Thursday, December 27, 2007

Lindsey's Photos

One of the gifts we gave Lindsey this year was a digital camera. A what? you say, how can you possibly give a 4-year-old a digital camera??

Well, it's made by Fisher Price, it's in a solid plastic casing that is intended to survive multiple drops, and there are only four buttons on it. It's made for ages 3 and older. And, in typical fashion with technology continually blowing my mind, it actually wasn't that expensive. She loves my camera, always wants to take pictures with it and look at them through the viewfinder, so it seemed natural to get her her own.

The one drawback is that the photo quality is pretty weak. We can change the setting on it to make them nicer, but then it only holds 20 photos instead of 60, and for her it's all about hearing the click and knowing she took a photo. I did, however, have to share some of the lovely photos she took on Christmas Day. She had that camera filled to 60 within an hour. I promptly downloaded them for her and I'm pretty sure it's full again and needs to be dumped once more.

So, here's Christmas Day from Lindsey's perspective.






This lovely trio of photographs was taken of a rather large gift toward the back of the tree that Lindsey kept trying to get at to open, but Wayne kept telling her not to because she was going to knock all the ornaments off the tree. We could not even get to this gift until the presents in the FRONT of the tree had been opened. So she kept getting closer and closer and taking a photo of the greatly desired present. In case you're wondering, it was a play bowling set from Aunt Michelle, which was promptly the item of delight until the next gift was opened.


This particular photo brought Lindsey a great deal of mirth, as she laughed and laughed at Marissa's oversized butt, which is clearly in need of a diaper change by the way it hangs halfway to her knees.



Here is the only record we have of the joy the aforementioned iPod brought Wayne, aka Daddy, as you see him smiling as he finally realizes that I did not buy him a sports radio, it's an iPod! Note the strewn presents in the background -- we haven't seen our floor in days.
Last note, while it took Wayne 10 minutes to figure out how to open the battery compartment and put the batteries in the camera, it took Lindsey all of 2 seconds to figure out what the buttons do.
"How do I turn it on? Oh! here it is. How do I take a picture? Oh! Here it is! Mommy, I want to see the pictures...oh never mind, I found it."
Damn I feel stupid.

Worldly Thoughts

I was awoken this morning at 6:30 am by our youngest, crying in her room. I go in and she asks for hot milk, which I give her and she promptly goes back to sleep. Which is a good thing because for the 10 minutes she was up she didn't stop crying; she clearly had awoken too early. (I'd like to do that too when I wake up too early, but I don't think my co-workers would appreciate it.)

But now I was up, and, unlike going back to bed as I usually do, I got up, put a pot of coffee on, and folded some clothes while watching The Today Show, a guilty pleasure of mine. (Those who know me know that our TV is rarely on.)

So while this sounds like doing household chores, I see it as quiet time, me time, time when I don't have to getting after someone to stop bugging the dog, give something back to your sister, don't unfold the folded clothes, frick and frack, and so on.

Suddenly there was a "Special Report" on the Today Show. In some cases this means something ridiculous; I bet if I had been watching TV the day it was announced that Britney Spears' 16-year-old sister was pregnant they'd have broken in with a "special report." I remember they broke into regular programming when the O.J. Simpson verdict was announced.

But this was special news -- Benazir Bhutto, former prime minister of Pakistan, had been assassinated in Pakistan. The air literally went out of me -- she was one who I had been watching closely in the news, hoping that she would find a way to work with Pakistani President Musharraf and bring stability and, more importantly in my mind, some level of humanity to many of the people in Pakistan who live in abject poverty. She had been the poor people's champion, even though her government was previously accused of corruption. (Her reaction had been, "How else can you get anything done in this country?")

I had thought some months ago when she returned to Pakistan after being in exile in London that she was putting herself in harm's way -- she had been killed while standing up through a moonroof in a vehicle, clearly making a target of herself. I wonder if she thought in her mind that while she may do some good while alive, she could also do some good as a martyr for a better Pakistan. But either option was preferable to living a comfortable life in London while her homeland went to hell in a handbasket. God bless her for choosing to act and not sit back and observe from afar.

I was very saddened by the news, and saddened to know that 20 people were killed along with her. I'll be praying for people in that part of the world.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Photos




This Christmas was a wonderful one, especially because Marissa finally understands the concept of presents, though she still doesn't get the hype and the fact that Santa is coming. But she did have lots of fun opening her gifts.

The entire time leading up to Christmas Lindsey never had many ideas of what she wanted from Santa for Christmas. Whenever we'd ask her she'd say "a dress" or "bones for my doggie." So Wayne and I thought about what she and Marissa might enjoy, and for the most part I think we hit the jackpot. They both truly enjoyed their toys, and spent the rest of the day playing with them all.

I have a couple of observations about the photos I took throughout the day on Christmas:
1. Multiple costume changes. They both started in their same-old pajamas, which were quickly replaced when they received the new pajamas from Grandpa Tom and Meme. This was changed once again when the matching purple dresses were unwrapped.
2. Incredible flexibility. Both Marissa and Lindsey spent many hours this day in deep knee squats, checking out toys, opening gifts, playing, and had no compliants whatsoever. I, on the other hand, needed a Tylenol and a heating pad after bending over for so long.
3. Challenging photo op. I have multiple photos of the back of Marissa's head. I have long expanses of orangish-looking wood floors. I have photos of ripped wrapping paper, jumbled boxes and scattered toys throughout my home. In other words, I have successfully captured the chaos that reigns nearly every day, but certainly at Christmas.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Now I can tell this story

I shared this one with a few people before Christmas, but now I can tell everyone else. I'll give away the ending now: Wayne had no idea I had really gotten him an iPod.

I got Wayne an iPod for Christmas. Lindsey was with me when I bought it (can't be helped sometimes) so I told her that it was a secret that Daddy was getting it and not to tell him. She got preoccupied with other things before we got home so she promptly forgot about it and never said a word.

Two weekends ago she was pretending that she was going to go to the mall. She put on her hat and mittens and her purse over her shoulder, and came up to Wayne and said, "Daddy. I am going to the mall to see Santa. What would you like for Christmas?"

Wayne said, "I would like an iPod."

Lindsey replied, "Oh! Mommy already bought one for you!"

Of course, I couldn't rush in to the room and stop this exchange or Wayne would know that truly I HAD bought him an iPod and this wasn't just Lindsey making things up. But later she came in to the kitchen and I motioned her over.

"Lindsey!" I whispered. "Why did you tell Daddy that I bought him an iPod? Remember, it's supposed to be a surprise!"

She said, "But Mommy, he wants to ask Santa for one, and I don't want him to get two!"

Some Good Christmas Moments

All in all, it was a wonderful Christmas. Some good thoughts of today:

  • Lindsey jumping up and down upon coming downstairs and seeing even more presents under the tree! (She was worried Santa wouldn't leave any when he saw all the ones that were already under the tree from relatives.)
  • Both girls jumping up and down upon receiving the largest package of plastic play food I've ever seen.
  • Two girls in matching pajamas they received as a gift as they open the rest of their gifts.
  • Marissa completely enamoured with the stuffed puppy dog, kennel and veterinarian supplies that came with it. (All play stuff, of course).
  • Lindsey methodically putting her toys into a pile so Marissa can't play with them.
  • The picture perfect snowfall that after in the afternoon as we were getting Marissa down for her nap.
  • Sledding with the girls on snow covered sidewalks around 4 pm, both girls giggling and squealing along the way.
  • Coming back in from sledding and sharing some homemade hot chocolate we had gotten as a gift.
  • Wayne singing off-key on his newly loaded iPod, figuring out all the features it has.
  • Loading up all the CDs we have onto our PC so Wayne can put them on his new iPod.
  • Playing grocery with Lindsey with her new cash register.
  • Having a dinner of divine steak with garlic bread, corn, baked potatoes and wine. And...not having the dinner ruined by a timeout or a whine-fest. Aaahhh!

Pictures to follow...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Confusion

Tonight we attended Christmas Eve service and then went to our friends' house down the street for a Christmas Eve get together with friends. We finally called it a night a little after 8:00, with Lindsey and Marissa both yawning and getting cranky.

As Wayne was putting Marissa's coat on, he asks her, "Marissa, do you know who's coming to our house tonight?"

Marissa says with no hesitation "Fosty the No-man."

Lindsey chimes in, "And Rudolph!"

