Monday, August 27, 2012

iPhone Now Required

The other day Hallie suddenly said to me, "Mommy, I don't think we should potty train Hanna until GramB is here with us."

Well, I'm always up for suggestions about potty training, I just don't usually get them from my four year old.  But, like I said, I keep an open mind, so I asked her why she thought it was so important to wait for GramB to be here.

"Well..." she slowly began, "I think it is just because if GramB is here when Hanna has to just sit on the potty and wait for something to come out and it might take a long time and GramB just has that phone that has videos and pictures and we can play games.  And mommy, your phone just really doesn't do that."

Understanding slowly dawned on me.  "Oh..." I said, not sure how to respond.

"Because GramB just has that phone and it will help Hanna and me to have something to do.  So we should just wait until GramB is here.  It will be so better that way."

Last night Grandpa was reading a book of Devin's family history, and we asked him what he thought of it.  He said it took him right back to his own childhood, because the events and lifestyles described were so similar to the way he had grown up.  I asked him, "Well, how much older was this man than you are?" We looked it up in the beginning of the book.  The book was written about a man born 25 years before my Grandpa, and he was enjoying remembering how similar his own childhood had been.

Now, I potty trained Hallie all by myself with no iPhone in sight, and now, a year and a half or so later, that same child insists that it is necessary to have an iPhone for the job.

I'm not made for this kind of rapid change.  We'll probably have to figure out some drastic way to potty train Hanna without an iPhone.  I know, I know, call me crazy, but somehow or another I'll do it.  Should I change the title of this post to "iPhone Not Required"?

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Memories of a Car

Today in the parking lot I saw a green Chevrolet.  Not only that, but it was a Cavalier. 

I remembered seeing Devin drive up in a green Cavalier to take me on our first date.  I remember the blue shirt he was wearing, and the sunglasses he was wearing.  I remember there was absolutely nothing special or exciting about that moment, except that he was him and I was me and we were going to be together, eating something somewhere.

I remembered when I needed to drive to my elementary school where I would student teach the following semester but I didn't have a car and didn't know how I was going to get there - the school was 15 miles outside of the town where I lived.  Devin offered to let me drive his car to it.  I remember waking up that morning, full of excitement and nervousness, feeling so grown up and so young at the same time.  I walked out of my home with all those anxious excitement butterflies jittering around in my stomach and looked up and down the street for where Devin parked his car for me.  I found it, walked over to it and unlocked the door.  On the seat was an encouraging note and a bag of my favorite potato chips.  That's soul food, you know.

I remembered driving that car the first few months as a new wife.  Everything seemed so strange if only because everything was so exactly the same.  I remember driving that car all around town to carry out all of my terribly important wifely errands, and the other whatnots of a daily life, including going to work.

I remembered it was on one such errand that I smashed that car into a crumpled up mess of a green Chevrolet Cavalier.  I remembered going to the dealership and pickign out a brand new shiny orange car that neither my new husband or I knew how to drive.  I remembered learning how to drive it in a hurry because there was no other way to get to work every day.

Thanks for all the memories, little green car in a parking lot belonging to a stranger.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Letter to a Man in China

Dear Sir -

I hope your flight to China wasn't too awful.  I am sorry for your four hour delay in Lincoln, and for your hour delay in Chicago - all of which resulted in you missing your flight and spending the night in Chicago.  It is crazy that they wanted you to fly from Lincoln to Chicago to Denver to San Francisco and THEN finally to your actual destination.

Who plans these things?

We are doing well around here.  We had a fire in the backyard and roasted hot dogs for dinner, and then of course we roasted marshmallows.  Hallie and Hanna insisted on calling their root beer "juice".  I think it is clear we don't drink very much of either soda, or juice.

The weather has been so nice, and my mom is so willing to let me take advantage of her that I have been going running the past few days.  I think to myself, "I wonder if he runs on this same road?"  And I imagine you there, running with me.  The things we would see and point out to each other, and how I would know you were terribly bored with our pace but staying with me anyway because you are so sweet, and then  I would say, "You can just go" and off you would zoom and I would be so proud of you.

Last night Hanna fell asleep on my shoulder because she was having a hard time falling asleep.  I was nervous about tonight because I wanted to go to the store with my brother.  She had left her bear somewhere while playing, so I told her I would go get it - by the time I came back guess who was snoring?  Hallie has gone to bed every night like an angel.  When did she get so big and grown up she practically puts herself to bed?

