Thursday, May 27, 2010

Halfway Gone

Yesterday... or maybe the day before, was the halfway mark of Hubby's trip. 5 minutes after I tucked her in bed tonight Thing 1 called me back to their room and asked me to count for her how many days till he comes back. I can get a little crabby after being called back for a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th hug good night, but I kind of get marshmallow soft for that one. The sad part is he's having to hear over Skype about what's going on with us. It's funny that he'd be missing a lot of this anyway, he'd just be in Minneapolis or Chicago instead of London and Copenhagen, and he'd get to catch up in person on the weekends..

Thing 1's 2nd grade class made volcanoes out of salt clay dough a couple weeks ago, and then yesterday a whole class full of volcanoes erupted. Erupting involved dropping a tablespoon or so of baking soda into the middle hole of each one and then in front of the class each kid got to dump a quarter cup or so of red-dyed vinegar over the baking soda and everyone cheered over the foamy red bubble lava.
It was pretty exciting. I forgot the red dye on the first at home re-enactment.

Thing 2 got a haircut, she wanted it shorter. The beautician asked how short, and Thing 2 held her hands over her ears and said "Like this." What? Over your ears? Honey, that's pretty short! (I'm thinking BOY hair cut...) The beautician flashed me a look, then trotted to the next room and came back with a bunch of haircut books, thumbed through till she found one of a lady with her hair about jawline length, and Thing 2 conceded that would be okay. She looks very cute in short hair, it is a good cut on her, but yes, it is a little shorter than I would have picked for her. She was twittering and so excited all through the haircut, giggling all the way home that first her sister, and then the next day all the kids at school won't recognize her, she'll have to explain who she is. The joy lasted about 4 hours. By bed time she was lamenting that her hair was too short. All my assurances that it looks darling are a waste of breath. By the next morning she seemed resolved, and has been okay since. Something about seeing her naked little stem of a neck is endearing to me...

I've gotten a whole lot done over the past couple of days - the majority of it in the yard. I am not much of a green thumb, I'm more of a gray thumb. I come from a long line of green thumbs, but it sort of missed me. Things don't immediately die under my care, but they start on a long slow track of demise, heading toward eventual death. I can usually keep plants barely alive for years. Hubby is the gardener... as well as being the cook. Apparently his first marriage was awful, so he spent all his time in the garden. He had a beautiful yard. I suppose it's a tribute to a happy marriage that our yard is a mess. What grows without help is growing out of control. What needs help is slowly dying. It's obvious I'm in charge.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hurry Home, Daddy

Hubby has a three week trip. He has only been gone this long once before. Usually he's out for 5 days at a time, sometimes 10 or 12, but he tries pretty hard to juggle things so he's not gone this long. This time it's 20 days, starting yesterday. A week in London, a week in Ireland, a day or two in Denmark, then a week in Norway. A real passport stamping opportunity.

Usually Thing 1 is the more unhappily melodramatic about him being gone, but this time they seem to be running a competition about who can be saddest he's out of town. Sigh.

There is apparently a tradition of taking a picture of your restaurant meal. Sometimes Hubby sends them to me. He sent me this of his late London lunch today. Proof he made it safe and sound, despite the best efforts of the volcano.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Thing 2 wrote a story in school. Each child was asked to pick a topic, then come up with six supporting facts about the topic, then write a story, or essay, about their topic and facts. The teacher then printed out the stories on nice paper with the top 1/2 blank for the kids to draw their illustrations, and had them all spiral bound. They read their stories to the parents at a party on Friday morning. Hubby was in town, it was kind of a big deal in their class so it was awfully nice the timing worked out for him to be there.

Thing 2's topic was her sister. She wrote about Thing 1's favorite things, what she likes to do, and when she was born. She drew a picture of the two towers falling down on Thing 1's birthday. Her illustration had sort of domino aspect about it, which is understandable as I'm not sure she's ever seen footage of the actual towers falling.

She did a great job, and spoke well too. The student teacher commented to us later how amusing it was that so many of the children wrote about pets. Many wrote about pets they wanted, how well they'd take care of it if they had a pet, what they'd do to earn the pet. Some wrote about pets they have, and one little boy in our group wrote about the cat his mother gave away for one reason or another. It was nice that Thing 2 broke from the pack, despite having a very nice and worthy pet, and wrote about Thing 1. A much more interesesting topic.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Day of Mom

My girls get so excited over Mother's Day. I think my husband sort of helps whip them into a frenzy that this year started the Saturday before, but really got going at 6:00 am on the actual day, when they woke him up to make the preparations for me. Bless all their hearts. But especially his. Hubby said this Sunday it took quite a bit of effort for him to keep them from waking me up, which I finally did around 8:30. I came downstairs and was surprised to find a paper garden constructed in our living room. The kid's plastic table from outside was leaning on its side in front of the couch (with two girls crouched behind it), and paper flowers on posters adorned every tapable surface. I had left my camera at my brother's so didn't get pictures until most everything had been cleaned up. (photos have been added later) But there was a sign:

While I admired the beautiful flowers growing in our living room, the girls tittered behind the table. When Hubby said the cue words "You'll have to find the girls..." they sprung from their hiding place and threw into the air a half a dozen sheets of construction paper with the words Happy Mother's Day carefully printed on them. Two of the flowers decorating the room turned out to be real, a couple of pocket orchids, smaller versions of the big ones I'm so proud of myself if I can get to bloom multiple times before I finally kill them.

