Monday, May 31, 2010


This isn't a day about sales, barbecues, or camping.
Thank you to our armed forces, for those who gave their lives and those who are still serving their country. May the world think the best of you today, and may you always strive for peace.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

attitude of gratitude

I'm trying to cultivate one. Life has been just plain weird lately, and I have a hard time posting anything when I can't take a step back and laugh at myself first. Here's a smattering of what's going on:
  • We looked at a house on an acre and ultimately decided that it needed FAR too much work to make it livable for us, plus we would have had to offer nearly $75K less than they were asking. And the basement smelled like cat pee, which would have sent my super-sensitive nose into major revolt.
  • We discovered that our price range was much lower than we'd assumed, since we're trying to keep the mortgage payment small and non-scary so that we afford other luxuries: me staying home with more kids, Rob adopting Blake, etc. Rob's bummed, I'm encouraged - there are still PLENTY of homes out there for $225K and less.
  • I have had yellow finches and a bobolink at the feeder, and I love it.
  • We've listed our place, and the photos look AMAZING. Blake snuck into one of them, apparently at the photographer's encouragement. Where's Waldo?! I need to edit the listing because 1) there's a typo, 2) I'm an EDITOR and I can't help myself, 3) it's kind of bland as written.
  • I'm now making sure our place is in showable condition EVERY time I leave. It's work, yes, but I want to be able to say "Yeah! Show away!" if a realtor calls. Besides, every time I come back home, I walk in and think "This is WONDERFUL! I want to live here!" Then we explode everywhere and the moment passes.
  • Blake and I have been working on potty-training at night again, at the doctor's urging ("Pull-Ups will always feel dry - I'd go without them for a while and just suffer through the laundry so he can get those nighttimes back"). After a full month of washing sheets nearly every damn day, I've decided that Pull-Ups are better than the alternative of me going batshit insane. Besides, there's been so much change in his life, he's got some genetic tendencies towards bed-wetting, he sleeps incredibly deeply, and his frustration and disappointment was also spilling over into his daytime potty-training. For those of you keeping track, this is now two years of on-and-off toilet training. Awesome.
  • Rob and I now celebrate this pronouncement coming from the bathroom: "No sharts!"
  • The weather is, once again, crushing my soul. Spring has been late and extremely slow in coming, and while I was hopeful that we'd just have rain from here on out, we woke up to snow this morning. It is hard to be cheerful when you're worried about your cheerful flowers, your tomatoes, your strawberries, and your basil. I have gone through THREE basil starts so far.
  • My skin is starting to show signs of stress. Apparently, when I'm stressed, I don't stop eating - oh no, that would be TOO easy, helpful even! I don't feel ill or sleep poorly. I get mean. And my skin just looks old, except where it decides to look like a teenager and break out into clusters of pimples. Rob is SO LUCKY!
  • Blake's learned that he can make others laugh by being obnoxiously silly and wild. This is very fun for everyone... under the age of eight.
Finally, a mouse meandered across our back patio not even an hour ago. It was sluggish, possibly due to the chill in the air, and by the time I whipped around the corner after it, wielding the most handy weapon (Blake's shoe), it was still in sight. I looked ridiculous as I tried to flatten it with a child's size 12, it looked ridiculous as it tried to get out of the foundation well, and I immediately attracted the attention of both Blake and our neighbors.
"Don't kill it!" the neighbors called over.
"Why not?! It's a rodent - they are the enemy!" I replied.
"What is it?"
"A mouse!"
"Oh, KILL IT."

Blake watched closely, even running to bring me a hand trowel so that I could quickly finish the poor thing without just torturing it to death. He then had all kinds of questions about suffering and why the back legs were twitching, but was surprisingly unfazed by his momma's need to eliminate the rodent that was sniffing around the foundation. I cannot decide if this is reassuring or frightening.

So what I'm grateful for today? Clear limits on our borrowing comfort for a home, family heading into town for a brief visit, the coffee I enjoy daily and gin I plan to enjoy once it's warm enough for gin slush, and a little boy who loves me so enthusiastically, despite my heavy head these days.

