Sunday, June 29, 2008

Amelia the princess

I love a good fairytale. Princesses, wicked witches and of course the knight in shining armor. I remember,as a child, going to see Sleeping Beauty in the theater and dancing in the parking lot, all the way to the car. When I was at my Grandma Call's house, I would tie a golden rope to my hair and pretend to be Rapunzel. And even to this very day, as a 29 year old woman, I secretly wish I could call on my furry animal friends to help with the cleaning.
My little Amelia has followed suit and is completely engrossed in the fantastic wonder of Princesses. She had just barely turned 2 and during one of our weekly trips to Super Target, she was pointing towards the toy section and kept saying, "(something) Relly!" I finally let her lead me to what she was looking at and Amelia took me strait to the Disney Princess doll collection. She was trying to say "Princess Relly" as in Cinderella. I looked at her and asked, "How do you know about this?" As I recall, she had only watched
Cinderella once, but clearly that was enough to make an imprint on her young mind. It's fun on Sunday's as we put on our dresses. She will sweetly say, "You look like a princess, Mama." or I will tell her how lovely she looks in her dress and she will ask, "Like Princess Relly?" Of course. Now please note that Amelia doesn't have a favorite princess, she only knows of Cinderella and thus labels all princesses and women in dresses "Princess Relly."
I know that the princess obsession is inevitable, but I was hoping that Amelia would still fascinated by bubbles and bunnies at the young age of 2 and not consumed by
the commercial Disney princesses. The other day gave me hope that Amelia was still innocent and untainted from the Belle's & Jasmin's, when we had this little dialog.
Amelia: "Like a princess, Mama?"
Me: "Yes, Amelia you look like a princess."
Amelia: "Like Princess Leah?"
Me: "Yessss!"

Thursday, June 26, 2008


For some reason my family has offended the Minnesota Mosquito population and they have us on their hit list. Riley & Conrad have been easy targets because they play outside, in the water, all day long.
What's a mom to do when children scratch their bites until they bleed?

Tra la la! Introducing Chiggerex Plus! This ointments is Fantastic! I purchased my jar at Walmart and it was super cheap. It's chalked full of natural ingredients such as: olive oil, aloe vera, peppermint oil, clove oil, camphor & chamomile extract. As if that weren't enough, there is also 5.0% Benzocaine to keep it real. (I love it when words end with -caine. It makes the pain reliever seem that much more exciting and almost illegal.) but I digress...
Finally, the ointment does give fast, soothing, long lasting relief and it doesn't leave a greasy, smelly residue on the skin.
(Unfortunately, I wasn't paid for this plug, but I would be willing to receive a little something, if folks at Chiggerex are willing.) :)

Have you seen my car?

I knew I was taking a chance when we bought a silver 2000 Dodge Grand Caravan. Let's face it, it has real sex appeal and with automatic & tinted windows, air conditioning and 3 car seats it screams "Bling! Bling!" So it should have been no surprise to me when my swanky little minivan was stolen on Tuesday. Yes, it was parked in a parking lot, yes, I locked the doors, yes, the windows were rolled up, and yes I took the "Steal me!" sign out of the window. Luckily I have comprehensive auto insurance coverage with rental and the police already took a report, so now I just sit and wait. I hate waiting.
If you happen to see my pimp mobile, it has a Christian fish by the Minnesota plates: TPD 715.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Fortune in my Fortune Cookie...

The pleasure of what we enjoy is lost by wanting more.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Quote of the day....

