Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lindsey in Arkansas

It's been a few weeks since Lindsey and I went to Arkansas to visit my dad and stepmom, and I need to circle back to tell a few stories about the trip. It was a good visit, always too short, and the weather totally didn't cooperate, the gray clouds, cold and rain followed us down from Minnesota. As we left Terry asked us to take it back with us, which it did.

My dad must think we are strange folk: you never met a pickier eater, a more city-oriented kid than Lindsey. She wrinkled her nose at the very words catfish, ribs, and anything outside of her norm of pasta, rice, meatballs and steak. When we got to my dad's he took us on a little tour of the grounds -- the minute we began walking down a path away from buildings she freaked out and refused to go any further, pulling strenuously on my arm to return to the safety of a building.

My dad loves the outdoors and is very comfortable in nature. He has the most incredible appreciation of all things natural, yet can kill wasps/hornets by flicking them with his fingers. (We got to see this in action during our visit.) Lindsey's favorite part of nature is...being able to go back inside and take shelter from it. Lindsey's favorite part of her grandpa's property was going over to the fence to visit with the neighbor's three dogs.

I had bought a couple of new little toys for Lindsey for the trip, one of which was Pixos. If you haven't seen it, they are small little round plastic balls that you can place on a tray in various patterns. Spray them with water, and they melt slightly and stick to each other for a permanent little piece of artwork. I knew that she loved Pixos, she has incredible patience with them, and was hoping they would keep her entertained for hours.

Yes and no.

Yes, they kept her occupied, but they also kept us occupied picking up and chasing after ridiculous little balls all over the hardwood floor. She insisted on certain colors being together/not together, over here, over there, re-organized, then messed up, then re-organized again. (You've met this child, right?)

By day two I finally banned the damn Pixos and pulled out the coloring book and crayons that Terry had bought for her. She immediately fixated on this coloring book and wanted to color for what seemed like hours on end...but only if I colored with her.

Bottom line, I did not get the free time to visit with my dad and Terry as I had hoped. And it was difficult being with Lindsey literally 24 hours -- we slept together in the same bed even, and she invariably woke me up once a night kicking me in her sleep.

Overall she was a really good kid, well behaved, but I forget how quirky her quirks are to others who don't know her as well. She has an orderly way about her, and because of that change is difficult and she really needed me by her for her own comfort. Definitely a different visit than what I was expecting.

Okay, enough about Lindsey's behavior on the trip, next post I'll share some pics of some of the fun things we did while we were there. Because despite my less than positive start to this story, we truly did have a really good time.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Trouble at Bedtime

As typical, Marissa continues to surprise us with her independence and unique ways of getting in trouble.

For instance...

One evening last week, we were winding up the bedtime routine: bath had been given, teeth brushed, final potty stop, and I was about to sit down with her to read books. Before crawling onto my lap she looks at me and says, "I want a drink of water."

I say, "Well go get one from the bathroom."

She says, "No, I want to get one from downstairs."

Whatever go for it kid, as long as I don't have to get up. So after waiting for her return for what is now clearly too long of a timeframe, I hustle downstairs to find her painting her nails with nail polish that earlier in the evening I had told her she couldn't use. She has painted the top 1/3 of each finger, skin and all, got the nail polish on the countertop and dripped some on the floor. Thus the reason why I told her she couldn't do it earlier.

Amazing that she used the opportunity to "get a drink of water" to go do a forbidden activity. I'll have to watch out for this one in her teen years.

Then...there's last night's activity, not discovered until this morning.

This morning she and I discovered a chunk of hair on the floor of our bedroom. Hmmm....I wondered, where did this come from?

"Oh!" Marissa said. "That's from where I cut my hair."

Huh?? When did you cut her hair??

AFTER we had put her to bed last night, she got up, went to the bathroom and got the small scissors that we store in the bathroom, went back to her room and clipped off a couple of sections of hair. Then, she decided to put the hair in the garbage and picked the garbage in our room for some unknown reason...but missed the garbage, thus leaving the evidence on the floor.

Then she went back to bed and hid the scissors under a blanket in her bed and slept with the scissors near her head all night. That actually had me more concerned than the cutting of her hair.

I can't quite see where she cut it, so she obviously cut so little off that it didn't make a difference.
Again, I find it amazing that she leaves her bed to go do these forbidden things. Like I said, we'll be locking the doors and windows at night when she's a teenager. And she's never getting the keys to the car.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Thinking of the Bartlett Family

I am thinking of my husband's family today, as they lay Wayne's uncle George Bartlett to rest today. He was 82 years old and had suffered from Parkinson's for many years. While his death was not entirely unexpected, it is never easy for a family to say the final good-bye.

Then I found out today that one of Wayne's cousins died unexpectedly yesterday -- he was playing basketball with his father, collapsed and died. (I don't quite have the relationship right, it was Wayne's cousin's son.) Two different losses, two different lives, one family. A difficult time for everyone.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Flower Girl Dress Shopping

This past weekend Elizabeth and I took the girls flower girl dress shopping. We went to a bridal boutique that was crazy busy, which was a good thing because then Elizabeth didn't get attacked by hungry salespeople.

The girls loved trying everything on, of course, and we finally decided on a style that made them both look most like princesses, because that's clearly most important. I can only hope for three things on the day of Travis and Elizabeth's wedding: 1) that they don't trip or stain their dresses 2) that they don't have a meltdown and 3) that they don't chicken out and not want to be in role of flower girl the day of the wedding.

That's a lot of pressure. On me, that is, I'm a little nervous that they behave well, they've been known not to.

