Sunday, May 31, 2015


After church this afternoon, we went to Subway and got sandwiches and then went to the park for a couple of hours. It was kind of chilly (Houston says that he was shivering as we were eating), but by the time we left, it was quite lovely. (Of course, i was wearing long sleeves and a sweater, so i was probably warmer than the boys wearing t-shirts.)

The kids' favorite thing to do at the park is to ask for a challenge. That means that one of us adults has to think of something for them to do. For example: "Get from this thing here to that thing there without touching the ground." Or "Do this specific obstacle course." I'm sure that i can be directly blamed for this (I love obstacle courses!), but now i'm kind of cursing myself, because it's like the big-kid version of "Would you push me on the swings?" Once or twice, yes. A million times? NO! Go play! We're at a PARK, for goodness sake!

This afternoon i went to Goodwill to see if i could find some cute clothes for summer (I did! Success!), and then i came home and finally switched my closet over from winter to summer. While i had everything in piles on my bed, sorting and trying things on to decide what i should keep and what i haven't worn in years, Katrina came and sat on the bed to talk and give me opinion. In the process, i found about 4 shirts that i'd been given by Juanito or other random people that are just way too small. Katrina loved them, tried them on, and was thrilled that they totally fit her. (Women's size large. Fits Katrina perfectly. WHAT?!)

And then, as i was reading to the kids before bed, Juanito walked into the room with his hand held up over his head, blood smeared all over it, with a giant rag wrapped around it, and casually announced, "I cut my finger. I thought you might want to know." And then he was surprised when all of us reacted. He'll be fine. He just told me, "No, it's not bleeding anymore. Except when i poke at it."


Saturday, May 30, 2015

Rainy Saturday

Emma is usually the fastest eater on the planet. The general routine is this:
Me: "Emma? Are you hungry?"
Her: Ears perk up.
Me: Walks toward the basement door, behind which we keep her food.
Her: Follows hopefully.
Me: Opens door.
Her: Sprints to her crate, where she stands inside expectantly. If i take too long, she starts drooling.
Me: Scoop dog food into bowl, set down in crate.
Her: Immediately gobble up every morsel within about 30 seconds.

Today she wasn't very hungry. We gave her her breakfast and she basically ignored it for half of the day, and then ate it a little at a time, finishing it just around dinnertime.

Our assumptions (hopes) are that either she's sick from eating Katrina chapstick yesterday or she's just not feeling well from some random dog flu. Either way, besides the not eating and not being quite as energetic as usual, she's not actually sick enough for us to be terribly concerned. (I did have to assure Houston that it's not his fault - he was all, "Sorry, Emma! I gave you my flu!")

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

It rained nearly all day. It didn't pour or thunderstorm, but it just came down steadily all day. Houston and i played Phase 10. Katrina, Houston, and i played Skip-bo. I started reading "Anastasia Krupnik" to the kids and accidentally read about half of it. We watched "America's Got Talent." I read a little bit of "Call the Midwife" to Houston and then later a few other chapters to Juanito (who was busy drawing Katrina's teacher as a superhero).

So it was a good stay-inside kind of a day. 

Friday, May 29, 2015

The Bog

Zane's class had a field trip to a bog today. It was a beautiful day for it - sunny and warm - while we were there. (I stayed after the field trip to cover lunch before coming home. I walked in the door and about 3 minutes later, it started pouring. It rained the rest of the day. Best timing ever.)

Zane was awesome. There was one portion of the field trip where the kids were supposed to sit quietly for 5 minutes and observe what they see, hear, and feel. The other kids observed "quietly" by whispering loudly and running from one thing to another. Zane chose a spot a bit apart, sat down, and tried to actually observe. Him: "I think that it's because i want to be a scientist when i grow up." (He didn't like the part about having to actually write down his observations, though. Paperwork! Blech!)

Thursday, May 28, 2015


After the past two days of throwing up repeatedly and feeling generally awful, Houston slept deeply today until 2:30, when he woke up feeling much better. He might actually make it to school for one day this week. Yay! I was just starting to actually worry about him, and woke him up a few times to make sure that he wasn't ... i don't know... something bad. Just to make sure that he was okay and was drinking a bit, i guess.

I might have broken my pinkie toe this afternoon. I was leaping up to unlock the (already, it turned out, unlocked) door, and i slammed my toe into the corner. It immediately swelled up and turned bright red and hurts like crazy. Stupid toe. So i've been limping around pitifully ever since.

Juanito finally broke out his scooter. He took the two healthy kids for a ride around the block and then fiddled about with it for the rest of the day. So i think it's working? Probably?

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


Katrina got to go to Michigan Adventure for a field trip today. It was her first time at a real amusement park, and her first time to ride actual roller coasters. She was completely nervous/excited this morning when i brought her to school.

They didn't have the best day for it - a bit rainy and chilly - but the thunderstorms that were predicted never showed up, so at least they got to go and the rides weren't all closed down for lightning. The water park opened for a little while in the afternoon when it warmed up a bit, so they even got to go on the water rides. Yay!

Katrina loved it. She went on everything she could, even the ones that went upside-down (which she was nervous about), and she thought it was all completely awesome. Except for the lunch. "They had hot dogs and chips and macaroni salad and ice cream." (Me: "Was it good?" Her: "Well, i liked the ice cream.")

