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December 2007
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February 2008

just so you know:

there is no cohesive quality to this post. it's just stuff going on in my life right now. that's all. don't fret and wonder how one thing goes with another. it doesn't.


so, chicago was awesome. in that "wonderful, fun, doing-something-different, we want to claw each others' eyes out but hey! that's a family trip!" kind of way.

henry went to his first slumber party that friday, so i picked him up around 8 a.m., we came home and packed, finished laundry, and i got my third box of layouts off to f+w for the book untitled michele skinner project. we *finally* took off around 3 p.m. ... were shooting for 2, left an hour late, typical for us. after stops for potty breaks and meals and snacks and more potty breaks and who knows what else, we didn't roll in to chicago until about one in the morning. and it was freezing.

next morning we woke up and were treated to views of the chicago river, the sears tower, and a beautiful sunrise. we got up, dressed, fed, and were off to the shedd aquarium for the day. harper didn't so much like the 4-d planet earth movie experience (she didn't want to see a 15-minute movie in the first place, but when she got squirted in the face with water it was all over.), and henry mainly read all the computer interactive information and was unimpressed with actual wildlife, but marc and i had a good time.

Rsz13 monday marc went to work, and the kids and i met up with my friend jessie and her family. i've known jessie for, what, almost 10 years? but only over the internet and email. we met on an ivillage message board for women who were trying to decide whether and when to have a baby, and we just bonded. our families are so freakishly alike that we've always said we should meet. well, turns out jessie's sister got them tickets to see oprah, they were going to be in chicago, and marc's in chicago every dern week so i said we'll be there. and i'm so glad we did. we all got along so well ... even marc and jessie's husband found each other mutually fascinating. wow. and henry, i think, has found a new kindred friend in michael. it was great.

anyway ... with jessie & the fam ... we spent the day at the children's museum at navy pier. the kids had a blast with each other, jessie and i had a blast with each other, and once marc joined us after lunch, he and jimmy had a blast with each other. (jimmy is swat in florida ... i think marc was actually a little smitten.)

tuesday, marc was again at work all day. the kids and i had breakfast and caught a cab to the john hancock building and took a $20 ride to the observation deck on the 95th floor. that may sound anticlimactic, but honestly it was so much fun. the place was nearly deserted, so the kids could run the length of the floor, peer through those oversize telescope things, and take as much time as they wanted. we were hoping to meet up with my dad and stepmom for lunch that afternoon - there were in chicago for an appointment, but dad had a bugger of a cold and didn't want to share, so they headed home before we could meet. which was sweet of him, but i caught it anyway. oh well. the kids and i headed back to the hotel and swam until marc got home. that night we found an awesome indian place about two blocks away from marc's home away from home the hotel and stuffed ourselves silly.

(i think maybe this was the night harper fell out of bed at 2 a.m. and spent the next hour screaming at the top of her lungs that her crotch hurt ... yeah. that was fun.)

wednesday marc had appointments north of the city, so the kids and i drove to yet another children's museum and spent the whole ding dong day there. literally. marc finally picked us up around 4 p.m., in the snow, and we started for home. five hours later we were about halfway ... and the whole trip usually takes six hours. so we gave up, got a hotel in janesville, wisconsin, and called it a day. thursday we were finally home.

so that was fun.

and now i'm sitting here in a house that's periodically racked by these BOOMS as the ice in our gutters snap and contract in the sub-zero-not-including-wind-chill temps outside. they're scaring the heck out of me ... the kids were so freaked out at dinner that we had to call our neighbor, ray, to come listen and tell us what on earth was going on. everyone should have a ray-the-neighbor ... he knows all.

and earlier today ... wow. this was weird. harper and i went to the mall to play on the indoor play area and grab some lunch. she'd been asking for a cheeseburger since 8:30 a.m., so i foresaw happy meals in our future. but as we were walking to the car, she saw a chinese buffet place and put on the brakes. seriously? but yes, mandarin palace. (or whatever it's called.) she ate orange jello, mushrooms, and white rice.

and then - this is the weird part - we were sitting there eating and i noticed the couple in the booth behind harper. the woman had her eyes closed and looked on the verge of yelling and/or crying. i because intrigued and started to listen without really listening. turns out she and the man were having an affair, and she was complaining that he says he loves her but won't commit to more than wednesdays, and his wife somethingsomethingsomething, and she's sick of it and wants out.

now, these people were probably in their mid- to upper 50s, and not only were they cheating on someone with each other, but they were ending it over crappy chinese at the mall on a tuesday. i don't get that. i was both so mesmerized and horrified by this couple that i immediately upon leaving had to call marc and tell the story to his voice mail. i hope we're never so unhappy with our life together that we get to the point that one of us is getting dumped over crappy chinese at the mall. on a tuesday. that's got to be pretty unhappy.

