Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!!

Girls had lots of fun today for Halloween. Marissa's friends from KinderCare, Sophia and Chitra, came and trick-or-treated with us. We had a great time and couldn't have asked for better weather! It was great.

Monday, October 27, 2008

She Reads!!

Last week her kindergarten began sending home small books to read -- one book has to be returned before the next one was sent home. The one she's reading in this video is the second book she brought home. (She giggled at the end because she said "abloon" instead of "balloon," which was something we'd just worked on before I turned on the camera.)

Tonight she read "Hop on Pop" to me: I couldn't believe it. It's an easy reading book, but it's loooong, and she read the whole thing! She was so excited, and so was I. I am so proud of her!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sign of the times

Every day I go by a little bank on my way to and from work. It's called Vision Bank; it's on a strange little corner with very little around it. I've never heard of Vision Bank and can't imagine how they can compete compared to some of the big boys.

As I drove by this afternoon, they had a huge purple sign draped over their main sign that read, "Yes, we're still lending."

Maybe this means that they will be in better shape than their competitors, since they aren't big enough to have invested in the sub-prime mortgage fiasco. Sad sign of the times, though.

Tasteless Joke -- too good not to post

A man goes into a cocktail lounge and approaches a woman sitting by herself.

Man: May I buy you a cocktail?

Woman: No thank you, alcohol is bad for my legs.

Man: Sorry to hear that. Do they swell?

Woman: No, they spread.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The juggling act

This weekend I began to feel as if I was losing the juggling act. You know, that act where your career, kids, housework and fun all balance themselves beautifully, each getting enough attention on its own to keep all the balls in the air.

But this weekend after two days away, I had only one day home on Sunday to catch-up. And boy, there was a LOT to catch up on!

I asked Wayne to do a few things with the girls outside the house so I could tackle some projects that just don't get tackled when they're sifting through their drawers, putting away the summer clothes, putting the clothes that don't fit Lindsey into Marissa's drawers, and just plain organizing.

So throughout the day on Sunday I managed to do 7 loads of laundry AND got them all folded and put back in drawers. Usually at least one basket of laundry sits in our bedroom in the basket all week, waiting to be folded but alas, just sitting there wrinkling quietly. I also got Lindsey's clothes drawers organized (finally!) which also means that Marissa, by default, got some more clothes.

I also scrubbed out the kitchen sink with a toothbrush. Okay, that sounds a bit ridiculous I know, but do you know how many germs LIVE in the drain in your sink?? Enough to have them leap out and get on your food. If you don't do this every now and then, whatever you do, don't drop food in your sink, rinse it off and give it to your kids to eat. There's a written guarantee somewhere that they will get some horrible bacterial infection if you do. Just watch Dateline, trust me. Besides, the drains were starting to turn colors they were so disgusting. Don't get me started on the garbage disposal. YUCK!! (BTW, baking soda and vinegar make a lovely foam that cleans the garbage disposal beautifully without wrecking your pipes. And your kids love to help pour the vinegar in. Just a tip.)

I was feeling just a little bit better about the state of the house until I was going to bed that night and saw the spider webs stretching their way from the base of our ceiling fan to the walls in our upstairs hallway. 'Tis the season when spiders want to come indoors to weather the winter. I started looking around: we had a little spider nest egg at the top of one of our picture frames. And earlier in the day when I went to open a window to get some fresh air in (it was all of 63 degrees that day, not that I spent any of it outside), I had to wrench free the spider webs in both corners of the window. Our ceiling fan blades are so caked in dust and dirt from being run all summer long that they look like they were meant to be modern black and white blades instead of a contemporary white blade.

So while I got a lot done, it was barely a dent. Sigh...

Thus...that night I had the following dream.

I dreamt that my mom and stepdad were at my house for a visit. They are the kind of visitors that you want to clean up for because their house is so immaculate, but you know that if you don't it's okay, they didn't really come to see your house. I love visitors like that.