Monday, May 24, 2010

my hearthRob

I love him. I love him madly.
  • He puts up with my snarkiness almost all the time. He is gracious when I am not and is learning how to tell me when I have shoved both feet violently in my mouth.
  • He took a job that he did not love to provide for us. He pursued promotion to a job he thought he could like, but is not passionate about, in order to provide for us. He actively strives to do better at this job because he enjoys it and has reorganized his life goals because he can see further out than ever before.
  • He does not complain about ^^^^, even though it means he cannot travel the way he used to. Two nonconsecutive days off each week tends to cut into your sightseeing. His work ethic and integrity impress me regularly.
  • He is patient and firm with Blake, depending on the need. He is tougher than me and enjoys wrestling - sometimes to the point that Blake gets hurt, just enough to know that Dad kicks ass.
  • He is warm at night, almost too much so (this could be a problem in the summer, when I love me my cool sheets), and has dutifully taken the job of being my hot water bottle. His squeaks and spasms of protest only encourage me to snuggle my icy appendages even closer. I can't be 100% sure, but I don't think he minds, even when I fall asleep and drool on his shoulder.
  • He enthusiastically eats my cooking and compliments me on it.
  • He knows just enough about wine to make me feel like I've been unwittingly drinking Boone's Farm all my life.
  • He reads faster than me and is better at the board game of Scrabble while I am better at the online game of Scrabble (more time to plot my world-dominating moves). Ok, I kind of love these and I kind of get annoyed at these.
  • He makes me laugh and laughs at my jokes, though not nearly enough of the latter.
  • He just pulled up, so I need to be done.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

what we've been up to these days

Guess which part of dinner Blake liked best?

T-ball in the backyard with Mase-dog.

Tragedy befalls Smigadoon's ice cream sandwich.

We attended a GI Joe birthday party with face painting and more. I want Michelle to throw MY birthday party!

About a cup and a half of one week's worth of rug and three months of car. SICK.

The stages of our new table/desk, except for a "before" shot. Doh! Upper left: sanded and stained. Upper right: waxed/polished. Lower left: reassembled post buffing and reinforcement. Lower right: staged and prettyfied!

My flowers. I couldn't help myself. I might end up dragging them all in the garage if/when the temps dip, but it will be WORTH IT. Just look at all that lovely color! Mostly green, but there will be color soon.

Our new red chair that fits in our wee little space to show that a pretty chair fits in the wee little space.

Dining room, rearranged with the chandelier reswagged. The giant computer armoire has been replaced by a mirror for a much lighter look.

The print over the bed (thanks to KNA), some of the new pillows in place, just gotta swap out the coverlet for something lighter because I sleep with the hottest man in the world.

No, seriously. He's a cooker and it's incredibly wonderful in the winter to warm my feet. Otherwise DON'T TOUCH ME, it's sweaty!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

that's what he said

A: Let's go eat at Samurai Sam's. We can share a noodle bowl and a Dr. Pepper.
B: DR. PEPPER?! YEAH! Let's do that. Cuz I love you. I don't want to hurt your feelings.

B: Mom, smoking is bad.
A: Yep, it sure is. You don't have my permission to smoke.
B: I'll NEVER smoke. I'll smoke one a day. When I'm six.

A: (to B, as he's just bossed me around) You've got the pecking order wrong. I'm the pecker.


(Back in the day, my family drove everywhere. As in, EVERYWHERE. California. Indiana. The East Coast. Vancouver. We were on a budget and had the time, so we drove. And to get us interested in what was going on OUTSIDE the car, Dad would promise a dollar to whoever saw a deer/antelope/elk before he did. Seeing as he was driving and is a hunter, the man rarely had to pay out. Still, it was a useful distraction tool for us argumentative money-grubbers, so I have used it on B, even though he doesn't have anyone to argue with yet. He hasn't quite gotten the concept down fully.)

A: Look at all those deer! (pointing to a small herd behind an office building in town)
B: I saw them!
Do I get a dollar now?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

and i thought of reese immediately

Sadly, our house needs to work on the "no mother/father swearing."

for your saturday enjoyment

Monday, May 10, 2010

painting and rearranging and cleaning and hysteria

"A change will do you good!"
"A little change never hurt anyone."
"Hey lady, spare some change?"

I do not handle change well. The first two kinds, that is, not the third kind. The third kind I roll up into neatly labeled paper envelopes and SPEND. Or, as we're doing right now, save.

As we move swiftly towards having a home I consider photo-worthy and open-house-worthy, I have begun inexplicably dragging my feet. Rob, on the other hand, is energized and wondering what happened to his go-getter of a wife?

I am deep in self-protective mode. This involves hemming and hawing on big decisions because the worst that could happen is that I will end up making a terrible mistake. I am being nit-picky and precise about what must be where in order to invite a realtor with a camera over. I am grumpy and not sleeping well, and my back is all knotted and crackly with the stress.

In short, I am freaking out. Thankfully, as I told a friend, I keep the screaming in my head and not out loud (you are welcome, Rob and Blake!), and I am married to someone who knows how to manage my crazy. As I fretted last night about my inability to move decisively towards something, ANYTHING in "get this home sold" terms, Rob nodded and said he understood:

"Your worry makes perfect sense, based on your personality. There's very little about this stuff, buying and selling a house, that you can control. No wonder you're panicking."

