Sunday, December 10, 2006

While I sleep in...

This is the sight that greets me nealy every weekend morning. I sleep in, and hubby comes downstairs and lays on the couch and snuggles the girls. They lay on him in various puppy pile positions. They all watch cartoons together.

When I get up with the girls and let hubby sleep in, I putter around the house, clean things up, start breakfast.

The girls MUCH prefer daddy to get up with them.

Monday, December 4, 2006

If you can't do it right...

Thing 1 has a perfectionist streak that scares me. She’ll be drawing a picture, or ask you to draw a picture, and if it doesn’t turn out perfect she flies into a rage and scribbles violently all over the paper. She was asking me to help her write I love you to a friend and got her “u” upside down. I probably shouldn’t have said anything. But she flew into a rage and wadded up the paper and started to sob. A few minutes earlier she came to me to ask me to draw a gingerbread man for her. I made a large head, arms, and legs, and when I went to join the lines at the top of his head where I had started, I kind of missed. So it looked like he had a beanie on or something. She flipped out and grabbed the marker and scribbled all over it telling me how terrible it was. When I tried to explain that she just needs to calm down and say “That’s good, let’s try it another way” she runs away crying.

The Christmas tree has become a compromise on more levels than I intended. Based on Thing 2’s dismay that there were no colors on the tree, I went out and bought some colored globe lights that I thought were pretty cool. Not just those little twinkling lights, some globes that were probably 1 ½ inches across. Then I plugged them in. And they flash. Sigh. Not what I was looking for. And they were expensive, too. 13 bucks for a string of 12. So I didn’t put them on the tree. I dragged the girls to Modern Display to see what they had. Of course, at one time they had what I was looking for, for 17 bucks a strand of 15 lights, so they were similarly priced. But they are all out of those by now. All they had was one color strings, no multicolor. Come to think of it… I wonder if they had 3 strings of red… That might have worked. But I had a hard time dividing my attention between two little girls running around the store so excited about everything, and the salespeople who were either standing in my way while they were helping someone else, or hovering over me and the girls worried they were going to break something.
So we bought some minor things, came home, and put the flashers on the tree. The kids seem happy with it, I think it looks sort of overwhelming. But it’s not about me anymore, not for a while, anyway. It’s about those kids.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

It's beginning to look a lot like...

We set up the Christmas tree last Sunday. The girls helped for the first time ever, and the experience was quite amusing.
Thing 1 was so excited to help me get the tree out of the garage attic, she was dancing around underneath me while I carried it down the ladder. We brought it in and put it together and they both were so excited. I plugged it in and Thing 2 said, “I don’t like it.” I asked why not and she said “Because it doesn’t have any color.”
Admittedly the lights are not very big, and they’re all white so she does have a point. Maybe when I take it down I should take off the white lights, and I should go buy some colored lights for it. I saw a home decorating show where they had big colorful bulbs on their tree and I thought it looked great… I just wonder how much I’d have to pay for them.

Then we pulled out the ornaments. Thing 1 and 2 had so much fun helping put them on. Their strategy for ornament placement was… somewhat limited. “Put them right in front of you.” After a while of this, almost every ornament I gave them was on about four branches, of course all about the same height on the tree, right by where I was opening up the boxes. Several branches had five or six ornaments on each twig, with a half a dozen nearby ornaments so close they were bumping into each other. I suggested that Thing 1 move the balls apart, so they weren’t all so clumped up and she said, “But Mommy, they’re Friends!”

Thing 2’s expression was fantastic, each time I pulled out a new ornament her jaw would drop and she would gush over the new ornament. I tried to wait until she’d hung one before I gave her another, but seeing as how she was only putting them on those four branches and was having trouble finding space for new ones, she’d often turn around with the previous ornament still in her hand.
Then Thing 1 found the hook bag, and decided since we have so many empty hooks it was up to her to make new ornaments for them. She came in and raided my sticker drawer and started making paper faces, with a combination of stickers and her own drawings. She cut the faces out and then brought to me to pierce with an ornament hook, and she’d place them on the tree.
They both really enjoyed the whole process. Of course after they went to bed I spent quite a bit of time re-arranging all the ornaments.

The next day I put out all the rest of the Christmas decorations, the nativities and snowmen and stuff. Thing 1 and 2 hung out in the living room, sort of helping and sort of entertaining themselves. Thing 2 found the Robert Sabuda books and started reading them, to my dismay. They’re rather delicate and she seems compelled to touch all the moving parts. As I tried to do what I was doing, yet keep an eye on her, I kept reminding her to not touch the paper. Finally she looked up at me quite annoyed and said, “Do I have to go somewhere else to read it?” Remember she’s THREE and talks with a funny little three year old voice. I had to leave the room so she wouldn’t see me laughing.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Dinner out

Taking the girls out to dinner is a crap-shoot. We do it fairly frequently because neither Hubby nor I are very enthusiastic about cooking dinner most of the time…
We went out last night, to Old Spaghetti Factory, and they did great. Tonight we tried a new place, Cowboy Grub, and Hubby and I spent the whole meal telling them as sternly yet nicely as we could to:
1. Stop disturbing other diners
2. pipe down
3. sit up, or sit down (depending on where they were at that moment)
4. eat their dinner
5. come out from under the table
6. take a bite
7. stop whining about honey on their hands and wipe them off
8. hold still
9. start at # 1 and repeat for the next hour.

It was a rather frustrating experience, to say the least. They can go from being fantastic to frustrating as fast as I can blink an eye.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Good and bad

We have our good days and our bad. Last night was one of the bad ones. I had been dancing with the girls instead of getting ready for Jeff to arrive with dinner, and when he did I was in the middle of fixing one of their light-up necklaces that had broken. The girls launched into each other because we’d gotten Thing 1 something from Wendy’s and Thing 2 something from the Mexican restaurant we got our own food from, and naturally, Thing 2 wanted Thing 1’s nuggets, toy, and all-around exciting dinner instead of her own anonymous white Styrofoam container. I didn’t step in to help, hoping to hurry and fix the necklace before the glue dried, and left Jeff to deal with cooling food, starving stomachs, and Thing 2 marching over to steal Thing 1’s food, and Thing 1 coming unglued… it was not pretty. I should have helped but….

Other than that, they’ve been pretty good.

Our wall is finally getting fixed. I need to paint, but once that’s done, it will just be an unpleasant memory behind us.

I’m trying to think of what’s happened in the last month since I wrote… the only thing that immediately comes to mind is the other day we were all out playing… Thing 1 was playing, Thing 1 was napping, and it was getting dark. The neighbors were out, Wytie, Ellie, and Charlie, who is a couple of years older. I was the only adult, as Ellie and Charlie’s folks rarely come out, and Wytie’s Grandma was inside on the phone with her daughter having a somewhat heated conversation. Charlie doesn’t usually play well with the littler kids. He starts teasing them and picking on them, usually he focuses on his sister… I didn’t quite know how to handle it. But it kept escalating until all three of the little ones were running away from Evil Charlie, and Ellie in particular had a light sweatshirt she was swinging around to use to whip at him. I wasn’t too worried, she kept missing him, but I did finally tell her to stop because I was worried about the zipper hitting someone. She insisted it wasn’t a problem. Right when I was wondering if I step in and take it away or not, Charlie collapsed for the others to come and pounce on him or whatever. Thing 1 got there first. She was kneeling next to Charlie when Ellie arrived, swinging. Sure enough, the jacket whipped around and the zipper caught Thing 1 in the forehead above her eye. She hesitated for a minute, then started to cry and of course I was halfway to her before she figured out she was upset.
It raised a welt the size of a pea under her skin and broke it open a little, it was bleeding a drop. I snapped to Ellie that this is why we don’t swing coats around, the zippers can hurt someone. She insisted that it was all right. I said “Yeah? Then why is she bleeding? Everyone go home, the fun’s over tonight!!” Then I picked up the sobbing Thing 1 and carried her into our house, and everyone else went home. No one ever said another word to Thing 1 about it, Ellie never apologized anyway. The next evening when they were out together, Ellie wouldn’t meet my eye and I never really got an opportunity to suggest she apologize to Thing 1. But I am happy there are other kids Thing 1 can play with.

Speaking of which, Thing 1 has made a new friend. We'll call her Sophia Blue and she’s in Thing 1’s class at school. We kind of have an arrangement to swap kids on Wednesday. One week Thing goes to play at Sophia’s, and the next week Sophia comes home with us after school to play. The problem with this is I don’t have enough car seats to get all three girls home, so on our “Sophia days” I walk over and get them from school. I often take a route home that is a little off the beaten path to avoid traffic as the girls seem to wander around a bit. A couple of weeks ago as we were walking home we came to an area where there were a whole lot of fallen leaves that no one had raked up, and Thing 1 and Sophia were in nearly knee deep leaves, crunching along. Thing 1 encouraged Sophia to walk with her and listen to the leaves crunch so they could experience “the joy of discovery.” She said it quite sincerely, with her arms outstretched to embrace the day. It was incredibly charming.

Mom and Dad are coming up today to hear Thing 1 say a line in the Primary program in Sacrament meeting. She says “Helaman teaches me about faith.” It’s hardly worth Grandma and Papa coming down, but I did mention it to them and they said they want to support Thing 1, and they want to support our church attendance. So I should be cleaning up the house, even though I’m suspecting we’ll go to the Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner.

