Thursday, December 15, 2011

Positively Paultardian

The Kiss and Ride was swarming with cops this morning.

There were three patrol cars, flashing lights, officers with ticket books in hand, and two vehicles pulled over in the parking lot.

I was hoping for a clandestine ops bust, but they were just doing seat belt enforcement.

I'm not sure how I feel about that.
a) Liberal Smug - Hooray for keeping all those kiddos safe! Let's build safe habits that last a lifetime!
b) Conservative Crank - Boo for police state over-reach. It's a five minute ride to school, at 10 MPH max. Do we really need to be writing tickets?
c) Fiscal Realist - I guess the county needs new revenue, and this is easier than speed cameras or higher property taxes.
d) Black Helicopter Nutjob - Why are these people watching me? Who else is watching me? I'm not paranoid, you're paranoid. Someone give me a metal colander and some tin foil.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


I cannot get a decent photo of Lumpyhead. He is either moving or looking away. If he is standing still and facing the camera, his mouth is wide open or he has the crazy eyes.

For example:
The First Day of School

Pumpkin Picking (You can still call it "picking" when it's actually "selecting," right?)

And yes, I follow the advice of "take lots of pictures to ensure you get a good one." These are the good ones. I'm not subjecting you to the hundreds of even worse ones.

Oh Christ.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

So Your Brother Is Getting A New Lego Every Damn Night

Thanks for all your help on that last post. Not. Everyone but Delora is shunned.

. . .

Okay, shortest shunning ever. I realize I post sporadically and stupidly, so you're forgiven. Most of you.

Even though you don't deserve it, I present:

Advent Calendar Ideas for a Four-Year-Old Girl Whose Mother Doesn't Want to Spend a Zillion Dollars and Whose Brother is Getting New Legos Every Damn Night

1. Paper dolls - I printed out some of those old school Betsy McCall dolls on cardstock (before I saw the awesome magnetized version on Cool Mom Picks). Unfortunately, I had given Lula a couple of these already, and if I tried to bust them out again for IS NOT A LEGO advent, she would have called bullshit on that faster than if I gave her nothing.

2. Ballet themed items - I found tickets to a version of The Nutcracker that's targeted to her age group, and she while she liked it a lot, it only took care of one night. Less than one night, actually, because when the time came for her brothers to get advent calendars, "But we went to the ballet!" was not an acceptable answer to "Where's MINE?"


I thought I could knit some ballet-like slippers for her, but I'm not a great knitter. Three hours later, ROW 7 OF 7,891 laughed heartily at my expense.


3. The Winner: Felt dolls for a flannelboard

They are cheap, novel, and surprisingly easy. Most nights, as Bump is getting dinner on the table, I realize I haven't prepared this evening's outfit and go running off to put scissors to felt.

We don't have a proper flannelboard, but the doll sticks to the back of the couch.

On the first night I gave Lula the doll with eyes, lips, and hair; along with a few clothes. (Sorry about the blurry, I suck at this.)
You probably could draw the face on with markers, or be fancy and embroider some features on the thing, but I was striving for full reversibility and - more importantly - speed. I didn't have brown or black felt in the house (honestly, I was lucky to have any felt on hand), so I made the hair with yarn.

I also made a second hairstyle option.
It's funnier, but is too heavy to stick to the doll when she's vertical.

Lula named her Charlotte - or Scarlett, it depends on when you ask - and is passably excited about getting a new outfit every night.
With the scraps you can make bows and polka dots to decorate the clothes. You could glue the embellishments on, but they also just stick to the felt.
To be honest, making the outfits is kind of fun.
This was the outfit Lula received on the night we went to The Nutcracker.
The tutu was too short, so the next night Charlotte/Scarlett got underpants. (The underpants also make great -- and highly hilarious if you're a four-year-old -- hats.)
I have a few more outfits ready to go, but when Nana arrives tomorrow I'm turning this all over to her. I'm predicting that's when the real awesomeness will start.

Thursday, December 01, 2011


As if we need a build-up to Christmas on top of "on the 25th of this month, you'll get a shitload of toys," we're starting advent calendars tonight.

We have beautiful advent calendars in the house, handmade by Bump's mom. One uses vintage Christmas cards. Beneath each number is a perfect image of the holidays, and the tormentors dismiss this gorgeous item of masterful paper-crafting with a shrug. They sulk through the nightly opening as if they're being punished.

Last year Grammy made 25 delicate, glorious boxes to be filled with candy on the appropriate day. The kids prefer the 99-cent chocolate advent calendars from Trader Joe's. It baffles me, as Grammy's pretty little boxes have more candy, but I suppose the volume argument is undercut by having to share the advent bounty with siblings.

Yesterday, Bump went to the Lego store and secured a Lego Star Wars advent calendar. Lumpyhead is going to lose his mind when he sees it. I was happy he found one, but immediately realized that Lula is going to pitch a fit when she realizes how comparatively screwed she is getting.

I know escalation is not the answer, but I would really like to avoid spending a) the month of December listening to her complain about how unfair this all is, and b) a zillion dollars on presents before Christmas.

