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Let’s play catch-up, shall we? Well, the last week at least.


Guessing Game

A couple months ago I asked Jaden if she had any guesses as to where we were going on our Super-Secret-Special Trip. She guessed the Science Museum to which I replied, “Dream big, Jaden, dream big.” In my most encouraging tone, of course.

The other night at bedtime I asked her if she had any new guesses since we’re getting close to The Trip.


I busted out a, “HA!” and thought, “Well, I told her to dream big.” Now, I’d originally told her I wasn’t going to say “yes” or “no” to her guesses but that it’s still fun to guess. However, I really couldn’t let the girl think we’re going to Paris so I said, “Oh, Paris would be wonderful but it’s a little out of our price range.”


“Honey, we would love to take you kids to Hawaii but that’s in the same price range as Paris. Meaning: out of ours. One more guess?”


“Wow. Ok, no. We’re going to stay in the Continental U.S. So, in this country but not Hawaii or Alaska or Puerto Rico or any other U.S. territory not attached to the main bulk of the country.”

“Is Montana in the country?”

“Yes, Montana is.”

“What about Europe?”

“No, sweetie, that’s a whole different continent across the ocean and Paris is there. I think you’re done guessing for tonight.”

The next day Jonas guessed New York City and Jaden guessed Washington DC. Is it weird that neither of them has guessed Disney World yet?



Last week Jaden made the comment that she doesn’t get to wear her sandals anymore because it’s getting colder out. I gave her a clue about the Big Secret Trip: “You’ll be bringing your sandals with.”

The next day Matt called me while I was driving home and asked why Jaden and Jonas were digging through closets and bins of shoes looking for sandals and why Jaden was crying because they couldn’t find them.


Matt and I are having a hard time keeping this thing secret. Ok, mostly I. I’ve slipped a few times when the kids, luckily, weren’t listening.  I really want to tell them something. I thought I was alone in this until Monday when Matt tried again and again to give Jaden challenges to pass so we could tell them something:

1)     If she got another 20/20 on her spelling test.

  1. Matt couldn’t wait until Tuesday and he gave her a practice test. She got 19/20. So…

2)     At dinner he told her if she spelled “vacation” correctly.

  1. She was VERY close but forgot the “t.” I was willing to give it to her because seriously, English is so effed up, I’m surprised she got that much correct. Matt wasn’t quite as ready but gave her another shot. He spelled it out for her twice and asked her to repeat it but, again, she forgot the “t.” Then he got desperate.

3)     “If you can tell me one amazing thing that I’ve never heard before, we’ll tell you something.”

After a mere second or two of thought, Jaden said, “Today, I petted a unicorn.”

“Really?” I asked, genuinely interested, “Where did this happen?”

“At school,”she said simply, “There’s a petting zoo there with all kinds of animals that don’t exist. There are unicorns and pegasi and colored ponies.”

4)     At this point I looked at Matt and mouthed, “Pegasi?” and was (again) ready to give it to her right there for using an awesome plural form of Pegasus. Matt was not. However, he agreed that this was indeed an amazing thing he’d never heard and asked Jaden what’s the difference between a Pegasus and a unicorn.

“A Pegasus can fly and a unicorn has a horn.”

“OH,” Matt said, giving me a significant look, “So you’re saying Pegasus can fly? Hmmm… I wonder what else flies.”

Because god forbid Matt just come out and tell them plain. After some ideas from both kids, I finally stepped in, had them clean off the table and told them we were taking a plane.

They are both very excited.



Jonas has a blanket that he got for his 2nd Christmas when he was just a year old. It’s well-loved, to say the least, and Gramma has mended it several times. Finally it got to the point where we had to talk about replacing it. Jonas wanted another brown and white striped blanket. This is when I found out my mother –in-law, the same Gramma who mended the original blanket, can knit and I asked her to knit him a new brown and white striped blanket.

This morning, I told the kids to get their shoes and jackets on because it was chilly. Jonas did not want to wear his jacket. I held it out to him and said, “Here, just put this on, ok, buddy?” He dashed off to his room while I wasn’t exactly paying attention and came back with Old Brown Blankey. “I’ll bring this and I’ll be nice and cozy.”

I tried to explain to him that Old Brown Blankey is very fragile and suggested he bring New Brown Blankey. This did not go over well. Back and forth we went. I was standing my ground because this is why we have the New Blankey, to protect the Old Blankey. He did not see it this way. I took the blanket and showed him all the stitches that had been made to fix Old Blankey’s boo-boos. He stormed off to his room and faced his door with his arms crossed in front of him, not looking at me.

“Come on, bud, we gotta go. Please put your arm in,” I pleaded holding the jacket open for him.


