Monday, June 25, 2007

Candied ants for you!

Marissa has a habit of taking the food on her plate and throwing it on the floor. We've been struggling to get her to understand that when she's done eating she should just say "all done" (which she is now capable of saying) and get down, instead of disposing of what she didn't want to eat.

Tonight we were eating dinner out on our patio table. Marissa was done, of course, and was off and about playing. She loves to torture the black ants on the patio, and successfully smashed two of them with her bare hands then practiced picking them up between her fingers.

Both times, she lovingly brought me the smashed ant and tried to put it on my plate. She was quite emphatic even, that the ants belonged on my plate.

I'm trying to follow the logic here: In Marissa's mind, food belongs on the floor, and ants belong on your plate.

Chocolate covered ants, anyone? Anyone?

Here's the little sh*t herself

Okay, so she is pretty cute, even if she did potentially poop on the potty and not tell anyone...

Mystery Shit

Tonight we came home from work and Wayne noticed a nasty smell like old urine in Marissa's room. We had just emptied out all the diaper pails since garbage day had been today, and he re-emptied the trash again, assuming that some nasty wipe was in the trash from yesterday.

But still the stench prevailed, and even grew. By bedtime we could barely stand to be in her room, much less put Marissa to bed in there! I smelled her sheets -- nothing. Smelled the diaper pail -- nothing.

Then...Wayne opened the lid on the potty chair in her room.


Something that looked like it had been stewing for quite some time. Ugh.

We immediately went to Lindsey to ask if she had taken a poop on Marissa's potty chair. She said, "A long time ago, Jamie used the potty chair and went poopy." Now, this is indeed true, but it also happened a LONG time ago, so long ago that it wasn't plausible that this was a day old poop.

As I was cleaning it up, I noticed that it was about the size of Marissa's poop. Is it possible that our toddler went poopy on the potty for the first time...and no one knew? Not only did no one knew, but she would be in trouble for not telling us she did?


My hands are now thoroughly disinfected after cleaning up THAT mess.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Memories of my Dad's Friends' Place

I'll try to write this in the style of my Dad, we'll see how I do.

Many years ago, when I was but a young girl, my sister and I used to enjoy going various places after church on Sunday as a treat. We always loved when our Grandpa Floria came to visit us, because that meant a trip to the bakery, not far from our house, called the Red Brick Oven, where I would get my very own brownie (with frosting!) and Grandpa would get a brownie too, along with a cup of coffee.

One day, before church, Dad advised the two of us that we would be going to his friend's house after church, and that we had to be sure to be extra good during church so we could go. We asked, "What friend? Who is it?" But he would say no more. We were left to our own imaginations as to who this unknown friend was.

We were anxious during church, and speculated to each other as to who this mysterious friend was. Was he Dad's boss, Andre? No, Dad said, it's not Andre. Was it our friend who joined us for Italian meals, Mr. Olson? No, Dad said, it wasn't Mr. Olson. Was it our old neighbor, Mr. Nelson? Nope, said Dad, it's not Mr. Nelson and pretty soon you're going to not be able to go if you ask any more questions!

Hmmm...what other friends did Dad have that we didn't know about? Could there be that he knew MORE people than we knew?? Naahhh, we just couldn't believe it.

So after church, Dad finally told us the first name of this mysterious friend: George. His name was George.

"Does George have kids?" we asked.

"No, he doesn't," Dad replied.

"Does he have a dog?" we asked.

"'Fraid not," Dad said.

"How far away does he live? Will we be there soon?" we asked.

"Not far, and we're almost there!" Dad said.

And sure enough, we turned a corner, and here was his friend George's place:

I think we had to finally walk in to the place before my sister and I realized that it was a restaurant and not a man's house.

Did I ever tell you what a smartass my dad is?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

I'm sorry, you took up...what?

I know, it seems amazing, but I took up running.

I'm sorry, what was that?

Yes, running. From the girl who had knee problems in the fifth grade, who never ran EVER unless under duress (like when Miss Gretz in high school made us run a mile! A Mile! in high school. Ugh).

I started when my neighbor decided to train for a 5K in order to have a goal to get herself in shape. We have had barely a chance to train together, but I've been training on my own, over lunch hours, after the kids are in bed, and, like this evening, while traveling on business.

Tonight I had the privilege of running along Lakeshore Drive in Chicago. I started out around 6:15, got back around 7:10. It was beautiful running along the lakeshore, seeing the sun set over the city and listening to the lighthouse blow its horn to warn boats who all probably have GPS anyway of the danger of the rocks along the shoreline. The breeze along the lake was stiff and cool, very refreshing.