But com'on, Lumpyhead is about to get new Legos every night. Lula is getting . . . well, nothing.


Oh, and I need twenty-five of them.

I need one of them in about four hours. GO.

(While you're at it, I'll need something for Nathan Jr., too. WOE)

Monday, November 07, 2011

Eastern Standard Time, Baby

Remember when "falling back" meant you got an extra hour of sleep? When the worst thing that happened was that you showed up for football an hour too soon? When you didn't have fingers poking you in the eye an hour earlier than usual, and you didn't have to deal with strung-out chimpanzees at bedtime?

Yeah, me either.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Toilet Humor. Kind of.

An ad on the Washington Post website told me that Kohler has a new potty. It looks like this.
According to the website, it literally wipes your ass for you. Plays music, warms the seat, lifts the seat, lowers the seat, etc. etc. etc.

Now, I realize that marketing artsy photos are not meant to depict real life, but am I really supposed to believe these pictures? (Photos taken from the Kohler website)

It's a POTTY. Right out there in the middle of the room, in full view of God, Oprah, and the entire city of Los Angeles. How is that supposed to work?

I can't even go if there's someone in the stall next to me.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

There Oughta Be a Law - Or at Least an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking

Anyone who has read more than three sentences on this blog knows how I feel about profanity: I curse a lot. I even curse in my head; I often find myself sanitizing my words before I speak or write them. Really.

I understand that coarse language can be offensive, so I don't mind hearing an occasional bleep on the federally regulated airwaves.

But honestly, FCC, can we do something about the sound of sirens or horns on the radio? Broadcasters, can we apply a little self-regulation? Like many people, I listen to the radio in my car. When I hear a horn or siren, I don't immediately assume it's coming from my speakers. I eventually realize that a producer or reporter intentionally put those sounds into a recorded radio piece, and let me just say: STOP THAT THIS INSTANT.

At least warn me that it's coming, radio host, so I don't start looking for a place to pull over.

Note to Armando Trull, intrepid reporter from my local public radio station: You're effing killing me, dude. Knock it the heck off. (See? Self-regulation. It's easy!*)

*The normal filthy cursing you have come to expect from me will resume momentarily.

Friday, August 05, 2011

3-D Glasses are Racist

Before my mother left - seriously, ten hours before she got on the plane - Bump and I decided that we needed to eek out the last little bit of Granny Nanny and went to a movie.

We saw Harry Potter in imax 3D and let me just say:
1. Wow. Holy fricken amazing.
2. $17.50 per ticket? Jebuz.

3. 3D Glasses are racist.

You know how - or maybe you don't - 3D glasses should sit about an inch from your face for optimum effectiveness? Well, that's hard if your nose doesn't have a bridge.

I'm just saying.

Aunt Bob suggested that there could be "Asian 3D glasses," but that would probably be EVEN WORSE.

I offered that at least those glasses would be good at math.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Cascade Falls

Hey, remember that time we went to Maine and Lula was not tall enough to ride Cascade Falls? Well, our long national nightmare is over.
Yeah, the other photo was funnier.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lumpyhead's Bedroom Door

When we got back from Maine, Lumpyhead made new signs for his bedroom door and taped them up:
Problems with this:
1. Orthography
He misspelled "Babies."

2. Enforcement
Nathan Jr can't read, so is unlikely to honor the sign. Lula can read, and even understands the intent of the restriction, but is unlikely to care about some stupid sign her brother wrote.

3. Exclusions
Lumpyhead later clarified that the prohibition did not apply to grownups, or to people who live in our house. Since we don't get many non-family girls or babies in the house - certainly none who want to visit his room - it is unclear who he is seeking to keep out with these postings.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Very Lula Bedtime Story

One night a Very Tired, Very Naughty Little Girl refused to go to sleep.

She demanded seven braids in her very tangled hair, and wiggled through each one.

But after her mother went downstairs to watch the baseball game, the little girl snuck out of her bed. She traipsed through both of her brothers' rooms, waking the boys up. When her mother caught her, the little girl claimed she was "looking for a new book."

She was harshly sent back to her bedroom, and the little girl cried.

"I can't sleep," she complained. "I close my eyes, but they only stay closed for a little while."

Her mother suggested that the Very Tired, Very Naughty Little Girl should think happy thoughts. She could remember all the fun she had in Maine with her cousins the week before. She could imagine what splendid things she would do in the morning, or later in the week. Perhaps she could go to the library. But for now, the Very Tired, Very Naughty Little Girl had to go to sleep.

She was told to think about Big Mama's Beach House, and the excitement in store for her there. The little girl's father suggested that she could swim in the water, or build sand castles, or lie in the hammock.

"I like to drink sweet tea," the Very Tired, Very Naughty Little Girl said happily.

And then she fell asleep.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Independence Day in DC with Kids

"Someday," I have always said. "Someday we will take the kids to see the fireworks on the Mall. Maybe even go to the concert on the Capitol lawn."

Because, why shouldn't we? It's free. We can park in my work lot, a block away from the Capitol. The kids love fireworks. Gramma is in town.

2011, yesterday, was that someday.

