Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Amazing babies

Today we walked in to Marissa's day care to a sign that announced that the assistant director of the center had her baby, a little boy.

I said to Marissa, "Ooo! Marissa, Donna had her baby!"

Marissa gasped and said, "The baby came out??" I think she thought it was going to stay in there forever.

I think this was the first time Marissa frequently saw a pregnant woman who finally had the baby and made the connection between her baby bump and an actual baby being in there.

And like many Marissa stories, it isn't what she said that's so amusing, it's in how she says it. If only you could hear the *gasp* and see the look in her eyes, the amazement was incredible.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Kid-ism

About a month ago my company hosted "Bring Your Child to Work Day." They do a phenomenal job of putting on the event, lots of projects/meetings to help fill their day and give them some perspective on their own life's possibilities.

One of the events is an "executive meeting" that the kids all go to, facilitated by our CEO. He goes around the room, asks each child what they want to be when they grow up, writes it all down on the white board, then asks what the kids need to do to reach those goals. (Practice, study, learn, etc.)

As he was going around the room, one of the kids said she wanted to be a veterinarian. He looked around the room and asked, "Does everybody know what a veterinarian is?"

One of the kids responded, "That's somebody who only eats vegetables."


Friday, May 15, 2009

The value of roots

Anyone who knows me knows that I take after my dad in my tendency to look backward and not forward at life. Sentimentality, he would call it. Because of this, I value ROOTS.

Roots: Cherishing relationships with people who knew you way back when, whose very presence in my life at that time helped me (or maybe didn't help) me become who I am as an adult.

Facebook is great for finding your roots. I recently made a connection with someone on Facebook that I am so excited about. It's someone I met at Badger State the summer before my senior year.

Badger State, you ask? Yes, yet another peek at my geeky adolesence, thank you very much.

Badger Girls State is a one-week camp put on by the American Legion. During this week, two girls from select high schools around the state get to experience what American government is like. We create caucuses, make legislation, elect representatives, create a senate, and because we were all young and idealistic created two party platforms that were basically the same party platform. (Because who wanted to be Republican when you're 16?)

I and one of my classmates were chosen by our local American Legion to take part in this camp. I knew no one who was a member of the American Legion, not quite sure how I got selected to be honest, but totally took the opportunity to go. As it was, they made sure that classmates from the same school were always split up so this girl and I didn't see each other the entire week, until we met at her dad's car at the end of the week for the ride home. (Which was fine w/me, because we weren't actually friends.)

What this afforded me was a freedom I haven't known in my life so far. Not from parents but from peer expectations. Here were girls who didn't know me. At all. No pre-conceived notions. I'd known my classmates since the 6th grade. We moved around a lot previous to landing there, so by the time I got there it took me probably 2 years to feel comfortable enough to feel like I had real friends. And once I felt like I had friends, I think I felt like I had to be careful around them to keep them, that they wouldn't really like me if they got to know the real me.

Now I could be and do anyone I wanted to be, and there were no lasting implications. I would know these girls for a week and if they all hated me at the end of the week, it wouldn't make any difference. The person who got exposed to this the most was my roommate, Anita. I killed her our second day together after all, and make a masking tape outline of her on our floor. We then carried her "body" in a sheet and put it in the elevator, then pushed all the buttons so it made a tour of the floors. I then picked a girl from a different floor who wanted to go to law school to represent me because, shockingly, in a week long experiment of American government justice would have to be served. The last full day of the camp I was put on trial for the murder, and I believe I was found guilty but handed a suspended sentence since we were leaving the next day.

We were staying in a dorm that had no air conditioning and it got so hot one night that neither of us could sleep, so we left the door open of our mini fridge to try to cool down the room. It worked if you sat right in front of it. And I think it iced over inside and we had to turn it off because the motor on it started making funny sounds.

We were quirky, crazy, avant garde, energetic and confident in all the things we took on. Yet we didn't actually break any real rules. We did proceed to have a time of our lives, no matter or more like in spite of what others thought.

After that crazy fun week we exchanged addresses and phone numbers (because we didn't have IM ID's, cell phone #'s or email addresses back then) and probably wrote each other for a while, but eventually lost touch.

Until last week.

I can't believe that Anita remembered my name and looked me up. I honestly had forgotten her last name, but she remembered mine. And it was incredible to hear how much that week impacted her life, how she values fearlessness, art, and is probably the silliest and coolest mom to her three girls.

It really wasn't until she reached out to me that I remembered how different I was that week, and how when I returned to school for my senior year I was more confident in who I was, more myself and less concerned about other people's impressions.

While I don't remember much more about American government than the average American (okay, maybe a little more), I have to say I learned a lot about myself that week, and about deep, lasting friendships.

I'm so glad Anita looked me up. I'm sure we'll be seeing each other within the year, even though we're in different states.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Travel Encounter

Yesterday I was on a plane from JFK airport in NYC returning home to Minneapolis. The flight was only partially full and a teenager who was traveling alone was assigned to the seat next to me. There are three seats in the row, she's assigned to the middle seat, and she sat in that seat until the end of the flight, when she finally realized she could take any seat she wanted and didn't really need to sit 3 inches away from me when there was an open seat next to the aisle.

