Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Who IS Bethlehem?

The Andersons were recruited to sing a song for the Christmas sacrament meeting program on Sunday. We were assigned "There Was Starlight on the Hillside," a Primary song that I had never heard, but which ended up being quite lovely. The plan was for all of us to come up to the pulpit and sing, with the girls standing in front, just seen over the top of that podium barrier (do you know what I'm talking about?), maybe singing, maybe not. However, once up in front of the congregation, Olivia begged to be held by Annie. And then Mimi needed to be held, too. Annie was trying to not create a scene, so she attempted to pick up Mimi as well, but that was not going to work, so I took her. (This isn't making sense, but I'm trying to set the scene.)
I was also the choir pianist, and a little bit stressed about not making any mistakes, and keeping the songs in the right order. (A futile worry, since immediately after our family song, I played the entire introduction to the wrong song, and had to start over. So embarrassing.) Anyway, so I picked Mimi up and started to sing. She started singing the first few words, but then she had questions. She tried, ever so reverently, to whisper those questions in my ear, but I ignored her and kept singing. So, she became more agressive. She grabbed my face and pulled it to her. I pulled my face back. Finally, she used both hands to grab my cheeks and make me face her. Then she said (normal volume, in front of the microphone) "Who IS Bethlehem?" I started to giggle.
I hope we won't be asked to sing again.

Monday, December 24, 2007

How a Dad plays in the snow with his girls

"Dad, Dad, come outside with us."
"Okay, I'm coming."
"Dad, look at the snow. Ooh, it tastes good."
"Yuck, don't eat that. That's where dogs pee."
"This is how you make a snowball, girls."
"Better run faster next time, Mimi."
The girls loved it--probably even more than all the hours I've put in dragging them up and down the street in a sled. Just goes to show, it doesn't pay to play nice.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

She could have danced all night

Can you imagine the absolute delight of Mimi when this vision in pink floated down the stairs to dance with her? And they were dancing to all the princess music. Annie made a CD of Disney princess songs for Mimi for her birthday. It's the best dancing music ever.
I wasn't allowed to join in, me being in jeans and all. (That's why Annie dressed up. She had previously been banned from the ball for being inappropriately dressed.) Oh well, I guess that's what happens when your house is ruled by a princess.

Friday, December 14, 2007

What we've been doing

Well, (and when I write that, I want to write "well, well, wells", but the pun is bad enough when it's only in the title of our blog) I've been down with that nasty fever/chills flu (or whatever it is, malaria, maybe?) for quite a while. But I'm back, now, and look what we've done.
I think these gingerbread kits are genius. Every time I've attempted the gingerbread house from scratch, it's been a disaster. But all the hard parts are done when you buy a kit. I did the icicles and the wreath (and most of the icing placement of the rest). My brother did that little blue gingerbread man. Liv did the tree, and my cousin Elli (Liv's age, but my cousin, kinda weird) did the snowman that is obscured with the black drippiness. She and Dallin were attempting a black top hat, and it was a good idea that just didn't work.
Aren't these little girls darling? That's Elli, and she was so incredibly proud of our gingerbread house.
It's so nice to have Elli here in Monticello. My girls have no cousins on my side, and mostly older cousins on John's side, so to have my cousins as such perfect playmates when we come home is wonderful! There's been tons of snow here, and all the girls are great sports about playing outside. They come back in numb and frozen, like little blue bumps, but happy as can be. I love winter!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Pride Goeth Before

The following post has been copied from my family's blog. It was written by my dad, and makes me laugh so hard. We are, obviously, now in Monticello, having made it through 7 of our 10 scheduled interviews. All editorial comments to my dad's post will be made in italics.

On Wednesday, Emilee came into the house, very upset. She had tried to back the gold Cobalt (my dad's work car) out of the garage and driveway and had caught the front bumper cover on the back of the pickup (my mom's paper-delivering vehicle), which was parked South of the driveway. The bumper cover, the headlight, and the wheel cover were all torn off. I took advantage of the disaster to emphasize a point I had always wanted to make, that cars should not be parked South of the driveway, because we either block Juan's (our neighbor's) driveway or ours, "and this is exactly the result."

The Cobalt damage was restricted entirely to plastic parts, and with John's able assistance (more than anything John likes to find car parts and fix broken cars--the reason why he liked surgery so much), I think we can assemble everything we need to fix it for less than the deductible, and save reporting it to the insurance company.