I’ve already got a good jump on the girls’ Christmas. In fact, all I’m really looking for now is stocking stuffers. If I find something amazing between now and then, of course we might have to accommodate it. I’m still working on everyone else. And of course I’ve got Kristin’s and Mom’s birthdays to contend with…

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Bad Rabbit

Thing 2 has invented a new friend. It’s a little simple homemade rabbit puppet she fell in love with at Mom’s but smuggled out of their house and now he rears his head here, on occasion. She insisted it went to bed with her the other night, and then it kind of took over. It was like she was channeling a surly, talkative, furry little character on her hand. Like that impressionist guy used to do when he painted up his fist and it said “saright” a lot. It often spoke in a kind of deep voice, and instead of calling me and Jeff “Mommy and Daddy” it called us “Stacy and Jeff.” And insisted on being called Rabbit, and that we say good night to it as well. Both Thing 1 and 2 had trouble going to sleep that night, and after I’d been up and down the stairs a couple of times, Jeff took over, and went upstairs and alternately rocked them both. I had threatened Rabbit that if he wasn’t quiet he’d have to go outside to sleep, but apparently my threats weren’t enough. When Jeff was rocking Thing 1, he reported that Rabbit piped up with quite a monologue about how he’d come to visit, and when Jeff asked him to take care of Thing 2 and help her go to sleep, Rabbit explained he had to get back to his family and sleep in his own bed. When Jeff suggested that Rabbit go now back to his own family, Rabbit was kind of stumped. But not stumped into silence, apparently. Jeff said Rabbit would go in and out of his deeper voice. It all sounded pretty hysterical to me and I’m kind of sorry I missed it.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


The girls and I went to the store after I picked them up from school yesterday. I had ordered a little bodum teapot to be sent in from another store and wanted to pick it, and some other things up from a kitchen store. The girls were pretty good but with all sorts of glass dishes, pots, cups, and all sorts of stuff around I was pretty nervous, hovering around them while trying to get my stuff done. I must be quite a nag saying “look with your eyes, not with your hands!” all the time and trying to get them to come along with me. Of course what they want to look at and what I want to look at are not the same things. Finally as I was getting ready to check out Thing 2 was really involved with some ceramic pumpkins and skeletons on display and when I said “Thing 2, be careful!” and she said loudly “But mommy! I want to look with my hands!” There were a couple of little ladies at the counter who cracked up and talked about it until they left. They kept telling me how cute she is and how they like to look with their hands too.

On the way from that store to the next one, Thing 1 started telling me about horses. How a girl horse finds a boy horse that she really loves and the two of them get married. Then they make a little baby horse that is smaller than the mommy and daddy horse. I don’t know where this fascination with marriage and babies came from. Right now they’re in the other room and Thing 1 is singing a song about getting married and growing a baby in her heart.

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Catching up

I should be in bed. Why is it that I always start writing when I should be in bed?

Thing 2 has been growing like a weed – neither one of them look like toddlers any more. I have two little girls. Thing 2 has been insisting she is a big girl, especially when we use “You’re not big enough” as an excuse for her to not do things she’s clearly not big enough to do, like playing pinball machines or stuff like that. She when she means “already” she says “airy,” when she goes to bed she can call ten times to have me marching up and down those stairs to help her clean her ears, band-aid her imagined wounds, listen to stories of her bad dreams (honey, I was just here two minutes ago, you couldn’t possibly have fallen asleep and had a dream since I was here last!), go potty, etc. etc. etc.

Thing 1 is my darling big girl, she put on three puppet shows for me today and is just so funny and cute… her skinny little body bouncing around.

Their childhood is slipping away and I feel like I’m not paying enough attention. I want to remember every moment, instead of trying to get them involved in something else so I can take a nap, or get something else done.

I did some work for my old company, Allen Communications, for the past couple of months. It was pretty hard trying to get anything done during what little time I had. Luckily I only needed to put in a couple hours a week at first, and then when the project got tight, my folks were in town babysitting Scott and Karma’s girls while they were in China. So a couple of days it worked for me to pick Thing 1 and Thing 2 up from school, drive them up to my brother’s house, then come back into town to work. I was able to fly to St. Louis overnight for a one day session with Boeing, the client, which I wouldn’t have been able to do either. Also helpful was the fact that Jeff has been in town since August 1st instead of traveling, while he’s been working on his book.

Right now, however, he is in San Francisco at a Microsoft conference. And I should have been in bed an hour and a half ago.

Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to bed I go.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


We took the girls to Goblin Valley and Little Wild Horse, and had a great time. We stayed in Green River, and went to Canyonlands, and hung out in Moab.

I got tons of wonderful pictures, too many to put up here, but here's a few.

We took the girls to Goblin Valley and Little Wild Horse, and had a great time. We stayed in Green River, and spent a couple days hiking and hanging around Moab.

I got tons of wonderful pictures, too many to put up here, but here's a few.

Friday, September 15, 2006


It’s been too long since I wrote.
I’ve been working just a little over the last couple of weeks, and it seems to have sucked up all of my free time.

Right now Thing 1 is giving me detailed instructions on how I'm supposed to assemble the book she's making. She just lit into me a little bit ago because I did something apparently horribly wrong in its construction. You'd have thought I started removing her limb with a spoon for the reaction I got.

Oh. And now she just found a series of pictures she printed out from one of her computer programs that she had taped together to form a story... they've been on our wall for about two months and the other day I pulled them down while she wasn’t looking – the only way I can clean our walls, and put them in the recycle bag. She just found them. And now I'm in deep doo-doo again.

So many ways I disappoint her. Sigh.

And of course I'm ignoring her while she rants and I'm typing. It's better than paddling her behind, I guess. Maybe.

Maybe not.

Okay, she's not that bad....

And most of the time she's overwhelmingly sweet.

Okay. I just got chastised again because she's going to the bathroom and this irritated little voice hollers at me from the other room saying "Mommy! I'm waiting for you to wipe me!"

Oh really? Is that how you ask me to wipe your little ass? Aside from the fact that you're old enough to do it yourself, didn't your mother ever teach you if you want someone to do something for you, you should ask them nicely first? Certainly before you cuss them out for not doing it?


So I hear this noise... the noise of a little hand bopping out the toilet paper... the sound of the toilet paper roll vibrating against the holder as yards and yards of toilet paper are unrolled into a pile on the floor.

She'll show me what happens if I don't go wipe her butt when she yells at me that I haven’t come in to wipe her butt...
So I go in and say "Is that how much you need? Here, let me help you..." I grab the toilet paper hanging off and give it a yank...

Guess who gets to roll all that toilet paper back on the roll?

Who exactly is the mature one in this relationship?


Some days being a stay-at-home mom really sucks.

Thing 2 was saying something in the car the other day. She was yelling at me that something was wrong with her magna-doodle, but I can’t remember what she was saying was wrong with it. It wasn’t “applicable” or “permeated,” or “appropriate” or something like that, that made no sense. Porous? Possible? Probable. No, I can’t remember. While I hated her yelling at me it was pretty funny that she insisted her problem involved this weird state of being that made no sense at all.

Saturday, September 9, 2006

Thing 1 turns 5

Birthday party at Grandma's. Hubby brought the cake up from Salt Lake, after flying in that morning. Scheduling parties with him is awful... once I get everyone else in the family's schedules combined with his, we've waited weeks before we can have one of the girl's parties.
But this was fun. We had a pinata, and painted a sheet of dinosaurs with squirtguns full of colored water, almost like a friend party.

Monday, September 4, 2006

Antelope Island

We got a third wheel trail along bike for Thing 1, and took a ride out to Antelope Island. Thing 2 rode behind me in the trailer.
We started in the parking lot of the island, actually, then rode out to the sheep ranch and had lunch.

We had a rough start when I put the bike rack on my camera that I had been so careful to place in the trunk where it wouldn't get hurt, and broke the window display on the back. Crunch. I can still take pictures, but I'm using the little window viewfinder, and I can't use any of the menus. Guess what I'm asking for for Christmas?

We made it most of the way back before Thing 1 completely tuckered out. It's a pretty long ride, several miles, but she did so great. She finally whimpered to take a break, and we scooted Thing 2 over in the trailer, and put them in there together. Within seconds Thing 1 was asleep. Thing 2 found this immensely funny, how she could flop Thing 1's head around and not even wake her up. She earned her sleep tonight.

Saturday, August 5, 2006


We try pretty hard to get out hiking in the summer.
The problem is that Thing 1 is too big for a back pack, which means we're at her pace. From now until they're old enough to both walk quickly, our hiking is going to be rather limited.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Thing 2 turns 3

Had a very nice birthday for Thing 2. She had a bunny cake, made by our favorite cake maker, and had a nice family party. I shot this movie of her, which has to be one of my favorite birthday movies ever. The voice in the background after all the blowing is my brother's 2nd oldest daughter.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


My brother's birthday today. I’m getting so far behind on even sending cards anymore…

Thing 2 is completely potty trained. Was before we even went to Chicago. She’s amazing. I knew she was ready for a while, I mean, she’s been talking since right after she could walk, practically. It amuses me that a woman in our ward is “potty training” her two year old. This is a little chunky girl who doesn’t talk much, apparently she can say “Yes” and “Hot” but in my experience that’s about it. The mommy puts her on the toilet every hour and she generally produces, but in my experience until the kid can talk to tell you they need to go… and until they’re READY… it’s just a lot of effort on Mommy’s part.

