Friday, December 26, 2008

christmas day

it was a nice, fairly quiet day, although it started waaay too early. i had told pooka the night before that if she woke up before we did, her stocking was fair game. (i tried to ensure the girls would sleep in by keeping them up a little later than usual.) i never expected to be startled awake at 3 am with her looming over me complaining, "this is all that was in my stocking!"

i sent her back to bed, only to be woken up at 5 by a whining bug. something unidentified woke me up at 730, at which point i couldn't go back to sleep. at 8 we got the kids up and started unwrapping gifts. this year the gifts were few in number, but great in meaning. pooka was disappointed that she didn't get the ds she's been asking for all year, but she was thrilled with her mp3 player and her heated mattress pad. we only had to remind her a few times that it wasn't about how many gifts she got, but how great those gifts were. bug actually was interested in opening presents. a little bit. she loved her new bear and wanted me to open the play-doh right away, but i wasn't ready for that.

we cleaned up, got some breakfast and then retreated to the big bed to watch a dvd. this caused bug and i to need naps. later in the afternoon, dad and tina came over and the gift cycle started over again. kisu was thrilled with the new single cup coffeemaker. now we need some visitors to come over and test its versatility. both girls were very happy about their personalized weekender suitcases, especially bug who know has her own 'bock-ock'.

then we got dressy and headed over to kisu's parents for dinner and more presents. thanks to (childless) uncle adam, pooka got a giant makup kit. oy. kisu knew what he had bought and apologized to me in advance. i wonder how long until she uses everything up. she tends to go overboard on things like that.

bug had only had about an hourlong nap, so i was nervous about how crazy she would get. by the time we sat down to eat (which took her all of 10 minutes) she was wound tighter than a spring. when we let her down from the table, she started spinning in circles and laughing like a maniac. the adults were entranced, waiting for her to crack her head on the solid wood coffee table with the super-sharp corners. (that house is not even kid-friendly, let alone child-proof)

it was a pleasant day, the gifts were not out of control and we all just enjoyed each other's company. although i was not feeling very much in the spirit leading up to the holiday, i did enjoy the day. i am thankful to have a lovable and loving family and also for the birth of our savior.

merry christmas to all.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

snow day

it was pretty much a foregone conclusion. the storm was so well predicted that everybody was prepared for today to be a snow day.

everybody but me.

i forgot to have pooka bring home her snow pants and i left bug's snow boots at daycare. i also left my desk at work with half-finished projects (some of which are christmas related).

this really screws with my pto time, too. i only had one day left, which i planned to use on tuesday to take pooka to clinic. with both the elementary school AND daycare closed (that never happens) i had no choice but to stay home. i could take pooka to work with me, but there is no way i can contain bug for 8 hours at work and actually get anything done. so tuesday i can either try to hurry and get to work for half a day or have poppa take her. pooh. i had planned on movies and a haircut with her.

once i dragged myself out of bed (after being rudely jolted out of a doze by bug who was wielding a pen all over my sheets, my devotional book, oh, and herself) i decided to make the most of the day. but when i asked gleefully who wanted to play in the snow, i was greeted with silence and blank stares. my new boss had ok'd me staying home, but as it turned out, kisu forgot his meds and i was going to take them to him. uh, that is, i was gonna try. we got about a mile away before concluded that the effort was not worth it. even in zed, the roads were slow going with at least 8 inches of snow and no plows in sight.

so we promptly turned around and i convinced the kids to play in the yard, instead. while pooka went inside to add more layers, i took bug for a sled ride. i started too fast for her at first and she was nervous. when i slowed down, she started to enjoy it. we were heading in for a break, when she leaned over to look at something and stuck her face right in a snow bank. she laughed until she realized how cold it was.
once pooka (finally!) came back out, i put both of them in the sled. it's amazing how much harder it was to pull with two kids in it. they both enjoyed it, though, until the end of the ride when i dumped them out. pooka's legs actually ended up planting bug deeper into the snow. she was pissed! pooka was laughing, though.

it was a lot colder than it usually is when snow is falling (how does that work, anyway?) so we didn't stay out long, only 10 minutes or so. when we came in i got the girls changed and in the big bed to warm up. i threw the wet stuff in the dryer for a potential return engagement and made some hot cocoa. it might have been bug's first try and since i put it in a sippy cup, she downed it superfast.
we spent the rest of the day sleeping, basically.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

well worth the 40 cents

it was so hard to keep a straight face, but she had no idea what we were laughing at anyway.

kisu and pooka had been taunting each other throughout the evening and kisu threatened to put a dirty diaper in her bed. she responded with, "you better not or else!"

after he finished emptying the diaper champ, he got a clean diaper, filled it with tap water and put in smack dab in the middle of her bed. this is itself was funny. however, the fact that she was so oblivious to it made kisu nearly pee his pants.

she climbed the ladder (we were already grinning, waiting for her reaction) she opened the covers (i snorted and had to make up a reason for my laughing) she reached a hand back to steady herself (squarely on the diaper) and finally, she laid down right on top of it.

still no reaction.

kisu was doubled up laughing, which she correctly got defensive about, and sat up to throw a teddy bear at him. at this point, she noticed the diaper and hurled that at him instead. "gross, gross!"

kisu literally had cramps from laughing so hard.

after we got her contained back in bed, she didn't find it funny. she got quite mad about it, actually. she's such my child.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

sometimes i hate cars

not really, i just hate when the time comes to spend money on their maintenance. especially when said money is hard to come by.

two weeks ago, i got the girls loaded into the truck and headed for daycare as per usual. i left pooka in the running vehicle because it was freezing! and quickly dropped bug off. then we headed over to latchkey to drop pooka. this time i shut the truck off. by the time i came back, it was dead.

turning the key, i heard an abbreviated startup kind of grinding, then lots of clicks and the dashboard lights starting flashing.

oh, hell.

after a brief prayer, i tried again, with no better result. i called kisu and let him know. he suggested i call dad, but dad couldn't take me to work after the tow truck dragged me to the garage.

i waited 45 minutes for the tow, and kisu met me at the garage whereupon the manager told me it was going to be "major surgery." always nice to hear.

halfway back to work, the garage called and gave me a laundry list of things that need to be replaced. predictable, right? when i asked what caused the non-start this morning, he said, "oh, that was just the battery."

