Wednesday, April 30, 2008

An Important Lesson in Manners

It's been awhile! So I have a great many updates to post. First, let me tell you all about how Kate learned what one should do when one destroys the property of others.

It was several weeks ago, we were at Steve & Joy's house, visiting with my folks who were down from VA. Kate was admiring some framed photos on the table in the hallway. She'd picked one up that contained some black & whites of some of us at Steve & Joy's wedding rehearsal dinner. Just as she went to set it back down, she dropped it. It fell to the floor and the glass shattered. She was a bit stunned and just stood stalk still.

After the ensuing clean-up, I explained to Kate that we all knew it had been an accident, but that she should tell Steve & Joy she was sorry and then we should replace the frame. She nodded at this information somberly. Then, chin up, she marched over to her aunt and uncle and told them she was sorry she broke their frame. "We know it was an accident, Kate, but thank-you for apologizing" Steve said, as I'd expected. Joy said "It's alright. How about we go to Target together on Friday and replace it?"

When Friday arrived, along with her snack, I put $20 in Kate's lunch box and explained approximately 50 times that the money was for the new frame and that no matter what else they bought at Target, Kate must use it to buy the frame. Then I told her teacher at daycare it was in there and why. Then I told Joy, who planned to pick the girls up that afternoon to go to Target.

When the children returned home, there was a giant bag of goodies along with the kids. New shoes for Sarah. A new outfit for Sarah, too. And a new dress for Kate to wear to daycare, along with a new princess dress. I stopped by their house to pick up the car seats and Joy handed me my $20. "We completely forgot to buy a frame!" (She did point out, that their new items had been on extraordinary sale. The new dress for daycare, for example, was $6 at Burlington Coat Factory. How do you not buy that? That's right. They went to two stores.)

Yes, I think Kate learned a valuable lesson that day. To my chagrin, we still haven't replaced that frame.

Here are the girls sporting some of their new duds.

Oh yeah, they also both got new dolls. Here's one of Kate sleeping with hers in a boot.

And here's one of Sarah I just think is cute.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

This morning over breakfast

Kate: I am a little girl.

Me: Yes, you are a little girl.

Kate: Sarah's a baby.

Me: Sarah's practically a little girl now

Sarah: Ha HAAAA!

Kate: You're not a little girl anymore.

Me: No, I'm a grown-up.

Kate: Yes. You're a grown-up. I can tell you're a grown-up because...

Me: [bracing myself]

Kate: look like you're just sick of it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Insulation for that huge melon

In one miraculous day our addition acquired insulation, had it inspected and it was approved! Today, there is drywall stacked out in the new bedroom waiting to become our ceilings and walls starting (hopefully) tomorrow. I am giddy. In other events, mom had rotator cuff surgery today. All those years pitching in the Bigs finally took their toll, it seems. So anyway, when we got home from daycare Kate & Sarah made get Grammy Provost. I will try to mail it off quickly. Putting things in the mail is not my forte (Anni, I swear I'll get that stuff for Cyrus in the mail before he no longer fits into it. Or, at least, by the time you have another baby). Anyway, after creating great works in Grammy P.'s honor, Kate took to drawing other family members. I watched as she veeeerrry slowly drew a HUGE circle on her paper. "I'm drawing Uncle Steve, here's his big, fat head!" she announced.
Photos are here because we stole Steve & Joy's camera. Our own beloved camera is still down and out. Jeremiah confessed to me that he fears one of the kids dropped the camera. We're a little panicked.

Self reliance

When Kate turned 2 we moved her from her crib to the bed. Mostly because I was about to have Sarah and we wanted Kate to be well past thinking of the crib as her bed by the time Sarah needed to sleep in it. Because the girls' bedroom is upstairs and ours is downstairs we worried Kate would wander to the steps and tumble down them, subsequently breaking her neck and probably dying in an effort to crawl into bed with us because she had a nightmare. So we put the baby gate up in her doorway for months after she'd moved into the bed.

It became apparent to us, however, that Kate had no intention of going anywhere near the stairs. In fact, she won't even leave her room unless one of us goes up there and gets her. On weekend mornings, when we're not waking her from a deep sleep to take her to daycare, she will sit in her bed and play, calling out to us periodically, until someone shows up. She started getting up to use the potty on these mornings, which is pretty exciting, but she still won't just come downstairs.

This morning Jeremiah called me at the office before he headed off to daycare and work and informed me that Kate, getting antsy waiting for daddy to finish dressing Sarah, announced that she'd be downstairs. She went downstairs, and yelled up to him that she was getting herself a yogurt. When he got down to the kitchen with Sarah, not only was Kate sitting at the counter, neatly eating her yogurt, she'd gotten one out for Sarah too!

I have long had a plan to put the kids' healthy snacks at their level in the fridge to encourage them to grab something good. I hadn't bothered yet because those stinkin' knee-biters seemed to always expect me to get their food for them. But now...oh I'm so excited I want to run right out to the Farmer's Market and stock up on good kid eats! My baby's growin' up [tear]!