This morning, I started up the Tahoe (my parent's very large SUV) to help Dallin (my youngest brother) deliver papers. The windows were frosted, so I improvised a scraper to clear a little space right in front of me, reasoning that I would soon defrost the windows. I backed out of the driveway and then cranked the wheel to the right to head up the street. I had been cautious about backing out, so I was not far out in the street. My left wheel went up over the curb. I was just thinking how that was no big deal, when my front bumper hit Em's van, breaking the grille and denting the hood. John had parked the van North of the driveway the night before in strict adherence to my new rule (I had reminded him of the rule when we had come back from his parents' ward party), which I now wish I had never made.

Don't get me wrong. I still believe it is a bad idea to park South of the driveway unless you are an excellent driver and parker. Which John is. And, apparently, I am not.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

We made it to Utah!!!

We're here. It's crazy, so I'm going to use bullet points to post this concisely.
1. We interviewed in Casper, Wyoming on Monday. (We drove 12 hours on Saturday and 7 on Sunday. We found a teeny little branch along the way in Nebraska on Sunday, and among the 20 people in attendance, we found a connection. The world is tiny if you are Mormon.) I think Casper is not my favorite. That is all I will say.
2. We made it here late Monday night. My brother's apartment is darling, and his new wife is incredibly hospitable. Despite a misunderstanding (she thought we were coming Tuesday night), we slept like logs.
3. We ate at Los Hermanos yesterday (I love that place) and wandered BYU campus. The girls loved the Y on the mountain and all the little science exhibits in the Eyring Science Center. I felt like I was back home, and I kept looking down feeling like I must be with someone else's children because they certainly didn't belong there.
4. We spent the afternoon today up American Fork canyon. Oh. . . . the mountains. The mountains! The freezing, bitter wind tearing down the canyon and ripping through my coat. The snow with sunshine? And the mountains!!! The girls threw rock after rock into the Tipple Fork Reservoir, and their little cousin tried to do the same. We have pictures, but they are on John's brother's camera. I shall post them later.
7. I ordered some new prescription glasses from $8.00 total for frames and lenses. Can you believe it? I'll take a picture of me in my new sassy specs. I recommend it to everyone.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Now reporting from Indianapolis

I have no pictures, which is sad, because we have done quite a bit.
John and I interviewed in Muncie, Indiana, on Tuesday. They have a fantastic program: c-sections, scopes, good peds, and--best for me--home call. Home call! Some of the wives said that their husbands usually get to come home and kiss the kids goodnight at least before they have to go back into the hospital for the rest of the night. That's a bonus. So, despite my aversion (completely irrational) to the idea of living in Muncie, Indiana, that may be the best place for us. (Disclaimer: I am perfectly delighted to agree with whatever program is telling me they are the best. I am swayed by every friendly face I meet. There are pluses and minuses to this quality in myself. Positive: I will probably be happy no matter where we end up. Negative: I am no help to John in making this decision, and I (again, completely irrationally) feel like I will be hurting the feelings of whichever program we do not choose.)

Thanksgiving yesterday was delightful. Our wonderful friends here in Indy, Sara and Joe, have hosted us since Monday, taking care of our kids while we did interview stuff, and Sara and I did most of the Thanksgiving feast preparations on Wednesday. We had only the stuffing, mashed potatoes, and brown sugar carrots (thank you, Leisy) to do yesterday. However, one hour before the rest of Sara's guests were to arrive (bringing the turkey and gravy, thank heavens), Libby Soelberg slid down the blow-up mattress into a windowsill and split her lip badly. Sara, Joe, and John (because he just couldn't resist) took Lib to the emergency room, and I was left with the other three children and the rest of the dinner to make. No problem. Then I plugged the disposal. I've taken mine apart before to unplug it, but it's much different when it's someone else's and you have a dinner for 13 cooking. I called my dad frantically, and he talked me through the checking of the p-trap. That drained, so I put it back together and checked it again. Still plugged. I took the p-trap apart, plus the t-bar (to keep with the alphabet theme, I don't really have an idea what that horizontal bar that joins the disposal to the p-trap is called), and again it drained. At this point, the problem should have been obvious (the clog was IN the t-bar), but I had potatoes boiling, carrots simmering, and onions and celery sauteeing, plus Jenna (Sara's two-year old) was crying to be let out of her crib because she needed to go potty, but she wouldn't let me get her ("NO!" she would yell, "I'll wait for Mommy."), so I stupidly put the whole thing back together again and tested before I figured it out. (That was a long sentence.) The third time was definitely the charm, and luckily Sara, Joe, John, and a four-stitched Libby returned minutes before the other guests arrived. Whew!
Lesson learned: Don't ever send any potato peels down the disposal (even if you do one potato's worth at a time) on Thanksgiving Day. Turn the dang peels into turkey-shaped centerpieces if you have to, but don't put them in the sink. You will regret it.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Maybe we need to work on our Family Home Evenings.

