Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Birthday on Crutches

I sure didn't expect to spend my 36th birthday on crutches.

Nevertheless, it happened. I was at a friend's house Wednesday evening, following another friend down some steps as we were heading to our cars. At the bottom step, my left ankle popped.

I spent the next 20 minutes -- 30 minutes? more? -- icing the ankle, feeling faint and counting my lucky stars that I could still wiggle my toes. I hobbled to one friend's car while the other drove my car home.

It was a painful night, and the next day was even worse. I barely made it down the stairs in the morning, and when I later tried to move from the couch I realized that I couldn't put any weight on it. I called Paul at work.

He called a friend who is a doctor, who confirmed that a visit to the doctor probably wasn't necessary. Instead, Paul picked up a compression bandage, air cast and crutches, and dropped them off at home before a meeting.

I was on crutches through my birthday on Saturday, only leaving the house to sit on the porch (where the mosquitoes promptly ate me up, so happy birthday to me). Now I don't need the crutches, but I keep the ankle wrapped when I go out. I limp when I walk and I can't stand for long periods of time, but I'm much more mobile than I was a few days ago.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

A Week in Milwaukee and Chicago


I almost feel strange telling people that our vacation to Chicago and Milwaukee was relaxing. Two major cities? Relaxing? But it was -- mostly because we took our time, relaxed our kiddo rules (TV galore!) and slept in late.

Paul and I had been to Milwaukee for one night more than 10 years ago. I've been to Chicago multiple times, but again -- it's been more than a decade. Edith and Atticus had never been to either city. It was time for a road trip, and this was the one we decided on: three nights in each city.

Requirements: an indoor pool in each hotel and light itineraries. Accomplished. Yes, we visited museums, but we also squeezed in playgrounds for the kids and beer gardens for the parents. Everyone was happy. We also managed to see friends in each city that we hadn't seen in years.

I'll write a post about each city in the coming weeks. Today: Photos.

Milwaukee Brewers game

Milwaukee Brewers game



Chicago, at the Bean

Chicago, at the Bean

Chicago, Adler Planetarium



Tuesday, July 4, 2017

I'll Remember

Mostly I'll remember Grandpa's laugh. He had a sense of humor, but the ho-ho-ho often made an appearance when we were playing cards and he would inevitably catch some points the rest of us forgot to count up.

I'll remember driving through the tiny town of Harlan, and him telling us that the Harlan Globetrotters originated there. I may even have believed him when I was very young.

I'll remember searching the farmland between my grandparents' house and the one I grew up in, collecting the golf balls he would swing into the field.

I'll remember the Saturday nights we spent at their house, learning all the new card games that they brought back from their winters in Arizona. Nobody could play like Grandpa. He taught me cribbage, and I'm not sure I've met anyone outside of our family who knows the rules.

I'll remember riding in Grandma and Grandpa's car, and him letting me use the CB radio to speak to my own Dad elsewhere on the highway.
I'll remember a family trip -- to Michigan, I think -- when a seagull swooped down and grabbed the bologna sandwich right out of his hand. I would bet anything that the laugh made an appearance then.

I'll remember how I never heard him lose patience or say a harsh word, even though I probably deserved it.

We spent the day at the hospice center in my hometown of Defiance about a week before he died last Tuesday. We stayed six or seven hours in the room with him, and his eyes flickered open once or twice. But the whole time we were there, I didn't know what to say to him. I shared a few parting words at the end, but left wishing I would have said more. Like this.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Photos: June Highlights

June 2, 2017: Downtown Columbus with Deer Statue

June 2, 2017: COSI

June 2, 2017: COSI Fun with Mirrors

June 8, 2017: IKEA

June 9, 2017: At the Fire Station

June 13, 2017: A Box for a Bed

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Columbus Has an IKEA!

I fully intended to wait a few weeks to visit the new IKEA that opened in Columbus earlier this month. Traffic was supposed to be horrendous. There was even talk of closing some of the interstate exits if it got too bad.

But by all accounts, the fears were greatly overestimated on Day 1. So I woke up on Day 2, a Thursday, and came up with a last-minute plan -- get to the new IKEA when the doors opened.

The store is in the Polaris area, an easy 20 minute jaunt up the freeway. Traffic was a breeze, and so was parking. The line into the store started to move as soon as we got there. Far worse was the line for the free face-painting just inside the entrance, but I promised Edith.

Finally we were off. The store was crowded but so gigantic that it didn't feel overwhelming. We spent two hours looking at everything -- furniture, rugs, toys, lighting fixtures, EVERYTHING. I came out empty-handed but with a mental list of a thing or three I wanted.

I'm ready to return and so is Edith -- though really she just wants to play in the (free, supervised) play area. It's only for kids who are potty-trained, so if there was ever a reason to train Atticus ...

