365/52 week 12, and my house stinks.

like a sewer. we smelled it yesterday and spent quite a bit of time walking around the house sniffing at things, cleaning out the litterbox, cleaning out the sink disposal ... you name it. as the day went on, it seemed to grow a little stronger, and i decided i would call this morning if i could still smell it.

at 3 a.m., harper got up, and as i was putting her back to bed i noticed i could still smell it and it was getting stronger. i got up and googled "house smells like a sewer" and started reading over possible causes and solutions. one recommended it could be caused by a dry trap and to flush the basement drain with water. i decided to try that in the morning and went back to bed.

by 5 a.m., i gave up on sleeping because the odor was noxious, went around the house opening windows (even though it was about 38 degrees outside), wandered out of the house to the garage, got a heavy-duty bucket, trudged back to the basement, and proceeded to flush that drain. then tried to go back to sleep with the sheets over my head.

at 8 a.m. it was still horrendous. i got the kids off to school then came home and called the city works department. they sent a guy out this afternoon, and he said it could be something as simple as a leak in a pipe leading from the laundry tub to sewer pipe in the laundry room, to something bigger, like a crack in the actual sewer pipes leading into the house through the yard.

good. lord. no. this is NOT the time in our lives when we need a big, expensive sewer project and the bill that goes along with it.

the smell has abated, but then again there has been air flowing through the house all day. the real test will be tonight, when all the windows are closed again. if it's still stinky tomorrow, i'll get under the laundry tub (because marc is, of course, in texas right now) and address the part of the drain pipe that the guy said looked suspicious, then cross my fingers that the cause was just that easy to fix.

on that note, here is thursday's pix recap:



harper and mario, enjoying the sunshine. (i will miss this window seat terribly when we move.)


spring in a vase.



harper's best girl, blowing bubbles at harp's b'day party.



day one of spring break: jammie day. also, pokemon day. also, i didn't have to deal with them day.


we spent day two at mall of america. the kids rode rides for hours, we had lunch, and they sat for a caricature artist. doesn't totally look like them, but it's pretty cute.



we're goin' green!


thursday was spent with henry's friends at grand slam, where they played miniature golf, ball blast, arcade games, bumper cars, and laser tag. watching harper play laser tag was stinkin' funny.


fun stuff, spring break.

thank goodness it's over.

the scary part is, that just means there are only two months until summer vacation.


365/52 week 11: better late than never

so, quick  recap from last-last thursday until last thursday:


easter stuff started to come out.



harper got crafty with paint and glitter glue.



marc and our neighbor compared home security systems.



pre-business trip birthday morning snuggle.



no one wants to get ready for school on a dreary, drizzly day.


st patty's parade, downtown minneapolis. the kids and i channeled our inner irish. marc wore a boston celtics shirt.


what greets us in the bathroom after one of henry's showers.

okay. back up to date.

harper's b'day party was yesterday ... i'll get to that tomorrow.


right now, i have spring break kiddos to take to target to blow birthday money on the new pokemon game. then, they shall retreat to their rooms to play said game until dinner time. and i can nurse my sore hip and catch up on oprah. and maybe tonight we'll go to the gym for family swim, minus daddy.

ahh ... spring break!


365/52 week 10

trying to get back into the groove this week, only to have my mostly-brand-new 50mm 1.4 DIE sometime between using it friday and trying to use it monday. nice. so off i went with it and my receipt to the camera store today, they checked it out, said yup ... dead, and swapped it out on the spot for a new one.

buy local, people.

(and by that i mean national camera ROCKS.)

so, there are some iphone photos this week:


chicago traffic. and i had to pee like crazy. and saw nothing but brake lights. awesome.



a little scrappiness that may or may not have occurred on saturday, that may or may not be for that memory makers call i told you about on tuesday.


yes, i arrange my sock drawer.



the color palette of our next house ... aqua, green, gray, white. fresh and delicious.



speaking of next house ... we bought our dirt. oh yes we did. long story ... i'll get to it in a minute.



and yes, i immediately superimposed a picture of the front elevation of the house we're planning to build over a picture of our dirt. and colored in the roof and front door. and added a porch. that's totally normal, right?


harper, on the right, showing great form at not-yet-five, and kicking the butt of the darlin' next to her. she's totally going to be my swimmer. in fact, i think her skill level will catch up to henry's in about three months.

