Monday, April 30, 2012

Everything's not always rainbows and rose bottoms

The kind of thing I do at the beach, in case a helicopter is low enough to see.
 So, this weekend, a very dear friend of mine came to stay.  After she left, Tad was telling me how much he liked having her around. We talked about it on Sunday.  Though, perhaps I should back up... On Saturday morning, Tad woke up in a bad mood. I could tell when I got into bed at 12:30 a.m. after going out on Friday night, that he wasn't doing so well. His sleep felt very serious to me.  It was a serious, no-nonsense sleep.  I wonder if that makes sense to you, readers...  Sometimes when I go out and come home after Tad's already gone to bed and I get into bed and he's sleeping, I can tell he feels good and happy and I can wake him up to tell him I'm home and cuddle up.  But Saturday night, when I got into bed, I could tell, by his serious sleeping that he wasn't in a good place.
So Saturday morning, I let him sleep in and when he got up he walked into the living room and turned up the thermostat.
Tad: Don't believe in heat around here?
Me: (Looking at him and narrowing my eyes)
Tad: (Turning down the TV) You got some good loud shows on? (Walking away)
Me: (Looking at Steph for mutual annoyance...and not getting it.)
Steph: He's so cute
What? Cute?
So fast forward to later on in the day.
Tad: I like having Stephanie around.  It's really comfortable being around her, even when I'm in a bad mood.
Alie: Yeah, when you came out this morning and were all like (in a purposefully deeper and grumpy-sounding voice) turn up the heat! Turn down the TV! She said you were CUTE!
Tad: (Laughing) Yeah, well she knows its not all rainbows and rose bottoms.

Now this was the second time this past weekend that I was accused of thinking everything should be all rainbows and rose bottoms. Except those words would only have been used by Tad. I believe the other complaint was that I think everything should be all peace and togetherness.

My sister and our friend were having a small conflict prior to our girls dinner outing on Friday.  She called me ahead of time to make sure I wasn't going to be "all dramatic peacemaker at dinner and try to mediate".  I assured her that I would stay out of it.

In some ways, both those statements  (ahem), complaints, are true.

But, thanks to the therapy I've been doing over the last year, I can actually handle a conflict without feeling like I'm going to explode.  I can sit in a room where people are having tension and not want to run screaming from it.  I can go through a day knowing that someone is mad at me and not want to spend all my time and energy trying to get them unmad or no longer annoyed with me.

That is some big progress, people.

BUT having said all that. I do like peace and harmony. And being positive even when things are rotten.  And conflict resolution.  And rainbows and rose bottoms.  Whatever those are.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Don't laugh

My daughter does not want to be laughed at.  It's true. I don't understand how a child of mine does not want to be laughed at, but I assume she'll grow out of it.  But when she says things like this, it's really hard:

Lucy: So...Scott Walker is a bad guy but Luke SKY Walker is good guy?
Me: (Laughing)
Lucy: Don't laugh!

Then later she was singing and putting in the word "fart" to all the lyrics to "All You Need is Love."  I laughed.  "Don't laugh!" She said, putting her hand in front of me.  

I can't help it. She's funny. Tad and I try to tell her that she's funny and it's a compliment when people laugh at you.  I then tried to expound upon that by explaining the difference between being laughed AT and being laughed WITH.  I guess a four-year-old, even MY four-year-old doesn't quite grasp that.

At night, when we tuck her in, we say "Don't let the bed bugs bite." But Tad turned it into this game where you insert a detail in the sentence that describes what's going on in Lucy's life.  For example: tonight I said "Don't let the school day tomorrow bed bugs bite."  On Friday, I might have said, "Don't let the Lucy took a bath tonight bed bugs bite." 

Tonight in response Lucy said, "Lucy got a time out for tackling her brother even though he said not to bed bugs bite...DON'T laugh!" and put her hand in front of her face.

"I'm not laughing" I said, smiling at her, closing her door as I left, and laughed all the way down the stairs.

Don't Laugh!
Though I don't know how a person's supposed to be able to help it.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Frosty the Snowman

Last night I made chocolate chip cookies so Tad could eat cookie dough.  I made a half batch which should yield about three dozen cookies.  Mine yielded two dozen and two extra cookies.  THAT'S how much cookie dough Tad ate: Enough for 10 cookies.

I wonder if school will call today and ask me to pick him up.

While I was making cookie dough and he was doing the dishes, we were chatting and he was telling me about how he didn't feel like he was having the greatest week at school and he sort of felt like a creep because he didn't have his usual patience level.

