Monday, August 31, 2009

The first of 13 first days

You will never believe what happened today. Alison went to kindergarten. Because she is 5 years old and is supposed to go to kindergarten. It was very surreal. Silas and I said as much to each other as we followed her up the sidewalk to school. She was very excited and not at all nervous. We were waiting in the lunchroom to go up to the opening service and she asked me while I was still there and why I just didn't go home, so I wasn't too worried about her. People must have been worried about me, though, because I fielded several calls from people concerned about my well-being. I'm here to say I'm fine! I did really well. No tears, even.

Oliver was very excited and needed to get his picture taken, too.
Showing off the all important Tinker Bell lunch box.
It was chilly this morning, but I wanted pictures of her dress without her coat, so she bucked up just like a real model and went coat-less until I had had my fill.
Walking to the garage.
Walking up the sidewalk to school.
Oliver, once again, in on the action.
Almost there!
Standing in line with her class waiting to go up to the opening service. Notice her height. Notice everyone else's. That's my girl!

She came home and declared she was ready for 1st grade. Then she fell asleep on the couch. So maybe not quite ready for 1st grade. After we put the kids to bed we could hear them talking to each other for a while.

They haven't done that all summer (mainly because they are so exhausted when they go to bed I think they just pass out) so they must have missed each other.

And so her school adventure begins. I wonder if she'll let me take pictures of her like this when she's 17?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Here, go ahead and laugh at my expense

I've never been the kind of person who is overly worried about making a complete fool of myself in front of people. That's not to say that I don't care if I do, it's just not something I waste my time worrying about (which is amazing for me, because I waste a lot of time worrying about things I have no control over). Which would explain that every time I get into our VW Beetle, Ringo, I manage to make a complete idiot of myself.

Ringo used to be my car, and love him I did. It was by far the newest car I had ever driven. Silas and I took it on road trips and camped out of it. But then we had a baby and it was a giant pain to get the baby and her car seat in and out of the backseat of that car. Also, not a lot of room for baby-related accoutrements in the trunk. So, we got a new car, a gleaming new station wagon, and Ringo became Silas's car. Mainly it just transports him to and from work, because let's face it, I don't know a lot of men who want to tool around town in a green VW Beetle if they don't have to (Silas has to, it's paid for).

Well, Ringo now has about 125,000 miles on him and he's 10 years old. That's not so bad, except he has also proven not to be the most reliable of all cars ever made. I lose track of his little idiosyncracies now since the only time I ever drive him is when I have to work a weekend, which only happens about once a month. Ringo has a few things that make driving a challenge. First of all, the driver's side door is threatening to fall off. When you open it it moves out and then down about 2 inches, so closing it involves lifting it up and then trying to fit it back in place like a puzzle piece. Those doors are not small, so I can't close it from inside the car since I'm sitting down. I don't have enough leverage to lift it up. Also, there is some kind of leak in the fuel system, so whenever you open the gas cap to fill up the tank it loses pressure and has a problem starting and continuing to run for a few minutes after a visit to the pump. I am constantly forgetting about these problems with the car. Which brings me to yesterday.

I had to work at 3 in the afternoon, so I scheduled a hair cut at 1. At 12:30 I make my way out to the garage and open the driver's side door of Ringo, totally forgetting that the door is broken. So, I gingerly lift it back into place, lean all of my weight against it until it closes, then crawl into the driver's seat through the passenger door since I can't close the driver's door from the inside. Remember here that Ringo has a manual transmission. Also I am very short and need to move the driver's seat up very close to the steering wheel. I back out of the garage only to realize two things: 1. The garbage and recycling cans are blocking my way out, and 2. The neighbor from the apartment building across the alley is trying to get my attention. This is going to require me to get out of the car. And then get back in. Through the passenger door. While there are witnesses. Not just random people at the grocery store (that's happened), but the neighbor whom I see on a fairly regular basis. The neighbor tells me what he needs to tell me, I move the garbage cans, then, with my head held high, crawl into my car and drive away.

I manage to get a haircut and get back into the car without anyone watching. On my way to work however, the car beeps, telling me I'm low on fuel. I really don't like stopping on my way home at midnight to get gas, so I decide to stop before work. I pull into the gas station close to the VA, and the place is hopping. I pull up next to the only available pump, which is going to require that I back out before pulling onto the street. As I uncap the gas tank and begin to fuel I realize something. I'm going to have to crawl back into the stupid car through the passenger door with all of these people watching, and then, after they witness me shimmying myself behind the wheel, I'm going to have to start the car with large amounts of gas, then back out, all the while revving the engine to keep the car running. So I stand there, trying not to make eye contact with anyone, even the nice couple at the pump next to me who are driving the same car I have back at home with a working door and ability to start without embarrassing noises and revving engine after getting gas.

