Thursday, February 28, 2008

To the swamp!

We're heading out the door to the airport for an exciting trip on an airplane to Miami! Not just Miami, according to Kate, it's Yourami, too. We're excited for our long-overdue visit with the Miami Druekes. In addition, I look forward to a steady flow of Cuban coffee and pastalitos from my favorite bakery, Gilberts. Happily, the hotel is close to a Y, so there's at least minimal chance I will not return considerably fatter...though it can be expected I'll be pretty wired.

This here blog will probably have to wait for our return to get the love and attention it craves, but at least we'll be coming back with lots of new pictures from the sunny tropics.

A word from Jeremiah - For all you clever crackheads who might be wanting to break into our home while we're out and have been using the blog to track our movements, be advised that we've alerted our neighborhood security patrol, our contractor will be in and out of the place and we're leaving Max here. She will shred you. Also, we don't have any crack.

See you soon!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Here come the 1 2 3s!

After years of waiting, They Might Be Giants has finally released the follow-up to our beloved Here Come the ABCs - Here Come the 1,2,3s. Oh joy! The discs arrived in the mail to Jeremiah's office yesterday. He instant messaged me with the happy news. When I got the girls home and fed I coaxed Kate into watching Here Come the ABCs in preparation for the new DVD that would be arriving home shortly.

It had been awhile since our last viewing of Here Come the ABCs and Kate was sucked right into it. I could see her thinking "I missed you!" When Jeremiah arrived home we did a big build-up the new one, but I had erred, I'm afraid. She was so thrilled to be reunited with an old friend that she objected wildly to turning it off to view the new stuff.

Steve & Joy arrived as we were trying to convince Kate we should all watch the new DVD. When Kate refused to relent, it was agreed among the adults that we would just have to wait until the kids went to bed to watch our new children's DVD. We never got that far, though, because a discussion about proper project management and the right way to fold laundry ensued and we forgot. I'm hoping that when I get home this afternoon, I'll get to check out the new cartoons. I could use a refresher on my 1, 2, 3s. Plus, I need to know all the new songs for when we go see TMBG at Variety Playhouse (one of my favorite venues) for their special kids' show on March 15th.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A day with the game

It was cold and overcast but we had cabin fever. Also, we'd let Kate watch what even we deemed as an unhealthy amount of Powerpuff Girls. Time to go outside. So we headed back to the Yellow River Game Ranch. It was Sarah's first visit (out of utero, at least). When we arrived the girls were thrilled to find the parking lot full of chickens, as was I. Anyone who doesn't think chickens are inherently funny has probably never seen a chicken. When I'm feeling down, I think of chickens doing household tasks and it always makes me smile. Ironing is a personal favorite because that's crazy! Chickens don't even wear clothes, why would they iron?

As was the case on our previous visits, we were greeted at the entrance by deer, begging for food and love. I offered them carrots but they seemed more intrigued by my coffee. I can see that. Those poor deer always have to be on and I'd hate to have to do that without at least a swig of coffee.

I was reminded of the episode of The Simpsons in which Lisa becomes a vegetarian. Her teacher shows a filmstrip, narrated of course by Troy McLure, that explains why the vegetarian friend of the kid in the film is ignorant. "Don't kid yourself Timmy, " he states as a close-up of a menacing cow fills the screen, "if a cow had the chance he'd eat you and everyone you ever knew!" Sure enough, the cow tried to eat me.

The place was lousy with peacocks, too. And ducks. It was hard to get Sarah away from the chickens, though. Girl after my own heart, that one. We admired bears, foxes (they smell terrible), coyotes, goats, donkeys and were stalked by squirrels. The coup de grace, though, is always the bunnies. Every time we go, we marvel that the poor rabbits don't simply die of heart attacks, the way they're chased by small children all day. Also, they're fed non-stop. Fat and terrorized, it's no wonder they appear so twitchy. Kate actually had a hard time finding one to chow down on her second carrot. So she ate it herself. I think it was the only vegetable she consumed today.

