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Archive for January, 2011

This weekend my cousin-in-law Becca had a small girls’ night get-together where we mostly sat around, talked, drank wine and played with Inga, their very big, very adorable lab. It soon became clear Inga wanted to be fully vested in our girls’ night so Becca went ahead and let her lick the wine bottle. Now I’m pretty sure she didn’t really get anything because *I* did my damnedest to lick it clean first, but as they say: might as well throw the dog a bone, or in this case a bottle. Of Malbec. Sweet, delicious Malbec.

Done. Tom. Turkey.

I think she liked it, though. Not that I’m going to make a habit of sharing wine with dogs. That would mean less for me and that’s just, well… ridiculous.

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You guys, it doesn’t even matter if he whiffed the ball every time he went to kick it (which he didn’t- he actually did great!)- When you’re this stinkin’ cute though, it just doesn’t matter…

Bill took Keaton to his first soccer clinic on Tuesday. It’s just a little class offered to get 3 and 4 year olds used to the sport- they don’t even play any games, I don’t think. We were nervous because when we tried dance last September, which he was really excited about doing, he had trouble following along; preferring to do his own thing or cling like a sucker-fish to my legs. What a difference 5 months makes! Bill said he jumped right in and followed instructions really well, kicking and dribbling when he was asked. What a big guy! Now I guess I’ll have to cut his mop of hair so he can see the ball and maybe NOT run into the goalpost.

He was so proud of himself and fell immediately in love with the red shirt they gave him- so much so that I had to dig it out of the dirty clothes bin Wednesday morning because he refused to go to preschool without it on. Internet? It was smelly. But there was no talking him out of this one. Then when I picked him up, not only was he the bonafide smelly kid of the day, but he also went ahead and told his teacher that “mommy hurt him” after showing her the scratch on his cheek. NICE.

Now before you call CPS on me, let me explain…Last week he and Rowan got in an argument over… oh who the hell can even remember at this point, and he was being a jerk so I told him to come sit in time-out. “NO!” he told me. And I was all IT IS ON, KID- so I said he had 5 seconds to get his butt in time-out or mama would pick him up and put him there. He put on his best, most infuriating, shit-eaten grin and with his WHACHOO-GONNA-DO-BOUT-IT eyes DARED me to put him in time out. So. When I came over to take his hand to walk him over he started to run away and I tried to scoop him up but he was too fast and my nail caught his cheek which gave him a pretty impressive gouge {exactly 1 centimeter above the pre-existing impressive gouge his sister gave him a few weeks ago, that had just started to heal} and I immediately felt like a jerk which I am pretty sure was his fucking plan all along. Three year olds? THEY ARE CONNIVING, I TELL YOU.

Anyway, this was an awesomly mortifying moment for me as his teacher was like “I knew he had the one scratch, but is that a new one?’ And I sort of hung my head and told her that I had done it and she said “Well, that’s what Keaton told me but I wasn’t sure if he was telling a story or not” and before I could tell her about the incident, which was CLEARLY not my fault, three kids started pulling on the teacher’s legs and herding her away from me so I couldn’t explain that the boy was obviously trying to set me up. So if you ever need to feel better about your parenting, look no further than the mom with the smelly kid with the gash in his cheek.

I’m really hoping the energy he gets out during soccer will drain him enough that he’ll lose interest in his passionate pursuit to destroy my reputation.

"Am also fluently trained and proficient in psychological warfare! WATCH YOURSELVES."

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Probably not something good. You might remember that after I made my goals for 2011 I said I’d check in on the 21st of every month to give you an update on how things are going. This is less for your benefit and more to guilt me into doing some of the shit I said I would. It is now the 25th and I’m going to feel like a dead beat until I get these out here, so…

1. Learn the ins and outs of my new camera lens. Here’s the thing about January in Minnesota. It’s pretty freaking boring. And ugly. And boring. So I haven’t played around with my new lens as much as I want to but here’s to hoping that will change by next month.

