Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sensitivity has no place in our home

Chip dinged up his left foot pretty good last week. It started a few days before Christmas, when after a lot of wincing and limping I finally acquiesced and asked what the hell was wrong troubled my poor husband so.

D: What did you do?
C: I twisted my ankle.
D: How? Where?
C: I fell at Jiffy Lube.
D: In the pit!?!

Sadly -- I mean, thankfully -- he didn't fall in the pit, but rather stepped into a hole that usually has an orange cone covering it. Falling in the pit would have made a much better story, though. And you better believe I would have blogged about it well before now.

Fast forward a few days, and Chip is hauling all of the Christmas loot out to our car so we can take it to Highland, and his ankle rolls on him as he's walking down our basement staircase. And now, not only is he really limping, but his foot looks bad. Like twice it's normal size with large purple bruises bad. Like he can't wear half of his shoes bad. Like make his PT sister gasp and immediately jam a bag of frozen blueberries down his sock bad. You get the picture.

Since Mr. Pharmaceutical Sales refuses to take ibuprofen, much less ice or elevate it, his ankle is still bothering him. So after realizing tonight that there were no baby wipes in Mary Clare's room, I offered to run downstairs to the basement to get a refill.

D: Here, let me go get the wipes.
C: No, no. I can do it.
D: Seriously, Chip, you have to rest your ankle.
C: Yeah, but you're pregnant. My ankle will get better, but your pregnancy will only get worse.

Here we go again.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Indoor sledding session

Brennan received a new sled for Christmas, so of course the cousins had to give it a go. But indoors, of course. So around the basement they went, with Chip, Brian and Papa honoring Mary Clare's requests for "more, more, peesh, peesh?" 

Tell me that Brennan holding onto Mary Clare so tight is not the sweetest thing ever.

And tell me that Mary Clare holding Brian just as tight is not the funniest thing ever. She took her job just as seriously as Brennan did. Safety first, Uncle Brian.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Santa seriousness

Okay, there may be a lot of Christmas posts well into the new year, because TB went down to the wire when it came to holiday festivities. Case in point, our last-minute Santa visit.

After two unsuccessful attempts to see Santa at Plaza Frontenac on the 23rd (I know), we squeezed in a quick visit to Santa's House in Highland on our way to Nana and Papa's on Christmas eve.

Falling Snow + A Santa Visit = Just Another TB Norman Rockwell Moment

Eyeing up the big guy in the red suit.

I will take your candy cane, sir, but I shan't make contact with you.

Since the little miss wouldn't sit on Santa's lap much less shake his hand, Chip and I both patted ourselves on the back for not waiting for two hours to see Santa the day before. But we did not pat ourselves on the back for procrastinating like this. Trying to track down a no-wait Santa mere days before Christmas is a nightmare. Thank heavens for the small town Santas of the world, is all I can say.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The big two

Happy, happy, happy second birthday to our sweet Mary Clare.

It truly feels like I was just writing Mary Clare's first birthday post. In fact, I read it and thought, "A sippy cup? Seeing her use a sippy cup threw me for a loop?" Because wow, what a difference another year makes. Mary Clare now deftly* uses her fork and spoon, and she's getting quite good at drinking out of a cup**. The list of her feats is astounding. Not because of what they are -- baby girl is definitely riding that average train -- but because of the amount of growth and development she's experienced in the past 12 months. But fear not, gentle reader, I won't list everything here, as doing so would bore you to tears and render me a teary mess.

I will, however, say that while each stage brings its own set of challenges, Mary Clare has been kind enough to temper said challenges with an array of funny expressions, fierce frowns, a wiggling tushgarbled words, funky dance moves and all the fierce hugs and kisses you can handle.

I said it last year, and the same holds true this year -- we are beyond lucky to have this expressive, energetic and outgoing little girl in our lives. Happy second birthday, Mary Clare. You are more loved than you could possibly know.

*I use this term loosely. She uses them, okay?
**Of course, we still use the sippy cups at home. And probably will continue to do so until she goes to college. Such is the fate of a child with two neat freaks for parents.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tearing it up

Mary Clare does love her books. In the morning, she takes her milk and Cheerios and sets up camp in Chip's bathroom with a stack of carefully selected books. Her seat of choice? The scale. It's quite hilarious and unbelievably adorable. And it's also a godsend, because all of that sipping, munching and reading keeps her occupied while we get ready for work.