Sunday, November 30, 2008

2 to 4 players, ages 6 and up

we had a nice thanksgiving, even though it felt a little rushed for me, having worked until 11pm wednesday and then a little more than a full day on friday.

turkey day was relaxing at dad and tina's. we napped, watched a little football, ate a lot, and capped off the evening with a rousing game of scattergories.

we were several rounds in when pooka, in addition to her usual role as die-caster and timer operator, chimed in with some answers. what a delight to see her reading the categories and trying to find answers that fit. some of them were prime choices, too.

later in the weekend, we went to adrian to see kevin and marianne. the girls had a night out to see a production of a christmas carol at the croswell. pooka wore her very mature theatre outfit.

sunday the boys went to the movies, while the girls entertained ourselves by playing board games. pooka tried her hand at scrabble, and while i helped (a lot) she did give it a try and added up our points for us.

i am so proud of her and how she's growing up. and soooo glad that she is moving beyond candyland.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


i haven't been writing much here. i have been way too busy playing saving the planet. otherwise known as playing solitaire on facebook.

i have become one of the many addicts to that social network. once i got past the rigorous vetting process (it seems they didn't believe my name really was megachick) i quickly got hooked by how many darn people i know. in fact, the first hour, i contacted a friend from college who happened to be doing freelance work right that minute next door at my very own employer!

and it snowballed from there. although, to be honest, it's starting to slow down. i'm re-discovering that there really is a limit to how much solitaire you can play before your brain starts to liquify. that's why i started this hobby in the first place.

so eventually i'll come back here and start retuning my writing skills and paying attention to my children in order to have material on which to use those skills.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Do Good Sunday

Today like ! my mom said ! was Do Good Sunday I was Doing washing toys!
It was fun but there was A lot of toys to clean we got through all the toys.

*********************from pooka

ice queen

lately pooka and i have been getting along a lot better. she has been behaving and i have had a longer fuse, miraculously. despite her usual attitude toward me, she is actually a very sweet and caring child.

today was "do-good sunday" at church and my chore was to pick up trash at the local clinic that the church supports. i wanted to do something physical but had no idea that we would get a snow squall in the middle of the day. we were coated and soaking wet. when i finally came home, i wanted to bury myself under the blankets and sleep away the chill i felt in my bones. pooka was sympathetic. she also wanted to avoid folding her laundry. while i was sleeping, she thoughtfully covered me up--with every blanket she could find. i awoke feeling a little bit like i was sleeping in a furnace.

but my feet were still cold!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

i love my church family

never before have i been somewhere where they clamor to take care of your children. last year we went to a christmas party and people were grabbing bug left and right to hold her, carry her, feed her. after services on sunday, they often do the same, one day almost fighting over her.

this year, they moved kids' choir rehearsal to wednesday night at a time we couldn't make. the director volunteered to drive waaay out of her way to pick up pooka from latchkey and get her to church. when the logistics ultimately didn't work out for her, a friend whose daughter is also in the choir called and asked if i minded if she picked up pooka instead. mind? why would i mind? you guys are doing all the work for me!

i have now performed twice in the sweet spirit choir and both times i have heard compliments, "good to see you up there. you sounded great."

this place is chock-full of lovely individuals who truly want you to fully enjoy the atmosphere and experience the fellowship. i love it here! i'm so happy to discover what i was missing by running out the door as soon as the last amen was said.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

reduce, reuse, recycle has a limit

i am a pretty strong force for the 3 r's in our house. we use canvas shopping bags, we fill our bin weekly with milk jugs and glass jars, and we reuse plastic containers as much as possible. kisu participates if he thinks about it and pooka follows me fairly closely. i think bug will be a believer, too.

butt, i think she may push it a little too far.

the other day while pretending to use the training potty, she got some tp and wiped (her belly button, mostly), put it in the bowl, then pulled it out and wiped again. she actually repeated this several times. thank goodness she hadn't actually used the potty. pooka and i were cracking up, but clearly we've got a ways to go on the training.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

thug bug

our little bully put this outfit together on her own, except for the pajamas which she was already wearing. she pulls the potty into the bathroom, sits on it (clothed), gets up and pushes it back into the living room. maybe soon she'll really use it.

Friday, October 31, 2008

halloween just doesn't excite me

i don't think i've ever been into halloween, which is weird because i think both my parents enjoy it, especially since they met at a halloween party. and don't you usually learn to love the events your parents love?

i can only recall a few halloweens with any sort of clarity.

youth: some sort of costume that involved wearing a decorated cardboard box.

adolescence: i dressed up like a businessman (slacks and a sportcoat. how original) because it was the only thing i could afford as a college freshmen. yes, of course, i did it just for the candy.

adulthood: when i was pregnant with pooka, i didn't dress up, but i remember handing out candy. one little boy came to the door and saw arizona, our first cat, walking around. he made a typical toddler comment like, "is that your cat?" and i replied, "no. that's my husband. i turned him into a cat because he made me mad." i don't think any 'scream' mask could have made his eyes wider than they were at that. heh. it still makes me laugh to think about it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

since we're talking about old music

certain songs bring back specific events in my memory, and other songs just bring up general feelings or images from recurring scenarios.

hearing jim croce's "bad, bad leroy brown" reminds me of driving around in dad's truck singing along until i realized i said 'damn'. i didn't know if i would get punished for swearing. i don't remember dad saying anything at all, but having parenting experience now, i'm sure he was laughing at me.

listening to "hot legs" or "do you think i'm sexy" by rod stewart always makes me think of pam and i remember sitting in her room next to her tiny record player as she danced on her bed. hearing "bridge over troubled water" just makes me think of her in general and our relationship.

we used to do a lot of duets back in the day. dad had a reel-to-reel player and used to tape us singing. sometimes it was just for a lark, or to record candid memories, but sometimes it was a performance. i remember pam and nicole practicing "you light up my life" repeatedly for days and days until i was about ready to scream. then again, jeanine and i rehearsed "love will keep us together" almost as much. she and i also made up some of our own ditties which we thought were awesome, of course. i haven't spoken with her in years, but whenever i hear that song i think of her. thanks to 93.1, i hear all these old songs a lot more often than you'd think.

dad had some of everything on those tapes. his music, our music, our voices. there's one reel of dad trying to get me (approximately 3 years old?) to recite something for the tape, but i refused to do it. what's there is probably more than 5 minutes of him offering different requests and suggestions, but all his coaxing was futile. i don't think you hear me say anything more than "noooo."

it's funny how kids will do some of the strangest things for attention, unless their parents ask them to.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

this is the 3rd time and i'm starting to take it personally

my college was well known for it's gay-friendly atmosphere. so much so that a tomboy with short hair, who liked to wear jeans, eschewed makeup, listened to melissa etheridge, and didn't sleep around was assumed to be gay. even by my father, at one point.

i didn't get around much, but both of the guys i 'dated' in college before kisu ended up being gay. well, one of them was bi, but still.

recently i found out that a guy on whom i had a major crush in high school is also gay.

what the hell?

i don't have a problem with gay people, except that it makes it more difficult to date them if you're the opposite gender. obviously, this is not an issue anymore, but i'm starting to develop a complex. of course, that's just silly. i didn't turn them gay, right? (did i?)

i told kisu straight up, if he ever even has a fleeting thought about changing his orientation: please, for the sake of my vanity, just keep it in the closet.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

a classic (rock) education

one of the very first songs i ever sang to pooka was don mclean's "american pie." it became one of her favorites and to this day still is. i feel bad that bug has only heard it from a cd. i just don't have the patience anymore to sing all 6 verses at one sitting (unless i'm driving).