"That's okay, baby.  Even when you're at your worst, you're still a kind soul."
And then I started giggling.  Because I said it without really choosing my words and 'kind soul' is really not a phrase that I would normally use. It sounded sort of silly. 
Tad laughed too. "Am I Frosty the Snowman?"
Well then, I had to retaliate.  I grabbed him under the arms which really tickles him.  
He got away and went over to the couch where I sat next to him.
"You KNOW what I mean!" I said.
Of course he did, but the moment was lost and he was way too amused with himself.
Then he broke into song
"Frosty the snowman, was a jolly kind old soul. With his g-d kids and his f-ing wife..."
I tried to retaliate again but it was too funny.

He sang his version of Frosty the Snowman for the rest of the night, censoring it of course for the children. (By sensor, I mean he mouths the swear words so they can't hear them, but I still know they're there.)

At bedtime, as I brought Lucy upstairs to brush her teeth, I heard her singing under her breath.  I leaned closer to see what it was.

Frosty the Snowman.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A comedy of errors morning

This morning was sort of full of comedic problems.

6:05  The alarm goes off.  I hit snooze.
6:10 The alarm goes off. I try to hit snooze but knock the alarm off the table and it goes skittering across the floor. (I should mention, our alarm clock is Tad's old cell phone on vibrate).  There it sits on the floor, still vibrating.  I try to get it without getting out of bed and nearly fall out onto the floor. I knock something else over.
Tad: What's happening?
Me: I'm hitting snooze
Tad: You're hitting snooze?  Throwing things on the floor and jumping on my arm and falling out of bed?
Me: I'm trying to hit snooze. There.  Now we can go back to sleep for five more minutes.
Tad: I don't know how I'm going to get relaxed again after all that. 
By this time it's:
6:15 The alarm goes off again. I get up and take a shower.  In the shower, I remember that it's actually Tad's turn to shower first.
6:25 I go in by Tad to wake him up.
Me: (A little too loudly) I'm out of the shower!
Tad: Shhh.  I noticed
Me: I accidentally showered first when it's your turn to shower first. Isn't that funny?
Tad: Yeah, this morning is hilarious.

Upstairs, Tad gets the children ready for school. 
Lucy:  Daddy, Mommy said it was going to be 75 today.
Tad: Really?
Lucy: Yes
Tad: (Calling downstairs) Alie?
I don't hear him because my hearing aid is broken so he has to say my name several times.  But I'll spare you. (sort of)
Me: Yeah?
Tad: Is it going to be 75 today?
Me: What?
Tad: Is it going to be---
Me: (interrupting) I heard you. No, it's going to be like yesterday.
Tad: Lucy said you said it's going to be 75.
Me: No...I didn't say that.
Lucy: (Yelling from the recesses of her room) Yes you did!!
Me: No I didn't!
Tad: Okay well, let's find you a long sleeve shirt then
Lucy (to Tad) YOU said it was going to be 75 today.
Tad: I don't think anyone ever said that.

When they all came downstairs, Lucy saw that I had the box of granola out.  She loves granola and excitedly grabbed the box which was conveniently placed behind a full cup of water. She spilled the water all over the table, floor and herself. I took her back upstairs to begin yet again the arduous process of choosing another outfit to wear. At least she didn't try to claim unseasonably warm weather again.

When I came back I found that Tad was doing this thing that drives me absolutely insane. He was using a beach towel to wipe up the spill.  This drives me crazy because beach towels are big and I don't see why such a big item (which takes up lots of room in the washing machine) should be used to clean up a spill.  I make an angry noise. 
Me: I am angry.
Tad: I can tell
Me: You did it again
Tad: Oh, yes, I remember you mentioning something about this
Me: (Holding up a kitchen towel for an exhibit) You can use THIS kind of towel to clean up spills.  THIS kind of towel doesn't take up so much room in the washing machine. 
Tad: I used two of THOSE kind of towels. They didn't do anything
Me: You used TWO kitchen towels and a beach towel to clean up a cup of water?
Tad: (Smiling proudly) Yes.
Me: ARG!!!! (I don't think that's exactly how you spell the noise I made.)

Finally, while we were eating breakfast, Lucy requested chocolate milk on her mini wheats. I said no.  I told her it was because they already have sugar on them (which is true and a better parenting reason for the real reason which was that there is hardly any chocolate milk left and I don't want to waste it on cereal that Lucy may or may not eat).  So she poured her whole cup of white milk in to her cereal. Then Coen requested chocolate milk on his. (I don't mind so much giving it to him because he's guaranteed to actually eat his food so it wouldn't feel like such a waste). I brought him into the kitchen and made him eat his at the stove, sitting on a stool and I stood with him so Lucy wouldn't become indignant about her lack of chocolate milk.  Lucy came in to ask me something and I deftly intercepted her, bringing her back to the table.  Tad raised his eyebrows at me.  I went back to join Coen.
Tad (coming into the kitchen): Oh.
Me: We're involved in an operation.
Tad: I can see that.
Me: It's highly secret.

