Friday, November 30, 2007

Brought to you by the letter J

It's "J" week at school, so in addition to learning about jingle bells and Jesus, the kids made bead jewelry yesterday. I went to pick up Lucy from school, and she came flying out, all excited, holding a string of beads.

She said, "Look, Mom! I made you this beautiful necklace! It's your present! Put it on now! And wear it with pride!"

I know all parents say this, but...seriously? "Wear it with pride"?! Where does she get this stuff??

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Oh, THAT'S why...

"Lucy, COME ON. We're going to be late for school! Get in the car. You're movin' like a herd of turtles!"

"Mom, do you know why I'm moving so slow like a turtle? It's because I had a honkin' big lunch."

Uh, does she know something I don't?

Lucy: "Mom, who's your grandpa?"

Me: "My grandpa's in heaven."

Lucy (in a business-like tone): "OK. When you go to heaven, please tell your grandpa how much I love him and tell him all about me."

Me: "Uh....OK."

Lucy: "I mean it, Mom. When you get to heaven, OK? Bye."

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

An Exchange of Letters

Earlier this week, Darren had lunch with Pastor Williquette. On the way out of the restaurant, Pastor grabbed two balloons for Darren to bring home to the girls. They were thrilled (especially since the balloons were from him). Unfortunately, Lucy lost hold of hers, and it sailed into the wild (gray) yonder. When I was tucking her in bed that night, she said, "Mom, I'm writing a thank-you note tomorrow and here's what it will say."

Dear Pastor Williquette:

I love you. Thank you for the red balloon. But...balloons don't last forever.



And here is what he wrote back to her:

Dear Lucy,

You are right balloons don't last forever, and that can make us sad. But God gives us many other things to make us happy besides balloons. He gives us good daddys and mommys. He give us little sisters like Elaine. He gives us people in our church who love us. I am sorry you lost your red balloon, but remember that God has given you many other very good things. And remember most of all the God loves you more than anyone else and that if you are His child, you will never lose Him.

I love you too Lucy,

Pastor Williquette

p.s. Please tell your dad and mom and Elaine I said, "Hi."

Friday, November 16, 2007

In Memorial

We used to have these two dogs, Boo Radley and Gatsby. We got Boo Radley when we first got married. He was the naughtiest dog who ever lived. We could never have toilet paper on the roll where it belongs because he would pull it all off and eat it. He lived to be 12 years old and would still do it (if we occasionally tried to put it on the roll in a burst of optimism) even though he had arthritis. We could never use any wastebasket or garbage can that was not enclosed in some sort of cabinet. We could never leave any food out for any period of time however brief on any surface, including high-up countertops. Once we had some friends over for dinner and then had dessert in the family room. One of our guests couldn't finish his, and put his plate on the coffee table. We sat around and talked for hours, while Boo Radley slept deeply, snoring, on the couch. When our friends left, we of course walked them to the door. In that brief moment of time (he had been awaiting his opportunity all evening--what had we been thinking, talking for so long) he was wide awake, up from the couch, and calmly eating the remaining piece of eclair cake.

One time, at our previous house, Darren left the basement door open (unusual for him). Keep in mind that our previous house was huge. Cavernous. 3,000+ square feet with 11-foot ceilings. We had three living rooms and two bathrooms the size of living rooms. We had a full English walk-out basement. The basement was dark and used only for storage. At the far end of the basement, Darren had a cluttered work bench. On the bench, he had put the remainder of a bag of unshelled, salted peanuts he had gotten at a Kane County Cougars game. Boo Radley had never eaten peanuts. To my knowledge, he had hardly ever been in the basement and had no interest in going.

Yet, when we got home and went up to our bedroom on the third floor, our bed held the remains of an empty plastic peanut bag and all sorts of peanut shells. So. In our absence, Boo Radley had gone to the dark basement, gone to the farthest corner of said basement, rummaged through the various detritus in the dark basement, found the bag of peanuts, carried the bag in his mouth up not one, but two very long flights of stairs, hopped up onto our high, Victorian bed and eaten them. In comfort.

How I miss that dog.

But, this week, Darren and I have decided that Boo's spirit lives on. He has been reincarnated, if you will, into our youngest daughter. All of a sudden, in addition to her infamous wallpaper-ripping activities (and Boo so would have done that if he could have) Elaine can leave no roll of toilet paper left unrolled.

Every time I sit down to eat, even if she's just eaten a large meal herself, she will climb up on my lap, push her face by my plate, and insist, "Mine. Mine," until I give her a little tidbit. And on Wednesday, I left a garbage bag of trash just inside the kitchen door for one of us to take out on our way to church that night. I came down and found her sitting by the (now open) bag of trash with a good portion of the contents strewn around her on the floor and an empty Sprite bottle in her hand as she attempted to drink from it. I'd have pictures of it, but I guess you understand that the first thing on my mind when I saw that wasn't grabbing the camera.

