. Good thing I had a spare size 3 diaper to put on her just in case. We got home amid severe upset-tummyitis (yay for me!), and I didn’t even bother to unpack. We left three days later for a family weekend to San Antonio with Mr. Dad’s family.

The trip was fun. We lolled our way down the lazy river, celebrated CharChar’s 1st birthday, and just generally hung out with the fam. Like I said, fun. Relaxing? Let’s not get carried away. There was an unfortunate “short cut” (Road Trips: Now 50% Longer!), a rather pointless “timeshare sales presentation” (because yes, I totally have $25K to spare, I’m so glad you asked), dinners to make, naps to enforce (good luck with that), poolside near-poop experiences to avoid, fussy babies who needed to eat/sleep after I’d been in the water for exactly four minutes.

Oh yeah, then we went to Sea World, because we were in the neighborhood. The weather sign said “His in the low 100s” and it wasn’t lying. Although we lost our body weight in sweat, we did get to see a baby killer whale and it’s Mommy. If that’s not vacation highlight reel material, I don’t know what is.

2 out of the 3 of them know the "gumbo and beignets" they're making are pretend.

Mr. Dad and I had the good sense to wait a while before our next adventure. Like three whole weeks. Our mission: try and cram as much activity into four days as is humanly possible. All told, we drove twenty hours and almost 1,000 miles, ate more delicious food and gourmet ice cream than was really wise, hung out with our awesome aunts, uncles, cousins and their kids, jumped off the high dive at the swimming pool, drafted the best fantasy football team of all time, talked a little trash to the competition and visited an awesome (and free) farm park. The cherry on top was when my friend Jo and her hubby Jon and their Littlest One (in utero) drove 7 hours (round trip) only to stay 24 hours. She’s as crazy as I am.

Lil' Sis and her pal Cousin Laura feeding the ducks.

Three generations of ice-cream lovers.

Me, Jo, Brother Bear and his future BFF.

I’ve stopped in the middle of the whirlwind a few times to question my sanity, doubtless some of you have done the same on my behalf. But in the end Mr. Dad and I have decided to put our money where our mouth is. We say we value family, and now our bank account agrees. So much for that timeshare in Aspen.

Honestly, though, I’m glad it’s over. I’m tired and about two weeks behind on laundry. The girls are ready for some structure, as is evidenced by their continual need to peck at each other’s fleshy parts. In short, we are all vacationed out.

But someday I’m going to be really bored and miss this chaos. Then I’ll stretch my legs in my very own airplane seat, watch what I want on my iPod and sip my diet coke without sharing and realize, hey, if I’m that bored I can just watch the highlight reel.

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

My Monday by the Numbers: Guest Post by Michelle

5 Apr

Whine: I am usually the idea girl….but I was running on empty trying to come up with something clever and snarky to post over here.  So I had to steal from my old archives. This little piece is something from when I was on maternity leave with my youngest.
 
Cheese: I am getting more sleep these days…and occasionally even a few more things done. And that little sweet thing that was so much work as a little baby lump is now running around, climbing on counters and continually finding new ways  to ward off any productivity.

my monday by the numbers:

5:45am alarm goes off, if by alarm you mean screaming baby
7:12am time we actually get out of bed

7 – games of solitare
2 – games of solitare won
5 – number of diapers changed before lunch
2 – hours of bad daytime tv (bonnie hunt and crossing jordan)
3 – times that I thought maybe I should be doing something a little more productive than watching tv
3 – times that I convinced myself how comfy the couch was and that maybe being productive was highly overrated
8 – phone calls trying to sell me something
3 – number of times I was almost asleep only to be interupted by a phone call trying to sell me something
50 – percentage of my day spent with a child attached (literally)
4 – number of times I was spit up on enough to warrant changing shirts
o – times I actually changed shirts
2 – times that Tess smiled at me

3:36pm i put on clothes other than my pjs

2 – possibly the number of days since I last washed my hair
6 – level of bejeweled I made it to before Tess’s crying insisted on prematurely ending the game
63 – pages read (david sedaris rocks!)
8 – number of loads of laundry waiting to be done
1/2 –  number of loads actually done (only half because it sat wet in the washer for 2 days before I finally transferred it to the dryer.) 
3 – recipes I looked up online to make for dinner
13 –  dollars I spent on dinner order at Taco Casa

5:36pm dad pulls up in the driveway
5:37pm i make my quick escape for a few minutes of sanity and a latte

 

Michelle is a high school teacher. But since she teaches science and not literature, she feels no compunction to conform to societal conceptions of punctuation and grammar. But don’t let that keep you from reading her blog, which is equal parts hilarious and insightful, even if she doesn’t like commas.