2. Take a DSLR workshop online or through comm ed. February 19th from 9am-3pm. And I even found someone to take it with me so I’m not the lonely girl who accidentally keeps using the flash when she’s not supposed to. WIN.

3. Run/walk/crawl a formal 5K. See above comment about it being January and then add some stuff in about thirty below temperatures. And as Mr. Folds sang at his concert @First Ave Sunday night, “That’s not the windchill, Minneapolis, that’s the motherfucking temperature…”

4. Make a decision about faith and which church is right for us. HA. This one’s backburnered until June. To add to the issues I have with the Catholic faith our Pastor (the very people-oriented, welcoming, liberal-for-a-Catholic pastor) is being ordered to a new parish by the Archbishop as of June 2011. Finding a liberal parish was the only thing that kept me in this faith the last 7 years so unless we get a similar replacement (unlikely) this might make the decision for us. Which is sad but at least we’ll know where we need to go. To make matters worse we are so unhappy with the public schools in this district we’re looking at Catholic school, which in our area is the only remotely affordable option. Seems kind of odd though to jump ship from a sinking faith the same time you enroll your kid in one of their schools. But again, I’m happy to not think about this until June.

5. Get a freaking haircut already you hippie. Um. Embarrassingly enough, I have not completed this goal yet. I’m just going to wait until someone offers to do it for free, I think.

6. Drink water. YES! I did this one! Up until last week anyway. I just can’t make myself drink water when I’m sick though because *GROSSOUT ALERT* water mixed with all that snot does NOT taste good in my mouth. I started up again today though, keeping it around 100 ounces a day.

7. Go on a debt diet from Jan-March. I’m failing pretty spectacularly at this one. The TV and the Stereo biting it at the same time made for a big splurge, especially because we also decided to upgrade from an old $40 DVD player to a PlayStation 3 (for the web-browsing and the blue-ray player, not the video games). Only the PlayStation’s web browser was laughably out of date so after Bill spent hours trying to get the thing to do what he wanted it to and buying 700 {OK FINE, 3} different cables/cords/output/input/somebody fucking put it somewhere wires, he returned the thing and retreated to our mecca the Apple store to get a wireless mouse and keyboard and yet another freaking cable to connect my computer to the TV thereby being able to browse the web and watch all of our downloaded shows and movies on the big display. And so the debt diet always seems to be pushed until, you know, TOMORROW.

8. Find a workable routine to manage my free time during naps and preschool. I did a really great job of getting a routine down the first 2 weeks of the month. Unfortunately when I get sick I turn into a big helpless baby that can’t stick to any sort of routine that doesn’t include fast food, excessive whining and laying in bed. It also didn’t help that both kids have been sick and also had the last 2 Mondays off of class/school which seems to throw off the entire week. Again though- I seem to be back up and running today so here’s to hoping the routine falls back in place.

9. Say I love you more. I LOVE YOU, INTERNET! {Just practicing. This one’s going to be really hard for me.} I started out moderately strong with this out of the gate. I had recently finished The Five Love Languages of Children, which purports that all people have a chosen or favorite way that they need their “love tanks” filled. {And yes I do punch myself every time I say/write “love tank”. I couldn’t respect myself if I didn’t.} It’s horribly cheesy but surprisingly useful information and there was no question that my husband’s love language is words of affirmation, i.e. hearing I love you, means a lot more to him than it does to me. I still have to remind myself to do it and it still feels uncomfortable but I am trying to keep it up.

10. Be a diaper-free household by June 30th. We’re gearing up for night-training which Keaton seems eager to do. He’s too big for the cloth diapers we put on him every night- so we’re hoping his discomfort will be an advantage to help him train easier. What can I say? We’re assholes!

11. Eat more raw food every day. See all 400 posts about number 12.

12. Complete a 7 day cleanse. DONE and DONE.

13. Say ‘thank you’ more often. I could probably stand to work on this one a little harder.

14. Knit something. HA!

15. Decorate this damn place already. I’m TERRIBLE at colors and putting rooms together. Someone offer to help me and I promise I’ll number 13 your ass. My awesome cousin-in-laws have volunteered to help me with design pointers/paint choices which was really sweet and generous of them. The only problem is that we decided we would do this during a girls night next weekend which will most definitely include copious amounts of wine which will probably mean that I’ll end up with a purple polka-dot living room. I’ll keep you posted on what is sure to be a disastrous outcome.

