Sunday, May 31, 2009

"UP" Review

We just got back from an impromtu evening at the movie "Up."

What's impromptu for us? Well,'s me looking at all the dirty dishes on the table and saying, "Hey, let's take the kids to the movies because I'm sick of talking about basketball." (unsaid: "I don't want to do the dishes now.")

And Tim says, "OK." (riveting I know)

Then I RUN upstairs, leaving all the dishes, find out that the movie starts in 14 minutes, and sound the call: "HEY KIDS!!! WE'RE GOIN TO THE MOVIES!!:

Even my almost 16 year old came running. They came running from the four corners of our quarter acre lot. It was a good test of their hearing, come to think of it.

When you make the decision to go this suddenly, the advantage is, that there's no time to argue about what movie the family is going to see. There's no time to nag the kids about what to wear....or whether their faces are just go dirty and fast.

Works for us.

"Up" was unique. I think I liked it. It did take me a bit to get over the fact that the characters don't have nostrils. And it was a little... ... ...poignant for a cartoon....but that was ok since it really wasn't aiming at the four and under crowd I don't think. The underlying themes were touching and all too real...about hopes, dreams, disappointments, aging and death. It didn't overly impress MY four year old, but then again she had high expectations.

In fact, Lily sobbed. She thought it was scary, and she's a pretty tough cookie given her older siblings and what she's been exposed through through them. She sobbed in my arms. Loudly. Strangely, her crying made me laugh. So she was wailing (loudly) and I was laughing...(also loudly).

It's worth the price of the ticket....although if you see it in 3-D, which we did because it cracks me up to see my family in the funny glasses, you'll pay a surcharge. I can see that this is the future since nobody can afford the popcorn anymore.

Oh...and they are coming out with Toy Story 3 next summer!!! Will that make me young again? Because I was very young and my kids were young when 1 and 2 came out, and just watching the preview made me feel like a decade rolled back. Funny how that is.

Anyway, thumbs up for "Up." It's a good one that the whole family can appreciate.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Garden Girl with the Revolving Wardrobe

Planting our Garden.

The perfect day, perfect seeds....and the perfect dress...a little bit country....

Beans and Corn, folks, beans and corn.....oh and carrots.

We planted a row of pole beans along the side of the house.
That's pretty much how I like to do things. I bought poles for
pole beans...oh about 6 years ago....never got the beans.

Tim threw the poles away last year, which means....yep....time for
me to NEED THEM. But you see, by PLANTING the beans before
I have (once again bought) the poles for them to grow on, I have created a DEADLINE.
And the world must know, I need DEADLINES to get ANYTHING done.

Lily was my helper. She poked them down.

And patted. She was good at the patting...until she got bored...
...after the third bean......

OOPS! I planted the whole row by the house....and forgot
I had a window there. HMMMmmmm.
It could be the new thing in window treatments.... "Crank and Pick."
That sounds bad.
Oh, HOW did I forget I had a window there as I stood there
and planted??? Well,......I just did. I didn't realize the problem
until I stood back to take the picture. Perspective. Story of
my life.

Lily got tired of being barefoot. So she found some shoes...

The Green Giant meets Betty Ann...

She refused to look at the camera anymore.
It's her "America's Next Top Model" pose...

Lily spilled the beans.
***Backstory: Andrew once got Lily to tell a secret, which
she'd JUST PROMISED never to tell, in twenty seconds flat. He was
alone with her, so we can only guess at his methods, but he
said she cracked easily.

Time for a wardrobe change. We call this
"Minnesota Home, Lake and Garden."
It's an easy look to get...any Mukluks will
do. But you must have white legs.

Chubbiness is optional...but cute.
I will update soon on my garden. The beans
sprouted a week after these shots were taken
which meant that that was the day
to go get the poles, which I did. BUT...Tim dropped
my camera in the lake pics yet. I'll be getting back to
you on that.

Tink Tink Tinkerbell!

What could possibly account for a face like this???

How about 22 four-year-old girls coming for a party!!!??