“Jonas, honey, we’re late. Come on.”

There was a pause and then he turns to look at me with this look of triumph in his face and says with the smallest of smirks,

“I’ll put my jacket on if I can bring Old Brown Blankey.” The sentence was laced with threads of “I got you now, woman.”

Long story short, while I commended his efforts I came out ahead in the bargain by way of promising the last banana if he put his jacket on and took New Brown Blankey.

3 minutes later he tripped on my sister-in-law’s drive way and skinned his knee and was happy to have any blankey he could get his hands on.



Pandora is awesome for setting the mood for those intimate moments with your lover. Except for when an ad for Kraft Macaroni in Cheese Bowls comes on with the tag line, “Perfect for nights like tonight.”

5 Years

“Wood, representing strength and a solidified relationship, and silverware, representing connectedness, are the traditional and modern gifts associated with your fifth wedding anniversary. Here are more gift and celebration ideas for your fifth anniversary.” (marriage.about.com)

Not exactly the inspiring blurb with which to launch a sappy post about our enduring love. We’ve been wanting to tear down the ghetto deck for awhile…not sure what that says about the strength of our relationship. I guess if we were putting up a new deck…but we’re not; we’re putting in a patio. Hmmmm…As far as silverware goes, we’re good there. We got some as a wedding gift. Unless they mean REAL silver silverware in which case BWAHAHAHA! Yeah, right. I can barely put the fake silver silverware in the dishwasher let alone polish something every, what, 6 months?

Let’s see if I can find something else about 5 year anniversaries.

“…the 5th Wedding Anniversary which is a big year and shows a very good start to your journey together. The traditional 5th Year Wedding Anniversary gift is wood and here are some ideas.” (http://blog.theheartbandits.com)

Again with the wood! Although, here they suggest a wooden wine rack. Now THAT I could get behind. Except we usually drink boxed wine from Trader Joe’s…which is made out of cardboard which is paper which is made from trees which are wood! We totally win at 5 Year Anniversary gifts!

Oh, here’s something kind of sweet from the same site: “…get a picture frame that holds 5 pictures and select one from each year of your marriage.”









Ok, that’s nice. Also? New 5 year resolution: take more pictures of just the two of us in addition to all the great family shots.

New and True

It’s impossible to hold on to the fresh feeling of new love. “True love,” as it were, grows and changes and molds itself to your life, or perhaps your life molds around the love.

Last night Matt was playing his guitar for Jaden. After he played “My Bonnie” I started looking for my old Beatles Anthology CDs because there’s a really fun cover of “My Bonnie” on the first anthology. I didn’t find it. Instead I found about 15 mixed that Matt and I made back before Jaden was born, ie: our courtship years.

I showed Matt my treasure and how I came by it and he promptly went downstairs and dug out a giant plastic bin full of all the CDs we deemed too precious to sell when we converted to digital files. “I got your back, babe!” He said and he planted the bin in front of me. Not only did I find my Beatles collection but about 100 photos from our early years.

Today I’m sitting in a cubicle listening to these CDs, much like I did nine years ago when he made them for me. The butterflies are missing from my tummy and have been replaced by warm nostalgia. I could make the argument that this nostalgia is stronger than any new flutterings. Instead of analyzing every line of every song for hidden meaning behind my new boyfriend’s choices, I’m remembering long bus rides to my love’s apartment; standing in the cold waiting for that bus; lying in bed watching him get his gear together for a show; replacing his screensaver with the words I didn’t have the nerve to say aloud; hearing those words from him; laying in the grass watching the sunrise and handing him a fallen leaf (which he still has); games of dirty scrabble; building forts in the livingroom and watching old cartoons on rainy days.

15 years of friendship
9 years of love
5 years of marriage (in September)

New love is exciting, scary, spicy and full of risk. True love is comfortable, sweet, responsible, and less risky. And I get to have both of them.

Bon Voyage, Bitches

The Prep

Except for the house and re-packing our bags, we’re all set.

By this time (4:05pm CST) my husband and I will be checking our bags and then heading towards security.

I can’t believe this is happening. It’s so surreal. I’ve compared this trip count-down to pregnancy, and that feeling is still strong. I know it’s happening, we’ve been planning and saving and writing check lists and buying supplies and tomorrow’s The Big Day.

It sure doesn’t feel like it. Don’t get me wrong, please, I’m BEYOND excited for this. Two years we’ve planned for this. You can see how it’s a little unbelievable to me to think that the day is finally here, well, tomorrow it will be but you know what I mean.