16. Be a nuk-free household by February 28th. You guys? I’M SCARED. Keaton is SO attached to his nuk and I don’t think any present from the nuk fairy is going to cut it. I had planned to do this next weekend but I sort of want to get the night training done first. The problem here being that he has bitten through all but 1 of his nuks and I’m definitely not going to purchase more just so the damn fairy can throw them away fly them off to her magical nuk-land where she shines them up for new babies who need them. GAH!

17. Read for the love of God. Find a better balance of fiction and non-fiction. I’m whooping butt on this one. I’ve made a big dent in my back-log; finally finished The Out of Sync Child, The Five Love Languages of Children, Water for Elephants, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, and am now reading Love Walked In which my mother-in-law borrowed to me months ago and probably would like back before 2014. So! Things are looking good here.

18. Get core in shape for the spring running. Starting January 31st I am starting the 30 day shred again {unless any of you can recommend a good core workout video that is NOT by Jillian Michels which would be very AWESOME of you). The plan is to do it 5 days a week for 6 weeks so that my body’s ready for running by the 3rd week of March.

19. Go to at least one B&B this year.

20. Go back to Tetagouche. Take kids.

21. Keep up a weekly to-do list. Not counting my fall from every wagon possible during my cold last week I’ve been doing well with this. It’s amazing how great you feel when you get to cross out items on lists of things you have to do anyway but somehow seem more important when they’re are written in a leather-bound journal.

22. Keep my reactions to disappointment in check. Surprisingly I’ve done OK on this. Not awesome. Not spectacular but OK- baby steps, people. When Rowan was wait-listed for the charter school we really wanted her in for the second year in a row I wasn’t happy but was able to be much more big-picturey than I normal am. For one, we applied her for the K program again and everyone who has worked with her this year has tried to steer us away from having Rowan repeat Kindergarten. They agree maturity-wise she might be behind the older kids in her class but socially and academically she’s right where she needs to be and they think we’ll be setting her up for a slew of issues with boredom if she repeats K. We are 70 spots higher on the wait list than we were last year so there is a slight chance we could get a call before school starts in the fall but we’ll cross that bridge if we come to it.

23. Remember to model myself, the behavior I expect form my kids. Eh. It’s only January people, haven’t I done enough this month?

24. Purchase bed sets for the kids.

25. Start free-writing again. On paper. You’d think with the lack of posting this month it must mean I’ve started free-writing…uh…no.

26. Make this the last full year in this house.

So there you have it! Hang tight for next month’s update when I make a lot of excuses about how hard it is to paint in the winter and that my side sort of gets a stitch when I work out, clearly making it impossible…

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Internet? I’m pretty sure I have the plague. Or a cold. But the plague sounds cooler and it really captures my imaginary suffering so much better than the word ‘cold’ which doesn’t make people feel bad for you in the slightest, especially when you come from a state that is bragging about today’s 30 below zero temperatures. Thankfully the kids are both feeling better and finally back at preschool and Kindergarten this morning. It was such a weirdly quiet week, spending most of our time playing games, reading books and watching movies. {And as a side note, I let them pick out the movies when THEY’RE sick but yesterday when *I* was the one in bad shape do you think Keaton let me pick out the movie? Ohhhhh noooo. Mater’s Tall Tales and Toy Story 3 for the 53rd time this week. JERK.}

Last Friday, which was infinitely more enjoyable, Bill and I had a much anticipated date night out. It was also the first time in 2 weeks we had consumed anything more than water, cranberry juice, rabbit food, chicken or turkey. While part of me wanted to go out and find the biggest, juiciest steak covered in a mushroom cream sauce, I had no desire to throw up that steak when my body rejected it. So we decided to try the hole in the wall sushi place close to our house. I had had sushi only one time before this and while I enjoyed it, it was at a dinner party and was prepared by a woman who moved to Japan to study the art of Japanese cooking and lifestyle for a stretch of years. It was made pretty clear that this was probably the best sushi I was ever going to get, thus scaring me from trying it anywhere else.

