Sunday, September 28, 2008

Weekend At Grandma's (Supersize It. And Me.)

Each year my husband, dad, brother and brother-in-law go fishing. My grandpa, Pop, used to go too until he died unexpectedly two years ago, so now it's extra special when they have their fishing weekend in a preservation kind of way. Anyway, each year they go fishing. On my anniversary.

But this year, after they set the date on my anniversary, my wonderful husband (who really should have gotten a nice 5-year anniversary post on this blog but didn't because we went out to dinner ALONE and had delicious heavy food and wine and I didn't happen to open the computer that night) made them change to a different weekend, and that weekend was this past weekend.

And theoretically, when the guys do their fishing weekend, the girls all get together and shop for matching clothes (in a good matchy way, not in a weird matchy way) and get our pictures taken so we can each year look back and say, "We looked so good! Look at how little the babies were!" and such.

However, we've never actually gone past the shopping part, and this year my sister Andrea, a cross country coach, had a 5K to run with her kids and couldn't make it. Which is a huge bummer, because aside from being in my top three favorite people on earth (this includes my two kids) -- OOPS, top four, including my husband -- sorry wonderful husband -- she's the number one favorite person of my children. But we settled for Grandma, who comes in as a close second. :) 

I made the three-hour trip down by myself with the girls for the first time ever, and it went quite smoothly, considering that it was by myself with the girls. I had a huge box filled with forgotten toys and forbidden snacks, and they powered through and did great. Fast food on the way there, but you take what you can get. 

Had a blast shopping, playing and adventuring with Grandma, who gave them a zillion toys, gave me a zillion clothes and fancy cosmetics and gave us lots of love and undivided attention, on which we all thrived. My mom and I swore off cooking and so we had more fast food. And I discovered in her pantry the most delicious substance known to man (besides this bacon chocolate candy bar that I need to blog about, but this is close), a treat I never even buy because, truly, it won't make it home from the store even if I don't have a spoon with me: Nutella. And I ate a whole tub of it. And we had chocolates. And, well, I could go on and on, much like my waistline, but Trevor has just gotten home from a weekend of looking at men who've showered very little and drank very much, so really this was a good weekend to grow my waistline because I just look good to him as he unloads his car (and mine, wonderful hub that he is). 

I would love to post photos of the girls playing at Grandma's new house ("Mommy, this is our house now. Our gray house is our old house."), going to the apple orchard and riding in Cinderella-style coaches, and playing at Frederick Meijer Gardens, but my mom is playing the "Our internet is slow" card and doesn't plan to send the pictures my way. Hopefully she'll see just how much we want them and fold clothes in her office tonight while she waits for her connection to power over the photos.

We also had a surprise visit with our dear friend Kim Reed, and Berit has been asking when we'll see her again since. So Kim, take note, we miss you and your family, because you're fun and happy and even with 10 minutes you make our day.

And after an 80-degree weekend, it's chilly here at home, and the leaves on the ride up were red and gold, and there's just no debating that it's autumn. Which is kind of nice. Now off to be with my wonderful husband and pawn the kids off on him, because after our three-hour ride home, frankly I'm starting to lose it a little. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Orchard, and Other Fun

Berit and best bud Liam

Tom's Mom's Cookies, the best on earth.

We have this very same picture of Berit doing this when she was this age. Awesome!

Liam's little brother Brennan, who's three days younger than Marta.


Eating donuts among the apple trees. (And off the ground.)

No time to smile. Must eat.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Arby's, No-Nappers and Wal-Mart. Or, Alternatively Titled, "This Morning."