Excellent. We've taught our children well.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Okay, so maybe sometimes she IS Italian...

Last night I asked Marissa to wash her hands before dinner. As she got up on the stool she said

"I washa-hands."

Buon Appetito!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

This is me as we try to leave the house in the morning


Marissa's Evolving Language Skills

I remember when Lindsey was about the age Marissa is now she went through a period in her speech in which she sounded like a little Italian girl:

"I-a wanna go-a park."

"Dinna dinna! Pasta pasta!" (Even the subject matter was Italian.)

"Whatsa gonna eats?"

Marissa is going through a stage herself, though slightly differently, of course.

She drops the "s" in front of words that start with an "s." So in my previous post, "mell" is "smells." We also hear "tinky" and "tool" frequently. ("Tool" not actually meaning a "tool" -- think about it.) My favorite? "Nuggle." Awwww...

She also is going through a stage of putting an "e" sound at the end of words. Lindsey used the "a" sounds, giving her the Italian accent, Marissa does the "e."

Her favorite word right now is "Uppy! Uppy!" said with arms outreached, waiting for you to pick her up. When she's cold she shivers and says, "Coldy."

Other favorite phrases right now:

"Daddy watch!"

"I too! I too!"

"Sassa do."

"No Dax no!" followed by "Down dax down!" as he tries to get on her booster chair to eat what she's dropped.

She sometimes wakes up at some ungodly hour in the morning, between 4 and 5. Usually you know she'll go right back down when you walk in her room and she says, "Hot miwk." But you are in trouble if she looks at you with mischief in her eyes, honey in her voice and utters these words:

"I pay?"

Put the coffee on, you're up for good.

My Mother's Words

It happens to everyone at some point; finally you find yourself saying things your mother said when you were growing up.

It all came together for me this morning, when everyone was done with breakfast and left the breakfast table. Every dish was left on the table -- every one. Granted, Marissa's only two, but the example set by her daddy was, "Just leave the table, Mommy will clean it all up."

"Okay!" I called out in my authoritative mom voice, "Everyone come back to the table, pick up your dishes and put them in the kitchen. I am not your maid!"

Good heavens, the "I am not your maid" line, I can't believe I just uttered it. It did get the desired results, though -- everyone got up, picked up their dishes and put them in the kitchen.

Even Marissa.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Christmas Preparations

You can just hear how this goes, right?

"What the...how'd these lights get so tangled?!"

But then it all comes together and we have a lovely tree!




Our Funny Girl



Without a doubt, Marissa makes us laugh all the time with her little antics. (By the way, don't you love her eyes in this photo?? I had to edit out some snot under her nose, though.)

This morning I had to run a few errands and decided to take Marissa with me. Usually Lindsey gets to go because she's older and a bit better behaved, but since it was just me and just one kid, I figured Marissa could go along, she's got to learn eventually not to touch every breakable thing in a store.

She and I went to the post office to mail a package and she had everyone in line smiling, she was just so happy to be in line! She was giggling and making little happy exclamations for no apparent reason. Wow! 'Tis the season, but for her "tis the season" is 12 months out of the year.

Then we went to a consignment shop to see if they would sell a coat for me. As we were leaving the store Marissa says to me, "No go home." So we hit one more store nearby, just for fun.

The name of the store was "Shop in the City," a little eclectic boutique of all kinds of things -- really expensive local designers ($78 for a silk shirt that I would sweat through in 2 minutes??) to stationery products, soaps, lotions, books, handbags and purses and all kinds of things. They had a car air freshener there that smells like "cat butt" and is a cartoon of a cat...from behind. Right next to that $78 silk shirt.

So at any rate, we're going through this store and Marissa is enamored with the Vera Bradley bags. She pulls five of them out and counts them - "one...three...four...five!" Then she says, "I put back" and she meticulously puts all five of them back. She mistakenly brushes up against one or two strangers thinking they are me and doesn't seem to care. That's the same kind of thing that used to send Lindsey scurrying in shyness to me at that same age -- Marissa's attitude seemed to be, "So I touched your coat; deal with it, I'm a kid."

Finally I decide we've checked out this store long enough and we need to go home. Marissa apparently disagrees as she runs from me and hides in a little nook with all of these very expensive clothes. I make my way to her, and then find the reason why she wanted a little corner.

"Poop in pants," she says to me.

I say, "Marissa, did you just poop in your pants??"

She breathes in through her nose very deeply, then says, "Mells good."

So we get her mittens on and off we go, back home to change. Once we get home she announces to Wayne, "I poop in pants -- mells good!"

Not sure where she got this one, apparently her own poop smells good to her. Ugh.

Saturday, December 08, 2007


Thought I'd finally post a couple of photos -- 'tis the season (3 weeks to Christmas) which means I'm busy AND tired, so I'm not often staying up late to blog like I usually do.
First photo is of the girls with Lindsey's neighborhood friend, Jamie. Jamie came over one evening to play, and there was a Christmas special on TV. So the three of them got snuggled under a blanket and were transfixed by the television. (I believe it was a Charlie Brown special).
The next photo was taken on December 1st, after we'd gotten several inches of snow. Around 5:00 we headed out since the streets had been plowed through at least once and took them sledding. It was so beautiful and peaceful like new snow can be, with very little traffic as no one wanted to head out in it, so we took them right down the middle of the streets.

Animal Sounds

I love Sandra Boynton books. For those of you unfamiliar with her work, she has a quirky, whimsical sense of humor and her books are a delight for the infant/toddler set.

The other night I was reading a book of hers called "Moo Baa La la la!" to Marissa. Here's how it goes:

A cow says moo.
A sheep says baa.
Three singing pigs say "La La La!"
No no, you say, that isn't right, the pigs say "oink" all day and night!

I read this to Marissa one night as she pondered her sippy cup (no more bottles!) of milk:

Me: "A cow says...?? Marissa, what does a cow say?"

Marissa: Silence.

Me: "A cow says moo (turn page), A sheep says...Marissa what does a sheep say?"

Marissa: Chewing thoughtfully on sippy cup.

Me: "A sheep says baa. Three singing pigs say..."

Marissa: [at the top of her lungs] "LA LA LA!!!!!!"

We had to stop I was laughing so hard.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A Special Thanksgiving

All in all, we had a good Thanksgiving.

The holiday first began with Neil & Millie coming to our house on Wednesday evening and staying for the big feast on Thursday at our place. We tried a turkey breast instead of a full turkey and it worked out pretty well. We always threw away the drumsticks anyway, seems a waste to cook a whole bird including all the parts that we just don't eat.

Unfortunately Marissa was under the weather -- I ended up picking her up early Wednesday and taking her to the doctor as she spiked a fever of 102.5 at daycare. She was put back on an antibiotic for 20 days to help knock out what appears to be another pesky sinus infection. Her nose cleared up right away, but we'll see if it stays after the antibiotics are done.

So on Thursday she was a big crank for much of the morning. She was crabby, clingy and liked to pester her sister, resulting in lots of refereeing. So we decided to move up the timetable and had the Thanksgiving feast while Marissa was napping. I felt kind of guilty, planning for her to not be a part of it, but it was a nice break to actually be able to eat my meal and not get after her to eat, not throw food, put her in a timeout, etc, which is what probably would have happened. Lindsey was well-behaved at least, though she didn't eat much. Marissa took a 3 1/2 hour nap and woke in a much better mood, and didn't seem to care that we had forged ahead without her.

We then all trekked down to Tracy, MN on Friday to gather with the entire family on Saturday afternoon for another feast, this time on cheesy potatoes (yum!), stuffing, sloppy joes (or "barbecue," as the Minnesotans call it) and a myriad of pies, including a pumpkin cheesecake that I had made upon arrival there. Nicole brought two large pans of Rice Krispie bars with chocolate topping -- only four survived the onslaught of hungry relatives.

Nicole also brought lots of photos of her album in August which we had missed due to both girls being sick that weekend. It sure was nice to look at all the photos. Everyone looked absolutely gorgeous (and the men were dashing) and it looked like everyone had a lovely time.

Sherrie brought over a belated birthday gift for Marissa, whose birthday was back in July. She got her a play vacuum cleaner, and was that a hit! Marissa would point around the entire living room and say, "this alllll yucky!" and proceed to pretend vacuum it. She also took out the attachments and would get under the coffee table, get the couch seat and arms, etc. Too bad the thing doesn't actually work!