But how wrong I was. Untrained pallet or not, Murasaki was really good, as was the bottle of Saki Bill and I split. {And by split I mean he might have had a few sips before I slammed the rest.} We chose 4 different types of sushi to split, all of which was awesome and now I have to quit writing about this because my mouth is watering too much.

During dinner we kept going back and forth over which movie we were going to see. The plan had originally been to see Black Swan but it didn’t start until 9:45. Bill really wanted to see True Grit which conveniently started right after dinner. Naturally we decided to do both. After we made our decision I looked at Bill and said. “We’re THAT couple. The one that goes out for sushi and then can’t decide between two critically acclaimed films by neurotic directors so they see both. I sort of want to punch us in the face.”  After mutually deciding to hold off on the punching until after the movies we headed to the theater.

What did I think of them? GLAD YOU ASKED! I {we} really REALLY like True Grit. The Cohen brothers are more hit than miss for me {hit:O Brother, Where Art Thou?, No Country for Old Men,  miss: Fargo} but I always get a little nervous if I’ll like their movies. No need to worry though because this was by far my favorite. I won’t give any spoilers other than Jeff Bridges was absolutely awesome and so much fun to watch in this film and if he’s not nominated for Best Actor I am QUITTING the Oscars.

We had a 10 minute break in between and then we headed off to Black Swan which…holy Jesus. Bill was warned by a co-worker that we would pretty much be holding our breath the entire film but still, I was unprepared. I mean it’s about the freaking Ballet…not exactly high-octane viewing. What I didn’t realize was that it was less about the drama of the seedy underbelly of ballet and more about one ballerina’s terrifying descent into Batshit Crazydom. I really liked it though, and being completely unprepared for what I was about to see added to the experience I think.

While I’m reviewing things I might as well include the 2 books I recently finished {albeit way behind the rest of the world}. Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen was a pretty good story, although the execution left a little to be desired and I didn’t exactly buy the ending, but overall I enjoyed reading it. The movie comes out in April which I’m sort of excited for but I guess I’m just having a hard time reconciling Reese Witherspoon and goddamn Edward from Twilight as the main characters. Surprisingly though, my problem is less with Mr. Pattinson and more with Ms. Witherspoon who is nearly 15 years beyond the 21 year-old character of Marlena. I’m all for aging the character, which actually makes way more sense given Marlena’s talents which would presumably take YEARS to hone but is played off as just natural ability in the book. I guess I’d be more upset if they tried to make Reese out as a 21 year old which she is clearly not and WOW I sound way more invested in this than I actually am.

Book 2! I’ve been trying to make it through The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford since October which is about the relationship of a young Chinese boy and Japanese girl in America during World War II . I am more than a little obsessed with World War II, having taken a number of courses in college about the Holocaust and reading anything I can get my hands on, fiction or non, on the subject. For that reason alone I really wanted to like this book, and even more so because it focused on something I had little knowledge about- the Japanese-American prison camps our government set up to imprison thousands upon thousands of American citizens for no other reason than their Japanese ancestry.  But. The book sort of sucked. The way the author wrote the 12 year old main character was just not believable. And it was overly saccharine. And just not very good. Now someone please tell me that I’m a heartless asshole for not liking what I’m sure countless others did.

