I turned 41. It was without as much fanfare as 40, but still pretty darn good. I knew Brad was up to something – he was asking me to leave my facebook acct open, and I caught him sending letters from my email. Saturday morning, the day before the big day, he stopped me from making coffee (too late), told me to get dressed (which I did, but not knowing why, I emerged in comfy almost-pajama wear with a serious case of bedhead), and put me in the car as soon as a smug Aunt Tara arrived. My dream of breakfast out with Brad, a hot cup of good coffee, and breakfast only cutting my own food became a reality. Then back in the car where he’d packed a bag for me and my bike to take me to Scioto Trails, a state park we used to mountain bike in the winter before blessed with darling, lovable children who don’t let us do anything anymore. We rode in the not-so-cold and cloudy park for a full two hours, just like the old days, even topped off with the traditional late lunch at Sumburger in Chillicothe. The next day, my REAL birthday, started with croissants at Le Chatelaine (of course!), and moved through church, going to get our Christmas tree, Santa action for the kids (not the real santa – he’s at Sumburger in Chillicothe), a night in Bethlehem back at church again, with loads of friends, and finally dinner out at Cheeseburger in Paradise with my family. Not my typical choice of restaurant, but close to everyone’s way home and who doesn’t like a good fish taco?

Good ole Scioto Trails

I’m not kidding, this is the real Santa. Real beard, and the best HO HO HO laugh I’ve ever heard. Ever. He’s real.

Ooh, la la!


Mother’s day is one of my favorite holidays. I get to sleep in an extra however long, have my coffee made for me, eat waffles or palmiers or some other delectable european treat, have darling trinkets made for me at sunday school, and avoid any type of “work”. This year we (the collective “we”, meaning Brad) finished the patio and built me a cedar herb garden that i ADORE. Leva actually helped me plant about half of the plants, which was fun until she lost interest and got tired of being in the spitting rain. “Mom, it’s RAINING! Why are we out here? We’re getting wet! I want to use my gardening pad. Can I plant the parsley?” as she dug hole after hole in almost the right place and then abandoned me, in the rain. I couldn’t help it, I was too excited not to plant, and really, i love it. And then honestly? I don’t even remember what we did for the afternoon, but we went to the North Market to pick up things for dinner, which is always a big mistake. It’s such a kitschy, over-priced, self-inflated excuse for bad food in pretty, expensive, environmentally friendly containers. The raspberries we spent $5.50 on were rotten when we got home. The prosciutto and wild mushroom ravioli with the artichoke gorgonzola cream sauce was fair. The bread was terrible. And even Hattie wouldn’t even eat her sugar cookie because it was bad. Or so we thought. Because while we had made good ole family friendly spaghetti for the kids, which they scarfed down, we paid for it at about 10:30 at night, when first Geert, and then Hattie threw up all over themselves. Geert we heard on the monitor, and no sooner had we got him out of bed, wiped up and assembled on towels in our bed, when Hattie woke up asking “Dad? Wipe hands? Daddy? Wipe hands?”. That one was COVERED and we had to bring her crying into the shower because we couldn’t get it out of her hair with a mere rag. I then grabbed a bowl and slept with Leva, thinking she was next and I could do damage control with the bowl. Instead, I stayed up all night waiting for her to throw up, or Hattie or G to throw up again, which fortunately, didn’t happen. Ah yes, mother’s day, celebrated by two loads of laundry that I had to de-chunkify with my bare hands (barfed up spaghetti noodles – bleaaaaggghhhhh). At least I got a beautiful patio and hand-made crafts to remember after the vomit is all washed away.