I thoroughly enjoyed the aloneness, the peace, the challenge of trying to keep up a pace I had set for myself. I didn't run the whole way, I walked for a part of it, but I made it all the way to the Shedd Aquarium and Field Museum, which I was looking forward to seeing after having read the book "Devil in the White City." (I'll have to add that one to my recommended reading list.)

Chicago is a beautiful city, I need to get here more often.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Question of Morality

I'm at a leadership summit today through Friday hosted by the National Catholic Development Conference, learning about many of the challenges facing our Catholic nonprofit clients today.

As I am sitting in the session, sandwiched between Brother Hugh and Father Charles from two different organizations, I wondered to myself, "Is it a sin that I brought birth control while traveling to attend an NCDC conference?"

Here's a sight we don't see much anymore -- the sunset.

I love city life, I truly do. I love walking to all the stores, to all the fabulous restaurants, walking to the lake, to the little wading pool for the girls. But I have to say that I do miss the sunsets.

The sun sets in the city when it hits the roofs of the houses closest to us. The shadows grow so long that it is prematurely dark in the city, when in actuality the sun is still above the horizon.

Last weekend, driving to Tracy on a Friday evening, we saw the sunset the way it was meant to be -- against the true horizon of the earth. Every couple of minutes Lindsey would point out the new colors that had shown up in the sky as the sun sank down. "Ooh, look Mommy, purple!" "Look, now there's orange!" "Marissa, Marissa, look, it's pink. Oooo, my favorite."

Then even after the sun had gone down, a rosy orange fire was left in the sky, marking its path. For us in the city, it would've been complete dark.

It's times like these that I do miss the connection to the earth that you lose by being in the city.
(But not enough to move, so don't get yours hopes up, fam!)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Baby Bunnies

Can you see it? In the grass? A wait, two, THREE pairs of eyes?? (There's a fourth pair too, can you find them??)

A rabbit decided to have her babies in our front yard, and they have been a source of entertainment for Lindsey and I for several weeks. We first saw them when they were days old, no more than 2 inches long. They looked like tiny mice then, their ears little flaps stuck to their heads.

Every now and then we peak in under the mound of grass and fur that keeps their little burrow incredibly warm. They are now probably six inches long with definitive rabbit ears and a quiet alertness to them.

Yesterday evening I was coming back from a walk with Dax when we came upon the mother rabbit feeding her babies. She had to leave them as we were walking right past her on the sidewalk, so her little babies were left exposed, since she didn't have time to cover them up before we walked by. I immediately walked inside, grabbed my camera and took a photo for Lindsey, since she was already in bed. She ooh-ed and aah-ed when I showed her the photo of how big the bunnies were!

I believe there are actually five of them in there, at least I think I counted that many sets of eyes!

A Fetish Emerges...perhaps

I'm not sure which of our two girls will have the shoe fetish, but one of them will develop it by her teen years.

Marissa has been saying the word "shoes!!" for a very long time. If she sees shoes, anyone's shoes, she sits right down, takes off the ones she's wearing and puts on the ones she sees. This has resulted in her wearing 3-inch high sandals, Wayne's big sloppy slippers, Lindsey's flip flops, and so forth. She walks around in them for a while, giggles and kicks them off, then puts her own back on or goes around barefoot.

Today, however, Lindsey came home and told me she wanted "the white shoes with the pink and purple polka dots on the bottom of them." Hmmm...I'm wracking my brain, trying to think of which shoes in our house look like that. She finally says that they were ones Alexis had "a long time ago" and she would like a pair, please, and could we please go to the store to get them?

Keep in mind that Lindsey uses the term "a long time ago" to mean anything that happened 2 hours ago, 2 days ago or 2 years ago. They are all "a long time ago" in her mind, so it's possible that these shoes are currently available at your local Target (which is wear Alexis apparently gets all her shoes, all of which Lindsey wants), or that they were purchased last season and are no longer available.

Based on Lindsey's fascination with dresses and skirts, I suspect that she also will develop the love of shoes, but Marissa is one up on her on that...for being almost two!

Thursday, June 07, 2007

She is Truly Amazing

Wayne and I joke that Marissa is "our boy," and in many ways, she is. She is rougher, tougher, more active and all around more "boyish" than Lindsey was at this age. By this age Lindsey was already loving skirts and dresses and wanted all things pink and purple. The last time we tried to put a skirt on Marissa she tugged at it and yelled "Off! Off!"

But I digress...

