Saturday, June 30, 2007

soy = sexy

I know some of you are wondering why I didn't make this list. [Just in case you don't know, click on the words "this list" to view]
Next year, my friends, next year.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Twilight on bikes, downtown

Last night the three of us wound our way through downtown Grand Rapids on bike trails and riverwalks. We didn't get started until 8, and returned to the parked car at 10.

Some highlights:
Willa yelling "DUK" and pointing at the ducks resting at the Riverside park boat launch.

The playground near the 6th street bridge. Freaking Willa out with the sound tubes - she could hear me whispering, even though I was 20 feet away. Her fearlessness on the slides - even the big kid slide.

The men fishing who were really interested in Willa's bike trailer. "Where did you get that thing?!" Even though they had to move their camping chairs and fishing poles for us to get through.

Willa's eyes and mouth nearly the same enormous size while she sat next to the Ford Museum water fountain. When that excitement died down, we started to put her back in the trailer, and then a horse-drawn carriage went right past us. And when that moment passed, the spouting fountain came on. It was one "WOW" after another for Willa.

The pink/orange/dusty gray sunset reflecting in the river. Taking it's time to fade.

Following smiling and pointing Willa and Jim's mighty fine tush.

Doing a ridiculous dance (with plastic blue maraca) outside of the car to keep Willa from crying while Jim was putting the bikes on the car. And then noticing that that blue car 10 feet away had some teenagers in the front seat smoking pot.

Going to bed knowing that I had done my part that day to lose the one pound this week. And glad that we live very close to an increasingly lively downtown. And content that our daughter is so happily curious, and that my life partner, who brought me a very small bit of ice cream to celebrate our day, has my back.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Three years ago today...

...I was on the phone with my new friend Jim after he returned from a friend's wedding in Ohio.
I asked him what he was up to. He said, "well, my back's out from all that driving, so I'm just lying in bed watching tv." I said to my new friend Jim, "I'll be right over." Yes, I'm aware of how that

This afternoon we had lunch together to celebrate the 3rd anniversary of our first kiss.

That's my girl!

An email from Jim:

"I spoke with my mom this morning and she relayed one cute story from the night they had her.

They were all sitting in the kitchen eating dinner and had the TV on. The Tigers were playing and Willa kept pointing to the screen and then clapping. She is her momma's child!"

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I am the sea cucumber, coo coo ka chew.

Darlings, it's time for me to make some major changes in my life.

Yesterday I had my yearly physical with Dr. B. Since giving birth, I don't dread "that part" of the exam. No racing heart at the sight of the tray with the shiny silver instrument that will be warmed with water and placed... well, it doesn't bother ME anymore, but from my past I understand that even reading those words may have some women in a sweat.

No sir, what almost made me pass out was the scale. I have gained a whole heap of weight in the past 2 years. I have gained weight since having Willa. A lot. And I'm not happy so, it's time to change some. "1 pound a week," said Dr. B. Gulp.

I learned the other day on NPR that sea cucumbers are amazing. When they feel threatened, they spit up their digestive tract and escape while their predator is distracted by the digestive tract meal. Then they regrow their innards and continue merrily along. To learn more, go here: and click on listen.

You thought I was changing the subject here, didn't you? Nope, I'm just drawing parallels while educating the masses. I've been hanging onto that that gem of knowledge until I came to a good metaphor. Almost posted about it yesterday in a little essay about my boss the odd communicator. As she drilled me on something I wasn't in control of, I wanted to be able to distract her and hide under some corral. Almost likened Willa to a sea cucumber when she threw peas on the ground to keep me from noticing that she had a marker in her hand. But nope.

I need to stop the distract and run thing. It's time figure this out and get under control. I'm hoping to use the word svelte a lot in the next few months. So, pals, this is now becoming a place where I am accountable for my healthy weight loss. Here we go.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Monday, June 25, 2007

0 to 60, overnight

Heather cried 3 feet away from me while I was reading the Hand Ceremony portion of her and Erik's wedding. Our lives have not been as interwoven in the last year and a half as it had been in the past. Wedding-eve hugs and words of encouragement, tears during the reading, and dancing to Love Shack on the back porch felt good. So, Heather cried as I was reading, making it difficult. I had to pause to cough. And still... so when it continued, I paused and whispered a commanding plea, "stop it." Everyone laughed. And we all made it through. Heather and Erik are married. It was a beautiful ceremony. A wedding on the shores of Lake Michigan. Reception under a tent, surrounded by a glorious sunset and trees and dune grass. Jim and I enjoyed the company of the newly minted husband and wife team of Brian and Angie. The wedding theme was surfing. I wouldn't have been surprised to see Keanu Reeves in a wet suit come around the corner. The groomsmen could have been extras in any surfing movie.

