Thursday, August 28, 2008

Frogs, Football, and Flights

Yesterday I was at the pool with the kids. A little boy was upset that a toy frog had fallen down the pool drain, so I reached my hand down to get it for him. It was a real frog. It was a dead frog. It was a very squishy dead frog. I pretty much flipped out and gave the kids their money's worth of entertainment. :-)

Tonight Kevin and I are going to a Colts' game! I'm so excited because a) it's my first professional football game and b) it's a date night!! We got free tickets through Kevin's office. The seats are really good apparently--four rows up from the field.

Football seems like such a fall thing. I haven't even checked the weather, but I feel like I need to bring a big hooded sweatshirt or something. I'm not even sure I'm ready for summer to be over yet!

Recently we purchased airline tickets for the girls and I to visit family in California. After realizing that it would cost $50 to transport each of our carseats (2 carseats, $25 each way = $100!) because of the extra luggage fees the airlines recently started imposing, we decided to pay $10 more per ticket and buy seats on Southwest. Southwest is currently the only airline that doesn't charge luggage fees.

Thank you Southwest for standing alone and refusing to pillage young families!

It's not the business travelers who will pay--it's families like us with young children who have no choice but to bring all the extra baby paraphernalia. It's not like, when I fly, I bring along a carseat, stroller, pac-n-play, etc., etc., just for FUN. You know?

It was only a few months ago that we purchased a brand new carseat for Meredith--it was $65 after using a coupon. Why should I pay $50 to transport a $65 carseat?!!

Anyway, thank you Southwest! I am your newest, most loyal customer!!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Really Nice People Exist

Hopefully today I will get my car back from the repair shop, where all four tires are being replaced. We would have waited a little longer to replace them, except on Monday I ran over a very large nail on the road and got a flat tire. So now they are all getting replaced.

After hearing a strange noise while driving on Monday, I pulled the car into a parking lot. There happened to be a FedEx drop-off box right there and a woman was putting a package in it. She saw my tire and rushed over, offering to let me use her battery-operated pump to re-inflate my tire. I was overwhelmed with gratitude that a total stranger would be so eager to help. Then, two roadside workers wearing orange vests walked over and asked if we needed power for the pump. We said ‘no thanks’ and they left.

After a few minutes, we realized that the pump wasn’t doing any good and I would indeed need the tire changed. As the lady started to leave, the roadside workers walked over again and asked if I needed more help. I had just ended a phone call to Kevin and we decided to contact roadside assistance. I told him, “Sorry I don’t know how to do these types of things.” Kevin said, “What? You can’t change a tire?!” Like (jokingly), “What kind of woman did I marry?” (Maybe I should learn how to do this someday to prove that I’m a Real Woman …)

The road workers, who were laying cable and get paid per foot they lay, said they would be happy to take 30 minutes and change my tire for me. Again, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. I couldn’t believe these total strangers were being so nice and considerate toward me. In no time I was back on the road again.

It was so refreshing to see such goodness and decency in this world. What could have been a real bummer of a day ended up being such a blessing and encouragement.

If that weren’t enough, after I left with my spare tire intact, I went to the gas station to figure out how to put air in the spare tire. The guys who helped me said it really needed it. I stood there with a bewildered look on my face wondering just how to go about it. (I wasn’t going to let on to Kevin that I couldn’t do even THAT, so I was determined to figure it out.) One of the mechanics at the gas station saw me with a blank look on my face and then offered to help. He not only put air in that tire, but he put air in all my tires!

Who would have thought that a flat tire would have made me feel so good about living on this planet! What a great day!

Ha, ha

This morning I was reading the paper and Meredith came to look over my shoulder. Here is a picture of the front page of the paper I was holding:

Then Meredith said, “Mom, I know what that man is saying.”

“What is that man saying, Meredith?”

“He’s saying, ‘Nooooo, I don’t want to wear THAT shoe!!!’”

The very next moment, the orange juice I was drinking was in my lap, I was laughing so hard.
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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Flamingos Don't Fly

Meredith has an illustrated book of Robert Louis Stevenson poems. This morning she brought it to me and asked me to read it. I started reading her Travel.


