Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Visit with Aunt Sherrie

This past weekend Wayne and I had plans to attend a wedding in St. Paul, and decided to make a bit of a "bigger" weekend of it by getting a hotel room for the night. We've done this once before, when we had a little get-away right here in our own city, and it was fabulous.

To make this happen, we asked Wayne's sister Sherrie if she would be willing to come up and watch our girls overnight. She immediately agreed and decided it would be good practice for her driving herself up to the Twin Cities. Metro city driving can be intimidating for anyone who isn't accustomed to it, and with Sherrie's sense of "direction," it can be even more challenging! But she did great and got to our house right away.

We hung out for a few hours then took off, leaving Sherrie and the girls to their devices. When we left, they were just starting the process of making cupcakes, and were deciding if it was going to be a cake cake or cupcakes that they were going to make.

When we returned the next day we heard that the weekend was fun, and had photos to prove it, taken by all three participants.

I present to you a photo essay of the weekend, with my interpretation of what I believe is happening. This will make this a long post -- if I knew more about how to code I would arrange it differently, but this is the best I can do.

Time to make the cupcakes!

Whose face is funnier?
Marissa was relinquished the job of setting out the cupcake liners...
While Lindsey got to mix the batter. Sherrie couldn't believe it when I told her I let the kids do this. What, is that so wrong??

Time to lick the beaters!

Thank goodness there are two beaters, one for each kid.

Marissa models her new outfit from Sherrie. What attitude -- has she been thumbing through too many of my magazines?

Marissa is still striking a pose, Lindsey's apparently still showing her gapey teeth.

Evening -- time for a cupcake, popcorn and a movie.

Lindsey feels the need to prove that she ate a cupcake. Yeay sugar!
Followed by some dancing to burn off said sugar.
Marissa puts Dax to bed with a bedtime story.

Lindsey plays with her doll set before bedtime.

Sleeping ensued, and then...

Good morning! Why yes, I always get up at this time, Aunt Sherrie!

And more funning around.

Wayne arrived home around 11:00, I came several hours after my March of Dimes walk. The girls clearly had LOTS of fun and can't wait until the next time. In the meantime, we thoroughly enjoyed sleeping in until after 9 o'clock seeing as the girls had gotten Sherrie up at 6:30. There's a reason why you get a babysitter for the morning AFTER the wedding.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Life's Lessons...Kind Of

Some time ago Lindsey and I were driving somewhere when we went past a cemetery. She usually has a question when we go by this cemetery near our house. This particular day the question was, "Why are some stones up and some down?"

The short answer is money and people's personal choices -- I can't remember exactly what I said.

She wanted to know if Daddy and I would be buried in a cemetery, when would we die, would we want a headstone that's on the ground or up, and if I had a wand what kind of power would I want that wand to have.

Truly -- those were her questions, in that order.

I told her that Daddy and I would like to be cremated, that we felt it wasn't right to take up all that space in the earth for our bodies when our spirits weren't there anymore, so we probably wouldn't have a headstone, and I would want a wand that could shoot lightning.

Flash forward several weeks.

Lindsey had many projects the last couple of weeks about Earth Day. She had to write an in-class essay about Earth Day, which looks like this:

I'm sure you can't read it, so I'll write what she wrote here:

The Earth

The Earth has to be clean as well as us. The tub and Earth and us too! If the Earth isn't clean we will die. If we die we will have to be buried. If we are buried it doesn't help Earth. You should be fired instead.

And by fired, of course, she means cremated.

I'm not sure what her teacher thought of this, but she put this little tiny sticker on the top that said "wow."

I think I've got some splainin' to do.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Andy Rooney in Me Wants to Know

Why is it that I am intimidated by people who cross the street slowly?

I don't mean slowly in that they have a walker or are elderly, or that they are shepherding children across.

I mean slowly in that they saunter, they pretend that everyone else in the world has as much time as they do. They glare right at you as if to say "I dare you to run me down."

Often times they are crossing against the light -- it's like instead of seeing a don't walk sign like this:

They saw one like this:

I drive through a neighborhood on my way home that I've written about before -- I call it a "bootstrap" neighborhood, one that is working hard to change themselves, to create a better place to live.

Every once in a while I'll see a certain character in this neighborhood. This character has the big slouchy coat, the pants halfway down his ass, the hat on whatever way it's supposed to be on nowadays, and just the right shoes to set it all off. It's hard to tell if it's just a teenage style or if these are truly people from "the hood."