Other than nursing myself and 2 sick kids I’ve spent my time trying to figure out our new TV. About, oh, 2 years ago, the picture on our TV started randomly going blank. Sometimes just once a day, sometimes 5-10 times during the same program. The TV came with our townhome when we purchased it back in 2005, and was neither a super nice nor super cheap LCD 30-some inch flatscreen.  We called a repair place and they told us to not bother fixing it but I am stubborn and don’t like to spend my money on electronics/technology unless it happens to be at the Apple store so I resisted getting a new one. Only when you try to  put a show on for your small children so you can {FOR THE LOVE OF GOD} shower and right as you put the shampoo in your hair your children burst in on you, banging on the shower door all WOE IS ME!!!!! THE TEEEEVEEEE TURNED OFF AGAIN!!!!! and you’re faced with listening to them scream for the remainder of your shower or jumping out naked and soaking wet so you can get the picture back on for them kind of COMPLETELY SUCKS.

Then over the holidays our really ancient “stereo” {which is a term I use very loosely in describing this thing} finally died and Bill got a Best Buy gift card for Christmas so we went to replace it and do you know what else they have at Best Buy, Internet? That’s right! TVs.  So Bill slyly meandered over to the home theater section and started drooling asking questions. After sleeping on it one night, and with what I can only assume to be the encouragement and blessing of our old TV to be put out if its misery by turning off 17 times during a movie, we decided to go ahead and get a new one. We didn’t get a giant, fancy thing but it’s black and shiny and now I can maybe shower in peace and at the end of the day, that’s all one can really ask for.

And now? I’m getting ready to pick up Keaton from preschool which will be the first time out of my house in, count them, 1-2-3-4-FIVE days. Wow. What an exciting life I lead. You can just go ahead and cue the music from The Shining.

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Both kids have chest colds, complete with fevers and coughs that are keeping us home all day, not to mention up all night. Despite how awful this may sound, I’m sort of happy about it because it’s been a great excuse to snuggle in our jammies, eat frozen yogurt, play quiet board games, do puzzles and read stories. Happy until last night, that is, when it was made clear that these two were a little too generous with their germs and now WHYGODWHY I am coming down with their stinky cold only two weeks after kicking the last sickness. As evidenced by this and the pictures above, sharing by small children comes when you least expect it.

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On the way home from dance last night, Rowan started up a discussion about civil rights and Martin Luther King Jr., which she has been learning about at school.

R: In music class we’re learning an African song that a long time ago slaves sang about wanting to go back home where people were a lot more nice.

Me: What do you think about it?

R: I like the song but I think it’s sad that they were trapped here and treated so meanly. I wish the white people would have just been nicer.

Me: I think it’s sad too. Are you talking about about slavery in class?

R: Um, mostly about Martin Luther King Jr. About his dreams and stuff.

Me: And what was his dream?

R: That all kids and grown-ups would stop being mean and start being more fair and kind to one another. That even though we have different hair and eyes and skin and bodies we all should be able to have good chances at doing things in our lifes and just because you are different doesn’t mean you’re not smart or good at things. But…

Me: But what?

R: But then he died which is also sad but it’s OK because when he did he opened up the gates of the kingdom of heaven and now everyone gets in there for free.

Aaaaaand scene.

Well… She got the first part right anyway. I guess we shouldn’t have skipped so much Sunday school over the holidays, huh?

In other news, on facebook my top sidebar advertisement keeps asking me: “Are you thinking about divorce?” And I was a little offended that facebook would suggest such a thing to me. I mean, does it know something I don’t? I wasn’t thinking about it until YOU brought it up, facebook, you asshole. I asked Bill if he knew why facebook would repeatedly ask me this, but he just rolled his eyes and sighed at me before walking away. And then the next day I opened Hernando up and THIS had replaced the adorable photo of my angelic children as wallpaper:

UN. ACCEPTABLE.

And now I know that facebook has an eerie eye into the future and while that’s creepy, it has provided me with a very helpful advertising link so whatever. YOU ARE ON NOTICE, Bill Gunter. (I may also divorce Belle, who no doubt provided him with the catch-phrase.)

