Tuesday, August 31, 2010

We shall trespass and prove you wrong

This past weekend we ventured up to Galena, IL, with our good friends the Allamans and Lydons. The guys golfed and the girls did ... not much. But our time together was child-free, alcohol-fueled and laughter-filled. It was glorious.

There were several things said throughout the weekend that I filed away as either the quote of the weekend or something that had to go on the blog. But then I realized that (1) this is a family blog and (2) I'm not sure I can bring myself to use the word "beaver" in combination with "Mother Nature." (But, oh, it seems I couldn't help myself. I'll leave the rest up to your imagination.)

So, while I really don't have much else to share, I will say that sometimes there's nothing better than being with friends you've known for 20+ years. Everyone is comfortable, anything goes and there is always something to discuss. And when there isn't, it's fine to just sit there and guess whose husband is going to pass out first.

*I took the top picture when Chelsey decided to take the road less traveled from the town of Galena back to our resort. We trespassed -- and with great impunity! -- and proved that the GPS was, in fact, right. So take that, Mr. Grumpy Galena Guy. The second picture was taken after an impromptu visit to the Galena Cellars Winery. We were all settling in for an evening at the house, and then Clint's Amp energy drink kicked in and the next thing I knew, we were all at a winery.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cease and desist

Dear Mary Clare,

The eldest members of the TB household are formally requesting that you immediately cease and desist the 5 a.m. wake-up calls, as well as the subsequent pleas to (a) whoop it up, (b) retrieve your binkies, (c) liberate you from your crib or (d) all of the above. We love you and we love that you want to share the predawn hours with us, but cut it out already.

Seriously, just stop it. You're killing us. Even the Lab can't take it.

Your prompt attention to this matter is greatly appreciated.

Kind regards,
Mom, Dad and Buddy

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Red rum

That's right. Red rum. As in "red rum" from The Shining. Also known as, oh, MURDER spelled backwards. So, of course it makes perfect sense that Chip taught Mary Clare to say "Mama" in the exact same voice that the character Danny says "red rum" in the movie.

I couldn't be more proud. Or worried.

Audio of Mary Clare to come, as soon as I can make it through a recording without laughing. And find a good hiding spot for all of the knives.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Reason #214 why Chip might someday leave me

We are in party planning mode here at TB, which means that there are a lot of categorized lists, most of which consist of tasks I deem necessary and Chip deems insane. Basically, every time we have a party, Chip dies a little inside.

Last night I asked him to bring up a table and set it up, only to tell him 10 minutes later that it wouldn't work. So down it went, and up came the one that was originally there.
Tonight wasn't much better. We hung wreaths. And hung wreaths. And hung them again. This was following a full day of jury duty for Chip. That's right. I show no mercy.

After the past three days he's had, I am pretty sure the promise of leftover cupcakes isn't going to appease the man. I may have to make his dream of breakfast for dinner a reality. Or bake up a batch of tater tots. Ever since I told him that a friend regularly makes shake-and-bake chicken and tater tots for her sons who are picky eaters, he can't stop talking about tater tots.

See you soon, Ore-Ida.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Or else it gets the hose

This afternoon I had to take care of some things that involved a hot stove, an oven and careful timing. Things such as these are best done without a toddler, so I popped Mary Clare in her swim suit, sprayed on some sunscreen and sent her outside to hang out with Chip while he finished the yard work.

At one point, I saw Mary Clare standing on the deck while Chip tidied up some items on the patio. This may seem normal to you, but Chip doesn't usually let five feet get between him and Mary Clare, much less five feet in elevation. So I stuck my head out the door to make sure he remembered Buddy was inside with me, making him the sole caregiver.

Me: How's it going?
Chip: Pretty good. If she goes somewhere she's not supposed to, I just shoot her with the hose. You know, like a cat.
Me: Awesome. Keep up the good work.

And back inside I went.

I mean, she was smiling. She was soaking wet, but she was smiling.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Beware the bears

Last night, as Brennan and Sherri walked down the driveway to retrieve their garbage cans, Brennan pointed to the culvert and said, "Don't go in there, mom. Bears live in there."

So, bummer about the bears. But at least Sherri doesn't have to worry about crawling in the culvert to retrieve Brennan.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

An open letter to the TB barista

Dear Chip,

Your coffee is weak. But you are strong. So I will continue to love you.

More beans, less water, por favor.

The Wife

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

When working outside the home really stinks

So, as I mentioned yesterday, Mary Clare isn't feeling the greatest. We took her to the doctor yesterday, and Dr. O'Neil gave her a clean bill of health, but suggested that we keep an eye on her and call if she's not back to her normal spunky self by Wednesday.

