Sunday, August 31, 2008

Purple Moses

Yesterday, as I mentioned, we went to the Labor Day picnic at the park. One of the prizes that Lucy and Jane won for playing a game was this black slime stuff. You could pour it into your hand like a liquid, but you could also pick it up (sort of) like a solid. It was gross, very thick and very black and stainy. It felt nasty to the touch, too. At least, it did to me.

Well, we stuck the little containers in the bottom of the stroller, and one of them opened up. Ugh! It got all over Purple Moses. I stuck him in the back of the van and ignored him until after I'd had a nap. I couldn't deal with Purple Moses without sleep.

Purple Moses is "surface washable only" because he has electronics that make him talk and move his head. I tried to get his clothes off, anyway, but it was impossible. His outfit is sewn to his body in a way that I would never be able to repair if I undid it.

Of course he is Mary Grace's favorite doll.

I tried a few different cleaners before settling on Spray & Wash with Resolve (GREAT stuff!), an old toothbrush, water, and elbow grease. It took me about 45 minutes, but I managed to get the entire stain off. In fact, the stained area was so clean, I had to clean the rest of him so that it didn't look weird!

I really wish I'd taken before and after photos. I impressed myself and saved the day.

In other Domestic Goddess news, I'm cooking a turkey breast and a chicken right now. Why, you ask, would I be cooking two birds when we are going to be having dinner at Owen's birthday party? Because we're going to Grammaland tomorrow, and they would've gone bad by Tuesday. So, I'm going to cook 'em, cool 'em, pick 'em, and use the meat for casseroles or something. I feel so freaking Martha. Normally I just let stuff rot in the fridge.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Fun Day!

We wore ourselves right out today! We went to Global Fest for a couple hours, then we went to a different location for the Labor Day picnic. Everything was expensive at Global Fest, but everything was free at the picnic, so it balanced out. The kids had a super time. We took Lucy and Jane with us, so that the dads could help Wright move in to his new apartment, and they were such a help.

When we dropped them off, Mary Grace teared up and said, "I'm going to miss those girls," as if we were never going to see them again! It was so cute, and so dramatic. She cracks me up.

Busy holiday weekend, here. Birthday party for Owen tomorrow, going to Grammaland Monday to try on the girls' flower girl dresses and get my bridesmaid's dress altered for Mimi's wedding. BJ's going to stay here and work on stuff. He doesn't want to tell me what stuff, because he "doesn't want to get (my) hopes up." I'm really hoping that he finishes some of the outside projects before it starts to get cold. It's hard to believe that we're planning for cold weather already. Seems like just yesterday it was the first day of spring. Time flies when you're having fun, I guess.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The New Gymnastics Place

I've written before about my concerns with the first gym we were going to for MG's gymnastics class. Well, after the last session ended, I finally sucked it up and signed her up for two classes a week at the place closer to home.

Oh my goodness, you guys, what a difference!

The siblings play area at the first place was a joke. First of all, the toys were all things that Goodwill would reject. Second, it was out a door, down a short hall, and through another door, which made it impossible for me to watch both kids at once. The new place's sibling area is right next to the area where MG's class is, and I can watch them both at once. The toys are nice, they're clean, and they kept Claire entertained for the half hour class. The sibling area is combined with the parent observation area, that looks out over the main gym. Mary Grace's class was held in the area that doubles as a dance studio, which is also above the main gym. It's sort of a loft. It was fun to watch the older kids to their tricks down below. Claire could see, because there's a fence over the gym from that area, but it was small enough that she couldn't get through and fall!

The old gym had about twice as much equipment as could reasonably fit in the space they had, and it always felt and looked cluttered and unsafe. While I never saw anyone get hurt, I always worried that MG would trip and crack her head on some piece of equipment that was too close to where she was trying to do her little tricks. The new place is at least three times larger, maybe more, and all the equipment is spread out in a much safer configuration. Not only that, but upstairs where her class is, they even have toddler-sized equipment for the kids to learn on! How cool is that? Rather than trying to adjust the bar down, for example, they have a little bar that's only about 18 inches off the ground. How much more confidence is she going to learn if the equipment is the right size for her body, as opposed to always feeling dwarfed by the equipment (and intimidated!).

You might remember that the owner of the old gym yelled at me for trying to show Mary Grace what her instructor meant by "a bridge" during the class. Well, this gym has "open gym" so that we can just go and blow off some steam during the winter, or practice, or hop on the trampoline, or whatever. I'm excited about that! It's a little extra money, but only $2 a kid. Not at all unreasonable.

The instructor at the old gym was nice, but I've been extremely impressed with all of the people (parents, instructors, receptionist, etc.) that I've spoken to at the new gym has been extremely friendly. It's nice to not feel like everyone is in "the club" except us.

Finally, I always felt that there were too many kids in MG's old class. She had 5, sometimes 6 toddlers and one instructor. There were two kids in the class we tried last night - Mary Grace and another little girl. She got lots of individual attention, and they didn't break in the middle of a half hour class to waste time getting a drink (one of my pet peeves at the old place).

Overall, I think it's true that you get what you pay for, and I'm happy to pay twice the price at the new place! I'm glad I followed my instincts.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Run Amy Run!

Sorry. I would've posted yesterday, but I was busy watching Saving Grace. I'm so freaking addicted. Narg.

Working today. The kids are home with Allison, and when I pick them up I'll return Allison to campus and take MG to do the speech/hearing study I was telling you about. I was able to schedule it for every Thursday at the same time that I drop Allison off, so that will be really convenient. It's even in the same building as her class. I wonder if MG thinks that she's a college student, going to the university all the time for stuff like this. This is the first paid one, though, so I'm excited.

I feel like I've been running since, oh, Monday, and I haven't stopped. And still my house is a mess (bathrooms, ugh). I need to plan some menus (need to get back to that, we're spending way too much on food and yet there's nothing to eat in the house) and get to the grocery store. Mary Grace has gymnastics this evening. Made Claire's 18 month (gulp!) doctor's appointment today. It's in a couple weeks, but if I want to get the time I need, I have to call early. Need to do some pre-fall yard work. Need to power wash the patio and machine wash the canopy on the gazebo thing. Need to declutter and throw out some junk that's accumulating on my counters - junk I haven't touched in months but I look at every day and think, "Why is that there?" Need to pay bills. Need to clone myself to get it all done, really.

Is motherhood like this for everyone? Do we all feel like we're spinning plates and just barely keeping them all in the air (and letting some of the less critical ones, like cleaning the bathroom tubs and sinks, smash at our feet occasionally)?