Olivia put on Mimi's "scripture specs" from nursery on the way home from church, and she won't take them off. She's firmly convinced of their beauty.
Two conversations that happened today:
Setting: Sacrament Meeting, the sacrament is being passed
Olivia: Um, Mom, there's a problem.
Me: What?
Liv: I keep thinking about Barney.
Me: What??
Liv: I keep thinking about Barney instead of Jesus.
(Clearly we are very spiritual people.)

Setting: In the van on the way home from church
Raucous, riotous noise from the back seat
Me: Girls, stop. Let's talk one at a time. Liv, what did you want to say?
Olivia: I think we should pay our tithing first and that would be a good idea.
John: Good job, Olivia, that's exactly right.
Me: Mimi, what did you want to say?
Mimi: I'm sad because the Nephites took all the popcorn.
John and I exchange confused glances and almost respond when . . .
Olivia: No, Mimi, the Nephites didn't take the popcorn. The Nephites nailed Jesus's hands. That's the problem.

We'll be addressing these doctrinal issues very soon. Apparently we haven't covered them clearly enough.

Friday, November 16, 2007

One down, one to go. . .

Hi-ho-Emilee Wells here, reporting from South Bend, Indiana. We finished our (and I mean our) interview with Memorial Hospital here yesterday. I don't think I said anything horrendously stupid that would ruin the good impression John was making, but I can't be entirely sure. I think John did magnificently. It was incredibly interesting to see him in an interview setting. It was very casual, very kind, and very conversational, but still WAY too much pressure for me. A migraine by the end of the day, for sure. (I was incredibly grateful I didn't have an ulcer attack from all the anxiety.)
Today's interview has already started for John. He's with the people from St. Joe's, and luckily I was not invited to the interview with them. A wife of one of the residents will be picking me up shortly, and I'm going to lunch with them and then to the hospital tour. More wining and dining tonight.
For an account of what my children are doing, please look at Shelly's blog. Thanks again, Shelly. You are wonderful!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Boring, boring, boring.

I've been tagged by Brittani to reveal six interesting/uninteresting/unique/perhaps unknown things about me. There are just a few problems with this: a) I talk so stinkin' much that there aren't many things that are unknown about me; b) I am incredibly typical and boring; and c) refer back to (a). If ever there is a conversational opportunity to slip in a story about myself, I capitalize on that and monopolize the rest of the time. Sorry everyone! These are the things I could come up with, and I'm sure you already knew most of them.
1) I was a sober, sober child. I never smiled in public. My uncle told my mom when I was 14 that she should get me to smile and laugh more. (Did it work?) Almost everyone that knew me only casually didn't think I ever laughed. When the seminary council traveled to a rural branch (yes-even more rural than Monticello), I started my talk with an account of Jesus healing the lepers. Only I said "leopards" and started to giggle. Then I started to laugh so hard that I couldn't get control of myself. (In Sacrament Meeting!!) I kept trying to regain composure, but when I looked to the side, the entire bishopric and seminary council were all in hysterics. I didn't want to leave the pulpit on that horrible note, so after five minutes (really--5 MINUTES!!), I finally worked it out and finished my talk. Afterward several people approached me from the congregation and said it had done them good to see that I actually laughed every so often. That really makes me laugh now.
2) I play with numbers in my head all day long. I try to make license plates and highway signs work out in equations. I try to add up words if a=1 and b=2, etc. I try to figure out the ratios of different sides of rectangles. It's weird, and I'm sorry to admit it.
3) I hate hamburger, in any form. It's one of the very last of my picky-eater childhood hangups.
4) I know most of the buses in La Paz, Bolivia. They are organized there by color. Both the dark green and pale green would take us down to Obrajes to the orphanage. The blue buses would go up to San Francisco Cathedral. The orange buses went all the way to the cemetery. However, my favorites were the combis/minibuses. They weren't organized by color, but they each had a "shouter", someone who rode next to the sliding door of the van and yelled where that bus was going. I wanted to open my own combi business in Provo when we got back. John would drive and I would yell "University Mall, Cougar Stadium, University Mall." Isn't that a great idea? Oh, and I once rode under the bus from La Paz to Cochabamba, in the luggage area.
5) I was on drill team in high school. Drill Team! I'm the least coordinated girl at Monticello High School, and I'm on the drill team. Says quite a bit for how desperate they were.
6) I'm the first cousin four times removed of President Hinckley. My grandpa (his first cousin twice removed) looks just like him. Not much of a claim to fame, but it's all I've got.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