But Coen was done and Lucy "finished" her breakfast.  Which basically looks like her breakfast did when I first put it on the table except there is a bite out of her bagel.  So you see why I don't want to waste chocolate milk on her.

And why I had my son eating at the stove.

Actually, I'm not sure why I did that. Except that's where I had hidden his cereal. He just pulled up a stool and started eating.

It was off.  Don't judge me. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


I had a series of missteps, misunderstandings and mistakes yesterday that in no way ruined my day, but rather enhanced it with mild amusement. I prefer my amusement to be on the extreme hilarity end of the spectrum however I'll take amusement even as mild as mild can be, in most any form.

In the class I taught at Shorewood high school I called THREE students by the wrong names.  They all forgave me of course, but who likes to be called by the wrong name? No one, that's who.

When I got home from work and brought in the mail, I saw that we had a credit card bill. And on the bill in large, dark letters it claimed that due to being late last month with our payment, we would now have a higher interest rate.  I grabbed the phone and began to complain in my most indignant, and assertive (can you be those two things at once?) voice that "I am NEVER late on my bill (all the while logging into my bank account online so I could prove it) and I ALWAYS pay on time and....Oh.  Nevermind." (I realized that somehow I had skipped our March payment entirely as shown by my online banking history.)  "It's not my fault", I told the friendly southern sounding customer service representative, "March went really fast."  Apparently March going really fast is not a good enough reason to remove a late fee so, alas, I paid my bill, adding $25 to my usual amount for the late fee.

Then in the early evening, after dinner, we listened to our family-created "all you need is love" station on Pandora and Lucy and I cuddled while Tad and Coen played UNO.  The light kept going on and off and in my head I was thinking, maybe Harald is communicating with me telepathically.  (My friend Harald, as you know, if you've been reading awhile, is ill and he is now in the end stages of his illness.  I'm not sure how long he has and I continue to call him every day even though I'm not sure that he knows it's me anymore).  Once it was my turn to play UNO with Coen, I realized that the light was going on and off because Coen was turning it on and off with his feet.  So much for my telepathic communication with Harald.  Though I suspect we can still have telepathic communication somehow, maybe just not through my living room lamp.

I thought there was something else but I can no longer remember it. Maybe it was not that funny.  I used google images to look for a picture for the word "oops".  Mostly inappropriate things came up.  And here I thought "oops" was such a benign word. I think Brittany Spears might have ruined it's innocence.  Well, above is the only picture I found that wasn't involving someone accidentally exposing themselves or wearing a bikini or looking vaguely like they should be in a magazine with a suggestive name...  And I like shoes. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012


So first of all just let me say that I'm really glad that my kids play pretend.  They are so good with their imaginations and that makes me endlessly happy.  And sometimes I like to pretend with them!

However, sometimes the pretend intro sounds like this:
Lucy: Mommy! Let's play house!
Coen: Yeah! Let's play house. Pretend you're the mom and we're the kids and we're being really naughty--
Me: Okay, let me stop you there. You guys, I LIVE house. I don't want to PLAY house
(Unless I'm in the middle of making dinner. Then I just change the game to say "Pretend I'm the mom and I'm making dinner and you guys are the kids and you go play by yourselves." That game's awesome.)

Tad's friend Erik stayed with us last night with his daughter Natalie.   Erik  showed me this picture he took of his cat with Lando Calrissian. 

Is this not one of the funniest pictures you've ever seen? Look at this cat's face?  He's like "Dude. Eff off, okay?  Lando's my hero."  That's why I had a caption contest on Facebook and you can still contribute if you want to. Here or on Facebook.  I have five so far, but I want MORE!

Anyway, Natalie, Coen and Lucy were playing that they were a dog and two cats respectively.  And they kept coming into the kitchen and saying "Pretend...that you guys are our owners and you are taking us for a walk" or "Pretend...that you're the lobby manager (that was Erik. I'm not sure there even is such a thing as a lobby manager but if there is, I'd like to job shadow one.) and you chase us out of the lobby."  And every time they said "Pretend..." it was with great upward inflection. And Coen actually pronounces it "Fretend" which is adorable and I will never correct him. Not even if he still saying it like that when he's twenty.

