Friday, March 25, 2011

Marissa Reads

Finally turned on the camera at the end of the book, but you get the idea.

Here's my post of Lindsey when she was in kindergarten, reading for the camera.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring Break Vacation Begins

The perfect drive:

It was lunchtime about 2 hours after our departure, and everyone got hungry at the same time. We wanted to go to two different places and happened to find an exit where the two fast food places were close to each other, so we hit them both. The girls used a bathroom without my having to cajole them.
Caught singing.

Hours later, the 5 year-old announced that she had to go potty, but she was letting us know early knowing that it would take a while to find an exit. It took us 10 minutes, and she was able to wait.

The girls agreed on which movie to watch.

They laughed at daddy's silly jokes and at all the appropriate places in the movie.

And then we got to the hotel, and immediately hit the pool.

Marissa enters slowly.

Lindsey jumps right in.
 Tomorrow the entire family shows up to share in the fun.

We can't wait.

That groundhog has some 'splainin to do

I need to explain my Wordless Wednesday post of yesterday. I confess, I wrote it on Sunday night and scheduled it to post Wednesday morning.

I clearly hadn't paid much attention to the weather forecast for the week, or I wouldn't be talking about how happy I was to finally see our patio lights again.

So let me correct that post now, can I?

Dec 12, 2010, after 17" of snow

Dec 23, 2010 after another dumping

Jan 16, 2011 -- fare thee well, little light! We'll see you in spring.

March 18, 2011. Hello, little light! Is it spring yet?

March 23, 2011. Nope, not spring yet!
So there you have it. That groundhog sure doesn't know what he's talking about. Why is groundhog day in the middle of winter anyway? Wouldn't it make more sense to have it be closer to spring, when there's an actual possibility of him being right?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Forget Robins and Grass...

We've got a different hint of spring in our backyard this year.
Our patio light was last seen on January 15th.

It has re-emerged as of March 18th.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My New Toy

I've been thinking. Wishing. Researching. Calculating. Dreaming.

You know, all the things we do when considering a new toy, an expensive toy. And this past weekend, Wayne and I went out and made the purchase.

I am now the proud owner of a Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) camera. I've already found some awesome features that I love but have a lot more learning to do.

I've tried to take some more artistic photos in the past year. Living around the lakes in Minneapolis and raising two little girls, I have lots of scenes and subject matter that don't need much help to make them beautiful. But I've been frustrated in wanting to take more artistic photos of my subject matter or wanting to focus in on one element of a scene, but my camera hasn't allowed me to.

So now I get to play some more and capture more of my girls' childhood in pictures.

Hopefully you won't find my pictures on this site.

Not sure where I am on this graph - I hope nowhere.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Love is in the Air

It is beginning to feel like spring around Minnesota. Birds and other urban wildlife are making preparations to start their little families, and all too soon little ducklings and goslings will be seen around the lakes. The next generation of little rabbits will be born soon and readying themselves to eat our landscaping.

And for elementary kids everywhere, the warmer weather means that love is in the air, because now the weather is warm enough to demonstrate their affections for each other.

Recently Lindsey let us know that there's a certain boy in her class that she likes. Being the supportive parents that we are, we saw this as an opportunity to talk to her about what it means to love someone or to just like them, what it means to make a, not really, we saw this as a window to give her a little ribbing.

"Maybe he's going to sing that song to you," Wayne said, and then began croning "Marry Me" by Train.

"No," she said, "he wouldn't do that."

"Maybe he'll bring you some flowers," he said.

She wrinkled her nose. "No, he wouldn't."

"Does he blow you kisses?" I ask.

"No mom!" she said, finally getting exasperated.

"Maybe he'll chase you on the playground and catch you," I said.

She nodded emphatically. "Yeah, that's what we do."

Aah, young love.
Age 4, playing "wedding" with Daddy.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Sign of Spring

"Mom! Mom! Come here! Look outside!"

Marissa stood at the window, gesturing wildly for me to look out the window with her.

I peer out, looking for what unusual thing has caught her eye. I see nothing and no one.

"What do you see?" I ask.

She points excitedly.

"GRASS!" she says.

Sure enough, after two days of 40-degree weather there's about two inches of grass showing alongside our sidewalk where the snow has retreated.

It's the first time we've seen the grass since October, and it is definitely worth celebrating.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Be Here...Or Don't Be Here, but Choose One

I am on a business trip right now, my first since my last trip with my former employer.

It's been 18 months since I last traveled for my job and in typical fashion, I caught a cold which turned into a sinus infection right before my trip. After landing yesterday evening my right ear never popped. I've heard people say how painful that is -- yep, they're right. It hurts. A lot.

And my ear didn't pop until about 2:30 a.m. Why do I know it was 2:30? Because I was awake for it, thank you very much.

Needless to say, I've been pretty miserable.

I was scheduled to speak today at this conference at 4:15 pm today. As I was going to bed last night I was checking out the schedule for today, looking at the content of the opening session, knowing that I really needed to be at registration by 7:20 am since I got in too late last night to pick up my badge, and that way I could hit the breakfast session at 7:30 am before the opening session, and so on and so forth.

And finally, in the middle of the night, I realized I didn't have to.

No one was going to miss me at the breakfast. No one was going to take me to task for not being at the opening session which, I heard, was amazing, but I refuse to feel guilty for missing it.

Because I am a human being. And there is only so far you can push your body before it says "ENOUGH!"

I knew that if I was going to be fully engaged for my speaking engagement, if I was going to be able to field questions and actually think, I was going to need to miss the breakfast and the opening session. I needed to give my body the extra rest that it needed to feel better, so that when I did finally attend the sessions I attended the sessions, and wasn't just there physically.

