Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saturday sweetness

To say that Mary Clare worships at the altar of B is an understatement.

She loves him. Loves him.

Yet this adulation doesn't keep her from shrieking "Mie! Mie! MIE!" and pointing at whatever it is he has that she doesn't have. Lucky for her, Brennan always rises above his 2½ years of age and forks over the requested item.

So when we asked Brennan to be a good big cousin and hold Mary Clare's hand, of course he complied. And oh, how she loved having him steer her to and fro, even patiently marching in place as he rotated her around when we reversed course, because we asked him to hold Mary Clare's hand and by golly, that was what he was going to do.

Friday, July 30, 2010

I'll take that to go

When both parents work outside the home, it's important that everyone pitches in to keep the household running.

This is certainly true in our house. Mary Clare is in charge of putting away Buddy's food bowl each night, and hopefully not before he's finished. In the Jones house, Sherri relies on Brennan to take care of dinner. So when six o'clock rolls around, you can usually find Brennan on his Thomas the Tank Train car, cruising by the fireplace drive-thru to pick up nuggets and fries for the family.

Imaginary food never tasted so good.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

July jumble

July is winding down, good people, so you know what that means. You get to read every post I started this month that never really made it to full-blown post status. So settle in and get ready to topic hop.

It All Starts with the Bald Guy
In case your husband insists on using only the manliest, heartiest bar soaps around, and you are like me and don't have a cleaning lady, then you are going to want to try out the handy dandy Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Bath Scrubber. It goes right ahead and wipes that soap scum out of your way.

In my 25 years of cleaning, I have never felt so accomplished as I did the day I made both of our bathtubs look like brand new. Thank you, Mr. Clean. For once you made working up a sweat whilst cleaning the bathtub worthwhile.

Which Brings Me to Cleaning Ladies
So, seriously. When did everyone get smart and get someone else to clean their house? Am I the only one who is still a big enough sucker to do the dusting and vacuuming every week? Good old Uncle Andy has a cleaning lady, for Pete's sake, and the last time I checked, he doesn't live with a 70 lb. shedding dog named Buddy or a 24 lb. food-throwing toddler named Mary Clare. But than can all be arranged. Just say the word, ASC.

Which Makes Me Want to Drink
I get that rosé is most certainly not white zinfandel, and it's great for pairing with summer barbecue items and such, but I'm sorry, I just can't help but feel like I'm drinking church wine whenever I have a glass. Maybe it's the color, maybe it's the 12 years of Catholic education, maybe we're just not buying good stuff. Who knows. But it will take more than an image of boxed wine stacked in the back of St. Paul Catholic Church to keep me from finding the perfect bottle of rosé, I'll tell you that much.

Which Makes Me Want to Sing
Chip's new work car has Sirius, which came in quite handy on our recent road trips. In addition to not having to deal with the disappointment of a dead iPod battery or the annoyance of commercials, it introduced us to a lot of new musicians. Please note that "new" is a relative term here, since the only interaction I have with my Rolling Stone subscription is to pass the untouched issues onto our friend Bob, thereby making any music that's not already in our iTunes library new to me.

So if you're behind like I am, check out Broken Bells. Danger Mouse + The Shins' James Mercer is the perfect blend of perky beats and moody vocals. I just need to get Chip to the point where he'll listen to more than just "The High Road," because, you know, there is more than one song on the CD, dude.

And I know I'm way behind on this one -- like years behind -- but I'm totally digging Modest Mouse as well. Even Mary Clare gives "Float On" two knee bends and a spin.

Which is How We Dance
Mary Clare is a wicked good dancer. I mean, she totally does the herky-jerky as she shakes it all about, but I admire her moxie nonetheless. And I do my best to encourage this uninhibited behavior. One, it is darned entertaining and two, I so do not want Mary Clare to end up like me, feeling all nervous and such when I'm on a dance floor. No, I want her to be like my friend Sue, flinging her limbs about with reckless abandon as she shakes her tambourine for all she's worth. So, if it's the witching hour and we're in need of a distraction while dinner is finishing, you better believe that Mary Clare is getting down with her bad self.