So we were "pretending" to throw their doggie toys and balls of yarn far away, like WAY way far into the living room so it would take them longer to go get them and come back into the kitchen where Tad, Erik and I were talking and drinking coffee.  But they did come back eventually and so I got them all doggie and kitty treats (pretend) and bowls of water which they lapped up with their tongues.

They had fun pretending even though we were trying not to pretend with them as much as possible.

I do love pretend. I do. But when my kids rope me into playing house or feeding me all my lines, I don't like that.  If I'm going to fretend, I'm going to fretend my OWN way!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Didn't hear or didn't listen?

So I'm what they call hard of hearing. I am deaf in one ear.  Now, this can be a boon in such situations as: In the middle of the night when the kids call and I'm sleeping deaf ear up, guess who has to get up and deal with it.  Yep, Tad.  When the children are screaming or drumming or banging on the's just a bit less harsh to my ears...I mean, ear.

And even though now I have a hearing aid, which brings my hearing to basically normal, I think I might still be in the habit of well...not listening. I guess because I assume I just won't hear or I'm used to not hearing... I sometimes will ask someone a question and then just fail to listen to the answer.  Such things happened this evening.

We had some friends over today and I went to order a pizza for us.  "Thin crust!" Tad said.  When I ordered the pizza, I ordered no such thing.  I heard him though. I even had it in my head.  But when  I talked to the pizza guy I ordered two medium pizzas.  That's it. No details. And of course we got thick crust.  Or hand tossed. Or whatever it is when it isn't thin crust.

Then I took Coen and his friend Natalie to the gas station to get cash to pay the pizza guy and I told them they could both get a soda there.  "What kind do you want?" I asked Tad and Erik.  "Mountain Dew" said Tad.  "Coke or Pepsi." said Erik.  "What kind?" I said, "Coke or Pepsi?"  And he answered.  But when I got to the gas station, I could not think what kind of sodas the guys wanted.  "Just grab three Cokes or Pepsis" I told Natalie. She brought me three Pepsis and we were on our way. 

At dinner, Tad and Erik spent a good full minute making fun of me about how people sometimes forget things.  Or maybe people don't listen.  I only know this because they told me later.  I didn't actually hear them.  I had my hearing aid in though. I think I just wasn't listening.

"Wow." I said later, "I must have tuned you out." 
"It's about time." Tad said.
"April 21st, 2012." Erik said.

Didn't hear? Didn't listen?  Maybe I'm just tuning you out!

Friday, April 20, 2012


I love community.  I love the feeling of belonging to something.  The feeling of people around who know each other and help each other gives me great joy.

That's what we were looking for when we went to Highland Community School to enroll Coen at age three.

And that's what we found.

This rainy Friday morning, Coen, Lucy and I all marched out of the house to the van.  Coen was holding a permission slip and a check for his upcoming elementary camping trip which he will go on with his classmates, friends, and his daddy.  Lucy was holding a container of brownies which I baked last night for a parent night tonight.  I was holding a pot of spaghetti for Tad's classroom camping trip fundraiser.

In Tad's classroom, I got hugs from his students, thanking me for buying them all something at yesterday's bake sale--Coen's classroom's camping fundraiser.  When we went into the building, Lucy's teacher stopped us and talked to us about a new lesson that Lucy's been working on and to have a conversation with Coen.  One of Coen's classmates was waiting in the kitchen for someone to escort her across the parking lot to her classroom so she came with us.  I ran into another parent with a big pot of spaghetti for today's fundraiser. 

On the way out of the parking lot I passed by the mom who is hosting Coen and three other boys for a sleepover tonight and we had a quick conversation about sleeping bags and overnight things.  I waved to several others as I pulled out and they waved back. 

Tomorrow I will spend several hours volunteering at school with many other parents and teachers who love it and want to be involved.  Yesterday I was in the foyer gathered around with other parents at the bake sale.

All this is just stuff that was going on this morning and it's always happening at Highland.  I wish I could put the feeling I get at school, at school events, watching my kids so comfortable in this place that is-in the end-their second home...into words.

The people who love and build and grow Highland are the community. And to leave there on a rainy Friday morning...a pretty typical school day...on my day off and feel this much joy makes me feel indescribably lucky.

Coen and some friends making a fort out of logs on the playground

Lucy hearing a story with some friends at Highland's Cultural Celebration

Mr. Barry, our Enrichment Coordinator, entertaining the kids on the playground

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Short women

Yesterday I was in the kitchen cooking and Coen and Lucy were sitting at the table. I over heard them having a conversation.

