Friday, January 30, 2009

The 25 Random Things Virus

Everybody on Facebook has been writing these 25 things about me lists. To tell the truth, I haven't even logged onto Facebook in the past couple of days. I've been sick, and sort of busy, so I'm behind on my list reading.

Here's my list. But mine is a list of 25 random thoughts I had today. And you thought everybody else's list was boring.

1. Why can't I keep my basil plant alive?
2. I love it when Carolyn says, "Mommy. You make the best cookies in the world."
3. Where does dust come from?
4. Carolyn is doing much better at our new puzzle than Penny. This is usually reversed.
5. Carolyn was singing along with the Decemberists when they came on Pandora. How cool is that!
6. I don't think Steve would enjoy watching a Steelers' Super Bowl with other people.
7. I love cooking, particularly baking.
8. Cooking relaxes me the way gardening relaxes other people.
9. I will never experience that feeling with gardening, no matter how hard I try.
10. Carolyn's swim coach just told us yesterday how awesome she's doing and how fast she's catching on. Rock on.
11. Oh the UPS truck!
12. Ohhhh. Not for us.
13. I'm reading a book by a popular Czech author right now. I bet Julia knows about him.
14. I wonder if he's the Grisham of the Czech Republic, because if he is, those people are way smarter than Americans.
15. Penelope is the biggest drama queen I have ever met. Today at the store, she wanted to buy everything she walked by. "I want to buy that bag. I want to buy those socks. I want to buy a shirt. I want that."
16. I feel bad for my mom if she ever goes shopping with Penny because she'll leave the store completely broke.
17. I can't wait to go running tomorrow when it finally warms up to 32.
18. Milk was $2.99 at the store today. I saw one woman with three gallons of milk. That would cost her $9 a week, just for milk!
19. I had a really good story idea this week that probably isn't going to happen.
20. On the plus side, I'm doing pretty good on my New Year's resolutions.
21. I love my homemade laundry detergent.
22. My three favorite kitchen gadgets are my Kitchen Aide mixer, my rice cooker and my bean masher, which mashes way more than beans.
23. Carolyn wanted green beans at the store today, so I bought them.
24. I wish I could afford a complete body scrub.
25. Sleeping a ridiculously long time is the best way to fight a cold. That and whiskey.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Where do they get this stuff?

Yesterday, Penny was chattering away about nothing. Telling stories. Randomly connecting thoughts. Interrupting us to make odd observations.

Steve asked her if she remembered going to the doctor. She said she did. Then he asked her if she remembered how she refused to talk to the doctor. She said she did.

"What happened to that girl? he asked.

"She died."

Seriously, where do they get this stuff?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Because it make me feel bad

I have no way to convey the tone of Penny's voice as she says, "But it make me feel bad." It's sort of whiny, and at the same time, deeply theatrical.

And it's hard not to crack a smile when she uses it so absurdly. Steve and I have actually gotten past that point, now only rolling our eyes as a single tear rolls down her pink cheek.

She uses it almost every night at dinner. "I don't like that. It make me feel bad." She could have a deep-fried Twinkie on her plate and this would likely be her reaction.

There's the 80 times a day she's told not to snatch away Carolyn's toy. "But I want it. You make me feel bad."

How about when she's asked to put on her shoes? "I don't like shoes. It make me feel bad."

You get the picture. It's too bad she lives in such an unsympathetic household.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Because I'm a big girl

Carolyn is really into the idea of being a big girl. More specifically, she likes the idea of being older than Penelope.

"Because I'm a big girl," she'll say after she pours her own cereal. "But Penny can't do that yet. She's still a little girl."

Ahhhh. Right? Well, it gets a little old after a while. It's a constant observation of how she's better than her sister. Constant. She eats her dinner because she's a big girl. She goes to school because she's a big girl. She finishes this puzzle because she's a big girl.

And then there's Penny. "I can't do that because I'm not big yet."

Oh good grief. Sometimes I like to point out that Carolyn is a mere two years older than her sister, while I am 30 years old than her. Then I think about this and realize I shouldn't be telling her how old I am. Otherwise, she might being to taunt me the way my friend's daughter does.

She might start saying I'm as old as mold.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Grandma, stay away

Today was a normal day, mostly. Penny had her first story hour at the library. I was too cute to watch Carolyn "show her the ropes" during the session. "C'mon Penny. Stand up," she'd say as it was time to sing the opening song. They practically sat in the same chair.

Penny liked it, but I almost think Carolyn liked the fact that Penny was there even more.

After the class, I talked to this grandma I sort of know (her granddaughter, Jenna, is in Carolyn's preschool class) for about an hour. She had four kids in five years. One lives in town — the one with the most kids — so she has day-to-day contact with her grandkids. Another of her kids lives in Chicago. A third, the only childless one, lives in Boston. The last, with two small children, lives in Paris.