. . . . .

so, about that dirt story:

i know i've mentioned our saga with moving into henry's school district, finding a lot we loved, going through builders' plans and pro/conning what we want, and ultimately having to make the decision of just what we want to do about the whole thing.

we finally came to the conclusion that given the price of the lot going down so significantly and the cost of the build coming in under our budget, it was a sign. and we couldn't ignore the obvious quality of life factors of moving out there ... nature trails, a lake just down the street for boating and fishing and swimming, living across the street from a park and almost next door to our former neighbor whom we like so, so much, quiet streets, close to the schools and henry's friends, being surrounded by protected natural areas so the neighborhood won't sprawl, etc. so we decided that at the end of march we would put a purchase agreement on the lot and start planning for next year.

well, last thursday while i was at becca's house, i got a message from our former neighbor and he said the three lots on his block - including the one we loved - were all now reserved and to please tell him one was for us. i immediately called marc to see if he'd gone to the bank yet for preapproval, etc. (that was his one thing i needed him to do while i was gone), and he of course said no. immediately i was heartbroken. sure, there are other lots in that neighborhood, but this one was perfect. i tried so hard to be philosophical about it, that it just wasn't meant to be, that we'd be okay in a different lot, etc. deep down, though, i knew i was crushed.

monday morning i was still bumming, and then it occurred to me: wasn't it odd that after all these months all three lots went at the exact same time?? did another developer snap them up to re-sell at a profit because they'd dropped so low? did three families jump the gun without getting financing lined up? could we get lucky? so i called the rep we've been using through the builder we like, told her what happened, and asked if she could please check on the lots' statuses and see what she could find out.

about 10 minutes later i got a text from her: good news. call me asap.

apparently, another developer DID reserve all three lots for its own clients, and lots #2 and 3 are under contract. but lot 4, OUR lot, is only under verbal contract and there is a contingency on it because they need to sell their house.

ohmigosh. a glimmer of serendipitous light.

our rep laughed and said she took the liberty of putting our name down on the lot without a contingency, meaning we would get first right of refusal over the other party, and said that if we still want the lot it could be ours if we signed a purchase agreement asap, and she ran it over to us monday afternoon.

so first thing tuesday morning, marc jetted to the bank, got the pre-approval, got all the paperwork in order, and that afternoon i skipped into the developer's office and handed over a big fat check and our signed purchase agreement papers.

and .68 acres became ours. well, mostly ours. we close in less than a month. THEN it's really ours.

i'm already planning a picnic on our dirt on the first nice spring day.

i think marc and i are both in denial a bit that it actually just happened and happened that fast, but the timing of absolutely every part of the past seven days has been incredibly fortuitous. meant to be, i say.

and i can't wait to get on with the rest of it, but now i need to be patient. our house needs a little attention this summer, our bank account needs attention for the next 10 months, and a year from now we'll cross our fingers, put our house on the market, and let the bulldozers start digging.

until then, we'll pray real hard that nothing monumentally earth-shattering happens between now and next summer and we're stuck with this dirt and its price tag.

and that's my high/low for the week.

365/52 week 8

is it thursday again already?? have i mentioned yet how quickly this year is going?!

there's something pretty fun and new going on in my life, but i'll go into detail next week. hint, though:

it involves andie smith designs. hmm ...

interesting ... ;o)


onto the pix from the past seven days:


pokemon has taken over both my children. it's both a blessing and a curse.



on saturday, we took henry and 10 of his noisiest craziest goofiest closest friends to see "percy jackson and the olympians." not having read the book, marc and i were both entertained by it. having read the book series several times, henry declared to movie to be "like harry potter 6 all over again" because so much was left out or changed. my son, the critic. cracks me up.


you already know the scoop about henry's snowboarding lesson. here's another glimpse.



as we feared, some leakage started to occur from all of our ice dams. so, up marc went on the roof with a shovel and stockings filled with rock salt. it's helped so far, but the dams are still fierce and the re-freeze this week is only temporary.


evidence of little miss artsy craftsy.



while going through an old box the other day, i found our engagement photo from 1996. we were 22. what were our parents thinking, letting us get married at 22?!


the apple didn't fall far from the tree. ahem.