Tonight she got into an incredible amount of trouble in the shortest time span I believe ever accomplished by a toddler. This evening we were having our usual dinner time craziness, trying to get dinner on the table while keeping two children from pestering each other, the dog, or us. I had to wash Lindsey's sheets this evening (she'd had an accident in her bed that morning), so the two girls were playing nicely on Lindsey's bed while I ran the sheets down to the basement and into the wash. I was gone perhaps a total of three minutes.

In that three minutes Marissa walked over to the hallway closet, opened the door, got out the jar of Mineral Ice (a version of Icy Hot), went back to Lindsey's bedroom, sat down on her mattress, managed to pry the jar open and proceeded to slather the stuff all over herself. Luckily she got the bulk of it on the mattress pad (which now ALSO needed to be cleaned) but she did manage to get her legs, feet and part of one hand.

When I came back upstairs she was still trying to slather it on while Lindsey was asking her to put some "lotion" on her. I immediately picked Marissa up and threw her in the bathtub, clothes and all, in an attempt to get the stuff off of her before it started to activate. I think I was fairly successful, though I could tell it had started working because she was whiny for the next 15-20 minutes after her bath.

It's difficult to know which things to keep out of Marissa's reach because:

1) Marissa's range of reach continues to amaze us.
2) We are running out of closet space that's 5 feet or higher than the ground, which is apparently Marissa's reach.

Even the mundane things that we believe are "safe" to store on lower shelves are proven to us to be not so safe. She has pulled apart entire rolls of paper towels, entire rolls of toilet paper (directly into the toilet, mind you), emptied out newly-opened Kleenex boxes one Kleenex at a time, managed to pry open various food items, i.e. applesauce, fruit cups, and splash or wear sticky juice all over the kitchen.

One time she dropped an applesauce cup and it landed right-side up on the floor. You would think that that would be a good thing, except the "splash" of the applesauce reached our ceiling, the upper extremities of our cupboards, the top of the microwave, top of the frig, the underside of the handle on the oven door, and so on and so forth. We're still finding places that we missed the first five times we looked for applesauce splashes.

So if you're visiting with us and you see Wayne or I get visibly nervous when Marissa is not within eyesight for 2 minutes or less, and there is too much stillness coming from the general direction in which she last was seen, you will excuse us if we suddenly jump up to run and see what she's gotten herself into now.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Fatherhood Revisited

Wayne got a little taste of what Steve Martin's character must've felt when his daughter sat across the dining room table from him and announced, "I'm getting married!" In real life there is a full grown woman sitting there, but in Steve Martin's eyes it's a little girl with pigtails and a sing-song voice breaking the news.

I have some peonies that grow by the side of our house that I cut for the first time this year. I asked Lindsey if I could take a photo of her holding the flowers before I put them in some water. She said, "Yes Mommy, but I have to put my white dress on!" Okay, I thought, I'll entertain this.

We traipsed upstairs and she donned her white dress, promptly came downstairs and went outside for her photo shoot. This is the only photo I took; I knew I didn't need another "just in case" as I usually do. She then ran into the house, ran up to Wayne and said, "Daddy! Daddy! Look! I'm getting married!"

He promptly replied with a really big hug.

Memories of Relations

Some things never change.

This photo of Marissa and Lindsey on my father-in-law Neil's "big chair" reminds me so much of my own Grandpa Floria's "big chair." My Grandpa used to sit in a large dark La-Z-Boy -- I want to say it was leather as well but I don't honestly remember. I remember him, however, sitting in that chair watching football with my dad, smoking cigars and chuckling at the Packers.

Lindsey and Marissa had lots of fun playing on this big chair of Neil's. Then Neil decided he wanted it back, so he tipped it up from the back and dumped them out. They kept trying to scoot to stay on, scoot to stay on, and next thing you know they were both on their feet on the floor, looking up and wondering what had happened, too shy to cry or give him a hard time about dumping them out. He sat back down for a few minutes, just to prove it was still his chair, as he put it, then he let them have it back. In two seconds flat they were back on, giggling and "reading" books.

This photo reminds me of my Aunt Phyllis -- she was (and probably still is!) a fantastic piano player. She was always encouraging us to play piano whenever we went to their house. My sister, who was always a MUCH better player than I, would give concerts to all of us when we went to their home. For a time I was jealous of the attention she got; then I realized it was better to sit back and enjoy, or I would be asked to play, God forbid!

While it was mom who got us going on lessons, and it was she that we heard more often and who really encouraged us, she never had a full head of white hair like Millie and Aunt Phyllis!