Today started out normally enough, except Marta did us the gracious favor of waking up at 7:21 a.m. instead of 5 a.m., which has been her habit as of late. This, however, apparently threw off her nap schedule, because each time she rubbed her eyes and yawned and I put her in her bed, she was happy and wide awake. I figured we'd just go about our day and she'd nap in the car, so off we went. Berit was in a great mood and ready to find adventure, so I decided to go to Wal-Mart. I typically do my very best to avoid Wal-Mart at all costs, but today we "needed" a few things I can't get at our local market. Here was my list:

  • Cheap mailers
  • One of those bumper-style play strips for the crib, with a mirror and googly eyes and the like for the baby to amuse herself with when she's going down for a nap or waking up from one.
  • A crib bumper, to take to my mom's house this weekend as my contribution to the crib she's getting for Marta and all subsequent babies had by kids in our family from here on out.
  • Diapers
  • General bath stuff
On the way there I noticed that it was 10:50, and that Berit would be hungry in a half hour. And even though I really, genuinely didn't want to get fast food, I thought we could grab something quick and eat it while Marta dozed, giving us quality conversation time together (much needed) and would ensure two happy children at the horror that is Wal-Mart. So.

We acquired Arby's and set off to lull Marta to sleep by the hum of the car. However, she found Berit far too fascinating to fall asleep, so I decided to instead take the kids into Wal-Mart immediately, get our stuff done and let Marta sleep in the car on the way home while Berit ate and hopefully fell asleep herself. Brilliant.

Here's what we found at Wal-Mart:

  • Free cookies to rev the kids up and spoil lunch (OK, lunch wasn't entirely healthy but it still contained protein). Big thanks to the bakery people trying to be nice and not quite picking up on my evil eye.
  • Toys
  • This play mat that looked educational but is actually very loud and possibly needs to be returned
  • Advance-purchase Christmas gifts that really aren't needed but were in front of my face when my wallet was out
  • Expensive mailers
  • No crib toy/bumper thing
  • No crib bumper sold independently of an entire $90 crib set
  • Diapers
  • General bath stuff
Got in the car and discovered through no uncertain terms that Marta needed to nurse. Now. So I took it all out, so to speak, and was pleased to see a group of Wal-Mart employees settling in the doorways of the minivan parked right next to me, on a smoke/Mountain Dew/cursing-loud-enough-for-my-2-year-old-to-hear-and-absorb break.

We drove home and my precarious toddler said adorable things like "When we go home we really should get out (insert toy)." What a big statement! And "We're going to Grandma's house in two days. That means two sleeps." So smart. It made me tempted to snatch the chicken nuggets out of her hand and buy her edamame and spinach. Anyway. Marta finally fell asleep and Berit was looking sleepy. Then my clever girl said, "Mommy this isn't the way home!" (She was right -- I was taking a different way home to make for a longer stretch of nap-inducing bumps.) It woke her up completely. Got home, tossed leftover Arby's to barking dog to silence him, brought her in and tried to bring Marta in, hoping I could just move her from car to bed with no waking. No dice. Her 10-minute nap seemed to be just what she needed, because both children are currently laughing and playing right in front of me.

Marta just pooped. Back to reality, and a heap of new, not-needed toys.

Monday, September 22, 2008

We Stayed Home All Day and Liked It

A few weeks ago Trevor asked me if the movies we allow Berit to watch teach her anything. I said no, if anything they drive home the lessons I teach her during our days. Annoyingly snobbish, I know. But don't worry, I've been getting kicked in the bottom ("Daddy calls it a BUTT, Mom") by that statement ever since I said it. Two minutes after saying that Berit learns everything she needs and wants from my wonder-mom self, Berit began spouting off different lessons, values, songs, jokes and general dialogue from every movie she's ever seen:
"I talk about my feelings when I'm sad."
"Books are fun. Books are great. Let's sit down and read a book today."
"We take turns when we play with toys 'cause that's what's right for girls and boys."

Etc., etc. I'll let you figure out where those lines come from, by the way.