Just a Few More Fridays

19 Feb

Whine: I think I may be gestating a hyperactive giraffe. It seems like this kid is all limbs.  It’s a little bit disconcerting to be punched in the stomach, from the inside, when you are enjoying your roast beef dinner. Or when you are sitting in church, tyring to be serious and listen to the sermon but instead keep gasping as your fetal Michael Phelps swims laps back and forth in your belly.

Cheese: I am not crazy. Well, not completely. The sonogram I had this week proves my point, well, except for that part about the giraffe. At 36 weeks, this kid weighs almost seven pounds. Which means if he hangs out for another five weeks like I think he will, he’ll completely skip the Newborn diapers and go directly to Pull-Ups.

Today is Friday. Which means that at 11 am I am in my pajamas, Big Sis has dressed herself up in ladybug costume, and we are all just kinda doing our own thing. We don’t have anywhere to be; noone needs their hair done or their lunch box packed.

I used to hate days like today. The kids wandering around, playing stream-of-consciousness style, guaranteeing that no room in the house will be left unscathed.  But as my kids get older and their social calendars fill more quickly, I work hard to pencil in some nothing time. Repairing the wreckage of an at-home day is still pretty low on the list of My Favorite Things, but having some time to teach these two to like each other and play together is a gift I can’t replace, unlike my carpet which is covered with marker.

I’ve realized in the last few months that our family has kind of found a rhythm. Mondays are fabulously free — two kids at preschool. Tuesday mornings are spent at Bible Study. (With FREE CHILDCARE!! And snacks.) Wednesdays are Mommy Time with Lil’ Sis. Afternoons are Quiet Rest Time (yes!) and Time with Big Sis. In the evenings we eat together, read lots of books and run fast from Mr. Dad who thoroughly enjoys catching and tickling people, even crabby unsuspecting Mommies. We have a pretty good time around here.

And it’s all about to change.

To heck with rhythms, predictability, clean dishes and sleep. We’re having a baby!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thrilled beyond words to have another child. It’s hard to imagine loving this one as deeply and fiercly as I do his sisters, but I know I will. In fact, for a while I’ll probably prefer his sleepy, snuggly, Johnson’s Baby Wash smelling fuzzy little head to their wiggly, inquisitive, occasionally stubborn personas.

But his arrival in our world will mark a big, big change. And change isn’t bad. It’s just, change.

I’ll have to readjust to living my life in a continual 3-hour loop. To being on the edge of a tear-fest most days just because I’m sleepy. To not being able to play with the girls or run to their aid every time they want me (although I’m not doing a lot of running these days as it is.) But I’ll also have to adjust to sleeping on my stomach again (woo hoo!), well, when I’m actually sleeping. And to having a little buddy to carry around in my sling wherever I go. And needing to eat like a horse to feed this kid. Bummer.

The girls will have to adjust to eating a lot of peanut butter crackers (instead of the gourmet hot dogs they ususally get) and entertaining themselves and shhhhhhh being really, really quiet or both Mommy and Brother are going to start screaming.  But they’ll also have to adjust to having a teeny tiny little brother to adore. Who needs lots of kisses and hugs. And to having to help Mommy wash his soft little hair or change his tiny little diapers (just not Newborn size) or cover his feet with cute little socks. 

Mr. Dad will have to adjust to being Mr. Mom. Tending to the girls. Heating up the frozen pizzas I’ve stockpiled for dinner night after night. Keeping up with the dishes I just didn’t manage to get to. Again. Mostly he’ll have to adjust to the different woman I’ll be. You know, different like every ten minutes or whenever the wind shifts. It’s no easy task to share your wife with a greedy little energy-sucker who’s about a hundred times cuter than you are (sorry, babe!). But he’ll also have to adjust to having a son. To priming him as they rock to sleep on the lifetime ERA of Nolan Ryan and the benefits of zone defense.  To schooling him on the virtues of a high-quality bandsaw. And to teaching him that we never hit a girl, even if they did just dress up your Hans Solo action figure in a Cinderella dress.

So I’m just trying to take a moment, this moment, and think about the life I have right now and admit that I’ll miss it a little bit. I think that’s ok, normal even.  I remember when I was in labor with Big Sis, shedding a tear or two in thinking that that was the last time our family would ever just be me and Mr. Dad. And the day before I was induced with Lil’ Sis, that I probably wouldn’t be snuggling Big Sis to bed for a while. And there was just a tiny hint of sadness in those “lasts.”

