Monday, June 29, 2009


It's really not fair that by doing the right thing and grounding a certain eight-year-old for slapping her brother (across the face, no less!) is more punishment for me than for her. Her best friend just rang the doorbell asking if Madeleine could play. It was so tempting to just say, "Why yes, she can..." but alas, I did not. So here I sit on this gorgeous day paying bills and balancing our checkbook with a disgruntled eight-year-old in tow. Fun, fun, fun.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Diaper Bag

Look what I bought yesterday in pastel pink.

Oh, and I had a name monogrammed on it in scrip lettering...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I Love Summer

I really, really do. Sure, it's obnoxiously hot and I practically feel like we're going to melt when we're outside but still, when else but in the summer does it feel good to play in the water? Thankfully, unlike last year, Hank passed his swim test today at the JCC Outdoor Water Park (where we're members) so now I don't have to hear him complaining about how he's not allowed to climb the rock wall or run off the diving board. Now he is able to do both those things, and Hank is so proud of himself and feels very grown up.

Here are some action shots of the kids enjoying the pool.

And OK, so Elisabeth is not enjoying the water here. And, in fact, if this picture had audio you'd hear her whining, "Mo-OM! I want to go back in the pool! Put your camera away!" And so, after a few more shots I did, and we did go back in the pool. But getting action shots of E in the water? Impossible. My camera would be soaked in about half a second because that's how long it takes for Elisabeth to charge into water over her head.

Monday, June 22, 2009


When my cell phone broke a few weeks ago I was perfectly content to renew our contract and get whatever free phone the company we went with had to give me. But Joe has wanted an iPhone for awhile. He has used a Blackberry for a few years now and he does need the email capabilities for work purposes and so last week he finally convinced me an iPhone was the way to go.

I sent him off to the AT&T store to figure it all out and bring home whatever for me. Imagine me surprise (and delight!) when he arrived home with not one, but two iPhones-- one for him and one for me.

I didn't ask for an iPhone and I didn't even think I particularly wanted one but, I have to say, it's really, really cool. It actually does a lot more than I thought it did and I am pretty excited to have it. So much for all my rants against technology, now I'm just as hyper-connected as everyone else. At least my hyper-connectivity comes in a pretty pink case.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Big Storms

The other night we were treated to some very loud, very wet thunderstorms. What happens when booming thunder cracks overheard so loudly that it shakes the house? Joe and I end up with a couple extra kids in bed with us.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Today I am thirty weeks pregnant. Thirty. Um, excuse me, but didn't I just find out I was pregnant, like, a day ago? I am in serious panic mode. We have done nothing--nothing!-- to prepare for this baby. We don't have a carseat or a place for her to sleep or anything.

Oh sure, we've been house hunting like crazy and meeting with an architect and a builder and it looks like we will be adding on this summer, but will that be done with the baby is born? Um, no.

I cannot believe how quickly this pregnancy has flown by. The end of August will be here before I know it. I sure hope we're ready by then.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Favre a Viking--Almost

Remember last year, after Brett Favre's first non-retirement retirement, how I was so upset about seeing him go play for another football team in the NFL?

Well even though the official announcement hasn't been made, it seems clear that Favre's second retirement is also going to end up being a non-retirement, only this time Favre is giving all Packer fans the finger as he does so by choosing to play for one of, if not the biggest, rivals of the Packers. And you know what? I just don't care. I can't wait to see Favre trotting out in his purple number four at Lambeau Field and to hear just how much his desire to exact revenge on the Packer organization has soured Packer fans on the former great one.

Seriously, Brett. Find a hobby.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer Preview

I did it again. After another fairly relaxed (schedule-wise) school year with lots of free time to make plans with friends or veg at home, I have overbooked our summer once again. I don't regret it yet since, really, summer break only started yesterday, but I'm having visions of how I'm going to feel in August after waddling around all summer trying to get kids to their various activities on time.

I have to say, though, that Elisabeth looked pretty darn cute at her swim lesson yesterday-- her first organized activity ever. I need to try and remember to flash a picture of her today before we leave.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

This Weekend Again

These pictures are from Hank's end of the season soccer party last night. His coach came up with a unique story about each player and Hank's distinction ended up being that he is a total goofball (true) and the hardest kicker which is also true; that kid can send the ball flying across the field like nobody's business. Maybe someday he'll actually start aiming. Hank was thrilled with his coach's words.