Okay. I was going to write more but the girls are announcing they need someone to play with them.

Saturday, July 15, 2006


We were walking home from the neighborhood breakfast this morning when Thing 1 was stung by a bee. It really shook her up, and Thing 2 got very upset when we went back to see what was going on and Jeff picked Thing 1 up and Thing 2 didn’t get a chance to see what why Thing 1 was crying. We hustled the two crying girls home, perhaps now the neighbors will think we have tortured our children or something…
And again there are so many things I remember as passing fleeting memories during the day, things that I wrote about before… but when I sit down to the computer to write them down I have forgotten them. I’m so mad at those stupid thieves I could spit.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Chigago Reunion

We have returned from the family reunion. It was fantastic.

We left Wednesday, June 28th and all of us flew to Chicago. Well, most of us. My sister's husband flew out later, but my Mom, Dad, my brother, his wife and their four daughter, my sister, Hubby, Thing 1 and 2 and I all flew out at 5:00 pm. Well, it was closer to 5:30 because we sat on the ground for a while. Remember, I've got a six and three year old with me.

We were supposed to land at 9:00 or something like that. But there was weather over Chicago so they diverted us to Milwaukee after about an hour of circling. We had to sit on the airplane out on the tarmac while they refueled. I sat next to Thing 2, Hubby sat with Thing 1, and Mom sat by me while my siste sat by Dad. My brother and family were at the very back of the plane.

Thing 2 had a really good flight. She ROARED a lot, as she had decided she was some sort of tiger, my sister and Dad sitting three rows ahead of us said they heard her most of the way through the flight. She loudly commented on all the airplanes she saw out the window on the ground. When we finally landed in Milwaukee, both Thing 1 and 2 shouted “wheeeeeeeee!!!” much to the amusement of the people around us. About three minutes after landing, Thing 2 fell asleep. Practically instantaneously. She curled up and put her head in my lap. Thing 1 was drawing in her doodle book most of the way, or in a couple of drawing/sticker books Grandma had supplied, and she was happy as a clam to be drawing with daddy’s undivided attention. When we finally got back to Chicago, my niece Megan’s car seat was missing. After waiting at the luggage claim desk for about an hour, another niece found it in the unclaimed luggage from a flight from Atlanta. How it got over there, I don’t know. Then we spent another hour and a half waiting for our rental vans. It was about 1:00 am or so, maybe 2:00. But it didn’t stop there. After having gotten lost on the way to the hotel, where they had lost our reservations, and finally getting rooms and putting the kids to bed, I got to bed around 4:00 a.m.

Thursday we went to the Field Museum. It was really neat, the kids got to see some dinosaurs and their highlight was buying something at the museum shop. We were able to see the King Tut exhibit. It was interesting, but disappointing that they didn’t show a sarcophagus. We went to the cheesecake factory for dinner, and Thng 1 ate most of a pizza, and Thing 2 ate most of Papa’s lentil soup, as well as a couple of other people’s dinners. Her own dinner, which I can’t remember what it was, she didn’t eat much of. I think they passed it down to Niece Megan. I was awfully proud of them both, though. They did great.

Friday we went to the Science and Industry museum. Mom and Dad stayed home with Megan, who was sick. But the rest of us had a great time. Hubby and my brother and sister went to see the DaVinci exhibit, but said it was something of a let down. Sis-in-law and I took the girls around while they were doing that, Thing 1 and 2 looked at the farm stuff while SIL and her girls looked at the Miniature Fairy Castle, which Thing 1 and 2 were bored with in a matter of moments.

Saturday we went to the Brookfield Zoo. My sister left to go get her husband from the airport, so we split up the party a little. The monkey exhibit is amazing, and they have a really nice Children’s zoo that Thing 1 and Youngest Niece and Thing 2 enjoyed immensely. They got to brush some goats, which they thought was the best thing ever. Thing 2 told each goat she brushed that it was, in fact, the best goat ever.

Sunday we went to Evanston for some Hecky’s barbecue and to see my brother and his wife's old stomping grounds. We went to the park on Lake Michigan and ate, and the kids played at the playground.

That night the official reunion started with dinner and a catch-up meeting at my uncle David's ward building.

Monday, July 3rd, was a downtown day. We went to the Shedd Aquarium, with our immediate family. The rest of the bigger family was downtown too. Since we had the “city passes” we’d bought we got in on the pass, and were able to bypass TWO huge lines. First we got out of the HUGE line because we had a stroller. Then we got out of that slow moving line and just walked right up to the desk because we had city passes. The kids just loved the aquarium. The fish displays were really interesting. The only bad thing was Hubby and Things 1 and 2 and I got separated from the rest of the family looking for an elevator. We ended up sitting through a dolphin show that was a 30 minute wait for it to start, then a 20 minute waste of our time because you were mostly staring at an empty pool, listening to a guy tell you how marvelous the dolphins are. So we felt like we missed about an hour of the aquarium because of that. After the Aquarium, we went to the Taste of Chicago. Hubby came up with a really good idea that instead of pushing the stroller all around in this oppressive crowd, one of us would sit with the kids while the other foraged for food. This worked really well, and lo and behold after we’d been sitting and munching for a while, my folks walked up. I had thought we wouldn’t be seeing them until the rendezvous time.
We went to see the big bean – a very reflective sculpture – and the millennium fountain where the girls ran and played in the water.
Hubby and I really battled with the decision of whether or not to stay downtown to watch the fireworks. We weren’t going to, but then decided it would be an opportunity we wouldn’t want to miss. But after the girls were all wet and tired of playing in the fountain and it was getting to be around 8:00, we decided to go home. After a fiasco of trying to meet up with the vans which my brother and sister and walked back to get and couldn’t get through to us because of all the road closures, we drove back to the hotels. That night Hubby and I drove the girls around trying to find some fireworks for Thing 1. We followed David’s instructions but they were somewhat faulty, guiding us to an intersection of two roads that didn’t intersect. We ended up sitting at a park looking at some little fireworks way far away. We could hear some going on around us – turns out it was at a raceway a little ways off. When we got back to the hotel we found that from their patio they’d had a really good view of some fireworks… sigh.

Tuesday July 4th was the Family Olympics. It was fun but it was hard to pay attention to the activities while taking care of Thing 2, who isn’t exactly a team player. Our team didn’t win, neither did Hubby’s, but Mom’s did. I can’t even remember who was on her team… maybe my brother… I’m not sure.

Wednesday was Six Flags. We had a really good time. We started at the water park, but we didn’t know our way around and had a hard time with finding somewhere the girls could play, and watching them while riding the rides we wanted to ride. There was lots of squirting in your face stuff at the little kids’ areas, which neither of my girls like. There were a couple of great adult rides, but less for the kids.

Just before we left that area we found something they might have enjoyed more, but by then we were ready to be moving on. All Thing 2 wanted to do was ride the merry-go-round. We distracted her a little bit, but at the end of almost every ride she announced she wanted to go on the merry-go-round.

Hubby took Thing 1 off for a while to find some roller coasters she could ride, and after lots of looking without riding, found one. He and I broke off and RAN to a big old cool roller coaster, hopped right on – no waiting – and ran back. That was the only big coaster he rode. We had a nice time, letting Thing 2 ride and ride the merry-go-round at the end of the day while Hubby and Thing 1 and the older girls went back to the mild roller coaster he found. We ate a late dinner at Chili’s and again I was awfully proud of our girls, they did great.

Thursday morning most of the rest of the reunion went to Nauvoo. My sister and her husband, Hubby and the girls and I opted to stay in Chicago. We decided to move up to mom and Dad’s and my brother's family's rooms which were bigger, though it was quite a lot of effort, and we couldn’t move the bed against the wall like we did in our original room. Also they didn’t change the sheets, and we had to call down and ask for sheets to change them ourselves. The service in that hotel was pretty bad.

I’m used to being the one everyone is waiting on by the time I get myself and the girls ready, but Thursday my Bro-in-law did laundry in the slower than cold tar machines at the hotel. FINALLY he was ready and we drove back into town and went back to the Science and Industry museum. We gave the girls a lot of time at the playground place while my sister and her husband took a lot of time looking at the captured sub.
We went to Papa Deaux’s for dinner that night, which was good but the girls were not overly enthusiastic about their meals. But they did pretty good. Thing 2 liked the fried catfish much better than the chicken.

Friday we went to the Art Institute. Shortly after we dumped out or hid all of our water and food we were carrying in the stroller because they wouldn’t let us take it in the museum, Thing 2 started screaming that she had to have a drink and she was hungry. We made a bee-line for the café, and in the elevator on the way up she fell asleep in the stroller. Sigh. So we spent the better part of our time at the Art Institute in the café. We did see the miniature rooms, which the girls loved, and some statuary and furniture, which Thing 1 found interesting. I got to see a little bit of impressionistic stuff and we walked by some modern stuff on the way too and from the café, but all in all I wanted Thing 1 to see more of the museum than she did.

