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!