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.