I should like to rise and go

Where the golden apples grow—

Where below another sky

Parrot islands anchored lie,

And, watched by cockatoos and goats,

Lonely Crusoes building boats—

Where in sunshine reaching out

Eastern cities, miles about,

Are with mosque and minaret

Among sandy gardens set,

And the rich goods from near and far

Hang for sale in the bazaar—

Where the Great Wall round China goes,

And on one side the desert blows,

And with bell and voice and drum,

Cities on the other hum—

Where are forests, hot as fire,

Wide as England, tall as a spire,

Full of apes and coconuts

And the negro hunters’ huts—

Where the knotty crocodile

Lies and blinks in the Nile,

And the red flamingo flies

Hunting fish before his eyes—

[Meredith: “Flamingos DON’T fly!”]

Where in jungles, near and far,

Man-devouring tigers are,

[Meredith, very bothered: “Flamingos DON’T fly! They walk.”]

Lying close and giving ear

[Meredith continues: “I saw it at the zoo! They stand on one leg and then they walk like this (she demonstrates).”]

Lest the hunt be drawing near

[Meredith: “Flamingos DON’T fly, mom!”]

At this point, I gave up reading the rest of the poem.

Robert Louis Stevenson was a great poet but, apparently my three-year-old can’t get past certain glaring inaccuracies.


Today is our church pic-nic! Kevin and I are sort of “in charge.” Last night I pounded countless chicken breasts to marinate for the grill. (How much meat does our church body eat? Hopefully I got enough!) Now I need to go and fill 250 water balloons!! Should be fun! Looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day …

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Still More Fair

Meredith loved the salsa dancing so much she decided to join the professionals on the stage. Kevin and I both agreed it was our favorite thing all night--watching her dance her heart out.

The girls both loved feeding the goats.

What a fun day!
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More Fair

One of my favorite exhibits is the art gallery.

We've found our favorite Elephant Ear stand!!

Meredith wanted to stay forever and pet this baby pig.
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Fun Fair Day

Although we probably had the best time ever at the Indiana State Fair last night, it didn't really feel like a full fair experience because the weather was dry and cool. It really does need to be sticky and hot to be the Indiana State Fair, you know.

We had dinner at the Dairy Bar. May I just say that I could eat the Dairy Bar's chocolate milk shakes until I'm sick. They are the most amazing invention ever known to man kind. And that is saying a lot coming from me, the Food Queen.

The Parade featured lots of old guys on tractors, of course.

We were surprised that Meredith was afraid of the cows, unlike last year. But she did find a baby cow she tried to coax to come to her. She said, "It's okay baby cow. I won't hurt you. Come here, baby cow."

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A new splash park ...

This splash park was just built across from the subdivision where our new house is being built. It's the best one we've been to yet! We are so excited to have it so close to where we will live. There are two sections--a natural "creek" part and then a fun spray part.

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This is the first time I tried uploading pics to my blog from Picasa. I can't believe how fast it is!! Here are some random pictures from last week.

Zinnias I picked from Kev's parents backyard. It was fun to pick flowers and make the house pretty with various arrangements. I felt so domestic ... and stuff.

The progress on our house. This picture was taken last Saturday. Our basement is now completely poured. Kevin's aunt gave us the idea to stand in the same place each week and take a picture so we can build a slide show. Fun!

I tried making these "Frico Cups" and they turned out great. They are made of parmesan cheese and are crispy. I used a Giada recipe and put a yummy salad inside with citrus vinaigrette. It looks fancy but actually it was very easy. I love making fun family dinners.

And ... here is the cherry pie I mentioned in an earlier post!
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Dramatic Rescue

“I'm watching a dramatic rescue,” said Kevin. He had phoned me from his office. Apparently the scaffolding of some window washers across the street from his office collapsed. He could see everything from his window, including the firefighters and the news helicopters.

I remarked that I hope they get some time off work after this traumatic experience. Kevin said, “Yeah, their bosses will tell them, ‘Here sign this waiver and then enjoy some time off.’”