Actually, this seemingly innocent Princess Bike was
the culprit. It came in a zillion pieces and we could have
used a good "Tinker Fairy"...and that's what we got!...

Here she is in all her post party glory...


They flew in from hither and yon to celebrate Lily's
fourth birthday!

They made "Tinkerbell houses"....

....with intensity!.....

...there were feathers, glue, glitter and MUCH MORE!...

This little tink would have done this
until supper!

Every tink self applied make-up and as many tattoos
as she wished! By the way, these tattoos were from
Target and they were HARD TO REMOVE!.. I'm talking
sandpaper here.....sorry Mom's.... sorry for the glitter
in the hair too.....

We had a crazy Tinkerbell lady come and
lead us in dancing and games!

Everybody got "glittered" with "Pixie Dust" and crowned
with a Tinkerbell garland.

A Toothpick Lunch was served outside on the sort of
warm sidewalk. This was April in Minnesota after all!

I thought I had everybody, but my camera (not me)
cut off one on the left and two on the right....

So they get cameo's...cause they were there!

Here's the right wing. I need a panoramic lense next time!


My favorite picture of Lily. She LOOKS so sweet.!

Don't you love how everybody blows???

Opening all those presents was wonderful....well it was
wonderful for Lily. The crowd was pretty patient!

A quick thank you hug! And on to the next.

...and the Princess Bike.
before the pedals fell off....
and the steering wheel went crooked...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

We're BACK!

We ARE BACK! On Thursday, Tim and the boys headed north, to the Boundary Waters between Minnesota and Canada with our friend Tom and his three boys... eight men...three canoes....LOTS of power bars and jerky.....turtles, eagles, beaver, big fish, little fish.... I think I'll have one of the boys "guest post" about the trip. Maybe Timmy's perspective would be the most interesting since this was his first "Manly Man Weekend"!

Katie, Lily and I headed south on a southern Illinois roadtrip to meet up with my siblings and SURPRISE my Mom with a retirement party. She is retiring from a teaching career. So as soon as I get Katie's camera uploaded I'll show pictures. OUR trip included hours of singing "car songs"...(because the boys never put up with that for more than thirty seconds,) stops along the way whenever we felt like it, catching up with old friends, hotels with soft beds, gourmet meals.... and one disturbing hotel experience...I'll post that one on its own...

Last night, we all arrived back home and compared stories and scars...oh yes there were scars, and our family now owns one less cell phone and camera. But first the laundry.....goodbye for now!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cinderella, Bella and a Fella

Introducing: Cinderella (Lily),
Bella (Katie known as Katie Belle when she was LITTLE)
and a Fella (their dad)

It was a magical the our kitchen....

Cinderella comes down the stairs....

She smiles at Prince Charming...(Dad for now.) ...showing
her glistening smile with the blue wad of gum....


Higher and Higher!!!

OK, that's high enough....

...and down for a spin....

...and a finish!

Do you think she feels special?

But Cinderella isn't the only princess at the ball...Belle
takes her turn with a more contemporary ensemble....

....a little more swing.... a little more jazz.... (notice Cinderella
waiting SO patiently...)

...and the LIFT....sort of...not quite ready for Simon.

Thank you for coming to the ball.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


This is a recent picture of my refrigerator. What makes this unusual, is how EMPTY it is. In fact....

My butter tray.....

is EMPTY!!!

I don't think this has ever happened. There are just a couple things in life that I never let myself run out of:




...............and .....that's about it!

(The purpose of this post was not only to declare my hereditary love for butter and coffee (thanks Mom), but also to try out new formatting techniques. Thanks for your patience.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

It "Aint Broke" But I'm Trying to Fix It Anyway

My blog has a new address! It's If you are a follower, I'm not sure how this affects you. It works when I use the new address, but the following function doesn't now when I use the old.

There may be some funny things happening. I am playing.. I really am a change junky. If things are strange, bear with me!


Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Last of the D.C. Chronicles!!!

