Happy Happy Joy Joy

First of all, our 2007 taxes are done! I still need to write out the “ink” forms, make copies, and put it all in the mail, but I’ve done all the computations, checked, and re-checked the math. So the hard stuff is done. Now I just have to make sure that I don’t lose anything or let Super L (who has an uncanny ability to locate important documents and use them as coloring pages without my knowledge) get her grubby little hands on any of them.

In other good news: The healthful benefits of red wine has been promoted for years. I do enjoy a good glass of pinot. With my family’s terrible history of heart disease, I actually try to drink a glass fairly regularly. I did not need another excuse to enjoy it, but today the fine people at msn, in all their infinite wisdom, informed me that red wine actually inhibits fat absorption. I am convinced that Jesus wants me to drink this stuff (in moderation, of course). And now that sound you hear is all the Southern Baptist pastors who’ve ever “pastored” me raising a collective *sigh* and a few great- uncles wagging their heads and *tsk-tsk’ing* me. My mom’s side of the family is o-l-d s-c-h-o-o-l.

Later this week I leave for a weekend of good art, good food, and good company in Chicago with fourteen or our finest students and one very cool friend/co-worker. I have been looking forward to this trip for months with great anticipation. But right now mommy-guilt is starting to settle in. I’m going to miss my kids. I hate being away from them overnight. I feel like I already miss so much time with them being a working mom and a grad student. Super L is a bit too small to miss me too much. As long as Daddy or Little Miss G is around, she’s a happy camper. But Little Miss G is old enough that she has the sense of being left behind. She is almost old enough to come along, but I don’t think she would have the patience for an entire day at the Art Institute. Plus, a few of the juniors and seniors going on this trip are some of my favorites that I’ve had the pleasure of teaching, so I’d really like to be able to focus on enjoying my time with them.

I told LMG today that I’d be out-of-town for a few days, and she seemed fine with it when I told her that Daddy would be home with her. I will do the normal parent thing…spend obscene amounts of money on gifts for them while I’m gone and do a couple of extra-special activities with them before and after the trip. I’m thinking Chuck-E-Cheese for dinner tomorrow for starters. If she didn’t have a perfect attendance record so far, I’d consider keeping her home from school on Wednesday just to spend the whole day with her… but I know that isn’t the right thing to do. School is important. And perfect attendance! I was never able to do that when I was in school.

John Adams

If you are an HBO subscriber, and you have even just a slight interest in history, I highly recommend the new John Adams mini-series. I watched the first two episodes with Matt and John. We three–two of whom are nerdy English majors/history buffs and one who is a history major/politics follower–give it enthusiastic thumbs up. Plus it has Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney. My respect for Giamatti has grown considerably since his “Pig Vomit” turn in he-who-must-not-be-named’s Private Parts movie. As for her, I’ll watch just about anything she’s in; I think she’s fabulous.

Uh oh. And double uh oh.

I’ve just realized that tomorrow is St. Patrick’s day, and I don’t have anything green to wear. Correction: The only green thing I have to wear is a t-shirt with the word “WITCHY” printed on it that I wore as a lame excuse for costume to a Halloween party. Somehow I don’t think my principal would approve of that wardrobe choice. Although it would be very apropos at times.

I’m not Irish, but I don’t think that’s much of an excuse. Shall I venture over into the dark side of the closet and raid John’s wardrobe? Eek! I know he has a gawd-awful green windbreaker with a giant yellow A on it (yes, in the Oakland A’s style, but this was for a softball team called Andy’s A’s). I think I’d rather be pinched all day than wear that.

Hmmm… this is not exactly what I wanted to have puzzling through my mind before I went to sleep tonight.

In other news, all paper grading has been accomplished!

But now the Double uh oh. I can’t find two papers I thought I had. Normally I’m very confident about the whereabouts of my students’ papers when I bring them home. I do not lose my students’ work. I was shocked, however, to discover that Super L had got her little hands on one research paper and “decorated” the entire title page. I am still baffled at how she accomplished this, and I am beyond mortified because I see this as a total lack of professionalism. I want my students to know that I respect their work enough to treat the acual pages respectfully… and now here’s my 2 year-old’s artwork all over the top page. I suspect that this student will only find it funny… but still it bothers me.