Deeming her worthy of "big girl books," I recently added some books with paper pages into the mix of board books. I previously kept these set aside for when Chip or I would read with her, for fear that she might go on a page tearing spree. For the most part, she has taken her newfound responsibility in stride. With one exception: She has torn the hell out of Mother Goose Manners.

But I guess I had that one coming.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Sweet lips

Saturday was a beehive of activity, with not one, but two back-to-back birthday parties. We started off at Xavier's bounce-rific fourth birthday party at Vetta Sports, and finished up at Anna's first birthday party in O'Fallon.

You would think that the bouncing, driving and failing to consume food with any real nutritional value would have left Mary Clare spent, but no, the girl had plenty of energy when it came time to bid a fond farewell to sweet James, Anna's older brother.

Note that Little Miss Aggressive has her hand on his shirt, while Gentleman James has his hands clasped behind his back. But do you see the eyelashes on that boy? I mean, come on. I can't blame her for going in for another smooch. Or three.  

Friday, December 17, 2010

Post-pregnancy announcement post

So, there were a few questions from commenters (love you girls) following the pregnancy announcement, as well as a few from coworkers and friends. I'll address them here, to get us all on the same happy page.
  • No morning sickness. I totally lucked out again.
  • Once again, we're not going to find out if it's a boy or a girl. I love surprises. Almost as much as Dr. Simckes hates having to keep said surprise every single time he gives me an ultrasound.
  • Yes, Chip is already having me reschedule appointments so he's sure not to miss a precious moment with Dr. Simckes the baby.
  • No move to the suburbs. Yet. (Ha, ha. Got you Amanda.)
  • The guest room will become Mary Clare's room, and the nursery will stay as is, with a few minor tweaks. So if you want to stay at Casa Lindh and sleep in an actual adult guest room with damask curtains that I am so, so sad to see go, then I suggest you do so soon.
  • Am I totally jazzed about having a summer baby? Yes, yes I am. I am especially jazzed about how nice it will be not to have to plan a birthday party in conjunction with a major holiday. (Still sorry we made you a Christmas baby, Mary Clare. I should have listened to your father.)
So there you have it. Those are all of the updates I have to date. At least the ones you want to hear. Because trust me, it's in your best interest to remain blissfully unaware of the host of pregnancy-related items that have plagued me this week alone.

This is going to be fun, people.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Darn the luck

Apparently Alexandra is partial to Brian as well.

Sorry, Sherri. At least you have the dogs. Well, Holly, at least. You'll always have Holly.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Words of love

If Brennan could permanently affix himself to Brian's side, he would. The boy loves his dad. Loves him. So much so, that when Brennan received walkie-talkies for his birthday and excitedly chattered on about using them to talk to his daddy, Brian asked, "But don't you have to be more than 12 inches apart for these to work?"

So it wasn't the biggest shock when Brennan woke up this morning and announced to Sherri, "Mom, when dad is at work ... then I like you."

And I think that's as good as the compliments are going to get for awhile. At least Sherri has Alexandra. And it's never too soon to start playing favorites. After all, Brennan's the one who started it.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Party of five

Team Botanical is on its way to becoming a family of five! Please note that Buddy is included in the family count, so no, we are not having twins.

You can pick yourself up off the floor now.

As you can see, Mary Clare is quite enthused to be a big sister. We have told her about the baby, and she will now say "baby" when I point at my freakishly-large-for-13-weeks stomach. This is an improvement, as just two weeks ago she would emphatically say, "No, mama's!" when I would point at my stomach and say "baby."

Most of all, Mary Clare loves the fuss everyone makes when she wears one of her big sister shirts. So much so that when our neighbor Regina asked her if she was going to be a big sister, she frantically pulled and pointed at her striped shirt to show the non-existent writing to Regina. So yes, she associates being a big sister with clothes. Just as I had planned.

My due date is June 19, and so far the pregnancy is going smoothly, provided no one gets between me and my carbs. And best of all, it looks like I can bust out the That Crazy Pregnancy Thing tag again. You know you're excited. I mean, who doesn't want to read about me smuggling tubs of butter into work? It's fun for the whole family.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Awry in the manger, KC style

Sherri and I both have the same nativity scene by Fontanini, which, as I mentioned, is not only quite pretty, but quite unbreakable as well. My mom gave the main three pieces to us when we were in high school, and she added figurines every Christmas and Easter so we would have complete sets by the time we had our own homes. One year we both received goats in our Easter baskets because my mom declared we had both been as stubborn as a bunch of goats lately. Mom Thole does love her symbolism.