At the store with my brother I saw these huge boxes in the aisle, proudly proclaiming from the sides, "Fresh!  Nutritious!  Delicious!"  with large pictures of watermelons splashed all over.  I was sort of curious, seeing as how we were in the hardware/sporting section and nowhere near the produce.  Can you guess what was inside the boxes?

Large black bean bags.  I wanted to show them to you and we would laugh and say "You wouldn't think they'd sell bean bags in boxes clearly meant for selling watermelons, but you'd be wrong."

You and I are often wrong.

We miss you.  Hallie and Hanna talk about you in China all day long, and we look for airplanes in the sky, just in case you might be in one of them.  And who knows, with that flight schedule you almost might have been.  Heather doesn't say much about missing you, but I can see when I look into her eyes the daddy-longing is evident.  Or perhaps that is my own longing reflected back at me, it is hard to say.

I love you.

Buy me the prettiest thing you can find.

Don't actually do that.

Just come home safe.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

On A Cloudy Morning

When my cousin Andrew and his family came to visit I was not expecting us to hit a sudden thirty degree drop in temperature.  The cloudy skies plunged us straight into the shivery sixty? seventy somethings.  We went outside anyway because glory be, I thought it felt so good.

Hanna and Olivia pulled their chairs all the way to the far side of the yard and planted them right by the fence, looking in to the neighbor's yard.

I ask you, what can be of such interest to two 2 year old people?

Please, take a moment to admire our sad, sad grass while you're thinking.

And then, of course, the answer is the neighbor's new dog.  Hi Dog!

Also fun is painting.  Especially when it involves no paints, just water.  That's my favorite.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Cookie Curse

There was a time that I prided myself on my chocolate chip cookies.

Then we moved to Nebraska, and everything fell apart.  I like to blame it on the oven, but perhaps I lost my cookie baking mojo, or perhaps I was being punished for my prideful proud feelings every time I baked cookies.

Whatever the case, whatever the cause, I could no longer bake delicious looking cookies.  See, they still tasted delicious.  They just looked... awful.  I got so frustrated that I stopped baking cookies.  When I wanted a cookie, I'd either talk myself into brownies, or I would bake them in a baking dish, like what are they called?  You know... the word is eluding me right now.  Well, that's really neither here nor there.

It all came to a climax on the fourth of July.  I had this idea that was so novel and so exciting and you've probably all seen it a million times - I was going to bake cookies with red and blue m&m's and flakes of white chocolate.  I could see them in my mind, so plump and chocolatey looking like the cover of a really shiny magazine.

Then I pulled the first batch out of the oven.  I cried a little.  I stomped my foot.  I followed all that with a fit of bad temper the likes of which I haven't displayed since middle school as I stormed out of the kitchen vowing to never bake again.  (Yes, terrifically immature I know.  I am more than a little ashamed, and would love to leave that part out of the story, but that wouldn't be honest.  I'm not going to be prideful, immature, and dishonest all in one post.  That's too much.)

Well, Devin finished that batch for me and I was off cookies for a while.  Then we met the incredibly nice lady the girls have dubbed "The Cat Lady" - not because she owns cats, but because, you remember? she helped us rescue one.

I completely forgot that I had been cookie cursed, until it was time to take the first batch out.  I was so nervous.  But then, it seemed like maybe things had turned out alright for me this time after all!

 My support team.  I started off with a larger support team, but once the spoon licking events were over, they vanished.

Is the curse lifted?

Thursday, August 9, 2012


Maybe it was the Great Depression, maybe it was her own natural sense of resourcefulness, or maybe it was some other possibility that I have never considered.  I don't know.  What I do know is that my Grandmother was loathe to throw away something that might have a use at some other time, and she passed that sentiment on to my mother.  Completely unbeknownst to me, and without my permission, my mother passed it on to me.  This is somewhat ironic as I can hear myself saying to my mother every time I go home to visit, "But why don't you just get rid of it?  But, why are you keeping this?"

And now, in my own home, when I find myself storing some tiny scrap of fabric I hear it echoing through my mind, "Why are you keeping this? What on earth could you make with such a tiny piece of fabric?"

I'll have you know those scraps of fabric have made a pair of overalls (for Baby Doll - we call her Rotha around here), and a dress (for Rotha), and a shirt (for Rotha), and two quilts (for Rotha), and two quilts (for real human sized babies).

So thanks Mom.  Let's hear it for scraps!

This last one is the quilt I am making for Heather, I am practicing a new style... thoughts? Do you like it, hate it? 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Candy and Answers

Well, thanks for playing Kristen and Laura Lee!  I will be giving you/ putting your candy in the mail soon!

Here are the correct answers for anyone (else?) who cares.

