Tuesday, November 27, 2012

They're excited on the inside

As you well know, Nana Thole works hard keeping her grandchildren in handmade Halloween costumes, matching outfits and more than their fair share of monogrammed goods. Some might even think we keep her chained to her sewing machine.

While her efforts do not go unnoticed, and at times even seem to be appreciated by the actual people wearing the clothes (Mary Clare's reaction to her Tinkerbell costume was actually quite magical), those fools just cannot get it together when it is time to take a picture of them in said garments.

This—this—is the best picture I could get of Mary Clare, Charlie and Alexandra wearing their gingerbread cookie shirts. Mary Clare's eyes are glazed over, Charlie is trying to escape and Alexandra is working the poker face her mother gave her for all she's worth.

Come on, kids. Your Nana Thole appliqued you three—count 'em, three—perfectly adorable Christmas shirts this year, so you better believe we're going to be giving this a go again. And you better be ready. Because all your Nana wants (other than your love, health and well being, of course) is a picture of you all perfectly posed in the clothes she made you.

I know you can do it. You have to do it. The poor woman can't take much more.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

So thankful I could just squeeze you to death

Oh me, oh my. I am a thankful one. Like the annual anniversary letter, this is a nice time to sit back and take stock of all the blessings bestowed upon our family. Grandparents (the regular and the great variety!), two cute and funny kids, a skittish but lovable Lab, oodles of family, kind neighbors, caring teachers and a cozy home. Oh, and that husband of mine. He's pretty great. 

When you look at all the goodness listed out like that, it makes it kind of hard to complain about sinus infections, the kids' non-stop runny noses or the fact that our washing machine is systematically eating our clothes. We are lucky, indeed. And thankful for everything from our health to the random items Mary Clare gives thanks for each night at dinner (Charlie's girl eyes! Painted fingernails! Shredded cheese!). While Chip and I have to sometimes try not to snicker or roll our eyes as she yammers away, it is fun to hear what warrants a shout out from Mary Clare. It makes you appreciate the small things, gives you some perspective and makes you realize that yes, we are in fact fortunate to have shredded cheese. To say nothing of the baby boy with the beautiful girl eyes.

We are in for a full day of eating, driving and celebrating with our nearest and dearest. I hope you have an equally wonderful Thanksgiving. Complete with shredded cheese.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Just beat it, part two

Someone certainly enjoyed his first pass at a mashed potato-coated beater.

And as she reads this, my mom will say to herself, "Debbie, what kid doesn't like to lick a beater?"

And to that I say, you're right, mom. But what I didn't expect was how delighted I would be to hand Charlie his very first beater. I know, it's ridiculous. But my mom knows her way around the kitchen, so I had my share of beaters back in the day. (And raw egg. And yet, I lived to tell the tale.) So I guess I viewed the old beater handoff as a right of passage. 

Mary Clare made short work of her very first sweet potato beater, and while Charlie was a smidge apprehensive at first, he soon got into it and licked that sucker clean. And then proceeded to stand by my side and chant, "Mowr. Mowr. Mowr." as I beat the second batch. (Fear not, Lindh family who will be eating the second batch—I washed the beaters in between. With soap and everything.)

Is it unnecessary? Yes. Slightly gross? Yes. But oh, so entertaining. So the beater licking will—must, even—continue. And when Chip's not looking, I'll sneak them the cookie- and cake batter-coated beaters. Because a mild case of samonella poisoning is also a right of passage, am I right?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Funny man, meet funny girl

I write occasionally about my brother in law Brian's parents because, hello, they're awesome. And that's not just because they buy our kids a lot of toys. Swear. The real reason I like them is because Brian's dad dad Steve reads the blog occasionally—and even comments. My own mom doesn't even comment.

So, you know, I try to make it a point to throw out the occasional mention of Papa Moo and Nana Pat. Got to give the people what they want and all.

Brian's mom Pat is incredibly sweet. And Steve, well, Steve is funny. Really funny, if you ask him. A few years ago, he was having a particularly funny streak, so he declared it his funniest year ever. That proclamation alone delighted me to no end.