A "Prank" (known as theft and vandalism outside Oak Hill Ct.)

Setting: 9:30 p.m. Friday
Footsteps, two loud thumps, a crash of broken glass, and some louder, faster footsteps down the front stairs.
Em dove for cover into the girls' room.
I ran to the peephole to see what had happened. (I'm loitering. They were not.)The night security guard said it was probably a "prank." (I wasn't sure what part of "there is broken glass all over the floor and the fire extinguisher is gone" he didn't understand. Pranks involve toilet paper and eggs, right?)
It took all of Saturday (and a phone call and a personal visit) for the maintenance crew to get the big pieces picked up. The little ones are still there (much to the delight of Liv and Mimi, who think this is a shower of diamonds).
To the person who took the fire extinguisher: Please bring it back. Our neighbor upstairs can't really be trusted to not fall asleep while smokin' his dooby (not to mention the firecrackers his son throws around inside the building and on to our deck or the lighter with which he burns the sticky notes off our mailbox). We may need it.


John's favorite food is noquis (or gnocchi, if you are Italian, and not Argentine). Unfortunately, they involve peeling and boiling potatoes, mashing those potatoes, combining those potatoes with flour and eggs to make a really sticky dough, rolling that dough out into snakes, cutting it into little segments, and rolling the segments over a fork to create the classic noqui shape. (Actually, reading those steps makes the task feel somehow more manageable. I assure you it does not feel manageable. Noquis are overwhelming to me in my little tiny kitchen.) The sauce is delicious and relatively easy.
So, we took the mess and deliciousness to someone else's kitchen. We have some good friends, Jason and April, that live in McClure (past Grand Rapids, Ohio). Their new home is beautiful, especially the kitchen, and it was actually a delight to have all four of us (with the four crazy kids outside) working together for the eternity that it takes to make noquis.
John was chopping potatoes until Jason decided that he was not quite up to the task (the pieces kept falling on the floor--sweet, sweet John doesn't do much cooking). Jason wore the fabulous Meijer chefs hats we picked up at the "Grand Remodeling Sale", as he chopped up the ingredients for the sauce.
I forgot to take a picture of the final product, but believe me when I say it was delicious. Maybe we will have them more when I have a kitchen that two people can fit in comfortably.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


I did not take nearly enough pictures when Annie was here, but it was marvelous, even if undocumented.*
These are the reasons it was so much fun to have my sister for a week.
1. Annie is Mimi's Favorite. Person. Ever. Period.
2. I had a shopping buddy. A shopping buddy that was never irritated with my children. A shopping buddy that was willing to watch my children while we shopped. Can you beat that? (I hate shopping, but it has to be done. Isn't it better with a buddy?)
3. She was willing to pose as a butterfly. 4. She laughs about everything. Even more than I do, and that's saying something. So much fun to have a laugher in your house.
5. She was willing to be Prince Phillip. Since Mimi was Sleeping Beauty, those two were the perfect trick-or-treating combination.
6. She did the girls' hair in the mornings. They looked much cuter while she was here.
7. She put the girls to bed. Aaaaahhh--such a blessing!
8. She played silly games all day long and the girls were never bored.
9. The phrase became, "Annie, come wipe me." This should maybe be #1.
10. I had another vote every night for a girly movie, should I wish to watch one. (Poor John! The house was 4-to-1 for a week.)
11. The house didn't have to be clean to impress her, but she was always willing to help pick up and do the dishes. (With every one of these reasons, I'm missing Annie more. Maybe this should be #1.)
12. We hardly did anything special, and she thought everything was fun. Couldn't ask for a better houseguest.
Man, I miss my sister!
*(As a side note, does anybody else wish for a personal photographer? Someone who follows you around all day long and captures the moments, but always makes you look beautiful--unless you are trying to capture how awful the day was. But I don't really need anyone else around, since there are already plenty of people in this little apartment. Maybe a floating robot photographer? )