The school did their second annual salmon release today. I'd planned to go, but Houston was still sick and he seemed sad about being left home alone, so i stayed home. Juanito and Zane had fun, though. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


Houston was home sick today, and midway through the day he came downstairs to tell me that he had been wiggling his tooth, and now it was bleeding.

Me: "Is it a baby tooth or a permanent tooth?"

Him: "A baby tooth."

Me: "Okay. Good. Why are you wiggling it?"

Him: "Because there's nothing else to do."
          (Starts wiggling the tooth again.)

Me: "Um, so...stop wiggling it! When it starts bleeding, that's your body's way of saying, 'Could you not do that?'!"

There are so many things that my kids do that just defy explanation. 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day

It's Memorial Day! We started the day by going to the parade, which my niece was marching in this year. Her band - the only band, actually - was one of the highlights. (Well, for me. The candy was the highlight for the kids, i think.) It was a really long parade; like, an hour and a half long. But it's really the only parade we go to most years, and the kids really like it, so it's worth it.

Katrina went to her cousin's house for the rest of the morning until afternoon, and came home EXHAUSTED. She had a sleepover on Saturday night, so she was already behind on sleep, and i think that adding hours of swimming to sleep deprivation were just too much for her. She took a nap for over an hour after she came home.

Zane and Juanito took a bike ride downtown (where they got caught in a downpour). Houston read his book about mythology while i took a nap, and then he and i played a rousing game of Phase 10. (Which i won. Barely.)

And then Beth came over and we grilled hamburgers and made tater tots and had fruit and sat at the picnic table on the back porch and just enjoyed the beautiful weather. The rain had gone by then, and it was just lovely to sit outside and soak up the springtime weather. Yay!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Soul Pose

This morning Juanito, Beth, Keren, Stephanie, and i did yoga downtown for an event called "Soul Pose." It was early. So, so early. (Okay, not really that early, but i am not a morning person, and it is a Saturday. So.... Early.)

I think that it was a fun event? There was confetti and body paint to paint yourself like a warrior, and everyone sat in a circle in the middle of Calder Plaza. But i'm not actually good at yoga at all, and i kind of felt like a big, dumb idiot for a lot of it. Toward the end, my entire body was shaking while the instructor was all, "Okay, now hold that pose, but lift your left leg up behind you...." And i was all, "Are you kidding me?" I flopped down and took a couple of pictures as a cover for the fact that i'm a loser. On the bright side: I got a few pictures while we were doing yoga. Yay? But it was with people i like and who are fun, and it was a good workout. So i guess it's a win.

And then Beth and Keren and i went to see a movie that we were all excited to see staring Colin Firth, and it was ... not what i'd expected. It was partly funny and awesome, but incredibly violent and awful as well, and i can't say that i'd ever recommend it to anyone. Ever.

Wow. I sound incredibly grouchy, considering that i did things that i actually wanted to do today. My only excuse is that i'm tired. Apparently being tired makes me grouchy. Sorry.

Friday, May 22, 2015


The kids had a half-day of school today, and i realized that...there are only two more weeks of school remaining. What?! I think that that would feel a lot more realistic to me if it wasn't still quite chilly half of the time. The school year is definitely coming to a close, though. Yesterday was field day. Today was the talent show. The kids have been taking standardized tests like crazy. There are less and less days of actual classes.

There's also less homework, to which i say, "Hallelujah!"

We put away all of the winter coats today, and in the meantime we sorted through some of the spring coats (and older winter coats) to see what we should keep and get rid of. The kids have completely outgrown both raincoats. And Katrina finally has enough distance from her favorite pink winter coat to allow it to be given away, which is great, but also a little bit sad. Katrina gets really attached to her clothes and then gets all sad about outgrowing them...but then, i also get kind of attached to some of the kids' clothes and feel all sad about them outgrowing them. I save some things for them for their kids, but they're not going to want boxes and boxes of old clothes to inherit, so we can't keep everything. Sigh.

Tonight we broke from the pizza-movie night tradition and did pizza and games. I love playing games. Love. I'm happy that my kids seem to have the same appreciation for games that i do. Yay!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

I'm spacey, especially in the morning.

I forgot to take a single picture today, so Juanito volunteered. This is the selfie he gave me.

This morning, as we were driving to school, i remembered that i needed to go to the dentist's office to get my bite guard readjusted. So i dropped the kids off, ran back home, grabbed the bite guard, drove back to the dentist (which is right by school) and walked into the office just on time for my appointment. I said hello and sat down, and a minute later, one of the nice ladies who works there was all, "Um, Karen? Are for a reason? Like...did he tell you to come in this morning?"

I replied something brilliant like, "Um...I...think i have an appointment?"

So she looked it up, and said, "Right! At 2:30 this afternoon? Uh, remember how we'd talked about doing it in the morning, but then we landed on afternoon?"

RIGHT. Dang it. So i got to go the dentist's office twice today. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Dentist.

Zane and i had dentist appointments today. That look on Zane's face? That's how i feel when i'm getting my teeth cleaned too.

Both Zane and i have crazy strong gag reflexes, so we both have a really hard time with X-rays, and both of us hate having the hygienist's hands in our mouths for ages. I'm not sure about him, but to me, it just feels similar to claustrophobia - i can't breathe or think properly, and every single time i can, i have to quickly close my mouth and swallow and breathe quickly before she goes back in. I'm sure i'm a joy to work on.

