Tuesday, April 26, 2011


The other night the tornado siren went off for just a minute because a storm was on a speedy rampage through the area. Shortly afterward as we were going about our business, there was a sudden BOOM! No reverberations like you usually hear with thunder. I screamed, or so Jake tells me, and dropped the dish I was washing in the sink as I heard Tessa's absolutely frightened screams. She was almost disoriented when I immediately ran over to pick her up and calm her down. She is not easily frightened with thunder, but I could not blame her for the tears on this one. Cole had been on his dad's lap, so he didn't seem bothered. That BOOM shook our house enough to knock one of the clocks off the wall.
And the next day, between two and three doors down the street, next to our alley, we find this:

HOLY COW, right?!?! That poor tree was obliterated by lightning! On the other side of the alley there were charred remnants from where it had been hit --of course I had to go and touch it since I don't remember ever having touched anything that had been struck directly with lightning before. Someone had been hard at work that morning cutting down limbs so that the alley was cleared. The house looked like it was in fine shape. I'm so glad that it was, and that the electrocuted tree didn't smash through a window or the roof or something.

Here's Tessa on the other side. The bark was stripped clean off with the trunk splayed. Crazy, I tell you. The four of us had gone on a walk to see the tree and to just get out. I would have had a family picture taken by it, but Jake is apparently "uncomfortable" with traipsing across other people's lawns. :) So, I grabbed his phone and the girl, and left him with Cole for a moment.
After I made Tessa get her picture taken, Jake and I were still marveling over the tree. Tessa then yelled out, "Daaaaad, you said this was a walk, not a look."
Fine, fine.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Exotic Homelands

Tessa explained to me that one doll had joined us from "far away in Australia," and the other doll had come from, "far, far away at Home Depot."
I wonder what that second doll's accent sounds like.

Monday, April 18, 2011


I'm officially done reading for the semester! It's been a little crazy making time for it. I am grateful I have a reading partner to share the load, otherwise it would not have been pretty. These grad classes love piling on the reading, which is not always exciting, so kudos to Brittany for listening to me drone.
Now, if anyone wants to chat about "Jews, Culture, and Modernity" OR the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 and other world expositions around that time, I've done my reading --I'm ready for you.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

I went to vacuum Tessa's room this morning and found that there must have been a wild party at the doll manor last night. Several dolls were jam packed out on the patio, but the real fun was apparently in the living room where there was a miniature Ariel, a passed out Belle and Groovy Girl, a pony, and Rapunzel riding an elephant.
I wish I had been there to hear Tessa playing through this one.
And then...
No pumpkins. No bananas. No hotdogs.
They are apparently not allowed.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Unloading the camera

I think he's got an applesauce with red velvet cupcake facial going on here. His teeth are so funny --he's got four teeth that keep taunting him. Will they come out or won't they, will they or won't they?
"Take a picture of me too!" Never to be outdone. Then she wanted to take pictures too, so here we have the following from her artistic standpoint:

Moving on to my need to have busy hands for a better listening ear during General Conference. General Conference provided a beautifully uplifting weekend. The following project is not beautiful, however. But, it gave me something to do. I bought a couple of patterns for Barbie doll clothes a while back because I was irritated with the Barbie clothes available to buy. Seriously, Barbie should not look ready to go clubbing if she's supposed to be a vet. I loved getting Barbie ready for different occasions as a kid, and I knew that Miss Tessa would get a kick out of new clothes for her princess dolls. I had a couple of pieces of clothing in my Goodwill box that I fished out and decided to repurpose instead of giving away. Did I follow one of the patterns I bought? Heavens no, I am the queen of trial and error. I just went for it.
And it took me forever. And it certainly isn't anything to brag about, but my daughter LOVED it. This bungled dress has been on all of the princesses in the Disney sorority house.
I turned Tessa's jeans into capris and used one of the leg bottoms to make a doll jean skirt. Then I actually did try one of the shirt patterns with material that was much too stretchy, so again, not even close to perfect. And again, the four year old didn't mind in the least.
Here she is posing.

