Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tuesday at 4:30

Tuesday night was our church's trunk or treat activity. It's so much fun, and I love going every year (we had the same thing in Toledo). The event started at 6:00. (I have pictures, and I will be doing a big Halloween post after tomorrow.) My day went something like this.
11:30 a.m. -- Real estate agent/tour guide Betty Sandstrom drops off the wife of a residency candidate at my house after giving her the inside scoop on South Bend. My job is to get Carissa to a lunch put on by the wives' of the residents.
12:00 p.m. -- We arrive at the luncheon and laugh and talk and laugh and talk some more.
2:20 p.m. -- We leave the lunch and I take Carissa to the clinic where she can rendezvous with her husband. Tracy takes Mimi with her to her house to play for a couple hours.
2:40 p.m. -- I arrive home, just after Olivia's bus gets there (darn stop lights!) to find her almost panicking. I stop the panicking and throw her into the car. We need to run some errands.
3:00 p.m. -- We go to Target, trying to find two crowns to complete the princess costumes. I find several expensive ugly options and a couple WAY more expensive lovely options and determine that I can make a cute crown for much cheaper.
4:00 p.m. -- We leave Target to make a mad dash to Jo-Ann's to get materials to make better crowns.
4:15 p.m. -- Leave Jo-Ann's after a World Record setting Shortest Jo-Ann Trip Ever.
4:20 p.m. -- Arrive at Tracy's house to pick up Mimi. Search for Mimi's boots, throw her screaming over my shoulder and drive home. Bella begins to whimper.
4:25 p.m. -- We arrive home. Bella is beginning to wail.

This is where I warp the time-space continuum. I am convinced that all these things happened simultaneously at 4:30 p. m.
4:30 p.m. -- I grab Naomi's unworn, but somehow chocolate-stained, white princess gown from the sewing room and throw it in the washing machine.
Make a pattern for the fabric crowns.
Pick up the now hysterical Annabel, and she vomits all over my clothes.
Go to my room to change my shirt and answer the ringing phone just before the answering machine picks up.
Confirm to John on the other end of the phone that the trunk-or-treat is indeed tonight and yes, I want him home as soon as possible. He tells me he is done and will arrive shortly.
Still 4:30 p.m.--I take off my pukey shirt to change it and attempt to console a baby who is convinced one of her fingers has been chopped off.
Baby is inconsolable, and crowns still have to be made.
I put on my Moby Wrap (FANTASTIC invention--and usually a failsafe cry-stopper) and put Bella in it.
Realize I have not changed my shirt and am wrapped in only my pants and undergarments.
Decide the crowns still have to be made and I do not have time to change my shirt and rewrap the baby.
Start ironing interfacing to the gold and silver fabric for the crowns.
Begin to suspect that I am losing hearing in my right ear.
Rapidly cut out and sew crowns together, temporarily forgetting that Olivia's head is quite a bit bigger than Naomi's.
Try the crowns on the girls and nearly cry when one doesn't fit.
Ingeniously fix the situation with longer pieces of velcro
STILL 4:30 p.m.
Reach for the curling iron under the girls' sink and realize I must have thrown it away by accident when attempting to hurriedly put it in the hair accessories basket next to their garbage can.
Curse that I have already gelled Olivia's hair in preparation for the curling iron.
Bounce the still incredibly angry baby.
Do what I can with the triple-barrel curling iron on hair that is about 6 inches long.
Hear the garage door open and look at the clock.
BOOM! 5:50 p.m.
How did that happen? How did I lose 1-1/2 hours somehow?
5:51 p.m. - Yell at John to throw Mimi's dress in the dryer and at Mimi to open the door to whoever is knocking.
5:52 p.m. - Smile sweetly at Simone (our 6-year old Chinese neighbor) and take a bite of whatever delicious ethnic treat she has brought to share with us.
5:53 p.m. - Throw Olivia's dress on over her head and race down to the basement to get the pea costume out of the laundry room.
5:54 p.m. - Quickly explain to Simone where we are going while running upstairs.
5:55 p.m. - Drag a comb through Mimi's hair and arrange her veil over her crown.
5:56 p.m. - Rearrange Olivia's hair because "pieces are sticking up and I hate it when pieces stick up."
5:57 p.m. - Race downstairs to drag my fairy godmother costume out of the Halloween box.
5:58 pm. - Braid and pin up my hair to fit it under my hat/wig.
5:59 p.m. - DON'T scream when John is checking e-mail upstairs, and calmly hand him the baby (who IS screaming).
6:00 p.m. - Grab Mimi's dress out of the dryer. Say a silent prayer of thanks that polyester dries so quickly.
6:01 p.m. - Throw Mimi's dress over her head.
6:02 p.m. - Sweetly, with gritted teeth, answer John's innocent question of "What should I be for Halloween?"
6:03 p.m. - Smilingly help Simone to exit the house.
6:04 p.m. - Draw a moustache on my husband's face with eyeliner and shepherd everyone out the door.
6;30 p.m. - Arrive at the trunk or treat. Have a delightful time. Girls' crowns are in my pocket after 20 minutes.
9:00 p.m. - Slump exhaustedly through my home door.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Big Snowstorm of 2008