pooka also had her fair share of nursery rhymes and other typical kiddie songs, but she also was exposed to a lot of the music that kisu and i listen to on a daily basis, although we keep out anything that's too, um, adult for her. therefore, she has a great appreciation for such artists as big & rich, barenaked ladies, cowboy mouth, great big sea, gaelic storm, third day, dixie chicks, jimmy buffett, and other assorted music.

i was pretty pleased with the breadth of her music experience until saturday morning. on the way home from dance class, i turned on a local folk-type music program only to hear the closing notes of simon & garfunkel's "the boxer." i was bummed that i missed it, but thrilled to hear the opening notes of "cecilia" follow immediately. it was at that moment that i was struck by a regrettable hole in the girls' education: no simon and garfunkel. no jim croce. no beatles.

what the hell have we been doing?!

immediately upon our return home i gathered up the respective cd's and vowed to have pooka listen on our next car trip. when next we entered the car, kisu hijacked the radio and played queen. despite the fact that i was by then actually craving some lennon/mccartney, it did start filling the hole.

pooka thinks i'm tormenting her, but after the tenth listen, she usually starts singing along.

Monday, October 27, 2008


saturday when kisu and i were out and about, we noticed a curious trend: the cops were out in full force. we passed through at least 5 different municipalities and saw cops (mid-action) in every one. was saturday some kind of cop holiday? i even saw several earlier that morning on the way to dance class. the really weird thing is that many times we saw them in groups of 3 or 4 cars.

there must have been some major shit going down that day.


this morning on the way to work i saw a vette pass me. (you know he was going fast if he passed me.) as he went, i noticed some large wheels in his passenger seat. thinking bicycle, it was only as i saw his handicapped plate that it clicked: a wheelchair.

i guess a vette doesn't have a lot of trunk room, eh?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

18 month bug

i can't believe how big she's getting. trite, i know, but look at her:

her personality continues to develop and shine:

she has lightened up on the bullying, at least at home. she responds better when you say, "no hitting," or, "be nice." she

her vocabulary is starting to expand significantly, as well as her clarity of speech. she likes to try out every new word she hears. friday night, all we heard was, "yook, yook!" as she pointed to her hand. she wanted us to 'look' at the marks she colored on herself.

it's funny, i don't remember pooka having any of those cute speech impediments that lend themselves to unforgettable family jokes. and at the time i was (inordinately) proud of her perfection. but bug uses 'y' for 'l' and i'm still proud of her. i know she'll grow out of it sooner or later. and for now it's part of her charm.

she is very self-assured and will let nothing stand in the way of what she wants. she has been known to drag the stool across the house to reach her goals. she is frighteningly fearless, climbing rocking ottomans (ottomen?) to reach forbidden items.

she couldn't be more different from her sister, and yet when they play together they are irresistibly cute.

we get her to do a little bit of show-pony stuff. we're still trying to get her to do the full "touchdoooooown michchchchigan!" but the way the season's going she hasn't heard it often enough to emulate.

Friday, October 24, 2008

and then she just stares

pooka is really showing a lot of growth lately, particularly in taking personal responsibility for herself. she is getting into the rhythm of laying out clothes for school the night before; getting up without (too much) whining; doing homework. often the first words out of her mouth when i pick her up are, "i already did my homework, mom."

the reading homework is a breeze for her. whether it's poetry, library books, spelling lists, or writing, she enjoys it, looks forward to it, and does it well and usually pretty quickly. the math homework? not so much. well, she does show enthusiasm for it, but her facility with numbers is not as great as with letters. i think this is an inherited trait, because i never liked or did very well at math that much, either.

math trips her up even when it depends heavily on her strong language skills. she had to come up with two story problems the other day. the first one was easy (she had probably been thinking about it all day) but the second one just refused to show itself. i suggested she follow the theme/scene she used for the first. i suggested three different possibilities, but she said they weren't good enough. for first grade math? it's not a pulitzer prize, honey. i offered up other scenarios, too, but she just couldn't decide which one to use.

i'm beginning to think she has anxiety issues. in situations like this it just grabs her and won't let go.

so far that's the only plausible reason i can come up with for the way she behaves at other times, as well. when she's being willful or disobedient, we'll remind her of consequences (in a perfectly normal tone of voice): if you don't get ready for bed, you won't get snuggle time; if you don't stop whining, you will lose the daddy blanket.

she receives these ultimatums as punishments that have already happened. as if she knows she is unable to accomplish the things she needs to in order to avoid them. she will stop moving altogether, or she will whine louder or burst into all-out tears. it doesn't make sense to a rational person. you know what to do to avoid the punishment, so you do it, but not her. i think anxiety just freezes her and she locks up, incapable of making a decision or taking the necessary action.

we don't know what to do about it. we've talked with her at calmer times about what she needs to do to avoid those punishments, etc. she understands that she can control her own destiny somewhat, but in the heat of the moment, she just can't do it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

last respects

the first encounter with death that i can remember is my grandmother when i was 14. pooka has faced not one but two episodes this week.

first it was the dog. friday morning, it was g.g.(great-grandma). kisu's grandmother's passing was no surprise, but still comes as sad news.

the most difficult thing for pooka to accept was that we were going to grandpa's friday night instead of the school fall festival.

she has accepted both deaths with an equanimity that's almost chilling. but then again, she's only six. and perhaps her distance from both entities helps to dull the sting. she only knew the dog for a brief 3 weeks, being told the whole time how sick he was and that he would soon be leaving.

she wasn't much closer to g.g. we saw her only occasionally, and she was never a very affectionate person. she did try a little bit with pooka, but i think the kid saw through her, saw her internal discomfort with intimacy. pooka is a very loving and affectionate child, but only offered g.g. the dryest and quickest of hugs.

kisu and i debated whether to allow her to attend the funeral services, but g.g. pre-empted that concern by mandating no service. she only requested a family luncheon, to which we have been told not to bring the girls. so much for the love and support of your blood relations.