After opening more presents, a beautiful breakfast, and a drive to church, we had the Mother's Day brunch in Primary, where I finally got to see the necklace that Thing 1 and 2 had created. It was my idea to give each of the Primary kids a little piece of Shrinky Dink film to color, then I'd punch a hole in it, and shrink them and put them on a necklace for each mom. Thanks to my sister, who happened to be in town for a conference last week, and knows more about amatuer jewelry making than I do, we got all of them but mine put together Thursday and Friday. She did mine herself because Thing 1 insisted that it was a SURPRISE for me. Thing 1 had made a mistake on her first attempt, which she had made last Sunday when all the other kids did. Since I happened to be the one making them, I told her she could color another piece of Shrinky Dink film. So she got up early on Friday to make a 2nd. And 3rd, before she finally got what she wanted. She carefully concealed her final effort in an envelope and wrote "Do Not See" on it, and my sister assembled it on her way back out of town on Friday. Bless her heart, not only did she stop by and make the necklace for me last Friday, my sister also cleaned my kitchen. I completely knocked it out of the ballpark in the sister department.

The irony here is Thing 1's Shrinky Dink, once she finally got it to where she want it, wasn't quite what I had intended. I had given all the kids specific instructions:
1) Put your name on it
2) Color both sides of the Shrinky Dink film,
even if that means that you're tracing your name backwards on the backside.

This is Thing 2's Shrinky dink - a pretty little sun flower. It's slightly longer than 1 inch long. The name was not photographed, but it's there.

Thing 1's first effort had been done according to my instructions because I was standing over the kids reminding them. I don't know about her 2nd, but her 3rd and final effort was not produced under my dictatorial direction and was therefore minus those two key aspects. It was colored on only one side, and it doesn't have her name on it.

One of the charming things, to me, about the way Thing 1's Shrinky Dink ended up is that it may, or may not have a spelling error on it, depending on your point of view.

My very wonderful day ended with a picnic in the park. It was really very nice. The girls are getting old enough to keep gushing about things, like how much they love and admire me, etc. etc., not just for the three minutes that their daddy reminds them to, but all day. They were very sweet and appreciative.

I just have to throw in a picture of my fabulous girls... and the dog, who has grown quite a bit.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Double Reds

(I really shouldn't be,) but I'm kind of proud of myself. I did Double Reds today, which in the blood donating world means you donate twice as many red blood cells but they give you the rest of it back. What it meant to me was that I had to sit there on the couch with that stupid needle in my arm for an extra 15 minutes, but more importantly they would hassle me half as often to come back and donate. Since I am told that I have to drive all the way out to the donor center (40 minutes away) instead of donating at a bloodmobile, that sounds appealing.

A brief explanation of why I can't go to a blood mobile: Apparently if you haven't had a fairly common virus (I think it's called CMV and roughly 50% of donors have had it) you can donate blood to babies. I haven't had this virus, and am a softie about babies, so I drive the heinous 40 minutes to the donor center to donate for the babies because they are better equipped to take baby eligible blood at the big donor center.

Then today I found that if you're willing to sit there for twice as long and - especially if you're O+, you can donate red blood cells only. I think others can do it too, but they told me O+ are their favorites. They call it "Double Reds" because you donate two pints instead of one pint, and they're skimming off the red blood cells and pumping whatever's left back into you. (ewww...) They use the packed red cells in the emergency room. When I told them I don't really care what kind of donation, which would they rather I do, they said "double reds" because O+ (which I am) is the best match. I said you drag me all the way out here for the babies. You've got me all sympathetic about the babies. Don't you need me for the babies? They said yeah, but O- is a better match with the babies. O+ is best for double reds, they'd rather have me for that. Oh, and by the way, sometimes the blood mobiles have the machine that does the double red thing.

Because doing doubles cuts my driving all the way down there half as often (every 120 days instead of every 60), and they'd rather have that, and I might be able to do it at a blood mobile, I told them I'd go for the double reds, even though it has you sitting on the couch for 30-40 minutes instead of 15-20. Which is unpleasant... it amused me they asked me to do an online survey about how much I enjoyed the donation. Are you kidding me? I DO NOT ENJOY the donation. I don't do this because I ENJOY it... it's not on the ENJOYABLE experience scale. It's on the UNPLEASANT scale. If I completely couldn't stand it I wouldn't do it, but I'd say it's not HORRIBLE, it's just UNPLEASANT. I don't really know why I do it... Then they told me that 3% of the eligible donor population actually donates. No way. Only 3%? (I just looked it up on the Mayo Clinic website and they say 5%.) Even 5% I find hard to believe. It sounds like they're fudging their numbers to gain sympathy. In any event if you're ever in an accident in this area I'm expecting a thank you card because the 3 to 5% of us are carrying the other 95 to 97% of the local population. DRIVE SAFE!! I can only donate so much blood at a time!!! Visions of vampire movies dance in my head...

I'm just so glad I'm not doing plateletts. A and ABs are the ones they want for platelets. Doing platelets takes between an hour and a half and TWO HOURS and you can do it as often as every other week. Now that's entirely more of myself than I'm willing to give.