Don't worry if you don't hear from me as much in the next couple weeks. I'm just spinning plates.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Connie Is Trying to Kill Me

I'm sure you have seen Connie's comments. She got me addicted to the show Saving Grace.

I must back up. Last night I decided that it was a Very Good Idea to put the kids to bed early (Claire was fussy, MG has her preschool open house today, and the Fall Schedule of Madness is officially beginning) and I thought, "Wouldn't it be a Very Good Idea to get these kids to bed early, so that they're ready to take on all these New Activities tomorrow?" We started bedtime at 8 pm. They were both asleep by about 8:30.

This is where Connie and her plot come in... I came downstairs and watched a bunch of back episodes of Saving Grace (I'm trying to catch up and figure out who is related to whom). BJ went to bed at 10:15. I said, "Eh... One more..." and watched one more. Then another.

I didn't go to bed until 12:30 am.

Fast forward to this morning. Mary Grace woke me up at 4:30 am because she had to go to the bathroom (why I needed to be involved in this project remains a mystery). I stopped by the nursery on the way back to bed to shut the windows and cover Claire up. I woke Claire up.

I spent the next 90 minutes noodling Claire, and telling Mary Grace to "be quiet," "keep your hands to yourself," and "go to sleep for the love of God," before I finally gave up and brought them downstairs.

Claire was back asleep by 7 am. Mary Grace remains awake and whiny and annoying. It doesn't help that I got less than 4 hours of sleep.

It's all your fault, Connie. I will be dropping the girls off at your house around noon, and then napping in your driveway!

(I predict that a certain horse riding, photo snapping cop and mommyblogger I know is going to develop a huge crush on "Butch" - pictured above - if she starts watching this show!!)

WFMW: Ice Cream without Drips

I wish I had a picture of this, but I am NOT waking the kids up at midnight to give them ice cream, take a picture, and put them back to bed, so you're just going to have to visualize with me...

I got some sugar cones at the grocery store for MG. Claire wanted one just like sister, because goodness knows she has to do everything that sister does, and I couldn't figure out how I was going to manage a 1-1/2 year old with an ice cream cone. I considered stripping her naked and giving it to her outside, but that seemed extreme.

We had some plastic party cups, you know, the ones that hold about 12 ounces of soda, leftover from MG's birthday party, so I stood the cone up inside the cup. The drips went into the cup, the ice cream went (mostly) into her mouth. Bonus - she can hold the cup and not crush the cone.

Next time we had ice cream cones, I did the same for MG, even though she's 3. That way I didn't have to steal her cone every 11 seconds to lick off the drips for her.

So, if you want to lick your kids' drips, don't use this tip, but if you would rather eat your *own* ice cream, try standing their cone up inside a plastic party cup, and let the good times roll!

Visit Shannon at Rocks in my Dryer for more WFMW tips!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Is Pre-School "School"?

Every time I get a little misty eyed and say, "Mah baybee is starting SCHOOL this fall!" BJ rolls his eyes at me. He says that pre-school is "glorified day care" and that if I tell people she's starting "school" they think I mean "kindergarten."

What say you, internets?

Monday, August 25, 2008


We went to the new gymnastics place today to check things out, and I signed Mary Grace up for two classes a week. This facility is so much nicer than the other one. My mom agreed that the first place was crowded and seemed dangerous, with equipment stacked up everywhere. I am really excited about getting her going at the new place on Thursday, even though it'll be expensive.

BUT, I was just reading Just Kidding magazine (and if you're local and you have kids and you don't know about Just Kidding, you simply must e-mail me at prbabies @ gmail . com (no spaces) so I can tell you all about it, because it ROCKS), and there's a speech and hearing study going on at the university that's paid! They'll pay $8 an hour for up to 6 hours of participation, which would be over half the cost of this session of gymnastics. Sign us up!

What do you think, good family economics or violation of child labor laws? Heee...

Allison comes back tomorrow! Hooray for Allison! Neener neener, Aunt Julie, I've got Allison back! Preschool open house on Wednesday, gymnastics starts Thursday, school starts next week (gasp!) and all of a sudden the Pretty Babies are very busy. It's going to be an exciting year.

YOU Are Their First Teacher

With everyone going back to school, I want to share my parenting philosophy with regard to education. Bear in mind that my kids are still small (3 and 1.5), but I went to school to be a teacher. I've worked in the schools. I've been a tutor. I've seen what works and what doesn't.

The most important things that you need to know about your kids and their education are:

1) It starts at birth, not when they go to school.
2) YOU should be your kids' primary teacher, and you should see school as a supplement to what you teach them, not the other way around.

I remember when MG was about 4 weeks old, I realized that I'd had her for a whole month and I hadn't taught her anything! I felt so guilty. So I took her in the kitchen and I said, "Look at this spoon, Mary Grace, it's metal. It's shiny. Do you see the baby in the spoon?" as I held it close to her face. Then I took her to the freezer, opened the door and said, "Do you feel the cold? This is cold. This is an ice cube. It's frozen water. It's cold, and it's hard..." and she started to cry.

Clearly I was pushing her too hard.

Even though that was a bit of post-partum depression induced craziness, the philosophy still holds. You only get about 18 years (13 of which that they're actually paying attention, if you're lucky) to teach your kids everything they need to know to survive in this big, complicated world on their own. There's no time to lose! Read them books. Let them make a mess. Narrate everything you do ("Let's buy some apples, should we get green ones or red ones? Do you see any blue apples? Noooo...") Speak to them in a "grown up" voice. Baby talk is for kids who are going to get 160 on the SAT, instead of 1600.

I get a lot of interesting reactions from people, particularly other parents, when I talk about traveling with my kids. We took MG to France when she was 14 months old. We've been to Washington DC twice, we go to museums and art shows and free concerts at the university and lots of other things that most people with small kids don't do. Believe it or not, my kids are generally very well behaved in these settings. They have a little trouble distinguishing between a "touching museum" (like the Children's Museum) and a "no-touching museum" (like the Smithsonian), but generally the stuff you're really not supposed to touch is behind glass, anyway. They're figuring it out.

In general, people think I'm a little nuts for taking my kids to this sort of thing. I get, "They're not going to remember..." a lot. But I think that it's important to give my kids a foundation of lots of varied experiences, so that, for example, when they talk about dinosaurs in first grade, my kids have seen dinosaur bones and they know from experience how big they were, when they lived, etc. I also think that it's important to teach my kids, while they're still small and listen to me, occasionally, how to behave in these settings. When we went to the (free) concert at the university, they both sat still and listened (actually, they both fell asleep!). They were 2 and <1 at the time. I was prepared to leave early, and actually, we did, because no matter how well behaved they are, the attention span of a toddler isn't equal to the attention span of an adult. But I left before we melted down, and we had a great time. They got to see and hear a lot of different instruments that they'd never seen and heard before.