"Skadoosh!" - Kung Fu Panda

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Bad parenting

2 weeks ago, my inquisitive & animal loving sons found a bunny nest with 5 very small baby bunnies. The day had been overcast and so they, with the help of a friend, relocated the bunnies to higher ground, so that the "flash flood" would not drown them. Good reasoning, but one problem, unlike the desert which repels water, the soil in Minneapolis absorbs it happily. And flash floods are very, very uncommon here.
I was very stressed out because the babies now had boy kooties (sent) on them and of course as legend has it, a wild animal mother will reject it's own, if they have been touched by human hands. A myth I've been told by the Wild Life Rescue authorities. So, we put them back in their little hole, hoping they would live another day, not be rejected by their parents, and not get rained out. They did survive!!
Conrad, Riley and their friends checked on them every day to make sure, but without parental supervision, the checking became touching and then eventually hold and playing. And yet, these 5 little bunnies lived on, have grown twice as big and they hop; lippity---lippity---not very fast. Even today, in spite of the manhandling and "tough love" that only a 5-8 year old boy can give, these bunnies are doing fine. In fact their mother is relocating them to a more advanced terrain. (I wonder why?)
You may be wondering, where does the "bad parenting" title come in to play in this post? Hans reminded me of the phrase, "Dumb Bunny" and I'm afraid that these baby rabbits have 2 parents that fit the description. The bunny nest is right next to a well used volley ball court that is located by a fantastic playground, frequented by children of all ages. Let this be a lesson to all rabbits, don't make your nest visible to humans or your offspring will be exposed to curious giants, who just might take one of your children home. (This hasn't happened, yet.)
I must admit I am feeling like the bad parent as well because I took many a picture of my children holding these WILD animals. One parent I spoke with said that having all the boys (including his own) play with the bunnies on a day to day basis could be damaging (for the rabbits, that is.) It's true, my boys are disturbing the delicate balance of nature & civilization. As a parent, I know I should be worried about my boys get rabies or some other disease contracted by wild life, but to be honest, I don't feel guilty exploiting these bunnies (and possibly my children) to up the cuteness of my blog.
I know, bad parent, right here. I also bribe my children. One Sunday I told them if they got ready for church quickly and happily, they could have ice cream & cake for breakfast. Needless to say it was a very SMOOTH morning.
(I should be feeling guilt, hu?)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Last Day of School

Conrad & Riley go to a Spanish immersion school and this past Wednesday was their last day. To celebrate the end of the year, every class learned about a Latin American country and at the Festival Latino they preformed a dance inspired by that country.

This year, Conrad class focused on Columbia.

He performed to the music "Fruta Fresca" by Carlos Vives. It's a petty catchy song with sweet melody & lyrics.

Conrad loved dressing up in the "official" Colombian dance attire.

After the Festival Latino, Conrad's class had an indoor picnic, (it rained) complete with great Latin music, fun games and amazing food! A lot of the parents brought homemade tamales, enchiladas, taquitos, fried chicken, ensalada, and fresh salsa! I was in heaven.

Guatemala was Riley's focus. Did you know that Guatemala has volcanoes? I just learned that today from Riley, my Guatemalan expert. :)

Riley had a short & sweet Kindergarten graduation. The teacher called out the name, shook each student's hand, and gave them a laminated certificate.

And of course, after the ceremony, there was a huge fiesta for all the graduates.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Sting of the Spelling Bee

Hi, this is Hans in my first blog post.
The National Spelling Bee just ended, and it brings me back to my spelling bee days. Oh, the chances missed, the lessons learned. Spelling bees in our house became a little bit of an obsession. Once my sister happened to place in our local spelling bee in fourth grade, my Dad saw potential. But potential is only as good as the effort that is put in to achieve it, so she started studying spelling words, and I soon followed. When the city, county, state, and regional contests neared, we would sometimes miss school to get through that last list of words contained in the overfilled green canvas bags. Even at that time, before the internet, there was a powerful underground organization of parents (and occasionally students) willing their way to spelling bee stardom. My Dad even got in on the action and went to an adult spelling bee. Anyway, Hannah and I won the city and county contests and went on to the state contest in Wyoming.
But then, in 8th grade, our family moved to South Dakota. There was no city, county, or state competition. We just were invited to come straight from Hill City middle school (Hill City is really the name of the town) to the regional competition held by the Rapid City Journal. The winner of this competition would go directly to the National Spelling Bee. Unfortunately, the lack of warm-up competitions failed to sustain me in my spelling word fervor, and my Dad had to go out of town for an ill-fated business trip.
I don't remember all of the details (maybe PTSD-related loss of memory), but we rode to the competition in a school bus, with Mrs. Prelle as our chaperone. There was a written round. I think that I scored second on that round. Then we moved on to the oral round. We were in a large auditorium, and we all lined up in the aisle that ascended from the stage to the door in the back. My first few words went okay, but then I received the word (blast it!) "regnant". This was not that hard of a word, so I had probably skipped over it quickly. I couldn't remember if it ended in an "ent" or an "ant". I stood there thinking. I saw my spelling-bee-life (and that of my sister) pass before my eyes, and then calmly misspelled the word. I then heard the infamous last words, "That is incorrect!" as I staggered toward my seat.
The regional championship was within my reach, and I missed it. I attribute any failures in my life since to that fateful day in a non-descript auditorium, with only a few onlookers in Rapid City South Dakota. Missed opportunities. Paradise lost. I can repent of my ways, but there is no way to go back and change the past...
My Dad was to return home from his trip shortly, but even though we did not have very much money, he called later that day to see how I had done. I told him the story, and he proceeded to point out that "regnant" was on a list that he had left with me before he went on his trip. He said, "If you had studied the list that I left, you would have won." Well that felt better.
As part of my grieving process, I am including a list of the spelling words spelled CORRECTLY by the most recent national spelling bee competition.

