Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Mary Clare

Mary Clare Thole Lindh graced us with her presence on Christmas day. After lounging around at St. John's for 20 or so hours, she made her grand entrance at 1:18 AM on December 25, weighing in at 7 lbs., 8 oz., and measuring 20 inches.

Everyone at Team Botanical is happy and healthy. We are, without a doubt, enchanted by our little girl. The past week has flown by, and while I have lost track of time (I couldn't believe it this morning when Chip told me that today is New Year's Eve), I will tell you that each day gets better and better. We're so stinking lucky, I can't even stand it.

I will stop now before it gets any more boastful around here. Or I cry. Whichever comes first.

Our thanks to everyone who has sent well wishes. We can't wait for you to meet our little bird.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Because they care enough to be brutally honest

Maybe it's me, but I tend to expect that someone in the the sales field will usually say the right thing at the right time. I would also expect an established, married OB-GYN to be fairly well versed in what and what not to say to a woman who is one week shy of her due date.

Well, let's just say that Chip and Dr. Simckes both took my expectations and tossed them out the window today.

This morning I was getting ready for work (denim day!) and after successfully pulling those damn elastic-waist jeans over my bum, I heaved a sigh of relief and then, basically, made a poor decision and spoke.

Me: Good heavens, I am fat. I'm exhausted just from squeezing myself into those jeans.
Chip: Babe, you're not fat. You're nine months pregnant. Just look at your belly.
Me: The problem's not my belly, it's my butt.
Chip: Well, what do you expect? Your stomach is huge. If your butt didn't balance you out in back, you would tip forward.

The fun continued at this afternoon's weekly check-up. Dr. Simckes breezed into the room, gave me a hug, shook Chip's hand and sat down.

Me: Don't forget, we don't want to know the sex.
Dr. S: Well, I do. You're 39 weeks pregnant. When in the hell are you going to have this kid? I'm tired of keeping this a secret.

To be fair to both of these wonderful men, I really did set Chip up for failure. There is no good response when a woman -- especially a pregnant woman -- says "I'm fat." And as far as Dr. Simckes goes, I love the fact that he is so incredibly blunt. I mean, any doctor who responds to the question of "what can I do to get things moving?" with the oft-repeated phrase of "what brought you here shall set you free," is okay in my book.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

King of the road

The Jones family will soon be heading east to celebrate Christmas with both families, so they had their own family Christmas last night. Lo and behold, would you take a look at what Brennan received? A motorized four-wheeler. I wonder who's behind that?

I'm quite certain there were many, many a discussions surrounding this particular purchase. I think Sherri knew at some point Brian would come home with it anyway, so why fight the inevitable? Brennan, of course, was thrilled with his gift. The battery wasn't charged so he couldn't scoot around, but he had a pretty good time climbing off and on the toy and waving at Brian, Sherri and the dogs. The four-wheeler is making the trip to Illinois, so it looks like we may have to hold a parade for the little show-off.

Now, if you'll excuse me, Crazy Aunt Debbie is off to buy a helmet so her nephew's perfect little head stays just the way it is. Click here for a few more shots of B on his bad motor scooter.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's a jolly holiday with Brennan

I don't know how she did it, but Sherri managed to snap a picture of Brennan with both dogs for their Christmas card. If you're one of the lucky few on the Jones Christmas card list, you'll get to see the finished, polished product. But if you just want to laugh at the chaos that ensues when you put two 90+ pound dogs and a squawking one-year-old together for a photo shoot, well, then click here and enjoy.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

One content baby

Clearly, I am an excellent hostess, because Baby Lindh is showing zero interest in leaving the cozy little womb he/she has called home for the past nine months.

Before going to yesterday's weekly appointment, I was convinced that Dr. Simckes would take one look and me and say, "Get over to St. John's, stat." I was so certain this would happen, I asked Chip to bring our hospital bags with him to the appointment. I think we both knew that doing so would jinx us, but good sport that he is, Chip hauled all of the bags out to the car (and even made a last-minute outfit switch for me), and then quietly hauled them all back inside when we returned home.

While I appreciate that he didn't say "I told you so," it really was the least he could do after fist-bumping Dr. Simckes when the good doctor asked me, "Do you always complain this much?"

To Chip's credit, he did stop short of blowing it up.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas in the city

We're ready. Ready for Christmas, ready for some snow, ready for a baby, ready for SOMETHING. Come on, throw us a bone already. Chip and I can't possibly spend another weekend staring at each other. And if I take one more picture of our Christmas decorations, Chip will likely have me committed.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Santa's not sneaking up on this guy

Holding out for filets

As you may recall, we are big fans of the Hehmeyer family. Rob is hilarious, Amanda is a straight-talking version of Martha Stewart, and their girls Anna Lee and Charlotte are too cute for words.

You also may recall that for the past nine months I have seriously slacked off in the cooking department. I blame a lack of appetite, lack of energy or lack of interest in any sort of protein source that doesn't come in the shape of a nut. Sometime this fall, I mentioned to Amanda that Chip thought my lack of cooking was both a blessing and a curse. The upside was that I no longer used him as a guinea pig for wacky new recipes. The downside, of course, was that my aversion to most meats meant that he couldn't even get the basics like meatloaf and grilled steaks.

A few days later, Amanda appeared at our house with a baking dish full of stuffed shells. One half of the shells were covered in meat sauce and labeled "Chip." The other half of the dish was covered in tomato sauce and labeled "Debbie." Our delivered dinner came complete with these insanely decadent jam-filled cookies that I tried to hide from Chip because I didn't want to share them.

Fast forward to this week. I am sitting at work, willing myself to go into labor, when I receive an email from Amanda that says, "Taco soup and all the fixings delivered to your house at 1:30 p.m." I immediately forwarded the email to Chip, as he usually arrives home before me. While he's not one to pass up bags of homemade food, he typically likes to know the source of said food. Needless to say, he was delighted by Amanda's delivery. Especially when she confirmed that the soup was particularly meaty.

Last night, as Chip and I were driving to the Galleria, the song "Amanda" came on the radio. After singing a few verses about Amanda's taco soup, corn bread and gooey butter cake, Chip asked the following:

Chip: Hey, what do you think Amanda is going to bring over when the baby's born?
Me: Are you serious? She's already brought us dinner twice and we haven't even had the child. She shouldn't bring us anything.
Chip: Yeah, but you know Amanda. She will. I bet Rob will come over and grill filets. And she'll make a souffle.
Me: I can't believe how greedy you are.
Chip: Whatever. I can't wait for the baby to get here. I bet they'll be bacon-wrapped filets.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's not a competition

Chip and I paid a visit to the doctor on Monday, and after the ultrasound Dr. Simckes told us that Tro is currently weighing in at seven pounds, nine ounces. I know you can usually give or take a pound, but I will admit it is nice to at least have an estimated weight. I am, of course, alarmed that the doctor didn't respond when I asked if the baby's head was big, but I guess there's not much I can do about that now. It's not like I haven't noticed that Chip and I both have huge melons.