She got into such a cleaning frenzy she also grabbed a little stuffed animal piggy and started "dusting" the furniture with it! It was a riot to watch.

She and Lindsey had to take turns with the vacuum, and later when Sherrie asked Lindsey what she wanted for Christmas, Lindsey said, "A vacuum like Marissa's!" I'm pretty sure we don't need two of those things around; they will just have to get better at sharing.

The one downfall of traveling with little ones at this age is the sleeping arrangements. We tried having all four of us sleeping in one bedroom, resulting in multiple awakenings, moving an offspring from airbed to actual bed, back to airbed, etc. They just get so disjointed when they are out of their routine and out of their normal surroundings.

The second night we got it a little better and Marissa and I slept in the family room while Wayne and Lindsey slept in the bedroom. Marissa would still awake a few times throughout the night, look around and start crying at the unfamiliar surroundings. But at least I was right by her side to comfort her and she would go back to sleep immediately, as opposed to the previous night when she would fully awaken and it would take us some time to get her back to sleep. That worked out much better, though I didn't get much sleep on the couch. I found out the next morning that the couch actually has a pull out sleeper, so that may be our salvation for our next trip!

Now I can't believe that it's only a week to December, and I am not ready! I haven't even started thinking about designing our Christmas cards. I do have a few presents already purchased, ready to wrap and ship to their recipients, but much more ahead of me to do.

With the stores in the Twin Cities being absolute chaos on the weekends, all I have to say is, "Thank God for Internet shopping!"

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is the one holiday that I am pleased to wish everyone a happy one of. I don't have to worry if you're a Christian and actually celebrate it, I won't offend your offenses if you're Jewish, if you're a Muslim it's OK too. How about Jehovah's Witness? Mormon? Doesn't matter. Here's what matters:

1. Are you currently in the US? Do you enjoy freedoms here that you may not have elsewhere?
2. How's your health? Had leprosy lately? How about the bubonic plague? Good to hear that you are plague free!
3. Do you have family in your life that you are thankful for? Parents? Siblings? Children of your own?
4. How about a roof over your head? Food to eat? Clothes to wear? Even if you're poor, if you live in this country you probably have all of the above.
5. Have any friends that you like? That support you in times of need? Yep, they are pretty special too.

So if you have anything that you can be grateful for in your life, I wish you a happy and heartfelt Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Lindsey's Haircut

Lindsey has been bugging us for about a week to get a haircut. And not just a haircut, her description was, "I want it short like Marissa's."

When she first asked, Wayne's knee-jerk response before he could even stop himself, was to say, "Oh but Lindsey, I love your long hair." (I thought that was pretty sweet coming from her Daddy.)

I like it too, and had thought that it would be in ponytails, pigtails or up moreso than it is. Even if I do send her to daycare in some kind of pony/pigtails, they always come out at naptime because they are uncomfortable to nap in, and then she spends the rest of the day with her hair flying around her face. And she often fights having her hair combed, resulting in some nasty tangles.

For those two reasons she didn't have to wait long after bringing it up again before she and I took a walk down to the local Great Clips, where she got about 5 inches taken off in an inverted cut. The front of her hair just about touches her shoulders, and the back is at the nape of her neck. She was smiling and grinning the entire time she was getting it cut, and afterwards said how happy she was with it.

I wasn't able to get a picture of her today, since she only had the cut for a few hours, but I'll try to get one soon to post it. I do say, it is pretty cute on her, and hopefully lower maintenance than her long hair.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Jason McElway: Heartwarming Story

This has to be one of the most heartwarming storeis I've seen of late. Much needed considering the other news that we usually see on the news.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Minnesota Children's Museum

Thought I'd quickly post a photo from this past weekend when we visited the Minnesota Children's Museum. They have a Curious George exhibit that the girls enjoyed.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

My Halloween Costume Confused Many...

I felt ridiculous on Halloween with my hair done up so high like Amy Winehouse. For those of you who don't know who I was attempting to be, you can see that my hair did not nearly reach the heights needed.


I Am An Addict...of sorts

For those of you who know me well, this may come as no surprise.

I have finally come to the conclusion that I am an addict. I can't help myself every time I pass a place that serves them. I see people holding cups in their hands and I become envious. I wonder how late in the day I can get away with having one and still get to sleep at night.

It's the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning, and the last thing I think about as I go to bed at night, happy in the knowledge that when I get up in the morning it will be the first thing I have.

These are all true statements -- honestly! But I'm happy to report that the object of my addiction is somewhat benign.

No, not cigarettes.

No, not alcohol.

I am addicted to Caribou coffee.

And I'm even becoming a coffee snob and preferring Caribou over every other type of coffee, including Starbuck's.

I am a very lucky soul.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween


Oh my, what a time was had by all!

Lindsey and Marissa both had Halloween parties at their school today and came home with bags of goodies. We ate dinner (or at least three of the four of us did, Marissa was too excited to), and then the costumes came back on again and the girls went out trick or treating.
This year Wayne took them around and I stayed home and handed out candy. Last year the temperature was 36 degrees and Marissa stayed home. She was a bit too little for trick or treating anyways back then, at just slightly over age 1. But now she was really getting into it and even said "trick or treat" at all the homes! She also says "Happy Halloween." What a smart kid!

Even Wayne donned his pirate gear, and I stayed in my "award winning" costume (we had a tie at our costume contest at work, I tied with Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite.) A few of the neighbors knew that I was Amy Winehouse, others were a bit confused. But it was fun all the same.

By 7:30 the girls were back home from trick or treating, a neighbor stopped by for a little bit and the fun was already done.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Marissa and her Baby Doll

I finally figured out how to upload video from our camcorder onto our computer! Unfortunately we only have a 32MB memory stick (top of the line 4 years ago when we bought the camcorder!) which can only record 60 seconds of video in the roughest possible format. So here's a little ditty from Marissa and Lindsey tonight, sorry that the video is so choppy but hopefully you'll get the idea.

I think we need to invest in a 256MB memory for our camcorder now. Or are they even bigger than THAT now?!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Horror Movies

It's that time of year again, when all the old horror movies make their rounds on the cable stations.

As a teenager I used to LOVE horror movies. I would rent them from the local video store (remember VHS??) and curl up under a blanket which also served as a blind through which you would watch the scariest parts. I got to the point when I could tell when someone was going to be surprised, could tell what was going to happen next, who the next victim would be, because I watched the genre so often.

As I've gotten older I've lost my taste for horror. I thought for a while that perhaps it was because I'm older and thus a little more conservative than I used to be. Or, now as a parent, I want to protect my children from such awful things, so why support them by watching?

But this weekend, as I read the newspaper with the world happenings, I came upon a new reason why I dislike horror movies now: because if someone can think of a new way to debase another human being, that means that somewhere in the world it is happening to real people.

The depravities that occur in Africa, with young children being recruited and drugged to carry out a military regime's hate crimes, has to be some of the saddest events within human history. And I realized as I read of some of the descriptions of the torture that they are eerily similar to the carryings-on's of some of the horror movies, which came decades before these armies were put together.

So when I see new movies like "Saw" and now "Saw IV" inventing new ways to torture and humiliate humans, it makes me sad because I know that somewhere someone will see this and give it a try.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ready for Colder Weather

While I don't love winter and I truly love the warm weather here in Minnesota, there is something about the first chill in the air in autumn that is refreshing.

Our trees have been turned for some time now; some leaves are on the ground, some are still in their brilliance on the trees. This past week I wore my first sweater to work. There is something so comforting about opening up your sweater drawer from last year and finding it full of old friends. (Some older than others!)

Our diet expands in the fall, moreso it seems than in the summer, when we can start making all those lovely comfort foods that heat up the kitchen, the ones we didn't make all summer because it was so hot.

On Sunday I made stuffed pork chops for dinner and tonight we had beef roast that cooked in the crock pot all day while we were at work. It was wonderful walking into the house tonight after work and smelling the warmed spices in the kitchen. Aahhh!

And it's also not so cold out yet that we're cooped up -- we'll be spending time this weekend at a Halloween Parade at the "Halloween Capital" of Minnesota, Anoka. I plan on having my hands around a cup of HOT coffee.

Yes, I have to admit, I do enjoy autumn.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A New Fall Arrival




I was just going back through older posts and came across the one from Sept 22nd when Lindsey got excited about it being fall, because that means our neighbor Jenna is going to have her baby!

