Wednesday, April 30, 2008

This is very distressing

Over lunch I did the Kirkwood Target-Beauty First-Home Goods loop, which for some reason always makes me want to be a stay-at-home-mom to Buddy so I can leisurely shop like every other woman in the store. To reward myself for only buying what was on the list and using coupons for four items of the six items, I decided to take my savings and invest it in a peanut butter shake from Sonic. Great plan, I know. My financial acumen is the reason Team Botanical is rolling in the dough.

Imagine my surprise when I pulled up to the Sonic monitor, confidently placed my order and the girl told me that she was sorry, but they no longer have peanut butter shakes. I said, "Really? Okay, thanks." and drove off. It was that upsetting. I mean, now I'm kind of wishing I had a vanilla or chocolate shake, but at the time it seemed like the right thing to do.

Before you ask, yes, I already went to the Sonic site so I could send them a strongly worded email, but those peanut butter-hating jerks insist you call with your comments. Like I have time to be on the phone with customer service when there are obviously more pressing issues at hand, such as tracking down another drive-through restaurant with peanut butter shakes.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

For Steve

Despite what some of you may think (Sherri, Mom, Chip ... pretty much anyone who reads this), I actually do work at work. And it's been kind of busy lately. Nevertheless, it's been a week between posts, so here's something to quench the thirst of those who crave all things Brennan. More to come, I promise.

UPDATE: The previously promised photos are now available here.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Ninety years

Today is my Grandma Thole's 90th birthday. While she's not on the Internets, she is fully aware of the Internets, and I like to think she might actually get a kick out of getting a shout-out on good old Team Botanical. Grandma Thole is all about being in the know* and that's just one of the things I love about her. It's probably also where I got my nasty little know-it-all habit.

We celebrated the big event with an open house at my parents' home on Sunday. We thought we had surprised her, but of course she knew we'd do something. Of course she did, she's Grandma Thole. Who do we think we're trying to fool?

Grandma still works on marking and stitching quilts every day, she tools around in her Taurus, lives by herself, has a killer laugh and tells it like it is. And those are just a few of the reasons why I think it would be awesome to be like Grandma Thole one day. Happy birthday!

*EDITOR'S NOTE: One time in high school, my Grandma had this to say about a kid in my freshman class: "That Benny ____, he's on the dope." I about fell off my chair. I mean every kid in my class knew this, but I certainly didn't think my 73-year-old grandmother was in the know. How silly of me.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Another satisfied customer

Brennan can't talk, but if he could, he'd tell you I could have a career as a traveling nanny. No, make that a lucrative career. (He's only five months, but I like to think that if he could speak, he would use three-syllable words.) While the above photo looks oh-so-pathetic, Brennan spent 95 percent of the day smiling or sleeping. He really only worked himself into a lather when I gave him a bath. While I have never encountered a greased pig in my 32 years, let's just say that's the phrase that came to mind during the bathing ballyhoo. Especially since he started squealing on this visit. Anyway, he used to love baths, but Sherri thinks the cold dunk he took a few months ago scarred him. So nice of her to let me do all the fun stuff. When I told my friend Cori about having to do Sherri's dirty work, she asked if I also had to take Brennan to get his shots.

All in all, it was a wonderful, if not tiring, day. Props to all the moms who don't have a dependable traveling nanny like me and and have to do this every day. I mean, seriously, I hardly had time to take pictures, much less a shower. Click here for photos of the happier times.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The job you can't decline

Throughout our baby-sitting years, mom drilled it into our heads that if a parent called and needed a baby-sitter, Sherri or I had to take the job. School- and sports-related events where the only reasons we could say no. Delaying the call back and waiting for a better offer was not an option in the Thole household.

While I haven't had a steady stream of baby-sitting requests since junior high, some things just stick with you. And so when someone called and offered me a baby-sitting gig tomorrow night, of course I had to take it. Even though it's in Kansas City.

Yes, Sherri is flying me in tomorrow night to watch Brennan on Friday. How cool is that? And how rich is she? A $110 plane ticket + $15/hour + meals + entertainment could get a little pricey. Or maybe I should go with a flat full-day rate? I am, after all, using a vacation day. Oh, and I like hazelnut coffee, yogurt and Cheetos. Just sayin'.

Thou shalt not wrong the lady

Cross me and prepare to face the wrath of Buddy of the Botanical Buddies. If you don't believe me, just look at what His Royal Fierceness did to the shoe that failed me yesterday.

Let this be a warning to all the blog-reading burglars out there: His name may be Buddy and he may have sad Lab eyes, but he is not to be taken lightly.

Click here to see buckin' bronco Buddy at his best. Oh, and before you say it, I know that giving Buddy a shoe to chew was a really bad idea. But in my defense, it was quite funny.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tiptoeing through the tulips

The left heel on my uncomfortable (but still too cute to toss) brown pumps broke this morning. I could feel something wasn't quite right as I walked into work, but I thought maybe it was because I was still drunk. I kid.