Friday, October 17, 2008

singular suckitude

kisu had to take primary responsibility for his mother this week, which took up most of the after work hours. so i have been living the life of a single parent. i have to admit i hate it. there's a reason i went the traditional family route: getting a husband and then the kids, you know?

i have new-found respect for those heroic women (and men) who manage to raise multiple children on their own, particularly in despicable circumstances, particular when they manage to instill in the children a drive to succeed and a measure of self worth. that isn't easy to do, even when you have a partner present to prevent you from getting medieval on those kids butts.

in particular, i have renewed respect for my sister who spent a large portion of raising her children doing it on her own. three kids, who were practically triplets, on her own because her husband was not only not helping, but often times actually trying to cause more trouble for her and for them.

once upon a time, i thought i wanted three kids, but after this week i think i have buried that idea. (as if the crashing economy hadn't already.) the tiny island of sanity to which i am desperately clinging would be completely engulfed by the tsunami that a third child would bring to our world.

maybe in ten years or so we'll have one of those 'oopsy-daisy' babies. by then our sanity will either be sufficiently recovered or completely blown and crazy will be normal.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

vanity plates

there are typically two options for personalizing license plates: vanity plates and 'support' plates.

vanity plates are the fun ones that offer so many options.

you can label your possessions: mybenz
you can go with your oh-so-clever rebus: 2fast4u
you can compress your name: lkeisha
you can hint at your favorite comic book: snikt (the sound of wolverine's claws, for those who don't know comics)

i have often thought about what i would put on a vanity plate, if i could bring myself to spend the extra $35. (i am so cheap, but definitely NOT easy.) i like 'megachk' or if i wanted to fork out an additional $35, i could get the u of m plate that has the first letter built in, and go with 'egachik' or 'ishu'.

the challenge, of course, is not only do you have to come up with something readable in 7 letters or less, but it has to be something that no one else has already taken.

the other way to go is a support plate. support plates are usually fundraisers for specific organizations, like conservationists or a university. they also have patriotic plates. these are the ones where you can proudly display in which armed service or conflict you served. i have seen quite a few that said korean war veteran, vietnam war veteran, a couple world war II veteran, and an increasing number lately for gulf war veteran.

today for the first time ever, i saw one that said cuban missile crisis. i didn't know they printed those. was that a conflict worthy of a plate? history's not my best subject, but i didn't think there was any actual military action for that. not technically a conflict but a tremendous build up of tension? that's like having a plate for cold war veteran. but maybe it was a special run for this particular driver because he looked an awful lot like castro.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

curtain call

we were out today and missed out on dugan's last hours. kisu returned to find the backyard empty, again. expecting a note in the mailbox, he went to the front door, only to find a group of people out in the street. at such an hour, it was unusual. one of them called out to ask if kisu had a dog. when kisu replied yes, the man said, "i just ran over your dog."

apparently, dugan got out and wandered across the street. guided by nothing but a desire to find warmth and security, he crawled under a recently parked car. not expecting an animal to be underneath, the driver pulled out and ran over the dog.

when i arrived home with the truck, kisu put dugan in and took him to the emergency vet. as he closed the door, dugan started crying. there's no other way to describe that sound and i will hear it in my head for a long time. kisu suspected a shattered hip or two but the vet diagnosed a broken back. the only thing to do was end his misery immediately. his fate was imminent, but we would never have wished that final injury to him.

we are still confounded as to how he escaped the yard. kisu thinks maybe he really pushed through the wooden gate and is berating himself for not checking it after the last incident. as if the man needed more blame to shoulder in this world.

i braced pooka for the situation on our approach to home. i told her to say goodbye to dugan because he wouldn't be coming home. she accepted his departure stoically. while getting ready for bed she railed against the neighbor again. she wants to set up a video camera to catch her trespassing. she will not let it go. i'm a little worried about her obsession. here is some of the conversation:

pooka: trespassing is mean and it's one of the commandments. mommy: it's one of the ten commandments? p: no, it's one of the 800 commandments from the devil and she is listening to him for some reason. so she's on the wrong side. m: she's on the dark side, like darth vader? p: no, it's not a movie and {agitated} i hate star wars.

more tidbits from later:

m: maybe you could say a prayer for dugan, to help him get to heaven. p: why does he need help. m: we all need help. p: why? m: do you know how to get to heaven? p: die? {with wide eyes and a shake of her head betraying the unspoken 'duh!'} buy wings and start flying into the sky.

if only it were that easy to find our eternal reward.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

up in the air

pooka and i had the rare opportunity today to pilot a small airplane. my boss's boss has a beechcraft sundowner in which he graciously offered to let us fly.

we met him at plymouth airport and spent some time learning about the machine and how to fly it. pooka seemed genuinely interested and learned some factoids. she was in the co-pilot's seat for the first trip and as soon as we reached a stable altitude, jim let her take the yoke on the way to fly over our house. she did a good job of staying straight, turning, and keeping us from plummeting to the earth in a fiery wreck. not bad for a 6 year old's maiden flight. especially since she couldn't hear jim's instructions. we found out later that her headset wasn't picking up communication inside the plane, only the chatter from other craft. that also explains why she said not a single word the whole trip. jim thought she was terrified, particularly when she refused to give up control when he took over. i thought she might have been scared, too, but i figured it was due more to concentration.

i got a little nauseous up there. between the heat in the plane (who said it gets cold up there?), the turbulence, and trying to locate the house while jim was circling repeatedly, i nearly lost it. not until leaving the airport did i find out that pooka felt a little sick, too. she hid it better than i did, though. i was dripping with sweat.

we arrived back at the airport and did a switcheroo so that i could take my turn at piloting. honestly, i wasn't sure i wanted to endure another trip, but i didn't think i should send ragan up by herself on just her second flight. but i calmed down after a few minutes and we headed for the house again since pooka didn't hear me point it out the first time.

this time, i took the plane all the way to our neighborhood, where i gave up control in order to pinpoint the house. you know, it's awfully difficult to identify things from up in the air. most buildings look the same. you have to use landmarks like water, or freeways, or in our case football fields to get your bearings. it was a lot harder than i thought it would be. and finding the airport? forget it. i'm amazed at pilots who could do that, at night no less, before gps.

i got queasy again on the second trip, worse this time because i hadn't completely recovered from the first bout. i just sat there thinking, "if you puke in his plane, he will fire you." that helped.

when we got home kisu said that he and buggy saw us and waved on our first pass. the whole thing took about an hour, and pooka enjoyed it despite the nausea. she has been so fortunate to have such a wide variety of opportunities in her young life.

Friday, October 10, 2008

encounters with animal control

because dugan's stay with us is temporary, we didn't buy a doghouse or make any major modifications to our home or schedule for him. thankfully, the weather is pretty nice, so he's been staying in the back yard while we're at work and in the florida room or foyer at night.

monday we came home from work to find a mysterious supply of dog treats on the ground near his food bowl. we were perplexed, and a little angry/creeped out that someone was in our yard.

wednesday it rained. hard. fortunately, i was taking the girls to the doctor so i returned mid-morning, only to find an animal control officer parked at our house. he had the collar in his hand and said that someone called in to report no shelter for the dog. (we usually left the garage door open but had forgotten that day.) i gave the officer a brief run down of the situation and he said that he would close out the complaint and that we wouldn't hear more of it. he actually said that he wished he could tell me who called but he didn't know. i had my suspicions, but nothing i could do.