Neither of us has any cavities, which is great. But apparently i clench my teeth something awful, because both the hygienist and the dentist told me that i've worn a giant crater into one of my fillings - the biggest crater they've ever seen. Plus i've started to crack another filling. On the bright side, it's just fillings that i'm destroying and not the actual teeth yet. On the downside, i'm completely wrecking my dental work. So that sucks.

I have a bite plate that i'm supposed to wear at night, but it's really tight and uncomfortable right now. I'm bringing it in tomorrow to get it readjusted, so then i should be able to wear it at night. If i can keep myself from gagging for long enough to fall asleep.

Lots of random things.

Emma seems to think that it's her duty to keep me from actually folding the laundry. She sits in it, and then, when i start folding it in piles, she walks all over the piles and knocks everything over. I don't like doing laundry on the best days - it's not my favorite chore - so having to fold things multiple times is just...annoying. It's a good thing that she's so stinking cute. And cuddly. And sweet.

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We had book club tonight, with only four of us actually there. Beth, my mom, my sister, and me. Our book this month was a good enough book, especially compared to other books we've read for book club, but it wasn't one we could actually get a lot of discussion from. So we talked about it a little bit, and then veered off-topic and talked about everything else under the sun for a couple of hours. I like my people. I like that we can talk about books and religion and other books and random stuff for a long time.

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Katrina came home today, weepy because her arm with her tetanus shot still hurt. "I can't raise it any higher than this without it hurting!" And i inwardly rolled my eyes a little bit at her drama, but i also patted her back gently and sympathized, because tetanus shots DO hurt really bad.

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One of the things that our pediatrician said yesterday is that neither of the kids has started puberty yet. What that means for Houston is that he's probably going to be 6'2 or 6'3. (Houston was pretty happy about that.) (It also means that Houston still has absolutely no interest in girls as anything beyond friends. I'm sure that this is somewhat disappointing to the girls that he's good friends with.)

When we were at the concert last night, it was so obvious that Katrina is still just kind of a little girl, while some of her classmates are clearly more mature. She moves and thinks and sits and dresses and acts like a little girl yet, while some of the other girls in her class are wearing makeup and flirting with boys and wearing more grown-up dresses and acting like they're teenagers. And...i'm really okay with her holding off on that puberty thing.

And as long as i'm adding stuff that the pediatrician said: He was all, "Well, Katrina. You're tall. But i'm sure you already know that!" And she and i both said, "Um...kind of?" Because the majority of her friends are taller than she is. He predicts that she'll be around 5'6. The perfect height, in my opinion! Short, but not too short.

Monday, May 18, 2015

A Doctor's appointment and A Band concert

All three kids had doctor's appointments today - just checkups, because it's been a couple of years. And all three of them have better-than-perfect eyesight (20/16 for everyone!), and their hearing is perfect, and their blood pressure is perfect, and they're just all-around fantastically healthy and awesome.

Dr. H and i talked a bit about Zane and ADHD, and we both agreed that, yes, he's definitely relatively ADHD. It's close enough to the end of the school year at this point that we're going to wait until fall to decide if we need to do something about it, but in the meantime, i feel like having that in my mind - that his pediatrician agrees that this behavior is ADHDish - gives me maybe a little bit more patience with certain behaviors of his.

Poor Katrina had to get three shots, and she was just a puddle of sadness. She wept while getting shot, she laid on the table and wept after getting shot, she rode home in the car with giant tears in her eyes, and she continued to tear up occasionally all night long because her arms continued to hurt. She's not a big fan of pain. She's a delicate flower, after all.

Within 5 minutes of being home, Katrina lost a tooth, which immediately made her burst into tears again. I think that at that point, she was just overwhelmed enough with sadness that she couldn't bear even one more thing. Even though losing a tooth is happy, it was just too much.

And then tonight, Houston and Katrina had a band concert. It's the only concert of the year for Katrina, and she was really excited about it. (Before her shots, she made sure to ask the nurse and the doctor separately if she's still be able to play the flute.) Both kids did awesome.

We got there early so that we could have good seats. We scouted out where to sit to have the best view, making sure that we'd be able to see both kids. And we had awesome seats! Until the stupid band director stuck a stand right in-between us and Katrina just before the concert started, and then had kids stand right there in our way for the entire concert. Grrr!

We could see Houston, though. Yay! He was hilarious, looking directly at us and making slightly silly faces when he had long enough rests during the songs, and then going back to playing his sax right on cue. It's awesome to see him really having fun and being comfortable on stage, because a few years ago, he would try to hide and would barely participate at all. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Shouldn't empathy have kicked in yet?

Zane had to come with me today to bring the kids to church for their youth church thingy, and he first begged me to try to find someone to babysit him, and then cried that he just didn't want to go, and then begged to take the tablet with him so he could play it. Finally, i said, "Geez, Zane. Fine. Take the tablet, but i was kind of looking forward to dropping the kids off and going somewhere with you and sitting and chatting. And i feel a little bit rejected right now."

I wouldn't let him play while the kids were in the car (NO! Be social!). So we dropped the kids off, ran to Meijer for a few minutes, and then, immediately upon leaving Meijer, he was all, "Can i play the tablet NOW?"

Me: "Sigh. Yes. But Zane, when you're out with one other person and you start looking at something electronic, be it a phone or a tablet or a computer or whatever, you're basically telling the other person that they're not interesting or important enough for you to want to pay attention to. And that hurts their feelings."

Zane: "..."

Me: "Zane?"

Zane: "..."

