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Archive for June, 2008

We are headed out this morning to meet reunite the cousins.

(Ava, Audrey, Isa, Naomi–2006)

Adventures to follow.

Have a great weekend!!

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During the mysterious blog absence, Ava and I were enjoying a quiet afternoon at home. The doorbell rang and we looked out the window to see who it might be. There was no one on the front steps and no cars parked on the sidewalk.

“Maybe, it’s a package!” Ava shouted running down the stairs to the door. “It’s probably a package for daddy.

HungryMan receives a steady stream of small packages. In fact, he is the recipient of nearly all the packages that come to our house. Ava and I used to open them, but one only has so much interest in cords, adaptors, drives and plastic things for the interior of a computer, projector, and whatever else he keeps in his geeked out man-cave.

As for HungryMan, his interest is unending, as apparently is his need. I mean really there must be an end to the cords. Really, there must.

Curious, we walked down the stair and opened the door. There was no one there. We checked behind the flower pots, but there was no package left by a supersonic delivery man.

Even though there was no note directing us to do so, we decided to walk to the back of the house. And there, propped against the back door was a very large package.

“Is it for Daddy? Is it for Daddy” Ava hollered as she raced toward the tall white box.

There was no sign of a delivery man anywhere. No note. No truck. Not even tread-marks from a frantic Fed-Ex driver.

Together we hefted the Ava-sized box up to our living room to inspect the package.

“Mama, look!”

“It’s a badger! The package’s from the Badgers. Mama! It’s from the Badgers!”

“Ava, do you think there might be a badger in it?”

After much discussion and inspection of the box, we concluded that it would be best to wait to open the Badger package until HungryMan came home. Even if there wasn’t a badger in the box, they may have sent Ava something “very scary!”

As it turns out, HungryMan was hungry. Famished actually, with a hunger only a Chipotle burrito can cure. So we tossed the suspicious looking box in our trunk and drove to burrito stand to meet her daddy.

After munching on chips and guacamole and devouring nearly half of his Chicken Fajita Burrito, HungryMan agreed to take his keys to the seal concealing the mysterious gift.

Inside the box was another white box.

Inside the white box was “the baby carriage I always wanted! Oh, I’m so excited. It’s just like Naomi and Audrey and Cate’s!”

Ava gave the doll pram a big hug and then asked, “How did the Badgers know that I wanted the carriage the Naomi and Audrey and Cate have?”

Sweetheart, I’m nearly as baffled as you are. How in the world did the Badgers know that I ordered that carriage from Target? And how did they get a hold of it?

It appears that the pesky little creatures are waving a white box of truce. Let’s just hope it’s not a Trojan Horse, or we might have to devise bigger badger traps.

Perhaps there’s a use for all those cords after all.

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1. If you give your daughter chewing gum on a consistent basis, it is inevitably destined to become affixed to her hair.

I know, I know, gum is bad for teeth and especially for the little developing jaw. I dispense it strictly to counter my four-year-olds overwhelming urge to put everything in her mouth.

Over the past two and half years, I have found gum to be a cleaner and less destructive alternative to nail-biting and shoe-licking. Though despite my best efforts, Ava is still sporting ten little nubs on her hands, and her four-day-old flip-flops have at least one set of teeth marks.

In her defense I will say that she comes with a dominant set of genes hardwired to taste everything.

And since you are such a supportive crowd (I mean, hello, if ever a girl needed to confess her paltry giving of extremely discounted items you are the ones to come to. It is so good to be among friends. Oh, and Nikki, by all means reuse the gift bags) I may confess that those genes come from my half of her DNA.

I have faint memories of putting non-food items in my mouth well past the appropriate time. In fourth grade a classmate brought her grandmother’s brooch for show and tell. After her presentation of her prized piece of jewelry she let us pass it around the room so that we could closely examine the intricate details. When the girl next to me asked me she could have her turn now, I realized that the brooch was in my mouth. You read that right, the gold encrusted, pearl inlayed, ornate brooch was in my mouth and I had NO idea how it got there.

I have not the space or time to recall the horrors that accompanied the strings of saliva affixed to brooch as I pulled it from my mouth. Suffice it to say, it was not the best way to forge friendships in my all-girl class.

These are fierce genes. Fierce.