It appears we have a mini Steve in our midst, because tonight at dinner Mary Clare announced, "I was funny all day." And with a wiggle of the hips and a wave of the arms she declared, "You can call me Funny Girl."

Steve, you have met your match.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Tiger twins

It's the last home game of the season. The kiddos are bunking up with Nana and Papa Thole, and we're headed to Columbia with some friends to enjoy some of the city's charms (read: bars) before the Mizzou vs. Syracuse game. Best of all, it looks like the weather is going to be nice—in the 60s and sunny. Not bad for November.

Let's go, Tigers! Make it a good one!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Let's pretend

Let's pretend the kiddos get along like this all the time, shall we? That they walk through life on a well manicured lawn dotted by fall leaves obsessively tended to by their Papa Thole.

Because lately there have been some real doozies. (With the kids, not my dad's lawn. The green velvet carpet is looking good, summer drought conditions be damned.)

Charlie wants everything Mary Clare has, and no alternative toy, book, snack, drink, step stool or headband will do—it has to be the one currently in her possession. For awhile we would nicely ask Mary Clare to share with Charlie, and she would patiently oblige, until we decided that probably wasn't good for either kid. So then we started removing Charlie from the situation and offering him completely and better alternatives. And that worked. Sometimes. Then last night, Mary Clare said screw it, and just started screaming and crying along with him. I mean, hey, if screaming gets you better swag, why not? She's crafty, that one.

[Look, four whole leaves!]

 [Nana had to rake all over the yard just to make this small pile for the kids. Not even joking.]
[Charlie attempts to make his escape.]

[Mary Clare promptly whips him back into line.]

So let's just look at these and see the love. The love that sometimes looks like suffocation or strangulation, but is love just the same. I hope.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Brennan, 5 years

Happy fifth (!) birthday to our sweet nephew Brennan.

Mary Clare loves her cousin B something fierce, and it's easy to see why. Brennan is one of the most thoughtful, patient and kind little boys you will ever meet. (We still don't know where he gets it, but we love it just the same.) His imagination delights me to no end, and I crack up every time Sherri texts me his latest B-ism.

Have a fantastic time celebrating your birthday, buddy. We love you!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Selective hearing

I don't know if it's because he's a boy, he's number two or he just plain doesn't care, but Charlie isn't talking all that much. We get a lot of yeahs, uh-ohs, more-mores, dadas, mamas and hot-hots (not in relation to the mama, sadly), and he loves to mimic Buddy, helicopters and cars. And that's about it. I would be worried, but I honestly think it was the same gig with Mary Clare. We worried and counted words and even had her do a light version of speech therapy for six weeks at Childgarden, and then boom—one day she was a talking machine. (It didn't hurt that we stopped talking for her, either.)

The good news is that Charlie understands everything we say to him. Sometimes it's shocking how much he understands. I've actually said, "No, Charlie, give me your right hand," and then was honestly surprised when he kept jabbing his left hand at me. And while listening comprehension is great and all, you better believe that it can backfire on you.

Last night after reading more than his fair share of books with Chip and Mary Clare, I broke the news to the little lad that it was night-night time and Charlie needed to go to his room. Just like that, he flew off of Chip's lap. Only, instead of heading to me, he ran to the wall, pressed his face against it and refused to acknowledge us. About anything. He even ignored Mary Clare's pleas for a hug. And so there he stood, with three people cajoling and pleading for his attention. But he was resolute. There would be no turning around, and there sure as hell would not be a voluntary walk to his room. So, I retrieved him, and that went about as well as you'd imagine.

I think I'm going to have to keep the video camera by my side during tonight's bedtime routine, as I'm certain there will be a repeat performance. And his determination is something else. More cute than infuriating, really. At least for now.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

We're watching you

As threatened promised, I am hitting you with more photos from the fall photo extravaganza at my parents' house.


The awesome hazy background effect is compliments of a leaf fire. An under control leaf fire, of course. Managed by none other than my dad. Like I would let our kids romp around fires that aren't managed by retired fire chiefs. Play with matches, yes. But take photos within a 20 foot distance of a smoldering fire? Don't be silly.

Sunday, November 11, 2012



Happy anniversary, dear husband. Six years! Go, us.