Saturday we were flying out, and didn’t know quite what to do with ourselves between check-out time of noon and take-off time of 5:00. So we went back to the park where the Olympics were, and who should we run into but my cousin and her family, Neil and Kara Leigh, who live in Chicago. Their son Brady was playing baseball at the park. So after his game, we all went out for lunch at a hot dog place nearby, and then over to their house for a little rest and talk before we left for the airport. All in all it worked out really well.
The flight back was a piece of cake. After an initial shuffling with a nice gentleman for a window seat so both girls could have one, Thing 2 fell asleep right after take-off. Thing 1 sat doing her doodling, so Bro-in-law and I did the puzzles in the back of the inflight magazine, and I don’t know what Hubby and my sister did to entertain themselves. But boy howdy it was a really nice vacation. We’ve been back almost a week, and the house still isn’t cleaned up.

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Another day

Feeling a little overwhelmed.
I’m embarrassed to say I’ve been showering around noon lately. The past two or three days there are about five or six errands I need to run, four or less actually get done. The girls have been fabulous, it just seems like there’s always something else that needs to be done, and they get tired or fall asleep altogether, and errand running stops before it’s quite done. Today I planned on exchanging a fancy pen I bought for a new one, picking out a present for Thing 1’s friend Sophia’s birthday party on Monday, and picking up and delivering a cupcake for a little girl in Primary who had a birthday a week ago Wednesday. So far it’s four o’clock and we’re all dressed, but we haven’t left the house. I don’t know if we will, I really would like to take a nap. I also need to go around to all the doors of the Primary kids in the neighborhood to take a picture for something I decided to do for Sharing time on Sunday. That will involve taking the pictures and printing them out. Sigh.
Hubby comes in from India tomorrow around dinner time, and leaves Sunday for North Carolina. I really need to have all these errands run before he gets back tomorrow. I’ve also been working on keeping the house picked up more, the kitchen counter cleaned off and the sink clean. I’m working on some stains in the laundry, I sat on some pine sap, and there are ink stains in the pocket of one of Hubby’s white shirts. Of course I didn’t notice either stain until it made it through the washer and dryer… we’ll see if they come out. I’m bleaching out the ink, and someone on the internet suggested rubbing alcohol on the pine sap, which is smelling piney and appears to be working, if slowly.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Another dozen trips to Home Depot later...

Thing 1 and 2 are in the other room watching TV. I can hear their conversation through the open door. Thing 2 becomes inordinately upset and is wailing about a line on her foot. Thing 1 looks at it and says it’s just a line, just a wrinkle on your foot. Thing 2 says but I don’t want a line on my foot! Why is it there? Thing 1 says “It’s just the way Jesus made you.”

For anyone else this would be normal, not particularly noticeable conversation. But for me, who has too long ignored my children’s religious upbringing, this brings joy to my heart. Somewhere along the line, from Church, from reading, or from me, Thing 1 has indeed picked up a little bit of religion.

This morning Two was quite excited about breakfast. She grabbed the Nestle strawberry milk powder from the pantry and galloped with it to the table. However the lid was not snapped on tightly and in her galloping, she was exuberantly tossing the container around as she galloped, the lid flipped off and about ¼ of a large container of pink powder went all over the floor, which she skidded on, and all over her clothes. Her response, not too unexpectedly, was to start to wail. No matter how many times she is encouraged to not wail as a first response, it is still her first response to anything the least bit negative.

Hubby came back from Italy on Sunday. The girls and I spent most of the previous week in Logan, culminating in a couple of days on Bear Lake with my brother’s family. The girls had a fabulous time, I think their favorite part was riding on the chariot innertube thing with Megan. But they really enjoyed jumping on the trampoline, riding in the boat, and playing in the water. We wore them down to the nub and even Thing 1, who isn’t much of a napper, fell asleep in the boat for a couple of hours. All in all they just had a fabulous time.

Speaking of which, when we were in Logan my uncle Glade and Aunt Vicki came up for a reunion the next day and since we were looking for a babysitter so I could go to the play with Kristin that night, we asked them to babysit. They said everything went well, but thought the girls exceptionally funny and cute. Glade was particularly amused when something happened that pleased Thing 2 and she said it was Fabulous. Apparently they’re not used to three year olds calling things Fabulous.

I came home and put up the 2nd tarp on the fort, so now both sections have shade. This was a no-question requirement for me, as the sun beating down really warmed up the decking, and from about 10:00 a.m. on the higher slide section was directly in the sun, and as the sun moved across the sky, the too-hot-to-stand-on section just got bigger and bigger. Yesterday we all had lunch on the fort about 2:00 pm. before Hubby left, and the whole deck was in the shade. I am very pleased with how the fort turned out. There are about three things left to do: We need to buy and dump in three or so more bags of sand. The two person swing needs to be put on, but I’m not sure I’m going to get to that. The rails are half nice redwood posts, and half shanty-looking cedar planks, but I don’t know if or when that will ever be taken care of. The grassy area below the slide level ought to be planked over with some decking as it is too small to mow, but that might not ever happen either. And finally, there is an issue with the lawn back there. I broke the sprinkler pipe when I was getting ready to lay the sod, and Hubby hasn’t had time to fix it so right now we’re hand watering it. The problem is it’s hard to get out there to do it every couple of days. The other problem is the kids are out there a lot and they’re pretty hard on the grass. In a perfect world we would lay down some sort of rubber chips or sawdust or something, but I don’t know if or when that will happen.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Must Haves

Thing 1 woke me up at 7:30 this morning demanding help to find some weird little bag that my sister had given them filled with toys at Easter. Thing 2 had found one downstairs and had been carrying it around and suddenly this morning Thing 1 woke up the whining and calling that I MUST go down and help her find it. I dragged my feet, knowing the thing was probably not there, and resenting being dragged out of bed for something so inane.

They’ve been just great lately. I’ve been so busy assembling this family cookbook and I’ve been ignoring them to do it. They’ve had to watch more TV, and entertain themselves more than usual.

I did want to write down some funny things they’ve said:

One of the student teachers at Thing 1’s school told me they’d gone on a field trip, looking for rocks, or bugs, or something, and Thing 1 had looked up at the mountain behind the University and told her it is “the Big Stone Mountain of Many Colors.” She said it had a lot of snakes on it, “Snakes of Many Colors.” But not to be afraid, because they’re nice. The girl also told me that they’d been having a unit on Dirt at school, and when asked what dirt felt like, Thing 1 had gotten thoughtful for a moment, and then announced “it feels like Salsa.” The student teacher had found this particularly amusing. I guess most of the other students answers hadn’t been nearly so entertaining. I told her Thing 1 is not a big condiment eater and I am not sure how she even knows that word.

She never says “Remember” it’s always “Benember.”

We were coming down the stairs one morning all together and Thing 2 was chattering on endlessly like she sometimes does. Thing 1 was coming down next to her, one step at a time on her bum and says, completely bored and uninterested, “I see. I see.” She was so obviously just placating Thing 2 I thought it was quite funny.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Micky D's

We went to McDonalds for dinner. Zoe is big enough to crawl around in the playland, but she gets scared sometimes and needs a little help. She had a little bit of trouble getting up the stairs and stuff at first, but after a while was going up and down just fine. At one point Grace was outside the playland playing with some other part of it and I heard Zoe’s voice hollering “I can’t get out! Mommy! I can’t get out! Help me, Mommy!” She was really distressed. I ran over and got Grace and asked her to please go in and find Zoe.
Usually she doesn’t pay too much attention to this sort of thing but this time she took off like a girl with a mission. As she crawled in she started yelling, “I’m coming, Zoe! I’m coming! I’ll rescue you! I’m coming, Zoe!” It was just the cutest thing. Zoe stopped crying pretty quickly knowing the Calvary was on its way, and Grace found her and led her out.

Grace and I were playing. I was smiling at her and she stopped, pointed at my cheeks and said “Look mommy, you have nipples.”

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mother's day

We both woke up pretty early, before seven. We got up and went to Ruth’s Diner up Emigration canyon for breakfast, and had a really nice meal. The folks brought the girls home that afternoon and they were pretty happy to see us. They are quite the darling little souls. Then we met at the park up by Scott and Karma’s for a mother’s day lunch with my family. It was a very nice mother’s day.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

London day 10

Pat, bless his heart, volunteered to drive us to the airport. And we were too appreciative to say no. He was at the hotel before 7:00 a.m. Our flight left at 10:10, and frankly we probably would have missed the flight if we would have gotten ourselves to the airport. We hadn’t realized it would take as long as it did, and this way we didn’t have to lug our luggage all the way around London’s transportation system. So we had a very nice ride to Gatwick with Pat, who must have left his house at o’dark thirty to get to the hotel that early.
In the airport bookstore I found the next book in the series I’d been reading, in fact I’d just finished up the previous one the evening before. So I had interesting reading material. Jeff dozed and watched the movie on the way back.
He had to switch seats with someone to sit by me on the way from Cincinnati to Salt Lake, giving up a first class seat.
We arrived about 6:30 at night, but as we were loading up the suitcases into the car he realized he’d grabbed someone else’s bag. We had to go back to the airport, where they phoned the person whose bag we’d taken, and then wait for them to return to the airport with our bag. We got home close to 8:00, maybe 8:30 at night. Jeff went for dinner, and while I was waiting I thought I’d just wither away. I felt pretty wrung out. He stayed up that night until about 11:00, but I went to bed before 10:00. I just couldn’t stay awake anymore.