Think of your kids' education as a building. The stuff you do before they reach school is the foundation. Every experience, every activity, every exposure to something new strengthens that foundation and makes their success in "real" school much more attainable.

So, hooray! Your kids are in school, your work is done, right? Sorry. It's just starting.

The average teacher has 25 to 30 students in his or her classroom. And with school budgets strained, music programs being cut, gas prices high, athletic programs being cut, short academic years, art programs being cut, and the very unfortunate practice of "teaching to the test," your kids are going to need a lot more instruction than any human teacher can provide in 12 years, 180 days per year, 7 hours per day if your kids going to succeed and be happy, well-rounded adults.

Rather than thinking of school as the primary place of learning, and your home and family life as a supplement, what would change if you saw yourself as your kids' primary teacher, and the school as the supplement? Think of all the things they're NOT going to learn in school - how to garden, how to be a cordon bleu chef, how to spell cordon bleu, how to appreciate modern art, how to build model rockets, how to play an instrument, how to do just about everything fun in life! They can't teach that in American Public Schools - at least, not the way they're structured now. There are practical things they're not going to learn at school, too... How to clip coupons and plan menus and go grocery shopping, how to balance the checkbook, how to buy a car, how to get a loan, how to plan for retirement...

I am not bagging on teachers, here. A large percentage of my friends and relatives are teachers, and they're dedicated, committed, compassionate, professional, capable people. They do a hard job, and they don't make enough money doing it. What I'm saying is this: There is no way for a teacher, who is human, who has 29 other students, who has only 7 hours a day 180 days a year, who has a tight budget, who has a bad kid who disrupts class constantly, and so on... to teach your kids the GOOD stuff, the things they really need to know, the things that make the difference between smart kids and successful kids. It's just not physically possible. That's why kids have parents.

You don't have to lose your mind, either. Start with the things that you're interested in. BJ takes the kids to air shows, rocket launches, model airplane flying events, the Air and Space Museum. Their interests will grow out of your own. As they get older and bigger, let them choose activities.

Jenny was telling me about her babysitter, and how one morning the kids were flipping out because there was a spider in the bathroom. Rather than squishing the spider and moving on (which is exactly what I would have done) they went to the library and got books about spiders, they sang "Itsy Bitsy Spider," they made spider snacks out of marshmallows, pretzel sticks, and raisins, and they made the whole day about spiders. How cool is that? I aspire to be that mom!

When we were kids, my mom would do "food on the floor" - we'd sit around the big coffee table, and eat ethnic food. She would decorate the table to match the theme of the food, she'd play ethnic music... So on Mexican night we ate tacos, wore sombreros, listened to the Spanish language channel on the radio, and she put a colorful tablecloth on the table. Some of my best memories of my childhood are from "food on the floor" nights.

I can make Kool-Aid all by myself, and I can do it quickly. But if I take the time and let MG pour in the powder, measure the sugar, and stir, she has learned something. It doesn't have to always be a trip to France - just involving your kids in the day-to-day stuff that makes up a life will help them learn and grow. I know it's easier and faster to put on a movie (and believe me, I put on a movie for them every day!) but try to balance the zoning-out-in-front-of-a-movie time with time spent making Kool-Aid (what happens if you mix blue raspberry with strawberry, anyway?). Try to balance the flat "no, I'm not buying that" with an occasional discussion about budgeting and being financially responsible. Try to balance the frozen chicken nuggets and fries for dinner one night with "food on the floor" the next.

Oh, one of these days I'm going to have to do a whole post about food.

I promise that if you do these things, not only will your kids do better in school, be smarter, and more well rounded, they'll actually become more interesting, and you'll want to spend more time with them. After all, wouldn't it be more interesting to talk to them about the great book you read about bats the other night than to have yet another conversation about Bratz dolls or Spongebob Squarepants?

Push yourself out of your comfort zone this week, and do something extraordinary with your kids, and then come back and tell me all about it!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

And, We're Back! (sort of)

I have never heard any good news about Comcast, but folks, I have to tell you today that they made me one happy customer. We got a call at about 10 am from the technician who said he'd run out of work (how this is possible when the students are coming back this weekend, I will never know) and that he could come right away to fix our cable modem!! SCORE!

And after running all over town, I got a fiberglass pen, of sorts, to clean the corrosion off of my plugger inner on my laptop, so BJ and I did that, and he reassembled it, and it works!

Two down, three to go.

I think the receiver is still ka-put. And we'll need a new router (of course, we'll upgrade, because that's what we do around here. The whole reason things break in the first place is so that we have an excuse to upgrade) but this weekend isn't shaping up to be quite as expensive as we thought it would be.

Too bad, because I was really excited about a new laptop. Mine weighs like 40 pounds. I kick it old school...

So, BJ is at Uncle Brandon's with the girls, and I did some browsing (no purchasing) read a few magazines at Barnes and Noble's, got an iced tea, got some paint samples from Sherwin Williams because I still hate the paint in the kitchen. I think I need to go bolder, darker, so it looks more Craftsman and less Florida - which will only make sense if you've seen my kitchen, and even then may make no sense at all. I need to adopt my sister's approach to painting, which is, "What else am I going to do on the weekend?" She has so many coats of paint on her walls, her house is actually smaller than it was when she started. She also doesn't have two very "helpful" small kids.

I need to stop typing with "air quotes."

So, things are looking up at the house of the Pretty Babies. What's new with everyone else? Leave a comment telling me about your worst electronic disaster, or your best or worst painting experience. Did you paint your walls the color of fresh baby poop? I want to know! (That would be mustard yellow, for the uninitiated).


I came home from work last night and turned on BJ's computer, but it wasn't talking to the internet. BJ's computer also wasn't talking to the home theater computer in the family room. So, I went in the family room to reboot the home theater computer, but it was already on.

Uh oh.

Mary Grace wanted to watch a movie, but I couldn't get the receiver to come on, and no receiver means no sound.

Uh Oh.

Turns out that our cable modem, our router, our switch, and our receiver all bit it yesterday. We had strong storms, and I think we either got hit by lightning or a power surge came through the cable. All the TVs are fine, but 3/4 of the things that are toast were connected to the cable.


It's exactly enough stuff to make us unable to watch any of our DVR'd shows - without the router the computers can't talk to each other, and we can't watch them on the computer in the family room because it doesn't have sound.

I'm just glad that it didn't take out the projector.