But in a squalling, screaming moment filled with pushes, tears and Apgar tests, the sadness melted into a the joy of something new. Squishy and strange-looking, but new. Our new family. I can’t wait to meet you, Little Buddy.

Quiet trips to the library? Probably the last of those for a while.

That’s What You Get

23 Oct

Whine: You would think that a 3-inch elastic waistband and a growing belly would be enough to keep my pants up. You would be wrong.

Cheese: When you’re wearing strechy pants, every meal is all-you-can-eat.

 

I’ve been working with Big Sis lately on idea of choices. You know, things like “If you choose to put your stingray in the bathtub, then you can’t choose to take it with you in the car because it will be soaking we.” (True story) Or, “If you choose to whack your sister on the head (again), then you will spend the next twenty years (give or take) in time out.” (Again, true story.) You get the idea.

Unfortunately, the world of choices and consequences and decisions is not limited to the under-five set. Nope. We all get to play by the same rules. You would think, however, that years of making choices and reaping the benefits/consequences would give us the upper hand in decision making. But one glance at YouTube or daytime TV or in the mirror, for heaven’s sakes, tells you that even grown ups make some baaaaadddd decisions.

I’ve made some doozies myself. Like the time (this morning) I ate a Nutty Bar (oh, how I love you, Little Debbie) and a Diet Coke for breakfast. Or the time I was locked out of my house late at night and decided to crawl in the window and subsequently got stuck. One leg in, one leg out, four feet off the ground. While baby Big Sis sat in the car. I hear you asking, “Did your mother not teach you ANY common sense?” Of course she did, that’s why I used my cell phone to call her to come get me out of the window. She (wisely) sent my stepdad, who was very understanding and non-judgemental about the whole thing.

But seriously, I often hear my poor mother’s voice in my head when I reach the end of a particularly foolish path saying “That’s what you get.” I’m not sure my mother actually ever said that to me out loud, but I sure gave her plenty of chances to do so.

Recently, my track record has been stellar. I thought I’d share a few of my recent “That’s what you get” episodes for your enjoyment.

 

That’s What You Get. . .

. . . for starting a blog.

       I started my blog one year ago tomorrow. Happy Blogaversary to me! My little spot on the WWW has brought lots of unintended results. Guilt being one of them. I wish I blogged more. It’s definitely not for lack of source material. I like telling y’all the stories that keep my life interesting. And I like keeping track of all the ways in which my family has put me on the advanced track to aging. But life in a house full of crazy people sometimes limits my free time, and I’m learning to be ok with that. Especially because often, if I were to blog, my children would be giving me “source material” at a rate that I couldn’t handle. (As if I can handle the rate they’re at now.)

       But I’ve also made new friends and kept up with some old ones. I’ve heard your stories, too, which I love. And I’ve gotten to know that my foibles, accidents and fabulous life choices amuse the rest of you. Which pretty much makes it worth it. So if that’s what I get for starting a blog, I’m glad I did.  And as a special Blogaversary present to you, I’ve already written a post for Monday, so check back then for more riveting action!

 

. . . for buying a fancy-schmancy printer.

      My very old, very cheap printer had been on the fritz for months. So I finally broke down, found my coupons and headed to Office Depot. Mr. Office Depot expertly assisted me in my selection, down to the other things I would need to make the printer actually work that I wouldn’t have thought of until I had already spent fifteen hours yelling at and kicking my new printer.

      I decided to reward my very sedentary nature and purchase a printer that prints wirelessly so that I would not be so inconvenienced as to have to take my laptop into the other room and hook up a USB cord in order to print. But just as I was bragging (yes, bragging) to my sister about my labor-saving ways, I realized the da*&%$ thing was no longer printing. (And this after an hour on the phone with HP to go through the religious rites of set  up.) So I called HP again, and Carlos was, in fact, very knowledgeable and helpful, but it still took him an hour of remotely controlling my laptop from another continent (VERY CREEPY) to fix the problem.

       So, in total, I’ve printed ten pages and scanned two pictures with my new printer, all from the comfort of my couch. But I also spent approximately seventeen hours in setting up and repairing the darned thing. That’s what you get. Worth it? Totally. Cause now I can sit on my couch and scan pictures of my babies. (see below) 

 

. . . for trying to make dinner.