My favorite by far are the ones she quotes from her VeggieTales movie. "I AM NO ORDINARY TOMATO!" Followed immediately by, "That was weird." I could go on and on, but I'm aware this isn't as entertaining to you as it is to me. Here's my point. She walked around all day saying: "I hate to be a father." Huh? And then it occurred to me that Bob the Tomato is approached while waiting for a bus by another vegetable who says, "I hate to be a bother, but do you have change?" So the next time she said, "I hate to be a father," I said, "but do you have change?" Click. I'd figured it out. But I didn't tell Trevor, because I want to see his reaction when she says it to him, and also discover if he can recite her entire movie collection word for word in his head in the 10 seconds after it leaves her mouth to understand what she really said. I'm betting he can. 

We didn't leave the house today (well, I did for a glorious two hours this morning for an orthodontic appointment, and let me tell you it made my day to have a bona fide personal errand to run -- and to go to a medical office and not be told I'm pregnant/be examined because I am pregnant/be delivering a baby) and the hours managed to go by in a relatively speedy fashion. A few pics from our low-key day...

Berit has named this baby Sausalito. We call her Saucy for short.

This flute/recorder thing is annoying but useful when trying to distract a squirmy baby.

Aforementioned squirmy baby who was going crazy on this juggling ball. Might she finally be getting teeth?

OK, I asked her to do this. But she's turning into such a great big sis, it wouldn't be crazy to catch it happening.

The very second I took this picture Berit popped Marta's head too hard, Marta cried and tried to crawl away but she can't crawl yet, so she face-flopped on the floor and needed actual nursing to calm her down. But we'll always look back at it and say, "Aw, aren't they cute playing together?"

This was one of those days when I said, "I'll really make an effort to stay on top of cleaning the house today." And I did. And this is what it looked like. (Still looks like, until I stop typing and finally clean.)

Baby Godzilla

While playing in Berit's room this afternoon (technically luring her in there so I could close the door and put Marta to bed in peace, but I digress), Marta was laying on the floor with her feet clearing out whole rooms of the dollhouse, and eating the furniture, and looking very much like Baby Godzilla, so I snapped a pic. Mosey has a mysterious limp today, but he made it up to the room to be with us anyway, so we tried to be extra nice.

Marta Is Cute

Just a couple cute pictures of our Little One, at 9 months old.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Phone Call to Launch a Thousand Blogs

ME: Hello?
TREVOR: Guess what honey? We bought a four-wheeler!

More on this later.

Long Overdue Bath

I'm thinking I shouldn't admit this after my previous blog, but if it makes me a worse mommy then so be it: Marta hadn't had a bath in about four days. Maybe five. So today, after I noticed some PJ fuzz stuck in the folds of her neck, I declared bath-or-bust. Plus, we went to the apple orchard where they have animals to pet and she did, and she also ate her fair share of grass, so not doing a bath may have pushed my husband to start shopping for pretty nannies. Anyway, bath day.

Trevor was still working so Berit and I trooped upstairs, she with her baby, me with mine, and ran the bath. Marta is the next Michael Phelps, and she started bouncing as soon as she heard the water going. Hooray! Baby (babies, if you count Berit dipping her doll) in the bath. Berit needed to wrap her baby up and put her to bed. Fine, she's two-and-a-half, she can do it all by herself. I tend to the wiggly baby in the tub who requires us to WEAR a towel while we bathe her, because she splashes so huge. Then Berit calls out, "I need help!" from the landing, and I look at Marta, content in her little tub where she can lie back and be totally safe, and consider Berit, doing who knows what on the landing by the stairs, and wonder how I'm going to handle the situation. Turning a blind eye to the instructions on Marta's tub to NEVER LEAVE THE BABY UNATTENDED, EVEN FOR A MOMENT, I run out to Berit and help her open a door that's closed too tight. I run back into the bathroom and see Marta just hanging out in the tub. Whew. And then I see it. You guessed it, I know: Poop. Thank goodness I got back before she took up the super splashing again. I whip her out of the tub and am glad to see it's more solid than runny and seems to be in just one spot. I attempt to lay her on the towel but she does this lovely thing these days where if I try to put her down EVER, she dives into my lap and crawls back up into my arms. So she's wet, poopy, and she won't lay down on the darn towel because she doesn't appreciate being put down. Ever.