demitasse, quadrat, diener, hyssop, mac├ędoine, basenji, numnah, chorion, nacarat, sinicize, hyphaeresis, taleggio & esclandre

In a spirit of truth-in-advertising, I have to say that this post was inspired by Monica's realization that her blog's readability (ranging from elementary school to genius) is not rated as highly as she would have hoped (I won't disclose her aspirations). I suggested that she include a list of spelling words that would up her score. I'm hoping this post does it because I can't keep reliving these painful memories. :)

Sunday, June 1, 2008

My little brother pays a visit 1

This past week my kid brother Mason flew in for a week visit. We all had a fantastic time! My kids warmed up to him in like 5 seconds and we spent most of the nights talking until we passed out from exhaustion. (good times.) Mason & I are 9 years apart and growing up we definitely had our struggles. We fought like crazy and he drove me up the wall with his "immaturity" because I was soooo "mature"(ya right). But now that we are both in our 20's and a bit more "mature," we have been able to cultivate a great friendship as brother & sister, for which I am truly grateful. So sometimes I am a little cranky. It's amazing that my attitude shifts from pleasant to psycho around the same time every month, wonder why that is? :) Anyway... Hans & Mason noticed the beginnings of the my morph into the Wicked Witch of the West and decided to bring me these little sweethearts. The lovely flowers & 2 Advil did the trick and stopped the transformation. Mason brought a John Bytheway CD with him and in it he talked about gardening and supposedly, dandelions were imported from Europe because the leaves were considered a delicacy, at the time. I'm sure the gardeners at Como Lake would like to thank whoever did that, personally.
You can't see it, but her back was covered in yellow pollen from lying in the dandelions.

Amelia called Mason's name all day long. When he would answer her, she became extremely coquettish.

We sat Amelia in this tree and she was very content to stay put, so Mason & I took 30+ pictures of her. It's was loads of fun. Amelia was in such a chipper mood.

I love my brother, of course, but he loves to "strike a pose" and it drives me nuts. I was trying to take pictures of him with Amelia and they ended up looking like engagement pictures. (I know, weird.) So... I had to snap pictures of them when he wasn't looking and I think this one is definitely an all time keeper.

My little brother pays a visit 2

It's nice living in Minnesota, state of 10,000 lakes because if one gets bored there's always a nearby lake that is naturally beautiful and entertaining. We took Mason to Lake Calhoun and the boys brought their bikes. The weather was lovely and it was a fabulous mix of everything. Bottom line everyone went to sleep happy and early. :) Unlike Conrad, Riley is not a ham and does not like his pictures taken. He won't put on a smile and is generally too busy to stand still for a posed picture. Above is a stand still, no smile, no pose, shot. Hey, I take what I can get. (Riley & I both love his galoshes.) Funny story here. Conrad & Riley were riding on the side of a bike path and Riley was going full speed and fell over into the Lake! Just kidding.... There was a 3 foot ditch by the lake he slid into, didn't even get wet and he was stuck and had to pose for me. Again, because he was stuck, I got to pose him looking as if he were trying to pull himself up from the very jaws of death. The smile totally gives is away.
Here is the proof to my accusations that Mason & Conrad are a ham & cheese sandwich when it comes to photo opps. Mason-poser. Conrad-poser. Riley-what would one call that?
Keepin' it real.