Anyway, apparently having the same nativity set is causing some confusion among the cousins, because when Brennan saw the pictures of Mary Clare setting up our nativity, he shot Sherri an accusing look and said, "Hey! What's Mary Clare doing with my animals?" 

Sorry, buddy. I'd try to explain it, but it's probably best to just blame Hunter.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Little lady

Well, hey, hey ... we haven't seen this little lady in awhile. Keep in mind, I use the word little loosely, as Alexandra is currently tipping the scales at 12 lbs., 10 oz. and topping out at 24 inches. This puts her in the 95th percentile for height and weight. My little niece is quite the overachiever.

Oh, and how I love my little Chunka Chunka Burning Love. I'm already looking forward to snuggling her again at Christmas. And I don't care what her mom says, Alexandra totally digs Aunt Debbie's rapid-fire swaying.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Awry in the manger

With Chip at the hospital almost every night this past week, Mary Clare and I decided we couldn't wait and would have to get this Christmas decorating show on the road. Okay, she could really have cared less; it was all me looking for ways to entertain a child who regularly requested her beloved Dada.

We started small, with the nativity set, which, thankfully is not breakable. (Good call on that one, Mom Thole.) Mary Clare had a ball arranging all of the figurines. As you can see, at one point the stable fowl took center stage.


I would like to tell you that our night of decorating ended with impish grins on both our faces, but sadly, that was not to be. Basically, all hell broke loose when I told Mary Clare it was time for her bath, and no, baby Jesus could not join her in the tub. Which led to a chase, which led to me prying sweet baby Jesus out of her hand, and which ended with Mary Clare executing her patented move of falling to her knees, throwing her arms in the air and crying in utter despair.

So no silent night for us, as all was most certainly not calm nor bright, but all in all, I'd say it went well.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Belated thanks, the God is good version

Chip's mom underwent open heart surgery today. The surgery went better than expected, as the doctor only had to do three bypasses opposed to the five they originally planned. Because of that, the surgeon wrapped things up in under three hours, and The Luce has been off the respirator since early this evening. She will be in the ICU for a few days, but so far she has pulled through everything like a champ.

To the few who knew about Lucia's surgery, thank you for your thoughts and prayers. For those of you who are the praying sort, please continue to keep The Luce and Chip's family in your prayers. And thanks, God. She couldn't have done it without you.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Belated thanks, the material version

I know it's not right to be thankful for material goods, but man, oh man, believe me when I say that I worship at the altar of the neti pot. I've only known its sweet saline goodness for two days, but already I am breathing easier and counting the hours until we next meet again.

I've also become that person who insists that everyone else needs to irrigate their nasal passage; just ask my mom and Chip. If they resist the neti pot's siren call much longer, my mom will get one in her Christmas stocking, and Chip, well, he might get one jammed up his nose one morning when he least expects it.

It's that good.

So, thank you, neti pot. I have a feeling this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Belated thanks

What a lovely Thanksgiving we had ... and continue to have, because 'round here, Thanksgiving goes all weekend long, all weekend strong.

This year, I am, of course, once again thankful for the three cute faces I'm lucky enough to see every single day. Chip, Mary Clare and Buddy are too good for words. Our families continue to top the list of reasons to be thankful, and I'm not just saying that because Mom Thole's new sewing machine can do monogramming. And finally, there are our friends. Whether we know them from high school, college, work or just happened upon them when we moved to 4039 Botanical, I am truly thankful for every laugh they elicit and bit of support they lend.

We are lucky, indeed.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Just beat it

Sometimes, when you're licking mashed sweet potatoes off a beater, you have to throw up a gang sign. Because you like to keep it real. Even if you're not even two years old.

But because you are almost two years old, it's a given that you will pout over the slightest thing. Which is impressive, considering there is, of course, a beater in your mouth.

And because you are an almost-two-year-old being raised by two fastidious parents (who albeit let you lick beaters), you're not putting that baby down until every last bit of sweet potato is safely tucked away in your Buddah belly. Or stuck to your face.