Saturday, November 3, 2007

A vignette from the Art Museum

The Toledo Museum of Art has a wonderful Family Center that offers art projects on Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays. My girls love to paint on the easels there, so we've made it quite the tradition. When we went on Tuesday, we ended our expedition with a tea party in the playroom next to the art room. Olivia and I were passing spaghetti and meatballs around the table and adding ketchup to our tea with abandon when we were joined by a little (five- or six-year old) girl in a spidery witch's costume. We happily passed her some cheese wedges and asparagus, and she laughed with us about birthday cake (it was a very funny joke, but I don't remember it at all--probably because it was lovely 4-year old humor, like "I think I'll call birthday cake 'candle tandle.'" You know--very very funny.). When she got up to peruse the dress up box and came back wearing a crown, I said, "Oh wonderful! Are you the queen?"
She put on a deadly serious face and replied, "No. I'm the princess of darkness."
I stifled a chuckle and her dad said, "Um. . . Kelly Osborne?" whereupon I nearly guffawed (Annie did) and Olivia looked confused.
Then she smiled, a dazzling smile for the princess of darkness, and said, "Do you want to come over to my house for a sleepover?"
I responded, "A sleepover? With the princess of darkness? I think my mom would be nervous."
Her dad said, "Come on, Ruby, I think you're scaring the nice lady."
I loved it. What a little character!

Friday, November 2, 2007


Here are all the fabulous little munchkins of our playgroup, ready to go out and get some candy. I love the Perrysburg tradition of the shops doing trick-or-treat in the middle of the day. It makes things much less hectic at night, I think. It also, unfortunately, adds to the serious overloading of candy at my house. I have no self control, once it is in my house. Yuck!And look at these three darling fairies!! How fun to have these carpool/preschool buddies all dressed as fairies. I must say that getting the wings on as they left the van was a little bit of a trick, but such a cute treat once they were all ready, don't you think?
And here is Liv at the preschool program. (Thank you, Shelly, for helping me even when I flake and forget the camera.) The Island Princess next to her is Cassy, another girl from the ward.
And here are Kailyn and Liv in the Bluebird room after the program. (With a nice foreground of Cassy's plumage, so lovely.)
And here is Mimi, all ready to go. Annie was so darling as to curl all Naomi's hair with a curling iron to be especially princesslike for Halloween. However, she was not so prim and princessy as to give up chewing on a Tootsie Roll to get her picture taken. Hence the crazy expression.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

What we've done today

Annie is here! My sister came to visit for a week. Her flight came in to Detroit at 11:30 last night (here in Toledo by 1 am.), but we were up and rolling at 7:00 this morning. Since then, we have:
*gone to walking group,
*tended the baby of one of John's classmates (I remembered how much newborns cry),
*attended a birthday party,
*painted at the TMA (Toledo Museum of Art) family center,
*made (what feels like) hundreds of little cookies, and
*put together these 22 little treat bags for Olivia's Halloween preschool party. I have heard that the goody bags they send home with the kids after the party are sometimes quite extravagant, but these just have a little bag of tiny cookies, a small package of microwave popcorn--those are so cute, and a Halloween pencil. I guess if they kick Liv out, I'll know I didn't do enough. :)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Trunk or treat!

Last night's ward "trunk-or-treat" was the perfect activity, as always. I love how we don't have to figure out how to go trick-or-treating in strange neighborhoods with small children after dark.