Well, our neighbor Jenna DID have her baby. It was 3 weeks and three days AFTER Lindsey predicted it, but a whole 10 days before her due date.

She had a little boy they named McTaggart Thomas. (He'll be called Mac for short.) He weighed 7 lbs 5 oz, and was 20 1/2 inches long at birth. Pretty good for being 10 days early! Jenna had an easy labor and looks like a champ already.

Now we've got a newborn right next door to us! I hope they don't mind if I start stopping by uninvited to just get some tiny baby cuddle time in. It goes so quickly!

So in case you all forget, here are a few photos of my little ones, when they actually WERE little ones. Can you guess who's who?

4-year-old Shenanigans

This past weekend was a rough one for Lindsey. I think that getting off of a week of staying home due to illness made it difficult all around. It started with her refusal to go to KinderCare on Friday. It culminated in Saturday's scream fest, in which she 1) bit Marissa 2) cried at the slightest parental rebuke (i.e. "Lindsey, don't bite your sister!") and 3) refused to do anything requested of her. We started her bedtime routine at 7 pm. because she was such a little shit we didn't want to deal with her anymore. But she didn't get to sleep until 10 pm because of the screaming and crying she had to do for the next 3 hours. Busy busy!

On Sunday, Wayne and I both awoke before the girls and thought, "OK, it's a new day, let's go do something fun as a family. Pretend yesterday never happened." So we decided to go to the Mall of America. While Marissa doesn't like the rides she has a good time taking in the sights, and the rides are Lindsey's absolute favorite.

We get there around 10:40 am, about 20 minutes before most of the stores and the amusement park opens. There's one store nearby that's open: Sports Authority. Wayne needed a new pair of athletic shoes so it was the perfect time to get that shopping out of the way until the rest of the mall opened.

We barely walked in the store when Lindsey ran off. She ran off so quickly Wayne didn't even know that she wasn't with me. He hit the shoe department and Marissa and I start casually walking the store, looking for Lindsey.

I figured Lindsey would be too scared and shy to leave the store, so I didn't panic. There were very few people in it besides ourselves and the employees, so I also wasn't concerned about someone grabbing her. And, after the previous day's behavior, I wasn't so sure I wanted to find her anyway.

After about 10 minutes of looking, I go back to where Wayne is still trying on shoes and ask if he's seen her. That's when I find out that he thought she was with me the entire time. (And I thought he was being as calm as I!) So he quickly makes a selection and we all set off through the store, looking for her.

Wayne finds her 5 minutes later trailing behind two employees who were leading the way, trying to help her find her parents. She was visibly upset and the minute she saw Wayne she clung to his neck, crying.

We settled with her and didn't scold her -- clearly she was upset by the situation and didn't need scolding. However, we did tell her that she was not going on any rides because she ran off. We almost left the MoA right then, but poor Marissa was being so good and having so much fun, and has so little clothing that we had to pick up some pants and long-sleeved tops for her. The girl can't wear shorts and halter tops all fall and winter! So we hit a couple more stores, with Lindsey the entire time trying to convince us to let her on some rides.

We even had lunch IN the amusement park right next to the rides, which Lindsey could see but couldn't ride on. We made it home without giving in to any of her requests.

Monday morning was more of the same -- we ended up depositing Lindsey kicking, screaming and in an all-out temper tantrum into her room because I wouldn't let her wear her sandals to KinderCare. (It IS only 50 degrees out, not exactly sandal wearing weather.) The center director ended up removing her from the classroom until she could calm down.

By Monday evening when we picked the girls up everyone seemed back to normal. We had leftovers for dinner, which left lots of time for hide-n-seek and doggie-doggie-where's-my-bone. Marissa's not very good at hide-n-seek yet (she comes out at the same time that the person counting finishes) and just likes having the blankie put on her for the doggie game without ever looking for the bone, but it was all good family time.

Even better, both girls were asleep on time and appear to be back in a routine now. Thank heavens!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Woman's Human Nature

Here's a question for you that many of my female friends will relate to:

Why is it that when women go to the bathroom, we don't want to sit on a toilet that was just occupied?

When I use the bathroom at work, if I see a co-worker leaving the bathroom and I happen to pick the stall that she just vacated (which you can tell by the still swishing water), I'll make a point of going to a different stall. Why is that? What's the difference if someone's butt was on the toilet two seconds ago or two hours ago? Do we think that the germs die in the two hours between when someone last used it and we sit on it?

I got into a discussion with some women at work about our work bathroom habits which was rather amusing (at least to us it was). It came to light that some of us go to a different floor if we have to "make stinkies," while others wait until they get home and try not to go at all while at work.

In the meantime, a couple of guys in our office can be seen on their way to the bathroom, sports section in hand, ready for a nice long sit.

The difference between men and women when it comes to bathroom habits is rather amusing.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Marissa's Vocabulary

This may be more interesting to me than to others, but I always find it fascinating how our children's language changes so subtly over time that you don't realize all the cute little ways they used to say things are gone, replaced by more mature language.

So I thought I'd write down here some of the funny little things Marissa says, because some day they will be replaced by the appropriate words and we'll say, "What did Marissa used to call...??"

Pinky: This refers to her "pink blankie," which everyone else calls "pink blankie" but she has shortened to "Pinky." It goes with her EVERYWHERE, it hasn't been washed in two weeks and looks like it.

Sassa: I've said this one before, it's her name for herself. Pronounced "SAH-ssa."

Nuggle: Snuggle.

B'ana: Banana. (Not much different from how Lindsey said it.)

Poppy: The potty.

Fah fah: Flowers. Used in a sentence: "Oooo! Pretty fah fah."

Geen: Green

So now you know if you come to our house and she runs up to you with her pink blankie in hand saying "Sassa pinky nuggle" you'll know what she wants.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Martha Stewart I'm Not...

...But I did hear a great laundry tip the other day that I have to share.

One of my co-workers was trying to figure out how to salvage her husband's jeans that had been soaked through with gasoline (by accident, of course, he was not re-creating the gasoline fight scene from Zoolander). She read online to try using a cup of white vinegar in the wash, after airing out the jeans as much as possible.

Not only did it save the jeans, but she also began putting it in every load of laundry with her regular detergent.

Genius!

So I tried it tonight and maybe it's just a placebo effect, but I have to say that my laundry appears whiter. The pee stains on Marissa's mattress pad are no longer visible and the acidic vomit smell is almost out of her pillow. Now I can't wait for Dax to poop on something so I can try it out on that, too!

Brief Rant

Scientists believe they have found the purpose of the appendix, though its use is primarily unnecessary in modern times.

Within a CNN article published October 5th they stated that 300 to 400 Americans die EVERY YEAR of appendicitis, a perfectly preventable end.

In contrast, each year 36 children die by being left in vehicles by their forgetful parents. Yet each time that tragedy happens, it's the headline on the evening news.

In contrast, 61 people die every year from e. coli bacterial infection. Yet every time there is a food recall, or a high e. coli test that results in a public pool being closed, it makes the news. (Okay, so maybe the fact that e. coli is only found in POOP has a reason why we're so fascinated and disgusted by this.)

Where are the charities raising money to battle appendicitis? Where are the testimonials of family members, mourning the loss of their family to an unnecessary illness? Where are the millions of dollars in research, patient outreach centers, armies of scientists trying to find a cure?

Oh yeah, because all it takes to prevent those 300 to 400 deaths is for someone to go to a COMPETENT DOCTOR. Gotcha.

Sickeningly Sweet


Today there is finally an autumn chill in the air, after a hot and humid weekend. So this evening after everyone was home from work/daycare and fed, we decided to start a fire in our fireplace.

We had recycled most of the papers yesterday so all we were left with were the comics that Lindsey had set aside (and had read and reread several times). So I balled up the comics and we started the fire with them. I hadn't known that Lindsey was going to be so traumatized by watching the comics go up in flames. After the fire was established and roaring, she came over to me trying to hold back her tears. It took me a while to figure out what she was upset about.

So I sat in the wingback chair next to the fire, holding and rocking Lindsey as she mourned the loss of her comics. Marissa saw us and immediately grabbed her blankie and ran up to Wayne. "Up! Up! Snuggle!" she said. So he promptly sat down as well, cuddling Marissa who needed some one-on-one time too.

As we sat holding our two adorable girls, you will not believe this, I know, but the song "Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong came on the radio.