Here's hoping your weekend is full of gang signs, pouts and carefully cleaned beaters. Because I really don't know what more one could want from a weekend.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Mary Clare sported pigtails to school yesterday for the first time, so of course I had to commemorate the occasion. Of course, she is now at the stage where seeing a camera inspires her to scrunch up her face and say "cheesh!" As if her father and I didn't give her squinty enough eyes as it is.

But the point of this post is the pigtails, and they are pretty darned cute. And they do make her look grown up. Too grown up, apparently, since upon seeing her yesterday, her teacher started talking about how Mary Clare will soon transition to the three-year-old classroom.


Mary Clare may be ready to transition, but her mom sure isn't. So that's the last we'll be seeing of these pigtails, I can tell you that much.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sheer delight

You'd smile, too, if your mom made you a fancy John Deere tractor cake for your third birthday. Nice work, Sherri.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The big three

Happy third birthday to my sweet nephew Brennan.

What a big year this has been for him. He mastered the art of talking (oh, can that boy talk), moved to a new house, became a big brother and invented an imaginary friend.

We love you, B, and can't wait to celebrate your birthday this weekend. We practiced the "Happy Birthday Brennan" song and tucked some extra candles into our bag -- all the essentials for the perfect third birthday.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Dear Husband,

Four years. And my, what a four years. A loyal Lab, a demanding 100-year-old home, some great trips and, of course, a beautiful baby girl.

Thinking about what the last four years brought us makes me both scared and excited. Scared because, good heavens, we can't take much more from this house, and oh my, will we ever go on another grand vacation? And excited because even if this money pit bleeds us dry and I don't see another continent until I'm 50, I know that having you by my side will make everything okay. And fun.

I'm so glad you're mine.

Your Wife

Friday, November 5, 2010

I'm offended on many different levels

The other night, as Sherri poured herself a glass of wine, Brennan asked the inevitable.

B: What's that?
S: It's wine. Big people drink it.
B: Oh. Like Aunt Debbie?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Get over, already

Dear, dear blog readers. You are all good drivers, are you not? Well, even if you hit curbs, clip garages and have a knack for racking up speeding tickets, you do at least get over and stop when met by a fire truck, ambulance or police car en route to an emergency, don't you? 

Tell me you get over.

Tell me you stop.

At the very least, tell me you know that you are supposed to get over and stop when met by an emergency vehicle with sirens and lights blaring.

Tell me this, because otherwise there's a good chance that if you don't get over and stop, you will, at some point, hear from me. The blatant disregard for emergency vehicles has left me with no choice but to, well, get up in strangers' business.

Two weeks ago, a commercial vehicle went ahead and kept going in the left-hand lane of a hilly street as an ambulance flew by. Nice. I couldn't catch up to the vehicle to explain the proper procedure to the driver, but thankfully, Prism Glass is vain and likes personalized plates. A Google later, and they were hearing from me about their employee's poor driving skills.

Last week on my way home from day care, in my rear view mirror I saw a firetruck starting to pull out of the station close to Mary Clare's school. Unsure of which direction it was headed, I got around the corner to where it was safe, and pulled over just in time to see the fire truck coming up behind me. An Infiniti flew past me, and raced up the street. Once the fire truck was past, I pulled ahead to the light and as luck would have it, came upon the all-to-important Infiniti. I pulled aside the car, rolled down my passenger window and politely remind the driver to pull over and stop when there's an emergency vehicle in the area. And then I smiled and drove on because I had Mary Clare with me. And Chip is funny about people shooting at the car while she's in it.

I am, as you know, by no means perfect, especially when it comes to driving. Do I speed because I think I have to get to daycare/work/Target as fast as I can? Yes, yes I do. But I do get over for the people who are out there trying to save lives, put out fires and protect us.

So, if you ever find yourself waffling while on the road, just remember that the emergency vehicle could be coming for you one day. So get over already.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What a hoot

For the second year in a row, we spent Halloween with our friends the Hehmeyers. Amanda and Rob always make something yummy for dinner, and then we head outside with the kids, do a little trick-or-treating and then chill out by the fire pit with cocktails while the neighborhood kids tell us jokes.

It's a sweet set up.

And this year, Amanda actually let me bring a dish*. But she requested something sweet.

Crap. I really didn't think she would play the dessert card. Because not only is she the most Martha Stewart of my friends -- and I have a lot of friends with some mad Martha skills -- but baking is her sweet spot.