The Guilt

Thanks to my daughter’s behavior over the last week or so, the Guilt has subsided a bit. Ok, the meds have helped, too, and Matt. But really, Jaden’s been pulling out all the Not Listening Stops and it’s beyond frustrating. I know she’s acting out because the Big Day is looming but that doesn’t make me any less angry when she blatently pisses me off. I’m really hoping tonight and tomorrow go smoothly because if we have a repeat of yesterday (which culminated with me sobbing in my bedroom because I was just tired of trying with her followed by Matt suggesting I go lay down with her, which I did and oh, did that help a lot. She’s so sweet when’s she’s sleeping.)…I don’t know what will happen other than me yelling, “Bye, J!” and slamming the car door at the air port. Trust me: No one wants that. This morning was very very good so I’m holding out hope that we’ll be ok.

Jonas? Oh, he’s just fine. No idea that we’re leaving for two- plus weeks. As far as he knows, he’ll just be spending some more time with his grandparents. Maybe his way of acting out is by saying new words all the time just to prove mommy and daddy wrong and make us feel guilty about missing all the words he’ll say while we’re gone. The punk.

I’m really going to miss my squishy kids. It’s going to be great talking to them on Skype. They’re going to freak.

The Freedom

Last night, as we were finishing up the packing, I sighed and said, “I cannot wait to eat cheese and drink beer with you.” Matt seemed concerned, “And other things, I hope.”  “Well, yes, of course,” I reassured him, “but what I mean is, I can’t wait to be able to sit at a little table in the middle of a city I’ve never been to and not have to worry about getting home to relieve the sitter or having to get up at 6am with the kids while nursing a hang over. Not having to worry about anything.”

This is big. I’ve focused so much on all the terrible things that could happen while we’re gone that I wasn’ t able to see all of the simple and extraordinary things we’re going to do and see together. Last night it finally hit me: I’m going on my honeymoon with my husband and only my husband.

It’s going to be amazing and it’s about damn time.

11 Days

People people people.


My husband and I are taking our first trip together EVER in ELEVEN DAYS!!

We’ve both gone through some worry over the kids (maybe one of us maybe a little more than the other. maybe.) but right now, as of this morning, we’re both REALLY ready for this vacation.

Love our kids, really, but GOD. Mornings. GOD. Dinners. Ugh.

It’s just frustrating knowing that we’ve only got a few days left with them before we leave for 2.5 weeks and that time will be spent lecturing, counting to 5, putting them on time-out, yelling, asking approximately 12,347 times to TAKE ONE BITE OH MY GOD.

I woke up Jaden this morning (who’d been sent to bed early last night for talking back and not eating her dinner) and told her we’d really like to enjoy this time with her and not spend it fighting. “I’m not going to see you for a long time, y’know.”

“That’s ok, mommy,” she reassured me, “We’ll talk a lot on the computer.”

“Well, yes, I know, but still, the In-Person Time would be better spent having fun and not fighting, right?”

And then the morning progressed and ended with me saying to Matt, “Eleven Days, honey, Eleven Days.” and him wearily responding, “That long?”

I’m going to go ahead and say that perhaps all of this stress and stuff is a good thing. It will build up my defenses for all the weeping that will happen when my mom drops us off at the airport and I kiss my babies good bye.

And then run to the airport bar for a whiskey on ice.

This is not the direction I meant for this post to go. Surprisingly enough, I get kind of tired griping about my kids. I was going to talk about all the prep work we’ve done and how ready we are. Let’s add “Build Up Defenses by Arguing with Kids for Two Weeks Prior to Trip” to the list.


Let’s see what else? We got our laptop bag yesterday, got our walking shoes the weekend before, got my iPod Touch (SQUEEE! Matt bought her for me and I love her. Her name is Franzel and I’m totally addicted to two games called “Cooking Dash” and “Farm Story” that I downloaded.), got some legal paperwork filled out and getting it notarized on Friday, got my check-up done (Perfect health, that’s me!), got my contacts, got my hair cut, got Matt’s hat, found some more cool places to check out, got me on the mend, completed our itinerary for the parents, researched currency exchange then panicked and decided to just use the ATMs there, got a new camera, a new external hard drive. I’m sure there’s a bunch of other little stuff too that we got done.

What’s left?

Buy a giant bag of cat food, fill up the gas can for the mower, write up instructions for the house sitter, transer some DVDs onto the lap top and ipods, download some audio books, record bedtime stories for the kids, write letters for the kids. Huh, I think that’s it.

Wow. That’s not a lot.

We’re really doing this thing in eleven days and, more importantly, are as prepared as we can be. I’m feeling pretty good about this.

OH! One more thing for the list: find out exactly how much more expensive airport bars are than regular bars. Seriously: Whiskey. On ice.