We dressed up--all of us. (We've dressed up every year as a family, except the first year we moved here when I was almost eight months pregnant with Naomi and grumpy as a bear--a pregnant bear, even.) We were the fairy tale crew, even though we weren't all from the same fairy tale. Can you guess? (Probably not from these pictures.)I was Cinderella's fairy godmother. John was Prince Phillip (or Robin Hood or any other gallant hero of an epic tale). Naomi was adamantly Sleeping Beauty (and delighted to be accompanied by Prince Phillip, so very delighted). Olivia was a fairy, and she decided somewhere during the party that because her costume was blue, she was Merriweather, from Disney's Sleeping Beauty.
Do you see the resemblance?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Why we don't live at Heather Hills (bienvenidos al ghetto)

So at 4:20 this morning, I was awakened by someone repeatedly blaring their horn in the parking lot just outside our (and about 20 other people's) bedroom window. This is a condoned and relatively common practice here at Oak Hill Court, and it simply means "I'm here, thank you, and will the one person out of the twenty I just woke up please come out to the car so I can stop honking." The only problem with this morning's noise is no one came out. The honking continued aggressively for a bit, so I finally got up to take a look. Some gal was yelling up to the 15 year old that lives above us, asking his name and where someone lived.
Business as usual it seemed, as she entered the building, but then when she left she started messing around with the trunk of a car in the parking lot. "Hm," I thought, "her key must not be working in the trunk because she's getting a little worked up back there." Actually she was trying her best to rip the plate off the car but apparently settled in the end for scraping the registration decal off. Then she hopped in her car and left. I laid back down, and just as I dozed away (around 4:46) unfortunately the same honking started again, and the sight wasn't so benign when I looked out the window this time. She was quite obviously trying to enter the driver's door of that same car by less than legitimate means. I flipped on the light and called apartment security. Then as I glanced out the window I saw her struggling to puncture the right front tire. She probably saw my light go on because she took off. I heard the sliding door above us open, so I opened ours, and asked the kid above if that lady actually just flattened the tires on that car. He said "Yeah, I was just watching movies and blah blah blah." Then the car owner came out. I didn't recognize him but he was dressed just like every other tenant that lives here. I told him he had just lost some tires. He said thanks and went back in. About then the apartment security showed up and called me asking for a description of the car and the lady and said "Probably a second girlfriend. Thanks for calling." Emilee and the girls slept right through it all so this gem is mine alone.
I doubt those at Heather Hills have ever been aroused by a drunken Dane, Dusty, and Ryan playing ball in the parking lot at 2 am, or Candace and Leisy out yelling and slashing tires. How 'bout Eric in an illicit substance induced haze lying next to the dryer for several hours? Didn't think so. Entertainment of this quality can't be purchased with money and these are the memories that I will cherish forever. I can't wait to see what tonight brings because after all, there are still two tires left untouched on that car.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Feliz Cumpleanos!!

That's how they say it in Argentina. Happy Birthday, John!! You are going to make it through medical school before you turn 30. That's definitely an accomplishment.With all Livi's pukings, my incredibly irritating hacking cough, Mimi's tantrums, and John's autopsies of the past two days, this hasn't been his most festive birthday. However, we did get some barbecued ribs and homemade ice cream done for the birthday boy. I promise to make next year better.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


Every night (well, every night that he's not on call, or at a church meeting, or late coming home, or whatever), John reads the girls two bedtime stories (Piggie Pie by Margie Palatini is a new favorite), and then he has this little tradition.
"Pull!!" he says. There is no way on earth this otherwise perfectly healthy 28-year-old man could possibly get off the bed to pray. He needs all the help these little (60 pounds combined weight) girls can give.
It requires their full strength, arms and legs, to get him up.
(Forgive the views of under my bed and the piles of laundry in the background. Embarrassing!)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Surrogate Parenting

This picture is almost like a game of Where's Waldo. Can you see the child? There, in the middle. Squint past the disaster she's made of her room. She's got short dark hair. . . can you find her? Ah-ha! And a close-up. There she is, reading a book. How precious is that? But wait. . . is that a CD player at her side?
How do we feel about books on tape/CD? Obviously, it's not as good as actually reading to your child (if by good, we mean an activity that both stimulates the brain and creates feelings of love and bonding between the parties involved, but not so much an activity that saves a mother's sanity), but is it better than, say, a movie? Or a computer game? I sent Livi to quiet time today with a pile of audio picture books that we had borrowed from the library and showed her how to work my CD player. It bought me quite a bit more actual quiet than quiet time usually affords, but I had this little corner of guilt that I was using yet another electronic babysitter.
If I promise to make sure we still read books every night before bed, can I count this as an option better than a cartoon?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