So I went to the Internets. And the Internets provided owl cupcakes. Cute, and not at all hard to make. Best of all, it didn't require a lot of fancy icing techniques. And best of all, she loved them. I mean, the kids loved them. Because we do it for the kids, right?

Anyway, not much point to this post, other than I really wanted to show off my owl-some cupcakes. I mean, you do see the amount of care that went into staging the photo, don't you? Clearly, I was pleased with myself.

Sadly, all of this cupcake boasting doesn't do you much good for this year, but next year ... next year you should definitely make owl cupcakes for Halloween**.

*Please note that I fully respect Amanda's control freak tendencies when it comes to entertaining.
**Unless you're Stephany, and your eldest son is studying owls at school this week. In which case you should go buy chocolate frosting, Oreos, Junior Mints and Runts so you can make these for your sons. Because they need more sugar.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A power tool for every season

Welcome to my dad's version of pumpkin carving.

Not a power tool exists that my dad has not corrupted in some way. You say a RotoZip is for cutting into drywall? Well, that's fine, but Denis Thole refuses to limit the possibilities of his power tools. For instance, RotoZips are excellent for pumpkin carving, leaf blowers are great for getting the Weber going, and while we're at it, why light firecrackers with matches when God made blowtorches?

It may be overkill, and we may make fun of him, but his penchant for power tools does add an element of fun to every holiday gathering. And he is, of course, the reason Sherri and I both started college with fully equipped tool boxes, complete with electrical tape. So I owe him that.

And hey, the man carves a mean pumpkin.

A pumpkin so good it makes you want to shake your moneymaker.

Click here for more carving and cuteness.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

My, what big eyes you have

Well, well, well. If it isn't Little Red Riding Hood. And I must agree with the song Papa likes to sing to her, "Hey, there, Little Red Riding Hood ... you sure are looking good." Does my mom know how to sew a Halloween costume, or what? I feared that last year's Mary Clare Bear might be tough to beat, but of course she nailed it again. And in record time because I, ahem, didn't give her much notice.

Since I couldn't convince Chip to dress up as a 6' 2" wolf, we tucked that scheming wolf inside of her basket. The only problem, of course, is that this doesn't leave a lot of room for treats. Guess mom and dad will just have to help out with that.

Click here for more costume photos, as well as a few from last week's trip to Boo at the Zoo with the aforementioned singing Papa and sewing Grandma.

Have a great Halloween!

Friday, October 29, 2010

I'm looking at you, Friday

Oh, hello, Friday. So nice to see you. Forgive me for being so blunt, but it's about damn time you got here.

But let's not dwell on your tardiness. Or the hectic, bothersome business that was this week.

Instead, let's put all that behind us and focus on having a swell weekend. It's Halloween. Mary Clare has a ridiculously cute costume, compliments of my mom. We'll break all the rules and take candy from strangers. And then we may even let Mary Clare eat some of it. And then while she's getting hopped up on sugar, Chip and I can get hopped up on ... hops. It will be great, I promise.

Now, let's do this.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sock hop

The weekly wacky lesson plan fun continues, with today's activity being sock dancing. Pretty straightforward, right? Possibly a recipe for disaster, given that the classroom has linoleum flooring and toddlers aren't the most coordinated bunch, but still, clear in its intent.

In the spirit of sock dancing, we were instructed to send Mary Clare to school in silly socks. Silly socks, like wacky Wednesdays, are also rarely experienced around the TB household. But I did what I could, and dug out a pair of red polka dotted socks. The colors of her outfit somewhat matched, but people, there were polka dots next to flower print pants, and I don't know about you, but where I'm from, that is downright silly.

Chip, of course, did not agree.

C: That's it? Those are the silliest socks we have? 
D: Yes, Chip. These are silly.
C: You know, if I were in charge of dressing her, people would know when it's silly sock day.
D: And people would call DCFS.
C: You bet they would. The Department of Cool and Funny Socks.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Game day

It's game day. And not just any game day, but Homecoming game day. And it's not just any Homecoming game, but the Homecoming game that will put Mizzou front and center because ESPN College GameDay is broadcasting from beautiful Mizzou.
That's right, in addition to the Tigers whopping the Oklahoma Sooners, our dear alma mater will be on display for all college football fans to see. ESPN is set up in front of the beloved columns on the Francis Quadrangle. I just hope the killer squirrels don't get them.

Oh, and this black-and-gold baby with the coy smile? She's looking right at you, Lori Geiger. The tiniest tiger at Team Botanical is pretty sure that by the time the day is over, you will be talking up the time you spent at Mizzou and running from your Oklahoma roots.