The team minus one player who was already on vacation and also including their assistant coach who was gracious enough to host the party.

Hank showing off his soccer medal which has already found a home right beside his bed.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

This Weekend

We stayed up late last night with some new friends and, to be perfectly honest, despite the late hour, I wish they could have stayed longer because we all just had so much fun. Well, at least Joe, the kids and I did though I suppose I shouldn't speak for our guests. Being tired-- and having tired kids-- is a small price to pay for a relaxing and enjoyable evening with friends, and one I would pay again.

But, as it is wont to do, the sun rose again on a new day this morning and with it a schedule packed with a first baseball game, a last soccer game (until next fall, anyway) and a soccer party tonight. Hank has declared after only one game that he loves baseball. I'm fairly certain that if you put Hank on any sort of sport's team and give him a uniform and a competitive objective that he'll love the sport, but he thinks it's novel every time he loves a new sport. Here are some pictures of the little slugger.

Waiting on second base to be hit home (in the dark green jersey).

Running to home plate.

After making it around the bases Hank saw my camera and just stood there and smiled. When I didn't take the picture quickly enough Hank just said, "Mooo-om!" and stood there smiling once again. I took the hint.

Racing his own team's shortstop to scoop up a ground ball.

The soccer game was fun too, especially since a good friend I haven't seen in awhile was there watching her daughter play Hank's team. It was fun to cheer for the Kangaroos one last time this season and to notice how far all the kids-- virtually absent of soccer knowledge at the beginning of the season-- have come since last fall.

And now we're back home. The kids are resting, I have pies cooling for tonight's party at one of Hank's soccer teammate's house. Hank hasn't taken his soccer uniform off since we got home over two hours ago and my guess is he's going to be wearing it a lot this summer.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Tuesday night Madeleine stood on the upstairs toilet to try and reach something in the medicine cabinet. Joe and I have told her eight hundred million, kazillion times to please not stand on the toilet b/c it puts too much stress on the hinges of the toilet seat cover and, besides, there's nothing in the medicine cabinet she needs or should have anyway. So, despite our warnings to not stand on the toilet seat she decided to ignore us and, yep, tore the toilet seat cover plum off. We now have a toilet seat coverless toilet until I can get to the hardware store (chances of that happening today? Magic 8 Ball says: "My sources say no"). On a scale of one to ten, this hits my irritation level at about a five or six.

Yesterday I made the kids popovers for breakfast. About thirty minutes after I had pulled the popovers out of the oven and closed the oven door the oven door literally just FELL OFF. No one was touching it, no one was near it (thankfully!), nothing. The kids and I just sat and stared at it for about a solid minute with our mouths hanging open. I was able to jam the door back on somehow, but there's no doubt that oven is on its last legs. Irritation level? Oh, about an eight.

Yet today is a new day. The sun is shining, the house is relatively clean and the kids are only doing a moderate amount of whining. As long as the refrigerator door doesn't spontaneously fall off, I think we'll be fine.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Storm Tracking

A few hours ago the local TV stations meteorology departments were in full on panic mode talking about the thunderstorms that were moving into the area. I don't know if you know this about me or not, but I'm obsessed with the weather (as a side note, if anyone is interested, my favorite site to check the local weather is WISN 12; their interactive radar is the coolest), so I had the radar up on my computer and had the local news on. I don't do this because I'm scared, I do this because besides my obvious issues of simply being obsessed with the weather and storm tracking, I really love thunderstorms. I was excited and wanted to know when to go to the window to watch the storm moving in.

My kids were excited too. As Madeleine pointed out, "Maybe we can have a cozy book night!" And then it started to rain. We got a crack or two of thunder and then... nothing. The clouds moved out over the lake and the sun came out.

Not long after Hank's friend A______, who lives three houses down, stopped over to see if Hank could play. As I heard them chatting at the door I heard A_____ say, "Did you guys have to go in your basement? We did because of all the bad storms." Hank's response? "No, I guess the storm must have only gone by your house. Or maybe our house is stronger."