Lucy: Why is our mommy so short?
Coen: We have a little mommy.
Lucy: Yeah, we have a little mommy.
Me (entering room)What are you guys talking about?
Coen: We're talking about you. You're a short woman.
Me: I am a short woman.  Lucky thing too, because your daddy likes short women.
Coen: Is that why he fell in love with you?
Me: Well...maybe other things too. 
Lucy: And then Daddy fell in love with me!
Coen: Well, first he fell in love with Mommy. Then I was born and he fell in love with me.  And THEN you were born and he fell in love with you!
Lucy: He fell in love with everyone....except Scott Walker.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

My first time

You just had to read, huh?  Nooo, that's not what I meant.  Not THAT first time. Well, sort of.

Today was my first time ever teaching straight up sex ed.

That is to say, very appropriate and mature sexuality education.

I did it!

I talked to high school students about EVERYTHING...I mean everything.  Body parts, puberty, how babies are made...
I said "Ejaculation" and "Erection" and "Testicles" and "Vagina" and more!  And since this is my blog and not a professional area, I can say these words and giggle.  Hee hee hee.  But I didn't giggle in the classroom. No sir. The kids did and I let them know that it was okay that they were giggling because these are uncomfortable words and topics.  I, however am not giggling because I'm uncomfortable, but because at heart, I'm immature and childish. But in my job I'm a pillar of comfort and maturity.  Really!

I feel like I did a really good job and I am proud of myself.  When I got out to the car, I thought to myself 'If I drank, I would totally go buy myself a drink right now.  A shot, even, of Schnapps.  Do people get shots of Schnapps?  Anyway, I would.

But then I turned my car on and turned the radio on...

And the Humpty Dance was playing.

That is way better than a shot if you ask me. I think it was a sign from the universe. So I cranked it up and sang along.  A lot of people looked at me strange. My windows were down.  I wasn't even embarassed.

I taught sex ed!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

1980's style latchkey kid dinner

Remember the latch-key kids of the 80's?  I wasn't really a latch-key kid as one of my parents were always home when I got back from school, but I was still making dinner for my self  and my sister at an early age.  I remember spooning Chef Boyardee Ravioli into bowls for Beth and I.  We always got nine each. I made sure it was even.  On the off-night when the can only held 17 meatballs instead of 18, I carefully sliced that last one right down the middle so we each had eight and a half.  I also remember the nights of Swanson's Chicken Pot Pies, Swanson's TV dinners, and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.  Mmm-mmm.

Last night's dinner was sort of reminiscent of cooking for yourself as a kid.  Well most of it.  I did make some homemade vegetable barley soup.  But we had that accompanied by pigs in a blanket and a can of chicken noodle soup for those who don't cotton to homemade vegetable barley.  Which is half of us. The younger half.

But look how much fun we had.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Don't Blame Phil

It's been a while since I've sat down at my sewing machine. I've been working really hard on this story I'm writing.  I think it's time, though, I got crafty again.

Here's my newest T-shirt idea--actually it's mostly Tad's idea. 

We were talking about music that makes you feel weird.  I was on a YouTube kick the other night and looking for Alanis Morissette videos that reminded me of my twenties.  In a good way.  In a remembering breaking up with my first boyfriend and moving out and discovering myself way.  Tad did not have this reaction to Alanis. It made him feel uncomfortable.  In a twenty-year-old young man in college doing the things that twenty-year-olds do way.

I understood. I told him that Phil Collins made me feel weird like that. 

Tad said that Phil Collins probably makes everyone feel a little weird.

I agreed.

"But don't blame Phil!" Tad said.  "It's not his fault."

And a new T-shirt idea was born.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sibling Rivalry

When my sister and I were young, one year in school she got to be a bunny in the school play. I was very jealous of her because I had not yet been in a play and very much wanted to.  She was so proud of her part and wore her bunny ears all around the house, much to my ire. 
I would see her approach in her bunny ears and say, "Elizabeth, take those OFF!!" 
She's smile at me, and twitch her nose and hop like a bunny.
I wanted to scream.

Lately when Lucy and Coen are fighting, I tell them stories of me and Auntie Bethie--The things we did that drove each other crazy.  This one is their favorite.