Which Begs the Question

This randomness is fun, no? Wine, Mr. Clean, Modest Mouse, toddler dance parties ... we're just living the life over here.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


It's taken us 19 months to get our act together, but Chip and I have finally figured out that if you want to take your child to a popular attraction, it better be by 9 a.m., or you run the risk of dealing with a crowd as well as a completely cranky toddler.

After successful early morning visits to Grant's Farm and the St. Louis Zoo, we decided to hit the spectacular City Garden this past Sunday. We went last summer, but this was Mary Clare's first encounter with the sky-high jets.

To say that she had a good time is an understatement. Just look at her working those chunky thighs and pointy little tongue. Mary Clare is the Michael Jordan of splash pads. The photos and videos speak for themselves.

Friday, July 23, 2010

You're my boy, Blue

Brennan is pretty sharp. He knows his ABCs, numbers, colors and such. But sometimes he doesn't feel like sharing his knowledge. And it is at those times that conversations with him go something like this:

"How many cars do you have?"
"Um ... blue."

"What are you eating?"
"Um ... blue."

"What shape is this?"
"Um ... blue."

And now that Baby Jones is on the way, people have taken to asking him what the baby's name will be. You guessed it, Sherri's having Baby Blue. Keep in mind that Brennan is convinced the baby is a "goirl" and it is even more entertaining.

But he topped himself last night:

"Mom, the baby's name is Baby Daddy."

As Sherri said, Baby Blue is sounding better and better.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Happy birthday, mom

Happy 60th birthday to my mom, who is not only a remarkable mom, but an amazing grandmother.

After all, anyone who asks for the "help" of a 1 1/2-year-old and a 2 1/2-year-old when baking cookies has to be amazing. Or crazy.

Either way, we love her.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fashion faux pas

Yesterday I emailed Sherri and asked her to upload her photos from our Thole family weekend to my Flickr account. A short while later I received a call from dear sister who reminded me that if I chose to blog about our weekend, then everyone would know that I dressed my daughter in the same outfit for three photo-worthy events in a two-week time span. Everyone.

Lake Michigan

St. Louis Zoo

Silver Dollar City

Alas, 'tis true. But what's even worse is that she's worn it five times in the past three weeks. Five times.

Not that I think people care if I repeatedly dress Mary Clare in the same outfit*, but there is a method to the madness. One, I bought it right before our Chicago/Lake Michigan trip, so it had to be worn because hey, everyone loves new clothes. Two, she had to wear it to the zoo because duh, it's giraffe print. Three, I bought it late in the season, so you better believe I'm going to get my $3.99 worth of wearings. Four, it's been hotter than Hades lately, and on those days Chip gets a little fussy if Mary Clare breaks a sweat during the dressing phase. Five, it's comfortable, and even I can make concessions** from time to time.

So there you have it. This is the reason the giraffe-print jumper is all over the July photo set.

*Except maybe my mom, who after sewing Mary Clare several outfits has somewhat of a vested interest in what the kid wears.
**Chip, please note that concessions will not be made in the great brown vs. black flip-flop debate of 2010. I know the brown leather ones hurt and the black ones are more comfortable, but they don't match any of your clothes. So stop asking.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Alarmed by the animals

This is a smidge delayed, but a few weeks ago we took Mary Clare to the St. Louis Zoo bright and early one Sunday morning. It was her second visit, if you count our Boo at the Zoo experience this past fall, and all I can say is that the poor thing probably associates the zoo with being hot. If she's not sweating in a teddy bear costume, she's sweating in an umbrella stroller. And when she's not hot, she's concerned.

Concerned about the giant gorilla sculpture we wanted her to sit atop. Concerned about the penguins that I thought she might like to look at through a pane of glass. Concerned about the sleeping hippos behind yet another pane of glass. Concerned about the giant elephants lumbering yards away. Needless to say, we took a pass on the Children's Zoo, the Stingrays at Caribbean Cove and the Conservation Carousel because we certainly didn't need tears to go with that furrowed brow.

The one thing Mary Clare did delight in doing was saying "bye bye" to the animals as we left each exhibit. Little did she know that we were leading her to yet another animal that would surely trouble her pretty little head. Lions and tigers and bears, indeed.