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Titanic: A Confession

I am embarrassed to admit this, but when Titanic was first released in movie theaters back in 1997 I saw it more than once. More than two times, even. Actually, I can't remember how many times I paid to see it when it was in the theaters, although the number five sticks in my head. The real answer though is way too many.

But it gets worse. Eventually it was released to video and I bought a copy. And watched it. Again and again and again.

Somehow I got it all out of my system (or, more probably, I met and married Joe and he refused to watch it) and my copy got shoved to the back of our video cabinet. I had not watched the movie in eight, almost nine years until last night. Last night TBS (or was it TNT?) was playing the movie and since Joe was busy pouring over legal paperwork I decided to watch it and see if it still held the same magic it once did to my college-aged self.

In a word, NO! Oh my goodness-- what was my college self thinking? That movie is just awful! The acting was decent, but the scriptwriting! Ew, ew, EW! Who thought it would be a good idea to write lines like "A woman's heart is a deep ocean of secrets..." or "They've got you trapped, Rose, and sooner or later that fire that I love about you..."? And what possessed Winslet and DiCaprio to utter such trite, poorly written words? And the writing of the characters; could they possibly have been more stereotypical? Ooooh, the rich fiance who is selfish, mean and controlling, or how about the poor boy trapped in third class without one flaw to mar his character. How groundbreaking!

I remember being annoyed with Hollywood that year for sneering at Titanic and for holding their noses when its director James Cameron accepted his award for Best Picture at the Oscars. Now I can only sympathize with them and hold my nose right along with them.

The only upshot of last night, besides prompting me to confess my ridiculous obsession to all the world and see the error of my ways, is that now I can finally clear out some space in our video collection.

Friday, June 05, 2009


When I was a child I hated rhubarb season. Mom was a big dessert person and made them often, but in late spring, once her rhubarb was ready to harvest, the desserts all began to have one common denominator: rhubarb. I ate them grudgingly but always secretly couldn't wait until the rhubarb was all gone and we could get back to non-rhubarb desserts.

I don't know when it happened, but sometime in the past few years I started craving rhubarb desserts. Last year I finally bit the bullet and planted some rhubarb plants in our yard, but I can't harvest any until next year (and even then only sparingly). Well, wonder of wonders, Dad brought up a huge grocery bag of rhubarb yesterday full of freshly picked rhubarb that he was given by a friend.

Right now I have this cooling on my prep table:

It's rhubarb oatmeal pie and I can't wait to dig into it. In a few minutes I'm going to start a rhubarb compote which was, funnily enough, my absolute least favorite, most dreaded rhubarb concoction that Mom made every spring. Funny how time and maturity can change your taste buds.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


My kids are not quiet, as kids go. I don't know that any kids are ever really quiet, but mine are extra not quiet.

So could someone please tell me why on earth my already loud children think they need to use a microphone to be heard!? Ugh, my ears are ringing and it's only 8:30 a.m.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


When the kids are really being loud and obnoxious I have developed a plan of escape. I grab Joe's alarm clock/radio, turn on Charlie Sykes (local conservative talk radio host) and take a shower with the bathroom door shut tight and instructions to the kids that they're not to open the door unless the house is on fire. Sure, I end up frustrated with he current state of affairs in our state and nation, but at least by the time I get out the kids are back in my good graces.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Strong Willed Children

I made the mistake of categorizing a younger Hank as my spirited, strong-willed child. He had all the indicators and, to a degree, still does. After butting heads with him for his whole life I assured myself that any child that might come after him would be a more typical child like Madeleine. Oh, I don't mean to say Madeleine never misbehaves- of course she does-- but her misbehavior is more of the expected types of naughtiness that people expect from children, not the mentally draining, constantly exasperating child who continually feels the need to exert his or her independence and challenge every assertion a parent might make.

For us, Hank was our mentally taxing child. Or, so we thought.

Turns out he's got nothing on little Elisabeth. Boy oh boy, that girl is something, let me tell you. Part of it, I know, is her age. Or, at least that's what I'm going to keep telling myself on days like today.