It was silent for a while as I took in the moment, finally broken by Marissa looking around and all of us and saying, "This our home."

Now I know you all know how sappy I am, but I have to say I couldn't help but tear up at this moment. It was pretty damn sweet.

Monday, October 01, 2007

a bedtime story

Two little monkeys jumping on the bed...
One fell off and bumped her head...

Mama called the doctor and the doctor said, "No more monkeys jumping on the bed!"

Or as Marissa said, "Sassa faw dow."

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Projectile Vomiting: Warning: may assault your senses like it did mine

I have to say that I have never seen anyone projectile vomit. That is, until last night.

Marissa clearly got a 24-hour virus, something that's been going around daycare. She began throwing up at 10 pm, first covering her ENTIRE down comforter in the largest chunks of curdled milk I've ever seen. She managed to spray the wall, the entire footboard, the hamper at the end of her bed and, of course, the floors.

So while I cleaned up this mess, Wayne held her and comforted her. As soon as it was clean, she immediately did it again, this time while sitting on his lap. It made a distinct, almost comical "SPLAT" sound as it hit the floor, his legs, her blankie and sheep, the seat cushion of the rocker, etc and so forth.

So once again, bring out the mop, strip everything down, etc. etc. I think I cleaned nonstop for two hours while she kept puking. We could never tell when she was going to do it until it suddenly came out of her, thus the reason why she covered nearly her whole room and the hallway floor before she finally stopped.

The icing on the cake had to be when I let Dax out during this entire ordeal, during one of my many trips to the basement to get a mop and rags. I came back through the area to let him inside, only to see that the cushion I had set outside to dry from my scrubbing it had some "new" water on it. Yep, he had marked his territory well on that cushion.

Remember earlier when I said I need to take up kick boxing? Well, I couldn't kick the dog, I couldn't assault the child, so today I have to call my neighbors and apologize for the obscenities that were screamed into the air around 10:30 at night as I stood outside, chunky comforter in one hand and peed-on cushion in the other, letting out my frustration.

Some day this will be funny. That day has not quite arrived.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A Joke from KQRS

A priest walks into a bar and asks the bartender to pour him a stiff drink. The bartender can see the priest is troubled and says, "Father, what could possibly be weighing on you, a man of the cloth?"

The priest says, "Well, I can't really talk about it, you see the church frowns on it, but...well," and finally he blurts out, "I just had a fight with my boyfriend!"

The bartender, hiding his surprise, says, "I'm sorry to hear that, father. Why don't you tell me about it."

The priest says, "Well, my boyfriend called me a scoundrel and a pedophile."

The bartender says, "That's too bad. What did you tell him?"

The priest replies, "I said, 'Those are awfully big words for a 10-year-old.'"

Monday, September 24, 2007

She is Unbelievable

Our time with our children is precious, both in importance and in brevity. So every minute that we spend with them we want to truly enjoy. And then we have evenings like this one.

We had enough leftovers from prior meals that we didn't have to make a dinner, just reheat some plates and eat. So we were done eating surprisingly early, giving us more time together for fun. Wayne decided to pull out the Hungry Hungry Hippos game, which all four of us could play.

So we played together for about 3 minutes, until Marissa came over and sat on my lap. She did this in order for me to smell her and understand that she had a poop and needed to be changed. So I took her upstairs to change her.

Now for most people that's a 3 minute ordeal. But not with Marissa.

While I hear Wayne and Lindsey downstairs, playing away with just the two of them, she and I head upstairs. She brings with her some tennis shoes she'd worn over the weekend. As we get up to her room, she dumps out the approximately 2 pounds of sand that was in them, all over her floor. Great.

So I grind sand into her wood floor as I change her diaper, and then put her in front of the bathroom sink to wash her hands while I vacuum up the sand. Then as I'm putting away the vacuum, I see the water on its way out of the bathroom, into the hallway. Yes, she has dumped water all over the bathroom, so much so that it is escaping down the hallway.

What comes to my mind is, "Frickin' frackin' diddly whoppin' why do I get to spend all my effin' time cleaning up after this little twit, I'd rather be playing with her than picking up after every bleepin' mess she makes..."

[Note: Due to the high moral standards of some family members who I know read this, I have censored the above thought process. Hi Millie, hi Mom.]

Instead what I say is, "No no Marissa! Now help Mommy clean this up."

Some day I am going to explode. We parents cannot possibly hold in all of the frustration that we withhold from our childrens' ears without someday letting it all out.

I think I need to take up kick boxing.

A final footnote, by the time I made it back downstairs from cleaning up Lindsey had lost interest in Hungry Hungry Hippos and it was almost time to start a bath for the two peanuts anyway. Another evening shot to hell. Sigh...

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Changing of the Seasons

Lindsey is becoming more aware of the change of seasons, something Marissa is still oblivious to. She'll want to do certain things that only happen at Halloween, Christmas, etc, and we'll tell her, "When it gets colder" or "When the leaves start turning."

Our next door neighbor is expecting her first child -- her due date is late October. So during her pregnancy we would see her out and about and Lindsey would ask, "When's Jenna going to have her baby?" Our answer was, "This fall, when the leaves start turning and falling down."

Last weekend our neighbor's black walnut tree began shedding some yellow leaves, just barely turned. A gust of wind came by and the leaves swirled around us as we stood in our front yard. Lindsey looked at all the leaves, considered them for a moment, and then started jumping up and down.

"Mommy! Mommy! The leaves are falling! That means Jenna's going to have her baby!" She was holding her face "Home Alone" style, jumping up and down with excitement.

I think she thought that Jenna was going to have her baby right then and there. I said, "Yes, Lindsey, she's getting close to having her baby, but probably not today."

I just love Lindsey's sense of time. Something that happened in the morning is sometimes described as "a long time ago" or she'll say, "Remember yesterday when we..." and go on to describe an event that happened last winter. Apparently autumn is a single day. Whoosh! The leaves turn colors, are gone, and Jenna has her baby, all at once.

I'm sure Jenna wishes that were the case!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Minnehaha Falls






Marissa's "portrait" while at Minnehaha Falls. (She always decides she doesn't want her photo taken when I pull out the camera.)








And then there's Lindsey -- her eyes just pop in this photo.


One of our neighbors comments to us that we manage to spend an awful lot of time with our girls, despite working our two full time jobs. And I have to say, we do fit a lot in, which I'm thankful for.
For example, this weekend we spent hours on Saturday at the Fulton Festival, a little festival cooked up to help fund our neighborhood committee, which publishes a newsletter, does all kinds of neighborhood activities, and so forth. The festival was at the park we always go to, about 1 1/2 blocks from our house.
This year is was incredibly well attended and had LOTs of great music! The woman who organized the music is a casting director, so who better to be well connected and be able to get talent in for cheap? (Read "free.") Marissa and Lindsey spent lots of time in a bounce house, then Marissa got fussy and went home for a long nap. I took Lindsey back then and we closed the place down. Lots of freezies, roasted corn, face painting, animal balloons and dancing were in our plans! We finally shuffled back up the big hill to our house and made it home around 3:30, about the time Marissa awoke from her nap.

Then today we finally made it to Minnehaha Park. I've been wanting to go there all summer but was getting overruled by others. We went and it was worthwhile. The park has 167 acres of you name it, they got it. We drove into the park quite a ways and finally parked, thinking we would scope it out. Lucky us, we happened to park near Minnehaha Falls, which was a source of great amazement for Marissa. "Wawa! Wawa!" she would say, pointing. This was followed by a great game of hide and seek in all the large oak trees near the falls, which resulted in hungry tummies, so a picnic soon followed. After that, we managed to find a playground with a slide and monkey bars, the old fashioned metal kind that you can really hurt yourself on. The slide was made of metal, so you could really SLIDE down, Clark Griswald speed.


Hopefully we'll make it back there one more time this fall as the leaves are turning. It was gorgeous!


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Teaching at Home

While our girls are in daycare all day, getting the quality, structured activities and learning that centers offer (cough cough, ahem), I always feel a tinge of guilt that I don't reinforce the learning at home. I get to see the girls for 3 hours every evening, two days on the weekends, assuming that I don't have to run errands or have other things going on weekends. So bottom line, when I see them I just want to enjoy my time with them, not drill them on ABCs, etc.

It wasn't until my mother-in-law and other family members were visiting that I realized how much I actually taught my girls...without trying to teach them.