I fill the tank. I open the passenger door, crawl over the passenger seat and stick shift, slide myself very ungracefully behind the steering wheel, and put the keys into the ignition. I put my foot on the clutch and try to start the car. It struggles to turn over, I feel people watching. I start giving it large amounts of gas. It coughs to life. I shift into reverse, all the while giving it tons of gas, revving the engine which, to the casual observer, seems completely pointless. At some point I need to shift into first and go forward without stalling the car. I manage to do it, but it requires a lot more engine revving and stares from startled gas station patrons who are wondering why the woman in the green beetle feels the need to show the power of her mighty 4 cylinder, 1.4 liter engine by constantly cranking on the gas. I pull onto the street, and by the time I hit the first stop light the car is able to come to a complete and full stop without stalling even though I am no longer giving it copious amounts of gas. I look around and, of course, no one is there to witness it.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Si is the only quiet one

Alison has been up at the lake with Mam the last few days, so it's just been Oliver, Si, and I. Last night we walked over to Davanni's for supper. On the way home we let Oliver wander wherever he wanted. He picked crab grass, rocks, and sticks. The entire time he kept up a running commentary. Finally Silas looked at me and said "He talks just as much as Alison". It might be true. That kid was not quiet the entire way home. We played and he talked about playing, about the ant walking by, about the crab grass (which he called 'Grandpa pies', I have no idea why), about the cars on the road, about the leaves on the trees...I don't know if it's the fact that we don't notice him talking as much when there's two of them talking, or if he talks more when he's not competing with Alison.

That night I was reading him his new book about reptiles before bed. I think he asked me about 5 questions per page. It has never taken me so long to read him one book before.

I hope to remember all of this talking someday when he comes home from school and grunts at me when I ask him how his day was, then walks into his room, closes his door, and texts his friends for the rest of the night.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I should be doing laundry...

but I have rededicated myself to keeping you updated on my uber-exciting life. So, here's something Alison said on our way home from the grocery store today that took my breath away. That one song that Norah Jones sings, you know, that one (please don't make me remember right now, I'm concentrating on how I should be doing 40 million other things), was playing on the radio.

A: This song makes my heart think about when I was a little baby.

I used to sing her that song all of the time when she was a baby.

Wow, she really was a cute baby!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Make that out to Oliver, c/o Lund's grocery store

Friday night we went to the grocery store with the kids. All four of us. Which, if you're OK with constantly repeating "Come on, you guys", or "No, don't touch that" is usually OK. But Friday night it was not OK.

We have one of those reusable fabric bags and Oliver was carrying it. It was empty and all folded up. We're in the nirvana that is the Lund's cheese department, and I turn around just in time to see Oliver take the bag and whack Alison over the head with it. As hard as he possibly can. It obviously didn't hurt her, but both of the kids turned to look at me. As soon as Alison saw the horrified look on my face she turned to Oliver and yelled "OLIVER MCAGHON!". I calmly looked at Si, told him I was going to take Oliver out, and wrestled the bag out of his chubby little hands.

This is the part where he starts wailing at the top of his lungs that he wants daddy. While I am carrying him from the back of the store all the way to the front. I keep repeating that we don't hit, that hitting is bad. Whatever, he doesn't care. He would please like the parent who isn't currently punishing him.

The situation deteriorates until we are all in the car on our way home, which takes about 2 minutes. Oliver is now screaming that he doesn't want to go home. We are all ignoring him. We pull into the garage. He switches to screaming that he doesn't want to live here anymore. This we can't leave alone.

"Where do you want to live, buddy?"
(heavy sniffling)"Me want to live at gwocewy sto"
"At the grocery store?"
"But there are no beds at the grocery store, where would you sleep?"
"Me want to bwing my bed to gwocewy sto"

This is concerning to Alison (they share a room and sleep in bunk beds):
"But Oliver, I don't want to live at the grocery store! I want to live here with Mommy and Daddy!"
(sadly,resignedly)"But me do, Ali. Me want to live there."

I guess he was just blowing smoke, though, because he's still living here.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

She really is a sensitive girl. OK, maybe not.

The reason I created this blog is because we live so far away from our families. There is no popping in for lunch or having grandma and grandpa able to take the kids for just a few hours on any given day. I wanted there to be a way for them to check in on us and see what's going on from day to day. Also, I don't really enjoy using the phone that often. Anyway, even though I haven't been updating very regularly recently I still like to look back on olds posts to see what we were up to.

That brings me to an added bonus of this blog. I have a horrible memory. In fact, I was just talking to a friend last night and saying that I need to take lots of pictures because otherwise I'll never remember my kids being little. I am not good about having baby books, but I do have this blog. I started it a few months before Alison turned 2. I was pregnant with Oliver. Now Alison is 5, going to kindergarten in a few weeks, and Oliver is 2 (and will not let us forget it, what with the fit every time things don't go his way). It's amazing how fast time is flying by, and I'm so happy I have this journal of sorts to look back and remember some of the more mundane, everyday things I might otherwise forget.

Today is one of those days. I got up, ran, showered. The kids woke up when I was in the shower, so Si turned on Sesame St and got them some waffles. We ate breakfast (oatmeal and blueberry smoothies), got dressed (and Oliver peed in the potty!), and went to Wood Lake Nature Center. We walked around on the short trail, then walked to the corner of 66th and Lyndale (there's a Caribou coffee and Quizno's there, what else does a person need? Oh, a bar.). We got some sandwiches and ate lunch. Then we walked to the vegetable stand in the Champ's parking lot and bought some stuff, which I then had to lug back to the car, along with a very heavy toddler who was too tired to walk any farther. The kids rolled down the hill of the VFW on the way. Then it was back home for a nap and quiet time. (Alison is upstairs right now making a potty for her Littlest Pet Shop.)

None of this makes for very good reading, but I'm happy I wrote it down, because I don't want to forget all of these little moments that make up a life together. I also don't want to forget Alison saying this in the parking lot by the vegetable stand.

Me: "Oliver, you'd better watch out or you're going to end up like that toad we saw at Wood Lake today."

Ali: "Oh, you mean the one that was squished? With its guts hanging out?"