Me: "ZANE?"

Zane: "Huh?"

He missed my entire lecture, because he was too busy playing on the tablet. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Girls on the Run

This morning was Katrina's Girls on the Run 5K. Beth, Juanito, the boys, and i all went to cheer her on. When we left her at the meeting spot, she was kind of sad-seeming. Nervous? Tired? I'm not sure. I don't think she knew for sure why she was sad. But by the time she ran past us, very soon after the start, she was all smiles and happiness. And as she ran past at the end, she was completely excited, fist in the air, running all-out.

The GOTR 5K is the best 5K. (Especially this year. Last year it was a little bit horrible, because they held it in the worst spot ever.) But this year the kids got to run to the finish line with people lining the street, cheering them on. They all get the number 1 for their bibs, and nobody seems to know or care what the finish times are - if you finish, then you're awesome. There are girls who run full-out the entire way and girls who barely make it to the finish line. And people cheer for them all. And they all look so proud of themselves at the end of it. YAY!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Remembering Tim

Today is the anniversary of our friend Tim's death. Time has healed the hurt, mostly, and thinking about him isn't painful anymore, but, as Beth says, I'll always have a Tim-shaped hole in my heart.

Today i was looking at pictures that i took of him, and a couple of things struck me. One: I always feel like we were friends for years and years, but we really only knew each other for about 2 years. Maybe even less. But Tim became such a really close friend so quickly that it feels like much, much more. And two: We did a lot of really fun things in those two years.

I can't even remember exactly how we became friends. I know that i first met him on my unit at Wedgwood, when he came down to talk about one of the kids that was moving from his unit to my unit, sat in the office, and then just ... stayed there and talked to me for an hour or so. I know that Juanito started doing Young Life with him and Aaron and Phil, and the four of us would go out every Thursday night afterwards to Village Pizza. And i know that he was one of about four people who came to our (very awkward because our boss showed up too) Halloween party. But i'm not sure, exactly, when in there we became friends.

But once Tim was our friend, we were friends. He was over at our house nearly every single day, and on the days that he wasn't, i remember talking to him on the phone for hours and hours, especially during the months after a tragic accident at work that devastated me. There's a corner of my house where the couch used to be, and i would lie on the couch and talk to him on the phone, and he would make me laugh when i didn't think it was possible.

Juanito had Tuesdays off, and after work, Tim started coming over. And then Mark. And then Beth. And then it just kind of became a thing. For a couple of years, we had "Tuesday nights" at our house, where anyone from Wedgwood was welcome to come over after 10:30 pm. Lots of us worked second shift, so we were just getting off work, and people would come over and play games and watch movies and shoot bb guns and make pretzels and play computers and generally just hang out and talk and laugh a LOT. People would stay until 2 or 3 or 4:00 in the morning, and Tim was always, always one of the last ones to leave.

We went to Chicago one Saturday. Juanito and Tim and Beth and Phil and i all piled into our little car and drove down and spent the entire day walking all over the entire city. We got city passes and went to the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Sears Tower, and, possibly, the Art Museum. We walked and walked and walked, and by the time we left, everyone was completely exhausted. But it was SO MUCH FUN.

A huge group of us went to Cedar Point the summer that the Millennium Force came out, and he and i rode in the front seat. It was awesome.

Juanito, Tim, and i drove down to Florida, almost without any planning at all. He was all, "Hey! I'm going to Florida in two weeks! Want to come?" And we did. He took us to his favorite spots, including a weird zoo for abandoned exotic animals where he totally pet a tiger.

We had a campout on my aunt and uncle's beach one night.

We'd walk around downtown in the middle of the night. (In fact, he was the one who actually showed me downtown for the first time.)

We towed his van - Juanito driving one car and me the other, because Juanito and i had lots of practice with our own cars - for miles and miles one night after it broke down.

He and i made fun of all the people playing on their computers at the New Year's Eve party the year it turned over to 2000. And then, within a month or two, he turned over to the dark side and got sucked into computers too.

He was Juanito's best friend.

And really, no matter how many other things i can remember or say about him, that last one is the most important. He was our friend, and we miss him. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

In which Beth says nice things about me that may or may not be true.

Beth offered to do a guest post for me! So here it is!

So, last week was Karen's birthday and in the weeks before I was completely caught up in planning Accolades (a giant work event), which incidentally took place on her actual birthday. Boo! She was a really great sport about it all. She helped me with so much in the weeks leading up to the event, even though she doesn't even work at Wedgwood! Just because she is nice and wanted to help me! That is who she is. She totally took the time to come (ON HER BIRTHDAY!) and celebrate me for my years of service at work and support me in the crazy of that big event.  She even brought me amazing, beautiful, thoughtfully picked flowers! This girl. She is the best. Anyway, due to those events beyond my control, I wasn't able to fully celebrate her in the way that she deserves to be celebrated. So now I have found an opportunity to try to make up for that and am taking it! Karen always does special birthday posts for all of her family and close friends and I believe that it's about time someone did one for her. And it's now Mother's Day, another day where she deserves to be totally celebrated for her awesome-ness! Here is my attempt, late though it might be, to share with the world (or at least the people who read her blog) how much I adore her and some of the things that make her one of the best friends I've ever had! 

