Monday, July 30, 2007

Busy Week

Friday is Madeleine's birthday. She's having a friend party (Friday) and a family party (Saturday) this week.

My niece and nephew are here for the week as well.

I've got a lot of fun activities planned for the (five!) kids, but who knows how clean my house will be on Saturday when family descends. Or if they'll even be a birthday cake.

Needless to say, pretty sure I won't be blogging much.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

I still remember reading this book as a child. It was assigned reading in sixth grade over our Christmas break. That was the year my family and I went to St. Barthélemy in the French West Indies. Beaches are, and always have been, one of my favorite reading spots. The warm sand and the hot sun are the most inviting combination to pleasurable reading that I can imagine. I felt that way when I was twelve, just as I do today, and I easily recall reading this book while hearing the ocean waves crashing just a few feet away. Mostly though, I recall loving this book.

Imagine my delight when Madeleine and Hank decided on this book for a family read. I'm not sure who looked forward to reading it the most: the kids or me, but it's safe to say we all loved it and all got swept up into the rats' lives, daring escapes and the plight of the industrious Mrs. Frisby and her sick son.

Madeleine and Hank won't remember reading Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH on the beach, feeling the hot sun while Justin directed his rat friends out of Nimh or hearing the tumbling surf as the Frisbys' cinder block home was moved, but they will recall (I hope!) lying in our living room on Major Book Nights, munching on popcorn and discussing, after the reading of the book's final pages, who the two rats left behind could have possibly been.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Welcome, Delaney!

Some dear friends of ours recently had their first baby, a sweet little girl who they named Delaney. Isn't she cute?

After Delaney was born Superdad and I gave her tired, new parents about, oh, say, 2.7 seconds by themselves after arriving home before descending to meet our new Goddaughter. She has the most smooth, soft wrinkly little baby skin, sweet little baby grunts and that perfect baby smell that keeps women around the globe reproducing.

Our kids were delighted with her too. Madeleine spent eons staring at Delaney, pleading with her soulful eyes for Delaney to ask her mom if Madeleine could hold her just once. Since Delaney can't talk yet, Superdad had to intervene for shy Madeleine.

So, yeah, the kids were really delighted with Delaney. Hank just couldn't contain his excitement...

...for Delaney's dog, Lucky.

I'm not quite sure Hank ever even gazed at Delaney or tried to listen to one baby coo (who could hear over the barking?), but he did entertain Lucky for a time. How long? Oh, just the entire time we were there. Think the boy maybe wants a dog?

Sadly for my children, at one point Delaney needed to be whisked upstairs for a diaper change. However would they entertain themselves? Don't worry, the clever little terrors soon figured out a great game: pretending Elisabeth was a newborn and giving a test run to all of Delaney's new stuff.

Elisabeth thought it was a great game. Luckily for her, so did Delaney's super-relaxed parents.

Congratulations, Mike and Tarra; Delaney is super cute and I can't wait to see her again!

Friday, July 20, 2007


Madeleine has a new game she and her friends have been playing. It's called "Teenagers." What does one do when playing Teenagers? Well, let me quote Madeleine, "Oh, you know, lie around, read magazines, talk... you know, teenager stuff."


How is it that she knows about teenager stuff? The oldest child on our block isn't quite ten. Are a love of loafing and self-indulgent introspection an innate knowledge that all children, born and pre-born, just have? Is it planted there as a beacon of hope for overworked, overplayed children? A glimpse of what's to come?

To make matters worse, my little girl, not even quite seven, is starting to look older. We found the hair clip she's wearing in the pictures below on the clearance shelf at Walgreen's and Madeleine just haaaaaaaad to have it to play dress-up (a nice, little girlish activity, certainly not one for little girls getting too big; too mature).

Little did I know her vision of dress-up with this hair extension clip-on thingy was really more of a hybrid of dress-up and playing teenagers: she puts on the hair clip, meets her friends outside and proceeds to strut around the neighborhood flipping her hair behind her shoulder at carefully timed intervals.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Happy Campers

Superdad and I talked to the happy campers last night. I think it's now safe to say that I miss them more than they miss me.

me: So, Hank, are you having fun?

Hank: (sounds distracted) Yep.

me: What have you been doing?

Hank: I don't know. Do you want to talk to Madeleine?

Madeleine: Hi, Mom.

me: Hi, sweetie! Are you having fun?

Madeleine: Yep.

me: Well, what have you been doing?

Madeleine: I don't know.

Our conversation, though longer than my conversation with Hank, yielded about the same amount of information. It was time for Superdad to take a turn querying the distracted campers.

Superdad: Hi, Madeleine! How are you?

Madeleine response somehow necessitates giving Hank the phone.

Superdad: Hi, Hank! How are you?

The conversation then ends. Superdad is left hanging only to hear Hank yell, "I want two hot dogs" and then Superdad can tell, by hearing Hank's voice in the distance, that he has set the phone down and walked away.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Flashback: July 22, 2004

I've been combing through old emails and digital pictures lately in an attempt to organize my laptop. Probably a futile undertaking.

In any event, I came across the following picture, which was one of my mom's favorite pictures of herself. It was taken on a memorable trip to Washington in which she was treated to a private tour of the White House by a former senior staffer.