after that, harper and i ran to target ... and the clouds opened up, and the sun shone, and the angels sang, and i saw them: THE SHOES. the shoes i will wear until the day i die:


it's like god decided i needed a shoe of my very own. i mean, really: light yellow?? there's so much light yellow in my life that marc's officially put a moratorium on it. and chuck's?? hello ... most perfect shoe ever. and polka dots? stop. you're killing me. thank you, jesus.

such a nice day.

ask me what time harper woke up.

that would be a.m.
she couldn't find her plugs.
then 5:11.
also a.m.
because she needed chapstick.
then 5:26.
yes, still a.m.
because her sheets hurt her back and she needed raspberry torte medicine.
don't ask.
and then at 5:48.
i didn't let her give me a reason. i just shoved her back in bed.
and every minute in between there i laid in bed, screaming at myself to go back to sleep. by 5:30, i was crying.
i was up until 1:30 (a.m.) the night before, trying to get layouts done. i went to bed last night at midnight, thinking i would get all this extra sleep because i was going to bed early.
but, apparently, not so much.
i've been sick, marc's of course out of town, i'm already a week late on my deadline, and we leave saturday for four days in chicago ... we're tired of getting left behind, the kids and i need a break, too, and i thought following marc to chicago would be a nice way to celebrate being on my last book deadline. i didn't realize going into that break would be hell, though. and i still have three layouts to go.
and now harper wakes up at bloody 4:50 a.m. and is up for the day at 6:11 a.m.
and did i mention she didn't take a nap yesterday? apparently now she doesn't eat OR sleep.



wow. i can remember watching the show "thirtysomething" when i was teenagesomething and thinking that it had to be the most perfect age: home, husband, kids, jobs, lives. real lives, where you could talk to people and they would take you seriously because you were thirtysomething and it was the age of validity and acknowledgment. and you could argue with friends in your kitchen about important stuff and then share a bottle of wine. and you could be a real person.

well, i'm now thirtysomething. and you know what? it's not bad. though it's scary how close fortysomething is becoming.

Cupcake_3 if you're going to have a mid-30s birthday in the middle of the work and school week, you can't expect too much from it. but as far as birthdays go, it wasn't bad. once i had the kids up and dressed and fed and lunches made, and had one off to school with marc and the other off to preschool with me, i finally had about two hours to myself. i got dressed, checked email (no birthday messages), checked a few of my daily sites (birthday greetings from my friends at studio calico and on a private msn board ... thanks, all!!), and then headed off to paper source for half an hour of shopping bliss. then i went home, brushed my teeth (because i realized halfway to paper source that i hadn't done that yet), and marc and i picked up harper and headed to bonfire for lunch. after that, we went home and harper didn't nap until 2:15, so i was chained to the house. wasn't in the plan, but okay. i left her sleeping and went to pick up henry, headed home, and about an hour later we took off for the galleria for dinner at big bowl and to return some stuff for harper's "big girl room" at pottery barn kids.

real exciting stuff.

i couldn't decide whether i wanted a cake (if i bake a whole cake, i'm the only one who will eat it. and that's just plain wrong.), so instead we wandered down the hall to the good earth and picked up some cookies for the kids, a turtle cheesecake for marc, and a lemon pound cake for me. when we got home, my family sang happy birthday, i made a wish, and there you have it. the kids were then off to bed, we put harper BACK in bed about six times between 7:30 and 9:00, and then we settled into the couch to watch "my big, fat, greek wedding." love.

and now we're off to bed. because we're thirtysomething. and we can't stay up very late.

oh! but i did hear this sweet little song by beirut on the current today and immediately wanted to twirl and spend a week in tuscany. which makes no sense, because the song isn't italian. and i'm sure there's a very interesting story behind this band that i must research. but not now. now i just give you this song. because it made me smile today. and it's my gift to you.

two posts in one day.

i know, look out ... "she's crazy!" woooohoooiiieeee. but seriously ...

harper's supposed to be napping, right? so when i hear her running around upstairs, i go take a look. and what do i see? little miss, in her ariel jammies, wearing a pink ballet-flat-type slipper on one foot and a two-sizes-too-small pink fluffy slipper with pom poms on the other foot, crown on her head, and two different dress-up heels in her hands. and she says to me:

"mommy, i wear crown for night night?" with a big smile on her face.
then: "mommy, i sleep in slippers. like strawberry shortcake sweet dreams. i wear slippers. crown, too?"

now, her mastery of the english language leaves a lot to be desired most days, but her level of cuteness certainly does not.

too bad the camera wasn't handy, though i didn't feel like telling her to hold on, getting the camera, taking a pic, and THEN trying to explain why she couldn't do what she was doing during nap time. how do you criticize something that just made you smile and take a photo??

gosh, she's cute.

trying something new in 2008

here we are, three days ... nearly four ... into the new year, and so far things look exactly the same as last year. marc's still out of state, kids are still yelling at each other, i'm still trying to meet a deadline, still need to lose the equivalent weight of a 2nd grader, still need to get organized.

so here's the plan, because i typically need to have stuff in writing or else it just pffftttt ... out of my head.