Here's the difference:

When I'm driving down the street and the stylistic teen is jaywalking, once he sees my car he puts his hands up defensively and quickens his pace. Once he reaches the corner he may even give me a small wave before continuing in his sauntering mode.

The other teen will continue walking in his slow, steady saunter, forcing me to slow WAY down to not hit him. Then, once he's walking right in front of my car, he'll stare at me as he goes by slowly. I stare straight ahead, pretending not to see him staring at me, and turn up my music.

The other day I saw a guy walking out of a bar, beer in hand. Yeah, I know, it's 5 o'clock, maybe not a bad time to be drinking a brew, but to walk across the street with one, well, that's another thing. And then to walk across the street with a beer in hand and force traffic in both directions to stop to avoid hitting him as he saunters across is another. And THEN, as I watched in my rearview mirror, his pants actually, I kid you not, completed their slide the rest of the way down his legs, and the last I could see they were around his knees as he waddled along the sidewalk, pretending he was cool when he actually looked like a toddler trying to run to the potty. He had on white and green boxers, in case you were wondering.

I had never seen the inspiration to the song "Pants on the Ground" until that day.

But back to my Andy Rooney question:

I think the difference is that the person who quickens his pace respects himself. He respects his own life, wants to live it, doesn't care to be run over, and also respects others enough to get out of their way so they can go about their business.

The other, well, it doesn't seem that he respects himself. Surely someone somewhere must care if he gets run down, yet he saunters as if to say "I dare you to." Doesn't he want to live? Isn't this really NOT worth risking your life for? Because some day he'll get the driver who just happened to be looking down, grabbing a cell phone, changing a tune, and his saunter will be cut short.

Is it just me?

Lindsey's Earth Day Project

A few weeks ago we received a two-page paper about an optional Earth Day project that the 1st graders could make. Some suggestions on the paper were for a poster, a poem, a paper on ways we should respect the earth.

What was not suggested was a diorama, which, for some reason, Lindsey decided she wanted to make. I didn't even know she knew that word. So a diorama we made.

Or should I say, I made, Lindsey directed.

Everything in here was her idea -- the idea of having two girls picking up litter in the park, the gecko, the frogs, the sticks as trees, the leaves for the trees, everything. All I did was come up with how we were going to get all the stuff to stick in this diorama (hot glue guns are AWESOME) and help her search the internet for the five Earth Day facts which we printed on the back of the diorama for her presentation (she picked out which facts she thought were most interesting).

She said the presentation went really well and that one of the kids said "Wow!" when she recited the fact that it takes plastic 500 years to break down.

I love that she loves science right now, it's been a lot of fun.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Really?? Music Class you say?

This evening while in the bathtub, Marissa wanted to sing me a song she learned in music class at preschool.

This was the song.

She's a pretty good singer, actually, I recognized it right away. She knew the words "all the single ladies," "put your hands up" and the "oh oh oh uh-oh oh oh" chorus.

But I still think I'm going to have a chat with her music teacher.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Proof that we live in an urban area

On Saturday night my husband and I decided to attempt to take our girls out to a *nice* dinner. And by nice I mean not McDonald's, not Perkins, a place where the expectations for manners and behavior are a bit higher.

Lindsey's first question when we said we would be going to a restaurant for dinner was, "Are we going to eat in at Leann Chin's?" (If you don't know, Leann Chin's is a chain of Asian fast food -- it's where we usually get our take-out on Friday nights.)

I decided a hibachi place would be best -- entertainment during the meal would ensure the best possible behavior. We decided to go to a place called Kobe in Plymouth, a place 14 miles from our home, 22 minutes by Mapquest. We had reservations for 5:30, and left the house a little after 5:00. All four of us were dressed, sparkly shoes and all by Miss Lindsey, and excited for our evening out.

As we got farther into the 'burbs, the landscape began to change. There were open areas of land with "for sale or lease" signs on them, retail outlets in various modes of development, and lots of space. For those of you who don't know the Twin Cities, Plymouth is not what I would consider an outer-ring suburb -- it's mostly developed and people now live much further out and still consider themselves part of the Twin Cities.

We finally turned off the highway to a secondary road and Lindsey asked, "Just how far out in the country is this place?"

Oh, how perspective is everything!