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Yeah, probably that second one. I’ve decided to keep my cleanse diet going strong through at least Friday afternoon and I have to tell you, Internet, life is REALLY boring without booze and rich food. Oh God. That’s sad isn’t it? {This is where you placate me by shouting NO at your computer screen.} And I’m beginning to think my creativity center is activated by salt because when I sit down to this little blinking cursor all I can think about was how at lunch with Rowan she held up a curly pasta noodle dripping with runny school-lunch white sauce to my mouth and said “taste it, Mama! It’s really yummy” and so help me god Internet, I was goddamn tempted. How deprived am I that school lunch is starting to look delectable?

You know what breaks up the monotony though? ALL THE PEEING. If this thing has taught me anything it is that I should donate my body to science so that when I’m gone they can marvel over the smallest bladder ever to take up residence inside an adult human. They’ll probably shellac it and put it in a fancy framed box and display it at a struggling urban museum and everything! Then you guys can visit my bladder and reminisce with it about this totally boring and sort of gross blog post.

You should also know that while Bill and I have been improving our eating habits our children’s have taken a complete nose dive. There’s no way these buggers would consent to turkey sandwiches and salad every day/night so they’ve gotten all-in-all WAY too many hot dogs, PB and J sandwiches and mac and cheese {although their fruit consumption has gone way up}. On the plus side there is decidedly less arguing at dinner time over how many freaking tortuous bites of soup/spaghetti/meat/potatoes they will be required to take before they are unshackled from their booster chairs and set free from the table.  I should probably feel bad about this but instead I’m using it to my advantage.

Example: I had to bring the snack for the parents to our ECFE class on Monday and since I’m lazy I just had Bill pick up some donut holes Monday night instead of thinking of a thoughtful/nutritious snack. I really did the best thing since these are all parents of toddlers and most of the time we need that damn donut fix to help us through the rest of the week. But of course I couldn’t have any and of course there were leftovers so I decided to just feed my kids donut holes for every snack until they were gone and out of my house. Tune in next week when Rowan and Keaton have to start the cleanse because their parents are idiots.

What other awesome things can I tell you about my life? This morning I volunteered at Rowan’s school and my mom graciously offered to just take Keaton for the whole day, giving me him a break from his mother who keeps having to say “in a minute, bud, mama’s gotta go potty”. So Bill took Keaton to my mom’s on his way into work but there may have been a small argument on Bill’s way out the door about which was the correct enrollment form to print out for Rowan’s school choices next year and one of us may have printed the wrong one {TOTALLY BILL} and that same person {again, BILL} may have gotten huffy and left a few minutes behind schedule. I was mostly finished rolling my eyes about the whole ordeal when Keaton called me from grandma’s just to inform me that “Daddy drove like a maniac to Grammy’s!” LOVELY.

So you all have been keeping up with the flockalypse or birdpocalypse or whatever dumbass tagline people are giving to the so far unexplained deaths of thousands of birds and fish in random locations across the country, right? {And what does it say about our society that we have to give serious news pieces a shiny tagline or title so people will take a break from googling Kim Kardashian to click on it? DOOMED.} Well one day last week when I was trying not to stick my head under the spigot of Dragon’s Breath that is sitting on my counter mocking me, I heard what I could only assume to be Death’s Army outside my house. Upon further inspection it was dozens and dozens of crows who appeared to be very pissed off. They would circle the units across the street from ours and then fly off haphazardly only to return thirty seconds later. I am no bird expert but I was at least 42.6% sure this was some sort of harbinger of terrible awfulness to come and behold! Britany Spear’s has a new single AND my daughter asked me if she could get a Justin Bieber* album. THE HORROR.

I took some shots {camera not shotgun} through my picture window. Mencaing, huh? No?

How bout in black and white? That usually does the trick.

Oh, god. I've become that weird lady that posts pictures of birds on her website. This can only mean that I should start drinking again.

I am happy to report that none of the crows fell mysteriously dead from the sky though if I’m going to have to start listening to The Beibs something else {read:ME) just might.

*PS Spell check CORRECTED my offensive mis-spelling of Justin Bieber’s last name. How is it that spell check even KNOWS The Bieber?! It still puts the ugly-red-squiggly-YOU’RE WRONG-line under facebook for cripesakes. All I can say is The Bieber has one hell of a publicist.

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