Anyway, the fact that Super L got ahold of one paper makes me wonder if the two missing papers have met a similar demise. I’ve looked everywhere except their bedroom because I refuse to wake them up on this reconnaissance mission. Not on a Sunday night when I have to get up at 5:30 a.m.

And especially not when I already have to worry about what pinching-prevention attire I’ll have to come up with at such an early hour.

10 reasons why I love my husband

1. He is a total goofball.

2. His fashion sense has changed, like, 5% in the 13 years I have known him. Now I know that might be a point of annoyance for some women, but there’s something to be said for a man who knows what he likes and sticks to it.

3. Yesterday I found him cleaning our bedroom with a pink feather duster. No lie.

4. He let’s me do whatever I need or want to be happy.

5. He is Super L and Little Miss G’s hero and best friend… for good reason… he is an AMAZING father.

6. He smiles at me for no reason.

7. He does dishes and laundry without my asking him to… plus garbage and garage cleaning.

8. He calls his mother.

9. He lets me put my cold feet on him at night without complaining.

10. When I woke up this morning with “an attitude,” he was quick to forgive me.

“Now, this is gonna hurt.”

I just overheard Little Miss G explain this to Super L’s brand new Barbie doll right before she placed Barbie’s arm in a mechanical pencil sharpener. She was just about the turn the crank before I stopped her.  Am I wrong to find this mildly disturbing? Just what exactly was she pretending in that little head of hers that she was about to grind Barbie’s hand away? What exactly has she seen or heard that would prompt her to imagine inflicting pain? It was like something from Sid’s bedroom in Toy Story. Wait! I think I may have just answered my own questions.

And isn’t it interesting that she wasn’t going to torture her own Barbie doll?  Interesting indeed.

“Mom, I know about babies.”

This is what Little Miss G said as we were driving to Walgreens this evening. A conversation opener like this could lead to anything since LMG is in school now, and I can’t exactly monitor everything she learns from the other kids. Expecting the worst, I asked, “Oh yeah? Tell me about babies.”

“Well, when ladies have babies in their tummies they have to be really careful when they eat chicken because if the baby is awake in its mommy’s tummy, if its eyes are open, the chicken might get in the baby’s eyes and hurt them very badly. And then the baby will cry and the mommy can hear him, but that’s okay because that’s what happens. So mommies have to be really careful when they eat chicken. That’s why when I grow up and I have a baby in my tummy I’m not going to eat chicken. Then when the baby is born I’ll eat chicken.”

“That’s what happens when mommies eat chicken, huh?”

“Totally.”

She either knows far more about babies than I do, or this is the most elaborate excuse for not eating chicken ever invented. I’ll let you decide.

Our weekend getaway report

We all made it home safe and sound, and by all accounts it was a wonderful weekend for all of us.

First Little Miss G and Super L: They spent the weekend with Gram. My mom prefers Gram and hates Grandma because she says it makes her sound old, which she most certainly is not old. Anyway, Gram had planned to take LMG and SL to the Butterfly House in Chesterfield, which was a lovely idea. The girls love it there, but LMG had a better idea–the St. Louis Science Center. Now, I don’t know about you, but taking my kids the Science Center requires that “special day” kind of energy… like the zoo or Six Flags. It’s one of those trips where you have to have at least a 1:1 adult to kid ratio because LMG just wants to run through everything and Super L wants to look at everything. LMG will be gone in 30 seconds trying to see/do everything at once. SL will stand in one place for several minutes just taking it all in. One adult cannot possibly do this place alone with them. So, Gram and her good friend Mary took them there because that is what LMG wanted to do. They deserve badge of honor or some kind of special service patch or something. The Science Center is not for the faint of heart. But Gram says the girls were very well behaved, and I guess I believe her, and that they all had a good time. In Wildwood, a very good Gram should be taking a well-deserved nap right now.