Celebrating the start of a marriage one day and the 60th year of a different marriage the next...

My dad's parents have been married for 60 years, they renewed their vows in a mass, we ate a meal together and then gathered at my cousins house for relaxed play time. On the ride home, Jim and I were sitting in comfortable silence. I thought about how lucky I would feel if, in the future, he and I were joined by our children, grandchildren and friends to celebrate a major milestone.

Other quick snapshots of the weekend:

Watching Willa play with the children of my cousins, older and bigger, with no hesitation.

Learning who my cousins, who moved to Dodge City when we were young, are as adults.

MaKenna and Arlo sitting in the play house with the windows closed because MaKenna didn't want him to jump out, like Greta had minutes before.

My mom's face lighting up when Willa saw her in church and waved.

Watching Jim talk with my grandma (who had a little crush on him when she remembered who he is) and tell her little jokes.

Finally falling into bed last night with Jim, exhausted, a little sunburnt, feeling love and loved so earnestly that I couldn't sleep right away.

It was a busy and wonderful and whole weekend, as evidenced by the 238 photos on the digital camera. Will post some this week.

Also, this morning, Willa hugged me. It was a for real, intentional hug. I picked her up and squeezed her, making the hug sound (Internet, how does one spell the hug sound, please?) and she did it right back and I could feel her butt cheeks squeezing together as she burrowed into me. Sigh and loopy grin.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Pants on, one leg at a time - if they're there

In a big hurry this week - sick, busy, family fun, wedding and rehearsal for Heather. Oh, and work too. It's got my head spinning - not enough that I'd try to return some pants at a department store and wait in line for 20 minutes with the receipt in hand... but not pants, but I'm kind of frazzled.

The pants thing? Someone I know and love did this yesterday. When she told me, I cackled. She told me I couldn't put it here. I've protected her identity, hope this way is okay.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Huh? It's Wednesday?

So, I've lost a few days to illness. From about 1pm on Monday to this morning, I've been in bed, sleeping. When I was asleep I could not feel as bad, and my body kept wanting to be horizontal. My brain, pulsating from the headache of the century, stopped being in charge. And so I turned on PBS and slept to the sweet sounds of Clifford the Big Red Dog.

When you sleep for 2 days there is less to write about.

The weekend was wonderful. We saw live music and had to wrestle Willa from the steps to the stage. There was swimming and adoration of dads. It was good.

Friday, June 15, 2007

he's an honest, honest man

After getting home 3 hours after Willa's bedtime:

"So, do you think Willa missed me tonight?"
"No, she was having too much fun with me to miss you."

Thursday, June 14, 2007

In her Repertoire

I was talking with Emily (Emily of the frequent and friendly comments that you can read here) and mentioned that Willa has learned how to drink out of a straw.

She said, "you should post about that. That's a big accomplishment."

And I thought, maybe, but dismissed it because, well... what's there to say about drinking out of a straw?

This got me thinking about all of the things she can do now, and how quickly her bag-o-tricks is expanding.

In the beginning I wrote about each new skill. Because, in the beginning, there aren't many tricks to (literally) write home about. Milestones are spaced out like trees on the west Kansas prairie. You can see one on the horizon, but it's many miles until you actually get there. Rolling over is like that, teething is like that. Crawling felt like reaching the Rocky mountains. A few good nights sleep back to back are more like trees in the Arctic - they might exist, but you hate to even hope for that.

And now we're in the metaphorical Northern Michigan woods of mad skills. New things pop up every day.

Willa is playing peek-a-boo now. She uses her own hands, and thinks you can't see her ensuring that you're paying attention by looking between a crack between her thumb and finger.

She chases the dogs. They let her catch them. She embraces Greta with such joy that you can almost see the dog's reflection in her grin.

She howls at Arlo - and let's her lips stay in a perfect "O" long after the sound is gone.

She knows her fun stuff is in her room. She carries the fun all over the house leaving bits of fun in the shape of small plastic ducks, a toy saxophone, books, her shoes...

She is starting to run. That experiment was cut short by her head meeting the door jam.