Saturday, April 19, 2008


The kitchen has gone from having two windows on the back wall, to having a door and a window on the back wall, to that wall containing two doors. Three, really, if you count the French doors as two. Soon, it will have just the French doors and a cased entryway - that solid door is temporary, to help keep the bugs and mess out. I shutter to think what the kitchen would look like if it weren't doing its job. The room is alarmingly filthy as it is.

Next up - changes on the new screened in porch:

It's coming along nicely. Today we're trying to decide which color we'll paint the place when we get to that point. We're leaning, not surprisingly, toward a rich, chocolate brown. The houses on either side of us are currently brown. Mike & Katherine's house is a national-park-plank color and Charlie & Alison's house is sort of beige. We know Charlie & Alison are planning to eventually paint theirs navy blue...for the time-being though, if we go with this brown, I'll be referring to our block of houses as Brown Town.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pictures are coming

I've been avoiding posting because I wanted to include pictures - pictures of our weekend with my folks, pictures of the house progress. Our camera has been set to some mysterious f-stop (someone tiny is either a menace or a prodigy...the difference is often indiscernible) and our photos are all screwy of late. So here's a verbal update on the goings on.

The house is coming along. There was some time there during which the ceiling in the kitchen was just gone and plastic sheeting hung throughout the room. It made me think of when they came to take E.T. away. The room opened up into the new attic, 9' above the 9' ceiling - nothing but rafters and a constant breeze. The noise and the wind moved the plastic sheeting around in such a way that we couldn't sleep that night. It sounded like there were voices whispering in the kitchen. They were saying "you are crazy to spend all this money on a house that was already perfectly livable. You will probably starve now and your children will never get to participate in extra-curricular activities of any kind". The temporary ceiling is now up and the sheeting is gone for the time-being so I'm less tormented.

Mom and Dad were here for the weekend. Everyone took Friday off to go to the aquarium. Everyone but me. I missed the sea lions being fed for a few meetings. Oh well, at least Jeremiah got lots of pictures. (D'oh!). I was on hand for our visit to the zoo on Sunday. The weather was perfect for that - cool, but sunny so the animals were frisky. The zoo is featuring naked mole rats at the moment. The signs are up everywhere. I think they should have giant, flashing, neon signs that state "NAKED MOLE RATS!!!" and "ALL NAKED, ALL THE TIME!" They are, however, more the Clermont Lounge kind of naked than the cheetah kind of naked if you know what I mean. (Yikes)
The new door from the kitchen to the new screened porch (not yet screened in) should arrive and be installed today. That's exciting stuff because the current window has all the trim removed and it's been cold here. The kitchen is freezing. I will get photos. If I have to lie, cheat or steal my family will never be photoless again! (Stay tuned for said photos and narrative on exactly what I had to do to get them).

Thursday, April 10, 2008


If you're here much, you've no doubt spied photos of Lola the dog. She's a big part of the family and the focus of much of Kate & Sarah's affections. She has horrible separation anxiety and often eats things we care about while laying on other things we care about subsequently destroying both, if we don't properly puppy proof before leaving her home alone. But we love her. She's a big mush and constant companion. She and I have walked, no doubt, hundreds of miles together in her lifetime.

Lola was conceived at the home of an abusive backyard breeder. Her mother was about a year and a half old and on her 3rd litter by the time she was brought to the rescue where Lola was born. When she came to the rescue, her mother didn't know how to play, had a scar on her forehead from being grazed by a bullet and was terrified of all men. The "breeder" bred all his boxers together indiscriminately, which resulted in some dogs that really don't look much like boxers. Lola is primarily white and her face is not smooshed in like that of the boxer archetype. Because she has short, white hair a lot of my neighbors think she's a pitbull. As we walk down the street together, Lola on her slack leash by my side, sniffing everything we pass, I am often asked "does your dog bite?" I've had people dramatically pull their children clear across the street as we approached together, people yell from down the street for me to hold off my dog, numerous children inquire as to whether she fights, and one guy yelled to us that if there were an Ugliest Dog competition, Lola will win hands down.

Today Lola and I were taking a walk at lunchtime. As we made our way home I passed a portly fellow sitting in his car. He had a giant, hot pink hair pick thrust into his do in a manner that called to mind the random debris that lodges shockingly into trees when tornadoes blow through. He appeared to be in his late 30s which made the hair pick look especially absurd. I expect that look from a 15-year-old. As we passed by Lola was heeling impressively. She usually does at the end of a walk when she's wearing down. He gave Lola a look and I steeled myself. Then he said "Is your dog ferocious?"

I said "no" out loud but in my head I completely lost it. "Not as ferocious as that hair pick that attacked you" I snapped back, mentally. I allowed my brain to indulge in the image of me ripping that hot pink bit of pointy plastic out of his head and beating him with it. Truth be told, I'm a lot more violent than my dog. I'm so sick of those idiots.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Rare and elusive cute

The trouble with the kids is, the cuteness, which is extreme, comes between the obnoxiousness. The obnoxiousness is a force equal and opposite the cuteness. This weekend I kept trying to snap shots of the cuteness for the blog but it was morphing back into Awful too quickly. I might as well just take pictures of both; who am I trying to fool, anyway?