We gathered the crew together and headed to the car for the SAD drive to the airport. Everyone agreed that we needed at least another two days to see the things we'd the Spy Museum and the Holocaust Museum. We emptied our now UNCLEAN rental minivan (just use your imagination), FINDING the missing Declaration of Independence under the driver's seat, the loss of which had it's sorrowful owner in tears just that morning. We ditched the umbrella stroller which had pretty much been run into the ground and caught the shuttle. All smooth so far.

In fact, everything went just fine...UNTIL we got to security. Remember, we each had a maximum allowable carry-on duffel, plus an extra bag....including Lily. You can't fathom the confusion as we all ditched jackets and shoes, odds and ends, trying to get them through the conveyer system...all the while each holding onto a boarding pass. I vaguely noticed that Zachary was having some difficulty with his boarding pass up ahead, but he was a ways away since, as I've mentioned, he was testing his independence on this trip. In fact, on the flight to D.C. he had declared that his "one wish" this year was to fly somewhere all alone. So we figured he was handling it....

....until the security started walking a very white Zachary back towards us. Turns out they were quite upset because he was trying to get through on what turned out to be a receipt for our tickets instead of a boarding pass.

Now Tim and I are decent parents; we love and support our kids. But when we get flustered, we both have the weakness of...well....getting very flustered....which is exactly what happened.
The security guard demanded Zach's boarding pass.

Tim asked Zach what had happened to his boarding pass.

Zach told Tim that that one piece of paper (the receipt) was all he'd been given.

Tim replied that no, he'd surely given Zach the pass.

Zach was confused.

Tim searched his pockets.

We all checked our passes to make sure we only had one.

Tim asked ME what happened to Zach's boarding pass.

I pretended I didn't speak English and refused to make eye contact with the 100 people lined up behind us all.

Meanwhile my purse has gone through the metal detector along with two of my smallest children! (Well the kids went through the walk through thing, but you know what I mean.)

At this point, I became aware that another problem was sparking over on the other side of the detector with another security guard pulling Katie over to the side along with her shamefully oversized duffell.

I abandoned Zachary and Tim, both REALLY flustered by the way, and caught up with the other kids, where Katie's bag was being picked apart, dirty underwear and all.

I gave her the "look"....the "what now" look...and stood in suspense until the guard reached down deep and pulled out a .........SNOW GLOBE! Katie collects snow globes. I vaguely remembered her buying this one. Katie was about to cry thinking her snow globe was history....meanwhile, NOBODY had gotten through security since we'd clogged the whole thing up.

At this point I looked around and noticed that Lily was trying to climb the curved wall of the tunnel we were in and Tim and Zach were gone.

I grabbed Lily by the hem of her dress and hauled her to a chair, putting my knee on the edge of her skirt and turned to tell Katie that she was out of luck and should have realized that the snow globe had LIQUID in it! In fact, this was the moment when I mentally just gave up.

The security people must have realized that nobody intending to bomb a plane would create an incident of this magnitude, of this obviousness, so they somehow waived the snow globe and we headed to the gate, those of us who remained, anyway. I figured as long as I and the four kids left got home, that was ok...5 out of 7 isn't bad.
Thirty minutes later, Tim and a much meeker Zach showed up. Tim had left Zach's boarding pass in the machine, where it still was when they went back to look for it. They had again had problems because they had failed to get some lady's initials the second time through the line. We were the official scourge of the security department, and Zach decided he'd rethink the travelling alone concept for the next couple of years.

We weren't even phased when the voice on the loudspeaker announced that our plane had mechanical difficulties and our flight would be delayed by an hour. Par for the course. Tim took off to watch the end of the U.S. golf whatever, leaving me with a latte, Lily and a huge pile of luggage which we had to defend from a friendly little mouse who apparantly lived in the terminal and liked Easter chocolate. ...liked Easter chocolate a LOT!
I shall end with a picture of Lily, learning to play Old Maid. She really didn't like getting the Old Maid:
This was her reaction....
...each and every time she got the Old Maid.
They should print a warning on the box that this may be emotionally disturbing for children under the age of 4!
A few hours later, we were home safe and sound, our Washington D.C. adventures behind us, with many great memories, laughs and ideas for our next visit.
The End