1. get through january and february. finish book untitled michele skinner project. focus on that, then move on.
2.  start remodel on downstairs bathroom and paint living room in march. no sense worrying about either one anytime before that because there's no time.
3. also in march: hit the gym again. hard. i was going daily before my sister's wedding and lost nearly 40 lbs. well, hello again to those old nasty buggers. starting in march, i replace writing/scrapping hours with gym hours, and i find my body again.
4. get organized. purge, streamline, focus.
5. take a photo every day.

wait, what? a photo every day? how does that fit in? well, it does. because my camera makes me happy. and this year i'm all about making myself happy. i've ignored my wants and well being for almost 18 months now, but no more. my husband isn't around to make me happy. my kids are wonderful, but too much of them doesn't make me happy. i've lost sight of the reason i scrapbook, and that doesn't make me happy. i'm not comfortable in my skin, and that doesn't make me happy. but something as little and attainable as taking a photograph makes me happy. so that's what i'm doing. you'll notice an album was added to my list over to the right ... every day, a new photo will appear in there. promise. and to get things started, here are entries number one through three.

1_3 2 3

if i can maintain this one simple task, i will feel as though i accomplished something on my list this year. and crossing things off my list makes me very, very happy.


the new year. it's like a new, clean white sheet of paper. the possibilities are limitless. i could write something in pen or pencil. i could make a list or draw a picture. i could print or write in cursive. or i could slap a photo on it with a piece of tape.

whatever the heck i want to do. go wherever the inspiration leads.

i love that about new year's day.

in fact, new year's eve holds no appeal for me. never really has. i'm not a partier, neither marc nor i love crowds and loud music, and the whole concept of new year's eve is that it's just a one-second holiday ... why bother shaving legs, getting dressed, and going out for one second?

but new year's day, with it's new-notebook-like feeling, appeals to me on every level.

so what am i doing today? well, for starters, the tree comes down today. christmas holidays are officially over, and i'm ready to clean and declutter and start over. there are some new natural-colored slipcovers and a big red cotton rag rug on their way here to give our living room a new look. i can't paint until this book untitled michele skinner project is finished at the end of february, but in march - yay!!! the walls will be a beautiful shade of straw harvest. or maybe light avocado. the paint chips are still taped to the wall for decision-making.

we have a new bookshelf and baskets for harper's room ... out with the changing table and in with places for her to store toys to play with during mandatory quiet time (instated now that naps appear to be, well, over).

and the bathrooms should *finally* be started in the next month!! yes!!!

i have so many plans for this house, but i really can't think of any of them until my final deadline at the end of february. but the lists are being made now. oh yes.

so how did '07 end? well, the day we spent in chicago was so much fun, and it looks like we're going back as a family in a couple of weeks to meet up with some friends who will be visiting from florida. we didn't arrive at the hilton until 2 a.m., and by that time our room had been given away. seeing that it was downtown chicago in the middle of the night, we had two sleeping children, and marc has a boatload of member points, they agreed to accommodate us and gave us an executive suite. nice, expect roll-away beds aren't allowed on the executive floor. after some discussion with the desk clerk about having reserved a room for two adults and two children in the first place, marc secured us ONE roll-away, and henry bunked on the couch in a hotel room that was, literally, bigger than our first - and probably our second - apartment.

later that morning, after the kids and i wandered to the executive breakfast and found nothing kid-friendly to eat, and marc spent an hour on a work call, we finally headed out. but first a stop in the amazing lobby, and while marc checked out, i met the most adorable little lady, who was there for a free weekend in the penthouse suite because she had stayed at the palmer house 62 years ago for her honeymoon and still had the receipt. scrapbookers, take note: it PAYS to keep all that ephemera!!

then we headed out to see the holiday sights: the tree in daley plaza, millenium park and the ice skaters out front, the window's at marshall field's macy's. it was great, and the kids did amazingly well, considering they walked a ton and it was freezing. it paid to be from minnesota at that point.

after a fabulous lunch at the park grille and a cab ride back to the hotel, we were off to indiana for the official start of the holidays. being with our families was so great, and we finally got to meet our niece and nephew for the first time - jason, who is 2.5, and lydia, who is nine months, were both born after marc's sister and her husband moved to costa rica to work on the mission field.

pix, of course.

christmas itself treated us well. marc and henry received a combined total of more than 5,500 lego pieces, harper's gifts consisted almost completely of things pink and frilly, and i got a beautiful new coffee maker and a tax write-off an imac. suh-weet.

and now it's back to the brand new year. there's something pleasingly optimistic about the number 2008 ... maybe it's the roundness of the numbers, or the fact that it's an even year, or the joy in the knowledge that we're almost done with bush in the white house. regardless, i'm feeling very hopeful indeed about the coming year.

happy new year, friends!!