We had a fabulous dinner. The chef was very entertaining, the food was delicious, and the girls were quite well-behaved. Marissa got scared when the chef began the meal by setting the entire grill on fire, and she sat on my lap the entire time he was cooking. He was very observant and clearly steered some of the action away from Marissa's seat, so as to not frighten her. I appreciated his tact.

I think we are feeling a bit more brave now about taking our girls out more often. Perhaps we'll visit the country again soon!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

You Put Your Right Foot In...

Marissa [hopping on one foot around dining room table]: Mommy? Where's my wrong foot?

Me: Your what?

Marissa [still hopping]: My wrong foot.

Me: Honey you don't have a wrong foot.

Marissa [finally stops to make her point]: Yes I do! I have a right foot, so which one's my wrong foot?

Me: You mean your left foot?

Marissa: No, my wrong foot.

Me: It's that one, right there.

Marissa: Oh. Watch me hop on my wrong foot.

Me: Nice hoppin', honey.

Hey, you have to pick your battles.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The real reasons I left my old job

If some of you remember, I let some of you in on the *real* reasons why I left my former employer. Sure, I said that I wanted more time with my family, I wanted to be off the road and out of airports, but the real reasons were enumerated in an email I sent out on my last day. They went something like this:

5. I am tired of getting my shirt wet every time I wash my hands at the bathroom sink because of the water all over the countertop.

4. I really like my portrait that’s on the wall and couldn’t think of a better way to get it than to resign so I could take it with me.

3. I don’t want to have to make two pots of coffee just to get a single cup because by the time I make it back to the kitchen to get a cup someone drained the pot but didn’t make more.

2. My insurance agent begged me to find a place to work with a parking ramp that has fewer poles.
1. I put together a rockin’ Amy Winehouse costume for Halloween two years ago and STILL didn’t win!
After several months in at my new place of employment, I thought I'd update you on whether or not those were indeed legitimate concerns.
5. Wet countertops: On Day One of my new job, I put a nice wet spot on my shirt by standing too close to the countertop when washing my hands. Okay, guess that didn't change...
4. Said portrait is sitting between my dresser and the wall, proudly displayed for all the dustballs to see.
3. Swear to God, on Day One I made a pot of coffee, sat down w/my new boss for some training, went back an hour later to get a cup and it was empty. Seriously, people? Is no place safe from the coffee bandits who pretend ignorance when it comes to making more coffee?
2. But here, here there is redemption: NO PARKING POLES!! Not one. I even took pictures the other day to prove it.
Of course, that doesn't keep a person from backing up into another vehicle (not that that's happened yet), but still, it is promising.
1. Haven't had Halloween here yet, but I heard they haven't done costume contests, so I have no chance of losing one.
Despite the fact that many of these reasons didn't change, we have noticed a significant decrease in the amount of stress in our family since I am no longer traveling. I feel like I can have a social life without the guilt of asking my hubby to watch the girls (again) so I can see friends. He is busy training for a marathon and my travel isn't gumming up his work-week training schedule.
At the same time, I am learning lots of new things, enjoying getting to know new people, and love the variety that my new position affords. So overall, it has proven to be a good change.

Another Tooth Bites the Dust

Lindsey lost her other front tooth Friday night. She was wiggling it as she fell asleep and it fell out -- we found it the next morning in her bed.

Her other front tooth, which she lost about six weeks ago, does not yet have a replacement adult tooth coming down, so now she has a very gummy smile.

It will be interesting seeing how and what she can eat over the next few weeks!

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Two Tales of One Day

Tuesday I took the day off work to chaperone Lindsey's class to the Bakken Museum, a museum about electricity. Guess which version is the actual one?

Version 1:

Since Lindsey's school doesn't actually start until 9:30, I decided to take the two girls out to breakfast before the field trip. We all got dressed and everyone was super excited to go. We traipsed to the local bagel shop for some breakfast bagels and a cup of Caribou coffee for me. The girls ate well and we dropped Marissa off at KinderCare, then I dropped Lindsey off at school. She showed me her guppies and baby snails in her classroom before I left with a cooler of kids' lunches. Since the bus was full, I drove to the museum with the lunch bags in tow.

The field trip was an absolute blast. The kids were really well behaved and had lots of fun learning about electricity and magnets. When the tour guide said that it would be time to leave for the buses soon, there was a collective groan from the class.

I got home and enjoyed a little peace and quiet, then ran a few errands without kids tagging along. I then went to Marissa's class to read her class Marissa's favorite book, "The Monster at the End of the Book." All the kids were into it and helped me turn the pages after Grover pretended to nail them down.