So, I'm writing to you right now from BJ's laptop with a wireless aircard. That's fine for the weekend, but it won't work on Monday when he takes the laptop and the aircard to work, and the freaking cable company (Comcast) can't get here to replace the cable modem until WEDNESDAY.

I think it's my fault, because I was just saying to BJ at lunch, right before the storm, that I thought we should take a vacation to a cabin in the woods somewhere and completely unplug. He balked. Who knew that *I* am really the one who can't unplug!?

So, if you have trouble getting in touch with me, or if you have an e-mail that goes unanswered for weeks, don't worry. I'm not ignoring you, I'm using dial-up speeds to connect to the internet. Our home phones use the internet, too, so they're kaput. It should forward you to my cell phone.

I have a feeling the girls and I are going to spend a lot of time at the library on Monday! They have computers.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Bad News

My computer finally died. It's laying in a million pieces on the kitchen counter. Luckily I was able to upload all my photos to Shutterfly before it gasped its final beep.

You wouldn't think that a dead computer would be much of a problem in this house, where we have more computers than people, but unfortunately it so is. My laptop was portable. I could sit at the kitchen table and preside over the chaos while still writing to all of you fine people. Now I'm in BJ's office, which is the least childproof room in our house (which means that it is a veritable den of death and destruction for small children) and I'm trying to keep the kids from electrocuting themselves or choking on tiny plastic things while I send you this brief update.

Thank God I type well.

So, the kid at Best Buy said the sales were starting Sunday, so hopefully it won't be long...

Meanwhile, since I know how many of you are dog lovers, you ABSOLUTELY MUST go here and read about poor Chai. Please go through you beloved dog's toys and remove any of these nubby balls (made by Four Paws) before anything awful happens. The link is so you can see it, not so you can buy it, just to be clear!!

And also, remember to take away any toys that are showing excessive wear (both from your dogs and your kids) and never to let your dog play with toys unsupervised (unless, like the Kong, they're intended for independent play - check the packaging when you purchase your toys).

Poor Chai...

Ok, I've got to take the kids outside before they completely wreck the office. Hopefully I'll be back online soon!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Looking through my stats, I found someone who surfed onto my blog at 3:50 pm today from the following Google search:
every time i see baby clothes i want a baby and i'm 17 years old is that normal
Ok, first of all, honey, there's a difference between wanting something and thinking that it's a good idea and you should run right out and get it. For example, I really want a new laptop, because mine weighs 200 pounds, and the power cord has to be plugged in just so (right now I have a can of chicken and a piggy bank holding the cord in!) or it won't charge and I really think it would be cool to have one of those ultra-thin new laptops... But I also know that our budget won't allow for a new laptop right now (besides, it's 11:20 and Best Buy is closed), so I'm not running right out to buy one (and even if they weren't closed, they've asked me very nicely not to shop in my pajamas anymore).

Baby clothes are designed to make you want to buy them. Let's face it - babies need very little in life. They need clothes, sure, but they're happy in a white onesie. It's not like all the other kids in the Pack and Play will tease them if they wear the "wrong" shoes. They need sleep and love and food and safety and warmth and the occasional toy, but they don't need enough crap to support an entire Baby Crap Industry. Therefore, The Baby Crap Industry makes Baby Crap irresistibly cute in order to trick us into buying it... That's not just normal, it's marketing.

Second, babies themselves are designed to make you want them. They're cute and small and they have little toes and big eyes. They make cute noises. BJ and I used to coo over how cute Mary Grace's farts were. Everything about a baby is cute. I have even been known to say, "My daughter's dirty diapers don't smell - they smell exactly like buttered popcorn to me!" Babies are very charismatic creatures. That's not just normal, it's evolution.

Finally, you're 17. Your hormones are coursing relentlessly through your veins. Every cell in your body has one goal - to reproduce. Even if your mind's goal is to, you know, graduate from high school or maybe even go to college, your cells aren't interested. They want to pass their precious DNA into the next generation, and that means one thing - BABIEZ!!!! That's not just normal, it's biology.

But Sweetheart, and I mean this in the most loving, most sisterly way possible, are you out of your freaking mind? You are SEVENTEEN! I know, I know, it's a cruel trick of our society that you have the body of an adult, but you're still legally, emotionally, and educationally a kid. But the truth is, your brain still isn't finished forming. You aren't, today, the person you're going to be when you're 30. You are going to change a lot. The goal is to survive these turbulent years without doing anything that's going to have consequences that you're still raising when you're 30.

Get a fish. If you still have the same fish after a year, upgrade to a cat. If the cat lives for another 3 years, upgrade to a dog. If the dog lives for 5 years, then you can start thinking about babies... But for your own sake, please don't let Baby Crap Lust and Hormonal Teenager Lust lead you down the primrose path to motherhood before you're really ready. Because, honestly, it's not as glamorous as Angelina and Jennifer and Jennifer and Gwen make it look. Real motherhood looks a lot more like this. It's a lot less Gucci and a lot more gooey. It's endless hours of nursing when your nipples look like this. It's diapers that look like this. I was once puked on (not spit upon, but puked upon) a dozen times in a dozen hours, I kid you not.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that motherhood is a lot of hard damn work. Rewarding? Of course. Extremely cute at times? Yes. Fun, even? Sure. But it's a lot of work. And it's expensive. That may not look expensive, but that package will last you two, three days, max.

I'm really glad the universe led you here. I hope that it'll be enough reality to keep you on the right path until you're ready for a kid. Because when you're older and you're really ready it'll be a lot more fun.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Will Blog for Swag

If there is a laptop manufacturer out there who wants to give me a laptop to "review" indefinitely, that would be awesome. I would write lovely prose and sing your praises to all the land. E-mail me!


So we're at Walmart the other day, which was stupid, because every freshman in the world was also at Walmart that day. You'd think after living in a Big 10 town for, what 10 years, now, I'd have figured out that going to any Mart on the weekend that the kids arrive is a Bad Freaking Plan.

Anyway, we're at Walmart, and we're just getting to the check out lane (thankfully it was the one right by the restrooms... you see where this is going, right?) and in the middle of my $80 transaction, MG says, "Mommy, I have to pee...." as she runs for the women's restroom (thank you, God, that she went in the women's and not the men's!!) So, I am faced with a dilemma... Do I

A) abandon Claire, the cart, and all the stuff to chase her into the restroom,
B) take Claire, the cart, and about $80 worth of now-shoplifted-because-I-went-past-the-Point-of-Sale merchandise and chase MG into the bathroom, or
C) finish the transaction and hope for the best.