Yes! YES! That is it! I love me some control. More precisely, I love me some ILLUSION of control, because as anyone can tell you, we wee little munchkins can control very little here on planet earth. I keep commanding my hair to stop its ends from splitting, and it keeps not working. I instruct the floors to stay nice and clean for a good long while, and before you know it, they are gross and dirty again.

Even recognizing all this has been helpful to me. I have moved towards finding small chairs to go in our small spaces and finished two new pillows for our bed (didn't care for the old ones as they were). We all got up early today to go check out used furniture stores for a console table suitable for the living room, and Rob and I got set up on so that we can take down my desktop (with its budgeting software) and still manage our finances without a computer in the dining area. Every one of those things seems huge, and our home seems bare, and it hits me that I still have a lot of cleaning to do and that no matter what else happens, this is our HOME.

Of course it will be hard! And with time and love, a new house will grow into a home for us too, but that will require change first.

I am so screwed.

Chairs and throw pillows in the freshly empty spot where our enormous black buffet used to be.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

loving right now

  • My staple gun. It is AWESOME. Why haven't I used it before now?!
  • Label maker. Also awesome and keeps Rob from using OxiClean in lieu of flour. It might also be that we don't store flour on the dryer and Rob doesn't do laundry, but my money's on that label.
  • Boxed brownies, especially the Ghirardelli kind. I have made three batches from scratch recently, and all three were disappointing (especially when I overbaked the first two). Nothing beats a box for ease and taste. NOM NOM NOM.
  • RadioLab - amazing details in a science podcast that is absolutely fascinating. Subscribe and start at the beginning. You won't regret it.
  • The new design details in the condo to make it more appealing to buyers also make it awfully appealing to me. It feels all dressed up, but in a really classy, pared down way.
  • Blooming lily-of-the-valley. It's close, and the cold weather is slowing it down, but it WILL bloom. I know it.
  • The smell of the tomato and basil plants I'm babying inside until this stupid weather gets over itself.
  • Earning the "favorite sister-in-law" title simply for sending a little finals care package to a pretty gal in Nashville (she's above water and helping out with those who flooded).
  • Psych.
  • Big Train Chai on a distressingly cold May night.
  • New Zealand accents. I could listen to a Kiwi read the phone book.
  • Star Wars day - May the fourth be with you!

that's what he said

A: Well, did you learn about communion in children's church today?
B: No. We just learned about the Lord's Supper.

B: (while coloring) Grammie Gee will LOVE this.

A: Blake, are you sharing with your friend?
B: (calling back) We're sharing! (to friend) You're crazy, Tjabe.

B: (while playing) Pay for your bills or I'll take you to Jabba the Hut!

B: I only hug my teachers. I don't kiss 'em cuz that would be weird.
A: Why would that be weird?
B: Weeeeeeeeeeeell, I think it's cuz they don't want my SLOBBER, so I don't kiss 'em, I just hug 'em.

T: I never realized that conversations could get more uncomfortable than they are with Addie, and then (to Rob) YOU came into the picture.

T: I have stopped eating wheat, for the most part. So no more beer.
R: Wheat is up with that?
T: (laughing) Oh sheaf.

I promptly scolded them both roundly for their terrible terrible puns.

Monday, May 3, 2010

nothing brilliant or witty, just photos

We were inside, watching The Empire Strikes Back, while Blake and his new friend Kade defended us from... well, everything.

Back when the world was warm, a mere two weeks ago. I miss it so badly.

I finally tried my blooming tea - it's been an embarrassingly long time - and wanted to document the progression of the bloom. This is how it comes out of the vacuum-sealed package.

A few seconds in boiling water...

About a minute in - starting to look more like an anemone. I don't think I'd like anemone tea.

Voila! All bloomed. And I'm happy to report that it was very tasty as well as being beautiful. It smelled strongly like lilies - not usually something I'd want to drink - but tasted delicate and only slightly floral.

Late snack of yogurt and fruit in the hotel (we went to Great Falls for a night last week to see Grammie Gee and Great-grammie Helenmarie). I particularly love this hair, but he refuses to let me style it this way, preferring to slick it all down like an uber-nerd.

Cuddling Ronald during a brief respite from all the running running running in the biggest McDonald's playland I've ever seen.

Saying goodbye - he cried. It's hard to leave someone who loves you unreasonably and doesn't have the hang-up of saying "no" that your mother does. He's told me a few times that he wants to go to Grammie Gee's house alone. As in, without me. "But not with you, Mom. All by myself."


Saturday, May 1, 2010