I finished the girls' costumes just this week. I still need to figure out what to put underneath the beautiful gowns to keep my crazy little princess and fairy warm, but at least the homemade part is done. The off-the-shoulder design of this dress was not especially apparent to me from the pattern. It will be okay with a white shirt underneath, though, so I'm not too worried.
The wings were sent by my mother-in-law. They are lovely, and they velcro on to her back, so I don't have to worry about her getting frustrated with those shoulder straps.
And our beautiful rockery in the background. You can see I have put in a lot of work to keep those weeds growing.
This pose looked so pixie-like, especially with Livi's hair.
I wish I could find some sparkly tights and the girls will definitely need glitter on their faces for the actual dress-up of Halloween. Girliness is so much fun!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Let's Go, Irish! (Clap, clap, clap-clap-clap!)

A Notre Dame football game is AMAZING!! I have certainly never seen anything like it, even among the most ardent of Cougar football fans. I wish I was a football person, if only for yesterday. Crazy!! I've loaded a whole bunch of pictures, so I'll just go through them one at a time.

Of the eight medical students invited for the Pre-Interview Weekend (as it was called), four were from MCO, MUOT, or now UTCOM--John's school. Everyone met up at one of the clinics, not far from ND campus. We were there a little early, and the girls piled up rocks and gravel and banged them on lightposts and scratched them on sidewalks. Silly girls, but when they are this cute, they still help John make a good impression, right?
We walked from there to the game, and I wish I could have taken a picture of the mayhem. Three-and-a-half hours--3-1/2 hours!!--before the game, the roads were packed, and homeowners close to campus were selling parking spaces in their driveways for $10-20 each. There's good money to be made doing it, too. Apparently tailgaters have to get up at 5 a.m. to find a spot on campus to party. Insane! Most of the cars in the background of this picture have a party going on behind them.
This doesn't look like a lot of people, but there were TONS of people, everywhere, way before the game. South Bend shuts down on home game Saturdays. They turn all the main roads into one-way streets, only leading INTO the stadium. If you are not planning to go to the game, too bad for you. Find another route.
This was the tent, in the campus hospitality area, where we tailgated. It was lovely. You had to have a pass around your neck to get in, so it was much quieter with quite a big less drinking and riotousness--not nearly as exciting as outside, but more safe.
They asked the Notre Dame Bagpipe band to come play for us.
It was really fun. They played a jig at one point, and all those in the tent who had graduated from Notre Dame danced in a line with legs a-flailing. Livi found it fascinating. (I have a video of this, but I was unable to load it. Plus, no sound with our camera, so it wasn't especially exciting, and didn't quite capture the moment.)
She wanted to know when those "Musgic people" were coming back.
Mimi loved them too.
More tent. One of these days, I'm going to figure out how to take a picture that helps others to see what I saw. We all had to sign in at that table for some sort of residency scrapbook? I don't know why there is a residency scrapbook.
Mimi slept through the entire first half of the game. Thank heavens! I, apparently, was hypnotized the entire first half of the game.
Liv was delightful. The game was televised, so it lasted from 3:30 to 7:40. And she stayed cheerful. Can you believe it? We started tailgating at noon, and we didn't get back to the car until 8:10. We didn't get to the house where dinner was provided until 8:45. And she was cheerful. They both were, actually. I have the best kids ever!
The Goodyear blimp. Olivia was endlessly entertained by the passing of the blimp ever 3-4 minutes. Thank heavens for the blimpies.
Touchdown Jesus. You know, I had heard of "Touchdown Jesus" before, but I never understood why it was called that. From our seats at the south end of the field, the 130-foot mural on the side of the Notre Dame library is visible just over the north goalposts. And with His arms up like that--well. . . hence His nickname.
The stadium was packed--no empty seats. None! There was quite a large Boston College contingent, but still--no empty seats? You can see the student section there on the left. They were incredibly involved. Whenever Notre Dame made a touchdown, they would start throwing people up and down, like a mosh pit, but without going anywhere. And they all did that Notre Dame jib and waved their arms in the air to another song. So incredible.
And we saw the marching band march through campus before the game. I think someone ought to talk to the BYU marching band. That is a great tradition.
So, I think I could live in South Bend. And then you all could go to a Notre Dame football game sometime. We are going to another one in November, and I'll let you know if it's still fun, but wow! So DANG COOL!