We did redeem ourselves, however, by taking her to the ZOOmagination Station before lunch. Not only was it nice and cool, but the only predator she had to contend with was the kid who tried to box his way into her play house. He'll know better next time.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Pure Michigan

Once upon a time, about two weeks ago, we spent two glorious days on Lake Michigan with our friends the Flemings at their adorable cottage. It all came up spur of the moment, after Anne threw out one of those offhand "you know that you're welcome to join us ..." invitations that nice people make but don't really intend for you to accept. Well, for the record, we are just the sort of people who will in fact accept these types of invitations. And luckily, the Flemings are just the sort of people who cannot quickly craft plausible lies.

You see, when it comes to getaways, particularly Lake Michigan getaways, we are shameless. Just ask our friends the Lydons. Every fall we still beg them to kick Chris' parents out of their own home so we can take it over for a long, blissful weekend of golf, shopping, wine drinking and the like. Like I said, shameless.

But back to this particular episode of our leech-like behavior.

We headed up to the Saugatuck area after leaving the Lindh family reunion in Chicago, and spent the next two days sunning on the beach, playing in the sand, swimming in a lake that was the perfect temperature and watching beautiful sunsets (click here for the photo set).

And not only did we love our quality time with the Flemings, but we wholly benefited from the fact that Clare and Mary Clare are at the ages where they are simply enamored with one another. Like I said, it was glorious. And I haven't even mentioned all the tasty food we ate and all the libations I consumed*.

My hope is that sometime in the near future, we can do a rental of our own and let the Flemings spend a few days with us. Because after going on a champagne cocktail-fueled search for a sweater that somehow slipped behind the toilet** and then rousing the whole Fleming family at 7 a.m. so we could depart by 8 a.m., I'm not sure there will be any offhand invitations next year. In fact, I'm certain that if anything, this little experience inspired Anne and Bob*** to hone their lying skills.

*Cold beer on a beach? Good. Champagne cocktails with muddled mint and fresh fruit? Really good.
**Not because I was puking, but because I placed it and the rest of my clean clothes atop the lid while I showered and it slid off. It was very complicated. Clearly.
***Thanks again, guys. It was really so very much fun. You're the best.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

When 25 dresses aren't enough

Mary Clare needed another dress. Needed it. And when Mary Clare desperately needs a cute frock, where else does one go but straight to Grandma Thole?

I love it. I mean, Mary Clare loves it. Because she was the one who asked for a pristine little pillowcase dress with pale pink rick rack trim and her initial monogrammed in that very same pale pink. What can I say? The girl knows what she wants.

My mom whipped it out in an hour or two, monogram and all. Because she's my mom. And how happy am I that her new sewing machine does monogramming? Sometimes I lie awake at night just dreaming of the possibilities.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

And we're cool

We have air. Cold air.

The AC guy has to come back on Monday or Tuesday to swap out a part, but at least we're operational. About $2K poorer than we were two days ago, but operational.

Let the weekend begin.

Friday, July 9, 2010

I'm melting

Well, now the air conditioner is broken. Because that's how we do.

As the madam of the house, I feel it's my duty to notify the remaining working features of the house that if your current role requires you to make our home happily hum along and you happen to cost four figures and up, it's time for you to break. But only if you take longer than three days to fix. Because if it's an easy fix, we're not interested. We only like complicated solutions that require jackhammers, pouring concrete and cutting holes into the ceiling.

On a positive note, the new outdoor air conditioning unit is in the process of being installed. But they need a part. Of course they need a part. They always need a part.

Fingers crossed that this gets fixed, otherwise you know where we'll be tonight, Mom Thole.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Chip Lindh, 33

Happy birthday to the best Chip two girls and a Lab could ever have.

Even though the weather is humid and the air conditioner is broken, know that when you get home tonight, there will be a squawking daughter, a lounging dog and a loving wife ready to greet you with kisses, a cocktail and an invitation to dine at the restaurant* of your choice**.

We love you very much.

*Because we are getting the hell out of this furnace of a house, I can tell you that much.

**Restaurant must be bitterly cold inside. And possibly have an ice bar.