What do you do when you wake up to a perfect wonderland of fluffy white snow? Why, immediately you make your mom find all the snowgear and help you dress to the gills in the attire needed to make snow angels and snowballs and snowforts and all the delights of the season.And then you head out to frolic in the waist-deep snow. For hours and hours. Never getting cold or complaining of the frigid temperatures, of course. OR you can come in after 15 minutes in the soggy coldness of the first Indiana snowfall and drop your clothes in the living room. Yeah. . .that's probably the best idea.
And your mom will think bitterly about how it didn't stop raining for long enough for her to get that last huge pile of leaves off the flowerbeds.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sweet Pea

Olivia has decided that for Halloween, she and Bella will be the Princess and the Pea (respectively). I have no pictures of the "princess", but just look at these pictures of the pea.Isn't she a precious little pea? Such a sweet peaceful little pea.
I love the peaceful pea, but for some reason "MAD PEA" is much funnier.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

And the winner is. . .

This was so much fun! I loved hearing all the stories, and now I have 14 more to add to my repertoire. Some of them will have to be told only in the right circumstances, like, not at dinner (Andrea's--loved it! Potty training stories are always a winner.) or only among those who have all four limbs (Logan's). Some of the stories were both horrifying and funny (Kelly's--those mice! They give me the heebie jeebies. And Leisy--Terrifying!! And the nakedness-the NAKEDNESS!), and some made me nostalgic (Mom, I love that story about Annie, and Erin--I had forgotten about Operation Pansy Rescue.) I love cute things that kids say (Mags--awesome Quinton, and Kell--sweet Seth, and Sara--I love your mom!). And med school mistakes (especially wrong orifice stories--good job, Jeff!) are always a favorite. And Liz, your story, brought back all the delightful and horrible awkwardness of having that "trifecta of ugly": perm, braces, glasses. So great!

So, without further delay, we will pick the winners:


video
Andrea! Andrea, my darling cousin, as our first winner gets:A Happy Birthday banner! Obviously, I am a closet glue-gun crafter. It's felt, strung on ribbon, and I hope you can use it.Our second winner is:


video
Erin! Who wins:A Thanksgiving banner! I hope you like it. My address book has been lost (we will not name the person who has misplaced it in order not to shame HIM), so if you both could e-mail me at emileewells AT hotmail, I will send these along shortly. I am so happy that all of you participated, and I definitely want to do this again. Maybe Christmas?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Boden Mystery

The most delightful thing happened to me today. When Olivia walked in the door from school, she was holding an armful of mail. (Isn't she wonderful? She picks up the mail on the way in from the bus.) A polka-dot package was conspicuously exciting (I love packages), and upon closer inspection, I exclaimed, "I think that says Boden!" I racked my brain. Had I ordered something from Boden? I love Boden. I have publicly declared my love for Boden, and I would certainly have remembered ordering something.
Upon opening the package, I discovered this:And this:
(Not the babies, but the coat and the t-shirt.) Are these not among the cutest things ever seen on the face of the earth. And won't my Bella look adorable in a few months?
However, there is a little mystery. The articles above were addressed only to "Bella Boo Baby Wells" with no indication of the kind sender. None. I want to thank this delightful person, or persons, but I don't know where to direct my squeals of delight. (ABSOLUTE delight). If you are out there, please let me know who you are.
On a side note: If you have a story you wish to share, please comment in the post below. You have until tomorrow.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Happy Blogiversary to Us!!!