The trip to Chicago was perfect. The only glitch we had (besides me forgetting my ipod converter) was that we hit the St. Patrick’s day parade that the town of St. Charles was having (a week early, I might add). And you’ll never guess where the parade ended… yep, right in front of our hotel! So, the last 25 minutes of our 5 hour trip was spent driving around in circles literally 2 blocks from our hotel, trying to find a traffic cop who would let us park within a block of the hotel. We didn’t mind walking a block or two to get there, we just wanted out of the car. Our butts hurt!

We stayed at Hotel Baker, which is where the wedding and reception were held. It is a gorgeous old building right on the Fox River, and its restoration has maintained the original elegance of the early 1900s. The wedding and reception was in the Rainbow Room. This space was absolutely beautiful and a perfect setting for a wedding. It is a circular space, with a domed ceiling, and mahogany columns and balcony that runs around the entire room. They decorated with long strands of white twinkle lights wrapped in white tulle that were a beautiful contrast to the dark mahogany. But the most striking feature was the floor. It lit up. So during the wedding it was a soft ivory, and during the reception it was various shades of blue and green. It was a gorgeous space to spend an evening. Vicki (the bride) told us they decided to have their wedding there because her parents had their wedding reception there 40 years ago. How romantic and sweet is that? The hotel’s catering service even had the very same cake cutter that her parents used, so Vicki and Steve used the same silver set that her parents had for their wedding. Isn’t that so cool? And I would be remiss if I didn’t say how stunning she looked in her strapless, ivory gown. It was very simple and elegant. Everything, right down to the last detail, was perfect.

John and I were worried that we wouldn’t know anyone, but we were happy to see that a few other people we’ve met over the years through Vicki were also there. We had a great time catching up, as it had been a few years since we’d all been together. Oh, and another cool detail was that after the major events of the reception were over, the photographer set up a place where anyone could get their picture taken. I’m assuming we’ll have an opportunity to buy a copy, and I’ve already made up my mind that I’m going to purchase some. I can’t tell you the last time John and I had our picture taken when we were both dressed up and one of us wasn’t holding one of our girls.

So, it was a perfect weekend. Good times. Good food. And I got to watch one of the nicest people in the world have her own very special and wonderful day. I was so glad I got to be there to share it with her.

Now, it’s pizza night, bath time, bed time, and back to the daily routine! I’m actually okay with that. This weekend has left nothing to be desired.

weekend glitch #1

When we did the kid transfer last night that also meant swapping vehicles so we wouldn’t have to remove Super L’s car seat and reinstall it (a job I loathe more than almost anything else on this planet). I just realized I forgot to get my ipod/car radio converter. I won’t be able to listen to my tunes unless I use the earbuds… but then I won’t be able to talk to John.

Bummer! The drive today was one of the parts I was most looking forward to this weekend, and my music was a big part of my plans. I love road trips! Ever since summer of ’88 when (then youth)Paster Ron and a few other infinitely patient youth sponsors drove a 16 passenger van full of teenagers to Glorietta, New Mexico for Centerfuge. That was a round trip total of FOUR days in a  van with 12 teenagers… junior high teenagers even. And if you know any junior highers, or remember yourself at that age, you know what an act of love that really is. Actually, we made that trip two times when I was in youth group (when I was 13 and again when I was 16) and they are some of my best memories.

But, I digress. This glitch is just a testament to how attached I’ve become to my ipod in the 8 months I’ve had it. Maybe I can talk John into making a quick stop at Best Buy and get a second converter–one for each vehicle so we don’t have to worry about it. Hey, this logic worked for phone chargers and car seats… why not this one as well?

It’s here! It’s here!! It’s here!!!

We just got home from making a “kid transfer” from our custody to Gram’s (my mom’s) for the next 43 hours. Thus begins my first weekend out of town and alone with my husband since Little Miss G was about 18 months old. They’ve spent the night with Gram or Aunt T before, but a true weekend getaway to Chicago without the little sweeties is precisely what we’ve been needing. I’ve been looking forward to this for two months. Thank you to my dear friends Vicki and Steve, whose wedding has prompted this little excursion. We can’t WAIT to see them at their wedding tomorrow. I’ll report back later this weekend.

And just a side note: This is actually the first of two Chicago trips I get to make in March. This is shaping up to be a great month.