{there's only one neighbor who can see into our yard, who's home all day to see the dog there, and who (we suspect) has called the township on us for other petty infractions (lawn too high; wtf?) in the past kisu has actually caught the husband in our back yard 'helping' us with our fallen leaves. they usually help by picking up those leaves that fall into their yard and dumping them back in ours. yeah, they're that kind of people. never once have they actually talked to us (about anything). some neighbors. }

kisu put a padlock on the fence gate between our houses and we thought it was done, although we silently raged that we couldn't catch them again in their interfering, trespassing ways.

thursday we came home to find an empty yard. there was a note from the police in the mailbox saying that dugan was found "wondering (sic) the streets" and we could get him at the p.d. we were incensed. how the hell could a blind, arthritic dog escape our fenced yard? we suspected that someone (see above) intentionally let him loose. to what end we couldn't figure. to get rid of the eyesore of an old dog in the neighborhood? to force us to make 'proper' accomodations? or did he really escape? this dog who moves between three positions all day, can't see the wall before he bumps into it, and trips over every twig on the ground? he forced his way through a slack gate or a 5-inch gap from a missing fence post (he's a 26" inch tall dog, people) to go, where?

kisu retrieved the dog, although he wasn't able to speak directly to the animal control officer. he did speak with the desk officer who acknowledged that when the weather starts to get colder they get a lot of calls about the 'cruel' people who leave dogs outside. they're dogs. they have fur coats. get over it. he was sympathetic to kisu's situation.

kisu and i expressed our doubts and our suspicions to each other and pooka picked up on them, of course. she disappeared into her room and came out proudly brandishing a 'writing exercise' that said:

there is a mean lady next door. she is ugly and stupid. i want to kill her.

although it was funny in a very dark, macabre, and misspelled way, i'm disturbed by it. where did she get this idea of killing people over such a thing?

we're waiting to let dugan go until kisu's brother and mother can see the dog one more time, but i'm getting antsy because i don't want any more incidents with the police. also, i don't want him to suffer any more than he already is. he needs some mercy.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

who's in first?

pooka really enjoys school, except for the getting out of bed part. she likes her teacher, most of the kids, buying lunch, riding the bus, and the work. except the work is too easy.

she brought home some reading books one day and i internally ridiculed the difficulty level. okay, not so internally. pooka agreed with me and i let her send an email to her teacher. this sparked a somewhat defensive response from said teacher. i had to apologize and smooth things over to let her know we weren't questioning her teaching skills or planned curriculum. however, we do hold pooka to some high standards and we expect her to be challenged at school lest she become bored and get into trouble.

at the same time this discussion was taking place, the principal sent home a letter informing us that the first and second grade classes were crowded enough that they had decided to skim kids from each class and create a blended class. parents were asked if they wanted their children put into the blended class. assuming that the work might be more advanced, kisu and i jumped at the chance to put pooka there. the current teacher agreed with us. when we asked pooka if she would like to go, she responded, "i need the more challenging work."

there was much email communication with the teacher and the principal. the whole process, as the parents saw it, took a week. monday they informed and we requested. wednesday there was an informational meeting (which we couldn't make, of course, because of this cursed commute), thursday was selection day, and the following monday the first day of the new class.

to notify parents if their child was selected they sent home a smiley face postcard. kisu said it was like trying out for football: your locker had a red ribbon or a green ribbon to let you know if you made the team.

of course, pooka was selected. she was very excited and we were extremely proud. not only that she was able to handle the change and the potentially difficult work, but that she was looking for that challenge. in our younger years, kisu and i would both have said thanks but no thanks. why should i work hard when i can coast and still get by? nowadays, our attitudes have changed (in some respects) but we are thankful that pooka is showing a more eager approach to education than we did.

she is technically still in first grade, and the principal has said that at the end of the year she will progress to second. the curriculum in her class, however, is supposed to be more individualized than in the others (a blend of montessori and public schooling?), so we are hopeful that, if the situation warrants, there will be testing to determine her appropriate place for next year.

some people would caution against children skipping grades as it can lead to social awkwardness, but i don't foresee any problems. pooka is already one of the oldest kids in her grade, thanks to a late birthday, but she is also a very mature kid. even before the medical situation that forced her to associate with grownups 99 % of the time, she was mature for her age.

she is now in her second week in the blended class and is doing well. they do split the kids up for the special activities, like computer lab and gym, but otherwise they mix together. there's not really that much difference between first graders and second graders, anyway.

now, if only we could figure out how to get her to wake up pleasantly in the morning...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

still hanging around

well, at least he got a thorough bathing, and a blow-dry, no less! kisu complained that dugan's shampoo is fancier than his (more expensive, too!)

since the bath, i have deigned to let him stay in the house. kisu thinks i'm getting sweet on him, but that's not the case. i don't have anything against the dog personally (?), but i know what's best for him is not lingering in pain. his imminent demise notwithstanding, i can't in good conscience make him sleep in the 40 degree weather. he spends all day outside as it is.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

fashion week

Friday, October 3, 2008

bocce 2008

it's time once again for the company bocce charity challenge. for the third year in a row we will be changing one player. this year jon is the lucky rookie and our team name is wombat flugtag.

we had a very slow start in the first match against the fried chicks, at one point down 11-3, but we managed to come back and eke out a 21-17 victory.

the next match was played under inclement conditions. i was freezing! it didn't help my sinus infection any, especially since i forgot my hat. this match was a see-saw battle through the halfway point until we finally got some momentum. we beat balls of fury 21-14.

our third opponent was crouching bocce, hidden ewald. movie title names are quite popular this year, with entries including no bocce for old men, and there will be bocce. it makes a nice diversion from the endless testicular references.

onto the match. it was a hard fought contest, with mutual commiseration over the poor court condition. there was also a lot of laughter even between teams, which is nice because some teams take this tournament waaaaay too seriously.

it's for fun and charity, people. (and for getting out of the cubicle for an hour and a half.) ultimately, we won 21-17, helped in large part by a round where we actually scored 4 points (the maximum). that never happens.

so we head into the weekend feeling pretty good and looking to rest up for the second half of the tourney. it's only gonna get tougher from here.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

chicken giggles

bug is, as so delicately described by the daycare director, a rough-and-tumble girl. that's just a nice way to say bully. this is no surprise to us.

we dropped bug off at school this morning at the same time as one of her best buds, connor. when i returned to the truck, i reported that bug ran immediately to her favorite teacher and pooka gasped in surprise. "really? but connor's here, i thought they would get together and do crime."


this afternoon on my way to pick up kisu, i had a chance for a laugh. traffic was stopped in the middle of the road to allow an electric wheelchair to cross. (this was not why i laughed.) the humor entered a few seconds later when i realized that there were now two electric wheelchairs traveling the same street on opposite sides. like a race. because i'm so not-competitive (yeah, right) i started cheering for 'red' who was on my side of the road.

i never did find out who won, or even if they were heading for the same destination since i reached the intersection well before they did. i'm fairly certain they were, though, and i just know in my heart that one of them was taunting the other in victory.


