Monthly Archives: February 2014

The Circus Travels

This isn’t the first time I’ve said this, but today has been a little farcical.

It started in the morning. Paul reported that Levi got up at 6:00, crying. Paul, a little worried that he might be sick, asked what was wrong. “I … I can’t whistle anymore!” Levi sobbed.

He just learned yesterday. He can still only whistle by inhaling. And his skill was lost only because his lips were too dry. Tragedy indeed.

I had a lot of errands to run, and my sister needed something at her workplace, so a run into town was in order. I decided it would be fun to take Mom along with the boys and have lunch. I decide this periodically. “Periodically” here means “as soon as I’ve forgotten what the last time was like.” I’m not sure exactly how to describe our little jaunts, but the word “fiasco” is not out of line, I don’t think.

So we drove through Wendy’s, but I was so distracted that I forgot to pull forward and actually, y’know, get the food. Seriously. They had to open the first window again and tell me to move along. I’d like to say that I eat such a healthy diet that I didn’t know how the drive-through worked, but I don’t think any of you would believe it.

We visited Auntie’s work, and the boys got a lot of reminders about polite behavior and really did well, except for Levi forgetting that it’s rude to ask everyone you meet how old they are. Multiple times.

Mom needed some cash, so on our way home, we drove through (I know – asking for trouble, right?) the bank. This time, it wasn’t really anything I did. But the wind gusted just as the little tray came out, and it picked the envelope up and carried it off. And opened it up, and made the money dance as it blew across the road.

I pulled forward so I could open my door, and two of the bank employees dashed out in their shirtsleeves (which is real dedication, because holy macaroni it’s cold). One of them was actually picking bills out of a shrub. We did eventually get all the money and even the receipt, but I looked back over my shoulder and I could see Mom sitting in the front seat, laughing at us. And not even trying to hide it.

At that point, I think all we needed was a little calliope music.

The rest of the day has been uneventful. But it’s not over yet, so who knows what could happen.

In other news, Levi is learning how to spell just a little. He and his Beloved Auntie played a game with the blocks the other day, and he figured out – with a little help – all the three-letter words in the picture.



He’s very proud. (Me too.)

Transparent Tuesdays. Or not.

I read recently on another blog that there’s a movement recently to have Transparent Tuesdays. In which bloggers remove the rose-colored filters from their writing and talk about the parts of their lives that are less than glamorous.*

This made me laugh. Not because I don’t applaud the sentiment. I do. Somebody said awhile ago that we all have confidence issues because we’re comparing our own blooper files with everyone else’s highlight reels. There’s a lot of truth to that, and I am among those who breathe a sigh of relief when I see someone else’s trashed kitchen.

It made me laugh because I’m not really sure how much more transparent I should be. With my penchant for posting about embarrassing parenting moments, my dubious housekeeping, and just oversharing in general, I think going much further (Further? Farther? I can never get that one right, like the teacher in Finding Forrester.) is probably not advisable.

So I told Paul I’m going to do Whitewashed Wednesdays instead.


In which I tell you a story about my angelic children and lovely parenting moments, and share pictures of my lovely, beautifully decorated, spotless home.

But that sounds like WAY too much work. In fact, I couldn’t dredge up enough material for one week. So I’ll probably just go on as I’ve begun.

Since I baited you with that title, though, here are a few transparent tidbits.

  • I still like getting up in the morning roughly as much as a cat enjoys a bath.
  • When my mom shares any local news (birth, death, etc.) with me now, I verify it with a second source before telling anyone else. This feels disloyal, but necessary.
  • One of my friends posted about wearing her newborn, and I had a little weepy moment of nostalgia. I loved wearing my babies. LOVED. Then I remembered how much I did not love the not sleeping (see also first bullet point), and how my other friends’ baby has turned the last year of their life into a torment of wailing. (I love her, and she’s getting a lot better, but wow. Girl was born angry.) And I came to my senses. If we adopt again, it’ll have to be a child that is sleeping through the night.
  • Paul may come strangle me after he reads the “if we adopt again” bit. He is all out of “if” and “again” on that one.
  • I checked the laundry this morning and decided the damp clothes loitering in the washing machine probably needed a rinse. Another one.

Happy Tuesday, ya’ll!

*I didn’t realize until I posted this that I used “recently” twice in the first twelve words. In unrelated recent news, I was recently hit very hard in the head. Kidding. I just need an editor, apparently. And maybe an adverb intervention.

Turning Point

Paul and I got to go on a bike ride this afternoon. My sister watched the hooligans, the weather cooperated, and some kind soul had plowed the bike trail. I really needed it. We have a stationary bike in the basement – it’s a pretty nice one, and I ride it when I must. But it is not the same as being out in fresh air, taking in the sun, and riding through space toward a destination.

We did just under 14 miles, which is chicken feed for our friend Jeremy (a Very Serious Cyclist), but respectable enough for two former exercise haters. As we were coming home in the car, Paul said, “This sounds weird, but I kind of have a buzz from that.” It doesn’t sound weird to me at all, in fact. I was a little buzzed too.


We did an out-and-back on a local trail, and rode into a pretty good headwind on the way out. The tailwind coming back was a lot of fun. When I do this particular ride, coming back is always my favorite, and I was thinking about why. Today’s wind direction was definitely a bonus, but even if I’m riding into the wind on the way home, I like it best. My favorite moment of the ride is not when I pull up beside the car at the end, but right when I turn around at the far end of the trail.

I think it’s because I have no more decisions to make. I’ve gone to the end, and the only place to go is back, all the way. I don’t have the option of looping back early if I’m a little tired. I’m committed, and I may as well give it everything I’ve got. I find it oddly freeing.

Is this normal, or is my brain wired funny?