. . . . .

i'm off to indiana next week to give my sister that baby shower and snuggle up my little wyatt. yay!!!! i'll try to blog from there, but it could be just too impossible to tear myself away from his squishy goodness. oh, the pix i'll have when i return! and oh, the stories i'm sure there will be to tell of marc's first seven-day stretch at home alone with the kids.

till then, cheers!

10 years + 365 week 7

the most important thing about today, february 18, 2010, is that my eldest, my boy, my geeky little bugger, turns 10.



i have to repeat it to myself because, i mean, 10. that seems so ... old.

10 years ago we'd survived the anticlimactic event that wasn't, y2k. we got through a cold, snowy january. i was so, so pregnant and uncomfortable, and fighting snow and ice and bed rest and public transportation.

and then one night in the middle of february, i was watching ER and bam ... my water broke. i thought i had nearly two weeks ... baby skinner wasn't due until leap day (how cool would THAT have been?!). but nope. 21 hours later, this 9 lb person came kicking and screaming into the world.

and he's been a joy and a challenge and a huge source of pride and love and humor and sweetness ever since.

to celebrate him, i made his favorite breakfast - blueberry pancakes and sausage - before school. then we told him that if he got completely ready to go and had time to spare, he could open the cards and gifts that had arrived for him so far.

i never saw a kid brush his teeth and pack his backpack so quickly.

we had him open the present from his sister first ...


guinness world records for gaming. perfect. two of his favorite things.



as is his sister. he loves the heck outta her.

then he opened his gifts from grandma and grandpa roush ...


cool. the cool factor even outweighed the "clothes"  factor.



even cooler ... super mario chess set. love.

then it was time for the gift from mom and dad.


a magazine of snowboarding photography? um ... okay ...



wait ... what's this? a brochure?



buck hill? cool! i've been asking to try snowboarding for two years!



wait ... lessons?? suh-weeeett!!



and with that, he trotted off to school. bearing fritos to pass out for snacks.


love this kid. he's all HIM, all the time.

happy birthday, pork chop.

other goings on today ... the past seven days of photo-a-day:


crafty valentine project during the preschool party.



kitty in a reusable shopping bag. he's so green.



happy valentine's day.



presidents' day play dates, complete with stackerz stickerz on the nosez.



ever see fog freeze to trees? it's an amazing thing.



those wrinkles are still there. thanks, olay.



and, this.



365/52 week 6

(at some point i'm going to lose count and really blow this 365 thing ...)

so, hi.

why do i keep thinking it's friday? every time i do, then remember it's only thursday, i get a little grumpy.

up the pix go, then i'm off with my favorite girl to return some jeans i bought for harper that didn't fit and grab some lunch. and perhaps, heaven help me, run to gymboree to blow the $5 reward they so nicely emailed me the other day, along with the info that hey! our new spring line is in!

how can i say no to this?:

especially when the first thing i ever bought for harper, before she was even born, was this little outfit at gymboree:

it's kismet. and also, look at my little hipster, perfecting that annoying little pucker face that all the "trendy" people do in photos now. seriously. i hate that pucker face. it was cute five years ago on a one-month-old, but on a 20-something who's too full of him/herself? ugh. no.

anyway, i promised a pix update:

our little tycoon. he swept the floor with us during star wars monopoly. see all those red space ports? his. stinker. (though, that all happened after he won a major free parking. before that, his turns were numbered.)

icicles at night.

hippity hop. a bunny trail.

see that icicle in the middle? it goes all. the. way. down.

kitty loves the sunshine.

this winter is challenging the postal service's assertion that they will deliver no matter what.


hanging out before the school day starts.

alrighty. lunch.

later, gators.

365/52 week 4

pix of the week so soon? well, yeah. since i was late last week, they're sort of running into each other this week. whoops.

it's freaking cold here today, but the sun is shining and the sky is blue. it's lovely, but deceivingly so. harper is painting, i'm heading to the showers, then there's an ikea errand to be run. marc's in a plane to california and warmer weather, and i have a feeling henry will be whining about having to play catch-up on some homework tonight because he's slacked on his reading log this week.

just another normal thursday.

which means, also, time for pix:



the morning joe.



the boy and his chores.




we got some good numbers this week. now we just need to visit the bank and see what *they* think. and then i need to get over my crisis on conscience. maybe i'll post my neurotic pro/con list and you can hold my hand as i work through it.


why does he always look like we're in HIS space?


we left a bottled water in the car the other day, and the next morning found this amazing crystallized center. we were fascinated by it.


henry and his buddy, drawing comic books. they've gone entrepreneurial on us, and are going to start selling their books at recess for $.50 a pop. more power to them.