Go Tigers!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


So, I just realized that yesterday's post was my 400th post. Yea, me and my chatty ways.

Since I failed to note this in yesterday's post, and since I so disappointed everyone by not posting pictures of Mary Clare's Wacky Wednesday attire (it was one of those mornings and evenings), please allow me to present this picture of Mary Clare as a peace offering.

Oh, my friends, but this is just not any picture of Mary Clare. It is, in fact, a picture of Mary Clare pooping. That's right. This is what she looks like when she's doing the business.

Work it out, baby. Work it out.
Yes, Mary Clare brought Sunday's big photo shoot to an abrupt halt when she dropped the deuce mid-session. We were taking pictures on the porch of our neighbor's ridiculously cute garden shed, when all of a sudden Mary Clare wandered over to the wood pile and grabbed the metal rack.

"Oh," I thought. "This will be so cute."

And just as soon as I clicked the camera for a test shot, she gripped the metal rack with all her might and let out a mighty grunt.

I put down my camera just in time for her to point at her bum and say in that matter-of-fact way I love so much, "poo poo."

And that was the end of the photo shoot.

And this, my friends, is my first post about poop. It's taken me 400 posts to get here, but I finally did it. Yea, me. Again.

Here's hoping you have a regular day as well. Minus the gripping and grunting, of course.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

We don't do wacky 'round here

Mary Clare's teachers recently started sending home weekly lesson plans for the students. This is equal parts wonderful and hilarious. It's nice to see how Mary Clare spends her days, and contributing items for the various activities makes me feel involved. But what I love the most are the conversations Chip and I have as we try to determine what goes on during "dance and fall down" or what the freeze dance looks like. We also want to watch dress up time, because apparently the kids all have their favorite pieces, and let's just say that any toddler who gets between Mary Clare and her hats is going to be a crying toddler.

Today's activity is Wacky Wednesday, and we were encouraged to dress Mary Clare in wacky clothes.

I couldn't do it.

I tried. I swear, I tried. Chip snickered as I started putting outfits together, knowing that it was just killing me that the clothes didn't match. So I kept it in the primary color family, but mixed up the patterns. She's wearing red pants with white polka dots, a navy shirt with yellow and white striped arms, and a red and white striped bow. Chip asked if it was the best I could do, and yes, it is. And if you ask me, I think she looks pretty wacky. Even without the purple socks I took off at the last minute because no kidding, I just couldn't do it.

So, yes, I am a control freak and the thought of sending Mary Clare out of this house in mismatched clothes sends me reeling. None of this is news to anyone, especially not Chip. (So stop acting surprised, dude.) In my defense, however, have you ever seen a toddler after a full day of school? The food-covered clothes, crooked bows and missing shoes make every day Wacky Wednesday. So starting her day at a disadvantage like this means that pick-up tonight is going to be especially depressing. But only for me, thank heavens. Because she doesn't seem to care. Yet. But rest assured, my neuroses will rub off on her in due time.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Happy with the blog. Finallly.

Even happier to have a talented friend who emailed and said, "So, what do we need to do about the blog?" before I even had a chance to plead for her help. Thanks, Anne. You're the best.

Four steps to fall photos

Step 1: Gather

Step 2: Pause

Step 3: Wind Up
Step 4: Shriek

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ugh, so annoyed

Another hour down the drain, and it still looks hideous. But at least the blog is now consistent in its hideousness.

I've decided the only remedy is to call in the professionals. Anne Fleming, you'll be hearing from me. 

All kinds of wonky

Blogger and I? We are not friends these day. I have so much to share! So much to show! And yet it doesn't want to make this sharing and showing easy on me. The fonts are never the same size, the formatting is wacky and the new background looks downright horrible on a small computer monitor.

I think I'm going to have to start over with one of the new Blogger templates and take it from there. They're certainly not making it easy, but I shall overcome. Oh yes, I will persevere.

We know how to make an impression

Apparently it took Brennan four days to notice that Chip and I were no longer in Kansas City. He noted Mary Clare's absence right away, but Chip and I? Not so much. But at least he asked about us. Eventually.