Boo Radley. RIP, buddy. Or...maybe not.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Quote of the Day...

I went to get Elaine out of her crib one morning earlier this week. She had been at her wallpaper removal project again. She pointed at the wall and said, "Paper." I said, "Yes, I see you've been ripping the paper off again." She lowered her head and said, "Naughty." I said, "You're right. It is naughty. You're not supposed to rip paper."

Then she popped her head back up again with a big smile and said, "Fun!"

First Birthday Party

After the Fall Fest (and staying until 10 p.m. to clean up), I went home. Darren had left around 8:30 with the girls in order to put them to bed. When I pulled in the driveway, every light in the house was on. Bad sign. The girls were wandering around in their pajamas with sticky faces, teeth unbrushed, and bawling. Mama was not happy. I got them in bed finally and crashed too at about 11. At 2 a.m. I was awakened by piercing shrieks. I ran into Elaine's room--she was twisting and flailing and screaming. In the pandemonium, her shirt lifted and I could see she was covered with hives. I rocked her, soothed her, and finally took her downstairs to play. I realized at about 3 a.m. that I didn't feel much like continuing to sit up in the bright light and read "Ten Apples Up on Top," so I told her we should go back to bed. That didn't sit well. Darren left to go hunting in Peoria around 4, and I think I might have gotten Elaine calmed back down at around 5:30 or 6. (This included a repetitive prayer that went something like, "Dear God, please let her go to sleep, please let her go to sleep, please let her go to sleep.") She finally did, cross-wise in the middle of my bed. That really didn't leave much space for me, so I flopped cross-wise at the bottom of the bed.

At 7, I was awakened again, this time by a loud whisper about an inch from my face. "MOM. IS IT TIME TO PUT ON MY DRESS FOR THE PARTY YET?" I opened one eye and said, "No, and you better have some sort of caffeine with you, little missy." By now they were both awake and asking for breakfast.

At 10:45, I had Lucy bathed, dressed, and ready for her friend Isabella's birthday party at Lucile's Tea Room. She's been talking about it for weeks, her first real birthday party. I was nervous because I knew there would be 18 other girls there, none of whom she knew. I wanted her to have fun and feel secure and be nice. All those mom things. She looked so sweet and was so excited. We got to the tea room, and it was already filled with little girls. I was so glad I had bought her a new dress and shoes. She held onto my hand tightly, but she eventually let go and said, "'Bye, Mommy." When I left she had this little anxious look on her face that looked as though she wanted to be happy, but was also frightened and not sure how.

Elaine and I left and both started to cry on the way home. I think she was just mad though. She went down for a nap, and I started to clean up the house. Then I called my mom and told her everything from how annoyed I was that Darren left my crockpot full of chili sitting in the front seat of the car overnight and how my house was a mess and how I hardly had any sleep and how I just left my 4-year-old with a roomful of strangers and that I hoped I had sent her with the right kind of present and did I mention how tired I was and Darren was gone? Sometimes you've just got to have your mama to talk to, that's all.

I picked up Lucy at 1, and of course she had a fantastic time. She had her nails painted orange and her mouth covered in purple lip gloss. She was full of tales of the party, how they had had pigs-in-a-blanket, cucumber sandwiches, tea, and pink candle birthday cake (something might have gotten a little garbled there).

By the time evening rolled around, I had a clean house, two tired girls in bed, and Darren came home and we shared a pizza together. He had called a little earlier to say he was on his way and said, "I was thinking of Lucy most of today and hoping she had a good time at the party." The thought of him out there in his camo gear with his bow and arrow, thinking about his daughter and anxious that she was fine at a party made me completely forgive the crockpot-filled-with-chili-left-on-my-front-seat-overnight incident. she is. Doesn't she look just fine?

Halloween and Fall Fest

Here are Glinda and Dorothy. Darren took them around to a few of the neighbors' houses, and came away with more loot than they should have for the number of houses they went to. Our neighbors behind us, Keith and Linda, gave them large, frosted bakery cookies. Fortunately, the girls are still at an age where they don't really remember all they've gotten. Lucy ate her cookie over a number of days, but Darren and I shared Elaine's. Hey, I come by this honestly. My mom used to examine our bags when my brother and I were done trick-or-treating and take all the Hershey and Hershey's with almond bars so she could "cook" with them. Now, we never tasted anything she cooked with them, but she was able to successfully run this scam every year.

Friday night after Halloween was the church's Fall Fest. Along with my friend Sarah, I was in charge of putting it together. We had a great time. We worked at the church a good portion of Friday, decorating. There was a ring-of-pop toss, basketball hoop, beanbag toss, donut-eating contest, duck pond, face-painting booth, cookie-decorating booth, cake walk, and I don't remember what all. There was a men's chili cook-off as well, and hot dogs for anyone who wasn't a chili fan. There was a costume contest too. No one in my family took away any prizes, but we still had a great time.