Unbelievable. You couldn't create a more perfect child/grandkid situation if you outlined the whole thing out on paper. So I was quizzing her extensively about her three week trip to Paris earlier this year and just having a lovely time.

Then later, I got horrible news. The grandma I bonded with (what's up with me and grandmas?) at Carolyn's swimming class just up and died about a month ago. She was really my first friend in Normal and we sat and chatted every week, twice a week, while Carolyn and her grandson, Gabe, learned to swim.

It was a total shocker because she would watch all her grandkids. In the summer, she watched about six or seven at a time. She was super active and spunky. I just feel really bad about the whole thing.

What a bummer of a blog....

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Not the First Family

Today was a perfect example of why Steve nor I are president. First off, I'm a woman and genetically predisposed to being denied presidency. In any case, we are good, well-meaning people, but if the President of these United States was set off as easily as either one of us, there would be serious trouble.

To start, poor Carolyn is sick. Not the awful, puke-heavy illness that makes you wonder if life is really all it's cracked up to be, but still a little off. And grumpy. And slightly weird.

Steve, whose one wish was to watch Barack Obama get sworn into office (wiping single tear off my cheek) and give his acceptance speech, had spent the previous three hours repairing our broken bed, because we are too cheap green to let a perfectly good bed be ruined by collapse.

Anyhow, the whole swearing-in ceremony is starting and Carolyn decides to climb the couch and poke Steve in the neck. Poke, poke. He sends her to her room and all hell breaks out. There's a lot of shouting. Tears are shed. In the end, the speech is abandoned and we go about our days with huffy resolve to not feel in the least bit optimistic by one of the most singularly historic moments of our young lives.

WWBD? Hmm. Part of me wants to blame this all on the kids. How are they to know the significance of today? But part of me, the part that I hide in the closet when company comes over, thinks that maybe it's why I'm not First Lady, in any sense of those two words. Maybe, I'm too human for that kind of greatness. Or maybe not human enough.

In any case, Penny acted very presidential throughout this whole mess. For the first time in... ummm... ever. Act badly in everyday life? Sure. Act badly when everyone else is acting badly. Never!

Sunday, January 18, 2009


I can't help but feel a little bit like a rockstar when I go exercising in 17 degree weather. Since I'm running at roughly 20 minutes per mile, look a little bit like an old lady and am grunting, I'm pretty sure this rockstar status is all in my head.

Still, there is something to be said about spending winter outside. For instance, running in snow and against 30 degree winds makes me really happy I didn't spend $75 a month on a gym because my ass muscles are getting a seriously great workout. Also, I love passing other runners in the winter. There's a lot of smiling and waving, as if to say, "Yeah. You're awesome too. People inside are stupid." And I love being really, really hot and sweaty when it's 17 degrees. It's so cool.

Well, it's Sunday. Church class day. Playoff day. Allowance day.

That's right. It's allowance day. Carolyn has really started helping out around the house, cleaning her room, sorting laundry, letting Fife in and out, in and out, in and out of the house. I talked to other moms who do allowance, and by the time a kid is about 6, chores start to become chores, so I thought it might be good to start her now.

For her first allowance, she wanted a candy bar. We walked over to the nearby gas station and she picked a chocolate bar. It's came to $1.10. Hello... I give her $1, with the hopes that if she wants to blow it on candy, that would kind of cover it... Ummm. No. When did candy bars start costing more than $1?

But she's up to $2 now. She expressed interest in buying some bathtub crayons today, which she said she wants to share with Penny. I'm thinking I'll toss in the cost to cover the purchase, just because Carolyn is so darn sweet.

Not at all like her sister. I'll get into that later.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

-14: Feels like -36

I don't want to be one of those Midwesterners who only talks about the weather, but here's the thing. I really don't have anything to talk about. It's 14 degrees below zero. It's 10:30 in the morning. It's super sunny outside.

And we're trapped — again. Thankfully, the cable (which, in our house, includes the television, Internet AND phone) started working again or I might have started drinking early today, even by my standards.

Everything is canceled again today. School. Activities. Even the university said, "Brrrr... Don't bother walking to class today, bundled up college kids. Just go ahead and walk to the bar/liquor store/booty call's house instead." You might notice a theme in my winter-related blogs that includes lots of alcohol. This is not a new theme.

Anyway, Steve gave me a nice lesson on the Central Illinois weather this morning. He said today is, on average, the coldest day of the year. This area only has about four days that average below freezing. That's pretty rockin'. And after a series of later and later mornings, followed by stagnation, the morning light starts to pick up so drastically that it will be sunny by 6 a.m. in just about a month.

What does all this mean? It's hump day, for winter. Shots anybody?