In case you were wondering, walking around on your tiptoes all day is pretty exhausting. In addition to keeping the wobbly walking in check, I have to constantly make sure that when I come to a complete stop, my heel isn't peeking out from my pant leg at a 90-degree angle. Because that would just be plain weird.

Five months of fun

Little phbbbltting Brennan Jones is five months old today. Please note that the wet spot on his outfit is from his bubble-blowing and noise-making activities, and not just some leftover peas. The little lad loves peas. He's also into squash, potatoes and other exciting vegetables. I think I might make him a nice salad this weekend when he's in town for Great-Grandma Thole's 90th birthday bash.

Click here for a few more photos of Brennan and his sign. Sherri's a stenciling fool.

Editor's Note: Sherri sent a few of these pictures to family and friends this morning, and I just have to share one of the responses she received. Brian's cousin Matt, who is one of the geniuses behind Socialthing! said that a friend saw the photo and referred to Brennan as "the poster child for procreation." Nicely put. You can count on me stealing that one for a future post title.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

And a fart noise to you, too

Brennan's new trick is to make phbblttt noises at bedtime. I asked Sherri, "Oh, he's blowing raspberries? " She replied, "Um, yeah. But not quite that sweet sounding."

I thought she was exaggerating, but when I picked up the phone a little bit ago I was greeted with a symphony of fart noises. Brennan had called to wish me a good night, and he was phbbltting with authority.

Of course, it was still cute. And brilliant.

Grandma photo goodness

There's nothing like baby photos on a rainy Thursday. Especially when you can use them to play the "I Spy" game.

I'll go first: I spy a Bud Light can! Looks like Brennan must have driven Grandma Thole to drinking after some late-night baby partying. Click here for a few more images from Grandma Thole's recent visit.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

No amount of sighing and foot tapping can solve these problems

Since it wasn't raining today, I decided to knock out a few errands over my lunch break. Oh, how I love Fenton and its close proximity to two major shopping centers! It's unbelievable how many errands I can crank out over a lunch hour if I focus (read: only get what's on the list). I am the picture of efficiency. My fellow shoppers, however, leave something to be desired. Here are two of the greatest offenders, both of which I encountered today. Don't be one of these people. And if you are, for heaven's sake, don't tell me so we can still be friends.
  • Offender #1, The Retired Returner: Just because someone is retired doesn't mean they're not busy. I get that. Dos and the Luce are all about soup kitchening here and red hatting there. What I don't understand is why retired ladies insist on doing their returns, exchanges and price-adjustment haggling over MY lunch break. I really think that anyone wishing to make a return between noon and 1:00 p.m. Monday through Friday should be required to show an employee ID. Wouldn't that be great? What? You're retired? Back of the line.

  • Offender #2, The Check Writer: You read that right. A check writer. In 2008. No matter how many commercials Visa puts out mocking the lowly check writer, they're still out there, waiting to ruin your errand-running flow. Check writers are patient. They intently watch as each scrapbook page is scanned before getting out their checkbook. Then they ask for a pen. Then they dig for an ID, bypassing credit cards as they do so. This bugs me the most, of course, because knowing that the check writer has a credit card but didn't use it just adds salt to my now-I'll-never-make-it-to-Target-in-time wounds.

While the offenders were out in full force today, I still managed to get quite a bit accomplished. Nevertheless, as I drove back to work, I silently groused about the fact I'll now have to do another errand after work. The horror, I know. But with a start, I realized that one day I could very possibly be THOSE PEOPLE. Isn't that the way it always works? Well, probably not the check writer, but I totally have a future as a Retired Returner.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The baby they couldn't break

My mom spent Wednesday through Sunday of last week in Kansas City helping out Sherri while Brian was away on a fishing trip. Upon arrival, she received orders to break Brennan of his late-night wake-up calls. Yes, in just four short night she was supposed to have Brennan sleeping through the night.

Grandma took one look at those big brown eyes and knew it was a losing battle. Seriously, how can you not indulge this sweet boy's every whim?

So when Sunday rolled around, it was a broken (but enamored) Grandma Thole who left the powerful Baby B in Kansas City, where he will continue to beckon Sherri and Brian to his bedside for late-night play dates. Brian told me that sometimes all he has to do is pop the binkie back in Brennan's mouth and he's content. Apparently it's when Brennan smiles that you know you're in for it. Love it. Keep up the good work, Brennan.

"I'm sorry that you're making yourself cry."

Man, I love The Hills. I know it's a scripted "reality" show, so whoever came up with Spencer's gem above deserves a gold star.

What a great way to spend a rainy lunch hour.