pooka is so proud of being a big girl and going to elementary school, but she is still getting used to the routing of collecting her own things and ferrying them back and forth daily. this week we wanted her to bring home the extra sweater and shoes she had at school. after two days of forgetting, i warned that another miss would earn her a note pinned to her shirt. she was distraught at the prospect. of course, she tends to get distraught easily.

sure enough, the next day she forgot. so today i pinned a note to her shirt. she was mortified. i felt sorry for her thinking that she would be ridiculed by her classmates all morning until the teacher removed the note. i didn't really think they would even care, but she was certain they would. the two things i was certain of? the items would come home and she will never forget them again.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


kisu's mother, who has not been a part of our life since around the time pooka was born, has lately been in declining health. we hear this via adam, kisu's brother. although he lived out of state, he actually kept in touch with carol and had a general idea of her welfare. recently, her condition has become dire. it was necessary for the boys to get a court order and have her removed to a facility for evaluation and care. this is a long, complicated, emotional story for another time. this post is about the dog.

the dog who was left in the house when carol was removed. honestly, there was not a good place for him to go. adam is lodging with family and we, well we have a very territorial cat and an empty house for 11 hours of the day. adam was checking on him daily, but one day {details omitted} dugan was picked up by the humane society.

dugan is a 15 year old wheaten terrier who entered the boys' lives the year before i did. i don't know if the dog means more to kisu than i do, but you see the chronology of it. judging by his current appearance he has been neglected in the past couple years. he wasn't let outside and wasn't eating properly. the boys' hearts were broken. without a place to stay, the humane society was going to put him down. they weren't ready for that, so kisu brought him to our house. knowing that he was a mess, we gathered up every old blanket we could find and cleared a space for him in the florida room.

pooka was so excited, she wanted to make a nice bed complete with a pillow, great big water bowl, etc. i warned her that he was old, sick, and probably wouldn't be around very long. she seemed to accept that with an icy clinical attitude. (she gets that from me.) when he arrived, we weren't surprised to see matted hair, covered in excrement that was also in the back of my truck. after an impromptu hosing off, he didn't improve. he was now soggy, shivering, and even more pathetic looking. pooka asked, "what's daddy doing to my dog?"

you see what happened there?

the first hours were a mess. due to age or illness he couldn't control his bodily functions. having admitted that he probably would be put down, we started thinking sooner rather than later. he can't hear, his eyes are cloudy, he's unsteady on his feet and trips over the merest pile of leaves. after the first day with real food (graciously donated by the humane society) he started to look marginally better; he controlled his functions and was able to wander slowly around the yard. daily he has continued, incrementally, to improve.

we are approaching the tipping point of painful mercy. he looks like he might be saveable, but is it what's best for him? he is old, his eyesight won't return. how much medicine should he be given? what will his quality of life be?

this needs to be resolved quickly, before pooka (and kisu) gets too invested in him.

Monday, September 29, 2008

the renaissance passed us by

sunday i woke up obscenely early with a sinus headache and knew it was going to be a rough day. i called the doc and had some antibiotics wrangled because i self-diagnosed a sinus infection.

we met noel and nancy at the renaissance festival. it was quite a drive, with poor coty squished in between the girls in the back seat. i put my discomfort aside in hopes of getting lots of free chocolate: this weekend's theme at the ren fest. we didn't find any freebies, but they were selling lots of goodies. i was disappointed that the majority of them were not authentic. i'm pretty sure they didn't have krispy kreme back then. nor 'southwestern twisted egg rolls'. harumph.

we kind of had fun, when viewed through the perspective of the kids. well, really just pooka. bug was strapped into the stroller most of the time and coty was bored with waiting around for us. pooka made a wax hand (took about 30 minutes) and did the bungee jumper (after a 40 minute wait in line); see whence the boredom? when i realized i was going to have to pay a la carte for the bungee event, i told pooka that she needed to attempt some flips or something more than just jumping up and down. she can do that on her bed at home for free. she refused, but they have these helpers who strap the kids in and get them started; these people will 'help' the kids flip if asked by the parents. and so pooka did a flip. she had the meanest look on her face when she came around, but the smile peeked through just a little. she threatened to hit kisu and i both when she was done. i didn't think she would, but she hauled off and slapped me square on the belly. fortunately, i had a split second in which to flex my abs. (not a 6-pack, but firm, nevertheless.)

by that time, we were pretty much done. bug hadn't had a nap, but produced 3 poopy diapers, my head was about to explode, antibiotics notwithstanding, and we had spent plenty of money. thank goodness the entrance tickets were comps from Camp Casey.

we slogged back through the muddy forest trail to get to the truck and i relinquished the wheel to kisu. (yes, that's how bad i felt.) we made a pit stop at mickey d's (also not authentic, but a heckuva lot cheaper) where coty - that handsome devil - proceeded to flummox the girl enough that she charged me for 3 happy meals instead of 2 and forgot to give me the kids' drinks.

we bathed the girls when we got home and then i pretty much collapsed. time travel is exhausting work.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


we finally got our campaign lawn sign and bumper sticker today. i was a little disappointed that they didn't warn us that there was some assembly required. i put it together and pooka asked if she could put it outside. assenting, we watched her maneuver it through the door and march down the walkway, chanting, "john mccain, john mccain." kisu couldn't have been prouder.


after dinner, i washed bug up, but we used the shower head instead of a bath. she loves to stand in the water flow. we played a little body part identification game by telling her to put her toes in the water, her hands, her head. when we were done washing up, kisu told her to shake her dupah and she started waggling her butt and dancing. we laughed ourselves silly.


the second edition of family fitness night went well. pooka still is slightly uncoordinated with the jumping jacks, but actually managed to knock out two sets of ten sit-ups--real ones! she also did a lot better on the pushups, and is still excited about this activity. i am very encouraged by her enthusiasm. now if we could just get her to eat some vegetables.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

from boy to man

the last time pooka saw my nephew, she was afraid of him. not because he was intimidating, but merely because he was a he, and she was obsessed with her female cousins. also, i suspect he was a little unused to dealing with little girls.

tonight he showed up with granny and poppa for a visit and pooka couldn't get enough. surprisingly, he responded and they interacted in a genuine manner. bug even started to warm up to him. pooka showed him all her favorite things: her leotard, her garden (even though it was dark), her toys downstairs. she was very upset when he had to leave, but is looking forward to this weekend when he will be staying with us. he promised to draw her some awesome sidewalk chalk drawings.

this visit was a bit of a surprise to me, but it should have been foreseeable. coty will be shipping out on active duty later this fall and the grandparents wanted to see him. (not that i didn't, but i couldn't afford to buy him a plane ticket.) i'm sure he has an ulterior motive, as well, since we are a border state to the country where his (ex?) girlfriend lives.

nevertheless, i am glad to see him. i pray that it's not the
last time.

is it a job or a vocation?

sometimes people are called to their jobs, in much the same way people are called to ministry. it can become apparent at a young age or at any time in their lives, even while in the midst of another occupation they may think is their life's work.