I have known Karen for 15 years but I really always have this feeling that I've known her since birth. When I see pictures of her as a child or teenager or in college I'm usually a bit surprised that I'm not in the pictures! She is one of those friends that nearly immediately became one of my closest and most trusted people. Maybe partially because we worked together in the crazy, intense setting of Crossroads, but I think it is so much more than that. We clicked nearly immediately and haven't stopped talking endlessly about everything and nothing since! Karen is one of the people that I can spend hours with and then promptly call as soon as we are apart and STILL somehow have lots to say! She reached out to me when I was a newbie and even though I was kind of nervous to make a new friend, she put me at ease right away. Karen does that. With sincere questions and an incredible listening ear, she draws people in and makes them feel comfortable and important. She truly cares about the people in her life and wants to really know her friends and family on a deeper level. I think I could tell right away that this was someone who would become a kindred spirit. My very own Anne Shirley! 

Karen is also really, really fun. Like, really fun. And we don't even have to be doing anything spectacularly epic in order to have fun! Normal, everyday things like grocery shopping or zumba become an event when done with her! And her sense of humor! So clever. So funny. So intentionally (and unintentionally) dorky! She can make me smile even when I'm in the lowest of moods. Karen is also a born optimist and that has been such a gift to me through the years. I tend to see the glass half empty a lot of the time and Karen definitely tends to see it half full. She encourages me to look at the bright side and often points out the places where thankfulness is the more appropriate response than my complaining attitude. But not in a way that is condescending at all. It's totally edged with empathy and concern, but points me in the right direction gently, and yet firmly.

She is also incredibly talented and very, very smart. And super creative. And kind-hearted. And just really lovely. Inside and out. Each of these qualities on their own are great but they combine in such a way that makes Karen uniquely her and such a special person. She has so much to offer and does so freely. She can do just about anything once she sets her mind to it. She will always put others first and think of their feelings even if it might inconvenience her. Karen doesn't ask for the spotlight and rarely gets it, although in my opinion she is the real rock star. She just lives in such a way that supports and encourages and allows others to shine. 

Through the years I have watched Karen be an incredible wife. A-mazing. Her love and commitment to Juanito is so deep and so strong. She and Juanito as a couple are one of the best examples of  what marriage is supposed to be and I'm so grateful to be able to observe their relationship close up and learn some of what it takes to stick it out for 20+ years! They are so steady and sure but also can totally act like love-struck newlyweds on a regular basis!

 I have also watched Karen become a mother and take on that role full force. Karen is hands down one of the best moms I have ever known. She is so intentional as a parent. One of the things that has always stood out to me is how she listens so carefully to her kids, engages them and does her best to answer their questions. Karen is also really patient and takes the time to make things extra special for her kids. She goes above and beyond to help her kids have amazing experiences and learn how to live the best kind of life. Her love for them shines through in so many ways. Karen also doesn't do any of this for the praise or recognition. She just is who she is and does so much without any expectation of receiving something in response. Her selflessness, not only with her kids, but with her friends and family as well, is inspiring to me. 

I could go on and on and on...the talent and creativity and intelligence and beauty...basically, she is just simply amazing!!! I am so thankful that she reached out and befriended me all those years ago. My life is so much better with her in my life. Happy Birthday & Happy Mother's Day, dearest Karen! I love you!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Detroit! And Canada! Yay!

Beth's mom took us to Pancake House this morning for breakfast. The kids were in seventh heaven - they'd ask, "Can i get orange juice?" and i'd say, "You can just drink water," and Beth's mom would say, "They can have orange juice! You can get whatever you want!" And then their faces would light up, and they'd ask, "Can i get bacon?" and she'd say, "SURE!" It was like they'd just met their fairy godmother. They're getting so spoiled that i'm pretty sure they're never going to want to go home with me.

I'm getting a little bit spoiled too, though. I got this thing for breakfast called a "giant apple," and it was just delicious. It's like a Not a pie or a pastry or anything you can describe, but completely delicious. But not overly healthy, probably.

After breakfast, we made a quick stop at Trader Joe's (because we can!) and then came back to pack lunches and get what we'd need for the day. I grabbed my passport and the kids' birth certificates, and then asked Beth, "You have your passport, right?" And she looked up in shock and said, "No! I never even thought about it!" So sad! I'd have just skipped the whole "going to Canada" part, except that my kids were completely, completely excited about getting to go to another country AND about going through the giant tunnel under the river, so ... it would have been mean to skip it.

On the bright side, most of the day, we spent not in Canada. We went to see where Beth grew up, and we drove through a little bit of Detroit. (It really is so sad, seeing the buildings that are just in utter collapse. It honestly does look like a city that's been bombed, but only in certain areas.) And then we drove to Belle Isle.

Apparently the Grand Prix is going to be on Belle Isle in the near future, so the track is all set up (I got to drive on the Grand Prix track!) and the bleachers are up, and it's kind of confusing to drive around right now. But it's such a great park! There's an aquarium and a conservatory (both free!) and a giant playground and just lots of great old buildings and spots to walk around and see. The aquarium is in this cool old building, and the conservatory was just beautiful. There's still a lot of work to be done, but it's going to be so amazing when it's finished.

And then we dropped Beth off downtown, and then we drove through the tunnel. The kids thought it was amazing - especially the part where the speed limit changes from mph to km/h. So exciting! We stopped at a little park, and the kids leaped out of the car and yelled, "I'm on Canada!!!" (Me: "In Canada." Them: "ON Canada!") And then, as soon as they weren't overwhelmed with excitement, they all withered and asked if we could please go home now, because they were so thirsty!!!

