Monday, November 30, 2009

Farewell to Fall

Can you believe this November?  I was worried that because the summer had been so mild--hardly any unbearably hot days--that fall was going to get bitterly cold bitterly early.  But I've been pleasantly surprised.  Until this last week, the fall has been perfectly lovely.  Some days I've hardly needed a jacket to go outside.

But last Saturday took the cake.  It was almost 60 degrees and *GASP* the sun was SHINING!  (Those of you not from the midwest might not understand the phenomenon of bidding farewell to the sun in late September and not seeing it again until April.  Or possibly May.)  My schedule for the day was full of list items like grocery shopping, sewing, and housecleaning, but the plans changed when Olivia begged to play at the park.  For once in my life as a mother, I listened.  Her plan was definitely better.

We tried to go to the nearest park, but they close for the season November 15.  What?  Even for beautiful 60 degree days?  So we ended up at the park by the zoo and called our friends to join us.  The parking lot at the zoo is full of all the leaves they blow from the zoo, the park, and what looks like the next three states.  (No, that is not a trick of perspective.  Yes, that leaf pile is at least twice as tall as my van and at least 8 times as wide.  Plus, since the leaves were damp, the air was full of that stinky-nostalgic fall smell.)

Bella wandered and climbed and tried to pick up other "babies" (kids at least her size) to her heart's content.

Olivia and Naomi spun and spun until I thought I would be sick with dizziness.  They were, of course, fine.

The rock wall was climbed.

We lost Mimi for a while, until we looked closer.

It was wonderful.  I'm not sure I could have been ready for December without this one last beautiful fall day.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


John asked me, "Where the devil are the fingernail clippers?"  I responded, matter-of-factly, that the girls have been using them lately as stand-ins for teeth under their pillows.  Mimi has been hiding the fingernail clippers under her pillow.  When I asked her why, she told me that she thought the tooth fairy might take them and leave her a dollar.  I tried to explain that the tooth fairy is only interested in teeth, but I don't think we're perfectly clear.  At least, I still can't find the fingernail clippers.

Friday, November 20, 2009

From the Past:: WWF Mania

I have had a funny little conversational crafting blog with my friend, Sara, for nearly 4 years, long before I had a family blog.  It's a private blog, but before I had this blog here, I would post funny stories and pictures from our family there, just so I would have a record.  I was recently reviewing some of those posts, and I thought I would want to repost them here.  This one is originally from July 26, 2006.

John's solution to the increased conflicts that we have been having around here. Teach the kids scissor hold. . .
. . . and body slam.
Who out there doesn't want WWF in their living room?

Those little girls!!  I can't believe they've gotten so big on me.  The wrestling, however, has not been outgrown.  Body slamming is still a very frequent occurrence Chez Wells.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Olivia's cast was removed with great fanfare on Thursday.  We made an appointment at the Sports Medicine Clinic where John is rotating right now,  They cut that raggedy pink cast off (sorry no pictures) and asked Olivia if she wanted to keep it.  She said, with disgust, "Throw that AWAY."  So it's gone for good.  X-rays showed there was still one side of the bone not completely healed, but if Livi could take it easy for a couple weeks, she wouldn't have to have another cast.
"That means," said Dr. Lavallee, "no monkey bars, no jumping on tramps, and no more jumping out of trees."  Olivia, ever the little rule follower, nodded solemnly.  (That didn't stop her, of course, from doing handstands and hurting herself as soon as we got home.  That prompted a discussion about ALL the things that were outlawed for the next couple weeks.)
Anyway, a cast coming off is cause for celebration.  And a celebration is only a celebration with ICE CREAM.  So as soon as John came home, we headed out to Culver's.  Kelly Galbraith highly recommended the "concrete mixers" at Culver's, and let me tell you, we were not disappointed.  YUM!
Olivia showed everyone her newly naked arm.

John and Mimi shared an Oreo concrete.
Olivia and I shared a brownie concrete.

And Bella begged and begged and probably got more than anyone else.

What a party!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Does this look like a sleeping baby?

Last weekend, we were part of an expedition to the Chicago LDS Temple.  My genius friends, Kelly and Brooke, thought to go the night before, find a hotel with a swimming pool (for only $35 a night, thanks to Brooke, Ms. Priceline Negotiator), and alternate which adults would attend a session at the temple, and which would stay at the hotel to watch the kids swim.  It was fantastic.  My big girls loved the swimming (especially Olivia, since she is now cast-FREE), and Annabel thought the halls were one long race track.  You can run down the hall, then back up the hall.  Then back down the hall, ad infinitum.

Until bedtime. .  of course.  I never have quite caught the vision of how to make a baby sleep well in a hotel room with her parents and siblings.  I have tried:
*padding the tub and putting the baby in the dark bathroom
*pushing the pack-n-play into that little entryway area
*hiding the pack-n-play behind the desk and chair
*making a "special bed" on the floor between one of the queen-size beds and the wall
*making the entire room completely dark and silent at 7:00 p.m.
*nursing the stinkin' baby ALL NIGHT LONG

Do any of you have any other ideas?

When I am independently wealthy (a phrase much beloved by our dear friend Joe), I am going to get my baby its own hotel room every time we have to stay in a hotel.  Of course, by that time, I probably will not have any babies.  (And really, when I say "by that time" I really mean, "in that particular crazy fantasy where we actually do become independently wealthy".)