I made it to the last session of the morning which started at 11 am -- that was when my day began. I felt that our presentation in the afternoon went well. The audience was engaged, asked a lot of questions and it was a good discussion. We couldn't even make it through all the materials which was just fine with me, I was happy to have people in the audience interested in the topic.

And then I noticed the woman in the front row, whose eyes were half-closed as she pointed her face our way.

I resisted the temptation to call her out on it. I know, that would've been incredibly rude, but as I'd just decided myself, either you're engaged in what's going on around you, or you're not. And people can tell the difference. If you're not going to show up 100%, don't show up at all.

I'm glad I missed the morning sessions. It was the right decision.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Grumpies, Explained

Marissa woke up today in a terrible mood. She was demanding service from her parents ("Get me a bagel NOW!"), had no patience with anyone, kicked at the dog and got angry with her toys.

I knew something was really wrong when she was out shopping with me and had a meltdown when I told her she couldn't have some crackers at the check out. She cried in the store, in the car and all the way home.

Once she settled down at home this was the scene within five minutes.

She took a nearly two-hour nap, then woke up just in time to sit down to dinner.

Hopefully this means that tomorrow will be a better day.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Family That Bowls Together...

We were wondering what we should do this weekend as a family -- we aren't a family that sits around for fun. Lindsey came up with the idea of going bowling. We've never been bowling unless it was a part of a birthday party or other group event, so we decided to give it a try.

I don't think we've all laughed so hard in our lives. Marissa threw the ball down the lane and run away as quickly as possible, afraid of the noise of the ball hitting the pins.

Lindsey ran with her arm akimbo, the bowling ball held up in the air at an awkward angle until she finally launched it toward the pins.

I, in typical bowling fashion, used the bumpers that were meant for the kids just about as much as the girls did. Wayne, in the meantime, bowled 5 strikes in a row. By the time he finally posted a score in the sixth frame it was a 119, higher than my highest scoring game the entire evening.

Afterwards, we had dinner at the restaurant attached to the bowling alley. I had a $7.50 walleye sandwich that would go for twice that elsewhere, and it would have been worth every penny. The girls devoured their respective meals, and we managed to eek out a dessert as well.

Marissa held up her bangs which need trimming so we could see her eyes.

Even with all this fun, we managed to get home and get the girls in bed by their normal bedtime, and we were in bed shortly after. I had bypassed an outing with friends to do this family get together, and it was clearly the right choice.

As Marissa said at one point in the evening, "This is the best day EVER!"

Friday, March 04, 2011

What Have Phineas and Ferb Taught Us?

Both my girls love Phineas and Ferb -- it's like teaching kids how to be likable geeks. Which, since they are my offspring, they have a natural propensity toward becoming, anyway.

So what have we learned?

We learned that the plastic sheath at the end of a shoelace is called an aglet.

We know that the Eiffel Tower is in France and that Big Ben is a famous tower in London.

We've learned that platypuses are aquatic animals who lay eggs when they're not on a mission.

And, as Lindsey announced loudly, "We learned that it is a really, really, really bad idea to time travel into the future. Bad things happen."

Yep, that's a good one too.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

A Facebook birthday - MY rules

I had been thinking on my aunt's birthday and the unfortunate timing of her friends and acquaintances birthday wishes on her Facebook wall, two weeks after her passing.

I know people have written about this before, and everyone has their own sense of what's proper Facebook etiquette or not. But I decided to put these out there anyway: these are my rules when it comes to celebrating birthdays on Facebook.

1. If you would normally send your friend a birthday card in the mail,still do. Downgrading your previous card to a message on a wall is rude, unless you want to downgrade your friend to being just a "Facebook friend." If you interact with this person outside of social media and s/he means more to you than a simple posting, send a damn card.

2. If you usually intend to send a card in the mail but didn't get one out in time, resorting to an e-card is an appropriate substitution. You may want to acknowledge that you didn't get a physical card in the mail, or that their "real" card will be coming soon.

3. If you normally would not have acknowledged the person's birthday then by all means, wish them a happy one on their wall. Having a Facebook wall full of love is one of the things that makes birthdays in the social media world so wonderful.

4. Before wishing a person a happy birthday, check to see if they've posted recently. I have friends who have opened Facebook pages but abandoned them. Writing on their walls is like sending a letter straight to the dead letter box at the post office. I have a friend from high school who started a Facebook page after our high school reunion but doesn't usually get on it, so I sent her a birthday card in the mail and let her know that her Facebook wall was filled with birthday love. She was pleased to get the reminder in the channel she uses (mail) and then checked her wall and said "thanks" for all the well wishes. She'll probably use Facebook again on her next birthday.

5. Make sure it is actually that person's birthday. I have a friend who set his birthday to January 1st when he first signed up for Facebook because he didn't trust what was going to be done with his data. Later on, just to mess with people, he set it to December 25th. Sure enough, on both those days his walls were filled with well-meaning but meaningless messages. I knew better: I acknowledged his birthday in April like a good friend should.

6. If you meant to write on the person's wall on their actual birthday but never did, wishing them a happy birthday a day or two later is completely appropriate. It's recent enough to be an attempt to extend the birthday. If, however, you are writing in July and the person's birthday was in May, then you look a bit ridiculous.

7. If the birthday person writes "Thanks for all the birthday wishes!" don't comment on that status to wish them a happy birthday. It makes you look like a lazy tag-along who wouldn't have done anything except that your friend reminded you (again) that today is their special day. Take the extra effort to go two clicks in to that person's wall and wish them a happy one there.
8. By all means, please ensure that the person is still celebrating birthdays. If you haven't heard from or interacted with that person for a while, reading past posts on the wall and checking for recent activity wouldn't be a bad idea before wishing someone a happy one and coming across as insensitive.

Your Facebook friends will thank you.