On the way home, I called Chip so we could recap the doctor's visit.

Me: So, we're at seven pounds, nine ounces. That certainly sounds manageable.
Chip: Yeah, not bad. Wait. How big was Brennan?
Me: Um, I'm not sure. Just under nine pounds, I think.
Chip: Well, I'm sure we can do better than nine pounds.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A bum on the bump

I was fortunate enough to see Brennan not once, but twice, over the Thanksgiving holiday. The little monkey gives hugs and the biggest, gooiest open-mouth kisses known to man. And I love every bit of it. Brennan also enjoys making himself comfortable on the bump. If I'm sitting down with Brennan on my lap, he will plop himself right down on top of his cousin. If I'm holding Brennan on my hip, he likes to swing his leg up so it stretches across the top of the bump. Because that's comfortable, I'm sure.

I've never received as much attention from either Buddy or Brennan as I have in the past week. I'm guessing that both Bs are feeling a little threatened by Baby Lindh's impending arrival. Rest easy, boys. You're still my number ones.

Click here for more photos of the little turkey in action.

One thugtastic tree

Chip and I spent Friday afternoon hanging our outdoor Christmas wreaths and assembling our two Christmas trees. The nine-foot skinny number in the front room went up without a hitch. The seven-foot pre-lit tree in the middle room -- the one I brought to the marriage -- was another matter. Let's just say it has a few character flaws.

Three years ago a lower strand of lights went out, so I wrapped new lights over the existing ones. Two years ago the entire middle section of lights went out, so I added even more new lights to the existing ones, resulting in a lovely tangle of cords and whatnot. Shockingly, last year all of the lights went out, so we cut off everything and wrapped new strands around every branch. Let me tell you, nothing says holiday spirit like cramped hands covered in plastic pine needle cuts. This year we were hard pressed to remember how the revamped model went together, and well, that was not fun, either. It was a marked improvement over last year's experience, for sure, but apparently Chip was not ready to let bygones be bygones.

"Silver Bells," was playing on the stereo, and Chip, ever the clever one, started singing along, only with his own lyrics. The refrain went a little something like this: "Broke-ass tree, broke-ass tree ... it's because we live in the city." I chuckled. Big mistake. He went on to work favorite words like thugtastic, Targetto and Homie Depot into the verses, as well as the names of our more annoying neighbors. I thought the song would never end. I also thought he could have left well enough alone with just the refrain, but hey, it distracted him during the last stages of assembly, and before I knew it, the tree was up.

Whatever it takes.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pleased as punch

The nursery, my friends, is finished. I am thrilled with the completed product. In fact, I often find myself wandering down the hall just so I can stand in the doorway and bask in its beauty.

Given that litany of boastful statements, I'm sure you are thinking, "My, but pregnancy has certainly given Debbie not only a big belly, but a big head. How lovely." Well, pregnancy has certainly made a lot of my body parts big, but any swelling about the head results from the fact that I fully realize how fortunate I am to have a mother and friend with limitless talents, as well as a father and husband with limitless amounts of patience.

My mom, saint that she is, made every fabric item you see in the nursery. I'm talking curtains, bed skirt, crib sheet, bumper pad, quilt, pillow, and, of course, a coordinating collar for Buddy, Jr., the non-shedding, stationary version of our beloved pup.

Our friend Anne, in addition to knitting the most precious sweater and booties you ever did see, designed and painted the canvases hanging over the cribs. (Yes, I still call her a friend, despite the fact that her daughter Clare asked, "Is Debbie a diva?" after Anne recounted tale #53 about how this nursery has brought out the worst in Detail-Oriented Debbie. Clearly, the slight OCD behaviors Chip and I exhibit are a source of great entertainment to the Fleming family.)

My dad, conditioned by many years of living with three women (four, if you count the dog), spent one Saturday helping Chip disassemble, assemble and move furniture to and fro. The following Saturday was spent hanging and rehanging various items while my mom and I added tasks to his never-ending to-do list.

Last, but not least, I have my husband, who endured even more than all three of the previously mentioned people combined. After withstanding a ridiculous number of Debbie-led design discussions, Chip then moved large pieces of furniture by fractions of inches until they were just so. Of course everything ended up right back where it started, but how would I have known the dresser and crib were in the right places if I didn't see them in every wrong place first?

Like I said, I'm lucky. And that's why my head is so big. And why Baby Lindh will have such a swank nursery. Now I just have to finish reading, "The OCD Mother's Guide to Having a Neat & Tidy Newborn," and I should be good to go.

Click here to see the full set of photos, and be sure to roll over each image for notes. I just cannot get enough of that particular Flickr feature.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Well, if you really think I need it

Brennan received his first haircut on his first birthday. Such a big boy. Gone is the baby chick-like mullet, as well as the fine little locks of hair that would find their way over Brennan's ears. Now that he's all growed up, I guess I need to get him some product. It's what all the suave one-year-olds have on their Christmas lists.

Click here to see more pictures from the big event. You'll notice that Brian, not Brennan, is the more nervous of the two.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The pump and the bump

Most of my shoes have heels and pointy toes. The pointier, the better. Sure, sure, this might all change once the baby arrives, but for now, I'm sticking with my heels. My reasons are two-fold: One, I am lazy and find it easier to buy shoes of varying heel heights rather than alter all of my pants to the same length; two, I think pointy-toed shoes make my legs look longer, which therefore makes me feel skinnier. I am, my friends, not above playing mind games with myself.

Since I've been pregnant, my shoes have received quite a bit of negative attention. Several coworkers are completely distraught that I am not wearing flats every day; even the lowest of heels is a source of distress for them. Strangers look at me, shake their heads and make comments like, "I don't know how you can wear those ... even if you weren't pregnant."

The comments get a little old at times, but I know that everyone means well, especially since I have a reputation for tripping and falling on a fairly regular basis. Oh, and just so you know, people are not reassured by a pregnant woman who says, "Well, the good thing about having a history of falling a lot is that you learn how to tuck and roll so you don't hurt yourself."

I truly appreciate the concern, but the comments and pleas are falling on deaf ears. Pregnancy shall not come between me and my heels. Motherhood, maybe, but not pregnancy. He hasn't said as much, but I'm sure Chip wouldn't be thrilled if I took a spill with our child in hand simply because I refused to stop wearing ridiculously high heels.