The last Olympic Gold medals awarded that were made entirely out of gold were awarded in 1912. (I had written 1915, making this one FALSE.)

I can see now that that was a hard one.  I should have made it much more obvious whether or not it was true.  Sorry, most of my quiz writing is from when I was teaching BIO 205 and 206, and back then I was trying to trick the students.

 Badminton, table tennis, and handball are the only sports in which the U.S. has never won a medal. (TRUE)

At the London games, the medals will be the largest and the heaviest in Olympic history. (TRUE)

The United States won 112 medals in the Beijing Olympics.  (FALSE, again, shameful trickery. I should have made it much more obvious. The correct answer is 110.)

At the Olympics in Paris in 1900, no medals were awarded.  Winners were instead given works of art.

Can you imagine that?  Busting your guts all over the place to win, and then they hand you this huge, heavy, awkward piece of art.  Try holding that gracefully, with your aching muscles all the way through the anthem.

I'm sure it was really nice art.

So far this Olympics we are in first place of medals awarded, with 81.  China is in second with 77.  They are, however, beating us in number of golds - they have two more than we do.

Go Team USA!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Great Cat Rescue

This morning I had energy.  As a totally foreign concept, this energy thing felt pretty good in my body.  A while ago we got a jogging stroller from a friend who is moving.  It's one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen.  I got all sneaker-ed up, and Hallie got her running stuff on as well, and I strapped Hanna and Heather down tight.  We were off!

The front tire was completely flat.  Undaunted, I transitioned to the double walking stroller.  We could still go out on a walk, right?

Right.  Off we go!  Hallie shot off, running ahead of me.  The sun is hot, and the moon is still hanging around too.  Hallie and Hanna yell at it to go to bed, silly moon!

We walked to the park down the street.  I sat down on the bench with Heather and watch Hallie and Hanna run and jump and play.  In the distance I thought I heard the faint meowing of a cat.  I looked around, but didn't see anything.

Then, out of nowhere, this sleek young kitten came trotting into view.  It was obviously well cared for and had a nice tag dangling from the collar around its neck.  Hi kitty kitty kitty! I said.  It glanced at me disdainfully, then, meowing all the while, it jogged over to the playground.  It went up the stairs, down the slides, climbed up to all the highest heights.

The girls were, as you may imagine, enthralled.  "Mommy! There's a kitty at the park!"  "Mommy, that kitty is looking for its owner!"  "Mommy! That kitty wants to play with us!"  "Mommy! What should we do with this kitty?"  "Mommy, this kitty is getting hungry!"

The kitty hung around with us for ten or so minutes, meowing all the while.  It was quiet during the time it went potty over by the swings, in the sandbox... but that was the only time it was silent.

Just as suddenly as it came, it streaked off for the house on the corner by the playground.  It curled up in a ball on the mat and looked like it fell asleep, although I knew it was still awake for I could still hear its pitiful chattering meow.

Then across the grassy field separating my bench from the doorstep where the cat was lounging I heard a new voice.  Human.  Female. "Hello kitty! Where do you belong?  Oh no, this isn't your house, you can't come in here!" 

I turned around on my bench to see what was happening.  The cat had certainly looked at home on that doormat, so I had assumed it was.  A woman comes slowly walking out of the house, aided by a cane.  She saw me looking at her, so I shout across the way, "So I guess that isn't your cat then?" 

She told me it was not her cat, but that if I would help her get the cat we could look at the tag and try to figure out who it belonged to.  I ran over (running being the purpose of my entire outing this morning!)  and together we cornered the very friendly, well tempered cat.  I read the phone number to her while she dialed it.

Then some other things happened all of which culminated in this lady walking down the road, helping Hallie push the stroller, while Hanna ran on ahead and I carried the cat.  We returned it to its home.  My girls were delighted to be heroes.  I think the woman was delighted too.

I could hear her, back by Hallie.  "How old are you? Oh, that's just how old my granddaughter is.  She's going to preschool this year. Are you going to preschool? Oh, I wish my family lived closer so she could be your friend.  What a nice family you have! Your mother is just so sweet to be helping like this.  What a nice family you have."

And then, later to me, after we had returned the cat and walked back to the park/her house.  "Well you sure are a sweet little family.  Seeing you today has just really brightened my day.  People like you just give me hope.  You just have such a nice family.  I wish my family lived closer."

We said goodbye.  The whole walk home I kept thinking, "Well lady, I wish my family lived closer too."

And now my goal for the day is to make a plate of cookies and walk back down to the park and give them to this nice lady.  For entirely selfish reasons, I assure you.