Monday, December 27, 2010

Afternoon fun

Isn't that what you call six stitches?

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 2010

We had a tired, exhausted, over-indulged great Christmas! The kids--of course--loved the presents and the family. Grant loved all his gifts from da Bedford family, and he loved his bigger-than-self electronic light saber, his new nerf gun and video game unit. He also received 6 different dragons (and a dragon movie); do you see a theme? Grace was most happy with a pack of sweet tarts and a cheap zhu zhu hamster she found in her stocking. Though, I did find her this morning filling up Grant's new nerf clips with foam bullets while wearing her new princess shoes. That's a lethal combination.

Now, if I could just get the room to stop spinning.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Monday, December 13, 2010

Polar Express

The tickets were pricey. That's the story I'm stickin' to it... because why else would we risk life and limb to sit on a crowded train with other sugared-up, pajama-wearing toddlers to ride to the North Pole?

The outing was more than we bargained for, mainly because of bad weather, but we still have some great memories. And Grant really thinks he went to the North Pole. Does anyone want to tell my gold ticket holding son that it was a cornfield outside of Connersville?

Saturday, December 11, 2010


On the way home this evening, Erin informed me that she would like to paint our downstairs bathroom. Tonight.

The thought of taking up a sudden painting project is bad enough. But the reality of this particular project is that the task is to touch up some damage done to one of the walls in our bathroom. This particular wall now has three large locations that require some sort of picture to cover damage incurred while I previously tried to repair a smaller issue. As it turns out, I'm only slightly better with a putty knife and spackle than I am at performing open heart surgery. In other words, I might be able to mash some stuff in there and stop the bleeding, but in the end, the patient is in real trouble.

The latest injury to our drywall occurred when one of our children decided that to climb up on their step stool to use the sink, they should leverage the towel rack like it was a zip line. Since this occurred somewhere around three months ago, I guess Erin decided that tonight was the night to correct the situation.

What really had me in disbelief was the fact that that she knew that the paint for this project was stored in our minibarn. She informed me of her decision to work on the bathroom at around 6pm, by which point it was turning dark, was around 35 degrees, and there was a hard rain falling. Really? You want to go into the minibarn and look for paint, you say? That seems reasonable.

I also knew that the paint is at the back of the barn, behind all of the hose reels and lawn equipment, neatly stored for the winter. Of course, you can't tell that it's neatly stored because it now has all of the various boxes and tubs for our Christmas decorations strewn across the minibarn as though they were involved in some sort of armed assault. Apparently this task was undertaken in the cover of darkness as well, based on the current state of the minibarn.

As you can tell by my candor, this whole "discussion" (which ended with Grant questioning how he would ever learn to pee standing up without a father present) lasted for a good hour. By the end of the hour, I was soaking wet, angry, and fully aware of the fact that we had disposed of the paint for this particular bathroom. Which led to another marital gauntlet -- more picture hanging.

If you ever come to our house, please do not look at anything hanging on our walls. If there are two pictures side by side, one is most assuredly a quarter inch higher than the other. And if you dare lift the picture off the wall, you will surely see at least one other hole, often still featuring a nail and a little bit of my pride.

Of course, Erin claims that she's "over" the fact that I cannot hang a picture accurately. She has never looked me in the eye and told me this though, as she's always looking over my shoulder at whatever slightly cockeyed print is behind me. But I'm fine with it. It's a foolish woman who thinks that she's found the perfect man, and it's a foolish man who expects a woman to plan ahead enough to look through the minibarn for paint when it's at least 40 degrees, dry, and still light out. Neither of us can have everything.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Our little reader...

Grant has started reading! And, we couldn't be more excited. Bret and I both love to read, and so the thought of Grant entering the reading world is dreamy. He's working on all his three letter words right now, and he's a pro. I have to send a shout out to my cousin Kathy, who used to teach Kindergarten. She sent me her stash of videos when she left teaching (to stay home with two of her own smarty-pants kids), and there in her mega stash was the video that started all of this for Grant. If your preschooler likes TV and does not yet own the Leap Frog Letter Factory, go buy it now. Grant learned his letter sounds about 8 months ago, and we've been working on sounding out words for a month or so now, but this last week, something clicked.

Tomorrow: off to the library to get him some of his own reading books!