Sarah, who is on the brink of 2, is really a tiny little manic-depressive. She will go from giggly and sweet (stretching with mommy after a workout and looking so very pleased with herself) to emitting screams that would shame Halloween's Jamie Lee Curtis, for no discernable reason. Like this morning at 4:00. Mostly, she is sweet, snuggly and adorable and I miss her when I'm not around her. Then, when I am around her I wonder why on earth I missed her so much. Ah, Toddlerhood.

Meanwhile Kate is busy contradicting every word I say. "You've got your shoes on the wrong feet", I tell her, "No I don't!" she insists. "I'm sorry, Kate, we're out of __________" I sadly state, going for empathetic. "No we're not! We're not out of ______!"

We rented Enchanted for Kate this weekend and she watched it over and over again. Jeremiah and I were talking about the scene in which the dad tells the fairy tale chick that his wife just up and left him and his daughter. "I can imagine you leaving me" Jeremiah said (really?) "but not the girls!" I agreed, but that's because at the moment the girls were sound asleep and the house was quiet and I'd had dinner and a nice glass of wine. I reflected upon that conversation the next day as I held Screaming Sarah and thought Aruba sounded nice. Then Sarah stopped screaming, hugged me tightly and giggled. Suckered in again.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Bitten by the jitterbug

I'm working from home and Jeremiah is getting the girls ready for daycare. They're watching the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse; it's rife with songs and music. Jeremiah's running around, gathering all the necessary items, including an afternoon snack for Kate.

Jeremiah: Kate, do you want to put your snack in your purse or your backpack?
Kate: I just want to dance!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

runING, cheerING, freezING...the 2nd annual gerund race!

Yes it's that time of year again - time for the ING Georgia Marathon! We had so much fun cheering on the runners last year, we planned to go again, especially since we had three people in the race: Joy, Jennifer and Rusty. When I heard they were having trouble getting volunteers to man the water station at mile 11 (a super short walk from my home and literally a stone's throw from where we'd plan to gather to cheer) I figured I could just as easily pass out water and cheer as I could cheer while eating and drinking coffee. So I signed up.

I don't run (but I can walk much faster than this). I was well into my twenties before I stopped thinking people who ran marathons were dumb. Why on earth would you run all that distance when no one is even chasing you (especially if you're me, when it came to running in groups, no one was ever behind me), and we have the ability to deliver important messages via telephones now? Eventually I became less shallow (a little) and came around to understanding the importance of setting a very difficult goal and attaining it. Further, a physical challenge is also very much one of attitude and to run a marathon or a half marathon, or walk for 2 or 3 straight days, or swim the English Channel or start taking the steps instead of the elevator every day, is a way of reminding yourself that you can. Whatever it is. You can. I admire that. So I handed the runners water.

I showed up at the water station at mile 11 of the race, on College Ave, at about 6:30AM. I was greeted cheerfully and handed my official Race Crew ING t-shirt. ING's color is dayglo orange. I paused, momentarily wondering if there had been some mistake and all these other people had been ordered here by a judge. But no. ING selected that color on purpose. Wow. Bright. So we divided ourselves into partners and began filling the tables with cups of water, 3 tiers high. I was impressed with how quickly everyone just fell in, paired off, devised their own method and got the task completed. All the while chatting happily, pounding back coffee and freezing. It was about 38 degrees, which isn't terrible except it had been in the 70s the preceding days, and it had been raining and was damp and terribly, chillingly, windy.

Then came the runners. I suspect working at mile 11 was more uplifting than, say, mile 22. The head of the pack, of course, looked like this was no big deal to have run 11 miles and they skipped gleefully by, most of them forgoing water. As more and more people packed in, I started to really do some people-watching. What a group! All ages, all colors, all shapes, all sizes it was amazing. I noticed most of the men who took water from me wore wedding bands and most of the women had French manicures. All the runners were very gracious, many of them even took a second or two to aim their empty cups to the one general pile we were amassing, instead of just dropping them in the street. All of us volunteers cheered until we were hoarse. By 10AM no one could really talk anymore, but we used empty gallon jugs with pebbles in them to make a lot of noise.

Rusty did the half marathon (he referred to himself as a "halflete") so we didn't get to see him, that group peeled off just before mile 11, but Joy and Jennifer came by together and were looking great at that point. They made it in at around 4 and 1/2 hours. Joy beat Jennifer by one second (it will probably destroy their friendship!).

Later that day, Steve & Joy's neighbor, Crazy Joe and I invited ourselves and all the neighbors over to Steve & Joy's house for a cook-out, pot-luck soiree to celebrate the runners. We made Steve send out the invite email. We didn't get around to asking him to do that until Friday, so I was pretty impressed not only with the turn-out but also with the fabulous food everyone brought. Jeremiah smoked a couple briskets, which kept him busy most of the day. We were both so tired after that, we went to bed at 8:45, missing the end of the Braves game. I can't imagine how much I'd have hurt if I'd actually run a single step that day.