Finally I stretch her out and get her down and I see that the whole time she was clamoring to get back into my arms, she was pooping. Now there's poop, well, everywhere. And hey, where's Berit?

Don't worry Mom, Berit is fine, playing in her room like a little angel of course. So I wipe poopy baby off with poopy towel, get another towel and get her into her jams. Poopy tub waits for Trevor to return home to dump it, since I have a toddler and a baby who doesn't let me put her down (ever) sitting in my lap. Yes, I disinfected everything. But still. Poop in the tub is no fun, but is kind of funny.

Bad Mommy

Top Three Reasons I'm a Bad Mommy:

1. My daughter never liked TV or movies. Then I got pregnant and sick, and plopped her in front of the tube constantly, needing to lay on the couch with a bucket. Now she's addicted.

2. When I have to put Marta to bed, I let Berit watch TV. Usually that's when she's eating breakfast. 

3. Two days ago B had a popsicle, angel food cake with whipped cream, and a cookie. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Regarding Marta

Our little one had her 9-month checkup today, and it was good timing, because this morning she woke up with a full-blown cold, so we got to find out that no, she didn't have an ear infection and no, no teeth were coming in. Just runny nose misery. Poor baby Marta, who hates taking Tylenol. 

She was in great spirits at her doctor visit today, and showed off her pointing, clapping and kissing, making me look like an A-#1 mom. Until doc said, "Just a little concerned that she's not crawling yet, although obviously her motor skills are fine and she's doing almost everything else that she should be. HOWEVER, most babies her age are pulling up, moving around and crawling by now."

(Note: Berit didn't crawl until 10 months, and walked at 11 months, and somehow she's managing just fine at her current age of 2 1/2.)

I wanted to say, "Uh, didn't you just hear her recite the Preamble? And I'm pretty sure she has the entire American Sign Language alphabet memorized." Because she's clever, and funny, and maybe I'm just a bit more busy than I should be with a baby and I carry her everywhere because it's convenient. 

Anyway, for those of you relatives who hang on every milestone, here's what's happening with her little body: 
21 pounds, 2 ounces. 90th percentile.
27 3/4 inches, 60th percentile.
Head, 18 inches, 85th percentile.
NO HEART MURMUR heard, but doctor said Marta was moving around a lot and she wasn't 100 percent sure it was gone.

Tomorrow we start crawling lessons. Or, maybe we'll just plop her in the stroller with some Cheerios and go for a walk. Whichever's easiest.

Update to this post, for posterity's sake:
These days, Marta is taking 3-4 naps per day, but this seems to be reducing little by little. 
She eats everything we eat, but is really only interested in things she can feed herself.
She loves, loves, loves ice cream. Duh.
She loves to be in the water more than anywhere else. 
She loves animals, especially dogs, and freaks out anytime she sees one because she wants to bury her face in it. No fear with this one.
She's wearing 12-18 months or 18-24 months sized clothing.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Before the Snot Hits the Fan

Marta was extra fussy tonight, and since Berit's had a runny nose for the past couple of days, I'm guessing the little one's about to get sick. So it was especially nice that Trevor and I got to spend some time with just B tonight. She had a nap (so you know she's officially sick) and slept late, and Marta went down to bed about an hour later (more on this later), so Trev and I hung out with Berit, neglected our messy house and colored, chatted, looked at our photo album and all-around chilled. She loved it, and said adorable things and didn't balk at cuddling up to me. Today I taught her how to draw flowers, trees, Xs and As, so she did a lot of showing off and we were both suitably impressed. So fun.

(Bonus: Tomorrow is M's 9-month check-up, so I think I'm going to get two doctor appointments in one.)