Apparently one guy was hanging onto the collapsing scaffolding, despite his harness. Not that you would sign up for that type of job if you were afraid of heights. But still ... Can you imagine?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Cheery Cherries

Believe it or not, today was the first time I tried my hand at cherry pitting. Being a proper modern woman, of course I checked online to see how it should be done. Apparently there are numerous ways to do it—there’s the old fashioned way using a knife and your fingers, then there’s using a pitting tool, and then there’s the paperclip method. The latter sounded like fun so I tried it. Brilliant!!

1) Get a clean, metal paper clip.
2) Unfold the paper clip so that it looks like an "S."
3) Wash the cherries.
4) Insert the curve of the paper clip through the top of the cherry.
5) Twist or wiggle the paper clip to loosen the pit.
6) Pull the pit out. The stem comes out too.

I’m not really into gadgety things in the kitchen that work for only one use—e.g., a cherry pitting tool—so I truly loved this paperclip trick.

And now seven cups of cherries are ready and waiting to be made into pie!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008


We are house-sitting for Kevin’s parents while they are on a two-week vacation. We have joked that, after we are done, it will take two full weeks to move out of their house because, every other day or so when we run home, we come back with a car load of stuff. We have an ongoing list of “essential” things we can’t live without. The last car load was full of things like a slip, Kevin’s lunch box, hair clippers, Thousand Island dressing (for a recipe), and three more dress-up dresses specifically requested by Meredith.

My biggest concern right now is trying to not kill all of Kevin’s mom’s beautiful potted flowers. She has (wait, let me go count them …) 33 pots of flowers of all various sizes and colors!! One of my most favorite places to be is on my in-laws’ deck because their backyard is so beautiful. One of the most beautiful features of their backyard is all the colorful flowers. I realize they are also attached to their flowers. So, it is with great responsibility on my shoulders and a trembling hand that I go water every day. (Well, actually, I probably shouldn’t write this on my blog since it’s public and all, but I forgot two days!!)

While we are here we are also grandma-sitting. Kevin’s grandmother (“granny”) lives in a little apartment attached to the main house.

I was in a major bind last night because I was running about 20-minutes behind in getting dinner on the table. Granny came over early for supper. Usually I bring it to her, but last night I invited her to eat with us. As she hobbled in the room, I put some zucchini on a cutting board and said, “Here, chop this.” Her eyes lit up and she went to work. Pretty soon dinner was on the table—sooner than it would have been otherwise, thanks to granny.

I thanked her for her help but she thanked ME at least five times for letting her help. Granny is someone who has been serving her family all her life and now it is difficult to be forced to slow down. Being able to help last night seemed to give her new vitality.

This little incident gives me more perspective. Some days I think how difficult my current phase of life is because, in taking care of young children all day, I often don’t have any time for myself. There are so many times a week when I pull in to the driveway and dread having to unload everything, including kids, diaper bags, and all the other paraphernalia while, in the meantime, realizing that as soon as I enter the house I will have to immediately meet the kids’ needs FIRST, despite the fact that my contacts are dry (all I want to do is take them out) or I have to go to the bathroom in a major way, etc., etc. etc. I know those things won’t happen for at least 20 minutes.

As difficult as this phase is, I realize that other stages of life have their ups and downs too. I guess the lesson in this is to enjoy today while you have it.


The bar exam is over. It was kind of anti-climatic really, because Kevin nearly immediately started working on editing his law review note which is going to be published. But we are so glad that this going-back-to-school chapter is finally done. Almost done, I should say.

Whenever you finish something big like that, it’s always a relief. But there is also a time of readjustment. In the midst of that, it is easy to feel a little bit lost. We have been so focused on reaching a goal. Now it’s over. And we are glad. Now we just need to figure out what is next. Not that we are bored or anything (ha!). But it does feel slightly like we are in limbo.

Last week we celebrated six years of marriage. For some reason five years did not seem like a long time but six years seems like we are old married people or something. Maybe I am just tired. In fact, I tried to wax eloquent and romantic while writing out Kevin’s anniversary card. But in the end I just kept it simple. (See, I AM an old married woman!) But I do still think he’s perfect and perfect for me—marrying him was the best thing I ever did.