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Annual Block Party Review

The kids look forward to our street's annual block party just as much as we do. Biking and general mayhem in the street, crafts and games in the front yard and lots of food and drink -- what's not to like?

The daylong event was last Saturday, starting with a potluck breakfast at 9 a.m. and ending in the wee hours of the following day. For the third year in a row, we hosted an afternoon of kid activities in our front yard -- a table full of crafts and temporary tattoos, a pool and water table in one neighboring yard and a badminton court set up in another. There were water balloons and a pinata. There were hula hoops, chalk and cornhole with Beanie Babies. There were sundaes and cupcakes. And there was a wine table for the adults who needed it!

The day was hot, but everyone was in good spirits. The potluck supper was crowded. And as the sun went down and the kids went to bed, the crowd slowly, gradually dwindled. I like spending time with the neighbors I'm already friends with, and getting to know the ones I'd like to call new friends. Each year I'm sad when the block party is over, and this year is no different. I'm already looking forward to next year.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Best Summer Kid Toy

The best kid toy for the summer is hands-down this: a squirt bottle.

No, not a squirt gun. A bottle, like a salon uses to wet your hair. My neighbor got one for her two-year-old, and my kids seemed to like it. After a trip to the Dollar Tree yesterday, we had two.

Those things kept Edith and Atticus entertained for at least an hour, watering plants and watering themselves. And the spray is so fine that when they inevitably watered me too, it wasn't even that bad.

Another bonus -- it holds a lot of water, so you're not refilling every two minutes. Nevertheless, their bottles were refilled at least twice. The squirt bottles are already a summer staple.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Photos: May Highlights

May 14, 2017 - Photo by Becky K.

In Mommy's Glasses - May 18, 2017

Pre-Haircut - May 20, 2017

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Spring Has Arrived

Spring is here, and the street has awoken from its hibernation.

A neighbor had a baby this month, which I think now makes Atticus the fifth youngest on the block and Edith the tenth. In other words: there are lots of kids around. Texts have been flying among parents for last-minute play dates, or we'll have an impromptu gathering if we pass a friend's front lawn. It's a free-for-all, and I like it that way.

Edith and I walked to the river yesterday and ended up saying hi to at least six neighbors and stopped to talk to two more while Edith played with the other kids. It's wonderful.

We've made it to the splash pad once already this month, and I'm ready to hook up our new sprinkler soon and fill up the kiddie pool (both have been used only one time, on a freakishly hot April day). We're planning a summer vacation. I have a long list of playgrounds to visit around Columbus. Summer, we're ready for you.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Photos: April Highlights

April 4 -- COSI

April 15 -- Easter Party & Mommy's Glasses

April 19 - Backyard Fun

April 19 -- Hammock Time

April 23 -- Church Playground

April 30 -- Picking Wildflower #1, by Becky

April 30 -- Picking Wildflower #2, by Becky

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Boys vs. Girls: Haircut Edition

Why did I ever think that I would want two girls? Despite his definitive entrance into the Terrible Twos, Atticus is so much fun. And in many ways, boys are so much easier.

Boy clothes aren't as cute as those for girls, but at least the lack of options makes it simple to pick out a wardrobe. Shoes, shirts, shorts -- they are all pretty straightforward. And the easiest thing of all, I've recently learned: the hair.

Girls choose short or long hair, bangs or not. If it's long, as Edith's is, the choices multiply. Headband? Barrettes? Hairband? If a hairband, what color? Do you want pigtails or a ponytail? High ponytail or low? AND CAN YOU JUST SIT STILL SO I CAN GET THIS IN??????

There are a few choices for boys, but not nearly so many. In fact, after reading a couple of blog posts and watching a video, I decided I could do it myself. I got out the clippers, used three different sizes -- an inch on top, a half inch to about the top of his ears, and a size in between to "blend" the two areas -- and it looks pretty darn good. He's gotten several compliments, so I think I'm now his new hairdresser.

Edith, on the other hand, hasn't had a haircut in over a year. Boys are great.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Funny Stuff My Kids Say, Part 2

March 21, 2017
Edith, looking at a mud puddle, asked how it got there. I asked her what she thought. Her response: The raindrops pooped.

March 27, 2017
I asked Edith to clean her room. She looked at me sternly, and I internally prepped myself for some major sass.
E (slowly, sternly): "I. Am. (Pause) Adorable!"

April 11, 2017
E: "Are we ready to die?"
Turns out, it was "dye," not "die." She wanted to decorate the eggs we had boiled for Easter that morning.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Photos: Atticus Asleep

Kids are never so cute (or pleasant!) as when they are sleeping.

March 16, 2017

March 25, 2017

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Atticus Turns 2

April 2, 2017

The calendar has confirmed what I long have feared -- Atticus is getting older.