Regarding Marta going to sleep:

1. She has started waking up between 4:30 and 5:30 a.m. lately. So I pulled out my Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Baby book that I shunned when Berit was a baby in favor of "doing it my own way" and now happily turn to in the hope I don't turn out another non-sleeper. It said that if the baby is waking up early, put her to sleep EARLIER. Funny logic, but we're trying it, and if it works then hey, she sleeps sooner and wakes later -- can't really beat that. Anyone else ever try this?

2. Every few days Marta poops. And when she wakes up pooping, that's the day she'll poop all day. Today was that day for us, and when I put her to bed tonight she was fussy, which wasn't too surprising, and after awhile I went to her and thought she might be kind of stinky but not really stinky, and we had stew for dinner tonight and we all sort of smell like beef/vegetable soup, so it could have been that. And since she was sleepy I didn't check her dipe. Bad parenting?

In other news...
My book club is reading A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, and I so far hadn't read any of it. When God Himself blessed me with two sleeping children this afternoon, I ignored my house and picked up the book. But it's a little boring, I have to admit. I'm not too far into it, and even though it's optimistic and somewhat enlightening, I kind of want to read a tempestuous plotline during the three seconds I have to myself every day. Anyone else read it and want to encourage me to press on? Or tell me to drop it and pick up Twilight instead, which I genuinely want to read? (No offense to anyone from book club.)

We are still waiting for a yay or nay from the people who looked at our house three times last week. They randomly called my father-in-law Friday night asking him how much it would cost to build our same house on a different lot. Note to people looking at houses: Don't call homeowners' parents looking for a quote on same house, different location. It makes said homeowners feel terrible and confused. Anyway, they apparently told f-i-l that we'd be hearing from them early this week, and since this is Tuesday night, I think "early this week" is over. We were getting pretty excited, and it wasn't just all the chemicals we were breathing in from constantly cleaning the house. We even met with our designer (? is this what you call the guy who draws up the plans to the house?) and started the blueprint process. Here I am envisioning color schemes and countertops and insisting to Trevor that we need one more built-in cubby in the mudroom and no one has made an offer on our current abode yet. Bah. Damn economy needs to get itself together so I can order my new cabinets! (Maybe now is a good time to revisit my need to read book club book on simplicity and enlightenment.)

I'm heading to bed, because I have a feeling the little one will be up with a runny nose tonight, or at least up early tomorrow, and I'm hoping to be presentable for her well-baby exam. I love getting all of those fun statistics and bragging about her new tricks! (By the way, she says "Marta" now. It's unbelievably cute and I'm determined to catch it on tape.) Night.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Wedding Weekend Havoc

I just can't believe how much goes into making it look like you've got it all together. Trevor's cousin is getting married tomorrow, and it's only about an hour from our house, coincidentally and mercifully, because this post would be way bigger if it were near his hometown or current city of residence. 

Anyway, the wedding is tomorrow. That means that Trevor's brother and sister-in-law are in town with their daughters. So today was the perfect day to celebrate cousin Annie's birthday, which was yesterday, and sister-in-law Stephanie's birthday, also yesterday (Sunday we'll celebrate brother Jason's birthday, which is next week. I digress). So we skip Marta's first nap to be there on time, have fun-fun-fun with cousins and family, load up on sugar (me included, of course, which is awesome for my wedding outfit, pulled together from random shirts that allow me to nurse that my mom brought up north on her last visit and an old skirt I'm pretending still fits and a pair of waaay too high heels that Trevor won't let me return because, I'm sure, they remind him of the days when I was sexy) and head home -- still no real naps happening. Trevor comes home to shower and change, since he's playing guitar in the wedding and has to head out to the rehearsal tonight. Since the sleeping was shady today I'm emboldened by the idea of early bedtimes and get Marta bathed (Berit will have to wait until tomorrow) and both girls in jammies by 7 p.m. We go for a quick walk, which was actually Marta riding in the frontpack, me pulling Mosey along, and Berit riding on my leg, because various neighborhood dogs are out and apparently may attack her at any moment. We get home and I fish through Berit's closet for something suitable for her to wear at the wedding (matching shoes are not an option) and since Marta's fussy, plop Berit in her bed with a stack of books and tell her to go to sleep. Shockingly, she throws a fit because she doesn't want to go to sleep. Big argument, lots of drama, me very blind to the fact that she didn't get a bath, put her jams on before heading back outside, came in and had no reading, no singing, no praying, just bed. Of course she's upset! Unfortunately I realize all of this as I'm rocking Marta to sleep, and decide to go up and apologize to her as soon as Marta's down and sing to and cuddle Berit. But when I get up there, she's sound asleep, and even though I want to wake her up and tell her I love her, I of course don't and just turn off her light.