Friday, May 12, 2006

London day 9

This was my last real day in London. I could have hit a bunch of museums that I hadn’t made it to before, or even gone through the Tower of London. Odd how we’d gotten so accustomed to it that we didn’t even look at it as a draw. It was just the Tower that we walked by every time we went somewhere. Instead I went shopping. I walked up to Liverpool underground station to Julia’s shop and blew one hundred pounds, or close to $200 in jewelry. I bought a necklace, matching earrings, a pin, another pin and matching earrings, and a pair of earrings for Mom. Considering I had 50% off from Julia, I guess that means I would have spent $400? No way… now I can’t remember which it was. If I spent 50 pounds or 100.
Then I went to the Covent Gardens tube stop and found the Underground gift shop. I bought Tee shirts for the girls, a couple of metal plaques, and a toy double-decker bus and british taxi for the girls. I think that was it. Then I walked to the London ThoughtWorks office and waited for Jeff, who was in a meeting.
We had tickets to the musical of Chicago that afternoon. It wasn’t tops on Jeff’s list of things to see, but I’d seen it before and really liked it, and more importantly it was one of the only plays showing that had a matinee on Friday. Turns out we walked near, but not by, the theater about five times, but never found it until it was getting time to go in and not be late. The play was okay, it wasn’t nearly as good as I remembered, but it still has good music and kind of fun dancing.
After the play we were meeting Angela, a friend of Jeff’s from New Zealand who stayed with us for a conference a couple of years back. She now works for ThoughtWorks in London too.
She suggested a really good Dim Sum restaurant called Ping Pong. I had a couple of quite nice dishes, and I think it was about the best meal out we had. Jeff and Angela could have talked all night about work. She is a very nice person and is fun to listen to, just with her accent and all.

Did I mention our hotel was right by the Tower of London? It was awfully pretty walking around it late at night.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

London day 8

Jeff took the day off and we slept in. He decided that of the options we had, he was most interested in the Tate Modern Art museum. We walked over to the museum, and took a nap on the lawn with a bunch of other people eating their lunch. Jeff considers that the best day of our vacation.

The museum was fantastic, too. I got to see a lot of art I’d only seen in books, and the Monet water lilies that took up a whole wall were just incredible. I really enjoyed myself.
We bought a doodle book for Thing 1 in the museum gift shop, and some other stuff for both girls.
This is the view from the museum shop balcony, out over the Thames, where Hubby bought a latte. Any day is much better for him if he can stop somewhere and have a latte.

We walked back to the Tower bridge and had dinner at an Indian place that we’d found before.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

London day 7

I slept in again. After deliberating about how much of a vacation slob I should be, I decided to go to the Sommerset House that I had heard about at the user’s group. They told me that if the National Gallery displays an impressionistic painting, chances are it’s on loan from the Sommerset’s gallery called the Caulfort or something like that. It had a lot of impressionistic painting, which I like, and others, which are interesting too. And of course, a gift shop that tempted me and my wallet. It was a pretty building that I wandered around for a while.

After the museum I went to Islington to the Camden Passage antiques market which they say is only open on Wednesday and on weekends. I was tempted by many things, but didn't end up buying much. I found some neat reproductions of metal signs, notices like you might find on the wall, but most were way to risque for my house.

This is a video I took off the Tower Bridge.

Tuesday, May 9, 2006

London day 6

Julia took me to Cambridge. She very graciously took the tube into town to meet me but there was a half hour delay with her sitting in a tunnel with no cell phone service. Pat had loaned Jeff his spare cell phone which was extremely handy, to say the least, so we were able to contact people. Anyway, it was a comedy of transportation errors from that point on. We walked to Liverpool tube station because I wanted to see Julia’s store there. Then we went to get train tickets, but the line between Liverpool and Cambridge wasn’t running. The man at the ticket counter told us to take a tube to King’s Cross and from there catch a train. Julia bought all the tickets, I was fresh out of cash. I never repaid her for what to me would have been $45 in tickets. Anyway, we went down to catch the tube and they said it was delayed. The announcement was basically saying no trains are running, find a bus.
Somewhat defeated we stood on the platform and Julia called her friend in Cambridge that we were going to have lunch with. As they were talking, here came the tube. We made it to King’s Cross Station where we could catch the train, and had a lovely trip to Cambridge.
Of course, as anyone who has read the Harry Potter books knows, Platform 9 3/4 is at the King's Cross station. (Did I mention Pat introduced me to Harry Potter when we stayed with him in October of 1999? It hit England, of course, before it hit America.)

Julia is a marvelous person who I would like to get to know better under any circumstances, and I enjoyed talking to her on the way to Cambridge and back. Her friend Maureen is an absolutely charming woman as well, and as we walked from Maureen’s beautiful home across a cow pasture on the skirts of Cambridge into town for lunch I felt like I was living a chapter from some novel. These two cultured British women women with their beautiful English accents and their soft lilting voices discussing their friends as we picked our way across the pasture... It was something out of a movie. It was just delightful. We saw Julia’s Cambridge store, then met Maureen’s husband for lunch.
Julia and I just made it to the train in time to get back… She needed to pick up her kids. I was going to come out with her and then come back into town with Pat for a user’s group that Hubby was going to attend, but decided it might be better if I just took the tube back to the hotel.
Julia has cancer. She had… oh shoot. I can’t remember where it was the first time… Was it Breast cancer? Anyway, five years ago, just after she met Pat, she found out she had cancer. Her husband had died of cancer three years or so before… Anyway Pat helped her through this, and she survived, only to find out recently that it had come up again in her spine. The doctors are giving her two years, though they say they have a patient with the same type of cancer who is going on eight. Hearing this about this wonderful woman his just heartbreaking. You want her to live to be 100, a charming little old English woman.

Jeff and I went to the user’s group that night… a bar full of people talking shop. Angela from New Zealand met us there, and I talked a little with her, but mostly the people I talked to were nice computer people who took pity on the wife of the American. I did get a lead on a good museum, and left early with one of Jeff’s friends who pointed it out to me. He walked me to the tube stop and I went back to the hotel and read until Jeff came in about midnight, I think.

Monday, May 8, 2006

London day 5

This is the day I went to Hampton Court. Unfortunately I didn’t get very good directions on how to get out there off the internet before I left. I found a transportation website which would give me routes to where I was going, but I had checked “fastest” route available and it seemed to give me some questionable advice. Sure, it might save me three minutes to make all these weird train and bus connections, but if I would have just taken the most direct route, it would have gotten me right there. After getting several conflicting opinions on how to best get there, I followed the map I saw in one of the tube stations and took the tube to Wimbledon to catch a train. At Wimbledon the right train was terribly delayed, so I took another one that had been suggested by the internet. Unfortunately, that was rather shoddy advice and it took me a little bit past the palace. The conductor advised me to take another train BACK up the line quite a ways to catch the train that went to the Hampton Court station. So I asked the man at the ticket booth, and a nice lady buying a ticket told me to just go across the street and catch the bus. Which is what I did. This is all so much easier in English than it would be in French… Anyway when the bus came a charming little old English woman started talking to me and took me under her wing and got me to Hampton Court, which was incidentally the first stop on the bus.
Hampton Court was really fascinating, it was Cardinal Woolsey’s palace before Henry VIII took it away from him. It doesn’t have much furniture in it, just a huge palace of empty rooms, for the most part. But it is just huge, with interesting rooms and history. The gardens are gorgeous, and extensive.

My ride out took two hours, my ride back took one. Jeff worked late but I was able to read a book I was into.

Sunday, May 7, 2006

London day 4

We met Pat and Julia and the kids at the Tower tube stop at 10:30 or something. We caught a boat up the Thames to Greenwich, which was wonderful. There are lots of interesting buildings you can see from the river, it gives you an idea of how big and old London really is, and that’s only one part of it. Greenwich is fascinating, from the Cutty Sark tea ship (which set a world sailing ship record from London to America, I think,) and the Royal Observatory.

The history up there is very interesting, from the Longitude information to the general observatory information. I bought a wood picture of the Tower Bridge at the market, since our hotel was right by the bridge.

We took a boat back up the Thames to Westminster, where Pat and Julia took the kids home to do homework. Jeff and I opted to walk back to the Tower Bridge, which was quite a way. We stopped to see a Salvador Dali exhibit along the way, and had dinner at a fairly good restaurant… though everything is so outrageously expensive there. Just multiply the price on everything, and a dinner which was kind of expensive before just becomes outrageously expensive. And there aren’t a lot of restaurants to choose from around the Tower of London, where the hotel was. It’s kind of a business district.

We called home every night, I think, to check on the girls. They did just fine, hardly seeming to miss us at all. Mom would tell me the funny things they would say, and that they were keeping really busy with them, but the girls were fine.

Saturday, May 6, 2006

London day 3

We slept in. Jeff hasn’t been sleeping enough. I guess I haven’t either.
We went to eat breakfast at Starbucks and I’m embarrassed to say how often during this trip I ate there instead of something more… authentic. We took the tube over to the South Kensington stop and went to the museum of Natural History. Grace would have loved the dinosaurs, and I think Zoe would have liked some of the other displays. They had a big whale, and lots of other animals, and a volcano and… well, it was a natural history museum.