We were that table

So, dinner Friday night. As I mentioned earlier, we went to Revival with Anne and Bob Fleming, who, in addition to being Clare's parents, are also foodies. And wine connoisseurs. Bonus for us, as dinners at their house are always a delight and we never have to select the wine when we go out to eat. But back to Revival.

The inside of Revival is 95% identical to how it was when King Louie's inhabited the spot not so long ago. This is fine with me, as I love the space. The menu is more rustic, but Bob gave the wine list a thumb's up and my scallops were quite delicious. Also, kudos to whoever decided to top a salad with a poached egg and warm vinaigrette. Delish. Sadly, our server left something to be desired. Among other things, it took her forever to get to our table, she failed to mention that we needed to order sides to go with our entrees, and she had to read the specials from her note pad. Call me snobbish, fine, but when you're at a nice(r) restaurant you tend to expect certain things. I don't need the server to necessarily recite the entire menu to me a la Sidney Street, I just think that by the time 9:30 PM rolls around she might have committed a few things to memory.

So, while Anne was all, "I knew King Louie's, and you, sir, are no King Louie's," I have hope. I'm all about giving restaurants second chances, especially when they're so close to our house. However, if they wrong me again, I might join Anne in blasting them on Sauce.

Oh, before I forget -- the "we were that table" headline? Yeah, we were that table. The loud table. The table that gets looks. What can I say? We were all at various happy hours beforehand, it was 9:30 before we ate a thing and Anne and I are what some might call loud talkers. I make no apologies! Especially since we didn't realize it at the time. Well, apparently, Anne did, but I'm sure she thought the lady was turning around to get a look at our two neurotic fingernail-chewing husbands and the women who enable them by picking up coins, buttons and collar stays off the floor.

Friday, April 4, 2008

TGIF, indeed

Hooray for me! What was once an album of 400+ Italy photos is now down to 300 images. Only a day and a half of Venice editing left to go. Here's a shot from our 44 euro happy hour. No, we weren't sauced; that was what we paid for two drinks at Harry's in Venice. Highway robbery, yes, but they invented the Bellini. THE BELLINI! Let's all take a moment to absorb its greatness.

Chip has a HH with the boys tonight, and then we're off to a late dinner with the Flemings. We're trying Revival, which I think will forever be known as the old King Louie's. I can't say any of us are necessarily fired up about the menu; I think we're just nostalgic for King Louie's. I'll be sure to take notes so I can post a Joe Bonwich-worthy review on Monday.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


Chip was accepted into SLU's MBA program today. So proud. All those GMAT practice tests paid off. Classes start next month, so leisurely weeknights and weekends as we know them will soon cease to exist.

Sherri is thrilled to finally have another family member with a private college pedigree. Dos is thrilled that the boy is following in his footsteps. I am thrilled that I have an excuse to buy Buddy another dog collar. We are Mizzou Tigers, yes, but I think it's only fair that Buddy rock the Billiken blue from time to time.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Brennan rides again

Brian and Brennan went to Babies 'R Us a few weeks ago and spotted the Galloping Fun Jumperoo. Giddy-up.

In addition to letting the little cowpoke jump around, jump around, jump up, jump up and get down, it plays cowboy songs and makes "horsey animal sound effects." Brennan said he'll provide the "horsey animal scent effects," but Brian and Sherri have to handle the clean up.

Click here for more action-packed shots.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tickled pink

Reasons for my current state, briefly stated:
  • Chip returns from Chicago tonight.
  • I am mid-way through editing the Italy photos.
  • Dinner is made. In need of baking, but made.
  • Wilco is coming to St. Louis, and we have tickets. Joy! Love concerts at the Pageant.

He works hard for the blog

Only a week has passed since I last posted about Brennan, but in babyland, a lot can happen in a week. Especially when you're advanced like Brennan. Gorgeous and a genius. He definitely takes after our side of the family. (No offense to the Joneses; I'm just checking to see if Steve's still reading.)

The little lad is finally rolling over on a more consistent basis. Sherri said he tends to get stuck on his belly from time to time, and that royally ticks him off. The other issue is that he sometimes gets hung up on furniture. Why Sherri and Brian insist on having furniture with legs, I don't know.

Brennan's other new trick is standing. Yes, you read that right. He stands. Now, Sherri tends to be the dramatic one in the family, so of course I thought she was just exaggerating for the sake of the story. Never trust a geologist, they say. Anyway, I thought maybe Brennan was propped in a corner or something, but then she sent me photographic proof.

Sure enough, the little stinker is standing. Stop the madness, I say! This cannot be my baby B. He looks too old. Luckily, Holly and I have entered into an agreement. The next time they stand Brennan by the couch, she's going to swoosh her tail in Brennan's direction. He'll land on his bum, and that will put an end to this standing business. Typically, I try not to put babies in harm's way, but I feel this is the only thing that will teach his parents a lesson. Besides, his bottom's padded.

Click here or on either photo to see more of the standing man.