Saturday, May 31, 2008

Scary Experience

Today was predicted to be a beautiful day for most of the day with scattered thunderstorms later in the afternoon. Little did we know that one of these "scattered thunderstorms" would turn out to be more than just a thunderstorm.

We were down at Lake Harriet late in the afternoon, more like early evening. We'd been there for some time, enjoying the sights and having some ice cream and popcorn by the Lake Harriet bandstand. We decided to take a trolley ride, a historic trolley line that just goes between lakes Harriet and Calhoun and back. The trolley got as far as Calhoun and stopped, and then we saw some dark storm clouds over Lake Calhoun and a severe thunderstorm siren went off. So the trolley traipsed back to Lake Harriet and we started hoofing it home, hoping to beat the storm home.

Today's technology allows the warning systems to be sounded with more than enough warning...provided you drove somewhere and can get back in a car and drive to safety. But we did not drive, we walked. So we are walking as speedily as possible with Wayne pulling the two girls in the wagon (they were very happy to comply and stay in, as opposed to wanting to walk themselves). Pretty soon the storm cloud blots out the sun, and we start trotting. We get as far as 45th St and start feeling some sprinkles. We increase to a run. A woman offers to have us wait out the storm in her house, but we turn down her request, since we're so close to home.

Big mistake.

We turn the corner of her block and the hail begins. And gets bigger. And harder. And bigger. Within half a block you can hardly see across the street, or anything else for that matter. The girls went from laughing as we ran to screaming as ice pellets hit them on their heads. Wayne pulled them under an overhang at Southwest High School (two blocks from our house) and yells to me over the noise, "I'll run home and get the van, wait here."

God bless him, he took off in the hail, running as fast as he could considering the conditions. Not a minute after he leaves the wind turns and comes straight at us under the overhang. I instruct Lindsey to put her head down in the wagon and pull one of the seatbacks of the wagon over to head to protect her from the hail, while I hold Marissa and turn towards the building to protect her. It was beating on my back, against the backs of my legs and everything and I wondered how long this would last before it turned again. Well, it did turn again, this time it came from the side. So we scooted over a little bit more and turned away from the new direction. Finally it let up some, but got just as heavy again (thankfully this time just straight down) before Wayne finally came up in the van. We rushed the two girls into the van and took off, leaving the wagon abandoned by the side of the high school.

The girls had been crying and screaming all through this. Poor things are now absolutely traumatized by storms. I suspect that our girls who used to sleep through every storm, every booming thunder and sizzling lightning will now be up and in our beds at the slightest hint of a storm.

We got home and were surprised to find one of the neighbor kids, a teenager from next door, in our house. He had been home alone and it was a bit much for him to take, so he came over to seek some company to ride it out...only to find an empty house. (We left our house unlocked when we left.)

We took the girls upstairs and everyone changed clothes into dry ones, wiped tears and combed out wet hair. Devon stayed at our house until his dad got home (he'd been a ways away and had to drive home through the storm), and we didn't end up eating until after 8:30 at night.

Lindsey insisted on someone staying with her until she was asleep, and Marissa did the same as well. We're just very glad that everyone is home safe and sound.
On this last photo, I was amazed to see the mist rising up from the hail as it evaporated not even 15 minutes after the storm ended. The patterns within the hail on the street is caused by the rivers of water that had been running -- I had never seen rain fall that fast that hard, and the water in our street had been up to the curb.

Lindsey's imaginary friend

Before I go on to post about the biggest news of the day, I had to remember to capture a little tidbit I found out today.

Lindsey has an imaginary friend. Her name is "Curdy" as close as I can tell. According to Lindsey, she looks exactly like Lindsey, same hair color and everything, but can't sing well while Lindsey can.

I had to record this one, it's an important development as far as child psychology goes. And it could be a sign that we need to set up more playdates since the girls started staying home with Elizabeth during the week.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Tale of Two Towers

I tell people frequently how very different our two girls are. I now have some photographic proof, displayed during our block building play time this morning.

Here's a picture of Marissa with her tower. Note the use of a single pillar at the very bottom with a cantilever, which then required that each piece after be placed carefully on the cantilever, and also be placed with a counter balance on the other side to ensure that the whole thing didn't topple over. (The two red blocks are just on the ground next to the blue "pillar.") I did not help her with this, she did a pretty good job balancing everything on her own.

Then...we have Lindsey. She did not build a tower, she built a town. A very, very symmetrical town, with the same colored blocks across the bottom in symmetrical pattern. The towers are symmetrical, the arches, the colors...everything.

I think that if the two girls were partners in an architectural firm that Lindsey would ensure that the design was functional while Marissa would add the modern flair to it. A cross between Michael Graves and...Dr. Seuss, perhaps.

Snow Blossoms

Oh how I wish wish wish I'd had my camera when we went to the park this morning.

We're experiencing a late spring in Minnesota and consequently the crab apple trees are just finishing up while the lilacs are just getting started. We've got lots of crab apple trees in our neighborhood, especially in the park where our kids play.

