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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The lilies are a blooming.

Of course, Olivia was the first one to discover them. I was impressed that she only picked one.

I am itching to get outside, lay down more mulch and pick some weeds that have had their way with my yard. The temperatures have plummeted and it is downright (relatively) chilly out there. Excellent coffee-drinking weather, excellent getting-stuff-done-around-the-house weather.

Except I have an assignment that urgently needs editing, and finishing. Well, finishing, really. Because you can't edit what you haven't written. Although at this point I'm just ready to send it in and let the red ink have at it already.

What was I thinking signing up for a writing course? I'll say one thing: it's been good for the blogging. You're reading procrastination in action, right here in black and white.

And all those other colors on the page. You know what I mean.

In other news, John is doing much better. Having nose surgery wasn't enough for him so he decided to go ahead and get a cold to go with it. But he went in for his follow-up today and got acquainted with some much-needed relief when the doc pulled out the, um, oh blech I will spare you the details. Let's just say it reminded me of a House episode when this little kid keeps coming in because he sticks little toys up his nose? And just when you think there can't possibly be any more up there Dr. House pulls out something else? Yea. Kind of like that. Only not so fun.

On a sort of related note, John is in the process of changing offices. He actually exited his last office right before his surgery over a week ago, dumped his stuff off in a corner of his new place down the hall (and up a floor or two) because they didn't even have a desk ready for him yet, and hasn't been back since. And no one seems to have missed him, or to be at all concerned when he might next show up.

So we're thinking... What if he didn't? What if he just never went back? When would they finally notice? (If they ever did?)
"It looks like you've been missing a lot of work lately..."
"I wouldn't say I've been missing it, Bob."
Go ahead, name that movie. I'll give you a hint: it has "Office" in the title.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Models and Masters and a Nose Job, too.

John spent months and months weeks and weeks building a model airplane for a guy's retirement at the base. Have I ever mentioned that John can be a bit, er, um, meticulous? Heh-heh. You have no idea. Model building suits him perfectly.

And he's very good at it. Not that I have any idea what I'm talking about. But you don't have to take my word for it -- take a look for yourself.The recipient could not believe his good fortune, thanking him profusely, telling him it's the best going-away gift he's ever gotten, and my personal favorite -- even told him to thank his wife, he wants to bring me flowers.Because he totally gets the amount of time and effort that goes into creating these models with such perfect detail. I truly was a Model Widow for quite some time.

Immediately after finishing the model, John segued into working on his Master's again. He's officially decided to pursue his advanced degree in Military History -- right up his alley. He already knows everything there is to know about WWII anyway; might as well get a piece of paper to prove it.

I hadn't become a Master's Widow for very long, though, before it was time for John's surgery: his long-overdue rhinoplasty. Poor guy.If he thought he couldn't breath before, he's really suffering now. Of course, we're banking on this all being worth it. I've officially been a Nose Job Widow for three days now, but I certainly wouldn't claim I don't have the better end of the deal.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

He was making me hot just looking at him.

So I finally cut his hair.Admit it. When you read the title, this little guy wasn't exactly the picture you had in mind, was he?
But speaking of hot daddy's, HAPPY FATHER'S DAY, HONEY!

Don't expect this little I-just-need-one-more-thing Night Owl to get up and make you breakfast in bed anytime soon. Sleepy bum. (She comes by it honestly, eh?)
(But she's always good for a card.)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Glenn Beck: The Letter

I've had a wee bit of trouble in the past posting about politics and current events... But this letter reached out to me today and I'd be really interested to know what thoughts you all have after you read it. What speaks for you? What doesn't? What do you care about? What don't you? What do you think are the important issues of today and tomorrow? What role do you feel you can play? Does this letter make you feel empowered? Or powerless?

Please, go read it and talk amongst yourselves. Then let me know, mkay?

Glenn Beck - Current Events & Politics - Glenn Beck: The Letter

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

images from a summer break












**Update
Sheesh. Sorry about the teeny captions. That's what I get for blogging at midnight.

Monday, June 15, 2009

My Budding Little Writer

Olivia goes through about a tree a week in notes and drawings -- and those are just the ones she does around the house. We have a whole shelving unit by our kitchen table devoted to paper and writing accessories. Sometimes the things she writes are unintentionally funny, like this note she posted on the bathroom door:"a LiiTL PRivecy PLeS thainGk you" (A little privacy please, thank you.)

Many notes are endearing..."I Love DAD. I Love MOM. I Love PeTer. I Love CONNeR To.

By the end of her kindergarten year, she was creating books. This one she wrote a couple of weeks ago, don't tell me it's not sheer brilliance.


"How To Plant Flowers""HOW To PLANT fLOWer [sic].""1. DiG The DrT." (Dig the dirt.)"2. PLANT The SeD." (Plant the seed.)"3. LET iT Gro." (Let it grow.)"4. WOTr iT." (Water it.)"5 GiV iT FOOD." (Give it food.)"6 LET iT BE." (Let it be.)"7 GiV iT Love." (Give it love.)"8 PLAY AND WaT." (Play and wait.)"9 PiKC The fLOWerS" (Pick the flowers.)"The END"

I can't decide what I like best about her story: The steps she chose? The fact that she numbered them? The sad face on #8?