So, I have a confession. I have a love/hate relationship with these yearly notes. I love them because they make me sit and think about us, and because it gives me an excuse to flip through our wedding photos, which is such a nice treat. What I dislike is coming up with something to write that sounds genuine and isn't an exact repeat of the previous year. Sure, I could stop writing these. I mean, you're not exactly clamoring for them, nor are the 10 people who read this blog, but you know me. I like traditions. And once I start one, I stick with it. So an anniversary letter you shall get. Every year. FOR-EV-ER.

So, back to what to write that sounds genuine. But still nice. Because what is genuine and true is that marriage is hard sometimes. Even when you have a good person by your side, healthy kids, a sweet dog, a supportive family, a home and good jobs, it's still hard. Because you're in this with another person, which means you have to navigate all of the things, good and bad, that come with the kids, the dog, the family, the home and the jobs. And you have to do it together, making sure that you're on the same page, everyone is in agreement and everyone is happy. So there are arguments, there are lengthy discussions about seemingly mundane matters and there are curt texts that read "DISHWASHER" on the days someone forgets to unload the dishwasher.

But the good part about the hard stuff is that it makes you realize how great the person next to you is. How they are always looking out for you, taking your feelings, wishes and concerns into consideration. How they take the time to do little extra things that make each other happy. And that, I think, is where we really have a lock on this marriage thing. Love and grand gestures are swell, but consideration is key. Now that is something I can get behind.

And so, I love you, you thoughtful, considerate fool who empties the dishwasher and recycling bin 99.5% of the time without being asked. You are good. We are good. And that makes the kids, the dog, the family, the house and the jobs good as well. We certainly couldn't do this without one another. And this is pretty great.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Blue and brown

I took the big camera (and the kids) to my parents' house this Sunday. The weather, the light and the kids were all perfect, and with the help of my trusty assistants, aka Nana and Papa Thole, I managed to get some awfully darned cute photos of those awfully cute kids of ours.     

I haven't done anything except upload them, but these two immediately caught my eye. For once, I can hardly wait to go and edit photos. So you know what this means. Kid photos until the cows come home.

You have been warned.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A sippy cup and snack trap in every hand

Never one to pass on a good theme, I donned the kiddos in red, white and blue today in honor of election day. Mary Clare's ears are getting keener by the day, and lately she has been picking up on the names she hears on the regular when she's in the car with me. So we've been talking politics. Or at least the names of politicians.

Well, it seems that her dad got his wish and his firstborn might be a Republican. Last night on our way home she informed me that she would vote for "Ritt Rodddney," as would Charlie and Buddy. I asked her if she remembered who I planned to vote for today, and she said, "Yes. Rock Ohmama."

This morning she tried to tell me she would vote for both Ritt Rodddney and Rock Omama, but I told her that unfortunately, that's not the way it works and you have to pick your favorite. She stuck with Ritt. And informed me, as speaker of the house, that Charlie and Buddy would too be sticking with Ritt.

We'll soon see if the country follows the informal voting majority of the Lindh household. I, of course, hope that is not the case, but however it goes, let's just all try to get along. And do our best to make sure everyone gets their own sippy cup and snack trap. It's the American way.

Friday, November 2, 2012

November blast off

This morning I took Mary Clare, Charlie and Charlie's luscious red lips (seriously, look at those plump babies!) to Rocket Park in Webster Groves. It was a new park for us, and neeeew parks, as Mary Clare likes to say, are always cause for excitement.

You can't tell from the photos that we were in a space-themed park, so you'll have to trust me when I say that it was pretty cool. There is a monstrous three-story space ship play set, a small rocket ship and a little rover car, all just as cute as can be. But did the kids want anything to do with the deluxe play set resting on a smooth, soft poured play surface? Of course not. They wanted the old metal toys that were placed in a sea of small rocks. You know, the same ones we had as kids.

[the designated bouncer]

[the bouncee]

[the bouncee, after being abruptly abandoned by the bouncer]

But everyone was happy, and surprisingly few pebbles ended up in the car, so who am I to complain if the kids want to sit and bounce for an hour? But seriously, they don't know what they were missing. That play set was cool. I'll We'll be back.