The first dress Lindsey tried on was the one she decided upon, of course, and Marissa was more than happy to wear that one, too. When Lindsey first came out of the dressing room there was a collective "aawwww" from all the ladies there, which promptly made her return (backwards) into the dressing room. This was immediately followed by Marissa who exited said dressing room, got the same reaction, and smiled in all the attention. Can two girls be any more different?

Image Search: Unflappable

A few weeks ago some of us were discussing the traits needed to execute certain positions within our company. Words like organized, forward thinking, leadership were being thrown around. One of the other traits we discussed was the element of people being able to handle high-pressure situations. The word I came up with was unflappable. I like it: it's not just about handling the high pressure situations, it's about handling the situations with grace and calmness that can keep your team from jumping off a ledge every time a client says jump.

While people liked my word "unflappable," we determined it was too lofty of a standard, and instead settled on "calm under pressure."

One of my friends had done an image search on Google for unflappable and came up with the following image, which is when we decided it was too high of a standard:

Thankfully she had the tact to bypass image #2, which, of course, I didn't, and had to send back to her so she could see the "other" definition of the word "unflappable:"
By the way, that is Sean Connery, in case you were wondering.

Inside Scoop on those Facebook Apps

So how many "apps" do you have on your Facebook page? One? Lucky. A hundred? More likely. There is an application for every possible interest and even non-interests.

I was in a meeting this past week with a nonprofit client of mine and we were talking about social networking media as a place to raise money. Well, it's definitely not a great place to raise money, but it is a great place to raise awareness.

So in case you were wondering how this whole "click here and we donate $ to save rainforests" thing work with FB apps, I got a little inside scoop this past week that I didn't know.

By the way, this ONLY applies to Facebook apps. Guess what, NO ONE donates ANYTHING by your passing on an email that you received from somebody else. There is no big brother looking over your shoulder at your inbox, ensuring that you forward something to five friends within five minutes, ready to strike you down with bad luck if you don't. Anyway, back to these FB apps...

Our nonprofit client has been approached by multiple corporations who want to "fund" a Facebook app for them. This means that the corporation will donate the money and/or pay for the resources needed to create said application. The application would state that by using the app, playing the game, whatever action the application requires, that $ will be donated to said cause. Now, this is indeed true: money is in fact generated for the nonprofit as people use the application. So yes, by using the "Lil Green Patch" application you are indeed making some corporation donate money to the environmental organization of choice, and ultimately "saving" the environment, one green patch at a time.

There are some catches, though.

For example, one of the more popular applications on Facebook has generated approximately $5,000 in donations for their chosen charity. While $5,000 is great, it is a penny in the bucket to the millions of dollars that the organization raises every year to meet their mission.

Also, if the application is too popular, there is typically a cap on the total donations that the corporation will make to the charity. So for our client, they've been told that the donations will be capped at $50,000. In the meantime, the application is out there, generating good will for the corporation who appears philanthropic because it seems that they are continuing to support said charity, even if they cut off the funding 200 users ago.

Maybe I'm a marketing geek, but I found this little inside business model of Facebook applications fascinating.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Parenting while traveling

I am looking forward to traveling with Lindsey tomorrow to Arkansas to see my dad. She and I will have some time on a plane to perhaps watch some DVDs on my computer, play some games, hopefully have a good time.

My co-worker I just traveled with related a different story, however, when she traveled the previous week to New York.

Sitting behind her were two children and a man who she assumed was the children's dad. The plane pulled away from the gate then sat on the tarmac for an hour prior to finally taking off. In the interim, the boys, who she says were quite young, the oldest probably no older than 5, began crying for their mom. It soon became apparent that these children did not know the guy sitting next to them, and he seemed to not be familiar with little kids.

Passengers had to stay in their seats as they were close to their turn to take off, so once they were airborne the man called a flight attendant over and informed her that the children were apparently flying with no parents and needed help. (Their crying could be heard this whole time and for many rows in both directions.) They got the children's names, looked up the passenger log, and then went TWO ROWS AHEAD of Britt, where the parents were sitting together, listening to their iPods and generally having a good time.

The flight attendant apparently came up to them and said quite sternly, "Your children need you. You need to parent them."

I cannot imagine.

So one parent went back and sat by one child and they moved another child up front to the other one, and in Britt's opinion the children were more ill-behaved with their parents around, so they clearly weren't accustomed to structure or instruction.

Pathetic. I want to smack them.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Good Art by Lindsey

The other day Lindsey came home from school with a picture she had drawn for Wayne and wanted him to take to work. She drew it at her before/after school activities, and it's a portrait of Wayne. Here it is:

I was admiring how far she's come in drawing people: people have full torsos, legs, feet, even glasses! Then I noticed a little detail she'd put into the other things on the page.

Yes, that is Dax, smiling as he takes a dump. She even put a little pink on his butt for his butthole, which she's commented on a few times while we're walking him. She colored his ears pink because the inside of his ears are indeed pink. What a good drawer Lindsey is!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Think my kids are hard on their shoes?

This is one of Marissa's "noisy shoes," as she calls them. They were supposed to look like patent leather, but of course they are from Target, so they are really plastic and polyurethane. The toe of it got stubbed, she took hold and over the course of this week pulled the rest of it off.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Here's something you can learn from a kindergartener

Did you know that the number googol (yes, that's the correct spelling), is a 1 with 100 zeros behind it? Lindsey taught me was a googol was. I had to Google it to confirm, and she is correct.

And then she wrote one. it took about 20 minutes. She agonized over every zero and erased and re-wrote a few. But at least along the way she counted her way to 100 a couple of times!