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Arranged Marriage

The statistics on the success of arranged marriages are staggering. Many people will tell you that the success has to do with cultural or religious or familial expectations, but I think there is something greater at play. I know someone who will be part of a parent-bartered marriage. Now, it's not like his spouse has been picked from birth. Rather, several families are on the "short" list, and when the time comes, two families (of the boy and the girl) will meet to talk about the possibilities. If, for the boy, there is no "love connection," he is under no obligation (same for the girl).

And, here's the deal. I think there's something to this idea because: I know my kids. I really know them. Grant, for example, is going to need someone who is receptive to his constant touchiness. He likes to hug, to snuggle, to rub cheeks. He does it with me and with his sister, and we have to work hard to make sure he doesn't do it with every girl in his preschool class. He's a lover. And, he's really swayed by his emotions, so he needs a girl who, while willing to snuggle through some scary movie, holds on to her thinking cap. And, he likes to talk. I know a lot of preschoolers like to talk and to ask questions. But, it's really important to Grant--he values greatly when someone really listens to him. And very importantly, she can't be a flirt. Remotely. Grant is the most jealous kid (see previous note about being ruled by emotions) I have ever met. He cries when it someone else's birthday. He cries when someone else kicks a soccer goal. Just today, he started to whimper when the kid in the Target ad had on the same PJs as Grant. He can marry a beautiful girl, but she can't know she's beautiful. I could keep going about the kind of mate that would best for Grant. And, really, don't even get me started on the kind man Grace will need.

And, so, I don't think it is a bad idea to lead him in the direction of quality women down the road. You might think I am joking (okay, I kind of am... but, only kind of), but I have my own short list of girls who I think would be a good fit for Grant. And if the parents aren't totally crazy, and I could enjoy a glass of wine with them (much less a similar belief about what matters in the world), the deal is even sweeter. It's important for me that my kids choose friends wisely; we're already having that conversation with Grant, and it's exceptionally important that my kids pick a husband or a wife with extreme care.

I know this all sounds a wee bit crazy; you're thinking: he's only four! And you're right. But time is moving quickly, and it's true: Mommy always knows best!

So if you have a daughter who is currently in womb or under the age of 8, we might need to talk. Just make sure you look at some of the above criteria . Serious inquires will be considered.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm Dreaming of a...

Tonight while riding in the car with Grant and Grace, we heard an ad for a local theater showing the holiday classic, "White Christmas." Grant's comment?

I'd like a "Brown Christmas" or a "Black Christmas" better.


Friday, November 26, 2010

Understanding Time: Toddler Style

Imagine Grant's utter disappointment when he realized that all the times I have said that Christmas comes after Thanksgiving did not mean that Christmas comes right after Thanksgiving.

At least wrapping gifts today seemed to stop the tears. And, yes, Grace is in Grant's old pjs, so I am aware she is walking around in an outfit that says, "Cute dude."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Why This Blog is Lame and More Bathroom Stories

So you may be thinking right now, "Why do I keep checking this blog? They rarely post more than a few sentences, and I can only take so many pictures of their kids hugging each other or laying on the couch."

Valid concerns. All valid concerns. Well the reality is that we've found ourselves severely time crunched this fall. Now that I'm starting to get my job figured out, my goal is to return to more regular posting. So stick it out, and I promise you that the reward will be far from substantial.

In keeping with my theme of "distressing bathroom incidents" (see here and here), I had yet another bad encounter with the bathroom this week.

The facilities at my new job are, let's just say, less than appealing. In other words, you go in there with what I call the "rock festival port-a-potty" mentality instead of the "taking a break from work" mentality. You go in, work as quickly as possible, and then evacuate before someone comes in to mess the place up.

It's not that the bathroom isn't functional or is dirty, it's just that it provides little comfort as an aid to the task at hand. First, as you walk in, there's a noticeable gap in the door to the stall. If you walk into the bathroom at the wrong angle, you're guaranteed to make just enough eye contact with the person in the stall to warrant an introduction and some pleasantries. This is unacceptable.

Additionally, the sink in our bathroom is some sort of water saving nightmare that shoots about 10 small, powerful streams of water out. If you actually put your hand under it, it simply deflects the water all over your shirt and pants. Not cool.

This week the facilities management people installed one of those motion sensors in place of a light switch. Now when you walk into the bathroom, the lights kick on. Clever. And green.