Nothing we haven't heard before, trust me. In fact, in the past 20 or so months, I have come to say "she's just not herself" and hear "keep an eye on her" far more than I would like. Not because Mary Clare isn't healthy; in fact, she skated through her first year with remarkably few colds or illnesses. No, it's because, as those of you with children know all too well, doctors more often than not can't give you a definite answer on exactly what is wrong with those little buggers. So there is a lot of guessing, a lot of waiting and a whole lot of guilt.

As I recounted our doctor visit to my mom last night, she asked if I was going to stay home with Mary Clare today. And I responded with, "I would, but I'm just so busy at work right now. And Dr. O'Neil said it's okay for her to go to school." And then I immediately wanted to punch myself in the face. And then cry out of sheer disgust for myself.

Honestly. What is wrong with me? Mary Clare was fine this morning, but still, I'm pretty sure a little TLC would have been alright by Miss MC.

Ugh. Parenthood. Employment. Not sure I would trade either one (and certainly not the former, because well, that's a done deal), but like I said so eloquently, ugh. So annoying.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The good with the bad

So, the weekend. It had its moments, but overall I would give it a B+. Since I am a lame blogger right now, you'll get it in list form.

  • Bad: Mary Clare wasn't feeling up to snuff, so we had to cancel our evening plans.
  • Good: Adaptable Uncle Andy came over and regaled us with stories. And didn't complain when Chip nodded off during the Cardinals' game.
  • Bad: The power in our house and eight others on our bloc, as well as eight on the block behind us, went out at 10 p.m.
  • Good-ish: The electricity came back on. But it took six hours. Six hours! For one transformer. Nice, Ameren. Nice.
  • Bad: Mom Thole broke her arm.
  • Good: No surgery required, and she should be in a sling in three weeks and completely healed in six weeks, just in time to gear up for Baby Jones' arrival.
  • Bad: Lots of errand running and cooking = bored baby
  • Good: Completed errands and meals = happy mom
  • Bad: Mary Clare likes Metallica. As in she shook it and shimmied for all she was worth for a good two minutes of "Master of Puppets." Clearly, Wilco isn't going to cut it any longer for this girl.
  • Good: We learned of Mary Clare's penchant for heavy metal during a very fun (and delicious) dinner party at the Flemings. (Just don't ask don't how Bob came to play "Master of Puppets,"as it's still a sore subject with Anne.)
  • All Good: We spent the day in Highland to help my parents out with some of the things at the house since my mom is somewhat incapacitated for the moment. We cleaned, ironed, prepared produce for the freezer and cooked countless batches of eggplant parmigiana. It was a busy day, but we all had a good time. Even mom. Except for that time when I told her to stop helping because her one-armed attempts at helping were the equivalent of when Mary Clare "helps."
And there you have it, folks. The good and the bad. No ugly. At least not on the weekend, at least. I save the ugly for the name calling I do at work. No lie, I was on a real roll today. I'm not proud. But I do have to keep myself entertained.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Mama, I'm coming home

Brennan and Grandma Thole are currently on the Amtrak heading back to Kansas City. In case you can't tell from the picture, B is completely enamored with the whole train experience. I have a feeling we'll be hearing about this for quite some time.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Mr. has his MBA

Last night marked Chip's very last class in the SLU MBA program. He participated in the May commencement (pictures here), but had two six-week required electives to complete this summer.

Wednesday night was his very last final ever. And I stress ever because I want to nip those PhD jokes in the bud.

For the analytical among you, Chip's stint in SLU's MBA program looked something like this:

months: 27
classes: 15

credit hours: 45
group projects: 17
times designated to be the speaker for group projects: 17
peanut butter cracker dinners: 32
new babies: 1
papers: 46
times the wife griped about getting out of bed to edit a paper: 16
As: 12
Bs: 3
parking tickets: 4
money "earned" on selling back company-bought books: $325.63
bottles of Maker's Mark: 5
number of public libraries visited on a monthly basis: 3

In case you can't tell, I am just a little proud. And excited. Proud of Chip for handily managing work, school and first-time fatherhood, as well as household and husband duties. Excited that we'll have him back full time on the evenings and weekends.

You did it. Loves you, I do.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

About a moon pie

I just had my first encounter with a moon pie. It went down like this.

Shortly after lunch, someone sent out an email stating that a supplier left a box of moon pies in the oh-so-cleverly-named food cube.
I immediately delete the email.

But then a few hours pass, and my bowl of strawberries are but a distant memory.

Moon pie? Well, I've never had one. And if it's here and free, I can just try it and toss it if I don't like it.