This Christmas dress from Grandma lasted and fit for the perfect amount of time. So, onto the slicing and dicing .....and uneven stitching and picking apart and stitching again.
Princess Ariel was pleased. So was Tessa. Doll clothes aren't easy, but I had fun trying. I will be pulling out the actual patterns and material they call for one of these days...

Excuse me?

I went out for frozen yogurt with a friend the other night. Nice, right? It was. It was a fantastically peaceful step out for a quick treat with a fun friend. We all need that sometimes.
I had an interesting happening on the way in though that I have thought about a couple of times since. This is what happened: Frozen yogurt place (yum) had a parking spot right in front of it. Great. I was coming from one direction and another car the other direction. I couldn't tell if it was coming or going. I was slightly closer to the parking spot, so I started to pull into it. That's when the other driver laid on his/her horn. I don't mean a quick "excuse me but I was waiting for that spot" kind of a beep, it was a long honk that made it clear that this person wanted to kick my face and he/she probably said a few choice words in the confines of his/her vehicle. Very quickly my first thought was, "Wow. Really? Okay. If you really want this parking spot that bad and feel that strongly that it is rightfully yours, then I will give it to you. I am physically capable of walking the extra 15 feet from another parking spot, so I will. Sorry I have dishonored your family name by attempting to park here." So I backed out, pulled up to the lady in the car and made a gesture that meant, "Sorry. I didn't know whether you were coming or going or that it was that important to you with seventeen possible parking spots all within 30 seconds walking distance," which looked like a shrug and a get over it and let's all be friends look. She looked at me, but the twilight and her tinted window made it too dark to see her facial expression. She was on her phone. My next thought was, "It's a good think Jake isn't here."
There was one point in my life where I would have been scared of this person --stomach wrenched, I would hide. I've hopefully moved on. We were both headed into the same small place, so it wasn't like we could avoid each other. I prepared myself to say, "Sorry! I didn't know you had been waiting for that parking space!" since I was parked and next to her car before she was completely out of it. --and, I'll be truthful --I figured that if I was nice to her maybe she'd feel a little sheepish about acting so aggressively. I was going to say something to her, dangit. But she wouldn't look at me, and she was on the phone, obviously not in a nice mood, in very bright pajama pants. While taking in the scene and approaching the car ready to holler my message as soon as she got off the phone or even glanced at me (never happened), her son got out of the car. He looked like he was maybe 16 and didn't carry himself with the surety his mom did. He made me think of a stereotypical thick and awkward teen boy who spends most of his time in front of a screen.
Mom stomped into Yogurtville.
Son held the door open for me.
My friend yelled out my name and started walking up to me, so I quickly joined her --and he was still holding the door open for us. "Thank you so much!" I told him as we smiled at each other.
I didn't need to say anything to the mom. What would it have done? Her kid was trying to make up for it in the best way he could.
I quickly and as discreetly as I was able told my friend what had happened as we glanced over flavors, and I noticed the boy trail his mother until they got out the door with froyo cups in hand minutes later without ever speaking to each other.
I've thought about what my actions say to my children and what I could learn from this little situation. Even if it's a bad day and there is a "valid" reason to be grumpy --what does it say to my children if I let it affect how I interact with them and others? That it's okay sometimes? It's not. There are so many FUN ways to embarrass my children in the future. I don't want to add unfunny ones by creating unnecessary tension with other people.
I also thought about my reaction and how I should react in general to awkward or tense situations. Being kind without getting walked can be tricky, but it can work in the right frame of mind.
And most importantly, yogurt brings people together! Let it do its work! :) Get off the phone! Talk to your kids and ENJOY treats together, especially if they're still willing to hang out with you.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Travel Mugs

Passport pic party at Costco tonight. Dinner at the white picnic tables, a saunter down the entertainment and electronic aisles, some eggs and bananas, and the main event - five buck photos.
We are now one baby step closer to being ready for our trip.
It makes me laugh that these pictures of the kids will be valid for 10 years.