This weekend I hit Macy's to buy Chip even more navy and black dress socks. While there, I happened upon a pair of shoes I had to have. Never mind that the men's sock section is on the complete opposite side of the store as the women's shoe section. I'm telling you, I just happened upon them. Shoes in hand, I trotted my pleased pregnant self over to the register and plunked the shoe box on the counter. As the Macy's sales person started ringing up my purchase, she took one look at the pumps, glanced at me, raised an eyebrow and said, "Mmmhmm." First, I am confused.

Me: Too sparkly?

Mother Macy: (another raised eyebrow)

Me: The heel height? It's not that bad.

Mother Macy: Mmmhmm. (followed by a pointed look at my stomach)

Me: Oh, because I'm pregnant? It's okay, I always wear heels.

Mother Macy: Mmmhmm. I'm pretty sure that's what got you into this situation.

Me: (laugh) You think? Anyway, it's fine. I probably won't wear them until after the baby is here.

Mother Macy: Well, you better watch it, or you might just end up in the same situation again.

Gimme, gimme more

The birthday set is complete. Click here or go to the original post to view all the present-climbing and cake-destroying pictures you can handle.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Little chief squawks-a-lot

Brian and Sherri took Brennan to his first Kansas City Chiefs game this weekend. Thanks to our cousin Monica -- the lone Chiefs fan in the family -- Brennan was appropriately attired for the event. Word on the street is that Brennan liked all of the action, and was charming the pants off of their seatmates. I'm certain that involved a fair amount of squawking and nose crinkling. Well, that's what works on me, at least.

Click here for two more pics from the game.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The big one

It's hard to believe, but my sweet little nephew is one year old today. It's just like everyone says -- the time flies by. And that's just from an aunt's perspective. I can't imagine what it's been like for Sherri and Brian.

The Jones and Thole families celebrated the little lad's birthday last weekend, and Sherri and Brian have a small celebration planned for him today. As long as there's cake and something to climb, Brennan will be the consummate host.

There are - surprise! - many more photos to share, but I need to sort through them first. (Yes, Brian, your greatest fear has come true: Baby Lindh is already cutting into Brennan's time.)

Happy first birthday, B. It should come as no surprise that we all love you very much.

UPDATE: Being the CAD that I am, I worked tirelessly through the night to edit B's birthday photos. Click here for the full set.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Two whole years

Dear Husband,

Well, here we are. Two years into this marriage thing, and gosh darn it, I think it's going pretty well.

Sometimes I'm struck by how fortunate we are to have one another, and what great things life has brought us, both individually and together. Sometimes, I even go so far as to tell you how thankful I am to have you. And I mean it. (No, really. It's not just a ploy to get you to agree to whatever big-ticket purchase caught my eye that day.)

I know it seems like I can ask for a lot, but I couldn't ask for a better husband. Here's to many more years of wedded bliss.

Loves you,
The Wife

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A house divided can stand

For those of you who don't know, Team Botanical is a house divided. Each time there's an election -- be it a primary or a big one like yesterday -- Chip and I make it a point to get to the polls. We both like to keep up on politics and current issues, but when it comes down to it, we're really just performing our civic duty so we can cancel out the other's vote. Yep, we're all about the big picture.

Nevertheless, when Chip and I do get into political discussions -- usually after I quote something from "that leftist rag," Time magazine -- we remain respectful of one another's views. The key, I think, is that I'm a Democrat (a "Fem Dem," according to Chip's dad) mostly for social reasons, and Chip is a Republican mostly for tax reasons. We're willing to see both sides of the picture, and as long as Chip agrees with me on certain social issues and I agree with him about certain monetary issues, we're all good. Right in the middle, we are.

So, all of this respectful talk aside, I have to tell you ... it feels really good to win one for once.

Friday, October 31, 2008


It's that time of year again. The time of year when parents everywhere put their children in elaborate, puffy costumes, just so they can score some free mini Snickers for themselves. God bless America, I say. I love it.

I was lobbying for Brennan to wear a rhinoceros costume this year, but apparently this is one time where Crazy Aunt Debbie has no say in his sartorial selections. Oh, well. I have to admit he makes one heck of a handsome monkey.

Click here for more shots of Brennan monkeying around in his costume and other Halloween apparel.

Have a great Halloween!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Try Wal-Marts for the wired version

Chip spotted this sign yesterday, and was kind enough to double back to get the shot.

He works hard for the blog.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The inspector wears pajamas

The Jones family (all five of them -- the dogs are a package deal) spent last Friday night at our house as they made their way through Missouri and Illinois for the baby shower and wedding weekend extravaganza of '08.

There's nothing like having an 11-month-old in the house to let you know exactly what needs to be childproofed. Wine bottles stored in the cabinetry by the sink? Gone. Runner on the coffee table that has a wreath full o' candles resting on it? See ya. Sort-of clean kitchen floor? Spiff it up, already. And then there's the free-standing toilet tissue holder in the guest bathroom, as well as the basket full of toilet tissue, both of which are apparently too tempting for words.

The good news is that our baby crib is, in fact, safe. The night before the Jones family arrived, I rushed out to that blasted Babies 'R' Us store to buy a mattress and all the accouterments so Brennan could test the crib for us. Wait, wait. I mean rest in the crib. What? Do you think I'm the kind of person who would actually put my sweet nephew in harm's way if it meant I could guarantee that a crib is safe for my unborn child? Well, then, I'm sure you also think I'm the same kind of person who would attempt to jam her nephew's hands and feet through the rails to see if they could get stuck. (They don't, in case you were wondering.)

Now that I've safely ensured Brennan and the white menace will never grace our home again, might I invite you to click here for a few more shots of Inspector B at work?

Friday, October 17, 2008


Hanging our Mizzou flag was a labor of love.

This flag - once the piece de resistance in Chip's room at the Pike house - has languished in our basement for the past four years. Every fall we say, "You know we really should hang that flag." Doing so, however, would require ladders, power tools, drilling into brick and the like, so of course it never happened. Until this year. I don't know if it was the nesting or Mizzou's ranking that did it, but by golly, that flag was going up, even if it meant visiting every single hardware store in a 50-mile radius. Which I did. In case you're wondering, it is terribly hard to find a metal flag pole holder and respectable-looking flag pole in September. My thanks to Ace Hardware and the Bug Store for having what we needed so I could get on with my life. I'm not kidding. At one point I asked Chip to go steal his parents' flag pole because I couldn't bear to walk into another Wal-Marts.

But that's all behind us now. The flag is flapping in the breeze and Buddy (in his Mizzou collar, natch) is prepared to attack any Big 12 marauders with designs on our flag. After all we've gone through to put our Tiger pride on display, I just know Mizzou won't let us down this weekend.