In my dream my mom saw the state of our house and knew that it wasn't how we'd like to have our house, so she agreed to tackle a few projects; namely, sweeping the ceilings of cobwebs. I begged her not to because, even though she really doesn't care, the ceilings were in horrible HORRIBLE condition. In my dream I am standing there in our upstairs hallway willing my mom not to look up, because the cobwebs are so bad that we haven't been able to turn the ceiling fan on; the blades are held in place with spider webs. And the webs are so thick that there are pickle jars and kitchen utensils like spatulas and so forth hanging from the ceiling.

Thus my frustration at our cobwebby hallway AND the germs in my kitchen sink collide in my subconscious, and voila, there you have my dream.

Thank goodness I have dreams, or all that weirdness would come out in other ways. Whew!

Guess Who?

Lindsey has a game called "Guess Who." In it each person has a game piece with cards of 32 different people, and picks one person as their "person." The other person has to guess which of the 32 people you picked by asking questions like, "Does your person have white hair?" "Does your person have glasses?" "Does your person have a beard?" By the process of elimination you finally get down to the one person that your opponent picked out -- whoever gets it first wins.

One night we were talking about this game and the fact that there are only four hair colors in the game: white, black, brown and yellow, as Lindsey calls it. So I asked her, "What color is your hair?"

"Brown!" she immediately said.

"And Marissa's?" I asked. She didn't quite have an answer for that, so I talked about how parts of Marissa's hair are blond and others are brown, and not everyone has the same color hair all over their head.

Then Wayne asked, "What color is my hair?"

Without hesitation Lindsey replied, "GRAY!"

Okay, so SOME people have all one color all over their head.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Marissa's concept of time

I love three-year-olds -- especially mine.

She has a funny concept of time. Everything that she talks about happened "last morning."

Last morning we went to Michigan.

Last morning she was a little tiny baby.

Last morning Biv-bef (aka "Elizabeth") and Trabis came over.

Last morning we were at Grandma and Grandpa's. (Okay, so that one is actually true.)

We were very busy "last morning!"

She also has an interesting concept of time moving forward as well. I was helping her get ready for bed one night -- while she is fully potty trained during the day, she does still have accidents while sleeping so she wears a diaper overnight and during naps. So while I was putting a diaper on her I talked about someday soon when perhaps she wouldn't NEED a diaper at night, when she's just a little bigger.

She said, "When I get bigger and bigger I am going to get married and I am going to have a baby in my tummy. And I won't wear diapers then."

Good heavens, I hope that the non-diaper wearing days are loooong before the marriage/baby days.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Apple Picking Time!

We took advantage of amazing fall weather (it felt more like summer) to go to an apple orchard on Saturday, pick some apples and get pumpkins. It was 72 degrees, unbelievable.

I swear the traffic gods have something against us leaving the city -- it took us 2 hours to get to Prescott, a place that should've taken us maybe an hour. 494 was closed, thankfully we didn't get on it, but then we got caught in traffic when the only bridge over the Mississippi on the way to Prescott had an accident on it -- closed in both directions. So we sat there for an hour until the accident finally cleared. Wayne started to complain about it, but I said that I'm sure the people who had the accident and needed the ambulance were having a MUCH worse day than we were, who were we to complain?

We had fun when we finally got there -- lots of apple eating, I mean, picking. They also had a variety of raspberry that was being picked this time of year too, and we eventually had to get a pint and pick those too, since that was what Marissa decided she wanted to eat anyway.

I took these last two photos of the trees as we were leaving -- pointed the camera up through the branches to catch the sunlight through them. Gorgeous.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Saying Good-Bye

I traveled to Wisconsin this past weekend to attend Andy G's funeral. I took Marissa with me so as to not leave Wayne at home with two kids, and because I think the trip would've been harder had I been separated from both my kids.

I have never been to a funeral of someone I did not care deeply for. I hadn't known Andy terribly well but his family means the world to me, and it was important to me to be there for them.