Does anyone out there remember this post? That was last year. Now this, this is this year.
The new, highly innovative, anti-squirrel device encircles my beloved tree to about five feet. First, chicken wire, staked in a two foot diameter circle of don’t-even-think-about-it dissuades all but the most resourceful of rodents. Next, plastic mesh wraps the lowest branches to create an unstable, trapeze-like surface to toss the little critters away. One stinkin’ squirrel seems to have crawled UNDER the device, eaten half a peach, and left it in the mulch. To add insult to injury, he returned the next night, ate the rest of the peach, and left the pit.  His calling card, I assume.  Well, let’s see him eat all 30-something of my peaches.  I’ll get him when he’s too fat to fit back under the wire.

By the way, anyone know when peaches are ripe?  I’ve no idea.

Okay, for those of you who haven’t seen me in a while and keep asking “but how BIG are you?”, here’s your answer: I’M HUGE!! Big. Gigantic. Yes, my pants keep falling down every time I stand up. Yes, I have to roll over to get up off the floor or out of bed. Yes, I’ve outgrown many of my maternity pants and shirts because even they aren’t long enough to cover the ridiculous protrusion of my belly. My goodness. And so, for comparison, here I am at 35 weeks and three days gestation, with a comparison picture from Leva at 35 weeks and four days gestation, otherwise known as the night before I had her. You tell me – bigger?

Pootie II 35/3Leva 35/4

Pootie II                                                                                         Leva

you get this:

When Leva dresses herself…

I LOVE the beach!

The picture says it all. For her first real trip to the beach, I have to say how amazed i was at how much Leva enjoyed it. She loved the sand in her toes, chasing birds, finding shells (and stringy seaweed and drift wood and gross dead-looking things), even running into the waves and the resultant sea-water wet diapers. She was the delight of the retirees walking the beach, as she’d stop to wave at every single one of them, turning even the frowning, down faced folks into smiling wavers who would sometimes stop to chat. The lucky ones were even blown kisses (okay, almost all of them). By the third or fourth day, she would grab her bucket and her hat and walk to the door in her pajamas saying “Go! Go!” and be devastated when we pulled her back to get her dressed.

We also had the momentous FIRST WORD! Alright, so Leva’s been sort of been saying “All done”, “Go”, and the occassional “Mama or Da” (which seem to be interchangeable), but sitting at the table, in all clarity, she reached for the ginger snaps and said “cookies”. Clear as day. What a great first word. Yes, we fed her a lot of cookies. And yes, now we’re paying for it.

And another tangential thought, this being superbowl sunday and all – the last pictures are of a playground in the airport. Shortly after we got there, a darling little girl, Charlotte, and her mom arrived. We made small talk, and the girls played until the dads came back. We moms laughed at how the dads are blond, we’re dark, and we both have girls that replicate their fathers, blah blah blah, they’re from new jersey and going home to visit family, they moved there for her husband’s job, blah blah. After they leave, Brad asks if I knew who I was talking to?  Um, no.  Apparently Phil Simm’s kid, Chris, who’s one of the quarterbacks for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, going home to hang with Dad for the superbowl (Dad used to play for the Giants and was Superbowl XXI MVP). Oh. How does he know that?

Pictures here: Siesta Key 2008

Pictures of the party here: Birthday

The Electra Amsterdam

Stacy’s Birthday Present

Pootie II

Expected date of arrival: May 31, 2008

(For those of you already doing the math in your heads, that’ll make them about 19 months apart)

Happy Halloween!

It’s good to know that halloween is as good today as it was when I was a kid. Our street was filled with neighborhood kids, some of whom we know now, going down the street with empty pillowcases and coming back in an hour or two dragging the heavy loads behind them. Leva handed out drool covered candy (that’s what wrappers are for) and shrieked at the giant inflatable Frankenstein across the street for an hour before finally retiring her claws for bed. We had a LOT of spidermen/spiders-in-general who were impressed with our novice web job on the house. I think it should have been better considering Brad’s a WEB DESIGNER ha ha ha ha ha. One spiderman wasn’t sure what webs were, which was pretty hilarious too. The bloody angels were a bit disturbing, but Jim’s rendition of the man in the yellow hat stole the show. Next year, we’re going for skeletons!

Pics here: Halloween 2007

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