Sarah walked nearly the entire time. Sometimes she ran. By the time we were half way home, she was out. Exxxxxxcellent...

Friday, February 22, 2008

The week - A retrospective

I walked into Sarah's daycare classroom and my little one was just coming out of the bathroom. I watched her head to the sink and wash her hands. "You just missed it!" Ms. Dawson said, breathlessly, as she joined Ms. Kizzie in applauding Sarah. "She used the potty. She's been doing it all day! She's a little constipated, by the way". I beamed at Sarah as she turned off the water and pulled some paper towel down from the dispenser to dry her hands. The other children in the room were gathered around her like she'd just made the winning touchdown. It was quite a scene. "She'll be potty trained by next week, Mom" Ms. Dawson asserted. I thought of Sarah sitting on Kate's little potty at home. She's so tiny that I have to lift her up and plop her down on it when she asks me to. She's never really used the potty, but I knew she was considering it last weekend when she found me in the kitchen, pulled her pants down and said "potty!" Then, it was too late, but it was nice to know she'd made the appropriate connections. The thought of not buying diapers fills me with glee, but I must confess to just a hint of regret that she's growing up so very fast. At that age, Kate would have sat in her own filth indefinitely.

Somehow, we're still in the midst of a life-threatening drought. I have no idea why the water table isn't replenished, I believe the freshly graded hole in my back yard is currently holding enough to keep the lawns of every Atlantan fresh and green all summer. Every lawn but mine, of course, because my lawn is nothing but mud. It's raining right now. Right now, when the concrete guy and the plumbers could be getting the slab done. But they're not. Because it won't stop raining. I should've known that would happen. Start and outdoor project and the skies open. You're welcome, Georgia. My white boxer is now looking more like a fawn. Also, it's raining in the house again.
One of my favorite authors, Matt Ruff, completed a new book while I wasn't even looking and Jeremiah bought it for me. It's called Bad Monkeys and, despite the misleading title and cover art, there's not a single monkey in the story. As is the norm for him, it's completely different from anything else he's published, but wonderful to read. I've been staying up later than I should each night, trying to get through it before I realize just how exhausted I am. Now that it's Friday, I have a pretty good idea of just how exhausted I am.

To cheer myself up about the house project that will probably not be completed before I die of natural causes at the age of 98, I've been listening to Vampire Weekend incessantly. I can't stop! I haven't been this in love with an album since I first heard the Shins. I recommend you go get right now if you don't already own it. To show you how serious I am about that, I'm going to stop writing so you have no reason to linger. Off you go!

Hooray! Spellcheck is back! Spellcheck really doesn't think "should have" should've been contracted.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Ode to Sweet Melissa's and why I had to change my alias

It's been long enough now, I really need to send some cyber love to Sweet Melissa's. In 1996 we were all here for Steve & Joy's wedding. Before the Big Event we grabbed lunch at Sweet Melissa's because it's right next to the old court house, where they took their vows, and we were pretty much killing time until the ceremony began. Until about a year ago, we completely ignored the restaurant after that. I have no idea why. Perhaps because it is right next door to the Brickstore whose blinding, halo-like glow of goodness keeps us from seeing anything close by. Finally, though, we went there for brunch with Kate & Sarah. Kate was grumpy.

Sweet Melissa's is one of those places that you would know, even if you were dropped into it by the aliens who abducted you, blindfolded you and forced you to travel to unknown regions, is local. The decor, the tables and chairs and even the floor tells you right away, the owners, who may live as close by as upstairs, did all this themselves. The waitresses are always the same people and all of them seem to be one of the owners.