So fierce that Ava didn’t take the gum out of her mouth but added her hair to chewing medley.

2. If you attempt to pull the gum out while it is still hot and gooey, it is possible to morph the clump into a Farrah Faucett feather type curl.

Gum has the uncanny ability to hold hair with a firmness that hair care products only dream of.

3. It is quite acceptable to procrastinate gum removal. Extracting gum from hair is sure to raise shrieks of such decibles that would reverse any enjoyment or relaxation that a weekend at the lake offers. Hide it in a braid and forget about it. There is no time for scraping out gum when there is a boat to drive

and uncles to spray

or tattoo with 35 SPF lotion.

4. The kids on the playground were right, peanut butter really can remove gum from your hair.

One of Ava’s good friends got gum in her hair recently and the peanut butter trick failed her. So I was a bit fearful that we were going to have to cut our losses and lob off her hair.

I used the Trader Joe’s crunchy peanut butter which tends to be more oily than sugary, especially when it has been simmering in my hot home all weekend. I skimmed off the oily part of the peanut butter and worked it through Ava’s hair. Then I used one of her baby combs to pull it out. It was surprisingly simple and very effective.

Much like making white shapes on your uncle Moose by painting him with sunblock.

Now that Ava’s hair is gum-free, we’re making her mouth gum-free as well.

Here’s hoping that more teeth marks don’t appear on her flip-flops.

Or that my great grandmother’s pin finds its way to her mouth.

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The “where were you post” will have to wait. We had such a delicious day yesterday that I can’t think about anything else. The sun is finally seated on his throne over the bright blue sky and we spent our day basking in the warmth of his bright rays. Just take a look.


Ava and I met her cousins and auntie at our new favorite beach.

After years of being an “only-the-ocean-has-beaches” snob, I have fully succumbed to the hometown allure of lakeside beaches. Sun, sand, and salt-free water is minutes away in nearly every direction of our home.

My niece, Amanda is only four months old, but she’s already a beach bum. A beach bum with a bonnet no less.

After washing away all traces of their winter skin in the sun-warmed lake, Ava and Katelyn cozied up under a blanket of rays. Perplexed at how this beach could transform from a frozen lake and snow-covered sand to a lakeside paradise in two and a half months, Ava exclaimed “This world is both cold and hot. How did God make such an amazing world?” I’m not sure Ava, but I much prefer the latter.

After tackling the chutes and ladders of the nearby play fort, we drove to the local market to pick up some fresh basil and tomatoes for my favorite summer salad.

(recipe coming soon)

We took a brief rest in the shade that is our home and then headed back out into bright, warm air. It’s a good thing the sun’s dominion reaches to the Mississippi, because our favorite local band was playing in the riverside ruins.

It was the perfect night for hopping

and twirling

to the rhythms of Romantica.

I highly recommend that you check out their site and drink in their tunes. It will be the best thing you do for your ipod all summer. Our friend, Jim, is the drummer hidden by the massive cymbal. The singer is from Northern Ireland, so we were fans even before we heard his sweet tunes. We heart Romantica!!

Ava kept wanting to get a better view of the band.

She finally scaled the ladder better known as her daddy.

She was more than fascinated with the missing roof and asked Shanel, “was it normal when you lived here?” If so, Shanel would need to be well over a hundred years old and quite incapable of spinning Miss Ava around the pebble floor. And take it from Ava, when you get an opportunity to meet the singer of the band, it is always best to inform him of all the people who died in the building he just finished playing in. It’s sure to leave a lasting impression.

Much like this perfect summer night.

Well we are off to the lake this weekend in hopes of making more summer memories. See you next week. Oh, and let me know what you think of Romantica.

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Hello friends! Ah, I’ve missed you and this crazy thing called the internet. I can’t believe it’s nearly the middle of June already. Time flies when you aren’t documenting it.

When I last left you, Ava was near comatose in her booster seat. Had I known that posting that picture would have resulted in my assuming the same status for nearly two weeks, I would have strongly reconsidered it. I (and Ava) have come out of the fog, but that is another post.

There is a question that I must address first. Party or no party–it’s quite a cliffhanger.

Given my flair for the melodramatic and penchant for suspenseful posts, I clearly should pursue writing soap operas. Though I think at my recent rate of output most viewers would have switched stations by now.