Go Mizzou!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

For my next trick, I shall eat this pumpkin

It's starting to get fun around here, people. My sweet little nephew has quickly gone from crawling to climbing. Last week Brennan clambered up into his rocking chair, stood in the seat and squawked at Sherri. As an encore to that performance, he dumped a full can of Pepsi on his head. Not one to rest on his laurels, last Sunday Brennan scaled the hearth, discovered the staircase and used his riding toy to climb up on the coffee table in, oh, about a 30-minute time span.

Like I said, it's going to get fun. Especially since Sherri's response to my question about setting up the child gate was, "Oh, we're just hoping he'll forget about the stairs."

For more pictures of the industrious lad in all his pumpkin patch glory, click here. You shall not be disappointed.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The pumpkin principle

If you see a pumpkin, take it down. And if the pumpkin doesn't submit to your will, squawk at it.
- Brennan Jones, 11 Months

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Please don't make me dumpster dive

Dearest husband, why must you thwart my attempts to recycle? This morning I opened the kitchen garbage can and immediately spied two sad little #5 pudding cups resting on a bed of plastic. They pleaded with me to rinse and recycle them, so I complied with their simple request and placed them among their brethren in the blue recycling bin.

If this anti-recycling statement is a way to get back at me for not having any food in the house except pudding cups, point taken. But why take it out on Mother Earth? She's not the reason you had to eat pudding for dinner last night.

There was simply no missing the look of disappointment on your face when you realized I returned from dinner with my friends empty handed, with nary a box of leftovers to be found. "Who goes to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner and doesn't come home with leftovers?" you asked Buddy. "Pregnant people, I guess."

I explained that Sue, Cori and I split a salad and entree so we had room for a slice of cheesecake (okay, two slices of cheesecake), but I still felt bad for not bringing home dinner. The coup de grace was when you extracted another pudding cup from the refrigerator and told Buddy, "Time to finish dinner."

Well played, Chip. Well played.

But still, I have to ask, do you really have to take it out on the recyclable plastics (which are numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7, in case you forgot)? I'm the one who failed you, not Bill Cosby's favorite snack. Instead of calling this morning with a gentle reminder, I elected instead to add pepper jack cheese and that ridiculous Oscar Mayer salami to the grocery list so you can enjoy your favorite sandwiches before classes next week. I will even buy white bread instead of wheat. That's how badly I want to make this up to you. Now, can we call a truce and return to the recycling?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Off to daycare we go

Brian was kind enough to share this picture with me. I knew it was intended for public review, as the subject line in his email said "for the blog." He is not above getting my nephew plastered if it means he gets one more Brian tag on the blog. He's shameless, that one.

Of course, posting this picture is all fine and dandy with me because it proves I am not the only person who is highly entertained by the sight of small, angelic children sucking away on cans of golden delicious. Well, let me rephrase that: I'm not the only person in my family who is entertained by the sight of a baby with a beer. Or, as my mom used to call it, night-night juice.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Brian totally does the same thing

Since we last heard from Brennan, he has acquired a number of new talents. He throws the ball back and forth with Brian, grinds his teeth, added "ba ba ba ba" to his repertoire of "ma ma ma ma" sounds, and can take his socks off with his teeth. Yes. That last one is my favorite as well. Brennan perfected this little trick while Sherri and Brian were in Las Vegas last weekend, much to Grandpa and Grandma Jones' delight. Pat and Steve report that Brennan would put his foot in his mouth, pull off his sock, let it hang there and then laugh like a madman. Sadly, this is not a feat he will perform on demand, so there's no video to share. Yet. Give the ham time, I say.

Sherri uploaded a bunch-o-pictures from the past 30 days, so click here to enjoy.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Big tease

It's been far too long since we've seen something from this guy. I have more, but you must wait. Patience, my friends, patience.

Look out, he's on a roll

I think I've mentioned before that Chip is a super peppy, super hilarious morning person. I, on the other hand, need a bit of quiet time before I'm ready to communicate with the outer world.

After making several attempts to wake me yesterday, I finally succumbed to Buddy's kisses and rolled out of bed. As we were making the bed, Chip said, "You know, I was thinking. Since it takes you so long to wake up, we might need to start a training regimen so you're ready to get up with the baby. How about this: every two hours during the night you get up, walk into the office, sit in the chair for 30 minutes, and then come back to bed. If we start now, night feedings will be a breeze by the time the baby arrives."

I still wasn't forming words at that point, so I just shot him a look and walked out of the room before he could hear me laughing. No sense in encouraging the boy.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My nesting knows no bounds

Even the front porch cannot escape my need to tweak. I have wreaths for both of the doors, but Chip is already overwhelmed by the amount of fall foliage he must circumvent each day, so those will have to wait until the mums die and the pumpkins rot. Or someone steals them. Whichever comes first.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

He's a problem solver, that one

In case it wasn't obvious before, I'm in full-on nesting mode. Chip said he hasn't really noticed a difference as I'm always running around straightening things and making to-do lists, but what does he know?

Anyway, the internets is a friend to all who nest. Last week the internets was nice enough to leave baby diapers, a blanket and a few miniature hats, onesies and socks on our front porch. Obviously, the "not finding out the sex of the baby will keep me from shopping" reasoning is a thing of the past.

Last night I asked Chip if he thought we needed a bassinet or cradle in the bedroom for the first couple of weeks. Discussion ensued, and we decided to wait and see if this kid even wants to be around us at night. Hey, everyone needs their own space.

This morning, Chip announces, "So, I thought about the cradle, and I think I have a solution. Let's mount one of those gerbil feeder bottles in the corner of the crib, and then neither of us will have to get up in the middle of the night for feedings."

You can't argue with logic like that.

On a related note, if everyone could start saving their cardboard toilet paper cores, Tro would really appreciate it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The good, the bad and the funny

Three things from Chip, over the course of three days.

The good: Thursday evening we had a breastfeeding class at St. John's. (Yes, Sherri, they have classes for these things. Yes, Andy, Chip did go with me.) The class started at 6:00 p.m., so I went straight from work. I was seated in the lobby when Chip arrived, still in his suit and tie. Without saying a word, he walked over, gave me a kiss and pulled a banana out of his coat pocket, which I quickly inhaled. As soon as I finished the banana, he pulled a granola bar out of his other coat pocket. Such a Boy Scout, that one.

The bad: I'm trucking around the house in a T-shirt and these glorious stretch pants my friend Sue lent me. (Seriously, these pants are so awesome that I get sad every time they are in the laundry.) Anyway, I was looking pretty pregnant. So I asked Chip, "Is it weird to see me with a huge pregnant belly?" His response: "Yes. And can you believe it's going to get even bigger?"