Can't you just hear her asking,"Yes, Ms. Thomas?"

Monday, July 16, 2007

Vacation, II

We're back from our too short vacation. Well, at least three of us are, anyway.

We had a fantastic time in (drum roll, please)... Door County! Really, I don't know why we all love it so much up there. I've grown so accustomed to our fall and winter birthday trips that I've fallen in love with the gorgeous views, the relaxed atmosphere and, of course, the swimming. We never have a bad time, we always seem to be successful at leaving any stressful thoughts or problems behind us when we get there and we never seem to run out of things to do.

This trip was no exception, but the only problem was I didn't really take many (or any) pictures. I'm quite certain, however, that the reverse would have been true had I had a new Nikon D40 in hand (hint, hint).

We rode horses, visited and toured a beautiful old lighthouse, swam (or course) grilled fabulously delicious bacon cheddar burgars, played a lot of cards and board games and made trips into a couple of the sweet little towns for ice cream and window shopping.

The only downers were leaving and, even more sad, dropping Madeleine and Hank off in Green Bay for a week (!) of camping with Super Grandpa, Super Grandma (Superdad's parents) and their cousins. Superdad, Elisabeth and I will join them on Friday (hopefully early Friday; again, hint, hint!)

It's good to be home though I don't quite know what I'm going to do with myself with only Elisabeth to occupy me for the week. Any ideas?

Thursday, July 12, 2007


I'm writing this in the lobby of one of my favorite places on earth; anyone have any guess where that could be...?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Next Big Hit

Madeleine has composed a new song which, I'm sure, will soon be playing on everyone's iPods. The title? It's so Annoying to have a Little Brother (who wants to share your toys).

Yes folks, be on the lookout; it's going to be a huge hit.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Web Browsers

I switched web browsers a year or more ago per the advice of Quantum Void, and have never looked back; Mozilla Firefox has just been that much better than Explorer.

Now my neighbor, a huge Apple guy, insists that I try out Safari and is adamant that I will love it and never want for another browser (until, of course, something greater is created).

So, I'm going to give it a whirl; a test drive if you will. What will I think of it? Any input?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Independence Day, II

Happy Dependence Day, everyone!

On our agenda today is a parade, a picnic, a festival and fireworks. Oh, and rain.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Good Friends

I'm lucky. I have some really great friends. But, like all friends, they all seem to be divided into groups: neighborhood friends, school friends, church friends. And, like most groups of friends, it's most common to see the friends most often who cross our paths in our daily lives so, for me, that's usually my neighborhood friends, school friends and church friends. They're the ones I run into at school, at the grocery store or in my front yard.

But another group of friends that I don't see quite as often is another group I hold very dear: my college friends. These are the friends who stood up in my wedding, and whose weddings I stood up in. The ones who knew me when I met Superdad (and took bets how long it would be before we'd break up, I'm sure!).

I was lucky enough to have breakfast with a few of them this past Saturday.

Aren't they cute? On the left is Kristine. I met Kristine on my very first day of college, at orientation. There was a third girl there, when we met, though I can't remember her name. We ended up assigned to the same dormitory and were fast friends.

Next to Kristine is Karen. I met Karen during my freshman year also, she was roommates with another good friend who was unable to be there on Saturday, but she and I really didn't get to know each other until our junior year when a large group of us rented a house together.

To the left of of Karen is me, obviously, and next to me is Carmela. Carmela and I also met freshman year and we did not like each other. At all. In fact, I remember being dismayed that all my friends liked her so well, and I know she felt that way about me also. After a year or so we got over it though and realized we dug each other. Now I think she's terrific and I'm not quite sure why it was we spent an entire year irritated with each other.

Poor Terri (oops T, your super-secret identity is busted!), my college roommate, couldn't be there, but somehow I don't think she minded too much since she's on vacation in Arizona right now and she looks like she's having a lovely time.

And Rachel, the sixth member of our group, was also traveling, but since she doesn't have a blog I can't direct you to where exactly she was, though she should have one because she travels a lot and goes to some really interesting places. But I'm sure they both missed us immensely and were just so bummed not to be able to leave their tropical locales and race right on back to Wisconsin, don't you think?

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Independence Day

Ah yes, what a glorious holiday. Cook-outs, fireworks and celebration ensure and many of us take pause to reflect on our hard earned freedom and liberty.

Unless, of course, you're Hank.

This morning, en route to church, Hank began asking about what the 4th of July was about. Why do we have fireworks? How do the fireworks work? What's freedom? Is it really only four days away?

A short explanation followed. Very, very brief, but Superdad did a good job hitting all the major points. It's Independence Day, Hank, which just happens to fall on the 4th of July. We celebrate freedom from tyranny. We once were ruled without having any right to vote or decide how our country should be ruled. The Declaration of Independence was signed. Really, his explanation made more sense than this entry conveys.

Questions were shot at Superdad and me, coming at lightening speed, from the inquisition in the back seat.

Finally, a lull. A pause and some quiet. Time enough for Superdad and me to sit back. To relax.

And then, finally, from the back, the loud, confident voice of a four-year-old, certain of his newly acquired knowledge. "Happy Deeee-pendence Day, everyone!"

Yes, in advance, let me wish everyone, on behalf of my son, a very happy Dependence Day.