Annabel was put to bed at 8:00 p.m.  This is what she looked like at 8:30.
And 9:00.
And 10:00. (With night vision)

She was actually delightful--talking to herself, singing little songs, watching "The Wizard of Oz".  I laid down in one of the beds, and put a pillow in place so she wouldn't know I was in the room.  She was fine being in bed with everyone else awake, (even though the other girls were asleep by 9:30) but she would wig out if she saw that I was in sight and she wasn't right with me.
Gosh, I love that baby.  Especially in the day time.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

In True Emilee Fashion

I want to tell a little story.  I have no pictures, for two reasons.  1)  I would actually like to pretend this never happened; and 2) I didn't think anything would happen when I left the house that fateful Monday afternoon.

It went like this.  Monday morning I woke up and, as usual, roused Olivia from her slumber so deep, helped her shrug into her clothes and sling on her backpack, and sent her out the door.  John, on one oh-so-lucky day, was not expected at clinic until 9:30 (can you believe it?), so he ate breakfast with the rest of us and watched as I headed out the door to my preschool carpooling duties.  When I frantically returned inside five minutes later, he asked if I was already back, and I responded (frazzledly) that I hadn't yet left.  My keys were lost.  (Note:  They were left at church, actually.  If I don't take my bag into the building, I can not reasonably be expected to leave with my keys.  Dresses need more pockets.)  He kindly and patiently gave me the van key from his key ring and told me to be careful, since it was nearly our last copy.  We have one set of spares in the file box for emergencies.
I took the girls to preschool without incident.  I ran several errands, again without incident.  I was so very, very careful with that little unattached key.  I placed it carefully and thoughtfully in my pocket after each use.  I was determined, with all my deserved reputation as a key loser, to keep this key intact until I could return it to John.
At 4:30, as usual, we headed to ballet class.  At 5:15, as usual, we left ballet class to go to our van.  I felt the little key in my pocket as I said my goodbyes to our ballet class friends, and started buckling everyone into the van.  Then I went to start the van, and the key was gone.  When I have my full, very large key-chained-and-carabinered set of keys with me, I simply toss the keys onto the driver's seat after unlocking the van, so I figured I must have done the same with the single key.  I had not.  We took everything out of the van, removed all of the junk.  No key.  Went back into the building and scoured the waiting room.  No key. Removed all the carseats.  No key.  Removed the captain's chairs and bench.  No key, and we've been there for an hour. 
A friend walks by, so I borrow her cell phone to call John.  He had just arrived at a recruiting dinner, and as I start to tell my story, my calm voice dissolves into tears.  I was embarrassed and apologetic.  He drove home (10 minutes) and drove to us (10 minutes) with the spare set.  I assured him I would immediately go to the store and have 5 extra keys made.
The first store I checked wasn't open.  I ran into the second store, leaving my children in the locked van while I went to check if they made keys.  They didn't, and when I ran back to the van, I saw a key in the lock of my van.  A shock went through my heart, and the first thing I thought was "Someone has unlocked my van to take my kids."  Then I realized, IT WAS MY KEY.  I had put it in the lock, but when the van was already unlocked, I had forgotten I had ever done that.
Please tell me that some of you do dumb things too.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


When I was young, Halloween consisted of two activities: the carnival at the elementary school (complete with costume parade), and trick-or-treating immediately thereafter.
This year our Halloween festivities included:
*trunk-or-treat the Tuesday before at the church
*Wives' Club party at Bonnie's house (so fun! Thanks, Bonnie!)
*trick-or-treating at the residency clinic
*doughnuts and cider at The [Pumpkin] Patch in Michigan
*a festive Halloween birthday party for Halle (for which my girls decided not to dress up but still enjoyed immensely)
* and finally, trick-or-treating around the neighborhood.
Holy smokes!
And now, pictures:

Mimi (as Lucy, from The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe) and Kasey (as Pocahontas), inseparable.
The residents' kids, in costume. We had lost some at this point, and Bella was refusing to wear her hot-hot-hot hood inside the building.
The weather at The Patch was a bit brisk--brr!, but the kids enjoyed swinging on the tires and tossing the leaves anyway. Even Annabel tolerated being picked up and carried and picked up and carried again with greater patience than she can usually muster.Aren't these leaves a great backdrop?
Mimi, although you can't see it here, had a belt with a pouch for a glass bottle full of Lucy's magic potion and a sheath for her knife. She simply refused to be "Lucy the schoolgirl" and insisted on "Lucy the Princess." Darn it. The trick-or-treating in our neighborhood is absolutely ridiculous. Annabel--the BABY, for pete's sake, came home with at least four full-size candy bars in her trick-or-treat bag, and she only hit about half the houses. My strategy was to let her ride in the wagon until she fussed and then she could walk up to a house and get some candy and walk back to the wagon and eat the candy while riding in the wagon until she fussed again. (See the beautiful simplicity.) John decided about halfway through that we weren't maximizing our candy potential, so he took matters into his own hands and helped her trick-or-treat at each house.
The Bradys joined us this year, which made it a lot more fun for us. Olivia, as Susan from the same book, was equipped at the beginning of the evening with a plastic bow, arrows, and quiver. Those were unceremoniously dumped in the wagon when they got "too heavy." Mimi became our candy distributor when we arrived back home. I think she liked giving out the candy as much as getting the candy herself. (She's more a meat-lover than a treat-lover.)And, in case any of you are in the market for making up some dress-up dresses, I should let you know that I've discovered a treasure trove for materials. Thrift-store prom dresses are amazing! There is plenty of fabric in one strapless adult dress to make a darling little girl princess dress. Plus, the quality is better than the fabric usually labeled as "costume", the trims and zippers are reusable, and the hems are already done. Sweet! (And the cost--$5 for a whole dress--is a better bargain than buying the materials myself.) Just thought you might want to know.