The funny: Friday morning I was getting ready for work, and as always I was having an accessories dilemma. I threw on three long beaded necklaces in an attempt to make my white cotton maternity shirt look different from the other five white cotton maternity shirts hanging in my closet. As I studied my reflection, I foolishly asked Chip, "Do these beads look okay?" He quickly responded with, "Sure, they look great. Mardi Gras is only a few months away. Start wearing that shit now. It's time to get the party started." As I left the room, he made a big point of twirling a T-shirt above his head, Girls Gone Wild-style.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ye scalawags best be reading this

It's here! It's finally here! My favorite day of the year -- International Talk Like A Pirate Day. Indulge your barbaric side and let loose with those favorite pirate phrases you love but hesitate to use on a daily basis. Amaze your friends and coworkers by throwing out "arrs" and "avasts!" like it's your job.

I was foolish and wore my pirate shirt yesterday, but fear not -- Chip is wearing swashbuckling boots with his suit and Buddy is sporting an eye patch. To make up for my lack of pirate apparel, I shall hop around on one foot and pretend I have a peg leg. You can call me Peggy the Prego Pirate.

Now, ARRRen't you glad you know this?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

And that's why I love them

Yes, I am the nerd who reads the comics every morning. I usually only send relevant ones to my family, but now that I have this blog, well, all bets are off. Before you know it, I'll cover this site with pictures of "hang in there!" kitten posters.

Anyway, I particularly enjoyed this comic because while I love my friends and of course they love me, we all know that no woman is going to tell her friend:

"So, I see you got your hair cut. Yeah. Not so good. Why don't you go ahead and give that another try."

No, no. That's so unrealistic. Real friends save those awkward conversations for big issues that can seriously affect someone's future and/or well-being. For example, one of my good friends just sat me down the other day and let rip with this:

"Debbie, I need to talk to you. It's about the chandelier. I cannot believe Chip won't get one for the baby's room. Does he not love this child? I'm really worried about what kind of father he is going to be. Seriously, you really need to decide if you want to bring Tro into an anti-chandelier environment.Whatever you decide, you know we're there for you, should you need to seek refuge in our chandeliered nursery."

Thank heavens I have friends who are willing to have those awkward, yet necessary, conversations.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Busted with the butter

If you'll recall, I like to always have snacks at the ready. Trust me, you want it this way, too. Hungry Debbie is not Good Times Debbie.

So, I'm walking across the highway this morning with a coworker. A very thin coworker. In my ginormous purse I have packed a yogurt, grapes, a miniature loaf of zucchini bread (thanks, Mom!) and a tub of butter. WHAT? I bet you carry crazy stuff in your bag, too. The contents of my purse just happen to be perishable. Okay, yes, it's perhaps a bit much, but it's not like that's just today's breakfast. The grapes and yogurt are for snacks, and the zucchini bread will take me through breakfasts/morning snacks for the rest of the week, and like, I said, it is a miniature loaf.

Anyway, back to the morning march. While I am comfortable carting around groceries in my handbag, I don't necessarily want my coworker to see the butter peeking out of the pantry that is my purse. Of course she does. And, being the funny girl that she is, she ribs me about it during the remainder of our walk. She does tell me that I look great and she likes the color of my sweater, so I forgive her. I am so easy sometimes, it's crazy. No wonder I'm pregnant.

So, fast forward to breakfast time. I have just finished my slice of zucchini bread and I'm returning the butter to our department's mini fridge. Wouldn't you know it, I run smack dab into a guy who's wife was a total waif during all 18 of her pregnancies. Awesome. I excuse myself, continue past him and his judging eyes, and run into a marathon-running coworker who has never had children. Even better. She, too, smiles and says nothing. I'm sure they didn't even notice, and if they did, they were probably more concerned about the knife in my other hand, but still. I can't help but feel like I'm being judged. The reason I feel this way, of course, is that prior to growing this soccer ball in my stomach (seriously, that's the size of my uterus this week), I would have totally judged a pregnant chick walking around the office with a tub of butter. By the way, you do notice that I'm saying butter and not margarine, right? That's totally intentional. I'm a butter girl now. Butter is natural, and that is my defense. Calories, schmalories.

To top off my list of troubles, I'm fairly certain Chip shorted me on the coffee this morning. My doctor begrudgingly allowed me one small travel mug of coffee each day, but I have a sneaking suspicion Chip doesn't agree with this plan, and is therefore not giving me a full pour. I'm sure he would tell me it's so I won't slosh scalding hot coffee onto my hand, but I think we both know what's really going on here. More judging.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Country boys

My Uncle Bill and Aunt Bev were kind enough to host the Klostermann clan for a BBQ a few weeks ago. My aunt and uncle live next door to the farm where my mom was raised; my cousin Kris and her family live in what was once my grandparents' home. Everyone in my family simply refers to this compound as "the farm."

Sherri and I were frequent guests at the farm, so summers spent carefully walking around tractors, scaring cows, cutting through pastures and sneaking into the hay loft were second nature to us. It's weird to think that Brennan and Tro will only get to experience these same things when we unceremoniously deposit them on my relatives' front steps.

So, enough about my nostalgia for days on the farm, and on to what you really want: pictures of Brennan. Click here for a Brennan-centric review of the day.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Madness, with the flip of a switch

All Chip could talk about this weekend was how excited he was that football season is finally here. Oh, he absolutely couldn't wait to spend Sunday in front of the television. Well, around 9 PM on Sunday he finally got his wish. (Please note that this was not my doing. The boy is simply not programmed to sit down and relax.)

So, Sunday evening, there we were: Chip was watching a game, I was reading the Sunday paper and Buddy was lounging on his love seat. It was just so nice and relaxing. For 10 minutes, at least.

Me: I think I want a chandelier in the nursery.
Chip: What? Are you kidding?
Me: Nope. The room needs an element of whimsy to it.

Chip: You're high. Absolutely not.
Me: Well, okay. But I definitely want a dimmer switch. And I'm not taking no for an answer.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Let's get physical

No one loves to get their ExerSaucer on more than Buddy. If someone could just give him a boost, he's certain that he, too, could benefit from Baby Einstein's interactive toys that "develop sensory and motor skills, and introduce bi-lingual language." Being of Mexican descent, Buddy is obviously fluent in Spanish, but it wouldn't hurt him to brush up on a few key phrases. Someone has to teach Tro to speak in Espanol.

While a number of baby items have found their way into our house, this is the first toy that sits right at Buddy's eye level. Despite the tempting soft parts and the fact that we hit the animal sound buttons whenever he's within earshot, Buddy has shown remarkable restraint. No licks or nibbles, and even better, he hasn't tried to take off with the contraption. We're hoping he'll exhibit the same restraint the first time he meets Tro.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A bucketful of bliss

Despite a lack of tickets, Chip and I met up with the Wilson family on Saturday to partake in some Mizzou-Illinois tailgating action with our friends the Hehmeyers. I love Rob and Amanda for many reasons, but mostly because when it comes to parties, they, for lack of a better phrase, do it up right.