when i was little, i had only one job ever in mind: i was going to be a veterinarian. inspired by my love for animals, and the james herriot books, i knew i would dedicate my life to keeping our furred friends healthy.

that all changed one fateful day. a job shadow at the local vet's office happened to coincide with the onset of flu symptoms, resulting in my nearly passing out while witnessing the vet's messy attempt to access a retriever's vein. the animal jerked when punctured and gouts of red blood were smeared all over, marring the appearance of the silky golden hair. whether in response to the unaesthetic scene before me or to the as-yet-unknown bug in my system, i wilted and slumped into a nearby chair. from that day forward, i started thinking about what else i was going to do with my life.

i still haven't quite figured it out.

that doesn't appear to be a problem my youngest child will have. she seems clearly destined for one job in particular, based on her obsession with toilets. yes, that's right. i can look forward to the proud day when bug becomes a master plumber.

when loosed in the house, her favorite place to hide is squished in behind the toilet. it doesn't matter whose house we're in, either. she will find the nearest toilet and wedge herself next to it. additionally, her favorite toy is the plunger. unsupervised, she will steal it from its resting place and run around the house with it. the other day she ran twice around the upstairs before i caught her and i had to pry the filthy tool from her chubby little hands.

well, at least i can take some consolation from the fact that plumbers are reputed to make good money. and with all the bullshit being shoveled the world over, she'll never have to worry about job security.

Monday, September 22, 2008

better late than never

this is the very picturesque patio of slow's barbecue joint, where we went tonight for our anniversary dinner, finally.

kisu had been looking forward to visiting this place for quite a while, so even though i am in the midst of a head cold we went. early in the day it looked like i would have to cancel, since i suffered a few hot flashes/waves of nausea i didn't think i'd survive. now i know what menopause will feel like.

after lunch i felt much more stable, although still stuffy. i banked on getting a real spicy sauce that would open up my sinuses and allow me to actually taste the food. that didn't quite happen, but i understand that the grub was really good. the most i can say for it is: unusual (the split-pea and okra fritter appetizer) and juicy (the pulled pork, pulled chicken, and brisket combo). kisu says it was all delicious and that we should definitely return. i'm all for that. i'd like another chance at some of the side options without the olfactory handicap. i did manage to save a significant portion of my dinner for leftovers, though. i think i'll keep them until wednesday in hopes that my head will clear by then.

the restaurant itself was very nice. there's a bit of an in-crowd feel going on that starts when you miss the door. we actually had a guy across the street holler over to us that we missed it. the door and the patio wall are very reminiscent of a stockade or an army fort. as you can see from the picture, that feeling is amplified by the arrow slits in the patio wall. inside, the design was industrial meets natural, as demonstrated in the bathroom: large metal slabs formed the stall doors with no effort made to hide the welds for the hinges, handles, etc. the sinks were two rectangular rough-hewn stone basins. it was a pleasing combination.

all in all, we had a nice evening, made all the better by the fact that when we returned home, the two kids were already in bed. i took a shower, some medicine, and promptly fell asleep watching the season premiere of heroes.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

saturday outing

we were to meet up with bubbe and zayde today at greenfield village. as is all too typical, i was running late. i dropped pooka off at dance class and went to get some groceries, only to get caught up in that eternal debate: paper or plastic? (just kidding, of course i use the store-branded canvas grocery bags.) but seriously, i did get lost in that place. this was not my usual store.

bottom line, i was 30 minutes late to pick her up and when i got there she was nowhere to be found. i was certain she'd be in the lobby balling her eyes out, making every parent in the place hate me. instead she was happily watching a class of young kids, not the least bit upset that i was late, until i brought it up. then she was all, "mom, why did a teacher have to come get me, why didn't you?"

so after that fabulous bit of parenting, i went home and busted kisu's chops for not being ready, etc. and we finally left for the rendez-vous. i had tried calling, but b & z had already left their house and i didn't have a cell number for them. halfway there, i suggested kisu call their son, but he said that it would take longer to get hold of b than to just get to the meeting point.

i was worried they wouldn't still be there, but a moment later i got a call from noel saying, "bubbe and zayde are waiting for you at the fountain." hearing noise in the background, i asked, "are you there, too?" turns out, noel and nancy were out for a portrait session and decided to spend the beautiful day at the village. how fortuitous! now see, if we had been there on time, they never would have caught sight of noel and nancy. the Lord works in mysterious ways, indeed.

so after we grabbed some historical grub, we headed straight for the carousel. because nothing goes better with a sated stomach than saccharine sweet (repetitive!) music and going round in circles. i couldn't even contemplate getting on that contraption, so i let the kids go with daddy while i brought bubbe up to date on the family drama (oy, the drama!) i had the camera with me, but i knew with zayde there that i wouldn't have to actually use it. and with noel's serendipitous presence, i had even less to fear. here are some of noel's shots (or nancy's):

no, i did not have another baby, that last shot is n & n's gorgeous girl; will you look at those eyes!

we spent the rest of the day wandering around and riding the train, an experience i do not recommend with a cranky bug. we wrestled the entire trip because she was determined to crawl the length of the train under the bench seats and i wasn't really so keen on her falling onto the tracks between cars.

our last stop of the day was heinz house. inside we saw the 57 varieties of goods that h.j. heinz & company sold. and here i thought '57' sauce was so named for its variety of ingredients.

Friday, September 19, 2008

oh, don't go there

i don't usually get political. mostly because i'm not sure how i feel about some issues, but every year i get pulled in a little more and start to understand a little more. when mccain tapped palin for veep, i got pulled in a lot more.

i have always like john mccain; i wanted him to be the guy back in 2000, but nobody listened to me. anyway, i will admit that part of my approval of palin is for her gender. women get the job done and it's time we started smacking some of those washington dipshits around.

i applaud her frankness and humility. i LOVE that she embraces her hockey mom-ness. that's totally what i would be if i had kids who wanted to play hockey. (there may be hope for bug, yet, although she may go straight for football.) i like that she's a no-nonsense, hands-on mom trying to get things accomplished on an even bigger scale. it couldn't hurt to apply a little domestic discipline and multi-tasking to the selfish, whiny brats involved in the national government.

and can you just picture her sitting down to middle eastern peace talks? "you two are not leaving this table until you hammer this out. i don't care who started it; nobody gets dinner until there's a workable treaty!" that'd be spectacular.

some people are slamming her for her conservative social views: the abstinence-only education (i disagree) and the anti-abortion stance in particular. when i read this article, a comparison started to crystalize in my mind.

i readilt admit to being a political novice, so forgive me for some sweeping generalizations but this is one facet of how i see it:
republicans want to legislate things like body rights (abortion, sex ed) and democrats want to legislate things like social conscience (welfare, national healthcare, etc.)

on the surface, both of these ideas should have great support. i mean, deep down who really wants to kill unborn babies? and who doesn't want to help their fellow man? and yet, each side decries the other for telling people how to live their lives.