So i drove us to a little convenience store, where we bought bottled water (Canadian water! Yay!!!), which they drank reluctantly (They don't like bottled water at all, preferring "good water." Y'know - tap water.), perked up, and agreed that they could make it a little bit longer. We walked along the river, through a sculpture garden, mostly so that we could spend more time in Canada that just the drive from the tunnel to the bridge back to the USA.

And then back through customs. (The customs officer on the way back in was much more cranky than the one out, and the kids were full of stories of, "He made us open the door to make sure there were kids in there!") Customs took forever coming back into the US, whereas it took no time at all leaving. Either Canada is fine with us sneaking in, or the US is just crankier. Or something.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Falling in Rivers and Heading to Detroit

As i was leaving the school after covering lunch today, i ran into Houston standing by the office. He was soaking wet. Drenched from his neck down. 

Him: "Hi Mom! I fell in the river!"
Me: "You...fell in the river? What river?"
Him: "Behind the school. There was a ball in it, and i almost had it, but then the mud slipped and i fell in. So would you go get me some clean clothes?"
Me: .....
Him: (Endearing smile.)
Me: "Oooo! Hey! Your suitcase is in the car! Yay! Wear one of those outfits, and i'll pack you another outfit when i get home."
Secretary: "Your children. If it's not one thing, it's another!"
Me: "Sigh. I know! I still have the answering machine message saved from 4 years ago, when you called me to tell me that Houston had thrown up because he swallowed a whole carrot on a dare."
Secretary: "Bwahahahahaha! I don't remember that!"

We live to amuse. 

After school, Beth and i picked up the kids, and we headed to Detroit. Beth's birthday present to Juanito was to take the kids and me away for a weekend so that he could have some alone time. The kids are positively giddy about going to Detroit. 

As we got closer, they got more and more excited. Zane started asking questions like, "Are we in Canada yet?" (We're going to Canada tomorrow, so it's not a completely stupid question. And "Are we downtown? Because those are really tall buildings!" And "Is that the Great Wall of China?!" (No. That IS kind of a stupid question. That's in CHINA.)

We're staying with Beth's parents, who are truly lovely people. The kids have made themselves right at home, and Zane has fallen in love with a clown that i'm convinced is going to kill us all as we sleep.

Zane's sharing my bed tonight. He was all, "I'm going to sleep with him!"

Me: "Um. No. Freaking. Way."

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Pulling teeth

The end of the school year cannot come fast enough, because this boy right here? Is going to kill me dead.

He hates homework, which ... yeah, i hate homework too. But he hates it enough that he just doesn't do it. He either "forgets" his worksheets at school or just hides out in his room in the hopes that i'll forget to tell him to do it. Or he'll do one or two sheets and then hope that we don't look closely enough to notice that he has another sheet that he needs to do.

And when i corner him and force him to work on his homework, it's like pulling teeth. It's like pulling both his teeth AND my teeth. If i'm not sitting next to him, reminding him every minute, he gets completely distracted. I grabbed a book to read today while he was doing his homework, and i actually had to go put it away because he was getting completely distracted by the cover. Juanito was in the backyard listening to his music, and we were in the front room and could hear his music, and he was all, "I can't think! The music is distracting me!" Three sheets of homework: two hours.

And it's not just here at home. He's been completely giving up doing work AT school too. A few weeks ago, he turned in a math test that was only half finished. He understood it, but he just didn't feel like doing any more. What is that?! His teacher was all, "??????" And Juanito and i were likewise confused and flabbergasted. We've had many, many talks with him about needing to do his very best, and i've given him extra chores when his homework isn't completed, and we've tried rewards, and i think that we're all just kind of ... lost for any actual solution to this anymore. Zane doesn't want to do his best. Or even his middle-est. We can't make him.

And hence: The end of the school year cannot come fast enough. Maybe the summer will jump-start his motivation?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Growing up

Years ago, when the kids were little, they were too short to reach the kitchen sink. And so, in what we thought was a brilliant move, we showed them how they could get a drink of water from the bathroom sink. They are now all plenty tall enough to reach the kitchen sink, but i cannot convince them to get their glass of water from the kitchen. Zane, in particular, insists that it tastes different. He will go to the kitchen for a cup, and then stand outside of the bathroom door, waiting for someone to finish using the bathroom, rather than just, y'know, using the kitchen sink. I wish that past me could have had the foresight to see that coming.

Ditto on Katrina's thumb-sucking. I tried to give her a pacifier. She'd spit it out and stick her thumb in her mouth from the time she was a few days old. I figured, "Meh. No biggie." The pediatrician was all, "No biggie. She'll quit when she's old enough that it's socially unacceptable." Fast-forward eleven years, and she still sucks her thumb when she's tired or sad. Yesterday i told her that, really, she needs to stop. She's eleven. She said, "'s really comfortable." Me: "Yes, but we need to find something comforting that's more age-appropriate." She nodded, and the next time i looked over at her, her eyes were filled with tears and she looked like she'd just lost her best friend.

Growing up is hard.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Art show!

Kendall College, which is only a couple of miles from our house, had their end-of-year art show tonight. It was a whole to-do with catered food and the seniors showing their stuff. Juanito had to go to Zumba, but the kids wanted to go, so we went without him. 