I noticed this as I entered on Monday morning around 8am and thought it seemed like a good idea. I made my way to the stall. After a relative few minutes considering how I would spend the rest of my day, the lights went out.

It was so dark. I can't even tell you how dark it was. I considered for a moment what was occurring, hoping it was a momentary issue. But then I realized, with horror, that the light sensor features a timer to kick the lights off. Oy.

I thought about waiting until someone entered, but there were some issues. First, at 8am, there is a chance that it could be a while before anyone else enters. Plus, if they do come in, how do I play off sitting alone in the bathroom, in the dark? With the crack between the door and the wall, they're guaranteed to notice my presence when they come in. How does "the new guy" explain sitting alone in a dark, cold bathroom successfully to his co-workers?

I decided that I needed to take action. The first option was to finish up in the dark and make my way out. I quickly discovered that my relative newness at this job and building left me unable to perform this task. I very nearly ended up with one arm in the toilet while trying to feel my way around.

My next thought was, "I have to get these lights back on." I considered whether I could throw a shoe over the stall wall and get it in front of the sensor. Unfortunatley the sensor is placed on the back of a wall by the entrance, so unless I could "bend it like Beckham" this was not an option.

My only viable option was to gather myself up and make my way over to the sensor. I won't go into details, but let's just say that I prayed for a few seconds that nobody, I mean NOBODY would come through the bathroom door. I moved across that bathroom like Usain Bolt.

I later found out that the timer had been "miss set" to a very short time period, which made me feel better about the whole situation. I also discovered that there's an override switch on the sensor, which I will now use every time I enter the bathroom, no matter the task at hand. No good happens in a bathroom in the dark. Just ask George Michael.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Flow chart: cavity in tooth--> filling in tooth--> crown on tooth--> root canal on tooth--> bacterial infection in tooth= no frickin' fun.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Big Kid Getaway

Bret and I headed out of town on Friday night for Louisville. I AM IN LOVE WITH LOUISVILLE! We ate great food, stayed at a great B&B and shopped at the neatest antique stores (my favorite). We love our babies, but it felt great to get away for a night and a day, have adult conversations, adult beverages, and watch HGTV (granted, a bigger deal for me than for Bret). Louisville is our new favorite city. No, really: IT WAS FAB!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Happy Belated Veteran's Day

Since yesterday was Veteran's Day, I first just want to thank all of the veterans that I've known or to which I'm related. You all deserve our gratitude and thanks, and I hope you all had a wonderful day. Now, I have a couple of observations regarding this observance.

First, one of the things I've gotten used to while working downtown is the large number of "homeless" people occupying the streets of downtown Indy. (I put "homeless" in quotes for a reason which will be apparent later.) When I was younger, I don't ever remember seeing individuals asking for food, money or beer out on the streets of downtown Indy. In fact, the first time I really remember seeing a homeless individual was on a trip to San Francisco, a city which has turned homelessness into a viable profession.

What struck me yesterday was that suddenly every person asking for a handout downtown just also happened to be a veteran. While I don't doubt that some of these individuals are, indeed, veterans, I strongly suspect that some were of dubious intent.

Secondly, Erin, out of the kindness of her heart, gave a full bag of tortilla chips to a guy in the median near our local Costco yesterday. She felt bad for him, so in the spirit of giving, she gave him a bag of chips the size of a garden leaf bag. (It was from Costco, you know.)

A few moments later, she spotted her bag of chips still in the median (opened, but not empty), and the "homeless" individual who had asked for help was boarding a nearby city bus. And not only was he boarding, but he was hooking a rather nice bicycle to the bike rack on the front. The discarded, barely touched bag of chips and the nice bicycle might suggest that this individual wasn't as hungry as he initially seemed.

So I realize it's the spirit of the act which counts, but those were supposed to be MY tortilla chips. I'M THE ONE who now doesn't get TORTILLA CHIPS with my lunch next week.

Apparently there was some discussion amongst the occupants of Erin's vehicle as to whether she should have stopped to retrieve the partially eaten bag of chips.

Let me make something clear. I don't really want to eat from a bag of chips that my kid's hands have been in, let alone some lying sack of, well, tortilla chips who was hanging out in the median of a local city street. I'll take my bag of chips unopened, thank you. (And I really prefer Pringles anyway, if you want to know the truth.)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New Hair Cut

Grace's hair was starting to get unmanagable (read: put it in a pony every day), so she got a little haircut (read: Mommy in the kitchen with scissors)!