She plays hide and seek with me, shrieking when I find her. Because that's what I do when she finds me.

She's starting to use a fork and spoon. She puts the spoon on her high chair tray and then puts a piece of food on the spoon. She uses mostly her left hand and lifts the spoon in a way I didn't know possible to her mouth.

She tickles the dogs feet. She is undeterred by the fact that they do not laugh.

She looms over me to tickle my stomach and pauses to look at me as if to say, "oh yes I will, here I come!"

Willa sings vowels to music. This morning there was a duet of "I Love Trash" with her and Oscar the Grouch.

She roars at Tigers we find at YouTube and laughs at laughing babies.

She calls all of the animals in the day-care animal book "ducks" according to Tammy, one of her teachers. I know "DAC" is not duck, but more of something that she means, "hey, look at that." "DUK" is duck. There is a small difference.

She points at things and people with both hands. We like to say "Who da man, Willa?" and we all laugh when she points at someone.

She won't leave the dog bowls alone, and Internet, I confess my daughter has eaten dog food on the occasion that mom and dad were too slow to catch her. Amends have been made.

Willa climbed up the blue steps of the playground equipment of the nearby school and sat herself down on the tiny baby slide. And nudged herself little by little until she was sliding.

She is getting more teeth, but we have less access to view progress because of her excellent jaw strength and know how of current teeth.

She points to Jim in photos and in person and sings, "Daa..... (long pause) Deeee." She looks for him around the house and yard singing the same way.

She lifts her chin and turns her head to the side, grinning when she's proud of her self.

I know that from here on out development happens at warp speed. In a few months I'll forget to mention that she learned 5 new words in one day. Jim and I were going through old posts here last night and I told him that I can look at a photo of her from February and have a difficult time thinking that she looks any different now. I can go to her crib and gasp at how big she is and how much hair has sprouted. I'm very glad that I've captured moments in time here since October, as it's crazy to think that all of this walking and babbling and dog-hugging wasn't happening only a short time ago.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Take me out to the ballgame

Last night Willa went to her first Whitecaps (local minor league baseball) game. We were on a party deck with a large group. She didn't notice there was a baseball game until we wandered away for a bit. I picked her up to see the field. She smiled. I noticed a very sad looking mascot pig coming our way and pointed it out to her. She was mesmerized by the ball game - "BA" she kept shouting. That's the closest we've gotten to "ball" yet.
I said, "look Willa, a giant fleece pig with a terribly crooked head," and pointed. No interest. She was watching a pitcher warm up. She is her mother's daughter.
Then the pig got closer and she fell in love for 20 minutes. Getting closer to point and stare, but never actually approaching the pig.
Whitecaps lost, but a packed stadium erupted with joy when it was announced that Justin Verlander of the Tiger's pitched a no hitter. Not a bad accomplishment for a 24 year old.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Family (tight) circle

As I mentioned, mom got a fancy schmancy new knee yesterday.
The operation was at noon. I spoke with my mom the night before. After cleaning and shopping and finishing up her sewing pile and ordering new checks and killing every weed in the yard, she felt ready to go.
Yesterday at 2:30ish, my dad called to say the operation was successful, and the doctor said there wasn't much left to that knee (all that basketball in her youth, and her secret ninja skills) so she made a good decision.
At 2:40 I got an email from my sister, Lisa to let me know mom was fine. Just in case I hadn't heard from dad.
And then I spoke with her again at 6.
And my brother Brian called at 8.
And my mom called at 8:15, really tired and loopy, but not in the "this is fun" way.
And my brother Bill called at 9 to tell me that mom said she was dancing on tables (false) and that he was running for office in 2010, sponsored by Labatt Blue (also false).
And my dad called again at 9:30.

I am 2 and a half hours from all of them. But all of that contact made me feel like I was right there. It was nice to take part in so many calls that were to relieve anxiety and pass on good (and in Bill's case, ridiculous) news.

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers, and please keep 'em going. I hear PT for this surgery is no picnic.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Damn you Paris Hilton, and your little dog too.

Leaving Menards (think the Kmart of Lowes and Home Depot - now with a grocery section):

"That woman had one of those little dogs in a bag."


"That woman, going into the store now, she's got her dog with her."

"I don't understand why people with tiny dogs feel that they have an all access pass for their animal. I mean, we could stuff Greta into one of our suitcases on wheels with her head poking out, and take her with us everywhere, but we don't."