B: Mom, where's Aunt Debbie?
S: She went to work, remember?
B: Oh. Where's Uncle Chip?
S: He went to work, too.
B: Oh. What does Uncle Chip do?
S: He sells things.
B: Oh. What does Aunt Debbie do?
S: She writes things.
B: For Uncle Chip?
S: Sometimes.
B: Oh. [long pause] Are there puppies at Aunt Debbie's work?

Oh, B. How I wish there were puppies where I worked.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Black and gold, baby

It's game day, and we're ready for another Mizzou win. Go Tigers! 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fall Friday


I love the fall.

I love Fridays in the fall even more.

There's something especially wonderful about starting off the weekend with the beautiful fall leaves of Tower Grove Park greeting me as I drive along Magnolia. Our cross street is equally impressive, with brilliant bright yellow leaves flanking both sides of the road. Best of all, once I return home tonight, a whole event-free weekend stretches before us.

Herewith, a list of the things I plan on enjoying this weekend.

So Good When It Hits Your Lips 
I may not be an A-B girl, but I do like to support the hometown brewer. The smaller one, at least. It doesn't hurt that Chip's cousin Erika is married to the head brewer at Schlafly. And that they live one block from us.

The Pumpkin Ale is my favorite of their seasonal selection. Rich, velvety and oh-so-good when it hits your lips. I had one while we were in Kansas City this past weekend, and it did not disappoint. And then a six pack happened to find it's way into my cart last night. Weird.

Where's the Beef? 
I discovered this recipe on about three years ago. The first year, I probably made it every other weekend, so enchanted was I by my new Dutch oven and the tender wine-soaked beef it and I made together. Now that it's cooler out, it's time again. Oh yes, it is time.

This Girl
Sure, she may be going through a total daddy girl phase right now, but when it's just the two of us, our pot-bellied princess gives me all the hugs and sloppy kisses I can handle.

This Guy
This guy you see right here? In addition to out-fishing Brian and Chad last weekend -- on their home pond, no less -- he is a landscaping genius. Our sod looks great, and he's going to finish the brick border on the front bed this weekend. I love him and his handy ways.

So there you have it, my B weekend, all in one shiny post. Beer, beef, baby girl and baby daddy*. What more could you want?

*Honestly. The things I will write for the sake of alliteration.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The great pumpkin

We hit a pumpkin patch this past weekend while visiting the Joneses in Kansas City. All I can say is that oh, what a difference having a newborn under your belt makes when it comes to baby number two.

Sherri was by no means a hyper new mom (I've got that title sewn up in our family), but I'm pretty sure if you had asked if she would bring 10-day-old Brennan out to a pumpkin patch, she would have totally given you the mean Barbie face.

B and A at the pumpkin patch

But hey, new baby, new ways. So off to the pumpkin patch we all went. And what a time the two big kids had. They rode the wagon, stumbled around the pumpkin patch, frolicked in the playground area and even obliged us with a few photos. I wish I could say the baby was equally entertaining, but Alexandra slept through the whole thing. What a stick in the mud that one is.

Click here for a few more pumpkin patch photos.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


Because she's my beautiful girl.

Because I missed her the one whole day I was away. 

Because I love those chubby cheeks, and even that horrible squinty eye habit and high forehead she inherited from me.  

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

In keeping with our baby theme

This might be the sweetest picture ever.

No, wait. It is the sweetest picture ever.

Egads, I've done it! And all it took was my sister having a baby and my daughter overcoming some minor green-eyed monster moments. And it didn't hurt matters that my friend Sue happened to pass down the very same dress that Sherri had for Alexandra.

All this matchy-matchy sweetness was clearly meant to be.

Even Brennan went for it, after a few suckers and a lot of coaxing.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Rock chalk riot

What we have here folks, is a cry for help.

Please don't make me go home with the KU fans! Even though blue is my color, 
I'll never give their shirts a second glance. I'm a black and gold baby, I swear!

So, while I would love to leave you thinking that Mary Clare wants nothing to do with this roving band of Jayhawks, the truth is that she loves her Uncle Arthur. She loves her Aunt Kerstin, too, but it's Uncle Arthur who always catches her eye. Could be those primary blue KU shirts he's always wearing. And it looks like Arthur Phog is following in his dad's footsteps, because is this not the cutest picture ever? A rivalry never looked so good.

Friday, October 8, 2010

It's Friday, have some icing

And then say "cheesh!" and smile like a lunatic.

People will eat it up.

But only if you're a toddler. I don't recommend this for the adult set. It's just not a good look.