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July 2009



marc's gone. again. all week.

company's coming. again. on friday.

trying to finish the upstairs bathroom project. so i can move on. to everything else.

put on all the new hardware. which was matched to all the old hardware.

every door is now. a quarter. of an inch. off.


i need to hire a weekday husband. do they have ads for that on craigslist?

july/august memory makers article

we are now firmly ensconced in summer ... july is just around the corner (wha ... ?!), the kids both have one of their summer camps under their belts, the first round of guests has come and gone, and the second round is just days away. unbelievable as it seems.

it also means that the latest issue memory makers is on the newsstands and i get to talk to you about the "tell your story" article i have in it!


the story i challenge you to get down this time around is about endings. we all keep track of the firsts - first kiss, first date with our significant other, first trip outside the country, etc. - but few of us make mention of the lasts. but aren't the lasts just as significant?  i can write on and on about all the firsts with my kids - their first day, their first solid food, their first step, but i've never taken the time to examine the lasts - the last bottle, the last time i had to rock someone to sleep, the last diaper. and those stories are just as significant as any first.

for this layout, i chose to look at august 2005, the last month of henry being my "little kid;" the next month he would head off to kindergarten, and then from there life would speed up and i would be only a partial participant in his day. the thought of that really made me stop and think.

i spent that month documenting what he did each day, things he said, all the indicators of him still being "little" and the emergence of the "big." at the end of the month, i realized i had an inventory of a "last" - the last month before the first day (kindergarten) of the rest of his life. and i know i will do the same for his sister when the time comes, because tracking who they are before other people become influential on their lives seems like a very important milestone; the "last" time they are solely OUR kids, not the world's.

look around and see what the "lasts" are in your life. and take some time to really think about it, remember and reflect upon them, and create a tribute.

(page made exclusively with the studio calico bibliography kit from jan '09.)

for those who will ask for the journaling, here you go:

August ’05. The last month before kindergarten. The last month before you start becoming who you will be. The last month you will be with me more hours of the day than with anyone else. From here on out, you will be with teachers and friends all day long. From here on out, you won’t let me hold your hand. From here you will start to grow up and away, and that makes me a little weepy. But I will still come into your room at night and stroke your head, and kiss you on the cheek, and tell you how much I love you. That won’t stop till you move away.

thanks, michael bay, for ruining my kid's weekend.

henry and marc have been looking forward to this weekend for months: transformer 2 is out, and the boys were so excited.

then i started hearing rumblings that it was a crummy movie. i didn't give it much thought, because quite honestly the boys wanted to see it for special effects, 'bot battles, etc. then i heard the movie was basically michael bay's soft-porn fantasy mixed with convoluted and way-too-long story lines, wrapped up in stroke-inducing quick-flash scenes.

um ...

so last night marc went to see it to check it out first and deem it go or no-go for henry. his answer?

"that thing should have been rated R."

seriously? why do studios do that? why do they take a TOY, turn it into a FRANCHISE, market toys and games and freakin' HAPPY MEALS to kids, then deliver a movie that has robots with balls, slo-mo jiggly boob shots, a girl (granted, a "robot in disguise" one) forcing herself on a guy, some guy knocking on his jock strap cup, etc. these are not things we choose to expose our son to, regardless of whether it's in a movie that's aimed squarely at him.

i hope other parents read the reviews and show their displeasure by boycotting this movie. i'm not for censorship, but i am for showing studios and directors that if they make a movie for kids, make sure it's APPROPRIATE for kids. or at least kids whose parents have values and standards and strive for the same in their children.

it's flippin' HOT!

i mean, come ON! it's only june! and it's *minnesota*!! this does not bode well for august.

henry has been at a science camp all week, from 9 a.m. till 3:30 p.m. love! i forgot how nice it was to deal with one kid at a time during the day ...

for the most part, harp and i have kept busy with a friend's birthday party, little errands here and there, and tomorrow she has little gym. but it's so dang hot that mostly we stay in, play barbies or do puzzles, color, and hide in the basement where the a/c actually does what it's supposed to do. upstairs is a losing battle.

and in the afternoon, when henry gets home, out comes the slip & slide.


he tried so patiently (for a minute or so) to explain to her how to slide, but the moment she saw the sprinkler it was a no-go. then after watching henry slide a few times, harp became more brave. she wouldn't slide, but henry still thought he could get her down the tarp.

pushing ...


going tandem ...


another method of pushing ...