I was making dinner and Lindsey was drawing with markers. She would draw a part of an object with one color, then pick another color and draw the next part, etc, often overlapping the colors. She started talking about how blue and red make purple (her favorite color), red and white make pink (her other favorite color) blue and yellow make green, etc. Millie asked if she learned that at daycare, and I realized that she had learned it with me, in working with fingerpaints and blending them together to see what colors they made.

Then at bathtime we pulled out the old bath letters that we had put away some time ago, and Lindsey had to pick out which letter went with which phonic sound. I would say, "Show me the letter that goes "va va va" and she would pick out the "V." Sure enough, that teaches, too!

Marissa can count to three, because at the end of three is usually some activity -- jumping, being tossed into the air or thrown onto the bed. I guess that's a good thing, too.

And, as expected, "toot" and "poop" are currently Marissa's favorite words.

Thank Daddy for that one!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Lindsey's Question this morning

This morning I was getting ready for work and Lindsey was sitting on our bed, chattering away. She says to me, "Mommy, I want to ask you a question."

"Yes, Lindsey?" I say.

"When mommies have babies in their tummies, can they eat?" she asks.

Wow, what a great question, out of the utter blue.

"Yes, Lindsey, mommies can eat when they have babies in their tummies. And when they eat, the baby eats too, and the baby grows bigger and bigger," I say.

"Oh! That's really neat," she says.

Yes, that is.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Visit to Wisconsin

We spent Labor Day weekend visiting the fam in Wisconsin. Now, I know Minnesota is right next door to Wisconsin, but I have the distinct honor of being from a town on the very Eastern side of the state, right next to Lake Michigan. While it's a nice place to grow up and a beautiful place to come home to visit, it's a helluva drive with two little ones in tow.

Luckily our drive over went amazingly well - 6 1/2 hours total, only one meltdown. We arrived just in time for some sidewalk chalk drawing, and for Grandma "Loud" (as Lindsey says my mom and stepdad's last name) to bring out toy after toy. Finally at one point, after all the new toys had been dragged out, Lindsey says, "Grandma, may I have another toy?" At least she's polite in her greed.
Saturday we went to the South Shore Festival, or whatever it was called, right on Lake Michigan. Big surprise, the rides were the biggest hit with Lindsey. But Kristi and I had quite a laugh, too, riding the Tilt a'Whirl until we were almost sick. (It only took one ride.) We were spinning quite fast and laughing so hard that I nearly peed. The ride operator was chuckling at us as we got off. We also rode "The Scrambler" -- remember that thing?? I felt like I was in a big mixing bowl.

We got the biggest kick out of the warning sign on "The Scrambler". Check out the frownie face on the guy who stood up during the ride! Bummer for him.



Kristi said something to me about always looking at the people in the crowd, wondering if she'll recognize some old classmates. Then she realized that she was looking at all the high school kids before she realized she should be looking at the middle-aged people with the families! Ain't that the truth! I'm just a FEW years out of high school, right? Still look like I could pass for a senior, eh? Ummm....yeah, not so much.

That evening we had a visit with my friend Chuck, his wife Kerri and their little baby, Claire, all of 9 months old. She is about the happiest giggliest baby I've ever seen, who justly earns the nickname "Porkchop" with her rolls of fat on her legs and arms. What a cutie!


Sunday morning Michelle, Steve and nephew Paul came to visit for a few hours, as did Grandma Janet. You would think that with Marissa and Paulie being a few weeks apart in age that they would play together more. But I think the sister/girl thing was a bigger draw for Marissa, and Paul was just too enamored with his cars! It's just amazing how different boys and girls play! They finally all had some together time in the sandbox in the back yard.



Sunday evening we enjoyed a dinner out with Kristi and Ned, at a restaurant on the lakefront with outdoor seating. It was so beautiful out, and the breeze was just perfect. It was a fabulous break from kid-dom.

The one scourge of our weekend was, as it seems to always be when we travel, getting the girls to sleep. Lindsey only napped one day, and every day she went to bed well past her normal bedtime, usually around 10 or 11. One night it was nearly midnight before she finally passed out, while in mid-sentence saying, "Can I just have one more......" I almost wanted to wake her to ask what she wanted one more of, but thought better of it.

You would think for all that tiredness that we would have a quiet drive back home with two sleeping girls catching up on some shut eye. But alas, they were both up for most of the drive, though we did get a good hour-long respite when they both finally konked out at the same time. The drive home took us about 8 hours due to unscheduled stops, crabbiness and general chaos. Traffic was great, kids were not.

We got home at about 8:30 Monday night -- both kids were sleeping by 9:30. Aaahhh! Sleep, oh wonderful sleep! I got 9 hours of it myself that night...in a row.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The State Fair!




We made our annual trip to the state fair today. I remember that the second post I ever made on this blog was for our state fair trip last year, so it's officially been a year since I've started this blog.

We didn't get rolling out of the house until almost 11:00, though we'd been up since 7:00 (typical, if we don't HAVE to be somewhere). So by the time we got there it was lunchtime and tummies were rumbling -- what a great place to be to be hungry!

We immediately made some food stops -- a barbecue pork sandwich that Wayne shared with Marissa, some deep fried cheese curds, cotton candy, Sweet Martha's cookies, the list of awful, fatty, sugary foods goes on and on.

Once we were sufficiently stuffed, we had to check out the animal barns. We saw the biggest boar big in Minnesota, "Pretty Rick" weighing in at 1,200 lbs. We also saw a sow with a litter of new piglets, 10 of them. Then off to the cattle barn to visit the cows. Marissa and Lindsey got to pet a gentle but large cow (larger than others in her breed). They also got to pet a sheep and a goat.

Then, off to the kiddie arcade for some rides! Marissa did not go on a single ride -- I don't know if she'll ever warm up to rides or not, but she definitely did not want to go on them, though she thoroughly enjoyed watching them.

For a while Wayne took Marissa to go see the tractors on machinery hill (just across from the kiddie rides), while I took Lindsey around to ride after ride. She went through about $30 worth of ride tickets; I'm not quite sure how many rides that is, as some rides called for 5 tickets, others for 4.

On our way out we had some more goodies -- pretzels, a sno cone, and a meltdown by Marissa. Wayne ended up carrying her out and she was asleep on his shoulder.

We got home and everyone took a VERY loooong nap. Marissa slept for a little over 2 hours, we finally woke Lindsey at the 3 hour mark, and I couldn't believe it when I opened my eyes and read 5:45 on the clock! (I still woke before both girls, too).

I may have some more thoughts on this later, but I can't tell you how much I enjoy the State Fair, and how much I enjoy watching the girls enjoy it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

All Fish Go To Heaven

Today the beta fish that has been a pet in Lindsey's classroom finally died. I checked in on it on Monday, it wasn't looking so hot and I was wondering how long it would be before it finally took its last gasp.

So tonight Lindsey was telling me somberly about the fish that died. This event really stuck in her head.

"Mr. Anderson took the fish and we flushed it down the toilet," she told me glumly.

"Really?"

"And Mommy, do you know what's in the toilet?" she asked.

"No," I said, wondering what her answer would be, "What's in the toilet?"

She looks at me very solemnly and says, "Heaven."

After stifling a smile, I say, "Wellll...maybe fishies heaven is in the toilet, but only their heaven. People have a different heaven."

"Why?"

"Because people don't fit in the toilet, honey."

I think we just covered Genesis. Or was that Revelations?

More Cowbell

In the last couple of weeks this skit has come up in discussions with different people, so I had to post it to share.

Today in a meeting someone said that a mailplan needed "more cowbell."

Monday, August 27, 2007

A Day Out of Doors


We spent part of the day today at the Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen. Here's a gem we never knew about before! It's 1,000 acres of plants, fountains and this summer, art.

They showcased different kinds of landscaping. I got a kick out of the "suburban landscape," as if that isn't all around! But it had great examples of awesome plants to put into some small spaces like our backyard.

The Japanese garden was a hit, for one very special reason -- FISH!


Wayne and girls also took a little woodland walk, next to some wetlands. Hard to believe that there were reeds and cattails only a few feet away on the right.




Thursday, August 23, 2007

A toddler pooper scooper?

Going on a walk with Marissa is always an interesting adventure. I'm sure Lindsey did many of the same things: refusing to walk the way you want her to, running away and giggling, walking toward the street while looking at you out of the corner of her eye with a devilish grin on her face, waiting for you to run after her.