        I’ve barely cooked a meal in the last four months. So when I gingerly approach my kitchen to cook something other than frozen pizza/french fries/chicken nuggets, I expect wild applause (from Mr. Dad) and complete cooperation (from the children.) Yesterday I started dinner well before 8pm, and it included actual vegetables and potatoes not previously frozen. But as I’m chopping and stirring and seasoning, I am interrupted by a confusing scene. Lil’ Sis has lost that reddish glow to her hair; it looks a little darker. Upon closer inspection, I discover that someone else in the house has been doing some seasoning of her own. Wait for it. . . wait for it. . . uh-huh:  Big Sis has liberally applied a large coat of pepper to the top of Lil’ Sis’ head and shoulders. Apparently she decided the “salt and pepper look” was more fitting than “carrot top” for her sister.

 

. . . for insisting on knowing the gender of your unborn baby.

      Last week we went to the doctor for a sonogram. The Sonogram. The one lots of my friends go to and cover their eyes so they can be “surprised” when the baby is born. Weirdos. I go to that sonogram with only two questions on my agenda: “Does everything look ok?” and “What private parts does this baby have?” Sue me, I’m a planner.

      So the sonogram is going ok, except that Baby Lahdee (as Big Sis has named him/her) will not be still. But somehow our expert sonographer manages to get the requisite pictures. Good, round head? Check. Long, bony spine? Check. Big, ravenous looking stomach? Check.

       So then it’s time to get to the good part(s). Except that on the way to those parts, she pauses on my right ovary and says hmmm, apparently you have cyst there, which is no big deal, except that it explains the occasional stabbing pain in your right side. Good to know, I say, now GET ON WITH IT. Except at this point, Baby Lahdee is simultaneously cruching his/her legs together AND swimming in circles with all his/her might. How this is possible, I do not know, although it makes me eager to meet this child.  

       Eventually she determines that Baby’s bottom is right next to my ovary/cyst and the only possible way to determine the gender is for her to repeatedly punch, jiggle and jab me in that very tender area with the sonogram thiny-magiggy. Here’s where my true dedication kicks in though, and I decide to take one for the team. Breathlessly I tell her to keep going till she gets some nudie shots of this baby. And she does.

       After we left the doctor, them walking, me stumbling in pain, we headed to Target to pick out a gift for the baby. I must have looked a little funny clutching my stomach and limping, but I didn’t care. I had just gotten to see my healthy–and very active–son.

 

Isn't HE cute??

Isn't HE cute??

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Programming

16 Aug

Whine: It’s August in Texas, which means that every day by 8 AM the concrete (and interior of my car) is at least 475 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cheese: I don’t need an oven to cook my frozen pizza, now do I?

 

Some of you may have noticed that recently things around here have been quiet. Eerily quiet. Which may lead some of you to wonder what in tarnation has kept me away from my very important job of entertaining you. Please accept my humblest apologies.

In order to sum up the last two months without inducing extreme narcolepsy, allow me to utilize my good friend Mr. Bullet Point to give you an update.

In the last few months I’ve . . .

 . . .  read at least 30 books. With words, not pictures, and lots of pages (although I’ve read my fair share of the picture variety, too). Highlights included Agatha Christie’s The Man in the Brown Suit and Apart from the Crowd by Anna McPartlin. Lowlights included  Pooh Counts to Ten and The Tortoise and the Hare (mostly because anything you read more than twelve times in two days tends to get just a tad repetitive tad repetitive tad repetitive.)

 

. . . spent hours playing Speed Scrabble. Sometimes by myself. Now that is just sad, isn’t it? I will say that making a giant, 100-letter crossword, although time consuming, is pretty fun. (See below.) I think ERGOT is my favorite.

Apparently I have serious problems with boredom.

Apparently I have serious problems with boredom.

 

. . . found myself on a relaxing lake-cation/family reunion in the north woods of Wisconsin. If this sounds unglamorous to you, you’re crazy. Jetskiing, waterskiing, and tons of free babysitting. And up there your cup of water doesn’t boil when you accidentally leave it outside on the porch. I meant to post a series on this, but felt guilty about blogging when after three weeks I still hadn’t unpacked my suitcase. You’ll have to settle for a picture for now.

We LOVE Wisconsin! Although we are not sure why Mr. Dad is making that face. . .

We LOVE Wisconsin! Although we are not sure why Mr. Dad is making that face. . .

 

. . . welcomed a new nephew into the world. Baby Charlie arrived August 7th–little brother to Avery (aka Aves the Brave). He is seriously, way cute in a little, sleepy old man way. (Picture coming soon, I promise.)