When we sat down with grumpy Kate that first time, the waitress approached our table and without intro said to us "Mom and dad need coffee. And what's the haps with you, beautiful? Would some chocolate milk cheer you up?" It did. She constructed a special plate of yummy goodness just for Kate, too. Sarah was still on mush and was just happy to be able to look at all the lights. The food is fantastic. The coffee is great. And everyone there acts like that waitress.
At the OB and at the hospital everyone referred to Jeremiah and me as "Mom and Dad" and we knew it was because we were just accessories to the people who really mattered to them, our offspring. Now we get that at daycare and at Sweet Melissa's. Not everyone there has kids with them, but everyone there is fine with the place just crawling with ankle-biters. We know of a lot of kid-friendly places in town, but last weekend when we went again, and that same waitress remembered my kids' names, we agreed that Sweet Melissa's is the most kid-loving restaurant we've ever entered. Did I mention the fantastic food? From there, it's a few steps to the equally beloved plaza containing the popular fountain and gazebo. The square in Decatur is kid heaven.

Now then. I'm working on a project at work that requires a blog. We opted to use Blogger for said blog and I have to administrate it. Turns out I can't get it to say "posted by _____" differently for different blogs. So, I had to go with something a little more professional-seeming than Kicking N. Screaming (which I assigned myself on a whim without prior consideration anyway). So at least for the time-being, I'm just LMP. Is it "lump"? Maybe "lamp"? Could be "limp"...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A few good apples

By Friday had peeled myself from my bed, showered and gone to work. I survived the entire day but not without a couple 800mg tablets of ibuprofen sprinkled in there. Saturday, I was well enough to have cabin fever but still weak as a kitten, so the walk with Kate to the park and back wiped me out. The house...the house is unspeakably filthy. Laundry threatened to take over our entire bedroom and the dog...oh the filth on that creature.

There was only one thing to do. Sit on the front porch, away from the squalor, blow bubbles and eat apples. It was a beautiful day and smelled decidedly better outside so there we sat. Until it got dark and cooled to an uncomfortable temperature. All that avoiding of our chores reminded me how much a love a good front porch. Until this morning, when the house had not cleaned itself. That was kind of a let down. But those were some sweet apples.

Friday, February 15, 2008

This Old House

Here is the rotting siding on the back exterior wall of the house we bought in July of 2005. Before we bought the house, we asked the contractor we'd worked with on our previous house to come have a look and let us know if we were being dumb. "This is a good house" he said "I'd buy it, but the siding will have to be replaced". Thinking we had the thing sewn up, Jeremiah innocently wandered off. When he returned, John, our contractor, and I were busy discussing exactly what to do with the house since, as I had suggested, we might as well just rip out the entire wall and put on more house. This was before we'd even signed the contract. I thought Jeremiah handled the whole thing pretty well, especially since, the next time he checked in, we were in the kitchen, talking about how I wanted to rip the whole room out and re-do it. Here we are, just over 2 and 1/2 years later, doing exactly those things. We are putting on a little master suite, a screened porch and redoing the odious kitchen. I am simultaneously thrilled and terrified. Were I not still suffering from the effects of the sinus infection, I'd pause now to put my head between my knees. Too late for panic, though! We've knocked down structures and regraded. Here's the old:

And here's the current state of things. The slab for the addition would've been poured on Thursday, but the concrete guy has the flu.

We're pretty excited about all the changes around here. I hope the concrete guy recovers rapidly, though, because no amount of wiping of Lola's paws gets that mud off them. The place is disgusting.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


I've been meaning to post these shots for awhile. Kate & Sarah enjoy their sign language DVDs. In fact, they're pretty much the only thing I've ever seen Sarah pay the slightest attention to, TV-wise. Here they are, watching the "one for babies!" and signing along with it. I was reminded of this afternoon when, at Sarah's 18-month-check-up, the doctor informed me that even shows claiming to be educational, are not.
The above is Kate signing "airplane" but what I love about it is that Kate looks like such a rocker.

Here's the tail-end (heh heh) of "dog", it was one of Sarah's first signs, naturally.