While the rising of the sun is not uniquely Normal, the warmer weather actually is new. In Michigan, our former home, it continutes to get colder for a while longer. Sorry mom.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A wee chilly

I guess it's winter and all, so I shouldn't be too surprised the weather isn't phenomenal, but it's a tad bit too cold right now to do... well... to do almost anything. We did manage to walk to get Carolyn from school today, but that pretty much rounded out the excitement of our day. At 7 degrees, I felt it was quite an accomplishment.

Instead, we made these really interesting Red Velvet cupcakes from a recipe in, of all place, Runners World. I'm pretty sure most hard-core runners aren't putting a half pound of butter in their cupcakes, but who am I to argue.

I also made pizza and some extra pizza dough for a rainy (snowy) day. Actually, we'll probably use them when it's not snowy or rainy. We'll use them when it finally turns 40 and I decide to spend all day outside at the playground. Even if there is some snow on the ground. In shorts.

As a side note, I just went to the Runners World site and saw a blurb about a recommendation to outlaw talking on cell phones while driving. The National Safety Council just reported driving while talking poses the same risk as drinking and driving. I'm as guilty as anybody of a little chitchat behind the wheel, but I think this is a very, very good thing. Drivers should be concentrating on the task at hand — driving.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Status updates

For whatever reason, I've had about a billion things I've wanted to say today on Facebook. But I always think it's weird when people update like 15 times a day, so I've just kept these thoughts crammed inside, creating a mini-pressure system waiting to explode.

So instead, I'll just update here.

1) Christine has reason to believe Helvetica is the top reason for Facebook's popularity.
2) Christine thinks she's the only person in the world to watch VH1s Charm School reunion and a PBS documentary on fonts in the same evening.
3) Christine thinks she missed the memo that required all people to clean their house today.
4) Christine is hungry.
5) Christine wonders if she'll ever get sick of her Colin Hay Pandora station.
6) Christine hates banner ads that say things like, "What would happen to your family if you died today."
7) Christine wishes Penny wasn't sick or hurt every other week. Although... she is a good patient.

Whew... That felt good. I'm sure there's a lot I'd like to say, but I think I'll spend the time with my family instead. Christine wonders if there's a such a thing as too much time with one's children.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Lions, Tigers and Shots... Oh my

I saw my future today, and it's not pretty.

While Penny was having her annual exam (she's 100 percent on height and 75 on weight, fyi. Tall girl!) I got both girls flu shots. Penny was fine, but Carolyn expressed slight dissatisfaction with her service. Actually, she acted like she was ambushed, and she sort of was.

But whatever. It's one shot. But in a few months, she'll need four shots. FOUR!!! This is going to take more than a Steak and Shake milkshake and plate of french fries (which I swore I wasn't going to eat, but then I did and then I ate most of them). At 4 years old (5 by the time we return to the doctor) she knows what a shot is. And she can count to four. And she's got a much better memory than I do.

Since this isn't until April, I'll try not to think about it too much. But I definitely will need to come up with a plan of action for a) getting her the shots and b)rewarding her for her oh-so-brave behavior.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The year is still new

So far, the New Year's resolutions are going pretty great. No major slip-ups, unless you include my maybe not being confirmed by the Catholic Church until my marriage has been blessed. Who knew? Certainly I didn't, or I might have worked a little harder at cutting through all the red tape the Vatican has plastered across the church doors.

But everything else is fine. For instance, I've been very good on my "drink milk" resolution.

Carolyn always says she drinks a lot of milk because she wants to be strong. Kudos. And she says Steve drinks a lot of milk too. I told her I did too, and she looked at me doubtingly. Then, right there at the library play room, she called me out.

"You only drink wine," she said.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Stop hitting yourself

Carolyn has learned about blame. Specifically, she's learned to stop taking it.

The other day while we were driving, both girls had bags of crayons in the car. Penny's bag also had the much-coveted green highlighter. Penny set the bag down to do something, and Carolyn swiftly snatched up the highlighter.

Penny, quite rightly, was like (and I'm paraphrasing), "Hey there, thief. What's up." And Carolyn said (not paraphrasing), "Penny shouldn't have put her bag so close to me."

This came on the heels of another episode involving two block towers. The girls were quietly building said towers in the downstairs playroom when the screaming started. Steve went downstairs to find Penny's tower in shambles.

"Penny shouldn't have let me play with her tower," Carolyn said.

Oh yeah. Not, "I shouldn't have gone all Godzilla on your tower" or "I should have avoided crashing into it at top speed." While this is likely true, maybe Penny has a different side to this.

"I shouldn't have let Carolyn play with my tower." Hmmm. Maybe not.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year

It has been a mighty quiet day around these parts. In fact, I've been so busy doing nothing, I'm ready for a nap. But first, here's two pics of my favorite girls.

Have a fantastic 2009!