We stopped for a snack at a café near the museum, then instead of going out to Pat and Julia’s like early like I thought we might, Jeff was tired and we went back to the hotel for a quick nap. We took the tube out later and had a very nice dinner with Pat and Julia and her son Luke. Her daughter Lizzy showed up later.

Friday, May 5, 2006

London day 2

I landed around noon in London, and took an express train into town, then took a tube to the hotel. It was kind of intimidating and I was feeling very tired and overwhelmed. I stayed in the hotel and dozed just a little, then roused myself enough to go for a walk. The hotel was REALLY nice, The Grange. It was just back behind the Tower of London on the north side of the Thames river. I walked across the Tower bridge and down to the London bridge on the South side, the crossed over and walked back to the hotel. Jeff had beat me back to the hotel.
We had a really simple dinner – I had a sandwich from Subway and Jeff had fish and chips from a stand.

Thursday, May 4, 2006

Mommy (and Daddy) go to London

Jeff had been in London for nearly a week. I flew out on a Thursday to join him. Aunt Jerry and Uncle Spencer showed up about an hour before my folks were going to take me to the airport, which was pretty poor timing. Dad helped me bustle around, getting lunch for the girls and myself and trying to get everything ready to go while Mom entertained my Spencer and Jerry in my front room.
Also, I realized I can’t find the battery to this computer about ten minutes before Mom and Dad got here. I still haven’t found it… Sigh.

Anyway, with that rough start, Dad drove me to the airport.

On the flight to Atlanta I sat between two rather heavy black guys. That was fine, it just meant that I kind of ended up leaning toward the guy on the aisle, since the guy on the window side didn’t have anywhere else to go.

On the flight into London the plane was set up two seats together on either side and three down the middle. I sat on one of the middle seats.
As I was getting onto the plane a Russian guy lined up behind me speaking to someone, and it seemed obvious the guy he was speaking to wasn’t paying too much attention. Next thing I knew he was talking to me. As I moved forward up the line I started thinking Please oh Please don’t let me be seated by this guy…
Sure enough. I was on one side of the three center seats, and with an empty seat in between us, he was on the other side.
It started out okay, he was quite chatty, but pleasant enough. But I could quickly see I was going to have trouble. He kept slipping into Russian and then getting frustrated when I couldn’t understand him. No, sir, I don’t speak even a little bit of Russian. And I was having trouble with his English. Part of figuring out what someone with a thick accent is saying is kind of having an idea of what they’re going to tell you anyway. When he’d come up with some completely new concept, changing the conversation out of nowhere, I wasn’t sure I understood what he was telling me, and he got mad at me.
We ate our dinner, and they started the movie. My plan was to ignore the movie and get as much sleep as possible. This was not the Russian guy’s plan. First of all, he kept trying to share some of his vodka with me. When I didn’t want any he was offended, and tried to order some for me from the stewardess when she came by. No thank you. Then he kept batting at me, and telling me something else. Finally I told him I was going to sleep now and I rolled over on my side, away from him. He batted on me a few more times, apologizing, and kept talking. I’d respond, but was getting more and more insistent that I am going to sleep now, good night.
He announced “NO! No Sllleep for YeOU! Yeou Talllk To ME!” He batted on me and I pushed his hand away. I heard the stewardess tell him “Sir, she’s sleeping. Leave her alone.” Finally the stewardess came over and knelt by my head and asked if I wanted to move.
I did. It turns out I moved back to the seat of another woman who had moved up to the two empty seats on the other side of the Russian. My new seat was right in front of the door so there was no one in front of me and I could stretch my legs out. The man in the seat next to me was very quiet and slept most of the way. But I could see the Russian guy ahead of me on the other side of the steward station, and about three rows up. He turned his attention to the woman whose seat I had ended up in, who had moved up to the empty seats by the Russian to spread out. I didn’t sleep very well at all, between watching the Russian and not being comfortable at all. I saw him talking to her a lot. At one point the stewardess bell started ringing like crazy, and I heard a woman yelling “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!!? GO AWAY!!!” Later a stewardess came and sat down in the jump seat in front of me and told me he’d come up and bothered her, and had touched her. She’d gone into “Attack Mode” she said, assuming a Karate pose. She told me she’d threatened to have him restrained, and that he’d finally gone back to his seat. We watched, and he did eventually go to sleep.
When “daylight” came I found out I was sitting next to an artist. Then I found his wife was the one sitting up by the Russian, and she’s the one I’d heard ringing the stewardess button and yelling to him to go away. She came back and said she’d been soundly asleep and he’d pulled the blankets off her, that’s when she yelled and started pounding on the call button. All in all it was an interesting trip.

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Bath time

Things seemed to be going so well. We spent the afternoon playing with Wytie, the neighbor, which means I get to chat with Wytie’s cute grandma, who is quite a fun and interesting person. Then we came home without the usual fight to get Thing 2 out of Wytie’s house and away from his toys… and we got in the car and drove for a pizza, came home, cooked it, and ate it. I got one cheese pizza and one salad, and I ate the salad, and the girls ate a whole large cheese pizza minus one slice I ate, and one smallish slice that was left over.
Then we went up for a bath.
I did a bad thing.
I ran the bath for them, then let them play in the tub while I came down and started doing internet research for my trip. I cleaned up the kitchen a little, and took care of a few things outside.
I went upstairs to check on them and slipped on the water by the door, nearly going down. The black and white rug in front of the tub was gray, absolutely soaked.
Thing 1 said “I did not” and Thing 2 said “I did it.”
At least she owns up to it… maybe she won’t do that if I continue to lose my temper. Which I did.
I kept not quite shouting, I don’t think, but sort of loudly saying no no no, we don’t do this! Thing 2 was laughing. I reiterated I was mad and this was bad… I finally barked at her loudly and intensely enough that she stopped laughing and started looking a little contrite.
I didn’t even know where to start cleaning up. The rug on the other side of the bathroom in front of the sink was sopping, the rug in front of the tub was completely full of water, weighed a ton, and was almost impossible to deal with. The plastic bag/sack thing that we put their toys in was half full of water. I tossed both sopping rugs into the shower, dumped the toys out into the sink, grabbed a towel and started mopping up. It was hard because the floor was so slippery.
I occasionally loudly reminded Thing 2 that this was awful and I could not believe she did this.
Then I looked up to see her dumping another large cupful of water over the side of the tub. I flipped, whipped her out of the tub and laid her on the wet tile floor. I draped a towel over her, and grabbed a diaper and put it on her. She was crying she was cold, blah blah blah… Not too much sympathy from me.

I got Thing 1 out after Thing 2 was in her pajamas and I had finished mopping up the floor, for the most part.
Then we hit another snag. They wouldn’t come brush their teeth. I had very little patience left, looking at my evening of hoping to get ready for leaving the country for a week, and seeing this as an obstacle. It wasn’t, really, it just set me back half an hour or so… but everything just seemed to piss me off.

I finally told Thing 1 she didn’t get to pick stories because she had used up all her time trying to make a new set of pajamas out of the foamy letter blocks, or whatever she was trying to do. We have threatened her with cavities sincerely enough, apparently, that she wigged out when she thought I wasn’t going to let her brush her teeth.
We quickly brushed them, read our stories, and at 9:15 or so, I came downstairs. They should stay down.

The neighbors quite possibly heard my ranting. Sigh.

I am feeling guilty for leaving the girls with my folks. Last night Thing 2 would not go to bed, but sat up and cried and hollered she wanted to sleep in my bed. She hasn’t done that for a while… But it just adds to my guilt to leave these little trouble makers with my folks.

I expect to thoroughly enjoy myself aside from this guilt. I leave the day after tomorrow, and haven’t prepared nearly enough… I need to pack myself and the girls, get all my ducks in a row to leave town for a week… tomorrow is going to be awful. The next day too.

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Thing 1 learned the song “If you’re happy and you know it…” but instead of singing it that way she sings “If you’re happy in your nose…”

Thing 2 tried to teach my mom how to roll her “Rs” the other day. It was so funny. She’d give Grandma instructions to say different words, and they’d go back and forth with Thing 2 patiently telling Grandma what to say… sit, hat, goat…, then she’d throw in a ‘RRRRRRRRRRRRR’ roll, then go back to the other words… like the problem wasn’t that Grandma couldn’t roll her Rs so much as she couldn’t follow instructions.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


Thing 2 and I ran errands today after Thing 1 went to school. She’s kind of been in a cranky mood this week. It kind of went along with her whole mood when she put one of the rented DVDs through the shredder. It destroyed the envelope, and only chewed up the first quarter inch of the DVD, but of course it was enough to ruin it. Luckily it seems they’re not going to make us pay for a replacement, the online rental company sees this has a hazard of online movie renting.