So, one night, during this time, Beth came into the bathroom at night where I was brushing my teeth. She was wearing her bunny ears.
"Ugh." I groaned with annoyance.  "Take those OFF Elizabeth. It's bedtime!"
She smiled at me sweetly, blue-gray eyes shining.  She looked at herself, then me, in the mirror and stared to sing.  She sang "Good N-I-G-H-T."  She drew out the "gooooood"  and then finished off by spelling the rest.  I wanted to yank her hair.
"Stop it." I said quietly.
"Goooood N-I-G-H-T"
"Knock it OFF, Elizabeth."
"Goooood N-I-G-H-T"
"Stop it!"  I said, louder this time.
"Goooood N-I-G-H-T"
"STOP IT!!" I screamed.
"Girls!" My mom called upstairs
"Alie's screaming!" Elizabeth said.
I couldn't believe it. I angrily marched off to bed.

I told this story to my kids and their cousins upon request the other night.  Beth was present, laughing all the while.   And anytime Coen and Lucy really get into it, I sit them down.  "Tell us another story about you and Auntie Bethie." They always say.
It seems to help.


Auntie Bethie, my mom, and me.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Small children and fancy dinners

We were at the Osthoff Resort in Elkhart Lake for the last two days. I had a work conference and lucky us! Tad and the kids are on spring break. 
The first night there, I wanted to go out to dinner at one of the hotel's fine restaurants.  We headed down there to check out the quiet, elegant restaurant with "panoramic views of the lake".
Tad whispered to me as we entered to make our reservation, "Are children allowed here?"
"Are children allowed here?" I asked the woman behind the bar.
She laughed. "Of course." Our children's menu has buttered noodles, grilled cheese or chicken fingers."
"Grilled cheese! Grilled Cheese!" Lucy chanted loudly (Lucy's loud is enough to hear through thick glass windows. I don't know where she gets it--ha ha.)
"I bet they're excited for US to come back." Tad said, as we left.

Later, as we headed down for our 6:00 reservation, Tad told the kids they'd have to be nice and polite at this restaurant.  "Yes" I said. "It's really fancy so we have to be on our best behavior."
"Well" Tad added.  "Let's be on our best behavior because we want to be, not because it's fancy."
"Okay" Lucy said. "I won't fart in my soup." and then exploded in giggles.
Coen laughed. "Yeah, we won't fart on your head either."
I may have looked a bit panic stricken. Tad touched my head reassuringly. "Get it out now." he said.

As we entered the restaurant, Lucy turned to me "I pinkie swear to be good!" she said, extending her pinkie.  We shook.

We were seated and the children ordered their own drinks very politely.  Coen leaned back and produced his Pokemon books which he had apparently smuggled in under his shirt.  He let his long hair fall over his face, settled in and read for nearly the entire meal.  Well, at least he was quiet.  When our candle went out, Lucy turned in her seat and said loudly to the bus boy "Excuse me! Our candle's not working!"  He promptly got us a new one.

All in all it was a lovely dinner.  Except for the fact that there were nuts on and in everything. Why do nuts always have to become involved when things are fancy?  Nuts on the vegetables, nuts IN the duck that went with the cheese platter.  Nuts on the foccacia bread.  What gives?  I'm allergic to nuts, so thanks to Tad's insistence I got my own basket of rolls, which the children devoured.  And we got the mixed nuts for the cheese platter on the side, for Tad.

At dessert time, Lucy and Coen started getting fidgety so Tad took them over to see the dessert tray.  They both got a scoop of ice cream, Coens' with caramel and Lucy's with chocolate.
"Whoah!" Coen said, dipping a finger into his. "This is REAL caramel."
"AND" Lucy said, with all the grace and elegance of a herd of elephants "This is REAL chocolate." Several patrons turned to look.

Tad and I smiled back at them and ate our creme brulee.

Delicious. But a bit too upscale for our tastes.

 Ice cream at Dairy Queen on the way home was WAY more our speed.


Monday, April 9, 2012

Big Friday, Saturday, and Easter Sunday

It was a trifecta of an Easter weekend. 

Good Friday (They call it Big Friday in Estonia--which I kind of like better) we went to my in-laws and the kids had an egg hunt and we ate brunch. 
After brunch, Lucy asked if she could eat her chocolate bunny
Nana said, "Lucy, you have to eat the ears first!"
"Why?" Lucy asked.
"Because" Tad answered, "Then it can't hear you eating the rest of its body."
After that we spent our afternoon on the East Side in the Brady Street neighborhood where Coen was born.
Here the children are celebrating on Brady Street
Saturday we had a neighborhood Easter egg hunt, conceptualized and organized by my neighbor Steph.  Our neighborhood, which boasts 44 children in a two-block radius, was full of excited, running, Easter-egg hunting kids. 

Here are Coen and Lucy with their bunny eggs.