what's funny to me, and not in a ha-ha way, is that the repubs are telling people (women) to respect themselves (e.g. not get pregnant until you're ready to keep and care for the child) while the dems are telling us to give our money to people who have not respected themselves (e.g. people who have conceived and birthed children they can't afford to feed, house, or medicate when necessary). i know there are always extenuating circumstances, but for the most part, you gotta agree with the adage 'an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.' (more crudely put: 'saying no will save the taxpayers thousands of dollars.')

as i said, both ideas are reasonable, but the loudest argument i hear is from the liberals saying that we have no right to tell a woman what to do with her body. well, ok, but you have no right to tell me to help my fellow man. nonetheless, you want to raise my taxes in order to do just that. i want to help humanity, but i feel it is my right to decide where my money goes and how much of it. you want to help humanity how? by condoning or even advocating irresponsible personal behavior and permitting 'oopsy-daisy' abortions? (again, i concede the possibility of extenuating circumstances.)

as a sidebar: liberals argue to keep church out of state, but from where does the idea of charity come in the first place? what argument is there for taking care of our fellow man other than "God told us to?" if we're going with a darwinistic approach, letting my fellow man starve or sicken to death is cleaning the gene pool and will allow me greater access to the resources i need to survive.

anyway, when i shared my conclusions with kisu on the way to work this morning, he clapped with (not quite evil) glee and patted me on the back, saying, "your conversion is complete. i have done my appointed job."

so i reached over, opened the passenger door, and said, "good, now get the hell out."

Thursday, September 18, 2008


today is my 9th wedding anniversary and 14th anniversary with kisu. it's amazing how quickly it's gone.

i'm almost getting to the point where i've been with him as long as i was without him. weird.

thanks to crazy schedules and lack of a babysitter, we're not really celebrating tonight. we don't know when we will get a chance to do so. with what's been going on here lately, we didn't even have a chance to get cards. remembering that we drive to and from work together, we didn't really have the privacy to shop. but that's okay because now we talk.

somedays we talk more than others. some days it's important stuff, some days it's celebrity gossip. some days i talk and he lets it flow over his ears (so he's a normal husband, right?). and occasionally we even talk about us. about how well we complement each other. how we communicate and balance each other. support, encourage, correct, and restrain each other when necessary. we're not a perfect couple by any means, but we have a pretty strong foundation on which we are building our family.

we have been rocked by some pretty serious blows, but we manage to muddle through (largely by the grace of God) and come out stronger and with our sanity mostly intact.

i love you, kisu, and here's to the next 14 years.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

the versatility of clothing

i gave the girls soup and grilled cheese for dinner. after setting them up at the dinner table, i retired to the bedroom to talk to kisu. he was feeling somewhat disturbed, having just returned from complicated events with his mother and brother. (a completely different post on that later, maybe, if he consents.)

anyway, usually the girls are able to feed and entertain themselves/each other so i wasn't concerned. moreover, pooka is quick to attract our attention when she feels bug is doing something she oughtn't do. i did give bug a spoon, despite being reasonably certain she would not be very successful with it. she is starting to learn, though, and needs the practice. besides that, it was clam chowder, so there were plenty of grabbable chunks for her to eat.

6 1/2 years of parenting have not exposed me to every situation, but i wasn't remotely surprised to hear that bug tried to emulate her sister by drinking from her bowl of soup. considering that she can't even successfully drink from a cup without wearing most of the contents, it was guaranteed that she would spill soup on her chest. knowing what i was coming back to didn't stop it from being funny, though. the (originally) white onesie was dark with liquid and spotted with chunks of clam and potato. it was, basically, a strainer.

the only real surprise about this event? that i didn't take a picture for future embarrassment. honestly, though, bug doesn't strike me as the kind of kid who will ever be embarrassed by the crazy crap she does.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

the divine mrs c

because i obviously can't get enough of myself. here is a clip that's celebrates how hott i am.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

the most fun you can have in the desert

this weekend we went to the kalahari resort courtesy of camp quality. they are awesome.

we had a great time, even kisu who had to be persuaded to join his loving family and tivo the football games. this was a great weekend to spend at an indoor waterpark, considering the downpour we got (and even a tornado touchdown not too far away).

the place was insanely huge. despite our net surfing, we were completely unprepared for the scale of this destination. i guess we never really registered the 'resort' component in the title. we were caught a little unprepared in a few ways. one, although i borrowed an underwater camera from noel, i forgot my dry camera; there were a lot of photo ops i missed, like a live tiger cub! also, no adult thought to check on pooka's packing skills and she spent the entire weekend wearing her bathing suit since it was the only butt-covering item of clothing that was acceptable to be publicly visible. (although there were 3 stores in the resort, none of them had girls' shorts.)

but i did bring the wet camera, as i mentioned, so let's see some of those shots:

as you can see, pooka has made significant progress on coping with her fear of going underwater.

kisu and i were excited about the fitness room and both planned to use it, but by the time we were done in the water saturday, all 4 of us could barely walk (and we needed to, our room was about half a mile away from the hub of the resort). we were all asleep by 10 that night.

instead of working out, we pigged out. the adults got our money's worth at the breakfast buffet, and i even managed to make up for pooka, who ate only a bowl of cereal. dinner saturday night was a celebratory atmosphere, so we polished off this monster (the desert, not the baby, although they are roughly the same size): click for the full picture.

even bug partook of this, mostly eating the bananas, although she did get a little ice cream and whipped cream. i fear that i did the greatest damage, however. (playing in the water must have countered all the indulgences, thankfully, because the scale was nice to me upon our return home.)

this was the kind of family getaway that we could all feel good about. there was a variety of activities to engage in that covered all ages. kisu got to watch the michigan game, poorly as that ended, while bug napped and pooka and i rode the bigger slides and a water coaster. it certainly worked nicely into my thrive resolution.

we even managed to extend the joy by bringing home some decadent goodies from the candy hut. kisu got a caramel toffee apple; not just your average caramel apple, this had several layers: caramel, toffee chips, and rich chocolate. between 3 of us, we only managed to eat half (oh, we did save the other half for another time). pooka selected oreo bark (white chocolate with cookie bits mixed in) and i got a chocolate covered nutter butter, a pineapple truffle that is so rich it will take me a week to consume it, and an apple pie caramel. that one was delicious, but by the time i was done, my jaw felt like it was going to fall off. it was approximately a 1.5 x 2 x 2.5" solid chunk of caramel. yikes!

it was on this lovely family excursion that the following things occurred: pooka described bug's hair as 'reese's hair'; the lighter parts are the peanut butter and the darker parts the chocolate. (we're not really candy-obsessed in this family, honest.) and bug finally mastered pooka's name. granted it's not her whole name, instead it's the oft-used 'ray-ray', but it is intentionally that, and not just a garbled attempt at her full name. and it is oh-so adorable. now, if we could just get her to stop smacking pooka, they might be friends.