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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Ah, The Places Minnie Has Been

So with a new family member, I might have to dedicate a post or two for her.  I know my kids are cute and all, but you may need a break.  So, here is a poem, to the tune of Old Mother Hubbard.  I don't know why.

She went to the groomer to get her a, uh, groom.

She sat on a lap to watch the cars vroom.

She checked out the dashboard to catch her some rays.

She felt the wind blowing one hot summer day.

She jumped on a boat and set out for sea.

She checked out some ponies, with a little monkey.
(No, she's not in the picture, you'll have to trust me.)

She's walking and swimming and napping for sure,
She can't hardly wait for the next adventure.

The girls are excited whenever we go,
Their family member they've so much to show.

The End.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Change. Again.

Today was the first day of school.  2nd grade for my oldest.  1st grade for my youngest.

The girls are 11 1/2 months apart.  We went from zero kids to two kids in a year.  Children that are a year apart, in my opinion, are harder than twins.  Their development is not the same, and they are not far enough apart that the parents get a break before the next one begins.

All that being said, I we have been very, very busy for the last seven years.

Ashamedly, I tend to escape when I feel overwhelmed.  Usually when they are home, squabbling or tearing the living room up.  I escape to my computer.  Or my phone.

Because when they were two, and wanted to play, I liked building blocks with them.  Or swinging them on the swingset.  Or reading them stories.

But now, they are older.  And I have no interest in playing Barbies, or Ponies, or Fairies.  I love my daughters' imaginations, but I have little patience for the intricacies of the societal norms of plastic toys.

And so, with full knowledge that time is slipping away, I read while they play.  Or do laundry.  Or make dinner.  Because as they become more independent, I need some space.  And I think this might be normal, but I feel guilty all the same.

Last year was their first year of all-day school.  I spent a good part of last year staring at walls and roaming an empty house.  It wasn't entirely unpleasant.  I was tired.

When summer began, I was happy to have them home.  We camped, got a new puppy, beefed up the chore list, reviewed some school, visited relatives and swam in the pool.

When they said school started August 21, I thought that seemed early.

And it is.

I'm not ready for them to go back.  

But they already have.

We drove them to school this morning.  
Dropped them off with their teachers.  

And headed home.  

I have a few things I want to do different this year.  Staring at walls got boring.  So I got started on my projects.

And 3:30 came faster than I thought it would.

Because I missed them.

More than I did last year.  More than I thought I would.

It took my breath away how much I needed to see them again.  To hear about their day.  To feel them hug me and tell me they were happy to be home.

They were excited.  Over ice cream, their words stumbled over each other's as they told me the details they remembered.  And they were content with school.

And I am grieving.  Just a little.  But enough to surprise me.

I am proud.  Proud they are confident little spirits who feel safe at school.  Safe by themselves.  They are able to navigate their ways through lunch and rules and homework.

The independence that I have longed for, they have achieved.

The little girl stage is gone.  For both of them.  But especially my oldest.
And she will break my heart as she grows up.  

Because my youngest is my admirer.  
She will always be a Mommy's Girl.  

But my oldest is brave.  
And  shrewd.  And seven.  
She is trying her wings.  

Especially with Mom.  And my efforts at being direct with my children are being mirrored by her.  Which can sometimes be jarring.  From a seven-year old with a previously docile temperament.

And I know I have to let them go.  
I know things change. 
And if they didn't, something would be wrong.

But I'm not ready for summer to end.  
Not yet. 

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Almost three years ago, we gave up cable and our land line.  Partly to help our budget, partly because we weren't impressed with the shows available for our ever more observant children.

We got Netflix for a Christmas present, we bought Hulu, and Brian had subscribed to Amazon Prime for the free shipping.  (If anyone can tell me which two would be your preference, I'd be obliged.  I feel like there's a lot of repetition between them.)  I figured out how to watch some of my shows on the channel's websites, and we were set.

Except for sports.

My husband is not sports-oriented.  In my youth, however, I spent weekends snoozing in a beanbag with my dad while watching various sports on TV.  It is a cherished memory.  (I now can not watch a ball game, televised or live, without getting drowsy.  Unfortunate side effect, I know.)

I am a firm believer in the benefits of organized sports.  And that's a whole other post.  But watching or playing, I'm in.

So during the last few years I have sacrificed.


I have paced at home during the Superbowl.

I have sat down during a waitressing job to watch the Olympics.

I have monkeyed with my phone when I realized it had NFL Live on it.  And beat my head on my desk when I couldn't figure it out in time.

I have wondered, out loud, to my husband, if there was something he could do about it.

So eventually, he bought an antennae.  It didn't work.  And then we kind of forgot about it.

And then he splurged and bought a digital antennae.  And it did work.  And then we kind of forgot about it.

Until today.

Today, amazingly, I had nowhere to be, all my chores were done, and I was bored.   And then  I remembered we had 4ish local channels.  And I excitedly asked whether there was a ball game on.
And he said,

"Let's go see."

We found Little League, golf, a western, and on the last channel, a baseball game.  An honest-to-goodness, live baseball game.  It was Boston vs. New York.  Not teams I follow.  But I settled down on the couch for the duration.  And in a few minutes, Brian came in and sat down beside me.  And I was content.

A few minutes after that, my girls stumbled in from the 90 degree heat and sat down.

And my memories had come full circle.  The weekends with a game on TV.  My sister and I half watching while we played.  Or dozed.  A time to quietly bond while learning about the intricacies of opposing teams, game rules, statistics and ethics.

And then I was more than content.  I was overjoyed. And satisfied.  That we could continue a tradition.  Continue to come together and learn.  Learn about sportsmanship and excellence.  To watch TV without sex or violence.  And watch a show that didn't have singing unicorns or pink mermaids in it.

And to think.

Football is just around the corner.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

August Update 2013

Where does the time go?  (Do I sound old now?)
It's already August 15 and I haven't updated you on our exciting lives.
Well, here goes.

The girls having a garage sale.
I was especially impressed by the way they made a hanger bar out of their toys.
As I look at the date, I see that this was actually taken in July.
Forgive me.

Every year about this time we get a few motorcycle riders in town.
My girls and I went home to Iowa to avoid the traffic.
While we were there, we made a side trip to Kansas City.

We saw my grandma.

We went to the Deanna Rose Children's Farm.
I think it's silly to pay to see a farm, seeing as how I'm from the Midwest.
But another blogger recommended it, and I'm glad we went.
My girls aren't ready for World's of Fun yet.
This was much more their speed.
Plus they learn valuable skills.

Like milking a cow.

Catching a fish.
(And huge props to my mom for putting worms on the hooks.  
Still not my favorite thing to do.)

Feeding bottles to baby goats.

Papa relaxing on the front porch of a very nice garden shed.
You know it's Papa, because his shirt says,
"Papa, the man, the myth, the legend."

My little sprouts and a cousin.

Later in the week, we headed to Des Moines.
I took the girls to the same science center I went to in the 5th grade.
This swinging pendulum clock was still there after all these years.
But we didn't get to see a rattlesnake being fed a live mouse.

We did try our hand at weather reporting though.  Along with rocket ship making, sound wave experimenting and IMAX butterfly movie watching.  Oh.  And lunch at The Cheesecake Factory.
Definitely a successful outing.

This is the car I drove in high school.
Dad just fixed her up again.
She looks way better at her age than I do at mine.

I was going to show you my senior picture.
You know, the one where I lay across my cool car.
But I can't find it.
So here's another one.

Just pretend that deck is my car.

a big (little) family: When the days are hard.

a big (little) family: When the days are hard.

A good read from a good friend.