As of tomorrow, Well, Well, Wells is officially one year old. Interestingly, our first post was about a football game right here in South Bend, Indiana. And here we are, one year later. I still love Indiana. And I still love Notre Dame.
And, I want to celebrate blogging for a year. I love parties, and birthdays, and blogiversaries. I love giving presents (yay!), and I love telling stories. So, I'm going to combine all that into one big contest! (Contests! I love contests! Yay* for competition!)
I love to talk and tell stories. The best stories are those I experienced personally, but only slightly less fantastic are great stories that happened to someone else. So, I have a proposition. Share a story in the comments. Tell your favorite tale of something that has happened to you. Share your high school prank, or your worst date. Talk about something cute your kid said last week. Tell how you had to call the rejected applicants that wanted to rent your condo and were accused of sexism or how you wrecked on your bike while trying to be coolly casual in front of the cutest guy on the football team.
You have one week. The contest closes next Tuesday, the 21st. On Wednesday the 22nd, I'll put all the commenters in a jar and draw two (2!!) winners and send them a present. (It's a homemade present, but I still think you'll like it. And if you don't, you can regift it to someone else who might.)
Bonus points if your story reminds me of a story I love to tell. Oh, wait. EVERY story reminds me of a story I love to tell. Lurkers, this is your chance to come out and admit you read my blog and be rewarded for it. :)
Okay, I'll start us off. This story is directly from an e-mail I sent to family and friends from when John and I were in Bolivia working in an orphanage in 2002. You may have (you probably have) heard me tell this story before, but it's my favorite. Let it be an inspiration to you. (It's long, really long, but yours doesn't have to be.)
Cochabamba again, but this time. . . we ride in style.

We are currently in Cochabamba.  Chris (John's brother) flew into La Paz
from Lima on Wednesday, and after showing him just a few of the wonders
of La Paz (especially his favorite place, Dumbo's ice cream), we decided
to bring him to Cochabamba.  The plan was to leave Friday morning, but we
decided at about 10:00 on Thursday night that we would take the overnight
bus to give us more time at the temple here.
When we got to the bus terminal, there was a line of irate people in front of
the only open bus company.  The last bus to Cochabamba was sold out,
and 20 more people wanted to get on.  We debated whether or not to just
go home, but a couple of the others ran out onto the loading dock (for lack
of a better word) just as the bus was pulling out and hopped on.  They told us
to do the same, so we did (being dumb gringos), and it was a little surprising to
see several empty seats, even after all of us (without tickets) had sat down.
The peg leg (no joke) conductor came around and asked us for tickets.
We told him we didn't have one, but we paid him for our ticket.  He told
us that our seats had probably been sold in El Alto (the city just up from
La Paz), but "Vamos a accomodar." (We will accommodate you.) We told him
we would not take an overnight bus ride standing up.  He said we wouldn't
have to.
When we stopped in El Alto, half an hour later, hordes of people got on
the bus, and we realized we were not going to have a seat.  We talked to
the conductor, and he just kept repeating (almost like a mantra) "Vamos a
acomodar." When all the seats were full, and we were still standing in the
aisle, we grabbed our luggage and got off the bus, intending to take a
combi back to La Paz and try again in the morning.  The conductor stopped
us and pointed to a mattress that they had put in an empty luggage
compartment UNDER THE BUS (dimensions about 4'x3'x8').  Two men had
already rolled in and were laying down.  They motioned for us to do the
same, and we went for it.  John laid down first, then me, then Chris,
which filled the compartment. One more guy asked if he could get in too
"por favor", so he and Chris shared Chris's space, next to the door.  We
were a little concerned about asphyxiation, but the conductor assured us
we would be okay.  Since he seemed an honest fellow, (after all, we
weren't standing) we believed him.  Also, there was a pair of shoes and
some food trash up in the rafters, so we realized it had been done before.
(Although what happened to the owner of the shoes, I have no idea.)
When the ride started, Chris realized there was going to be no lack of air
in that compartment, since cold gusts were coming through the crack in the
door.  Also, the mattress wasn't QUITE big enough for the entire
compartment, so he was half on the cold floor.  With our knees all bent,
and our heads resting on our luggage, pretty soon just about everyone was
asleep.  John was stretching out his legs on the ceiling, and realized
that one of the cables he was pressing against reved the engine.  The pipe
his other foot was on would move whenever the driver shifted gears.  Being
a boy, he pushed on the cable a couple time, enjoying his newfound power,
and tried to stop the driver from shifting by keeping the pipe from
moving.  In a moment, the bus stopped, and someone came down and opened
our door, yelling "Deja de jugar con el acelerador".  (Quit playing with
the accelerator.)  Chris, half asleep, and thinking that the driver was
asking if we needed to go to the bathroom or anything, replied, "Estamos
bien. Gracias" (No thanks. We're fine.)  The man lying next to John just
kind of grunted "Que??"  The door shut, and we continued on our way while
John giggled to himself.
After our halfway bathroom stop, (Tip:  Never step in any mud in Bolivia.)
one of our fellow passengers convinced the conductor to let him lay in the
aisle of the top half of the bus, and the guy who had been sharing with
Chris hopped in to take his spot in the middle next to John, which had to
be way warmer.  We all crunched back in, whereupon I slept very soundly.
Poor Chris was so cold that he just shivered through the next 4 hours, and
John was kept from sleep by his new neighbor who kept tossing and turning
and saying "Nunca mas" (never again) every time he moved.  We were
delighted to get to Cochabamba, but it was an experience that was worth
having once, if only for the story telling value.
We have loved the temple and the grounds here again.  It's so nice, and
the misioneros that work here are incredible. We are going to dinner
tonight with one of the couples, and we will head back to La Paz overnight
again, but we will buy our tickets in advance this time.  (It's not an
experience worth having twice, even if it has great story telling value.)
We will be starting our flight home on the 31st, and we will be back home
on the 2nd.  Crazy!  We only have 5 more days at the orphanage, but we'll
be sending one more weekly update.  Hope everyone is doing well!
Love,
Em and John