finally henry gave up and just went for it. and harper contented herself with watching, doing a little cheer dance for henry, and tossing grass on the slide.


then they both gave up and drowned ants.


and with that, it's summer.

the past two weeks have been monumentally nuts. sorry for the absence. li'l recap, and later this week: scrappy somethings. maybe even a giveaway in the very near future ...

okay ... let's see ...

you remember that henry finished school about two weeks ago, right? okay. he got out on thursday, and on friday we left for illinois to celebrate my grandma's 90th birthday. we drove through hours and hours of rain in iowa, and that was after sitting stock-still on the interstate for 45 minutes trying to get out of minnesota. but then we hit illinois, checked into the hotel, and promptly fell asleep. (best idea marc's ever had? getting an adjoining room so the kids could each have their own bed! no more "she's talking!" "he's hogging!" "she's kicking!" "he's tooting!")

saturday morning we had breakfast at the hotel ... where henry poked himself in the eye with a menu, leaving us to wonder if he scratched his eye and needed a quick trip to ... where??? ... to get checked out. but he was fine, so we finished eating and headed over to my dad's house to spend the day with him, my step-mom, my half-brother and his daughter, and grandma.

my niece, cambrie, is almost three, so she and harper quickly latched onto each other and the art supplies.


henry was pretty focused on his gameboy at this point. shocker. then, as the grown-ups prepped for lunch, harper handed her gamboy to great grandma and clued her in on this new-fangled stuff kids do. she even ever so kindly allowed her new cousin to play with the leapster. everyone was happy.

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after lunch we decided to head to the dam bridge (hee hee ... anyone else think of "national lampoon's vegas vacation" just then?) that spans the rock river and connects rock falls to sterling. my boys were fascinated by the power of the water. i have to admit ... it was pretty darn impressive.




then we headed to the park so the kids could run off some energy, and i could admire the hotness that is my husband.


(cut me some slack: i hadn't seen him in a week, and upon returning home he would take off for another week. i take my fix wherever i can get it.)

after getting back to the house, it was time for grandma's birthday cake. the minor celebration before the big party the next day. she generously allowed the great-grandkids to help her blow out her candles, which they all loved.

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then the kids went back to playing, and marc found the recliner.


IMG_4493 there was an obligatory family photo ...

and after some pizza, the four of us returned to the hotel for some swimming and bedtime, so we weren't worn out for the long day ahead of us on sunday.

sunday morning, kathy and i headed to the prophetstown country club to set up for the party. she had made gorgeous centerpieces, and she and dad had gathered photos from the past 90 years of grandma's life. there was also a cake with grandma's face on it, which wasn't creepy at all.

grandma and dad soon arrived, and it was time for the corsage, the final touches, and then waiting on all the family and loved ones who had gathered around grandma over the past decade-short-of-a-century.


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IMG_4620 grandma was amazing. she didn't stop hugging, talking, laughing, visiting. i can only hope marc and i are as feisty and fit at 90.

because my parents divorced when i was four, i saw quite a number of people who all said the same thing: "i haven't seen you since you were this big!" (with their hand hovering somewhere around the three-foot mark.) so i had some explaining to do, and introductions to make between them and the three people who have entered my life in the intervening 31 years. but it was all good, and it was wonderful to see people of whom i have fond - if few - memories.

soon afternoon arrived, and derek had to head out with cambrie, and we had to take off for home. it was a six-hour drive, marc's parents were set to arrive at our house mid-afternoon monday, and marc had to hop a plane to dallas first thing tuesday. no lollygagging for us.

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the trip home was quieter ... the kids were quiet and occupied with movies, we stopped for a delicious dinner at biaggi's, and the weather was perfect.

then, halfway through iowa, just at sunset, we hit the wind power fields. something about them is so peaceful and lovely; i'm sort of obsessed. mchotness knows this about me (he's a good kid) and he pulled over on the highway so i could snap some shots before the sky was dark.