Exhibit one, the gin bucket of joy pictured above. Prior to Saturday's event, this southern Illinois girl had never laid eyes on a gin bucket. Road sodies and lunch buckets, yes. Gin buckets, no. Why it took me so long to make its acquaintance, I do not know, because that pretty little bucket above was the belle of the ball. Rob periodically let loose with shouts of "Gin bucket! GIN BUCKET!" and the people came a-running. Passersby stopped in their tracks, smiled, took a shot from the turkey baster, said thanks and moved along. It was a beautiful sight. And as someone who has zero desire to ever baste an actual turkey, well, it was the best use of a turkey baster I've seen since my dad used one to change the oil in his truck.

Another tailgating highlight was Amanda's sister's father-in-law, who, when he was not wearing his Hulk-like plastic fist in Mizzou colors, would play the Missouri fight song on his trumpet. While wearing a black and gold hard hat. Yes. You read that right. Live music, every hour on the hour. I cannot shake my band geek past, so I absolutely swooned when I heard someone playing the fight song on a trumpet.

If you love the Tiger faithful as much as I do, click here for a few more pictures from our day. It's going to be a good season.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

This is all very natural, I'm sure

I think my ribs are spreading at this very moment. I don't even know if that's possible, but holy hell, that's what it feels like. I started to have some weird pains this afternoon, so I decided to poke around a bit. Big mistake. The phrase "tender to the touch" has never been more appropriate.

I promised Buddy a long game of ball tonight. Excellent. Looks like I'll be throwing a lot of grounders. Not his favorite, but it's still better than helping me ice down my rib cage.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sweet dreams

No doubt, Brennan is dreaming of a Mizzou win at tomorrow's Arch Rivalry game against Illinois.

Chip and I are so relieved Brennan made the right decision and elected to hitch his wagon to the Mizzou star. We already have two nephews who are Jayhawk fans (we spend less on them at Christmas), so of course we were terrified that Brennan would be swayed by his Illini-loving father and make a serious error in judgment.

It's obvious why Brennan picked Mizzou. He wants a team that delivers, and a school that actually has a mascot. Plus, black and gold is so much more flattering than orange and navy. Good call, Brennan. It's good to have you on board.

Click here for another shot. Go Tigers!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The conductor

Work is all kinds of silly this week, so I apologize to my little Brennan bear for not posting this earlier. After two days passed and there was no post in sight, Sherri called and told me that Brennan wanted to know where his video was, and didn't I think he was cute on his new Thomas the Train toy? Insensitive aunt that I am, I replied, "Well, maybe Brennan should ask his mom why she doesn't have her own blog."

So! I think we know who's the boss of this blog, and it's not Tony Danza. And it's certainly not my mouthy younger sister. That's right, Sherri. I am the ruler of my blog, and I rule with an iron fist.

All sisterly bickering aside, I do feel bad for not sharing earlier because really, it's not fair to deny people the cuteness that is Brennan. Click here for more photos and another video of the little man choo-chooing his way through the house. Apparently now that he's had a taste of the train-riding life, Brennan gets a little mad when people stop pushing him on his toy. As in "scream your head off to the point that your parents wonder if they can train the dogs to push you" mad. And that's why I love the boy.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Angelina Jolie in my womb

During the ultrasound portion of Tuesday's check-up, our doctor noted that Tro has some big lips. He even zeroed in on that part of the baby's face so we could see for ourselves. I must admit that I couldn't really tell, but I'll take Dr. Simckes' word for it.

Being me, I have taken what was an offhand comment and turned it into my latest obsession. Are they freakishly large lips? Wide, tall or both? Full or thin? Are we talking Joker-like proportions? Will the baby grow into the lips?

If Tro is a boy, people will say, "Oh, look at those luscious lips. Just wasted on a boy." If it's a girl, however, I guess we won't have to pony up for Restylane injections when she's in high school.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sherri dreams of a child prodigy

I received the following email from my sister this morning:

So, Brennan says "mmmom mmom mom" and I decided that he is definitely saying "mom." Last night I had a dream that Brennan said his second word, and it was "vegetable." Yes. Clearly, he is a genius and is ready to move on to four-syllable words.

I love this little tidbit for two reasons. One, Sherri had a dream about this and she actually told me. Two, Brian hates vegetables with a passion. So much so that it actually pains him to see Brennan eat his vegetables.

This talking thing is going to be awesome.

Our little work of art

Babies, even the in utero ones, bring out something in people I can't quite explain. When I'm out running errands, cars don't zoom through pedestrian walkways when they see the belly. I get a lot of kind smiles from strangers. People rush to open doors. No belly touching by strangers yet, but that's a relief. And then, there are the gifts. Oh, how I love the gifts.

Our incredibly thoughtful friends sent wonderful cards, helpful books, teeny-tiny onesies, burp cloths and the like. Family members passed on things like a papasan chair their baby barely used, or items they came across while out shopping. And then there's my mom. She is constantly on the prowl for things the baby and Brennan might need when they visit. It is unthinkable that a grandchild of hers should have to suffer through a weekend without being able to swing indoors or outdoors.

We love and appreciate every single thing that has found its way into our home, but I must say that the item above really touched me because it is, of course, a picture of our four-legged baby for the two-legged baby's room. Our friends the Hehmeyers are the responsible party, and I completely teared up when I opened their gift. Our Buddy! A work of art! Really, it's so wonderful that I couldn't keep it to myself. Buddy love must be shared with the world.

Okay, I need to stop now, because I'm not really sure what to think of myself right now. I can't even think of a snarky way to end this post. This is all so very upsetting.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The pampered chef

While whipping up a batch of fresh salsa last night with her Pampered Chef food chopper, my sister realized that Brennan is insanely delighted by this particular kitchen gadget. Sherri would chop, chop, chop, and Brennan would just laugh like crazy. Sherri promptly called both my mom and I so we could bask in the sound of his laugh. I am admittedly head over heels for the boy, but honestly, there isn't anything better than the sound of Brennan's laughter. It has a very consistent, hiccup-like quality which makes it, of course, the laugh of a genius.

Anyway, this little discovery benefits me in two ways. One, Sherri can get Brennan to laugh on demand for his Crazy Aunt Debbie. Two, Chip is constantly giving me grief about the seemingly endless stream of kitchen gadgets that find their way into our cabinets and drawers. Now that I know you can substitute a food chopper for a drum or a pastry scraper for, say, a shovel, well, I'm sorry, but that's one less toy we'll have to buy for this baby.