There was art everywhere - up and down the hallways and in dozens of rooms. The building that we were in - the one with the food and desserts - was the one with the undergrads. Some of the art was great. There were things that made Katrina and me squee with glee, and things that made Houston exclaim, "Cool!!" And then there were things that made us all cringe back in horror - like the bumble bee stinging an eyeball. 

The kids' favorite part might have been the food, though. They had hors d'oeuvres and desserts - all kinds of fancy things like cherry tomatoes with feta cheese and herbs, and various mini quiches. And the kids actually tried lots of different things. And liked some of them! Yay for being adventurous!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Twitter (and some Facebook) Update - November - today

  • Christmas candy is out! Do you know what that means? It means MINT M&Ms!!!!!!
  • At the store tonight, there was a big, burly man with multiple piercings and a bushy beard buying a giant bottle of tequila and rabbit food.
  • Reason #294 that Doctor Who is awesome: Changes bratty responses into awesome chances for a quote. Zane to Katrina: "You're not my mother!...Are you? Are you my mummy?"
  • Just went out to switch the cars to the other side of the street and found all four doors on the Rio unlocked. I'm starting to suspect that Juanito is TRYING to get someone to steal that car
  • Zane is almost tearful in his defense of the angler fish's cuteness. "It IS cute! Yes it IS!!!"
  • You guys. We just adopted a dog, except that we can't bring her home until Monday, so now i have 2 days to worry that we've chosen poorly.
  • Our new dog is curled up near my feet, mostly asleep, but every once in a while she opens her eyes to check if i'm still here. Awww!
  • Christmas is kind of a dumb time to get a dog, what with the smorgasbord of delicious-looking "treats" just hanging there on the tree...
  • From the sounds she makes, you'd think that we were shoving hot pokers up under Emma's fingernails rather than taking her for a drive.
  • Houston bought a present for a girl in his class "because she feels left out a lot of the time." You guys. I love this kid.
  • Katrina just told me, "Tomorrow is Christmas Adam! That means today is Christmas Adam Eve!"
  • At the dog park today, Katrina asked me, "When the other dogs jump on Emma's back like that, are they playing? Or...something else?"
  • My kids like to play "Guess Who" by asking questions like "Does your guy like to go to the arcade?" Weirdos.
  • Houston has a couple of friends over, and he is practically GIDDY with glee. 5 kids are playing Apples to Apples, there are SO MANY giggles.
  • I have a hole punch, and i have a specific spot for it in my desk drawer and i keep it there so i can find it. SO WHY ISN'T IT THERE, KIDS?!
  • There is one chair in the entire house that Emma isn't allowed to sit on. Guess where she wants to sit ALL THE TIME.
  • I just called my dog a turd, which made Houston laugh for 2 minutes. And then he had to tell everyone else, "Mom said turd!" Nerd.
  • I took Emma to the dog park today because it was "warm enough." It was 12 degrees. That's just not right.
  • The wind chill here is -22 and I WOULD LIKE SUMMER NOW.
  • Katrina's homework: "Carpenter is to house as baseball player is to_____." The answer is "outfield." That's dumb, right?
  • You guys. Juanito totally fell off the stage at Zumba tonight. I'm clearly a horrible person, because everyone else was all, "Are you okay???!" and i was all, "Bwahahahaha!!!" I was giggling for 30 minutes.
  • Our dog has just spent the last 5-10 minutes walking around our kitchen, coughing at the ground and then licking up the spittle (or whatever). SO GROSS.
  • Katrina keeps almost erasing with the end of her pencil that is missing an eraser, and she is going to KILL ME DEAD.
  • I think i just pulled a muscle from gagging too hard while watching a random guy feed Paul Rudd like a baby bird. So. Gross.
  • Why is it that just sweeping the floor makes my dog lose her ever-loving mind?
  • There is a cat in the backyard, and Emma REALLY wants to befriend it. The cat is not so sure. Cat: Hiss! Emma: Wag! (Take a hint, Emma.)
  • "According to my teacher, this is supposed to be a tough time of your life. I don't think it is, though." - My 7th grader.
  • After 2 hours scanning pictures, i think "Those are done! " But after 2 hours cleaning the house, i think, "Well, that'll last till the kids get home."
  • Someone in my neighborhood has been revving their car engine for approximately 1000 years. I want to go teach them how to drive.
  • Emma is playing with a balloon. She's SO HAPPY. This is going to end badly.
  • Prep time, according to the recipe: 15 minutes. Actual prep time: 45 minutes. Either i'm really, really slow, or Martha Stewart is a big fat liar.
  • Juanito just walked into the house carrying the handle to the car door and announced, "Well, i think i've got a HANDLE on the situation!" He's such a nerd.
  • Katrina: "Can i have fourths?" Me: "Yes." Zane: "What?! I haven't even had thirds yet!"
  • I took 745 pictures today at Harry Potter World. That's...not entirely surprising, i guess.

Sunday, May 3, 2015


Katrina's small group at church had a family picnic today, so after church we went to "Hagrid Park" (Zane's convinced that that's its name). Ella and Lorelei, are in Katrina's group, so Linda and Andrew were also at the picnic...and only a few other people. Small groups are always, in my opinion, better than huge groups, so it was good.

Plus, it was a gorgeous day, so being outside was lovely.

(Sidetrack: This morning, i told the boys, "It's going to be really warm today! Like...maybe 80! So don't wear long sleeves!" I actually handed Zane a short-sleeved shirt.

Zane wore long sleeves. They both wore jeans. They were both dying of heat.