*Should it be "yea for competition"? That just seems so scriptural. And "yeah" is not really the pronunciation I'm looking for.

Friday, October 10, 2008

So big!

Bella! Two months old! I really can't believe it. I'm trying to take a lesson from Kenna and pose her by the same bear every month, to get a picture of her growth. Here she is with Pedro, the Vermont Teddy Bear my brother Pete sent her from his mission. (We love Pete!)She's still not quite strong enough to stay up for long, even in the corner of the couch.
So, what do we think now? Here is Olivia at two months. Bald, bald, big round head. Wasn't she adorable?
And Naomi at two months. This was Mimi's serious "toadlike" stage. She was really cute in person, but in pictures the froggyness is apparent. Oh, I loved those pajamas (thanks, Mags!) We wore them everywhere, as an outfit, and didn't waste it on sleeptime.
My opinion is that Annabel is a cross of the other two girls. Which means, since Naomi looks like my mom, and Olivia looks just like John, that we still don't have someone who looks like me. We might just have to keep going until we do. :)

This is a portrait of Annabel, drawn by Olivia.
She started with the hair and open mouth, adding eyes and a skirt. I think she decided that something was still missing because she said when she presented it to me, "Is it okay that I drew her with teeth?" And what teeth they are! (All the better to. . . )

Monday, October 6, 2008

Look Out, Project Runway!

I love Boden clothes. Love them. Love Mini Boden, as well, for little girls. However, as wealthy as I feel, with an income actually arriving in our bank account every two weeks, the prices are just a tiny bit steep. Enter Emilee the designer. (Should I go all lowercase--emilee--when I become famous and known only by my first name?)

I was inspired by this little girls' gypsy dress. Love it. It represents precisely the aesthetic I wish my little girls to have. Not mini teenagers, not skanky, but not ruffles-and-bows precious, either. Slightly funky, and very comfortable.
However, given my budget, I couldn't afford the $48 my aesthetic apparently costs. So, using stashed corduroy, thread, white cotton gauze, and elastic, with some purchased 22-cents-per-yard brown ribbon, I arrived at this imitation.