She was the last one on the plane; I assume she was a stand-by passenger who was able to make the flight. So she got up to find a storage bin to put her luggage in, then came back to her seat and was organizing her things. She seemed a bit flustered and was looking all around the seat for something.

Finally she turns to me and asks, "Do you have a cell phone?"


"Can you do me a favor?" she asks. I assume she's going to ask if she can use my phone. Instead she asks, "Can you call my phone so I can find it? I seem to have lost it."

Sure, no problem.

So she gives me her phone number, and sure enough, after a little while we hear a little song come from the depths of her guitar-shaped Elvis blinged out leather purse.

"Thanks," she says, and digs out her phone.

So husband of mine, if you're wondering why I have some odd 507 phone number in my call log on my phone, now you know the reason.

Just so you know, she called her mom to tell her she made the earlier flight and that she'd see her at the airport. Then she proceeded to pop open her Apple laptop, plug in her iPod and take a nap all at the same time (once we had reached cruising altitude, of course).

Can't wait for those teenager years!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

On this beautiful spring day I thought I'd share some photos of the plants around our house that are finally in bloom. We've got a Canada red cherry tree that was planted the year Lindsey was born, Lindsey knows that it's "her" tree. We've also got a crab apple tree planted for Marissa, which is also known as Marissa's tree. Both are in bloom right now and gorgeous.

One evening this past week I was holding Lindsey up to smell the blossoms (the cherry tree smells unbelievable). When we got to the crab apple tree, she was afraid to put her nose in the blossoms because she thought there were crabs on the tree.
I love how literal kids are -- I would've never connected the word "crab apple" with actual crabs with pinchers.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Arkansas Continued

This photo is compliments of Lindsey -- she did a pretty good job, eh? And there's that sweatshirt that I wore all weekend.

And here's one I took of Lindsey and her Grandpa. She really got to know him well on this trip, and I think the one-on-one time was great. She also spent a lot of time sitting on his lap, looking at photographs on the computer. He showed her pictures of the various dogs that had lived there, of the ice storm that came through in February, and she would ask questions about things, especially about the storm. (Of course about the storm.)

Speaking of storms...

The first night we were there we were treated to a good Midwestern thunder storm. We had gone to bed Thursday night only to be woken by the sound of heavy rain on the metal roof of the trailer. The wind was quite strong and I got up and watched the trees swaying in the wind. The lightning was so constant it was nearly daylight outside, followed by booming thunder. After a while I heard the rain change over to hail, probably small as it was relatively quiet...for hail. With Lindsey's phobia of storms, I was concerned about her waking up, being in a strange place with a loud, booming storm going on around her. Luckily, she never awoke, much to my surprise.

The next morning we told her that there had been a pretty big storm through, she couldn't believe it because she hadn't heard a single bit of it. I also awoke to news of a fatal tornado somewhere in Arkansas. I didn't know enough about neighboring towns but found out it was quite a ways from us. Still, it made me wonder what would've happened had there been a tornado coming through our area, with us staying in the guest house, i.e. trailer.

The entire visit Lindsey wasn't getting to bed on time, yet was awakening at around her same time. By Easter Sunday this cumulative lack of sleep came out by way of behavior. So she refused to come to the table for Easter dinner, and when she did finally come she squirmed in her seat and refused to eat. I think I finally got her to eat a little pasta or something, then a little before 7:00 we headed over to the trailer to get her to go to sleep. She clearly was sleep deprived based on her behavior.

We wrestled about going to bed for a while, then she finally settled in for some reading. So I invited dad over and we finally got a chance to visit. I love talking with my dad, even though we are clearly on opposite sides of the fence. (Just read his blog on his challenges as the -- ahem -- Republican party re-invents itself.) We had a great visit, talking long after I should've gone to bed to take advantage of Lindsey finally sleeping.

The next day was our last, and we packed up and left for the drive to Memphis. All in all, it was a great visit, and we clearly need to get there more frequently...maybe next time when it's a little warmer and less wet.

Return to Arkansas

I mean by way of subject matter, not that we're hopping a plane today or anything...

I did a pretty good job of packing for Arkansas for Lindsey and I, though I did expect the weather to be a little warmer. So the shorts/capri pants that I had packed stayed packed, and my sweatshirt got worn three days in a row, but at least it made for consistency in pictures over the weekend, right?

Speaking of pictures, that was the one thing I didn't pack -- well, I mean, I packed the camera, but the battery was left in the charger on the kitchen countertop. So I was left with mobile pics from my Blackberry until I got to my dad's, when I immediately confiscated his camera for the weekend. Because after all, if he'd had the camera, we would have pictures of the trees, the cabin, the flowers, but not the people. He did sneak one of those in during the weekend, so let's just get that one out of the way right away, shall we?

This is the view from the Jonesboro nature center. It's sponsored and staffed by the Arkansas Fish & Game Commission, so the subject matter had more to do with hunting than nature, but I think Lindsey missed that little twist on the subject matter.