On Sunday, we went to my parents house for an Easter basket hunt and then to brunch at the Hubbard Lodge which was luxuriously delicious.  I had, at one point, on my plate: an omelet, ribs, and a pancake.  Tad was impressed with me.  We ended our morning at the park, where my niece spent the whole hour on the swing, singing "Five little monkeys" over and over. And telling me about seeing the real monkey "at the Zoop."

Here are the cousins just before leaving to go to brunch
It was a tremendously action-packed, fun-filled weekend.

Happy Spring!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Smile, darn ya, Smile!

I know I can be an exceedingly cheerful person. Annoyingly so at times.  But on the opposite end of things, some people just seem like they never smile at all. And that can also be annoying.  To me.

I walked past someone the other day, who just never smiles. And I thought..'well, you'd probably feel and look better if you'd just smile once in a that too much to ask?'  I know I know, some people have harder lives than other.  Some people just don't like to smile.

And then there are all these little quotes about smiling.

"Smile, and your face will follow."  Wait. Is that one? That sounds weird.

"It takes more muscles to frown than to smile." But really in all truth, it's not like people who aren't smiling are actually using their muscles to obviously frown.  That's just silly. They probably just have their face relaxed.  Which likely takes less muscles than smiling when you think about it.

"Smile darn ya, Smile!" Well, that's not really a quote...its an old Merrie Melodies cartoon short. My grandpa used to sing that to my sister and I when we were crabby. Or else he'd say, "Don't smile. Whatever you do, don't smile." I used to love that. It always made me smile, of course.
Although, I try it on Coen and it really just pisses him off.
I guess kids need to be taken more seriously these days.

Anyway, so this popped into my head after I passed the non-smiling person and I drew it and thought I'd share it with you, readers.  It's probably not as funny as it is in my head, but then again, most things aren't.

I hope you smile today. Whether you mean it or not!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

You can never have too many shoes.

A stereotypical female I am not (completely).  I don't wear make up or perfume, I angrily throw away fashion magazines that make women feel like they have to lose weight or need tips on how to please their lovers, I am cool with rolling around in the dirt with my kids and getting mud on my face, and playing tackle football...

But I do have this quality, stereotypical as it may be... I love shoes!

So the other day when I got a flyer in the mail from Stans Bootery claiming that I'd get a free $10 gift card and a free pair of socks with any shoe purchase, I put that flyer right in my bag and went there the day the special started.

Come on! Free socks!!!

Now, I likely don't need any more shoes.  I have a shoe rack, a shoe hanger and my closet floor is covered with shoes.

Exhibit A: My closet

I have seven pairs of boots, five pairs of sandals and there are many other varieties and types I won't even go into. But recently my Keens fell apart and I feel I really need a replacement pair of brown shoes that can be worn not only to work but also on a long walk! I do!  So off I went to Stans. Anyway, FREE SOCKS!!!

Of course having said that, I should probably mention that I don't really need any more socks either.

Exhibit B: My sock drawer

My sock drawer is the biggest of the three top drawers of my dresser, meant for intimate apparel and the like.  I also love socks.  And once again, there are so many kinds of socks one might need to have in one's wardrobe--knee-highs, decorative socks, seasonal socks, socks for exercising, socks that are so small that you can't even tell you're wearing socks, and socks with toes in them. 

I know I don't need anymore shoes. Or socks. But the lure of the colorful flyer was too much for me to handle and I am now the proud owner of a new pair of brown, sensible but comfortable..and cute shoes AND a free pair of socks.

Oh, and a $10 gift card.  And of course, you know what that means...I'll have to go back for more!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Poisonous Potion

The other night I asked Coen and Lucy if they wanted to do the dishes with me. They both grabbed stools and ran to the sink. While no dish cleaning actually happened, they had a wonderful time creating this potion:

It is leftover soup from dinner, leftover salad from dinner, soap, tea, cotton balls, coffee grounds, strawberry tops, milk from our breakfast cereal...among other things.  Also, they poured in the ice cubes from Tad's drink. Tad is sick with some kind of bug and so the children claimed that the potion was not only "dusgusting" but also "poison" with Daddy's germs.

Here are my two little concocters:

They said they were leaving it out for Clark (who is a bad guy they invented) and asked me not to dump it out overnight. Both of them were amazed that the potion, gross as it was, actually smelled really good and were fairly certain they could get into the Guiness Book of Records for the best smelling gross potion. 