Dreaming of Warm, Sunny Days

We’re having snow days this year. A lot of them. More than I remember ever having when I was in school. (Yes, I know I sound like a grouchy old woman. Hush.) Paul, though, remembers the winter of 1978, when there were 22 snow days. So it could definitely be worse.

I had taken today off to try and get a bunch of stuff done around the house. So it’s good that I’m not trying to work while the boys are rousting around today. But it does dampen my grand plans for the day. I got out the tent and tunnels. It should distract them for awhile.


I had yesterday off too, for a company holiday. I don’t think I’ve ever worked anywhere that took President’s Day, but I’m not complaining. I spent the day continuing the decluttering effort I started on Sunday. There is this closet by the front door in our house. It’s kind of hard to explain, but it’s built over the stairs to the basement, so there are these deep, wide shelves built into it, and it’s HUGE. Which seems to mean, unfortunately, that I just shove more crap in there. I dreaded opening the door.

But I dragged everything out (WHAT ARE YOU DOING MOM?!!???!? WHAT IS THAT?!? WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WITH THAT?!?  MOM?!!?????) and sorted ruthlessly. The amount of stuff that went either to the trash or the donate pile was shameful. Or impressive, I guess, depending on how you look at it. I did get it organized, and I’ve been going over and just looking at it because it makes me so happy. I even made my sister admire it. 

I made two more big garbage bags of stuff from other rooms and shoved them in the car. As I drove away from the donation center, I felt freeeeeeeeeeee. How do we accumulate so much stuff?

In other news, it’s been a year since our family went on our magical, amazing wish trip. Just thinking about it makes me smile. The weather was really so beautiful, and we had such a wonderful time. And we made such friends!

I got the nicest surprise this Sunday when a comment popped up on on the blog from Jess and Maggie. They’re the beautiful girls in the picture below, and they were our special friends during our week at Give Kids the World.


They were there on a school volunteer trip with their teacher (below), who was just as great.


This week, the girls are back at the village, and they thought of our crazy boys. I’d shared the blog address with them last year, and they remembered it!

Jess and Maggie, I hope you’re having a wonderful time again this year, and making another family feel as treasured as we did. You’re seniors this year, I believe, so it’s really not very long until you’ll be going off into the wide world on your own. I’m so glad that we got to meet you. I don’t know what your futures hold, but no matter what it is, your kindness will serve you well.

And soak up some sun for us! We’re a little buried right now.




He’s been waiting SO LONG.

And the tooth fairy needs to get her act together. Eek.

Yes, it’s mid-afternoon and he’s still wearing his pajamas. I feel you judging me. YOU try to get him dressed on a day he doesn’t have to go to school, and then decide whether it’s worth it.

Things I Did Today


Not in chronological order, necessarily.

  • Worked. It was an oddly quiet day, which I’m choosing to believe was a cosmic birthday present.
  • Got a pedicure. I know I can paint me peeptoes all by myself, but that’s not really the point, now is it? The peeptoes themselves are now a cheerful light purple that looks like spring. Because I’m pretty sure it’s still coming, one of these days.
  • Was awakened at 5:45 and was cheerful about it. Mostly because I could hear shrill little excited voices in the kitchen helping Paul with a birthday card. When they tumbled into the bed, I made them give me hugs and kisses before I’d open the birthday card. (Also because I got to go back to bed for awhile after being properly impressed.)
  • Listened to Gloria Estafan sing “Come on baby, move your body, do that conga!” over and over. The card Levi chose (because it was The Best One, obviously) plays that when you open it up, and they are not over it yet. I particularly like the sumo-wrestler-on-speed dance that Elias has developed to go with it.
  • Deciphered, with help, the back of the card.
    I’m going to assume you can read the part Paul wrote. The big oval in the top corner is a hug, and there are Xs for kisses below, from Levi. You can’t really see them because Elias “signed” over top of them. I’m pretty sure it’s the best birthday card ever.
  • Admired the roses I got last night because Levi decided it was simply not possible to wait until morning to give them to me.
    Paul took them on a clandestine shopping trip last night after supper. When I say clandestine, I don’t necessarily mean that I didn’t know what was happening or that it was quiet. I mean that they kicked me out of the room to talk about it, and when I reminded Levi that where they were going was a secret he actually clapped his little hand over his mouth and ran out of the room to avoid letting the secret escape. When they got home, Levi ran in from the garage to tell me that they had a surprise. He wasn’t going to tell me what it was, but, “it starts with an F and IT GROWS!!!!” I managed to act surprised anyway.
  • Admired the valentine that came home from preschool with Levi. I’m pretty sure it’s the best valentine ever, too.
  • Finished reading a book. Actually reading, not listening by audio while I washed dishes or folded underpants.
  • Left the house for several hours, completely by myself, as my sister’s birthday present to me.

For most of an afternoon today, I sat in a cafe by myself with a bagel and a chai latte and read a predictable mystery that required nothing from me in the way of real, active attention or complex thought. After I got my treat, I put headphones in and did not speak to one solitary soul the rest of the time. I didn’t even meet anyone’s eyes.

For a little while, I didn’t have to be a mom or an employee or a wife or a sister or a daughter or a volunteer anything. And it was fantastic. Paul is taking me to dinner tonight, and I’m looking forward to it. But I’ll be really honest and tell you that I’m looking forward to it even more because I had a few hours to just be.

If there is someone in your life that is a primary caregiver of some sort, whether it’s of small children or an elderly parent or a sick spouse, I have an idea for you next time you don’t know what to give them for their birthday.

Give them the gift of alone. Best present ever.


Muscle-Bound Man

Paul has been encouraging the boys to show off their muscles at every opportunity. This morning, they were going out the lane to catch the bus when Levi flexed and said, “Whoo! I could scare away a honey badger with these muscles!”


Be afraid, honey badger. Be very afraid.