The nature center was one of the highlights of the weekend, especially since it was the one day that was sunny, though the breeze was still brisk. We had a good time checking out the displays; Lindsey played in the little theatre (per previous post) and ultimately we had a very good time. Though it was funny driving over there -- Lindsey is clearly used to being in a dense metropolitan center, because we had to stop during the 25 minute drive there for "snacks" because the drive felt really long to her, apparently. And since I had forgotten my wallet back at the house, "snacks" were compliments of my dad. (I know I know, my husband tells me I would forget my head if it weren't attached to my neck.)

Speaking of forgetting things...

On Friday night I offered to make chicken enchiladas, a recipe I'd gotten off the internet that Wayne and I had been enjoying of late. So Friday afternoon we headed to the grocery store for the ingredients, one of which is 2 C of cottage cheese. So we picked up a 16 oz container of cottage cheese.

When it came time to use the cottage cheese in the recipe, I began measuring out the 16 oz into 1C measuring cups...because apparently in my mind 16 oz and 2 cups are not related. Sure enough, 16 oz is indeed 2 cups, so I feel better for having confirmed that, and my dad feels better for having something else to tease me about. (Hey, at least I didn't make flubber out of eggs on my visit, Kristi!)

Let's see...other pictures...This was another highlight of the weekend that Lindsey loved, the "chore" of filling the various birdfeeders. My dad would hold her up while she filled the feeders. One evening we set out corn and a few hours later were rewarded with the site of two deer coming out to munch on the corn. (No pics of that since it was near twilight.)

We also dyed Easter eggs on Saturday, which took all of like 10 minutes. Seems like so much prep time and/or big deal is made of dying Easter eggs, when ultimately it took longer to set up than to dye 10 eggs. Terry was able to use some of the eggs in a potato salad that we ate on Easter, which was divine, by the way, yum!!!
There was more, much more, but I have to save that for another post, or risk taking a lunch afternoon instead of a lunch hour.

A Missing Guest

We had one no-show at Lindsey's party yesterday, a little girl who Lindsey used to go to KinderCare with. They are almost a full year apart in age, but always played together incredibly well, even when Lindsey was 3 and this girl was 2. (Name not mentioned here to protect the innocent.)

This morning I spoke to this little girl's mom, and she was telling me how disappointed she was that her daughter missed the party. She is in a shared custody situation and this past weekend was the dad's turn to have her. This girl's mom had told him about the party, when and where it was, and her daughter was super excited to go. On Sunday night, when the little girl was returned to her mom, she seemed sad and told her mom that she missed Lindsey's party. Bottom line, the dad said he just "couldn't fit it in" to the weekend, so he intentionally missed it. Since his daughter is 5 and can't tell time, she didn't find out until she asked about when the party was going to start that she had already missed it. I'm sure her heart sank whe she found out she'd missed the entire party.

I don't know this man, never met him, but would like to smack him upside the head if I ever do. I don't know of anyone who intentionally disappoints his/her children like that.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Marissa's new haircut

By the way, in case you missed it, Marissa cut her own hair last week. Some clumps of it were quite short, short enough that we had to go and get a "real" haircut for her, to try to disguise the sections that wanted to stick straight up.

Her new haircut is so adorable on her -- I can actually see her face, her eyes aren't covered by shaggy long hair on both sides any longer. And the stylist did a great job of blending her Marissa's own jagged layers with other layers. It looks similar to what was called a "pixie cut" when I was a kid, and I think it's adorable on her.

I know this video is unrelated, (Marissa sleeping per prior post), but it's cute and you can kind of see her new cut in it.

Lindsey's Birthday

I now have a little smidgeon of understanding when people whose children are in their 20's say to me, "It seems like just yesterday that they were babies."

Just today my eldest turned six. Six, I say! How did this happen? I ran across some photos of her today on the computer as a baby, such a little peanut and a string bean. How is it possible that this event occurred a full six years ago??

But it did, and so she is a near 1st grader, with just six weeks left to her kindergarten school year. She is getting tall, her pants in the wash aren't the little toddler/pre-schooler pants that Marissa's are. (Though the two of them are getting closer in height than one would think.)

She had a wonderful birthday today -- she doesn't realize how fortunate she is. First we took her and 16 of her closest friends to an indoor park for some jumping/climbing/sliding fun., cake, and 16 presents. Sixteen -- she is damn lucky. And she stayed relatively gracious and kind throughout.

Lastly, since it is her birthday, in family tradition she got to pick the dinner meal, and she chose steak. What six-year-old do you know picks steak, I say? Ours, apparently. So Wayne pulled out some tenderloin this morning which was appropriately marinated and thawed by 5:30 or so. Even sweeter, our 3-year-old, who we could tell needed some down time this afternoon, fell asleep in front of the TV, still sitting upright with her legs crossed. So the three of us enjoyed a meal while Marissa slept, then Marissa came up and snuggled on my lap for half an hour before finally decided to eat her own meal. (Is there anything more wonderful in the world than a snuggling, sleepy child whose arms are around your neck and her body totally relaxed against yours?)

All in all, a wonderful birthday that all four of us were able to enjoy.