She's just too cute!



Tuesday, November 09, 2010

New Found Love

Wanna guess Grant's latest fascination?
Yep, dragons. Such a boy.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Dates With the Elderly

As most everyone that knows me is aware, I'm pretty much a total music geek. To this day, I buy quite a bit of music, still go to an occasional concert, and still enjoy finding new music to listen to in my spare 15 minutes a day. Frequently my love of music rubs my wife the wrong way, mostly because I enjoy some pretty noisy bands and she'd rather me spend the money on a more suitable family hobby. To both, I say "Balderdash."

Over the course of the last 15 years, one of the bands that I've followed pretty actively is called Guided By Voices. I became aware of GBV in 1994 when they were sort of the "next big thing" in indie music. Their songs were short, sounded like they came straight out of England circa-1966, and were frequently recorded using the highest fidelity portable tape recorders and wax cylinders available. In other words, they were gloriously noisy.

Over the years, I'd estimate I've seen GBV over 30 times, in part because they're from Dayton, OH which is relatively close to home, so they play in Indianapolis frequently. Erin and I famously spent our New Year's Eve in 2004 attending their "final" concerts in Chicago, an event which lasted about eight hours in total, spread across two evenings.

So imagine my excitement when someone offered GBV a fat wad of cash to go back on the road for one last round last month. I was thrilled at the opportunity to see a band that I love, one last time, so I plunked out $80 for a pair of tickets to a show last week in Bloomington, IN. I heard rumors that the guys in the band weren't necessarily excited about going back on the road, something I didn't really get at the time.

In retrospect, I should have known that buying two tickets was a mistake. After the middle-of-the-night extravaganzas in Chicago a few years ago, I was pretty sure that getting Erin to join me was an impossibility. But if there's one thing Erin detests more than GBV, it's waste. So when we were unable to unload my extra ticket last Friday night, she joined me for the concert.

The whole experience turned out to be a little weird for me. First, as we walked to the club, I noticed that Erin was wearing very hipster sneakers. I commented as such, and she replied "I thought they'd be comfortable, but I really should have brought my orthotics." Discussing your shoe inserts pretty much kills any hipster vibe you might be trying to cultivate.

Prior to the show, we ducked into a cute little restaurant for dinner. I opened my menu and found words like "sprouts," "tofu," and "curd." More like "crud," says I. Somehow wifey had lead me straight into a vegetarian lair. With waters already on the table, I began a sprint for the door, only to hear our malnourished waitress try to yell, "But we have salmon!"

After informing Erin that I wanted a burger on a bun with just a smidgen of blood pooled on the plate, we made our way to a place which not only served me just what I wanted, but did it with a 64 ounce beer. Perfect for concert going.

After dinner, we made our way to the club where we found seats along a wall with a good view of the stage. No way were we standing for three hours. GBV came out and sounded fine, but it just felt...weird. The guys in the band are all over 50 now, and you sort of got the feeling that they would have preferred to be relaxing at home. Plus, I'm not 21 anymore. I kept thinking to myself, "How is it possible that it's 11pm, and they're just starting? I'm exhausted."

In the end, Erin left about an hour in to wait things out at Steak 'n Shake. I left after the main set, missing, as I later found out, about an hour's worth of encores. But for the first time, that didn't bother me. I was tired, I wanted to get home before 3am, and I didn't want to spend the rest of the weekend tired and grouchy.

We got home to the empty house (the kids were with grandparents), Erin curled up with her orthotics, and I plopped into bed and watched a little bit of PBS. And you know what? I was fine with it. I have great memories of all of those concerts, and I still love the music, but I'm suddenly aware that it's 2010 and not 2000. And it's time for somebody else to be 21.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010: Cowboy and Cowgirl

From the ZooBoo to Grant's first real trick-or-treating (last year we were under with the swine flu), we had a blast this fall season. Here are pics from the zooboo, trick-or-treating and from a fun day at the farm (and, yes, I did make them wear those hats!).