Here Sarah, magic wand in hand, displays "eat". Also, a popular one.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Kate is much better. However, now Sarah and Jeremiah have colds and I am dying. Yesterday, when I tried to get an appointment to see the doctor, he made me instead go to the emergency room because I had a fever of 103 and had just blacked out during a sojourn into the kitchen.

"We need them to rule out meningitis" the nurse told me. "I don't have meningitis", I said. She was unmoved. No fan of Occam's Razor, she. I was pretty certain I have a sinus infection and/or the flu. Still, it was off to the ER with me. So I made Jeremiah come home and take me because of the raging fever and the blacking out. We proceeded to enjoy the hospitality of the good people of Emory for 4 hours. They were overloaded so I sat on a gurney in the hallway. The triage nurse castigated me for not getting a flu shot. "Would it have spared me this dreaded meningitis?!?" I thought, but did not say.

When I finally saw the doctor he moved all my joints around and felt my neck. He then told me he concurred with my diagnosis of sinus infection and flu. A mere 45 minutes after that, we were out the door with a prescription for an antibiotic and...Robotussin. I think that might have been a mistake because I do not have a cough. It claims it will make one drowsy so I took it anyway because I was dying for something that would allow me to sleep.

My fever raged all night. The little I was able to sleep, I dreamed about the cast of Lost. And all I can smell is, I'm pretty sure, the fried bits from Captain D's. And everything tastes like metal. This is how I know I'm dying. It's just as well, since I don't think Blogger is ever going to fix its spellcheck anyway. (Has anyone else noticed this? It's very annoying for the spelling impaired!)

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Sarah feeds the dog

Sarah likes to feed Lola. First, she figured out how to open the bin in which we store Lola's food. Then she figured out how to scoop some food into the cup and bring it over to Lola's bowl. Then she decided it was easier to grab handfuls of food and drop them directly into the bowl. We can't stop her. She's a dog-feeding maniac.

Today we proudly watched as she rolled the bin adjacent to the dog's bowl and then went about delivering tiny handfuls of the scrumptious nuggets one after the other until Lola's bowl is full.
Occasionally, a few chunks of dog food land in the water bowl instead of their intended destination and Sarah will stare at the error woefully and sigh "Uh-oh". After taking a moment to compose herself, she gets right back to work. I hope Lola doesn't mind soggy dog food in her cold beverage.
Lola is going to be huge by swimsuit season. We just don't notice how often Sarah is feeding her. I've been so delighted with her problem-solving prowess I've kind of forgotten it's probably not all that healthy for our beloved pooch.

Friday, February 08, 2008


Kate's caught a nasty cold. Yesterday they sent her home from daycare around 3:30 with a fever. The poor thing is thoroughly stuffed up and glassy-eyed. Still, she insisted on wearing her princess dress. She took a bath, put on her princess dress and then began the whiny fits. It was pretty obvious she was behaving this way because she felt terrible and had no idea why. Then, we held her down and put saline up her nose which, to my surprise, did not improve her mood. It did, however, get a metric ton of snot out of her nose. Jeremiah gave her a blue corn chip as a peace offering.

Kate sat at the counter in the kitchen wailing and whining and eating her chip. She said things that made no sense at all. Loud. "I don't waaaaaannnna eat my dinner! I'm huuuungry! I don't need to go to daycare I went alrrrreeeady!" Smack dab in the midst of this screed she paused, noting the new bag on the work island. In a totally normal tone of voice she said "Did you buy rice?" Jeremiah looked up from whatever activity he'd selected to aid him in ignoring her fit. "Why yes" he said. We looked at each other and shrugged. She went right back to her fit.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Sarah, aging gracefully

Sarah recently glided past the 18-month-mark of her life. These days she signs like mad but also talks non-stop. Each day, we understand more and more of her prattle. She adores the pets and her sister. She loves books and will bring us an endless supply of them and, before you can object, plop down in your lap, awaiting a reading. In the evenings after daycare, she likes to run circles around house, yelping until we finally scoop her up and take her to bed. It's so hard to believe that our family hasn't always included her. Here's a few shots of 18-month-old Sarah with her peops.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

I hate to have to send her away but...