I'm just so proud of her. My budding little writer.Pun totally intended. Oh I crack myself up.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Summer has officially begun.

Now what?
Just kidding.

Now that Conner's back from his trip, it's been time to lay down some ground rules.

But first, we had some yard work to do. Spring may be a time of rebirth... But it's also a time to cut down what couldn't hack it through the winter.

Unfortunately, the little ones caught sight of John about to have a go at one of their beloved trees and had other ideas.

"No! No!" Sean-Peter came running. "Don't cut down our swoff tree!"

Your what?

Meanwhile, Olivia was wrapping herself around its dead trunk -- literally hugging the scrawny little thing.

That's my little future protester. Metaphorically planting herself in front of the bulldozer.

Because it is, indeed, their sloth tree.
Go ahead and get one last sloth swing, buddy, because it's still gotta go.
No matter how much thy sister doth protest. And stand there sternly with thy hands upon thy hips.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

"A Change is as Good as a Rest." (Especially when you have colorful cheerios.)

You know how they say, "A change is as good as a rest"? I'm going to hold onto that, because the kids' first full week out of school hasn't exactly been restful. But it has been good, in a change-of-routine kind of way.

Conner got invited to spend the week at the University of Notre Dame, Olivia's been in dance camp, and Sean-Peter has been attached to me at the hip. Albeit in a good way.

Notre Dame

Conner's good friend John Paul invited him to go with his family on their annual trip to Notre Dame, his mom's alma mater. They stay in the dorms and gallivant around the area. I'll just show you the email I received from his mom last night (it was to me and another friend's mom):

"Thanks for letting your boys join us on our annual ND trip! They both have been wonderful!

Here are some highlights:

*Monday...arrived on campus, unloaded gear and went to Steak n Shake for lunch with my parents.
Walked around campus.
Went to discount merchandise store.
Ordered pizza in for dinner.
Went snack shopping at Meijer.
Took grotto run and lit candles.

*Tuesday...slept in a bit
Visited Golden Dome Admin Bldg - met Fr. Jenkins, UND President!!
Went to Lake.
PB&J plus pizza leftovers for lunch.
Played volleyball.
Met Tony Rice (1988 Nat'l Championship QB for ND).
Met Kathy Sullivan (author and web site master of www.praynd.com
Went to South Dining Hall for dinner.
Late night campus/sports complex tour and grotto run.

*Wednesday - slept in.
College Football Hall of Fame tour.
South Bend Chocolate Company.
PB&J/Snacks/Cheesecake/Brownie lunch.
Played Volleyball.
Went swimming at Knute Rockne Memorial pool.
Dinner at Hacienda.
Late night grotto run and went to Hesburgh Library - 13th floor (nice Janitor let us in to small room that has great view of campus).

*Thursday - planning on getting up around 9am and packing up.
Krispy Kreme, discount merchandise store and RV Hall of Fame.
Then lunch on road returning home! :)

Hope the boys had fun! I know I enjoyed being here and all we did!! It was nice mix of hanging out and just being as well as activities to keep people interested in things.

We had nice dinner conversation about what people liked best and least about the trip too..."

Notre Dame President? Tony Rice? Cheesecake and brownie lunch?

And how organized is she?

Obviously this was an amazing opportunity for Conner. In addition to everything you read above, John Paul's older sister was visiting as a prospective student and they got to accompany her on the campus tour with that perspective.

It never would have occurred to me to visit a college campus with my middle schooler. Even if I had, it probably wouldn't have been Notre Dame! I'm wondering how much more encouraged he might be to go to college? (And to get his grades up? *Ahem*) Already we talk about it like it's a given: it's not whether you go; it's where you'll go. (And how are you going to pay for it?)

Conner's friend John Paul, an up-and-coming eighth grader himself, told me that even though his mom went to Notre Dame, and his grandpa went to Notre Dame, and his sister wants to go to Notre Dame... he has no intention of going there himself because it's too expensive. He's shooting for somewhere "more realistic", as he put it.

I tell you, it's kids thinking like that that give me hope for the next generation.

***

With Conner gone, and school out, I realize how many things I have been scheduling for times when I don't have to schlep kids around. With his sister at dance camp, and Conner in Indiana, Sean-Peter has been attached to my hip. And boy have we schlepped. I've plum worn him out.I found this scene when I turned around in the car at the end of the day, coming back from the commissary. He clutched his beloved Fruity Cheerios, aka "colorful cheerios", all the way through the store and all the way home. I buy these so I can pump myself up with self-righteousness and falsely justify, "At least I don't buy my kids Fruit Loops." And apparently they make a pretty good chin rest.

Dance Camp

Olivia's thoroughly enjoyed her week of dance camp. It's not a question of whether she'll take dance next year; rather, how many classes of dance she will take. Have you any idea how many options are out there for kids and dance? Ballet, tap, jazz... And that's just for her age, at this mom and pop studio. It can quickly take over your life if you let it -- and your pocketbook.