Today at Costco she was in the cart standing on another DVD I was buying. What is it she has against DVDs? Anyway, I just moved her off of it and said something along the lines of “Honey, don’t stand on it. The case will break.” Thing 2 picked it up and threw it. It didn’t really hurt it, the thing is shrink wrapped in its cardboard cover, but we don’t throw DVDs, that’s the rule. I said no, don’t throw it, and moved it to the other side of the cart. She grabbed it and chucked it again. I picked it up and carried it so she couldn’t throw it again. She got very angry and started screaming at me, standing up in the cart and trying to grab the movie. By now we had everything we wanted and were making our way to the checkout line. Unfortunately there was a line. Thing 2 continued to scream at me while we waited. She was leaning over the side of the cart howling. I picked her up and firmly sat her back in the cart, then started putting our things on the belt. If I didn’t have the roast we were having for dinner in the cart, I would have just walked away and left everything there. But I wanted the roast. In Costco the cart goes on one side of the conveyor belt and the customer goes on the other. I pushed Thing 2 in the cart up to one side, and walked around to the other side myself. She continued to scream. I ignored her, hoping we would get out of here soon.
A little grandmotherly lady came across a couple checkout lanes to say “It’s sure hard, isn’t it?” I smiled, not exactly sure what she meant. Shopping with a toddler? Suffering through the screaming? Then she said; “You’re doing the right thing.” Oh, trying to ignore the tantrum. “Thank you,” I said.
It was just funny to me to be in a position that other people would be encouraging me about my child rearing/ignoring.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


I think it was her first winter.. that would make Thing 2 9 months old or so… she got croup. She woke us up in the middle of the night having trouble breathing. She might have been in her 2nd winter, I’m not sure. Anyway, she was little. I knew more about this than Hubby did, but I kind of panicked that what would happen if I took Thing 2 to the hospital and she had another choking fit in the car. I’d be driving, who would help her? So we woke Thing 1 up too and had a family visit to the hospital.

Thing 2 has always been really good about taking her medication. In fact giving her some just now reminded me of this story. When we got to the Emergency room they looked her over and spent a while explaining to me about croup and how driving around with the windows down on a cold winter night is usually enough to cure whatever croup she has. All this time they are talking to me I’m holding her hand she’s wheezing and I’m thinking to myself “SHUT UP AND FIX HER!!!”

They gave her a breathing treatment, which was basically a little tube attached to a machine that pumped out a little medicated steam. She was supposed to have two doses of this, each about five minutes long. The nurse told me to just hold it in her face and he’d be back.
Thing 2 loved it. She took it in her mouth and sucked on it, laughing and giggling. She got mad when I took it away. She played with in, letting the mist on her lips, and then sucking the steam out of it, and just playing with it like it was the funnest toy.
The nurse came back and watched for a while and was just amazed. He said he’d given this to a whole lot of kids, but he’d never seen one take to it like her. He said, “She’s like a dog playing in the sprinkler!”

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Pooh Bear

We rented a Winnie the Pooh movie from the library. Thing 1 and 2 have been watching it this evening and suddenly started playing Winnie The Pooh. Thing 1 pulled the great big stuffed Pooh bear down from upstairs and is walking him around holding onto his ears. She marched him up to me and asked “Are you Kristin the Robin Hood?” I laughed and said no. She marched him back in front of the TV again and watched for another minute, then came back out asking where she could find Christopher Robin Hood. At least she stopped calling him Kristin... I don’t know where she got the Hood attached to Robin, I don’t think we’ve talked about Robin Hood that much… It’s just awfully cute.

We replaced the Gamecube that was stolen and bought a Mario Kart game to play on it that we didn’t have before. Thing 1 is actually not too bad at that… but her vocabulary is pretty funny about it. I suspect she’s picked some of the things she said from me, but it’s odd to hear it coming out of her mouth when she cries “I NAILED him!”

Friday, March 24, 2006


Thing 2’s vocabulary has always been advanced. When I took her in for her 18 month appointment one of the questions they asked, along with things like can she stack blocks and walk backwards or whatever, was “Does she have 10 words she can say or understand?” I was kind of shocked. Yes. More than ten. A lot more than ten. So I went home that day and counted. I stopped counting at 70. I wrote them down, and think I put the list with her babybook, but kept adding to it in my babywritings. So that is gone now. But even at two years old she was talking almost completely understandably. I think they asked me if she was using three word sentences at her 2 year appointment. I hadn’t counted how many words she used in her sentences because she was speaking in complete paragraphs. I think I counted a seven word sentence around that time.

Oh… I wish I could remember… I’ve already forgotten so many things.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

No matter what you call it...

I have written extensive lists of the girls’ pronunciations, what they said and what it meant, but I can’t remember anymore, of course.

Like Benember: which is how Thing 1 says “Remember.”
And “Bunanoh” which Thing 2 says to tease you. We haven’t figured out if it’s a verb or a proper noun. The usage is kind of a happy accusation: “YOU’RE Bunanoh!” and you’re supposed to say “No, you’re Bunanoh!” Which of course makes her laugh wildly and poke her finger back at you to say “No, you’re Bunanoh!”
Thing 2 tells you she loves you “very, very muchly.”

Friday, March 17, 2006

Back from So Cal

I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus from writing here, I suppose. Not that there isn’t a lot to write about, there always is…

When we were coming back from California we saw a group of about 20 Buddhist monks at Burger King. Thing 1 heard them talking and said “They’re speaking Spanish!” I said no, honey, I think they’re speaking another language besides Spanish. One of them heard us talking and told us the name of his language. I don’t remember what he said. So this was about a month and a half ago. Then the other day we were looking at a package of cookies that came from Japan. There were Japanese characters on it and Thing 1 asked me what they said. I said I don’t know, because I don’t read Japanese. She said “Or Chinese.” I said yup. I don’t read Chinese. She said “Or sing-hi.” I said what? She said Sing hai. That the orange men spoke.
It took me a minute to remember the monks… but as far as I know that could very well have been what the man told Thing 1 his language was called. I don’t know if it’s it, but of course the more I think about it, the more I think that might have been it.

Hubby has been writing his book lately, and working from home. It is awfully nice to have him around, though it has changed our schedules somewhat. It is a bit of a challenge to keep it quiet around here, and keep the girls from going in to interrupt him. We have gone to the park and the Children’s museum more than we might have otherwise, to keep them occupied.
Last Thursday, for example, I took the girls to the Children’s museum to keep them out of Hubby’s hair. On the way back Thing 2 got angry that I hadn’t put her cup in the correct cup holder on her new car seat. Her unhappiness escalated into out and out screaming and crying, which I dutifully ignored. Finally, after much struggling, she opened the correct cup holder and put in her cup herself. She announced through her tears that she was so very proud of herself, and that her eyes were taking the tears back in. Then she told me, quite seriously, “Mommy, you complete me.” Of course I laughed and after I told her that was a very sweet things to say, asked her where she’d heard that. On TV was all she could tell me.

We had a marvelous time in Oceanside - aside from the whole being robbed thing.  We went for two weeks, and aside from a couple of days at the beginning when Hubby flew to New York, he was there the whole time. We went to the zoo without him, but all of us went to the wild animal park together with Grandma and Papa. We spent a lot of time on the beach and hanging out at the Condo, and the four of us spent three wonderful days in Disneyland and Californialand. I wanted to break up that time, but it kind of worked out that we needed to do it three days in a row. By the time we were done the girls were pretty tired, but we had a lot of fun while we were there. We learned not to take them to the Blue Bayou, and to make sure we bring a stroller for one or the other of them, and Daddy’s stomach isn’t nearly as strong as mommy’s, though he did not actually throw up, he just became nauseous after the 30 or 40 straight rides on the toon town roller coaster. We found a rather nice hotel across the street from the park, and would go there again though we might need to make time for the girls to swim in the pool. It’s just hard for me to justify paying for a night when we’re swimming in the pool since they have one at my folk’s condo. However, we’re not walking right by it at the condo. Tigger and Mickey mouse both made a really big deal over Thing 1 and Thing 2… Mickey kept gesturing to them and really took a lot of time with them. All in all it was a really nice trip, though Hubby was ready to be gone after two weeks. My mother gets to him after a while…

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Thing 2 is born

While I’m doing Thing 1’s birth story, I should do Thing 2’s too. I don’t think I’m going to be able to fill this journal in sequentially, but figure I’ll just write it as I think of it. And while I’m thinking about it, here’s Thing 2.

I think Thing 2 was conceived in Seattle. Hubby went to a conference called Oopsla the first part of November. Counting November 7th to the 24th of July is just short of three months, and seeing as how Thing 1 was early too… I suspect that’s when she was “begun.”
It was a more uncomfortable and maybe even difficult pregnancy. It seemed I was sick a lot, I had a head cold through most of the last trimester. I gained more weight with Thing 2, which helps toward the general discomfort. A lot of that was because the summer when I was pregnant with Thing 1 we were in cool comfortable Alameda, and, frankly, I just didn’t get as big. Also, because I was working from home up until the last month, I’d just go upstairs and take a little nap about the time I figured the people I was working with back in Salt Lake were having lunch. I took my phone with me so I’d always be there to answer when they called, but it was tough to always sound “awake” when they woke me up.
With Thing 2, I already had Thing 1 running around keeping me busy. I could nap when she did, in theory, but the problem with that is I was usually trying to catch up on other things, housework, laundry, email, whatever when she was napping and so I didn’t get the naps my body wanted. And when I was just ready to collapse, I couldn’t just go take a nap because there was this charming little toddler who wanted my attention. So it was a different pregnancy.
Salt Lake was having a warm summer, which was also hard on me. When Thing 1 was born I wanted her to stay in for another couple of weeks. With Thing 2, I wanted her out.