But tonight was an especially interesting one.

First, Marissa bent down to touch what I thought was a stick on the sidewalk, only to discover that she had stuck her finger into a flattened out piece of wet dog poop. She immediately pulled up and said, "Yuck! Poop!" and tried to wipe her finger on her shirt. Being the wonderful mom that I am, I pulled out my Wet Wipes and...oh wait, I'm not that wonderful, I don't carry those when we go on walks. Instead I let her wipe her finger on MY shirt.

Later on she decided to stop and crouch down and stay that way for a while. I said, "Marissa, what are you doing?"

She said, "Sassa poop," and grinned at me.

"Marissa, are you pooping?!"

No response but a strained grimace.

In the meantime, here comes a father and son duo, coming back from a summer picnic at Pershing Park, walking past us as I wait on the sidewalk for my crouched down pooping toddler. I felt like a dog owner, waiting for my dog to finish a job.

I said loudly to Wayne and Lindsey who were ahead of us, "Hey Wayne, do you have a little doggy bag we can use for Marissa?" I thought it was funny; I don't think he heard me, or he was so appalled he pretended not to.

After about 30 seconds, which I thought for sure would result in an immediate trip back home to change some pants, Marissa stood up, said, "Wet!" and we kept on walking. Apparently she only had to pee.

Last thing, later on she got a runny nose. She looks at me, says "Uh-oh!" and points to her nose.

I promptly use my shirt to wipe her nose, the same shirt I had wiped dog poop off her finger with. I hope I didn't use the same area of the shirt.

It's a wonder our children aren't sick more often.

New Meaning of "Plain Jane"

Tonight we were on a walk and asked Lindsey about the kids in her class, if they listen to the teacher, does Lindsey listen to the teacher, etc. And Lindsey came up with this one, "There's a Maria in our class. She's a black Maria, and then there's a plain Maria."

Apparently white people are plain. I'm not sure if that's better or worse than being vanilla.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Lives not our own

I think about how pre-occupied we've been lately with preparing for Marissa's surgery, then the two girls being sick, and then I remember about things that other people have going on in their lives, and I feel terribly selfish.

So please, keep Rhonda Zweber in your prayers, she is the sister of a friend of mine who was diagnosed with breast cancer in May. Her lumpectomy biopsy showed the cancer to be quite aggressive and this Wednesday (8/22) she is undergoing a double mastectomy, at the young age of 40. You can visit her Caring Bridge site by clicking here.

Or pray for Sally Johnson, mother to a high school classmate of mine and one of my parents' good friends. She was diagnosed with breast cancer years ago, battled it successfully, and now it has returned. She also was scheduled for a double mastectomy which was to happen today, only to have it postponed as they've found some spots on her sternum and shoulder blade. She is undergoing a full day of testing (MRI, Catscan, etc) on Wednesday to find out more.

There are lots of other people who need prayers and good thoughts more than us, a list that could go on and on. But those are the two that are high on my list of late, and I would appreciate it if they were high on yours as well.

Makes a little tiny procedure like an adenoidectomy seem like a cakewalk, doesn't it.

Marissa's Adenoidectomy

After an interesting morning getting out of the house, Marissa finally had her adenoidectomy today. We'd been on the surgeon's schedule for 8 weeks -- when we first made this appointment back in June August seemed so far away.

The most nerve-wracking part of surgery on little peanuts her size has to be how well they will take being told they cannot eat/drink for hours before, and how they will adapt to the recovery after. Marissa's last food was her dinner Sunday evening, and her last drink was supposed to be a clear liquid (water or apple juice) around 7:30 am.

She woke a little after 7:35 am, all happy, and her first words were, "Milk! Hot!" (This is how she asks for a bottle of milk, warmed up in the microwave. Yes, we still indulge her with a bottle in the morning; I don't care, don't judge.)

I said, "Oh honey, I'm sorry, you can't have milk today." She fussed about this and didn't like it so much for the longest time. I tried to coax her into some apple juice or water, but she refused to have anything but hot milk. Finally, well after the time when she is supposed to have anything to drink, she finally agreed to have some apple juice. Of course I gave her some, how can you refuse a child who hasn't had anything to drink for 12 hours and won't have anything for several more from even having a little bit of apple juice?

We got a call from the hospital at 8:30, saying that we were supposed to have been there at 8:00 (our surgery had been moved up but we hadn't known that). So we bustled out of the house as fast as we could and got there at 9:10.

This actually made the rest of the pre-surgery stuff go very quickly. We were checked in quickly, sent directly to pre-op, had a history taken, got her changed into pajamas and were seen by the doctor, the anesthesiologist and the nurse within half an hour.

When it came time for her to go to surgery, the anesthesiologist came up to her and said, "Hey Marissa, do you want to come with me?" She immediately put her arms out and went right to him with not a protest, God bless her. She knows I couldn't have taken a crying scene with as little sleep as I'd gotten the night before.

The surgery lasted around 45 minutes. The doctor told us her adenoids were only mildly to moderately inflamed when he removed them, which actually has me a little frustrated that perhaps this won't help to cure her chronic sinus infections. He did do a nasal scope and cleaned out her nasal cavity, and noted that he got "a lot of junk" out of there. Really? We could've told you that.

We waited and then were finally brought our little girl. She snuggled right on Wayne's shoulder and did not want to move, for at least an hour. She didn't want juice, she didn't want water, she didn't want anything but to sleep and snuggle. Okay, Daddy can do that.

Finally she seemed to start coming around more and finally took a little apple juice, which meant that she could be given her medicine (Tylenol with codeine), as they didn't want to give that to her on a totally empty stomach. I was afraid she would react to it as I react to codeine, but happily she did not.

Her lip was quite swollen, which we found out was from the local anesthesia they had given her for the nasal scope. She kept rubbing at it and at her nose, which, I have to say, I have never seen as CLEAN as it is today. Even when it wasn't running before, she always has a layer of mucus around the inside of her nose that we had just become accustomed to. Now it's evening and it's still just as clean, so hopefully it'll stay that way.

She came home and took a 4-hour nap, right along with Lindsey, our other sickee. I had bought balloons for both of them at the hospital and about 7 pm they both finally became enamored with them and had a good time playing.

By bedtime this evening Marissa was running around, smiling and playing. She ate some approved foods (applesauce, yogurt) and some that aren't (pasta) but she seemed very hungry and has kept all of it down. I'm sure she will have some ups and downs the next few days, but so far the outlook is good for a speedy recovery.

The Night Before Surgery

Today was Marissa's surgery to get her adenoids removed. And before the day even began we had an interesting time of it.

As mentioned previously, both girls were battling some sort of virus and had had fevers earlier. Both of them seemed just fine on Sunday -- they both ate normally (voraciously, actually), took good, long naps and seemed to be just fine.

Then about 9 pm, Lindsey said her tummy were hurting. Within 10 minutes it was hurting so badly she was crying and clutching her stomach. She got such a hot fever she actually broke out in a sweat (our little girl who never sweats, that we've seen).

Clearly we couldn't send her to daycare the next day, yet Wayne and I had both wanted to take Marissa to the hospital for her surgery. With no immediate family in town, and all our friends with kids who clearly do not want to be infected, we didn't have many options. Thankfully, I called Elizabeth at 10:45 pm, left her a message on her cell, and got a call back from our nephew Travis about 15 minutes later. He said he wasn't sure if Elizabeth would be able to get off work to come, but he was able to be there if she couldn't. God bless them both!

I ended up lying in bed with Lindsey all night, holding her tummy firmly and pushing down all the burbles and bubbles that I could feel. She said it felt better when I put pressure on the bubbles, and that was the only way she was able to fall asleep. So I laid beside her, applying pressure to her tummy, unable to sleep myself for this task.

I must've fallen asleep eventually, then woke around 4 am to some major jumps and jiggles in her tummy. I decided that my actions must've been keeping her tummy settled enough that she never did throw up, something that probably would've helped her, so she woke up from the pain and was crying and upset. She eventually settled back down and I got back to sleep around 5 am. Only to be awoken at 7:25 am by Lindsey, who was now awake and apparently feeling better.