I looked at the cashier, hoping that she would provide some clue as to the standard operating procedure in such situations. She didn't offer to finish scanning my stuff, or at least hold my place in line while I retrieved MG, so I sighed and said, "Well, I guess she'll figure something out," finished my transaction with as few jokes about swirlies as possible, and I double-timed into the bathroom after her.

Claire, the full cart, and I steered through the gauntlet of random tile walls to enter the bathroom, and were immediately confronted with two really little, really old ladies. I was already calling MG's name as we entered the bathroom, so it was obvious that the half-naked toddler alone in the scary Walmart bathroom belonged to me. The looked at me askance. "She took off!" I cried, "What was I supposed to do?!"

"Well, I never..." they said as they peered down their wrinkled noses at me.

"Oh for God's sake," I said under my breath as I elbowed past them (abandoning Claire at the threshold of the bathroom, which probably irritated them even further). Mary Grace was in the first stall, with the door wide open, shouting to the entire store, "Mommy! I peed!"

I was torn, should I scold her for running off, praise her for using the bathroom all by herself, scold her for running off, praise her for staying dry, scold her for running off, or praise her for staying out of the men's room? For the benefit of the blue hairs, who were still muttering in my general direction as they made their way, snail-like, to the stewed prunes (or whatever judgmental old ladies eat), I said, "Mary Grace, you can NOT leave Mommy in the store like that. I was really scared! You did a really good job going to the bathroom all by yourself, and I'm really proud, but next time you need to wait for me, ok? Otherwise the old ladies judge me!"

Monday, August 18, 2008


Claire is saying "tickle tickle," which is about the cutest thing going.

A day without kids was dangled in front of me last night, and in my head I had a plan... I was going to go shopping for new bras because after being pregnant or nursing since November of '04, mine are a complete joke. Unfortunately, bras are one of the few things you just can't purchase online (at least, not if you actually have actual boobies to put in them). I was going to take my dress for Megan's wedding to be altered. I was going to get a pedicure. I was going to go to a cafe and get a very large beverage and read a very large book, uninterrupted, until I felt guilty for camping out at the table so long. Unfortunately, the day I had planned didn't materialize, today, but I have high hopes that such a day will exist, someday.

In spite of this, today has been a pretty good day. Claire's cute. MG is doing awesome with the you-know-what. We had leftovers from dinner for lunch, along with scrambled eggs, which would've made BJ shake his head, but was actually really good. I have a plan for dinner. We played outside. We went for a walk. It's been fine.

Maturity? Lowered expectations? I'll let you decide.

Meanwhile, I've been able to read lots of the internets today. (Ok, I started this yesterday, then fell asleep while putting the kids to bed, so I'm finishing it today...) I thought that this article about a mother who had a master's degree, good insurance, a good job, and three kids who had to take her kids to a soup kitchen for dinner was very moving, and illustrates a good point that people should keep in mind during this election season. You may have to watch a brief ad to get to the article on, but it's worth it.

Survey: Neurotic, anxious, insecure types of women are more likely to blog. *sigh*

Ok, we have a playdate with Jenny B. today, so I have to get rolling. I'll share the rest later...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

State Fair

Today's the last day for the Indiana State Fair, so the BJ and I took the girls yesterday. We burned through $100 way too quickly, but we had a good time. It was a beautiful day.

A rare picture of me, on the carousel with the girls.

Perhaps the biggest news to come out of the fair was that Mary Grace stayed dry the entire time! Thank God for the public restrooms in the exhibit buildings, because I don't think she's quite ready to experience a Port-A-Potty.

Here's Mary Grace practicing for her future career in entertainment.

She rode the Tilt-A-Whirl with me, too. She is so brave. I was so proud of the way she reacted when we ran out of tickets (quickly!) and decided to go look at the animals. She didn't fuss or say, "One more ride!" or anything. She was really super.

We watched the draft horses pull wagons for a little while. She thought it was a parade. When the horses threw their heads up and down, she said, "Look, they're saying 'yes'!"

Claire rode in the backpack for most of the fair, but we got her out and let her walk in areas that weren't too crowded. I was really glad that we took the backpack and not the stroller. The stroller would have been a total pain in the neck. Of course, the backpack was a pain in Daddy's back, but what can you do? At least it was convenient for me, and that's what really matters, right?

Friday, August 15, 2008

High School

BJ's been gone the last couple of nights, and so after I got the girlies to bed yesterday I did a little Facebook stalking. Hello, high school!

To be honest, I'm feeling a little naked, knowing that my profile links back to this blog, and that I've written some pretty raw, personal stuff on here. Of course, I'm assuming that anyone cares enough to read my profile and click through. Maybe that's assuming a level of interest that doesn't actually exist (yeah, I just checked my stats and only one click was from Facebook!). Either way, one thing I've noticed since I graduated - everyone else grew up, too.

I was really hesitant to attend our 10 year reunion. After all, I attended the same school system my entire life... There are people (who I've recently befriended on Facebook) I've known since kindergarten. They knew me through all the awkward years (actually, most of the years were awkward, until about last week). They saw The Perm. Some of them may even remember events that would embarrass me if I knew they remembered.

But I sucked it up, and I went anyway, and I had a fabulous time! Everyone was so nice, and so interested in everyone else. I remember thinking, "I wish high school had been more like this!" I'm sure there was drama - something happened at the table next to ours that involved an ex-boyfriend and someone being there that wasn't supposed to be, and a lot of whispering and running to the bathroom and that sort of girl crap. For the most part, though, everyone was really cool.

I went to school with a really cool bunch of people, too. They have the most fascinating and varied careers. It's funny how in high school, everyone wanted to be the same and "fit in" and it turned out that the things that made us all so different were the things that really made us interesting. A ton of them live in Chicago (or at least say they do, when I went to college I told people I was from "near Chicago," too, it sounded a lot cooler than "Grammaland"!).

Anyway, if you're an old friend, please leave a comment and let me know you were here. And if anyone has kept in touch with Sunny N. or Cate K., I'd love to know how to get in touch with them.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

School and Stuff

Mary Grace is sitting beside me "reading" a book. It's new, and she doesn't have it memorized quite yet, so she's making it up. So cute.

We need to get rolling - Uncle Chuck is coming to babysit today while Mommy goes out for a little R&R with Jenny. Woo hoo! I thawed out some of the frozen zucchini so I can make more zucchini bread for them. Of course, yesterday was farmer's market day, and I just got even *more* zucchini... Welcome to summer in Indiana!