This morning we went down to the park and a brisk wind was blowing the blossoms from the crab apple trees at a goodly pace. The dainty little petals had all gathered around the fence for the wading pool and were thick on the ground. The girls got their little sand buckets out and filled their buckets with blossoms. We spent the next 10 minutes throwing little pink blossoms at each other, making it "snow." It was so much fun and something that you know has a very short window of opportunity. We were back down to that same park in the afternoon and the blossoms had all been blown away. I'm glad we got a chance to play with them when we did.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Terms of Endearment

I have heard of kids who call their parents by their given names. It seems disrespectful to me.

Some time ago Lindsey decided she was going to "try out" calling me by my name. She said my name and looked at me out of the side of her eye, waiting for a reaction. If I just told her not to call me that, that'd be all the more reason to try it out. So instead I told her this:

Anyone in the whole world can call me by my name. My friends, people I work with, even people I don't even know can call me by my name. But only two people in the entire world have the privilege of calling me "Mommy," and that's you and Marissa. And that makes that name VERY special.

She never tried calling me anything other than variations of "mommy" again.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

When if ever?

Tonight we were all out walking the girls around the block while they rode their bikes. As I walked along between the two girls, with each of them calling "Mommy" at different times, I wonder if there comes a time in your life as a mom that you tire of your children calling you "Mom." I suspect the answer is no, unless it's in the middle of the night and it's "Mommy? Mommy? Mommy? Mommy?"

I remember when the girls were little babies and a word here and there was the extent of their vocabulary. First words for both was "Dax," followed shortly by "Daddy," then eventually "Mommy." When both of them started saying Mommy, it warmed my heart whenever I heard it.

Five years later, it still warms my heart. I'm pretty sure that when I'm 60 and my kids call or stop by and say, "Hi, Mom!" that it'll warm my heart then, too.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

"It's Just a Flesh Wound"

Lindsey was leaping onto the top of the couch tonight, despite the 2,104 warnings we've given her previously about that behavior. Just as Wayne and I were about to tell her to get off, she fell off backwards and smacked her head pretty good on the play shopping cart behind the couch.

I picked her up and was holding her when I felt stickiness coming from her hair. I couldn't tell where the cut was, but clearly there was a cut on her head. Wayne ran and got a washcloth and I held it to her head. She was crying like it was a normal kind of hurt until she took her hand away from her head and saw the blood on her palm, then she started really bawling.

So we hung out for a while and rocked and held a washcloth to her head. We were finally able to wipe away enough of the blood to see how big the wound was, about a half-inch long gash. But now it wasn't bleeding, it was just oozing.

Three hours later it is still oozing. I'm sure if we took her to a doctor s/he would say she needs stitches. If it were on her face, yes. On her scalp, well...we'll see how this looks in the morning. The last time she had to get stitches was so traumatic that she remembers it clearly, even though she was only three.

I was talking with my friend Amy the nurse about it this evening and she also seemed to think it didn't sound too serious. (Thanks, Amy!) Most reassuring of all is that Lindsey probably won't be leaping on the couch like that again. As we were sitting on the couch holding this washcloth to her head, she was reprimanding Marissa by saying, "See, Marissa? That's why you can't jump on the couch." Apparently Lindsey just needed to put a gash in her head to understand why.

Marissa Sings

This was just too good to not post. I need to get a bigger memory stick for my camcorder, so excuse the choppiness.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Break from KinderCare

This week we had a nanny start watching our children, instead of having to take them to KinderCare every day.

A nanny, you say?

Well, okay, so she's the fiancee of Wayne's nephew, so it's not like we took out a listing and interviewed a whole slew of college students. But she knows the kids, they know her, she's very responsible and is going to school to be a pre-school teacher, what more could we ask for??

And I have to say how WONDERFUL it is to not have to get four people ready to leave the house every day. This morning Marissa slept in extra late. We woke her up right before we left just to say good-bye, and we left. No battles over putting clothes on, no crying and not wanting to get buckled in to the carseat.

We are going to be extra spoiled by this summer and are going to have a difficult time re-adjusting to dropping kids off this coming fall. And it will be exasperated by the fact that we'll have to drop two kids off at two different places -- Marissa at KinderCare and Lindsey at Minneapolis Kids, the before and after school program at her kindergarten. I just won't think about that right now.

Saturday, May 03, 2008


On Thursday of this past week we went to Lindsey's kindergarten orientation. We found out about transportation, the PTA, the school nurse, social worker, etc, while Lindsey got to go to a classroom and get to know a teacher better and check out the classroom.

They started the presentation by saying "Welcome to the class of 2021!"

20...what was that?


Happy Birthday, Lindsey, our big five-year-old as of today!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Thank you from the March of Dimes!

I'll be taking down my March of Dimes badge soon, but I wanted to leave it up for a while so people can see how much money I raised.

Or, I should say, how much money YOU all raised. If it weren't for my very generous friends and family, I would not have raised nearly $800 for the March of Dimes, a new personal record for me.

So THANK YOU all so much, to everyone who donated to my walk this year. Your generosity is greatly appreciated, and I thank you for supporting a cause that means so much to me.