Monday, April 22, 2013


The weekend, Penny came over and straightened out my shirt. Girlie is always fixing me up.

So I pulled my shirt up and struck my best awesome pose and asked if I should wear my shirt like this, with my big old belly hanging out.

Carol, who happened to be walking by said, "You don't have the right kind of body for that. "

Oh. Thanks.


For a long time, we have used a point system for allowances. For every chore the girls do, they get a star. For every star, they get a quarter.

I know. I'm a genius... Right!!!

But it was a flawed system. The girls, carol on particular, aren't all that concerned with money. There is rarely an instance where they feel compelled to buy something. They like having extra cash for the ice cream truck and maybe a toy,but they just weren't all that into it. And as a result, they weren't very concerned with chores.

But all that as changed. I've decided to change the system. For every star they earn, they get 15 minutes of video game time.

My house has never been so clean.

But after this weekend, I'm thinking it might e TOO good of an idea. They were literally doing one chore, playing 15 minutes, for a big large of the weekend. I created two monsters. Or two addicts. Or maybe a combo.

And this picture doesn't have anything to do with video games, other than to document they did make it outside briefly this weekend.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Community garden

Normal is, like, the best place in the world to live. Other than the harsh winters, harsh summers, unattractive landscape, lack of water and relative isolation, it's totally perfect.

I have already penned my love of Normal's great biking, great schools, great electric car access, great trains (more on that later this summer), great restaurants, and so-so parenting scene. And I think I've mentioned once or twice, great vegetables.

Now I'll go ahead and talk about the (hopefully) great community garden. For $15, I got a 10x10 plot. Bonus it's only one block from my house.

Because of the close proximity, last year we watched the garden prosper during its first season. So we decided to give it a try. Of course, we were 3 weeks late on sign up, so all the 10x20 plots were gone. But perhaps, this was a blessing in disguise.

I'm actually not a great grower (I would have said Gardener, but the joke seems a little played out). I'm ambitious in May, but I lose interest in those hot, dog days.

So, in an effort to create accountability. I've decided to do some blogging.

So far this year, we've put in lettuce, broccoli and cabbage. We've also planted onion bulbs and spinach seeds. It's about 60 yards to a playground, so no excuse not to bring the girls.

So here we go. Another reason to love Normal.

Sunday, April 07, 2013


Carol just finished her first circus. For those of you who think I'm talking about a slumber party or some other parent-maddening adolescent activity, let me assure you I truly mean circus. With clowns and juggling and popcorn and everything.

Illinois State University is home to the oldest collegiate circus in the country. The Gamma Phi Circus. It's a local gem. And because Metcalf is a lab school of ISU, they have the Junior Gamma Phi Circus for students in 3rd through 8th grade. It's sort of a big deal. Carol did unicycle, cylinders and diablo. She was fantastic.

But that's not why I'm talking about it. There was hardly a moment during the 2 hour performance that I wasn't on the verge of sobbing. To see all these kids, who have been practicing for months, perform as one group was very emotional for me. Whether they were awesome or horrible, whether they pulled it off or failed, they went out there together and smiled. And there wasn't one star of the show. It was the group and they were there to make the crowd happy. A
nd they did.

And when the blind kid did the tight wire, I about lost it.

Unfortunately, my picture taking abilities were clouded by emotions. So basically, my photos suck. I'll try better next year.