Speaking of summer in Indiana, it may be almost over. The kids were at the bus stop in front of our house this morning, waiting for the school bus. We had our visit with MG's preschool teacher yesterday. Even though we cleaned the entire house, she didn't make it past the front room. Oh well, at least the house is clean. I'm not sure what I was afraid of expected, but she just brought the schedule and info about peanut allergies, fees, field trips (!!!) etc. The best news, though, is that there's a "Mommy's Time Out" program at the church where MG's preschool is, and if I plan ahead I can drop both the kids off at the same time, for $6, and have time all to myself.


So, I am really, really looking forward to fall!

Friends came over for dinner last night, and we busted out the American Idol game on the PS3. It was hilarious. One friend, who shall remain nameless, sang "Knockin on Heaven's Door" with the Hannah Montana wig on his head. And there is a picture, if another friend can figure out how to get it off of his iPhone, which I will post, right before the first friend kills me.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Important Announcement

Every time I post about how well MG is doing at potty training, she becomes a little human fountain. It is neither cute nor sanitary, so this will be the last time I post about the potty training. Let's all just assume that she's done, and then I won't have to deal with the karmas anymore.

And since it seems to be Opposite Day here at Prettybabies... and if I post something, it suddenly stops being true, I would just like to report that my house is NOT clean, my family is NOT healthy, and my dog's leg is NOT fixed. There is NO check for $10,000,000 in my mailbox (and not one of those fakey mortgage scam checks this time, either, no. There is NO actual check from an actual person with an actual bank account that actually can clear $10M in my actual mailbox). Furthermore, I did NOT magically lose 80 pounds overnight. The Surgeon General did NOT recently announce that chocolate is the cure for everything. Elves did NOT come in and replace the carpet throughout my house. I do NOT have perfect skin. Honda did NOT invent a cute, sexy minivan that everyone loves that gets 90 miles to the gallon (of water). My coffee has NOT been replaced with Folger's crystals. And Barack Obama has NOT won the November election. NO publishers have offered me advances for a book. NO one has showed up with full ride scholarships for the prettybabies to go to Ivy League schools. There are absolutely NO landscapers outside clearing out my weeds and replacing them with zero-maintenance, perfectly landscaped flower beds.

I think that about covers it. Suck it, karma!!

Potty Progress

Well, she's in the same pants that she put on after she got up (we're going to do diapers/Pull Ups at night for a while, until she's ready to stay dry all night), so we're making progress.

Here's my method. It's not based on any cutting edge research or anything - just on knowing my kid.

I started telling her a couple of weeks ago that it's illegal for kids to wear diapers in the daytime after they're 3. Kids her age tend to be really big into laws and rules and whatnot, so I thought I'd try to use that to my advantage. I made sure that she understood that the day after her party (no bathrooms at the park!) she had to use the big girl potty. We talked about it a lot in the days leading up to the switch.

On Monday she woke up, and we put underwear on her. I've been asking her every hour or so if she needs to go (or when she starts acting like she needs to go). She has also told me, several times, that she needed to go. I'm also praising the heck out of her when she does. I'm not making a big hairy deal about mistakes, but she does have to go upstairs and get her own panties (after the 5th accident last night, I just quit putting new shorts on her) when she has an accident, and she does have to "help" me clean it up if it gets on the floor or the furniture. I've told her that if she can keep her underwear dry for a whole day, she can get some fancy Disney Princess ones from Kohl's.

I'm also reading her books while on the potty to distract her. Reading also makes her stay longer, which is good because then she doesn't have to go as often. We're not going anywhere today, even though she did great while we were out with Grandma and Mimi yesterday, simply because I don't have another adult to help me with Claire today. We're going out for dinner with Grandma Diana, and then BJ and Diana will be there to assist. Until we get this down, we're staying close to a toilet. It just occurred to me, though, that the bathroom for kids at the library is really convenient, so we may go there if we have time after nap.

I think, more than anything, though, that she was just ready to be trained. I did all these things a few months ago, and it didn't work at all.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Oh dear...

BJ: What are you teaching these kids when I'm not at home?

Amy: ....

Mary Grace:

Amy: Stripping skills, apparently.

BJ: I think Mommy needs to go to work more.

I think it's a good thing that we've got her enrolled in preschool at the church, because maybe they can beat it out of her. (Her clothes are off because she has peed on every stitch of clothing that she owns... The balloons, left over from the party, were all her idea.)

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Things That Suck: Potty Training Edition

I am not going to embarrass future-Mary-Grace by writing all the gory details of her potty training escapades here on the internets for all posterity. I will say, however, that I told her that it was a law that you can't wear diapers after your 3rd birthday, and she totally bought it. Ha!

I will also say that I feel like I've done nothing but say, "Do you need to use the potty?" today. I have had a very elimination-focused day, and I am SICK OF IT. This was NOT in the brochure. Someone needs to start a potty-training boot camp, where you can send your kids for a week and they come back fully trained, and have an additional useful hobby like crochet or gardening.

Seriously, after giving birth twice, I have enough trouble maintaining the integrity of my own potty habits. I am woefully underqualified to take on the responsibility of another person's potty habits. (Hooray for Poise!) Between Claire's diapers, letting Max out, following MG around with a change of clothes and the Lysol, knowing that I need to change the Diaper Genie (and totally avoiding it) and that the litterbox needs cleaning (ditto) and now writing about all of it, I just have to say enough!

And that is all I have to say about that.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Birthday Pics, part 2

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Birthday Pics, part 1

Claire with the balloons. I was going for an "under water" feel with the balloons, to go with the Finding Nemo cake. And you can't have a Nemo cake without safety orange dresses.

I thought about trying to bleach three white stripes onto each dress, and I probably would've tried it if we hadn't just gotten home yesterday.

But, you know, I have to give myself a little room to improve next year. If I get into themed outfits too quickly, what am I going to have to do to outdo myself when they're 16?

Mary Grace and her boyfriend, Owen.
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DC Pics, part 5

If you look carefully through the archives, you can find a very similar picture from last year.

She loves it when it rains and I let her use the butterfly umbrella.
Brian and Caitlyn at dinner.
The dessert monster!
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DC Pics, part 4

Hanging out with Dad at the zoo!

We love it when Daddy can come on outings, because he carries girls.

Look who wants to be just like her dad!

Watching the random movie near the pandas that is not, in fact, about pandas. She sat so patiently and waited for pictures of pandas to come up. They never did.
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DC Pics, part 3

Making friends with Abby.

Conquering rocks.

What do you mean, Abby's never had a sucker?? We know how to fix that!

This is how we roll.
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DC Pics, part 2

At the Postal Museum, pushing buttons with Abby.

Elementary, my dear Watson!

At the fountain, immediately before she looked like this:

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DC Pics, part 1

At the Smithsonian's Jim Henson exhibit.