Travis and Elizabeth both came over around 8 am. (As luck would have it, they could both come.) Wayne had thought we needed to be at the hospital around 8 am, but I had called on Sunday evening because my paperwork had said it was a 10:45 am surgery and that we needed to be there at 9:15 -- the hospital confirmed that our surgery was at 10:45, we were good to go. Then, at 8:30 am, we got a call from the hospital, wondering where we were. Apparently the surgery had been moved up in the schedule, thus the reason for the call confirming our time. Why it wasn't changed in the system when I called back to confirm I'll never know, but we were in a sudden rush to leave the house with Marissa.

Thankfully by then Lindsey was feeling better and was all set up with her pillow and a blanket in the basement, watching Cars with Elizabeth and Travis.

The surgery itself deserves its own post.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Swedish Chef - Making Meatballs

I'm posting this in response to my sister's hope that Marissa does not turn into the Swedish chef. (See posting titled "Our Little Swedish Girl.")

Based on the linguistics involved, I believe that she will not, amusing as it would be.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Wedding a Bust

My little avatar over there is all dressed up to go to a wedding that we didn't end up going to.

Wayne's niece Nicole was married today in Brookings, SD. We were planning on driving over starting out early this morning (early meaning between 8 and 9 am), get there in the afternoon in enough time to maybe take the kids for a dip in the pool (depending on how well they napped on the way over), then get ready for the 5:30 pm ceremony.

Instead, we ended up staying home, taking care of two girls with fevers. Yes, two.

It started Thursday, when I got a call around 4 pm from daycare, saying that Marissa wasn't feeling well and was running a low grade fever. They then called me less than five minutes later saying, "Her lips are blue and she appears to have trouble breathing."

My response was, "Should you be calling 911 and not me?!?"

The director said, "Well, when she's sitting upright she seems to be OK, so we're just going to keep her here in the office with us until you get here."

Of course, the way my day was going Wayne was already on the other line, wanting to talk about something else, and I had to break in and say, "We're leaving now to go get Marissa," and off we went.

I called the pediatrician on the way there, called our neighbor Amy to ask if she could watch Lindsey, then we got to KinderCare and picked them both up. By the time we arrived Marissa's fever was 101.4, up from 100.2 just half an hour earlier.

Marissa lips were no longer blue, but when we put her in the carseat I could see where they thought she was having labored breathing -- she was in so much pain she was grunting, poor thing.

We took Lindsey straight to the neighbor's, took Marissa straight to the doctor's office, and he deemed her simply sick with a virus. His explanation on the blue lips was that sometimes if children's temperatures rise very quickly, your body reacts as if you were out in cold weather, thus the chills and, in some children, blue lips. She was clearly not having a problem with oxygen deprivation when we were there, as she was crying at the top of her lungs. He did give us another round of antibiotics for her always nasty nose, which has been particularly nasty again lately.

Wayne and I did the coin toss for the day off, turns out I only have a half-day of vacation unaccounted for, so he took Friday off. Only to get a call from daycare around 11:00 that Lindsey was running a fever and we needed to pick her up.

Both girls had times when clearly their tummies were hurting them. Lindsey was able to tell us, but Marissa was clearly in pain but couldn't articulate it.

We had thought that perhaps if they were better by Saturday, if it seemed to be a 24-hour bug, that we would still go to the wedding, but the thought of 5 hours on the road with two potentially sick little girls was just too much. And it's a good thing we didn't go; they both spiked fevers again in the afternoon.

The only good thing about little ones being sick is how snuggly they are. They just want to sit and be held, and have their backs rubbed, etc. Okay, I can do that.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Our Little Swedish Girl

Marissa has been steadily adding words to her vocabulary with regularity. She can repeat most one or two syllable words that we say, though she won't always remember what to associate them with. But she does know the word "yellow," understands that it's a color, and lately has taken to saying her own name, which comes out "Sassa." I love it.

But this weekend a new word entered her world, the opposite of which she's been saying for some time. She's been saying "no" for a while, but of course it comes out "D'oh," as in Homer Simpson "D'oh." Sometimes it's a quick, quiet, "Doh" and other times it's a yelled, drawn out "Doooohhhhh!" But it means "no" in Marissa's world.

This weekend she began saying the opposite of "no" -- "yes." But in typical Marissa fashion, it isn't quite "yes," it's "Ya." As in the German "Ja."

"Marissa, do you want some pasta?"

"Ja! Sassa pasta! Ja!"

"Marissa, want to take Dax for a walk?"

"Ja! Mommy walk. Daddy walk. Dax walk. Dinzee walk. Sassa walk. Ja ja ja!" (All this said while walking around looking for her sandals, followed by hopping and jumping upon finding them, thus the "ja ja ja.")

She is getting to be quite the talker, if you watch the Simpson's and understand Swedish or German.

A Milestone!

I wrote a while ago about how Marissa went peepee on the potty. We reached another milestone tonight in that she went poopy on the potty!

Be forewarned: For non-parents and those not accustomed to the direct discussion of bodily functions that come with being a parent, just skip over this post and know that a milestone was reached. Yeay Marissa!

Tonight we were downstairs finishing up dinner and she and Lindsey were already out and about playing. Suddenly Marissa stopped what she was doing and said "Poop!" Lindsey was headed upstairs anyway to use the potty, so Marissa trekked up with her.

After about a minute, I heard Lindsey say, "Mommy, Marissa has a poopy in her diaper." I run upstairs and sure enough, Marissa had disrobed and ripped off her diaper, but clearly hadn't finished the job in her diaper. I said, "Marissa, do you need to go poopy on the potty?" to which she replied "Ya!" So I quickly popped her on and she went poopy on the potty!

This was followed by a great deal of clapping and cheering. Lindsey decided that Marissa needed a sticker, so she pulled out her secret stash and gave one to Marissa, who promptly put it on some furniture in celebration.

I think it's time to break out the pull-ups.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

This was too fun!

I just had to share this one, for those of us who grew up on Sesame Street and The Muppet Show.

Marissa's Ponied Hair


I hadn't realized that Marissa's hair was long enough to put up, until we got her home from daycare one day with her hair in three little ponies, compliments of one of the workers.

I'm sure she was hot and damp, and they thought she would be cooler if her hair was up.

She really is not a baby, she looks like a little girl with her hair in ponies!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

a New York City Storm

This past week found me in New York City again, this time for the DMA nonprofit conference.

On Tuesday night, while I was sleeping unaware, a storm came through the area and dumped 2 to 3 inches of rain on us, while a tornado hit Brooklyn that same night. I woke up not having heard a thing, only to turn on the TV and find that 2.5" had fallen in Central Park (not too far from where I was staying), and that subways were flooded out, etc. It was going to be a nightmare commute for some people, and as it was I had two meetings get canceled that morning because the people I was supposed to meet with couldn't make it in to the city.

I couldn't believe that such a storm had gone on and I had slept through it all. Some of us were comparing notes after, and one of my co-workers said she thought she had heard a dump truck going by near her hotel, but othewise she didn't hear anything else. Then a native New Yorker chimed in that what she mistook for a dump truck probably was thunder.

Apparently thunder in the city sounds very different from thunder elsewhere. Unlike thunder in the plains states, you don't hear a big CLAP at the beginning and rumblings after. Usually you don't hear the beginning of it at all -- it starts as a low rumble and gets louder, but never too loud, and then simply fades away. The sound is absorbed and bounced around by all the buildings, so it doesn't sound the way thunder does for us who don't live in such dense urban areas.

I was fascinated by this, and realized that I too had heard what I thought was a truck but apparently was actually thunder. Amazing!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Lindsey's ambitions

Yesterday I was painting Lindseys' toenails and fingernails (by her request), and the two of us were sprawled across the kitchen floor in this endeavor. Marissa was off playing nicely with some of her toys, giving Lindsey and I a chance to talk.

Lindsey began the conversation by saying, "Mommy, you have big toes."

I said, "Yes, my toes are bigger than yours."

She said, "When I get bigger and bigger and bigger I'm going to be a mommy and I'm going to paint my little girl's toes."

I said, "You are??"

She said, "Yep, and some day I'm going to be a mommy and I'm going to have a baby in my tummy."

I said, "Aww, Lindsey, that's really sweet."

She said, "Yep, and I'm going to grow boobies! And then when I have a born baby I will feed the baby milk from my boobies."

I said, "Oh!" as I tried not to laugh. And then it was on to some other topic.

Then later on, she continued, "When Marissa gets bigger and bigger, she's going to have boobies, too."

I said, "Yes, she is."

She said, "But not Daddy. Daddys don't have boobies."

That's right, Daddys don't have boobies. Amen for that.