For all of you who are still tuning in let me introduce you to what I call one-child-math: one child plus drop-off birthday party equals free time. And in this instance, free date time. Nate and I were dropping Ava off and going to have a party of our own.

So you can be sure that we unbuckled the child, carried her and the present inside and set them down in the gift pile. We would have left them there and tip-toed out the back, but one whiff of gummy worm laden cupcakes and Ava bounced up like the bright red balloons lining the ceiling.

When we returned two hours later, we literally had to tie a string to her and pull her back out to the car.

I do not have the same helium like reflexes and should have known that this was one party too many. It is best to stop when you are ahead. And by ahead, I’m referring to dropping a sleep-walking child off at a party.

So on Thursday when I realized at four o’clock that Ava was supposed be dropped off at a five o’clock for a birthday party that I had COMPLETELY forgotten about, I should have cut the losses and called to cancel.

Nate had planned a date night for us that Thursday and had even arranged for some friends to watch Ava. So, at four o’clock I remembered that Ava has this party and then the whole one-child-math sequence kicked in. I called Nate and he agreed to be home in half an hour and then I called our friends and freed up their evening.

Now I needed a present. A present for a boy. I handed Ava some paper, stickers, and markers and instructed her to make a card, while I ran downstairs to survey my paltry stash of possible presents. My mom has always had a large stash of potential presents for all occasions. Whenever she is shopping she picks up this and that to be given to unknown recipient for an unforseen event. I do not have that gift, and therefore do not have that stash.

I have a shelf in my basement with a few random things that I’ve found on clearance. Most of them are designated for Ava or destined for donation. These are not things that I give to other people for presents. But, I was desperate.

I immediately spied this cranium game that I bought when Ava was too young to play it. I quickly scratched up the clearance price tags, threw it in a gift bag, stuffed some tissue it in, and ran back up stairs.

Upstairs, Ava had finished her birthday card creation and even had time to wrap up her own contribution to the gift: carrot sticks. That’s right, carrot sticks. We are generous family.

I was feeling down right proud of myself twenty minutes later when I dropped her and the gift off at the party on time. Nate and I were nearly giddy as we zipped away to our date of steak and sweet wine.

Two hours later, we returned high on love and sweet chocolate ganache. Hand-in-hand we walk in to find our daughter in half the outfit we dropped her off in.

“She had a bit of an accident,” the mom said handing me a bag of wet clothes. “We were opening the gifts when Ava walked in, held out her underwear and said, ‘They’re wet.'”

Clearly decorum and modesty are values that we are instilling in our precious girl.

We walked out to the backyard to retrieve our delicate flower from the swings and make our way back through the house to the car. Midway through our retreat we passed the mountain of gifts. On the very top of the pile I spied our present with a BRIGHT PINK TAG that said $4.00.

FOUR.

FOUR DOLLARS.

FOUR.

First, I was shocked that the present had only been four dollars and second, um, I was quite sure that I had scratched off all the clearance tags.

Mortified, I quickly bent over to scratch off the offensive tag. And then I heard it. The phrase that has still sends shivers through my skin:

“Oh, don’t worry. I already saw it.”

Mmm-hmm, that was the mom. She saw it. And worse, she saw me trying to scrape away my shame. Let me just state this again, I wrapped up a four dollar clearance gift and gave it to a child for his birthday.

I might have well wrapped up four tarnished pennies or six wilted carrot sticks.

She tried to say something about how the birthday boy had always wanted this game and actually goes to the neighbors house to borrow it, but I was too busy trying to burn a hole through the floor to even hear what concessions she was trying make for me.

“We’re the cheapo’s,” Nate muttered to me as we ducked out of the house.

Instantly, Ava starting singing, “WE’RE THE CHEAPO’S! WE’RE THE CHEAPO’S” at the top of her lungs as she skipped her mismatched self all the way to the car. It’s a moment I will cherish forever.

That’s the kind of excitement that you’ve been missing folks.

It’s enough to make a person dig a hole and bury themselves for three weeks, but not quite. More on the unexplained absence tomorrow. We’re off to the beach. ‘Cause, that’s right, it’s summer now.

As for you, what’s your worst party blooper? Do tell.

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(A real post with my recent whereabouts and the answers to your questions is coming tomorrow. Until then, enjoy this shot of sweet fairy cousins.)

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