Monday, October 25, 2010


Here are the things that I have learned as a stay-at-home mom in the last two months that no one ever really told me:

1. You will lose your voice and your sanity if you're traveling by yourself with two toddlers. I was walking through the Orlando airport with a stroller, a car seat, and three backpacks (as the kids had stop wearing the backpacks they had insisted that they needed) saying, "Grant, you're too close to the stroller. Grant, you're too far from us. Grace, stop dragging your hands on the floor. Grant, where are you? Grace, can you hold your pee until we get to the potty? Grace, don't you go potty in your pants! Grant, you just have to take your shoes off; it's a rule. Grant, it's a rule because... (how do you explain that one?). Grace, don't you go potty in your pants. On and on and on and on for hours and hours and hours. I know why they serve drinks on a plane, and it has nothing to do with wealthy business men or people who are scared of flying.

2. All the insecurities you had in junior high resurface when you volunteer to help at your child's first classroom party. I haven't experienced such rudeness in some time. It quickly made me feel like I was 13 again, far too tall for my age, pimple-clad and stuck at a really bad school dance.

3. There are lonely moments--really lonely moments. There are days that I don't have an adult conversation until Bret comes home. Those are long days.

4. I have friends who are really big on not ever lying to their kids, and I respect them immensely. But, I lie to my kids all day long, every single day. There are simple lies like "because I said so," which isn't the answer to their questions at all. It's the "I don't want to answer your question" response. That's a tiny lie. There are a whole slew of lies that really are just regurgitated wisdom our parents used like "don't stand too close to the tv because it'll hurt your eyes" or "if you keep talkin,g the pilot is going to put you out on the wing of the plane" (you didn't get told that one?). And, then there are bigger ones: like when I told Grant that if I caught him doing "x, y or z" again, he wouldn't get to ride Thunder Mountain. I don't think I intended to enforce that one, but he thought I did, so he responded (thankfully) in kind. Or, that Santa might bring lots of presents to other kids, but at our house, he only brings one present, it just costs more than those other presents. Or, that Sponge Bob makes your brain look like swiss chesse with huge holes. In the end, I've made peace with my lying.

5. Sometimes, toddlers talk all day long. They fill every single potentially silent second with constant chatter. Constant. Incessant. All. day. long. Usually, the height of this conversation comes just as you need to do or to remember to do something important. It's inevitable.

6. And, your talkative toddler repeats everything you say at the most inopportune time to the most inopportune people with no ability to provide the correct context. So, "I'm going to box your ears" which you said while you were having a play boxing match, and "You are exasperating today" which you said after your child purposefully poured water all over you, becomes "My mommy said I was exasperating and was going to box my ears" to the pharmacist while you're waiting in line. Nice.

7. The kitchen floor is your worst nightmare. Ever. You can sweep and mop three times a day, and it's still no match for your two toddlers, chocolate pudding, raisins and goldfish that are great to stomp on after lunch.

8. Reading a book is a thing of the past. Suddenly, magazines, even trashy celebrity ones, look good because you can feel a sense of accomplishment when you are finally able to get through some reading: even if it is only a recipe or a "who wore it best?"

9. You will start to hate the question, even from your husband: "What did you do today?" He'll have interesting things to talk about: work dynamics, problems he solved. Your answer will probably be that you cleaned the kitchen floor a few times, wiped a few noses and bottoms, stopped several near death leaps, and refereed a few sibling fights. If you're a really good mom, you've read your kid a book, but if you're like me, you just admit that they watched TV. And here's the kicker: you have the same answer every single day.

10. The kisses, the hugs, the taking care of your kids while they're sick, the play-do, the puzzles, the long afternoon walks where you tell them to avoid the dog poop (and they don't) are fleeting. It goes so quickly, and even for all the craziness, it's worth every single moment.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Our Last Disney Hurrah!

On our final day, we headed to have breakfast with the Disney characters. I'm willing to pay a small fortune to eat Mickey Mouse waffles if it means that I don't have to stop in line after line in the parks to take pictures with the characters. I consider the trade-off highly worth it.

Grace had been looking forward to the event all week, but her first character meet (Goofy) went a little south when Goofy accidentally hit her in the head with his big plastic nose. She sobbed and was a little leery of him from that point on (smart girl).

We've been back several days, and it has been hard to get back into the swing of things. But, we're looking forward to some fall days full of midwest fall fun. Cheap. Easy. No waiting in line kind of fun.

Directly after the "hit"

Goofy's return (to a less than enthusiastic Grace)

A few more shots