Somewhere, Chip is nodding his head in agreement, pleased that he married a money-saving genius. Who cooks.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Swing boy

Sherri sent me some pictures from last week's swinging adventure, and I couldn't help but notice how quickly Brennan has changed since the pictures below were taken in May and June. The little tiger is getting so big, I can hardly stand it. Less than a month to go before I get to squeeze those ham hocks.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Life with the lady is hard

Just when we decide yes, Buddy would definitely leave us for the next squirrel that scampers by, he goes and does something cute like this.

I was reading in the middle room one night last week and Chip came in to talk to me for awhile. Buddy then decided the love seat was where he simply must rest his weary Lab bones -- couch, chair, ottoman and carpet be damned. Chip accommodated him because, really, there's no way we can say no to The Face when he chooses to honor us with his presence. I was just getting ready to say, wow, he really does like us, when Chip brought me back to reality with, "You know he doesn't want to cuddle. He just wants to dominate."

Oh well, you take what the Lab gives you and you like it.

It didn't take long before both the boys dozed off, and I was able to get this picture. The flash woke them up and they were none too pleased. Tough cookies, boys. It was time for bed, anyway.

Click here for a few more of Buddy's summer adventures, most of which involve food or collapsing on the floor in a hairy heap.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The new face of our freezer

So, you kids know that no one has ever used the word waifish when describing Chip or I. Sturdy, maybe. Svelte, not so much. Nevertheless, I have always refrained from keeping things like ice cream, potato chips and cookies in the house because hello, we have no willpower. I actually stock a reasonably healthy pantry and fridge. Chip will vouch for this, as apparently hummus and celery sticks are not only the devil's snack, but something that makes people declare, "I feel like my throat's been cut."

Along with my gym attendance, the no junk food policy came to a screeching halt when pregnancy hit. I'm not gorging myself, but when I'm in the grocery store, I can't make it past the ice cream aisle without stopping. Seriously. It started with a package of drumsticks. The next week it was a gallon of Edy's no sugar-added ice cream. To make up for that crap decision, I went with Edy's slow churned Rocky Road the following week. Then all hell broke loose, and I came home two weeks ago with two gallons of Edy's slow churned ice cream and a package of drumsticks. Every week or so, I stand in front of the freezer case, and it does not even occur to me to close the door and proceed to the checkout line sans frozen treats. Going home without ice cream is not an option.

Once I get home, I stealthily unpack my purchases, hoping that Chip won't see my loot. It's better if he doesn't know, because what if he decides to have some ice cream, and the next time I go to the freezer to feed the habit, there's only one scoop of spumoni left? Even worse, what if we hit the cookie dough ice cream hard and run out? What would become of me?

I only have ice cream once or twice a week, but my obsession has reached epic proportions. If you don't believe me, ask Chip about the time he lied and told me he ate the last drumstick. I went batshit crazy.

After presenting me with what was, in fact, the last of the drumsticks, Chip laughed and said, "Pregnancy is awesome." He paused, and then added, "Well, the ice cream part, anyway."

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hammer time

Brennan comes from a long line of men who are what you might call "handy." His dad Brian is an engineer, his paternal grandfather teaches sheet metal, and his maternal grandfather is a superintendent of construction. Solid, strong and with a mind of his own, Brennan is a boy's boy, and his toys reflect this. Instead of a rocking horse, he has a Harley-Davidson rocking motorcycle, and his toy bin boasts a Tonka truck, cars, play tools and athletic-inspired stuffed animals and toys. So it makes perfect sense that when presented with a hammer, Brennan uses it as a microphone.

I'm telling you, that boy has a future on the stage. Jazz hands!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The resemblance is striking

Yesterday Chip and I went to Mo Bap for what I will refer to as the "big" ultrasound. This is typically done between weeks 18 and 20, and the ultrasound technician takes ridiculously detailed measurements to chart the baby's development. We could have learned the baby's sex yesterday, but we stayed strong and looked away when the ultrasound technician examined Tro's nether regions. I held Chip's head to make sure he didn't peek. I love surprises and darn it, he should, too.

We don't have the detailed report, but I do know that the bambino currently weighs as much as a bottle of Schlafly and is roughly the size of an heirloom tomato. Why, yes, I am relating my child's development to two of my favorite foods. Thank you for noticing. If you dig on ultrasounds, like I know you do, click here for a few more. I added notes to one of the images because if you're anything like me, you can't tell the baby's rump from the baby's head unless someone points it out.

First birthday fist bumping

Our nephew Benjamin turned one this past Sunday, and John and Kiara were kind (and brave) enough to have everyone over for a barbecue. Poor baby Ben wanted nothing more than a nap, but he put on his game face and soldiered through lunch, the gift opening and the cake destruction.

Click here for a few more of the festivities. If there's one thing the Lindh family does well, it's cheeks, and Benjamin has a killer set.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Love the loops

When my mom was last in Kansas City, she almost purchased some Fruit Loops for Brennan, but didn't want to usurp Sherri's authority. Fruit Loops were the Thole girl finger-food of choice, as they predated the little star-shaped cereal snacks kids get today. Apparently Sherri thinks mom did an okay job with us, because she approved the loops, rationalizing that if Brennan wouldn't eat them, Brian certainly would.

It would appear Brian won't be enjoying Fruit Loops anytime soon, as we seem to have a Toucan Sam on our hands. Sherri said Brennan crams the loops into his mouth as fast as he can, but it's still hard to tell if he actually eats any. Every time he opens his mouth to pop one in, another falls out. The best part, of course, is that when the Fruit Loops start flying, Hunter and Holly furiously circle the high chair, anxious to get a taste of the fruity goodness. As Buddy will tell you, hope springs eternal when it comes to people food.

Click here for more food fun.

Friday, August 1, 2008

We're big time, baby

That's right, I've got video. Team Botanical is all kinds of fancy.

While I'm tooting horns, let's talk about how Brennan is so stinking cute (and meaty!) that it makes my cheeks hurt from smiling at the computer monitor like an idiot. Seriously, did you hear his little quack near the end? If not you may want to watch the video 20 more times like I did. Special thanks to my sister, who takes videos and photos of Brennan and then uploads them to my Flickr account. Because good heavens, what else would I write about if it weren't for those? It's not like Chip wins a golf tournament every week.

I hope you enjoy fancy Friday as much as I obviously do. Here's to a fancy weekend!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Boastfest of champions

Chip and his buddies Jeff, Tyler and Matt played in a charity golf tournament this past Sunday. Which charity, Chip does not know. Something about football scholarships. You know, a cause near and dear to all of their hearts since they all played football in high school and college. Oh, wait. No. Chip was the only one to play football, and that was for the Parkway West Longhorns. Basically, the guys just like to hang out and play golf, and if they can say, "it's for charity," well, then, all the better.