So off to the food cube I go. I pluck one from the box, hiding it under a sheaf of papers as I make my way back to my desk. You see, I have no problem eating free food. I just don't want people to know I eat free food. Especially random things like moon pies.

Back at my desk and deluding myself that no one can hear the crackle of cellophane emanating from my cube, I open the moon pie and take a bite. Yuck. A coated cake of some sort with marshmallow filling. Not my thing at all. I set it aside.

I set it aside.


Of course you know how the story ends. I ate the whole damn thing. I didn't even like it, I just ate it.

Seriously, what the hell?

And you just know it's going to give me heartburn. Honestly.

The many loves of Mary Clare

The girl has some definite ideas about what she likes. No idea where she gets that. While you ponder that, mom, the rest of you can check out Mary Clare's current faves.

Puzzles rule Mary Clare's world, and therefore, our world. Get one down, do it. Go to the shelf with the Paw Paw-made puzzle box, point and say "More. More. More." until someone gets another one.

Repeat. And repeat. And repeat. And pray that Grandma finds some puzzles that don't have animals on them, because you are completely tired of making duck, cow and pig noises.

She's obsessed. I am on board with this one when it relates to her shoes. When she gets up in the morning, she looks over at her dresser, points at that day's ensemble and says, "Shoesh. Bow."

Hell yeah, you know I love hearing that.

What I don't love is that she is obsessed with our shoes as well. She doesn't want to wear them so much as she wants to make sure that we are wearing them.

Do you kn
ow how annoying it is to be chased around the house by a toddler waving flip-flops and shrieking "Shoesh! Shoesh! Shoesh!" and throwing them at your feet the second she has you cornered? Or how after wearing heels all day, you just want to give your bare tootsies a rest, and there she is, blocking the door with a leopard print flat in one hand and a red patent heel in the other, demanding that you wear them?

Up them, down them she goes, but most certainly not on her hands and knees. She will haul herself up to the second floor, grunting the entire time like she is in a physical therapy session being led by a very demanding German woman.

And on shorter staircases, she will grab a rail and walk down facing forward. And she won't pay attention to the steps, because she is too busy staring at us with her defiant eyes. At times, she will do us the honor of holding our hand, but that's about it. She is far too grown up for our baby ways, thankyouverymuch.

The girl loves herself some H20.
Her teachers say she loves to mix it up with the boys on Water Wednesdays, and I certainly have no trouble getting her to wash her hands at home. Which is definitely nice.

What isn't nice is being the one who denies her access to water. Trust me, you don't want to be the one saying no to the hose, watering can, puddle or sink. And when it comes to bath time, she'll just sit there until every last drop has gone down the drain. Which she has also learned to close, in order to further prolong the bathing process.

Mary Clare is growing attached to her baby dolls, of which we have two, Stella and Bitsy. I love watching her tear around the house with her stroller, and I will admit that it melts my heart when she gives her baby a kiss or covers her up and says "Nigh, nigh."

But then she'll shot put Stella across the room or stuff her in her stroller headfirst, snapping me right out of my American Girl doll reverie. And if we ask her to be gentle with her baby, we just get a look. No one - I repeat, no one - will tell Mary Clare how to raise her babies. No one.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Fishing around

Now that the Joneses are settled into their country estate, Brennan is all about going down to their lake to fish. In fact, if he's not filling up the dogs' swimming pool or doing burnouts on his John Deere tractor, most evenings you can find him down at the lake, fishing pole and fishing advice at the ready.

We're one month into the fishing fixation, and so far we've been advised that "You have to be patient and wait for the fish. Patient." And for the most part, he is. Best of all, he sold out his own mother when she snagged her line carrying her pole back to the house, and was quick to tell us that "Mommy doesn't catch fish. Mommy catches trees."

Brennan's so darned serious about the whole matter that he could probably even convince his squeamish Aunt Debbie to take a fish off the line for him.

But let's hope it doesn't come to that.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Blog about cleaning and they will come

Of course I'm delighted that the July jumble post received so may comments. (For those of you keeping track of comments at home, six is many 'round these parts.)

I like to think that this flurry of comments (again, six is a flurry, people) is due to my talk about the magical Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Bath Scrubber. Which means, of course, that you want me to blog more about cleaning. Right? Right?

I mean, anyone who knows me knows that is the blog of my dreams. One where I can talk about my favorite cleaning products. Pre-treating laundry stains. Sock folding methods. Vacuums.

Oh, and maybe organization. Color coding closets. Sorting kitchen gadgets. Alphabetizing spices. The best kind of Rubbermaid containers. (Clear. With snaps.)

Oh, man. I could go on.

That's it. I'm starting on a Fels-Naptha fan post right now. You have been warned.