...that Kate's got to go. This morning's conversation (over the noise of NPR's election coverage):

Kate: [Giggling and indicating her behind] This is my Georgia booty!
Jeremiah : Yep, yours is a Georgia booty.
Kate: You got a Georgia booty!
Jeremiah: Nope, I've got a Michigan booty! And Mommy has an Indiana booty!
Me: Well, not reeeeeaallly
Kate: Not really! Mommy's got a big ol' booty!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Stickers for grown-ups!

Ah, Super Tuesday! I love voting. Just as the mom in Mary Poppins who was too busy fighting for suffrage to notice her kids at all predicted, I do adore the suffragettes. I woke up happy, knowing it was an election day. We were out of coffee which might have ordinarily caused some quiet panic in the pit of my stomach but I simply left a few minutes early and headed to our local coffee shop. From there to the polling place! Giddy, I joined the (somewhat depressingly short) line promptly at 7:05. I even like standing in line on election day. This is interesting to me as the very prospect of standing in a line as finite as 2 people has, on occasion, prompted me to put down the item I was planning to purchase and just go home. But I love to chat it up with my neighbors in line at the polling place. We are a delightful mix of colors, ages, socioeconomic backgrounds and, I noticed this morning, styles of dress.

I had my driver's license, subject of much debate in our state's supreme court, at the ready for the cheerful volunteer. I gleefully filled out the form stating I would be voting in the Democratic primary today (though my pen hovered briefly over "Republican"...throw off The Man? Nah.) and I stepped up to the Diebold electronic voting machine and hoped no one had hacked into it as I placed my vote. Why yes, I do think we should implement a 1% sales tax to pay to replace our pre-civil war sewage systems! I selected the lesser of the evils for whom I would like my state's delegates to vote and then I hit CAST BALLOT. That always feels so good. I paused for a moment of silence for all the people dying in the name of free elections in Kenya right now and then I moved toward the door.

Then comes the very best part about voting. Unlike my children, I receive no particular kudos for my good behavior at the doctor's office, the dentist or even at work. But for voting...I get a sticker! IN YOUR FACE KATE & SARAH!!! I always display my sticker proudly on my shirt on election day, in hopes of reminding my fellow voters to go to their polling places. Sometimes I forget it and it goes through the wash on my shirt and I have to work to remove the sticky remnants of paper from various bits of clothing as they emerge from the dryer. It's alright. I'm a Georgia voter!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

More from the royal court of Kate

Yesterday when Jeremiah picked the girls up from daycare Kate, in an especially giggly mood, pronounced herself Princess Camelbutt. When I arrived home from work Princess Camelbutt was outside playing in our next door neighbors' yard with their dogs, Jack and Carmen, our dog and her sister who she declared was "Little Crazy Sister". Jeremiah and I chatted with Charlie and Alison while Princess Camelbutt, Little Crazy Sister and all the dogs romped in the very wet, red, Georgia clay. The end result was a study in earth tones. Suddenly Kate had had enough and announced she wanted to go inside and put on her princess dress. The edict proclaimed, we had no choice but to acquiesce. Her royal highness, her sororal royal highness and I went upstairs (sans muddy shoes) to change into something more appropriate for, I assume, dinner.

While we were up there Kate found her sparkly sunglasses and seized upon them. Slowly, dramatically, she placed them on her face and looked at me. "I want to wear these with my princess dress, " she explained and then struck a regal pose, "so I can look like a superstar!" Emphasis on "SUPER" and throw away whisper on "starrrrr". And then, you must believe me gentle readers, she flashed me two animated jazz hands. Just for a second! Then strutted out of the room. I nearly peed.