On the carousel in the mall.

Nap in the information center in the "castle" building of the Smithsonian.

Overly enthusiastic hugs. Right after this they were both on the ground in a big, orange pile.

Three Years Old

Dear Mary Grace,

I am sitting here watching you play with your sister, trying to figure out how three years have passed so quickly. I still remember, like it was yesterday, running down our stairs to tell your Daddy, "Santa brought us a baby!" when I found out I was pregnant. It just doesn't seem possible that you're already three.

I see newborns, now, and I wonder if it's possible that you were ever that small. But the changes that are really astonishing are the ones that aren't visible. Your personality is still forming (they say that who you are is determined by the time you're 5 years old), but some things have remained consistent from the day you were born. For example, you're still not a big fan of sleep. For another, it still takes all my energy to keep you entertained. You are so bright and curious about the world. You have an amazing attention span for a little kid, and you love to learn new things.

You love music, and you always have. You love gymnastics. You love to go on outings, and you're an excellent traveler. You are such a helper. Right now you're dragging a chair into the kitchen to help your Daddy make your birthday pancakes. You love fruit, especially berries. Your dad and I love taking you places and doing new things, and seeing the world through your eyes. You have a wonderful imagination, and a terrific sense of humor. From the time that you were really little, you've loved to make people laugh.

You have such a gentle spirit. All of your "guys" (stuffed animals) are well loved and well cared for. It cracks me up when you "nurse" your dolls. You usually are very sweet and gentle with Claire. You guys have all the normal sibling disagreements over toys and whatnot, but most of the time you get along so well, and are best friends. You love meeting new people and playing with new kids. You make friends wherever we go.

You're starting school in the fall, and it is going to be really hard for me to start releasing you into the big, scary world. From now on, I won't always be there to hold your hand, kiss your boo boos, or wipe away your tears. Kids can be cruel, and you're going to have to face them on your own (at least 4 hours two days a week). But if it's true that we've been building your personality these last three years, I have confidence that you're going to do just fine on your own in preschool, without me and Daddy, because you really have all the tools you'll need to be happy and successful. I am so proud of you, and I'm so proud of the big girl you're becoming.

Here's the checklist I started doing when you were a baby:

Your favorite toy for playing is: the swing set

Your favorite toy for snuggling is: Biscuit the Cat (still, and now we have Biscuit 2.0)

Your favorite food is: blueberries

Your favorite book is: Berenstein Bears

Your favorite activity is: gymnastics

Your favorite place to go is: Grammaland

Your best friend is: Claire

Something new that you're doing: using the big girl potty, starting tomorrow

Something you've mastered: somersaults, lining up at gymnastics

Something people say about you: "Look at that hair!"

Something that you're saying is: "You don't need to worry about it, Mommy...."

Something Dad and I are proud of you for: the way you play with your sister so well most of the time

Something surprising about you: you have a good ear for music, and sing on key

I love you, Cuppycake!

Happy Birthday!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Just flew in from DC...

...and boy are my arms tired!

Ha! We had a great flight back. The girls were such good travelers. Poor Claire has a sniffly nose, so we dosed her up with Benadryl (medically indicated Benadryl, see above: sniffly), and she slept on BJ's lap most of the way. Mary Grace amused herself with the gifts that she and her Daddy got this morning at the Air and Space Museum. We had a bit of fussing in the car on the way home, but I think it's just because MG was so tired. She dropped off to sleep while I was reading her story to her tonight. I love it when that happens. BJ got Claire down with minimal fuss, and I'm about to open up a bottle of wine and catch up on my blogs.

Pictures to come...

DC, days 4 and 5 which I realize I left my poor, sad, blistered feet somewhere on the Metro...

I did it again. I let the zoo kick my ass. (OMG look at the pictures on that link - how tiny Claire was last year when we were here! She's growing up so fast. We have entire conversations now. Of course, her contribution is usually either "yeah" or "noooOOOooooOOOOooo..." but still). We did the zoo, this time, with Rob, Anny, and Abby, which was great fun! Being smart local types, they suggested that we walk all the way to the bottom of the hill, have lunch, and then slowly work our way back up. This made a lot more sense than my method, which was to wander down slowly, without realizing how far I was going down the hill, and then to have a hungry kid at the very bottom, find the restaurant closed, and have to double time back up the hill with a crying toddler and a sleeping 4 month old in the sling. Good times.

No one had to ask me, this time, if I was having a heart attack, so it must have been a great success. After spending the afternoon there, we walked back to the Metro with the Monroes, and then went on to the restaurant (Medaterra, not Mikos or whatever I was thinking it was!!) to have dinner with my cousin Brian. As we were waiting for Brian and his friend, Katelynn (or Caitlyn or Kaitlyn or something, I didn't ask... She seemed like a Caitlyn, though) to arrive, Mary Grace went on and on about how much she was going to miss Abby. They were so sweet together, I have some super cute pictures to post when we get home (that's where the cable is, of course!!).

We had a really nice dinner with Brian and Caitlyn. The restaurant was Greek/Mediterranean, which is one of my favorite cuisines. I had a glass of sangria that was awesome, we ordered hummus, and then MG and C and I split the spinach and cheese ravioli. After we'd eaten, the waiter brought out two desserts we hadn't ordered. Caitlyn (the more I write that, the more it looks like it's spelled wrong) used to work there, when she first moved to DC, and not only had the owner given us dessert, she'd comped our entire meal!! Of course, then, we teased Caitlyn by asking, "So, where else have you worked?" It was so gracious, so if you're ever in DC you simply must eat at Medaterra, which is just south of the Zoo Metro station, because they're lovely people and the food is incredible. However, if you're going to the zoo you want to actually go one stop past the zoo and then get off and walk to the entrance, because it's downhill. Then you continue downhill after the zoo, go eat at Medaterra, and then get on the Metro from there. Stick with me, I have it all planned out for you.

We were exhausted when we got back to the hotel, so the kids went to sleep right away. Both of them seem a little stuffy, probably from licking everything at the Smithsonian the other day. We had breakfast together, then BJ and MG went to the Air and Space museum (are you sensing a theme with him??) while Claire and I stayed behind at the hotel. She's napping and I got everything except the computer packed up to go. If I can wrestle the stroller and the suitcase down the elevator by myself, we'll be in business. I requested a late check out, so Claire and I might just head directly to the airport from here, or we may get a beer in the lobby and wait for BJ and MG to come back. It all depends on how late she sleeps. Our flight leaves at 4:40 this afternoon, and we should be back home for supper.