At the dance camp this week the girls got to choose an outfit from the costume closet and practice some modeling! The video is about 30 seconds long...
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How cute is she?!

They also performed five different dance numbers that they learned this week: a rhythmic dance; baton; a scene and dance from "High School Musical" (my camera acted up right in the middle of that one); the Macarena; and a Hannah Montana number -- that Sean-Peter got into as well! It's a little over a minute long...

Sean-Peter's "solo" pops in about half-way through. You'll also see that Olivia is demonstrating quite clearly why they ask the girls not to wear underwear under their costumes for the dance recital itself.

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Sunday, June 7, 2009

In Which I Post a Thousand Photos and Video Clips

Mmm .... was that a break? I'm not sure. At least, I certainly don't feel like I've been on vacation, even if this blog has. Anyone miss me? Anyone? Anyone? (tap-tap) This thing on?

End-of-School

The kids' schools officially wrapped up this week last week, finally. Yes, in Ohio we go into June. The last week was full of all kinds of cuteness; just see if you don't just want to reach through the screen and gobble them up. This first video's about 2 minutes long: my favorite part is about a half a minute through when Sean-Peter finally spots me and waves like only a preschooler can. "He likes me! He really likes me!" (Name that movie.)

The second video is about 30 seconds long, and too "wonderful" for words. Sean-Peter's in red on the left.
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The whole end-of-the-school thing kind of took away what whits I still had left about me, which isn't saying much. This was the first year I had three kids in three different schools, with three different schedules, and it proved almost more than I could keep together. It was like my allergies filled up my head and pushed out my with-it brain cells. And yes, I have been suffering: I love me some Ohio trees, but they definitely do not love me back.

Conner's last day of middle school was Thursday, so for some reason I just sort of had it in my head that the last day for Olivia and Peter was Thursday, too. If another mom had not mentioned that she'd gotten her kindergartner's schedule mixed up with her middle schooler's schedule (yay! I wasn't the only one) I honestly think my kids would have been standing outside waiting for their bus, me on the phone calling transportation like a dork wondering why they're not picking up the phone.

Actually, probably not. Olivia would almost certainly have straightened me out in time. "Um, mom? School is over?" (Thank you God for daughters.)

Anniversary

John and I celebrated our anniversary about a week before school let out. The night before (or was it the morning of?) John says to me, "So... what were you thinking we should do?" Kind of like, You haven't brought it up so I know you think I forgot, but I didn't. And I'm all like, I really wasn't trying to test you, honest! I'm just trying to keep my head above water, you know?

But we did take some time to go out, to Chili's for some Happy Hour margaritas. Because we're classy like that. Thank you God for sons old enough to babysit!And Happy 15 years to us (insert smiley face).

Meet Mr. Fluffy

I really can't neglect to mention some other excitement we've been having around here. Re: the newest additions to our family! Meet, "Mr. Fluffy".And his brother Darryl...
...and his other brother Darryl.

Yes, three chipmunks. (Although these could be three different photos of the same one. Who would know?) And those are just the ones we've kept. We've shooed out a fair number of the little guys that keep coming into our house, through the garage door the kids leave open as close as we can figure. Chipmunks are breeding like rabbits in our yard, I tell you what.

And the overflow finds its way into our home -- a couple by way of Huckster's mouth: he catches them and brings them by the back door. When we make him release them they scamper off, seemingly unharmed. Although one did succumb to internal injuries, apparently, a couple of days later.

I say apparently because it's not like we're taking them into the vet for checkups or anything. Having chipmunks for pets wasn't exactly something we set out to do, but it seems a better alternative to letting Huckster schlep them around in his mouth? We reckon we'll keep them until they're old enough to have some sense -- or big enough to get away. Because Huckster is just waiting ...Ornery little cuss.

Did you know chipmunks are omnivores? And they love craisins. They'll scamper out real quick-like for those.


Dancers

Olivia's dance recital coincided with the last week of school. Truly, if you had a daughter who loathed getting all dressed up and frilly (as I reportedly did as a child) you should just skip the whole dance experience altogether. Because the recital is all about dressing up and getting all frilly, makeup and all. It's the culmination of a year of hard work (for both the girls and the parents). And if I had a daughter who resisted the whole point, well... That would just be pointless.

And Olivia does love to dress up -- you might recall I once caught her sneaking makeup to school? Dressing up and wearing makeup? Well, it must feel like a slice of heaven to her. I swear, sometimes I just don't know how I got a daughter like her, this mother who doesn't own makeup less than three years old and habitually goes around in jeans and t-shirts and roots that need to be done. (Don't look too closely at the anniversary picture above, please.)

But got her I did, and oh is it fun.













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Dramatic at times, yes, but oh so much fun. (The video's about 17 seconds long.)



















(After Olivia saw the above photo on the left, she wanted to take a "serious" one. The attempt on the right was the best she could muster.)

"So Long"

And now to finally bid you adieu (especially if you watched all the videos) (and if you did, thank you; you made my effort worthwhile), I will "Say So Long" and leave you with some more preschool cuteness. Just see if you don't wish you had one of your own. Be patient for a few seconds for it to start. (Sean-Peter's still in red on the left. Video's about a minute long.)

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