I have no doubt they could. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Near 24 hours of Jack-assery

So, Tad is sick. He doesn't get sick very often but once a year he gets a body ache, fevery, out of commission kind of sickness.  Leading up to this is him being unsure of what's wrong with him but feeling generally all around angry.  And by the time he actually IS sick and vulnerable I'm just annoyed with his grumpiness. Which in the past has put me in this strange space of wanting to be a helpful spouse, but simultaneously irritated, and then feeling bad about my irritability and not really being able to do much to help in the end anyway, aside from taking the children out of the house as much as possible.  I feel I've made some improvements in this arena, however, I've had a rough run over the last day and Tad's being out of commission might have something to do with it.

Yesterday, I took the kids to school so Tad could move slowly.  He ended up leaving work to go home and sleep at lunch so I picked the kids up from school, deciding that we'd just play outside until it was time to go in for dinner.  I offerred a ride home to my friend Julia and her son and Lucy reminded me that the third seat belt was broken.
"No, honey, that was the Subaru."
"No, MOMMY!" She said this in an escalating screaming voice which was a big foreshadowing of the afternoon to come. "It was YOUR car!"
I opened the trunk and put all our bags in and then settled the three kids in the back seat, doing up Coen's seat belt in me middle.  Which was broken.
"Wow." I said, struggling to figure out what was wrong with it. "You were right, Lucy."
There was an inconceivable amount of crumbs, possible fruit snack pieces and what looked like gum wrapper shreds inside the seat belt so I found a paper clip in the open trunk and tried to scrape the thing clean.  Meanwhile the three in the back seat were getting crowded and expressing this rather verbally.  Finally I got everyone settled and then couldn't find my keys. I looked everywhere.  I was about to go back inside to see if I put them down somewhere and I shut the trunk.  Ah.  My keys. In the trunk keyhole.  Of course.
We all got home and Lucy proceeded to have meltdown after meltdown out in the neighborhood about various things having to do with scooters and the proper size of.  I gave her a time out on our porch, not wanting to bring my wailing bundle in to wake her ailing daddy.
Then this morning, when we were about to leave, Coen and Lucy were arguing and I was muttering various things (of which I am not proud) about how people don't like to go to be dearly but the reason they have to go to bed so early because they can't seem to have a disagreement without collapsing in LOUD tears on the floor...   During this time I realized I could not find my keys and called Tad on the phone and accused him of taking my keys.
"No." He said. "I don't have them."
"Are you SURE!?!"
"Yes." He said, "I'm sure."
Then I found them in my purse, of course, and told him so and said goodbye rather abruptly.
"You don't have to be afraid of me just because I'm sick." He said.
And off we went to vote.
I, being clearly an oaf, voted both for the republican AND the democratic primary. 
Of course my republican vote was a write-in for Abraham Lincoln.
And they gave it back to me, being improperly filled out.  I felt rather sheepish then about my Abe Lincoln vote and I filled out another ballot correctly.
Off we went to school, where parked in the parking lot, I composed a text to Tad which read:
I am not afraid of u & aside from calling u
about keys (in which i was admittedly an
ass) i have just been trying to offer you
space and help
And while I was texting the children began a conversation which started out about Lucy's stuffed pink elephant "Ellie" and suddenly Coen was talking about Lucy's second cousin Ellie and asking if Lucy liked her.
Coen: Do you like Ellie?
Lucy: Yes I like Ellie, she's my elephant.
Coen: No, not Ellie the Elephant. Ellie the girl
(at which point Lucy and I were both confused)
Lucy: NO my ELEPHANT!!!
Coen: NO the girl!
I shook my head at the preposterousness of this conversation and said without thinking, "I will pay you both five dollars if you stop fighting right now and get out of the car!"
So they were out in a flash and now I owe my children each $5. 
I hope that I shall stop making absolutely enormous errors of judgement in parenting matters, voting matters and all other matters very soon.

Here is a picture that I asked Tad to take of me last night.
Note the label at the top of the magazine.
I may have earned this title.

Monday, April 2, 2012

I made it so far!  I had a desperate want for chocolate right after I finished my lunch.  A hummus and veggie sandwich and two pickles.  And the supervisor who's office is always stocked with chocolate is out.  And the other office stash of candy had only tootsie rolls--not real chocolate. 

But I thought, well, here's a real opportunity for me to go the whole day without a treat.  No chocolate.  I can do it!

I am full from my lunch and feeling good. I want some chocolate, but I can deal.  I can go without chocolate-no problem.
Good GOD I want some chocolate.  I wander around people's cubicles awhile to see if anyone is eating anything I want some of. Nothing. Damnit.
I am going to go meditate for my fifteen minute break and tell myself that I am healthy and strong and do not need chocolate. I don't need it! yes i do.....
That's it! I want some chocolate!  I go and get the key to our manager's office and get 1 piece of dark chocolate.