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the perfect end to a fast - but lovely weekend.

between third and fourth

that's where henry will be, in 45 minutes.

he left the house today an excited kid. last day of school! half day!! then summer!!!


but my own head was saying: no! not possible!! this means he's almost a fourth grader!!!

i remember fourth grade. it was the year i really started making memories that have stuck with me. some good (mr prell teaching us about the sistine chapel by having us tape paper under our desks and draw a picture while lying on our backs; playing "little house on the prairie" almost daily with my friend, amy; becoming a big sister.), some bad (moving to a new state the final month of school and being told i wasn't welcome, i didn't belong, go back where i came from; having no friends and being bullied daily; becoming a big sister.).

it was the beginning of about five years of really, really hard for me. life-altering, mood-changing, esteem-blowing years. and remembering that, i will do anything i can to make sure henry's fourth grade year is good, his life is stable, his friends are around, his family is happy. as a parent, all you want to do is protect your kids from the world, from hurt, from other kids. but as an adult you know your kids need SOME of those experiences to develop skills of resilience, forgiveness, strength, character.

i don't know what next year will bring for henry, but i have to admit that it excites me. i love that's he's growing older and becoming such a great person to be around. third grade was awesome; with any luck, fourth grade will be even better.

the day henry gets equal blog time:

henry's been desperate to teach harper about pokemon, just because marc and i refuse to listen to him explain it and talk about it. the time finally came, and harper is now interested in what henry's trying to tell her.

the other day he let her play a pokemon game on his old gameboy, and set her game up so she was a girl character. when she was done, he then started playing the game and replaced her character with a boy one.

today harper wanted to play again and henry refused to let her delete his game (that took him "soooo long!!" to play ... roughly half an hour), at which point harper threw a fit.

trying to placate both sides and work a compromise (something tells me deals between the UAW or flight attendant union and management teams goes more smoothly than striking a deal and truce between my beloved offspring), i ask henry why harper is so against playing on his file. he replies,

"i reckon it's because her pokemon isn't a girl."

reckon?? RECKON?! no. nonononono. no. we did NOT move about as far north as we could go just to have our son aware of and conversational with the word "reckon."

who teaches them such language?!


ETA: i've since been told that "reckon" is a perfectly acceptable word north of the mason-dixon line. okay. bygones. amen. ;o)

harperism, 6.07.09

IMG_4425vint lunchtime, at the table ...

"mama, i hate how the years go by," she says with a pout.
"what? where did you hear that?" i ask, totally amused.
"i don't know. i just hate how the years go by. i don't like it," she sighs.

after dinner, she brings over a magnetic dress-up doll that she beautified with dresses and shoes and sets it on the table. i ooh and ahh over it, then ask her to put it back while we're clearing the table.
"no!" she says, aghast, "it's the decoration!"

getting ready for bed ...

she hangs over the edge of the bed, arms flung over her head.
"it's so HARD being a girl!" she declares.
"yes," i agree. "all the pretty nightgowns, all the lip gloss, all the accessories," i tease.
"no, i like all that. it's just so HARD to be a girl," she laughs.
i never do get an explanation as to WHY being a girl is so hard.

adding one more: at 5:30 a.m. this morning the house rattled with a crack-a-lackin' clap of thunder. i knew harper would be scared witless, so i waited for her to come running. but she didn't, so i went quietly to her room to check on her. she was laying perfectly still, but completely wrapped from head to feet in her blankets. i carefully tried to pull away the blanket from around her head and face, and found her - both hands tight against her ears, and her eyes as big as saucers. then she starts chattering a mile a minute: "mama, that was really loud thunder! i don't like the thunder. did you hear the house shake? mama, that was really, really loud! it was scary, so i put my hands over my ears like this ..." and on and on. poor little thing was so scared that she was almost giggling with nerves. so i laid down with her and snuggled for a bit to get her to settle down, but the hands never did leave her ears. she went back to sleep, smiling that the storm was over.

sigh. love her.

this child never fails to crack me up with her dramatic declarations. maybe we've read too much fancy nancy ...

mom is never right.

except when she is.

henry's been trying to grow out his hair for MONTHS. going for the "dude" look. (that's what he called it.) the problem with that is that henry has a LOT of hair. super thick. and a LOT of cowlicks. all over his head. so his hair wouldn't grow LONG. it just grew UP. and OUT.

yesterday i got sick of seeing it hang all scraggly in his eyes, so i trimmed the bangs. however, i failed to notice that the back of his hair, due to a completely sideways-swirling cowlick in the back, was not growing longer. yet the hair over his ears was growing like crazy. and once i'd trimmed the bangs - admittedly, too short. hey, haircuts are not my job! - i came to the horrifying realization that i'd just made my son look like a benedictine monk.

not exactly the "dude" look he was going for.

so, i passive-aggressively got him to realize he sorta had the same haircut as his sister. and tonight after dinner? he agreed to a trip to great clips!!

(insert chorus of angels here.)


bummin' about the hair cut ...


30 minutes later, admitting that mom was totally right and a hair cut feels SOOOO much better.

whew. glad that got cleared up.