 

. . . witnessed new feats of strenth and ingenuity by my children.  Lil’ Sis has learned to shut doors. Big Sis has learned to lock them. Big Sis can now single-handedly assemble a 50-piece jigsaw puzzle. I am not kidding. Then she takes it apart and eats the pieces. Also not kidding. Lil’ Sis’ communication skills have kicked up a notch, too.  She can use whole sentences now, as in “I want a bite.” and “Give me that.” She also finds crossing her arms across her chest while she stamps her tiny mary-janed feet and screeches quite effective. (And since I am the worst mother EVER I find this hysterically funny.)

Do NOT be fooled by their innocent faces.

Do NOT be fooled by their innocent faces.

 

. . . been working on a VERY SPECIAL new project–because my life was not  complicated enough, right?

That purple rock is the real reason I haven't written in two months. . .

That little purple rock is the real reason I haven't written in two months. . .

 

So there you have it. Our life for the last few months in a nutshell. I know some of you will be clamoring for details about that new family picture up there, so stay tuned. Or should I say To Be Continued. . .

 

P.S. Here’s a Gold Star for Jenni, my 7th grade BFF and current Facebook friend, just because she needs one today.

Gold Stars

8 Jun

Whine: Big Sis and I are currently in the middle of an intense round of Potty Survivor, trying to determine who will, in fact, Outwit, Outplay, and Outlast. She’s been sitting there for 45 minutes now, not going.

Cheese: I got my laptop fixed so I no longer have to keep the power cord twisted in a perfect sailors knot in order for it to charge. Which means that I can write this from the floor of the hallway next to the bathroom while I wait for my million dollar prize (or just a filled-up potty.)

 

In case you were wondering and thought I had been devoured by wild bears, I have not. I actually was on a trip to see my family in Michigan. The trip was fun and fabulous, but also exhausting and more exhausting. We had such a great time, I wanted to give out few Gold Stars from the trip.

 

1. To my littlest Sis, Laura, who is now Dr. Laura. Although I am not surprised that you graduated from medical school, I am still incredibly awed and proud. You amaze me and I love you.

2. To my other Sisters. For sharing your clothes with me (still), for going along with my hair-brained schemes (like cake decorating and flower wrapping) and for pacing the aisles of the grocery store with me for a really loooooooong time. And for being terrific Aunties to my kiddos.

3. To my Aunt Linnaea (and Uncle Chris,too). I shouldn’t have been surprised to discover our many common bonds, but it was fun to bond over itineraries and leftover cake anyway. Thank you for sleeping in your camper so that we could have your bedroom. Now that’s what I call love.

4. To Mom and Sir. Thanks for sponsoring the party and for enjoying it. Thanks for flying up here with me, Mom, even though it almost killed us both. Thanks for heading up this crazy family.

5. To G&G. For wonderful backseat driving, perfect apple pies and lots of baby snuggling. I love having you in my life and my kids’ lives.

6. To Dad and Pam. For a lovely 48 hours. For the fun zoo trip (albeit a cold and rainy one). For picking asparagus and rhubarb from the backyard and serving it for dinner. For letting us invade your house and lives, even for just a little while.

7. To my Cousins. For hanging out. For hugs on the rug. For making sure we had what we needed, including Diet Coke. For having cute kids. For donuts and coffee and a ride home.

8. To the Nieces and Nephews. You are really cute kids. And my really cute kids happen to think that you guys are terrific. Because you are. Thanks for being sweet and fun and kind and adorable. We miss you already.

9. To the Really Nice Lady working at the Citgo in Kalamazoo at 2 in the morning. For letting me use your cell phone because mine was dead and I was lost in the middle of the night with two kids in the back seat. You were certainly an answer to a desperate, freaked-out prayer.

10. To Mr. Dad. For making the trip up, even though you could only come for less than two days. For all you do to make my life easier (I sure notice it A LOT when you’re not around) like diaper changing, kid entertaining and (yuck!) pest control. For waiting patiently when I get lost in a book (or two, or three) until I am ready to re-enter the outside world again. You are a really nice guy. Except when you force me to eat or sleep or interact with people. Then you are a big jerk. But I suppose I love you anyway.

 

Of course I could give out Gold Stars all day long, and I know this is not an exhaustive list, but the Great Potty Standoff is over (for now) and Big Sis just used a Clorox wipe instead of a Baby wipe, so I’d better go before her skin falls off. . .