I go downstairs and find literally six loads of laundry waiting to be washed and one needing folding. I decide that I'd better paint my toenails and buff my fingernails now, because Lord knows I won't be able to do it tomorrow (He knows this mostly because He's watched me walk around with the same chipped toenail polish for the entire summer. Gross, I know). 

As I write this I'm realizing that it doesn't sound much like all of the drama today is because of the wedding. It isn't, really; it's just the way our life is. I suppose I feel like it's the wedding because I'm just not ready mentally for it -- no gift has been purchased, I'm ashamed to admit, no real wedding outfit is going to be worn (just something that works), etc. 

We're also waiting to hear about how a couple likes our house, after three (!) showings. Our Realtor told me yesterday that we'd probably know within 24 hours, and it's been far more, and I'm antsy and convinced they hated it. 

On the flip side, Marta has started clapping and it's adorable. Now she does it whenever I say "Yay!" or someone does something that makes her really happy. It's so funny to see her expressing her feelings in other ways than crying or smiling. She also points, which is awesome, because she'll point to a dog and say "Dah-gy" or me and say "Mamamamam." I love it.

Berit has been hilarious, making ridiculously funny comments constantly since the moment she turned 2 1/2 last month. Her observations are startlingly intelligent: "Mom, who lives in all of these houses?" "Hm. We don't know these people." "But what are their names?" "I don't know. What do you think?" "No Mom, not for pretend. Who are they in those houses?"

On our walk: "Mom, let's pretend we're having a stogie." (Yes, I wrote stogie.) "No, we don't even pretend we smoke stogies, Berit." "No Mom, I want to share my stogie with you. Here." "No Berit, we don't pretend that." "Here Mom, take a stogie. Can you give me a stogie? Can you?" "How about candy? Why don't we pretend to share candy?" "OK Mom, let's just pretend something."

A few days back: "Oh Mom, you need to paint your toenails. They aren't pretty anymore."
And off I go.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Perfectly Good Haircut

After two years and seven months, Berit finally had long enough hair to require a trim. I was torn -- on one hand, I couldn't stand the scraggly, fine, stringy hair Berit had just one hour after I brushed it. But it was long! I had been waiting for my fancy, pretty little girl to emerge from the baby that everyone thought was a boy for so long. And even though she wouldn't dare let me braid it, and rarely let me put it in pigtails or a pony, there was always the knowledge that I could if I really wanted to. 

Anyway, I took her today and after much fuss on her part about getting her hair cut (she was opposed, surprise-surprise), she sat silently watching herself in the big mirror in awe and emerged with pretty much the same hair she went in with, but a little shorter, cleaned up, and altogether neater. Piece of cake.