I have to say, now that I've been here twice and I know it isn't just a fluke, that the people of Washington DC are some of the nicest people in the country (in spite of the presence of so many politicians!!). Everywhere I go, people have offered help with directions, or given me a hand with the yacht of a double stroller I have, or just been lovely and welcoming in general. I think that some of the best, brightest, kindest people in the country live here, and I'm not just saying that because my cousin is among them!! It's the truth, and if you haven't had a chance to visit, I really think you should. I even told BJ last night that I could live here. There's a Boeing office and a Lockheed Martin office here in Crystal City, where our hotel is, so there may be a job here for him someday. I would love to live in a city with public transportation!! Of course, the cost of living would take some getting used to. Rob and Anny nearly fell over when I told them how much we paid for our 4 bedroom house in Indiana... Easily a third of what they'd pay for a 4 bedroom house here. But just think how much we'd save on museum admission!! They're all free!

The only dark spot over yesterday, for me, was that as Brian was talking about all his travels and beginning his career (he's moving to California in a couple weeks), while sitting beside this beautiful girl who has an equally exciting life, I really got the sense that BJ was regretting some of the choices he's made. We were only 21 when we started dating, and while we didn't get married for another 4 years, I still sometimes wonder if maybe there isn't a part of him that wonders what he could have done, and where he could have gone, if he hadn't gotten stuck with me all those years ago. It doesn't help that we're still deep in the really hard part of being parents - with two very little kids who need a lot from us, and from me, and who often don't leave me with much left to give to him. He has so many responsibilities, and I could feel him yearning for the life that might have been if he had made different choices when we were Brian's age, when the whole world was his for the taking. Maybe it's just my own insecurity talking, I don't know. I know he wouldn't trade the kids for anything, and I know that he's proud of the business and everything he has done so far in his career (and having one's own successful aerospace company is certainly not nothing!). I think it's something that all of us do, to a certain extent, as we get older. A part of us always mourns the paths that we didn't choose. It's just hard, sometimes, feeling like maybe I've held him back.

Eek. Sounds like it's time for me to up my Zoloft or make an appointment with Dr. Dave.

I have over 300 blog articles to catch up on, so I'm going to finish that before Claire wakes up. The best news of the day - it will be in the mid 70s, not at all humid, with a 0% chance of rain for MG's party in the park tomorrow!! We couldn't have ordered better weather, so we'll see you all at 2 pm! I ordered an enormous cake, so be sure to join us.

Friday, August 8, 2008

DC, day 2 & 3

My poor feet.

Day 2 - Smithsonian, Smithsonian, Smithsonian. We went to the Jim Henson exhibit (SO COOL!!), rode the carousel, then we spent some quality time in the "castle" while the girls napped on a bench (I thought they were going to charge us rent). While the girls were sleeping, I read my blogs on my phone and BJ hit the Air and Space Museum, of course. Once the girls woke up, we went to the Museum of Natural History which was super cool. All the stuffed animals and the dinosaur bones were a big hit. BJ had to leave to register for his meeting, so the girls and I were on our own for the afternoon, and I managed to get both of them and the giant double stroller back to the hotel, on the Metro, by myself. I've always depended on the kindness of strangers.

Everyone is so friendly here, seriously. I really think that some of the best people in the country live in and around DC.

Speaking of some of the best people, we met Anny and Abby yesterday and went to the Postal Museum and the Sculpture Gardens at the Smithsonian. Then we ducked inside the M of Natural History again because it started to rain. We headed straight for the ice cream. After we parted ways with the Monroes, with promises to see each other again today, the girls and I headed back to the hotel on the Metro, again, by ourselves. We're getting good at this. MG fell asleep (AWESOME) so Claire and I shopped in Crystal City, because there was no way for me to get her on the bus back to the hotel without waking her. We met BJ back at the hotel after his conference, and headed to dinner with my cousin, which didn't happen due to a cell phone miscommunication, but it was fine. We ate at a rib place - decent food, terrible service - and then came back to the hotel where Claire and MG promptly passed out. I went and got dessert for BJ and I from the bar, and we spent a quiet evening in the hotel room while they slept.

Today we're going back to the zoo that kicked my butt last year, with the Monroes, and then we're having dinner with Brian (for real this time).

CONFIDENTIAL TO WHYMOMMY - if you want to meet us there, give me a call. I e-mailed you my cell number.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

DC, day 1

Well, our first flight was canceled due to weather, but we managed to get to DC by way of NYC (we flew right over the former World Trade Center, and I could see this huge square construction area beneath the plane. That was more than a little uncomfortable on several levels). We got here about 5 hours later than expected, but the kids were model travelers and we're doing just fine. The hotel is awesome. Last night we went for a swim, then had dinner and went for a walk. We found a park and let the kids go nuts for a little while, which they appreciated. It's going to be 90 today, so we're planning on staying indoors as much as we can. I think we're going to hit a few of the Smithsonians.

We're standing in LaGuardia yesterday, waiting for our flight, and we saw home on CNN. We saw a town to the west of Grammaland and one to the east, and they were talking about severe storms. Obviously we were concerned for the family, but there wasn't a whole lot we could do from there. When I finally got a chance to check my e-mail, I had a note from Mom saying that her yard had taken quite a bit of damage. No one was hurt, but her beautiful backyard was beaten up badly. I hope everyone else in Grammaland is ok.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Personal Ad

MWF seeks responsible teenager or adult to watch my two kids so I can get us ready to go tomorrow. The qualified candidate will also stay when I'm finished so I can nap.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


My sister's shower was awesome.

As always, my mom did an excellent job with the decorations. Everything was extremely cute.

I am not at liberty to divulge any of the details of the bachelorette party. But here's Mary Grace with a brief, tasteful reinactment:

The part of Megan, the bride, is being played by Mary Grace. The doll's name is Dan, because every guy in Chicago is, apparently, named Dan or Francois. Yes, large portions of the evening were actually in black and white. Yes, we really wore the boa hats. Megan's was white, but it got stolen by a creep with a mohawk.

That is a picture of Megan (who looked like a rock star) and the creep right before he took off with her hat.

If you see a hungover man in Chicago wearing a white feather hat, please tell him (he's probably named Dan) that I said it's not nice to steal peoples' hats and then run away across the street through heavy Chicago bar traffic. I mean, seriously...

That is all I am at liberty to divulge, and only because it's a public service to expose Dan 7.0 as a feather hat thief.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Busier than a...

I still love you, but today has been hectic. Got up, went to the back quack, Grandpa Bob (of the famous Purple chicken) watched the girls. Then we went to the library for story time, dropped the kids off at Dawn's, went to lunch with friends, came to the office, run run run, who has time to post!

Have great weekends! MWAH!