He turned two on Sunday, and boy does he act it. So far we haven't quite entered the terrible phase, but we're well within the Ornery Twos. That's a thing, right? If not, he's doing his best to make it so.

Atticus at 2 is singing the ABC song (and even gets a few of the letters in the correct order lol) and is starting to learn his colors (blue, green and recently pink). He is saying more words than I can count and learning new ones each day. I think he could spend hours on my lap looking at books, pointing to and reciting the objects he knows and patiently asking about the ones he doesn't.

He loves Maisy Mouse books, ring around the rosie and pretty much anything his big sister is doing. He is always happy swinging and is brave when it comes to slides and (especially) ladders. And Mama is thrilled that he still takes a two or three hour nap every day, even if he wants his beloved fuzzy brown teddy bear with him.

He doesn't much like his hands dirty, although that doesn't stop him from stuffing every type of food into his mouth. This kid has an appetite. Sure, he can use a spoon and fork, but fingers are so much faster! He's eager to drink his milk and water from a big-kid cup without a lid, but mama still has to clean up quite a few spills.

Best of all, he loves to laugh and is eager to do so. Simply put, Atticus is a joy.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Looking Toward Preschool

We got official word last week that Edith got a spot in the preschool we were aiming for. I wasn't terribly nervous. Current students got priority, but I arrived early on sign-up day to make sure she would be first on the list if there were any openings. Of course, some of those preschoolers will be moving on to kindergarten, so I was 99.9 percent sure she would get in.

Still, receiving that letter made the upcoming school year seem more imminent -- and more real. My kiddo is going to school! Four days a week! Half days, but still. Next comes grade school, then high school, and then pretty soon she'll be moving out of the house.

I know she will love school, and I think Atticus will love his alone time. Edith was the center of attention for the first 2 years and 4 months of her life. Atticus will be 2 years and 5 months when his big sister goes to school and he finally becomes the center for a big chunk of time most weekdays. Ahh, how the tides have turned, I'm sure he'll be thinking!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Photo: Matching Coats

When Edith pulls on this pink coat, Atticus insists on wearing the matching green one. Even if I wanted to say no, how could I resist such cuteness?

February 23, 2017

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Funny Stuff My Kids Say, Part 1

Edith, during a pop-up snowstorm  last week: "The clouds are pooping."
I was counting Edith's jumps on our mini trampoline yesterday, and I got into the 90s. "Is that English?" she asked.


Also, I've been considering for some time making this blog once per week -- after all, paying jobs take priority, right? Accidentally skipping Friday's post seems like the perfect time to do so. From now on, posts will be published on Tuesdays, with a mixture of text and photos. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Movie Theater Outing

I've heard a million times that you do things differently with your second child, and I agree a million percent. Case in point -- yesterday I took Atticus to his first movie at a theater.

Edith's came shortly before she turned three years old. By contrast, Atticus is a few weeks shy of two. In both cases, the first outing was at a local theater that shows movies that have long been released for around $1.50 per ticket. So if the kid can't take it, at least we're out less than 5 bucks.

Edith, Atticus and I saw "Moana," the newest Disney flick. We arrived in the middle of previews, and only a handful of patrons were there. Edith asked a couple of questions too loudly, and Atticus had a couple of minor fussy moments, but all went well. On our way out, I saw another mom who had kids about their same ages. I like to think the smile I gave her was conspiratorial.

It was a lovely outing for a cold, gray day. Looking forward to doing it again.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Presidents Day Update

Another year, another Presidents Day, another book about a president.

Just a few weeks ago I finished the next biography on our quest to read a book about each president, this one on Herbert Hoover. I knew next to nothing about him, so it was an interesting read. And the holiday inspired me to start our book on Franklin D. Roosevelt yesterday, so maybe I'll actually finish two presidential biographies (or more?!) in the next year. One can dream.

Of course, the long presidential campaign season, the election and then the events of the last month have put me into presidential-info overload. But it has been interesting to be able to compare our current president and political engineering in general to those of the past with a little bit of knowledge. I may not agree with the policies, but at least I can understand some of the history behind the ideas.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Photo Friday: Edith Ice Skates

If you are friends with Paul on Facebook, you probably saw this photo that he took of Edith when they went ice skating last month. But it didn't *really* happen unless it's on my blog.

January 2016

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Happy Valentine's Day

Today is Valentine's Day, and for the first time in a long time, someone in this house actually cares.

Spoiler alert: It's Edith. She has made a valentine for me and another for daddy, and a few random ones just for good measure. And she has received a couple from our neighbors, so I think that she'll spend this morning making a few more to drop off in  her friends' mailboxes. Craft + outing = Perfect activity. For Edith, at least.

I guess I wasn't exactly truthful in my first sentence. I care about Valentine's Day, but only because Paul usually celebrates by bringing me home a yummy treat. Ask me in 12 hours if the tradition continued.


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