I had asked my stylist to trim up those fine little pieces of hair that had broken off from ponytails and barrettes and had worked themselves into really long, ugly bangs, and she did trim them but not much. So I spent the whole day looking at them touching Berit's nose and get in her eyes and decided I could take matters into my own hands. When we got home tonight (family trip to Gaylord, where we let Trevor browse the four-wheeler store, went to Old Navy to choose a couple pairs of pants for the girls from their crazy-small selection for toddlers and have one of those dinners at Big Buck Brewery where you clean up the mess your kids made under the table yourself and leave a really big tip for the waiter) I plopped B on the counter, told her to look straight at Mommy and held the hair in my hands to cut it. Apparently I've never really explained the concept of "look straight" to Berit, and just as I was cutting she turned her head, and we ended up with inch-long, crooked bangs. I think they're kind of cute; Trevor is mortified. I had the same bangs in seventh grade, when my friend Monique and I cut our bangs in her bathroom, and I feel a little like it's a haircut rite-of-passage for girls. And frankly I'm just plain glad they're out of Berit's eyes. So here are her pictures, and yes, I did keep a crooked snippet of hair for her baby book. (Looking forward to when she's in kindergarten so I can actually start putting things IN her baby book, instead of BY it in the drawer. The situation is even worse for Marta's.)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


After our 90-degree day yesterday, we were both a little sad and a little happy to wake up to a chilly morning. I dressed the girls in pants and we played make-believe inside, because the 60-degree chill was too much for us outdoors. When the sun came out, we went downtown, where we got new, fall shoes and light fall jackets for the girls. Back at home, we watched the bus drop kids off on our street after their first day back to school. I grilled chicken barefoot for probably the last time and we decided that we'll have sweet corn at dinner every night until it's gone. We took our family walk wearing sweatshirts and watched our neighbor plant gold, rust and burgundy mums. The air was crisp so the leaves on the path between our houses crackled when we walked over them, and it smelled like high school football games. Both girls had red noses when we got home, and Trevor and Berit are currently busy washing the truck before it gets too cold to do it by hand anymore. 

Marta is asleep, wearing footed fleece pajamas, and I didn't need to close the curtains in her bedroom to make it dark, because the sun set a half-hour ago.

I love fall, but summer left us overnight, and we already miss it.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

1. Go Jump In The Lake

We still have a list of things we want to do with the girls before summer is over, and as it's September 1, we thought we should get started on it. Number one was hit the beach, and today was the perfect 90 degree day for it. Trevor came home from work a smidge early and we ran over to Camp Petosega, which is three minutes away, clean, warm and, for the most part, private. Marta dives into the water without a thought, and Berit takes a little warming up, but soon we were all swimming like fish. Marta splashes like crazy and loves getting water in her face -- if you look closely at her pictures, she's all wet. Berit had a bit of a whinefest going on, but she met another 2 1/2-year-old girl and they played "Alligator" (other girl running in the waist-deep water, Berit holding tight to her floatie) and soon she was happy as a clam. Pun, pun, pun.

Both of our girls also loved digging in the sand (and occasionally eating it, in Marta's case) and basking in the warm sunshine. After swimming, we headed over to the beach's park, where Berit climbed, hung (surprise) and went down the slide (actual surprise), and never, ever wanted to leave. "Oh my gosh," she said, pleased that she made it down the bars. 

Trevor held Marta and with his new buzz cut, I had to snap a pic of them, because they look like twins. :)

The rest of our list will, hopefully, be fulfilled within the next few weeks. As we were driving home trying to lull Berit to sleep, Trevor said, "Can you believe that soon those trees will be covered in snow?" After the awesome summer we've had, no, I can't believe it. So I plan to take the rest of this warm weather slowly, like we did today: Watered the flowers together, turned the sprinkler on (wanted to go under the sprinkler, then absolutely did NOT want to be under the sprinkler), did sidewalk chalk, rode the trike, swung, ate delicious in-season produce ("Oh Mommy, this is so YUMMY!"), hung in the driveway with neighbors and of course, the beach. And with a few shopping trips thrown in for fall clothing, we should feel pretty ready when those leaves start hitting the ground. 

Monday, September 1, 2008

By The Light of a Glowworm

Ah, it's the end of Labor Day weekend, and we successfully celebrated with out-of-town friends and family during each day of it. On Friday our friends Kevin and Brandi arrived with their pup Houston, and Trevor's brother Jason, his wife Stephanie and their little ones Annie and Jemma arrived at Trevor's parents' house. Our friends from across the street came over with their three children, and the adults took turns playing our new "cornhole" game while the kids rode bikes and played with stones. The really cool thing was that Berit actually did play with the kids. She engaged with them, participated in games, and rode her bike with the biggest of them. I've never seen her interact in those ways before, and really become carried away with it all so that she didn't even "check in" with me like she typically does. It was neat and a little unnerving to see her evolving.