365/52 week 3

i'm only four days late with this, but even so i have a good excuse:

my geek took apart our file server, then it wouldn't come back up. so he had to find the bug and kill it. but he got sidetracked by "call of duty" on xbox live. several times. so i'm just now able to access my photos again.

have i mentioned i'm not thrilled with the xbox live thing? i haven't? hmm.

so, here's last week:


i should really take down xmas stuff.


such a pretty, pretty girl. love her.



remember miss evie? look how big she is now! and yet she still has the hair!!


in minnesota, we shovel our roofs. suckers.



my brilliant artist girl drew a still life of Cat on Window Seat With Kalanchoe. Including Window and View of Neighboring Trees. brilliant.


self-explanatory. just pretend it's the glowy shot i lost of henry in bed, reading a 700 page book.



finally hauled the tree to the curb, before february comes and the trash men stop picking up trees.



and that's that.

we had an insanely busy weekend, the vikings lost after a good game, and it's back to normal: snow, ice, marc's gone, plumber came and went, and i've had my coffee.

more later.


365/52 week 2

oh, how we've had the sickies here this week! harper was vomitous all day monday, after marc had been ill most of last week. then henry got it on tuesday, just in time for marc to skip town. knocking on wood, it hasn't hit me. yet.

here's week two of the photo-a-day thing:


i bought new glasses at target. thank you, target ... they're just what i wanted!!


mario hangs out in the bathroom cupboard. whatever.


me and my girl on the day i officially stop being honest about my age.


mom buys barbie ornaments for me and becca every year for xmas. it's a long story. this year, however, we got two: one from this year, and one from ... no, that isn't a typo on the box ... 1995. '95, people. i was still in college. becca was 11. holy cow is mom a good present hider.


i used to lament the fact that no one sends real holiday cards anymore. then i realized how much i love to see faces i adore up on my wall. it actually feels *more* personal than just some card.


i made fake muffins for breakfast. oh, and the turquoise bowl? yet another "thank you, target" purchase.


mario, chillin' on harper's halloween wig. harper, chillin' with mario.


and while i'm at it, who needs a wyatt update??

Shapeimage_2 little man is doing great! there are still some ups and downs with him keeping his oxygen saturation levels steady, but he's off the oxygen, out of the special bed, no longer hooked up to a million things, becca and matt can pick him up and hold him and dress him and bathe him, and the latest milestone is that he's taking a bottle! the doc says as soon as wyatt goes 36 hours feeding solely from bottles, he can go home!! HUGE news!! becca and matt are hoping and praying that this weekend will be the time they can finally all be home and start life as a new family. we'll all keep our fingers crossed for them! becca's photo updates and blog updates are linked here.


one of my goals in '10 is to keep up with the 365 project again. i loved doing it in '08, i let it fizzle somewhere around february in '09, and this year i'm committed to being faithful every single ding dong day. there is a project in my head, and by golly i'll do it this year.

however, one of the big deterrents the other times was having to take a pic and post a pic every day. that's just too much pressure. this year i WILL take a photo every day, but i'll post once a week. and if i don't put it in a full-on post, i'll at least add it to the album over there --->

being the seventh day of january, the new year officially turning one week old, here is the first of 52 weekly daily pic shares:


my little tech heads, occupying themselves with "professor layton and the diabolical box" (henry) and "pokemon pearl" (harper), while we pack to head home.


the driveway full of 2' of snow and ice that greeted us when we returned home, thanks to the neighbor not shoveling us out like he said he would.


once we found a lifesaver with a bobcat to clear the drive, we were amazed and awed by the size of our new decorative piles.


the kalanchoe is in full bloom, with one sassy little orange blossom making her presence known.


we had a major plumbing issue in the bathroom while marc was gone. i tried to show it who was boss and take care of it myself. in the end, liquid plumber got the assist.



my little science dude was fascinated by the glops of ice sticking to random things under the eaves.


new year's resolution to eat better and exercise is firmly in the "so far, so good" category.



week one: success.