There is something about going to funerals that makes people go deep, in every sense of the word. I remember after their other son Paul had died 16 years ago coming out of the church the day of his funeral and seeing people driving down the street, kids riding their bikes through the crunching fall leaves, and being almost offended at the fact that life had gone on for them while mine had stopped. How dare they have errands to run! Don't they know what's just happened?

It was a similar feeling when I came home from the hospital with my first-born. I remember sitting in the living room with a newborn on my lap wondering what the hell I was doing, watching neighborhood kids walk by and cars driving past. "Oh yeah, that's right, life kept on for them," I thought, because mine had changed forever.

I do not know from what well of strength his family draws from (I have an idea I know its source, though). It was incredible to me to see Andy's sisters comfort others as they came through the family line. For the family they've had some time to become familiar with the fact that Andy is gone; for some arriving at the church they had only found out the day before and it was THEY who needed the comforting.

The day after the funeral I stopped by their home to visit; in typical generous fashion, they fed Marissa and I lunch before we hit the road. They've made lots of changes to their home and Veronica was giving me a little tour of all the updating they've done. She showed me Paul's old room, now with new carpet and paint, and then Andy's room, in its disarray of possessions being sorted through. I remember her having to go through that miserable chore years before, and it doesn't seem right for a mother to have to sort through her dead son's belongings...twice.

That was one thing that Roland said gave them hope through Andy's illness: God had already taken one of their sons; surely He would not take another. After his death they found out more information about his illness that made them realize how bleak his outlook had been -- only 8 in a million people are struck by amyloidosis, a disorder that's barely understood with no proven treatment. They treated it as you would leukemia, because that's all that doctors know how to do. Even if he had survived the treatment his prognosis was that he would only live perhaps five more years, and they would be difficult years. The family had more hope than the doctors, not knowing what they were facing.

Now it will be difficult going back to my "normal" world, knowing how very much their world has been turned upside down. I'll be thinking of the Gilles more often in the days, weeks and months ahead, as they begin the healing process. Again.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Update on Andy

Some people have asked me if I know how Andy Gilles was doing since I last posted a request for prayers for him. Unfortunately this morning I found out that he passed away on Wednesday, Oct 1. Click here for his obituary.

I don't quite understand what the bone marrow disorder was that he died of, so I also have a link here for more information on the condition that ultimately proved fatal to him.

I am very sad for this family that means so much to me. They have been through a lot of pain in the last 16 years, with the parents outliving two of their six children now. That just shouldn't happen.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Pain in the...Back

I threw out my back last night.

I thought you had to be over a certain age to do that, but apparently not.

I did this once about 10 years ago. I remember I was in the basement of our house in Savage, doing some organizing or something weird like that, when I heard a POP and that was the end of my mobility. I couldn't stand up, I couldn't walk, I could only lay down with my knees bent. I lay there for probably half an hour before I finally figured out I could crawl up the steps. I made it onto the couch, where I lay there for the rest of the day and much of the next.

This time I was leaning over the bathtub to turn the water on for Lindsey's bath. Not picking up a child, mind you, no heavy lifting involved. I just leaned over, heard that familiar POP, and that was all she wrote. No standing upright, no walking, etc. Just hunching over like a 90-year-old and shuffling.

So this morning I hobbled my way in to my chiropractor, and I cannot tell you how incredible it was. He applied heat and electric stim (if you have ever had that done), and I could feel my muscles finally letting loose. My L5 lumbar (the lowest one in your back before you reach the tailbone) had moved out of place, and he was able to pop it back in place. Then he worked on my muscles which had clearly seized up. It hurt like hell, but when I went to stand up, I could. All the way up, no hunching over.

I am at home today, using heat and ice alternately and doing stretches throughout the day. I suspect I will have most of my mobility back by tomorrow.

Sure as hell beats a bottle of muscle relaxants and pain pills.

Oh yeah, and yesterday was our 13 year wedding anniversary. Wayne looked over at me laying prone on the couch with heat on my back last night and wondered aloud, "Just how old is my wife??"

It just doesn't get any better than this, does it?