The colors are more frou-frou, of course (it's what I had on hand), and the embroidery is less intensive (using the time I had on hand as well), but I think they turned out well. My girls seem to agree. (And didn't Kelly do a great job on Mimi's haircut? The crazy bangs are almost not noticeable.)
In some richer, more autumn-y colors, these will be the perfect fall dresses.
If only I had the perfect children to go with them. :)

Friday, October 3, 2008

O. C. Bear

O. C. (stands for Our Classroom, and is pronounced "Oatsy" by Liv) Bear was sent home with Olivia on Tuesday. Our job was to show him a good time and document it in his journal. He started off well, with a trip to the Bradys and some grocery shopping. He ate dinner with us and helped Olivia with her favorite chore--raking leaves. (We have no pictures of this due to the fact that our main photographer was, as usual, tending to the nutritional needs of the youngest member of the family, thus leaving no hands free to run the camera.)
We made O.C.'s favorite food as a bedtime snack. Just look at the ingredients--very nutritious and low in sugar.
And the recipe, very complicated, but worth all the hard work.

The next morning, we took O. C. out for a morning on the town. We used our free Chick-Fil-A breakfast coupons (Free! I love Chick Fil-A.) , and O. C. posed for us as a picketing cow.
After he was shown what to do by Olivia.
O. C. enjoyed the delicious orange juice.
Olivia and Naomi enjoyed the slide in the Playplace, but O.C. was too scared, so he had to be held all the way down.
It was with heavy hearts that we let O. C. return to the school. We dressed him first, of course, in a Hawaiian-inspired shirt and some polka dot shorts that help him look like the gadabout tourist he is.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Haircuts

Two years ago, in August of 2006, Olivia Madge Wells had this cute bob of a haircut.


Which she apparently didn't like, because one morning, she took a pair of my knitting scissors to both the front and back of her head.
Giving herself one heck of a mullet.
After a visit to Cooky Cutters (maybe the greatest establishment in the Toledo area), we ended up with this haircut. And I loved it (after the initial two-week adjustment period). She even wanted it cut "like Daddy's" again before preschool started.
I thought maybe Mimi would skip this stage because of her great love for the "Sleeping Beauty" hair she has grown. (Except for that one time last February where she cut a little 1" piece off the ends, and I immediately overreacted in my usual way by saying "Mimi, if you cut your hair again, I'll cut off one of your fingers." Great parenting, Em.) And I was glad. Because child-given haircuts give me a little stress (okay, a lot of stress--my priorities are obviously wrong), and I love her long, shiny, silky hair. I love all those hairdo ideas on Hair Today. When I do twisty pigtails on Naomi, I feel like I must be a good mom who really loves her daughter to help her look so cute. So, when we were all projecting this morning--me sewing some teddy bear clothes (story later), and the girls cutting and gluing tissue to construction paper-- I didn't think to worry. Until I heard "Mom, I'm really sorry I did this thing." I turned around to see this.
Well, not precisely this, but a little blond girl with half of one pigtail cut off and a big chunk out of her bangs. She hid in shame when I tried to take a picture. (Or maybe she was hiding because she actually remembered my crazy finger-cutting threat and thought I would follow through.)I tried to fix it myself, but could see this was going nowhere. So, lovely, lovely Kelly fixed it for me this afternoon. Aided by Barbie and the Diamond Castle, which kept the patient still for the surgery.
I have these comments to make on the whole affair (with points assigned because vague, amorphous, non-competitive things like parenting still need to be quantified):
1) I am proud of myself. I didn't yell. I didn't spank. I didn't burst into tears. I simply told her how mad I was and made her sit in her room for a bit while I collected myself. +10 parenting points
2) I also didn't comfort her when she kept talking about how her friends were going to run away and not play with her because she was so ugly without long hair. I let her stew in her juices for a while, hoping that will deter her from doing this again. I can't decide if that is +0 or -10 parenting points.
3) I contemplated buzzing her whole head, just to make a point. -50 parenting points
4) I didn't buzz her. +40 parenting points.
I think I come out of this experience about even in the parenting department. Of course, the crazy bangs are going to keep us reminded of this little adventure for a while. (Do you think I should buzz just the bangs, as sort of a partial lesson?)