I then left with Marissa and went to Lindsey's school to pick her up. When we got home, the girls played nicely while I made dinner, a dinner that we typically can't have during the workweek because it takes an hour and a half to cook. We enjoyed a nice dinner, got the girls ready for bed and they went straight to sleep.

Version 2:

Since Lindsey's school doesn't actually start until 9:30, I decided to take the two girls out to breakfast before the field trip. Marissa took an hour to pick out what to wear, then needed me to fix the "bumps" in her tights (meaning the seams at her toes). She then decided she didn't want to go to the bagel store, she wanted to go someplace else for breakfast. In the meantime Lindsey, who was frustrated by all the delays caused by Marissa, burst into tears and said, "She's ruining everything! I hate her!" at which point Marissa burst into tears saying, "Lindsey hates me!" We had a cry fest for about 10 minutes before everybody calmed down, then out the door we went, slightly behind schedule.

We went to the bagel store for breakfast. Marissa licked off all the cream cheese from her bagel and then ate half the egg from mine, but didn't actually touch the bagel. Why does she want to go to the bagel store again? She also asked for a hot chocolate from the coffee shop but then only took two sips -- each sip cost $1.25. She got really sad and cried when I told her it was time to go to KinderCare, and was only happy when I told her I would read her class a story when I came to pick her up.

I dropped Lindsey off at school and found out one of the other chaperones wasn't able to make it as she had to stay home with a sick kid. So even though I wasn't expecting to do it, I had to lug a massive cooler of lunches to my little Civic in the pouring rain and meet the class at the museum.

The field trip was an absolute blast. The kids were really well behaved and had lots of fun learning about electricity and magnets. When the tour guide said that it would be time to leave for the buses soon, there was a collective groan from the class.

I got home and busted my ass to run some errands before I had to go read to Marissa's class. I was hoping to have more time to myself, thought I might even squeeze a pedicure in as my wintery toes really need it, but oh well, I promised Marissa I'd pick her up early, so I left to read to her class. I got settled in to start reading, Marissa sitting by my side with the rest of the class seated on the rug in front of me. Marissa wanted to hold and turn the pages for me, but because her chair was so low the class wouldn't have been able to see and I wouldn't have been able to read it. I told her that wasn't an option at which point she burst into tears and cried through the entire reading of the book. At least she cried quietly so the rest of the class could enjoy the story.

When it was time to go she sobbed and said, "But I didn't even get to hear the story!" That's right, you didn't.

I picked up Lindsey and the two of them began squabbling in the car, they were both so excited to talk about their days. When we got home I had to make them play on separate floors of the house so they wouldn't fight. Lindsey was happy as could be to play in her room by herself, and Marissa played on the porch.

I made a nice dinner which Marissa and Lindsey refused to eat. I don't remember what they ate, but they had to get it themselves. I think some grape tomatoes and peaches were involved.

It was time for bed, which was met with many stall tactics. By the time we got the girls into bed it was 8:30, and they were popping up every 15 minutes between the two of them for the next hour. They finally fell asleep and I was shortly behind.

So -- which story is true?

Both of them.

All of the above happened. But if you asked me how was my day off for my daughter's field trip, I would tell you "Fantastic." It's such a rare thing that I take time off for events like this, I enjoyed every minute that I could and decided to downsize the frustrating parts.

Outlook is everything.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

A Chance Encounter

Tonight Marissa wanted to head down to the park, while Lindsey decided she wanted to play "princess" in her room. "Princess" consists of, you guessed it, dressing up like a princess and prancing around. And apparently it's not as much fun when your entire audience is gone, so at the last minute she decided to join us for the park trip, but forgot to remove one piece of princess apparel.

As we get down to the park, she sees her friend Dylan from school. Dylan is in her 1st grade class, and I get the impression she kind of has a crush on him. When we last saw him at the park in the winter, she chased after him and, upon catching him, rolled on him like a dog would on a dead fish. Well, maybe not the right analogy, but anyway....

She saw him from a distance and ran back to me to give me her huge stuffed chick, because she was apparently embarrassed to be carrying around a massive stuffed animal. And then as she's running down the hill to see him, she realizes she's still wearing a tiara and she exclaims, "Why am I wearing a tiara?!"

A good lesson that you might run into somebody you know, no matter where you go, so leave the tiara at home.