"Hmmm... that would be fun."

Wrinkling my nose, "it kind of would, wouldn't it?"

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Living room upgrade, draft 1

Note the new couch and chair. Jim is graciously modeling how the new comfy chair is perfect for reading the Sunday paper. The dogs are demonstrating how we have a 4 foot away from the new furniture restraining order. Willa is playing hide and seek in her new favorite sunny corner of the house. Appreciate the walls that are no longer white. Ignore that we stow our kleenex box atop the lamp (Willa likes to daintily empty them, one tissue at a time). More work to come, more reports of progress in the future.

Heather is getting married on this beach in less than 2 weeks. We went out to drop off a sound system, spend some time with her and Erik, and dip our toes into Lake Michigan. Willa was undaunted by disappearing toes and chilly water.

Today is my mom's last day with her original knee parts in one leg. Tomorrow she goes in for a knee replacement. Please send prayers and thoughts of a quick and healthy recovery process.

Friday, June 08, 2007

couch and chair - they're here!

I tried to be sneaky and publish a draft I had written on Wednesday as Thursday's entry. I guess you can't do that, and Blogger keeps me honest.

The couch and chair arrived. They are comfortable and look great against the newly painted walls. I've never been much of a decorative pillow girl, but I'm pretty happy with our fabric choice and how well it goes with the green wall. Yay! To celebrate, we watched some tv in bed last night... old habits die hard, I guess.

Our living room feels smaller. The "chi" in the room is off for me, and I feel like we're going to be moving the furniture until it feels more balanced.

I have to keep reminding my worried about jam/black bean/blueberry hued hand prints on the new furniture part of myself that this fabric is supposed to be Willa proof. I hope she doesn't prove the furniture industry wrong.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Gunsmoke, grandma style

"Hey, ask mom what she bought herself."

It's been 3 years and 2 grandkids now and somehow my mother has not received a shirt or sweater that proclaims her fitting title as "World's Best Grandma." So. She bought one for herself at a craft fair.

This news made me crumble and laugh at the same time. She shouldn't have had to do it. My sister contends that she never wore any of the "World's Best MOM" crap, er, goods we gave her in our youth. I remember it differently.

This whole gently poking fun at my mom led to the following fictional scene:

Two women are walking down the street, both wearing "World's Best Grandma" shirts. They stare each other down. One grimaces and says, "this town's not big enough for the both of us, Granny." They circle each other, hands on hips and near purses. The other one sniffs and in a low voice says,"Draw." They both pull out their wallet photos. One clearly has more photos than the other. The losing Grandma takes her shirt off (relax, there's another one under it), drops it to the dusty ground, and hangs her head. As she slinks away she can be heard on her cell phone, "Kimberly, I need more updated pictures of my grandbabies." The winner picks up the dusty shirt, clears her throat, and walks off into the sunset. Cue Western wistful music, fade to black.

Tangible differences

Tomorrow our couch and chair arrive. The walls have been painted (by Jim), the carpet has been cleaned (by Jim), the once clean room has as assortment of toys strewn across the clean carpet (thanks, Willa). I have been perched on my throne and snacking on fresh berries and fancy chocolates.
I chase Willa to make sure she's not laying on the damp carpet or chewing on paint brushes or trying to put nails into her eyeball.
I need a project that has a beginning and end (providing for Willa's safety and well being has no end in sight) that makes a difference to the house and our family. Suggestions?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Vacation, part 2 Higgens Lake and the In-law cookout

Up-north bath with MaKenna doing hair. HEY - Willa's shirt is off and her hair is wet. These are the 2 must haves in MaKenna's book for a party (see March 9 post here).

Willie and the boys. Can you see the duck and dolphin on springs over Brian's shoulder? Apparently perilous to those with testicles.

Willa and Grandma P. playing at Higgen's Lake.

Willa and Grandpa T. pool side. Yes, Willa has a whole other side of the family that I don't write about much here. Not that they're uninvolved. We see them just about every week. Note to self: do a better job recording T. visits too. Note Willa's jumper, handmade by Grandma P.

And finally, one more Mackinac photo:

Would have been so nice, if it weren't for that booger.

Monday, June 04, 2007

My confession

"You should see the gaggle of teenage geese in my office pond."
"I saw some teenage swans at Central."
"I hate swans."
"You don't hate swans..."
"I do. I would totally punch baby swans if I could, that's how much I hate them."

Jim, is that about how it went?