Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Doggy Scissors

This evening Lindsey and I were driving to Target to get a birthday present for an upcoming birthday party (not her own). On the way we saw a man walking a golden retriever with three legs. One of the front legs was missing and the dog hopped along beside his owner, happy as could be.

Lindsey wondered and wondered about this for some time, and then I made the mistake of telling her that once her Grandpa Horsman had a dog with three legs.

L: Why'd he have three legs?

Me, outside voice: Well, he had an accident with a car and hurt his leg so badly the veterinarian had to cut it off.

Me, inside voice: Why did I just tell her that?! What a horrible visual to give a child! I can't believe I just said that!

L: What did he cut it off with?

Me, outside voice: Uh...uhh...

Me, inside voice: Think faster!! You do NOT want your child waking up at night screaming about a saw.

L: I know, maybe he used doggy scissors.

Me: That's a good idea, maybe he did.

L: Was the doggy asleep so he didn't feel it?

Me: Yes, yes, honey, that's exactly right.

L: And was the doggy happy?

Me: Yes, he was a very happy dog.

L: Why doesn't Grandpa Horsman have him anymore?

Me: Uhhh...Look! We're at Target!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Biking "Accident"

It's become clear to Wayne and I in watching Lindsey and Marissa attempt to master a bike (with training wheels, mind you), that Marissa is the more coordinated and fearless of the two of them. Thus, it takes two parents to take two girls out riding, as Lindsey wants someone to hold on to one of the handle bars with her, just in case, you know, while someone needs to be with Marissa as she races recklessly down hills, laughing the whole way.

This evening I got a jump start on dinner while Wayne attempted to take the two girls down to the park on their bikes. This involved helping one girl down one section of a block, having her wait at the corner, then running back and helping the other girl go down the city block.

The last little block we go down has a bit of a hill but not much. Still, for a novice biker you can gather speed quite quickly, which Marissa LOVES to do and Lindsey does not. So Wayne was going to help Marissa get down the hill first, since he wasn't confident she was going to wait patiently at the top of the hill, and then come back for Lindsey.

Wayne was halfway down the hill with Marissa when Lindsey decided she did not want to wait for him, so, being the conservative, conscientious little girl that she is, she got off her bike and began walking it carefully down the hill.

Through careful coordination, she managed to trip while walking and fell anyway, the bike rolling off into the grass on the other side.

She is the only girl I know who can have a biking accident while not actually on the bike.

When Wayne told me this story I laughed so hard I cried.

Monday, April 21, 2008


After receiving a two-wheeler (with training wheels) for her 4th birthday LAST spring, Lindsey is finally showing an interest in learning how to ride her bike.

One of the last times she rode her bike last year resulted in a spill in front of neighbors who were gathering for our block party. She was instantly embarrassed and hurt at the same time, and that was it for bike riding for her. No amount of cajoling or enticing could get her on it the rest of last summer (our block party was in June).

But apparently the sight of her little sister on a bike herself will do the trick.

We were out walking one evening and a neighbor of ours asked us if we would take a little bike off their hands. They had gotten it from a different neighbor after her kids had outgrown it, and it was used by their grandkids when they came to visit. Their grandkids were bigger now, and they thought that perhaps Marissa would like it.

Marissa took an instant liking to it, and an instant knack for getting around on it. She rode it the rest of the way home, at which point Lindsey wanted her bike taken down as well for riding around the neighborhood as well.

All weekend this past weekend the girls were riding, several times a day. They were both doing great! I'm hoping this becomes the summer that Lindsey learns how to ride a bike.

Heck, maybe Marissa will too.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Home Improvements

In our typical fashion, we budgeted some money this year for home improvements and have spent it by May. Patience? What patience?

The two things we had done was we had our bedroom painted and we had closet organizers put in four of the five closets in our house.

The bedroom painting project turned out phenomenal, and we clearly see the benefits of paying professionals to come do the job right. The walls had so many plaster cracks and they found them all and plastered over them. They also removed the "crown molding" around the room (read "cheap-ass 1970's floor molding that some do-it-yourselfer nailed to the wall but not quite all the way to the ceiling and called it crown molding") and smoothed it out all the way to the ceiling. Oh, yeah, and the ceiling and walls had literally cracked apart from each other, and they filled that too.

Then they proceeded to paint three walls a medium blue and one wall a chocolate brown. It looks so warm now! We are very happy with the results.

We also had them paint our fireplace -- who thought a white fireplace was a good idea? Yeah, let's show every soot mark and smoke stain when we use our fireplace. So the same chocolate brown went on the fireplace as well. Here's a photo of the fireplace. The highlight has to be the two girls in front of it, of course, wearing their spring dresses because it is finally getting nice enough out that they can.