Houston: "Why didn't you tell me not to wear jeans?!"
Me: "I told you it was going to be warm! Plus, you're THIRTEEN!"
Houston: "SIGH.")

We went to my parents' house after the picnic for a couple of hours. Juanito made a gorgeous and delicious cake for me and my mom (though he thought it was just for me, so he put a giant "K" on it - whoops). The kids played with water balloons and got soaked, which was actually a great way for them to cool off. Juanito slept through most of the visit.

And then we came home. I read Katrina one chapter of Harry Potter, and then could not keep my eyes open for another second. I put my head down and fell asleep immediately and slept until Juanito and Emma got home from the dog park.

I think that everyone in our family is ready for another weekend. Or at least a few extra hours of sleep.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

My sort-of birthday!

Tonight we celebrated my birthday! Yay!

This morning ... i missed most of the morning, because i've been getting more and more sleep-deprived and totally slept in and caught up on a little bit of sleep today. So nice!

But then this afternoon, i made the kids help me clean the house and the guinea pig cage, and then we all worked on getting the backyard cleaned up a little bit. It was an insane mess after the winter - things got thrown around and left, and it was just out of control. So now it's clean! Mostly! I mean, it's still almost entirely dirt, because our tree is so huge that we can't get anything to grow, but it's dirt without trash and toys and sticks and random shovels and buckets scattered about! Yay!

And then Beth and Keren and my parents came over, and we grilled kebabs of steak and chicken and lots of yummy veggies. Plus we had kebabs of fruit, and Beth made the really yummy tomato-basil-mozzarella kebabs that she makes. So it was a meal full of things on sticks, and it was delicious.

Keren and Beth brought their Hogwarts house cups, which we bought altogether as a set when we were at Harry Potter world, and we reunited them for Harry Potter day - the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts! I love that we all belong to different houses.

Beth made my cake - Juanito is making one for tomorrow, to bring to my parents' house, to celebrate my birthday and my mom's, and he makes amazing cakes, but ... i kind of wanted a from-a-box chocolate fudge cake with store-bought frosting full of transfats. It's my favorite kind, and i think it would kill Juanito a little bit to have to make something so ... pedestrian. And the cake that Beth made for me; it was amazing. She had Juanito help her decorate it - she said, "Okay, use this colors and draw these things," and Juanito used his mad art skills to realize her vision, and it was the most adorable cake ever. There was a little hedgehog and a little owl, and it made me a little bit sad to have to eat it. But eat it we did, and it made me really, really happy. YUM!

And then i got to open presents, and presents are always fun. Beth made me an amazing picture frame with Harry Potter and Dumbledore and Hogwarts and the quote, "It is my belief...that truth is generally preferable to lies," and Starry Night (my favorite painting) and Doctor Who and the quote, "I am and always will be the optimist, the hoper of far-flung hopes, and the dreamer of impossible dreams." Everything about it makes me really, really happy. And Juanito and the kids snuck out while Emma and i were at the dog park to take a picture of themselves, and then Juanito made a clock for me with the picture. They're each holding a number - 3, 6, 9, 12 - at the appropriate place for a clock, and so the kids are all, "It's Zane o'clock!" So now i have two new, awesome things to hang on my walls!

So, all in all, a very good birthday. Yay!

Friday, May 1, 2015

My birthday

A few weeks ago, Katrina came home nearly in tears because the date of their class's lock-in was on my birthday. She was completely ready to skip the lock-in, at which the entire fifth grade goes to Skyzone (a huge room filled with connecting trampolines), plays games, eats pizza, and watches a movie, so that she could stay home to celebrate my birthday. Obviously, i told her to GO, for heaven's sake, and we could easily celebrate my birthday on the second instead.

It worked out really well, anyhow, both because tomorrow is Saturday, which means that we get the whole day to have fun, and because today was Accolades at Wedgwood, and Beth was being honored for 15 years. So this way, i got to go and celebrate Beth with her today! It was all about superheroes, and everything was amazing. (Incidentally, even though she was being honored for 15 years, Beth was completely in charge of Accolades and put in a million hours into doing everything she could to make the honorees feel like they were appreciated and honored. And i think that they totally did.)

So i was there for the afternoon, and then Beth wheedled me into letting her take pictures of me ("But you always take pictures of your family on their birthdays!") even though i kept insisting that seriously. I am not photogenic. Or a good model. I am much more comfortable behind the camera.

And then Houston came home and presented me with his present, which was tickets for the two of us to go to see the Avenger's movie that opened today. "Plus dinner afterwards!" he told me gleefully. He was SO HAPPY about giving me this present. I would have had to have had a heart of stone to NOT appreciate it! He bounced the entire way to the movie theater, ran around to open the car door for me when we got there, and then bounced all the way to our theater, telling every single person he talked to that it was my birthday. (One of the guys he told asked me how old i was and was flatteringly flabbergasted when i told him. He kind of didn't believe me, and i was all, "Well, thank you! Birthday complete!")

We used Beth's popcorn buckets, and by the end of the movie, neither of us was actually hungry enough for dinner, so instead we just went to Wendy's for Frostys.

And THEN we got home and i realized that Beth was still at my house and had been cleaning and decorating and generally making me completely happy. Because she's the best.

And so then i sent the kids to bed and we spent the rest of the night with Juanito, Beth, and me piled on the couch, talking.

So it was a good birthday, even though i'm not technically supposed to celebrate until tomorrow.