That summer my mom and Aunt Janet co-hosted the family reunion in Park City. The reunion date was something like two weeks before my due date. I thought it would be cooler in Park City but the problem with that was that it wasn’t particularly any cooler, and because it usually is cooler up there the condos we were staying at didn’t have air conditioning. I was pretty hot. There were a couple of afternoons when the family would come back to Salt Lake to do some activity and I would escape back to our house in to take a nap with the air conditioning on full blast.

Thing 2 didn’t wait the full two weeks after the reunion. I think she was born exactly a week after it ended.

I don’t remember having warning contractions this time. And based on how fast Thing 1 came, the doctor wanted to induce me so we could control it and I wouldn’t have this baby on the floor of the grocery store. Turns out Thing 2 was much slower than Thing 1. There could have been several reasons for that but we’re not going to go in that now.

I went into labor about 1:00 a.m. I think we had just gotten to bed an hour or so before and had just dropped off to sleep when I woke up with a contraction. Hubby doesn’t get near enough sleep, neither do I, but I wanted to let him sleep. I couldn’t do anything about my sleep, but I didn’t have to wake him up yet.
I tried to doze between contractions but it usually takes me about fifteen minutes to go back to sleep under the best of circumstances, and waiting for the next labor contraction does certainly NOT qualify as good circumstances. I don’t think I slept very much at all. I think I finally woke Hubby up around 3:00 or something. Turns out I probably could have let him sleep longer, but I was nervous with how fast Thing 1 came that this baby would come fast too. Also, unlike the circumstances with Thing 1’s birth when we just loaded ourselves up in the car and drove to the hospital, this time we had to get Thing 1 somewhere comfortable instead of just waiting for the contractions to get five minutes apart and then sprinting to the hospital. Instead of calling Mom and Dad to sprint down in the middle of the night we took to Thing 1 to North Salt Lake to my brother’s house before continuing on our way to the hospital. Ironically, we drive right past the hospital when beginning the 20 minute drive to North Salt Lake…
My brother was out of town, incidentally, and we called my sister-in-law at 3:30 and told her we were on our way over. She didn’t get much sleep that night either because apparently Thing 1 was sad to be dumped off at someone else’s house. SIL very kindly sat up and rocked and cuddled her until morning. They have a big recliner lounge chair in their front room for just such an occasion.

Another difference was this time Hubby wasn’t pushing his fist into the small of my back to control the labor pains. He had a lot farther to drive, besides I’d been in labor for several hours already and he hadn’t been doing it then.
On our way back to the hospital we had to cross the route for the 24th of July Marathon. We were diverted around our path several times to avoid the marathoners. A bit of a challenge for a laboring woman, I wish we could have just told the police at the barrier that I was in labor and we just REALLY needed to get across that street, but instead we were routed down and around to get back to the hospital eight or so blocks away from our house.

I figured I had already proven myself with Thing 1 that I could have a baby without drugs, and agreed upon checking in that I would please like an epidural please. It made the labor completely different. It was quite pleasant, actually. We were in a nice room, with a rather comfy pull out single bed for Hubby. With Thing 1, Hubby didn’t have any time to sleep. With Thing 2, he pulled out the chair and took a nap.
I could have too because it didn’t hurt, but I was too busy trying to pick out a name. The nice nurses let me borrow the baby name books from the nurses station and I was furiously perusing those books while time passed and we waited for my body to do the work.
Which it didn’t. Time passed and I didn’t dialate. Finally they put me on Pitossin to hurry things along. She just wasn’t in the hurry that Thing 1 was. Thing 1 was born less than ten hours after the first contraction. Thing 2 was still a quick labor by usual standards, but if I count the first contraction at 1:00 a.m. or so, she was a fourteen and a half hour labor. The real beauty here is since I had the epidural, those extra four plus hours weren’t so bad. And as far as epidurals go, it seemed really nice to me. I could still wiggle my feet, and vaguely feel some things if I remember correctly, but the action area was numbed up.

We called my folks to come down and pick up Thing 1 while we were still in the labor room. My sister-in-law had her four girls to take care of and couldn’t really watch Thing 1 full time for the next couple of days while we welcomed home the new baby, besides Grandma and Papa wanted to dote on her a little.
Hubby called into work, I remember, to tell them where we were… the residents and nurses came and went, it was just a more relaxed, casual atmosphere. Not that I would have done Thing 1’s any differently, but the struggle without the epidural just changed the whole experience in different ways than I would have thought before.

In fact it’s almost more of a blur for me, because it was longer and it was less intense. I remember wishing I could sleep because I hadn’t slept the night before. I was jealous of Hubby who did get a couple of naps in.

Finally it was time to push. They asked me if I wanted a mirror rolled in so I could watch her coming out of me. My sister-in-law had told me that she had watched her fourth daughter being born and it was cool, so I decided to too.

It was cool, though I couldn’t believe it was actually her. The top of her head looked all wrinkly and gray. I thought it must have had the umbilical cord wrapped over it like lattice on a pie but no, that was the top of her head after being squished together. It is different pushing when you’re not feeling pain, just pressure… but I watched Thing 2 being pushed out into the world, and I think this time I was more moved because I wasn’t hurting so much. I could enjoy it more.

Thing 2 was born at 3:30 in the afternoon on Thursdsay July 24th. She wasn’t quite in the pink, and was a little cold. She was healthy and everything but they wanted to warm her up a little and the lights in the birthing room didn’t seem to be doing the trick. So they didn’t just hand her over to us and leave like they did with Thing 1, they were a little more concerned and hovered around more.
But we did certainly get some time to admire her and count her tiny fingers and toes.

Grandma and Papa came to the hospital to get the car seat for Thing 1 from our car, and arrived about ten minutes before Thing 2 was born. The nurses asked them if they wanted to come in for the birth, and I had said it would be okay, but my mother doesn't think that's appropriate - in fact, this was the closest she'd ever been to an actual birth, not including the three in which she was directly involved.  She doesn't believe in bringing germs to the newborn, it's bad form to barge into the hospital.  But this was the last grandbaby she'd ever have, so she was willing to make an exception, besides they were already in the area.   But that did not include marching into the actual birth.  So right after the baby was born, after Hubby and I had held her a little and the main part of the birth was over, we told them to come in.

I think they cried too. I know Mom did, I’m not sure about Dad but I think he’s kind of a softie, and it is so amazing to be in the same room with a minutes old baby… before they even wipe all the cream cheese off of her.

The second time around everything seemed a lot easier. I surprised myself with how much I have forgotten, and of course every baby is different, but in general I just wasn’t stressing things like I did with Thing 1. I left the hospital as soon as I could after they cleared me to go because I’d learned my lesson that you’re much more comfortable and likely to get some real rest at home.
We did leave the hospital without a name again, and agreed to call it in after the weekend.
As with Thing 1, we kind of had two front runners for Thing 2's name. Zoe and Abigail.
The thing is, with Thing 1 I liked Madelyn but wasn’t so fond of Maddy.  I liked the full name, not the shortening of it. With Thing 2 I was considering Abigail but would probably call her Abbie because I wasn’t so fond of Abigail. It’s too much an old lady name.
Zoe name seemed like an unusual name to a lot of people. Quite a few people just stared at me blankly when I told them it was one of our top names, my dad said “isn’t that what they call a kind of fish?” Turns out I think he was thinking of “Roe” which is a kind of fish eggs.

I don’t think Abbie lasted very long, though. Zoe had been one of the star names from fairly early on, I just seem to want to take my time and see the baby before deciding. My arguments with Zoe were mostly in spelling. I would probably spell it Zoey, since to me you spell Joe J-o-e and hoe is h-o-e… so wouldn’t Zoe rhyme with Joe? Hubby insisted no, Zoe is the proper way to spell it. I might have won an argument for an umlat or something and going with a Zoë, but the idea of having to figure out how to get that little double dot to show up above the e every time I typed it seemed like a pain, as did going back with a marker to fill it in every time. So Z-o-e she is.

Thing 1's name shows up on babycenter’s popularity list as #31 the year she was born.  Thing 2's shows up as #31 the year she was born. 
At least we are consistent. We don’t want an overused name, we want the thirtyfirst most popular name.

Thing 1's name was, by the way, up to number 22 in 2002 and up to 14 by 2003. In 2004 Grace was 16 and Zoe was 33. Last year Grace was 17 and Zoe was 32. So they seem to have found their popularity niches for a while. By the way, in 2003 while Madelyn spelled that way wasn’t on the top 100 list at all, numbers 10 and 11 were Abigail and Madeline.

So.  After we brought Thing 2 home, Thing 1 was hangin' with the grandparents, and we had the house to ourselves.  Me and the baby were doing some power napping, and Hubby is left at loose ends. 
He decided to clean the garage because he was kind of sitting around without much to do – kind of the daddy’s lot in life, the mommy and baby sleep and daddy putters around – anyway he was out in the garage cleaning up and he decided to put the old 15 inch wheels to the Passat into the eves of the garage. I think he climbed most of the way up the ladder, lugging this wheel along behind him, and then he kind of lobbed a wheel up – not noticing that the plywood ceiling of the garage didn’t actually completely cover the area over where the car was parked…. So he hefts the wheel up onto the garage attic, and this 30 or so pound wheel bounced out of the box, and down between the rafters, and down onto the Passat below, hitting it on the trunk. I think it was damaged badly enough that we couldn’t get the trunk open.
Boy was he sheepish when he came in to tell me about it.
Poor guy. I suspect he’d rather I didn’t remember that.