Lastly, we had closet organizers put in our closets. This turned out to be the bigger project, ironically, because we decided to do the prep work for this transformation ourselves. What were we thinking?! Wayne took two days off work, I took one, and Wayne still had to spend half his Saturday finishing it up. Prep work meant taking everything out of the closets, then dis-assembling whatever shelves/rods were in them, patching, sanding, then priming and painting the walls, and while we are at it why don't we touch up the woodwork too. Whew!

And what the hell do you do with four closets worth of STUFF when you only have five closets to begin with?? We ended up piling a lot of our clothing in a big file in our family room until we could hang them back up.
And better news of all is that our rummage sale pile is substantial!! That's the one really good thing about being forced to take everything out of your closets -- you finally go through it and decide not to put everything back.
Home improvement projects are very different now than when we used to tackle them pre-kids. On Thursday we dropped off the girls at daycare and Wayne raced the clock to get as much done as possible before we had to pick them back up again. He has an incredible work ethic and used to work hard before we had kids -- you should've seen him literally racing around the house these two days!
Same thing on Friday, and then I played parent while he finished up on Saturday. We used to enjoy these projects, stretched them out over a weekend just for something to do. Now we've got much more important things to do, like play hide and seek, Old Maid (Lindsey's newest favorite card game), or teach Marissa how to ride a bike. (She may learn before Lindsey does!)

Fundraising Candy Bars

This morning I walked into our breakroom and came across a box of candy bars, with a note asking people to buy one for a dollar to support a co-worker's daughter's la crosse team.

I was immediately swept back in time, about 20 years or so when we had to sell candy bars as a fundraiser for my high school band. I never put much effort in to it and could never convince my dad to take the candy bars to work, which is how many of my friends made many of the "highest fundraisers" prize list.

So instead I was resigned to walking around our neighborhood selling them door-to-door, or selling them to my own family.

And by my own family I mean me.

I believe that by the last year we were selling these damn candy bars I finally just plunked the box of candy bars in a corner of my bedroom. Whenever I wanted a candy bar I plunked 50 cents into the envelope and took one.

By the time our fundraising timeframe was over I had "sold" half the box and had $30 to turn in. I'll do the math for you: that's 60 candy bars, folks, one a day for every day of the two months of fundraising.

If only I had known then about Team in Training, I would've worked those 60 candy bars back off.

The one take-away I had from this experience was the power of saving just a little bit, every day. Hmmm....if I set aside 50 cents every day for 60 days, I would have 30 dollars! That's a lot to a 16-year-old in 1987. That means I could have:

  1. Gone to the movies 5 or 6 times.
  2. Bought three pairs of jeans and a pair of shoes at the thrift store at St Vincent de Paul, my favorite store at the time.
  3. Rented 10 movies at $2.99 each (including tax)
  4. Gotten my blonde streak in my hair re-bleached. (Note, I have naturally BLACK hair)

At least I didn't do what my one friend did. Her mom finally refused to bring the candy bars in to work, and instead of getting prizes for being the top fundraiser, she turned in a half a box of candy bars with an IOU that said, "I owe the band $30."

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Potty Training Marissa

Marissa made some big strides this past weekend in potty training -- she finally went poopy on the potty!!

I kept telling her all week that if she went poopy on the potty she would get a special prize. So this weekend, while visiting Wayne's folks in Tracy, MN, she decided to go poopy on the potty. As she got off the potty, having successfully completed her mission she said, "I want a sucker."

Sure, absolutely...except we don't have any suckers. So a trip in to town to get a bag of suckers. Each time she (and Lindsey) went poopy on the potty they would earn a sucker.

It got to the point that if any family member used a bathroom, when they returned from the trip someone would inevitably ask, "Did you earn a sucker?"

Now, just to help her understand how to use toilet paper to wipe...

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Lindsey's Drawings

Lindsey was given as a gift a little notepad of "scribbles." Each page's scribbles are slightly different, and the idea is that it's the start of a creative process, by which a child can make a drawing of her own imagination. Some of the examples showed a scribble of a squiggly line, which then became the forehead and upper jaw of a dinosaur, etc.

Then...there's our mathematically astute child.

Lindsey methodically went through the entire pad in one day, drew on each piece of paper and tore it off. She simply connected the line to itself in the most straightforward fashion.

I thought, "My child has no imagination, we need to get her out of that math class and put her in an art class!"

I took photos of a couple of her creations. The first one she told me about was this one:

"What is it?" I asked her.

"A banana!" she says, like I'm crazy for not knowing that.

But then she goes on to tell me a story about how this particular banana was eaten by a monkey who was flying on a flying trapeze, and he almost fell down because his hands were slippery from the banana, and then...etc etc. When Lindsey starts telling stories, she doesn't actually end sentences, they just flow into the next sentence with the words "and then."

The next picture was:

This one I was informed is of the tiger cave at the beginning of the movie Aladdin, the one that the thief goes into and never comes out of, that Aladdin is later stuck in. She talked about how he roars and moves around and then disappears back into sand.

Hmmm...perhaps no drawing skills, but definitely no lack of imagination!