Saturday was the Big Party at the senior Doublesteins' home, with dozens and dozens of neighbors, friends and family. Trev and Jason played guitar and sang, and lots of amazing food was consumed. On Sunday we went back to Trev's parents' house for swimming in the lake, boating (Marta, who has to wear a life jacket bigger than she is, is not a fan of the boat) and general merriment. I have a bit of a water phobia, which I'm trying not to pass down to the girls, so I jumped in with Trevor and Berit and did my best to stay cool and not think Berit was about to be sucked into the middle of the lake.

I did feel for our friends Kevin and Brandi, because for the majority of the time they were here I talked about being a mom or our kids, and for two childless Chicagoans, I was probably pretty darn boring. 

Today, Monday, the family and friends went home and I took Berit on a long-awaited date. A date is when either Trevor or I take her by herself on a fun outing, totally dedicated to her enjoyment. She has recently started saying to Trevor or me, "Say 'Hold me,'" and we say, "Hold me." And she says, "Not right now, I'm eating/cooking/holding Marta/cleaning." Which is her pretending to be me telling her I can't hold her, and is a little bit heartbreaking. The date, as I said, was long in coming, and desperately needed for both of us.

So she decided she wanted to "swing all day," and get ice cream. We parked downtown, walked to Kilwin's (Superman in a cone for her, chocolate peanut butter malt for me), then walked to the park. On the way, I let her drink my malt whenever she wanted, and go as slowly or quickly as she wanted, and look at anything she wanted. We took the stairs instead of the ramp, because we didn't have a stroller ("we're both big girls," Berit said), lingered in the tunnel and said, "tunnel, tunnel, tunnel," to hear the echo, and we didn't even stop when other people came in, and we met another basset hound (when we saw her, Berit automatically held her ice cream cone up and said, "Mom, hold up your ice cream!"). We got to the swings and they were burning hot from the sun, so we turned one upside-down to cool off while we played on the rest of the playground. But everything was too hot to play on, so we decided to climb down the rocks to the bay shoreline and feel the water (despite our flip-flops and crocs, which are not advisable rock-climbing shoes). We found a little girl's purse on a rock, decorated with Tinkerbell (a new favorite of Berit's), and carried it with us with the intention of dropping it off at the Police Department. Finding it closed, we carried it back downtown where we ducked into shops and looked at various things Berit liked to see. She asked me to carry her and I did, despite the searing heat and uphill climb and aforementioned flip-flops. We got gas, and while we were there a pick-up truck covered in dirt pulled up next to us. Berit wondered how it got so dirty, and so I let her ask the driver, and he said, "Oh, I was just playing in the mud," and Berit said, "Oooh," fully in awe. We came home (Marta freaked out like I had been gone for weeks) and Berit helped me make two pies and deliver one to our neighbor. I put her to bed (while Trevor wrangled Marta out of a bath she had just pooped in) by reading three books she picked, and she hugged her glowworm and said, "You got me this. Thank you." And the look on her face in the light of the glowworm was pure joy, and I thought, "They should really put this moment on their commercials." It was magic.

And then she decided she couldn't sleep, and marched down the stairs, right past me, and said, "I'm not listening" and headed to her toys. Who is this big kid who figured out how to do that? She used to just cry in her bed when she was unhappy up there, and now she takes matters into her own hands. It was kind of funny, so she didn't get into much trouble, and because it was funny and I was sort of laughing, it struck me that I am 30 years old, have two children, am a wife, have a house and live in a community and make decisions and mainly am responsible for not just my own life, but for two small human beings who completely depend on me. I have to admit, I still feel too young for all of this sometimes.