Chip returned from the tournament around 8 p.m. on Sunday. I asked how he played, and he said, "We won." Let's just say I didn't do a good job of hiding my surprise. "The whole thing? Matt and Jeff played, right?" I quickly recovered with, "I mean, I didn't even think they liked golf." My next question, of course was, "What did you win?"

For the rest of the night, I heard all about how fortunate I was to live with a golfing champion, and how he was going to take me out to a "nice steak dinner" to celebrate his success. Using the Carmine's gift certificate he won, of course. I played along, and told him that this is great and I'm oh-so-very proud, but the bragging must end tomorrow. Little did I know that his buddies would pick up where Chip left off.

I received this message from Matt on Monday:

I was on today and failed to see anything in regards to our first place finish at the golf tournament yesterday. I found this very upsetting. Chip, Tyler, Jeff and I worked really hard to finish first so we could take the loves of our lives out to a nice dinner. Please send me an email when you update your blog. I would appreciate it. Thank you in advance.

Which was quickly followed by a message from Tyler:

Chip didn’t have one drink yesterday and spoke only once. When I asked him what was wrong he said “I really want to win this one for Debbie. She really deserves a night out at Carmine’s and I want to do this for her and my future child.”

We (Matt, Jeff and I) started to refer to the golf display he was putting on as "The Show for Tro." Birdies from his putter were flying left and right. It was quite inspiring and blog material for sure.

I laughed so hard I started crying. Show for Tro? That's pretty good. As entertaining as their emails were, Tyler's photo creation (above) sealed the deal. I had no choice but to post about their victory.

So there you have it. I am married to a comedian and a champion. And not only that, but his friends are comedians and champions as well -- with mad photo editing skills, to boot.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The name at the top of our list? It's Pat.

Pregnant women tend to elicit a lot of interesting questions and comments. The best, of course, are from children.

Our good friends the Flemings -- Anne, Bob and Clare -- were talking about Baby Lindh the other night and Clare asked if we knew yet whether we're having a boy or a girl. When Anne said, "No, they're not going to find out," an incredulous Clare responded with "EVER?"

Anne said that Clare was very serious, and thus very confused (and irritated) when her parents proceeded to giggle about it for the rest of the night.

Clare is quite possibly one of the brightest and cutest little girls I know, and yet, here I am, selling her out on my blog. I'm pretty sure I won't be getting another handmade card from her anytime soon.

Well, hello there

Brennan hit the neighborhood pool for a swim this weekend, and it didn't take long before he charmed Brian's friend's little girls out of their pool toy. What can we say? The boy has a way with the ladies. Which is exactly what all of Brian's friends -- all of whom have little girls -- feared would happen.

Somewhere in Kansas, Brian is puffing his chest out in pride.

Click here for a few more of the little lothario.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Life by the TGP

Living in Shaw can seem like a bit of a job at times, but just when I get bummed out by a neighbor who tears up her perfectly nice zoysia in order to plant a vegetable garden in her front yard, I learn about stuff like this. Yes, Andy, it's true: there is going to be a naked bike ride in Tower Grove Park this Saturday. While I agree with the group's objectives, no, I am not a member. I read about it here. And, no, I do not plan to participate, but only because pregnant women aren't supposed to ride bikes because their center of gravity is all thrown out of whack. Otherwise you know I'd be there, getting all tribal and body painting the bump.

I have a feeling this ride could either really help or hurt the Tower Grove Farmers' Market, which is held near the TGP pool pavilion -- the same location as the ride's starting point. The pool and playground are of course swarming with children most Saturday mornings, so I guess we'll see just how liberal city parents are after all. This is going to be awesome.

I know, I know. My "if it's not hurting anyone, go for it" philosophy is purely situational and I may change my opinion on such matters once I have to explain naked bike riders to Tro, but I wish the group nothing but cloudy skies and cool breezes this coming Saturday. Chip and I never manage to make it to the International Festival, Pride Fest or the countless other random activities and festivals that go on in Tower Grove Park, but I do love that we live one block from a park where everyone is welcome, clothed or not.

Friday, July 25, 2008

A wow and a whew for the weekend

It's been a busy week so things are a little slow on the Team Botanical front. Oh, who am I kidding? We just weren't funny this week. Oh, and not one stranger approached me with a free beer. Sorry, but I just can't write under these conditions.

I am, however, going into the weekend happy as a clam because I received two great bits of news in the past two days. Yesterday I learned that our good friends are expecting Baby #2 in February, and let's just say they make pretty good babies. What can I say? I'm partial to the cute ones.

I received the other good bit of news a few hours ago. A high school friend's four-week-old son underwent a five-hour surgery today to repair two holes in his heart. It's been a roller coaster for them all week, so I was thrilled to hear that he came through with flying colors and is peacefully recovering at the children's hospital in Atlanta.

All in all, it's not a bad way to go into the weekend.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Next time, just point

Chip does love his morning comedy routines. I'm still not completely on board, but it is hard not to laugh. This morning's exchange took place as I was getting ready for work.

Me: Which shoe do you like better?

Chip: Definitely the strappy one.

Me: Great, thanks.

Chip: The other one looks like something an 80-year-old nurse would pick if you told her to go buy a strappy sandal. Did it come with a maternity outfit or something?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Friday, July 18, 2008

The first temptation of Buddy

George and Lucia returned from their Danube River cruise and London trip a few weeks ago, and they were kind enough to bring Tro a stuffed bear from Harrods in London. It is incredibly adorable, ever-so-soft and ridiculously well branded. That Mohammed Al Fayed knows what he is doing.

Seasoned grandparents that they are, George told me that they spent quite some time going through all of the bears so they could find one without button eyes. I think button eyes are adorable and should not be discriminated against, but I managed to keep that to myself. Unfortunately, my face gave me away, because Lucia said, "You know, so the baby doesn't choke." Oh, yeah. Choking hazards. Dammit, forgot about those. Score one for The Luce.

Either way, I am delighted by our little Harrods bear, which I have originally enough named Harrod. Dodi was an option, but I thought that might be a little too dark for a baby. Buddy, however, could care less about what the bear is named as long as he can have it for his very own.

Harrod sat on the kitchen counter for a few days, and it was the first thing Buddy would look for upon entering the kitchen. If Chip or I held it, Buddy would pull a prairie dog so he could get as close to it as possible. I don't think he would destroy it; I think he's just fascinated by this fuzzy little contraption. Nevertheless, one cannot be too safe when it comes to curious Labs, so Harrod is now tucked away in a dresser drawer. Let's just hope Tro isn't covered in fuzz, as I'm pretty sure Lucia would also frown on storing one's baby in a dresser drawer.