If you're considering your own visit to Washington DC's celebration of America's birthday, here are some tips from my first-hand experience. I hope you find them helpful.

Do not, for example, eat dinner at home at six o'clock and then breeze into the city for the 8 pm event.

But I have guaranteed parking nearby.
Yes, but you will still need to drag your entire sweating and complaining family for half-mile, around barricades and fencing, to the security checkpoint.

But the concert is broadcast on big screens, so you don't need to see the stage.
Yes, and the people who have been waiting on the West Lawn all day will have a clear view of the screens. You, and your sweating and complaining family, will not be able to see them. If you move around twice, further back and toward the porta-potties, you might be able to see a little bit of the top of one of them.

Because it's fricken hot in DC in the summer. And it rains. A lot. It rains so much that your initial brilliant idea - attend the dress rehearsal of the concert the night before - will be closed to the public because of dangerous thunderstorms. It is so hot that after one hour your Minnesotan mother will insist that the sweat running into her eye might actually kill her. It will also start to rain lightly during the concert, prompting you and your husband to pull the plug on this whole ill-advised adventure.

But Independence Day is always in July.
I don't know what to tell you about that. I have no solution. Try Canada Day.

Guess how I gained the knowledge that the view was a little better closer to the porta-potties?

Bump's last-minute decision to "try Hains Point" after fleeing the Capitol was inspired. We found easy parking at the golf course, and had an unobstructed view of the very impressive pyrotechnic display.

I heard it was difficult to leave Hains Point after the fireworks are over.
Whoever told you that was lying. It is not difficult. It is absolutely impossible. There is one exit, everyone is trying to use it, and you're at the end of the line. The two firetrucks taking up three lanes of the outbound Fourteenth Street Bridge aren't going to do you any favors, either.

Five minutes into the drive home, he will demand apple juice, chug it, then throw up. He will also be a whiny pain-in-the-ass in general, conning Gramma into carrying him most of the time and fish-flopping through the fireworks.

She will also screw around during the fireworks, insist that they are taking too long, and encourage her little brother to misbehave. Your husband will have to take them both back to the van before the finale. This girl will also complain during the entire hour-and-a-half drive home that your husband is driving too slow and demand to know why you are not home yet.

He will thoroughly enjoy the fireworks show, and authoritatively announce the names of many of the bursts.

"It's a Toy Poodle!"

"That's a Golden Temple."

"Rainbow Star!"

He will declare these things with great conviction, even though he is clearly making that shit up (unless all fireworks coincidentally have the same names as Wii game items and the washable markers he likes to use).

The first words he will say the next morning are "Did you like the fireworks last night, Mama?" and offer that he is patiently waiting a whole year before he can see them again.

But based on his father's clenched-teeth pronouncement of "Remind me never to leave the house again on the Fourth of July," perhaps Lumpyhead shouldn't count on it.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Milestone with a Side of Possible Overshare


The Shopping List is magic. You write the names of objects on a piece of paper, and a few days later those objects appear in your pantry or refrigerator. Magic.

Fine, it's not magic. Bump drives to multiple local merchants, accompanied by one to three children in various stages of nap requirement, and purchases these items. He then places the items in logical places around the house, all while trying to transfer sleeping toddlers to their beds.

Bump often has multiple lists going; his lists are venue-specific and are usually sorted by location in the store. I can never be sure if I'm supposed to put something on the Target list or the Costco list or the Giant list - or the very targeted Trader Joe's list - so I just write everything down in the same wondrous place. (This is where you are supposed to congratulate me for at least noting somewhere that I have used the last of the mustard, rather than leaving my spouse to rifle furiously through the fridge while I'm at work.)

We can at least agree that the Shopping List is Mysterious then, right?

I know I haven't seen you guys in awhile, so it feels like I'm showing you my underwear after saying a quick hello, but here:

It appears Lumpyhead is testing the magic and/or mystery of the Shopping List.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sweet Spot

From May 31 to August 3, I inhabit that lovely space where, when someone asks how old my children are, I am able to respond "Six, four, and two." No one's eyebrows shoot straight up, and nobody gasps over our misfortune/insanity.

Sometimes, when I'm outside of the sweet spot, I phrase the response to that question as "the boys are three years apart," which doesn't sound so crazy, until I have to mumble "and the girl is right in the middle." Then I walk away as they puzzle through the math in their head.

So, how have you been? I've been meaning to get back to this blog, but honestly, you people just don't mean that much to me.

Kidding! Of course! Mostly.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Notes from Vacation

Bump's family decided that we should all go to Florida for Spring Break. Something about Bump's mom not spending winters there for much longer, everyone's Spring Break falling on the same week, blah blah blah something something something that I just ignored because I was at work all the damn time.

Somewhere in the back of my head "Spring Break" and "Florida" filtered through and I shrugged and thought that sounded pretty good - completely forgetting that I have children now and tequila shots and beer bongs would be replaced by character breakfasts and a diaper bag.

Then a couple of weeks ago I realized that while I wasn't paying attention my family had planned to DRIVE to ORLANDO and go to WALT DISNEY WORLD during the same week the entire eastern seaboard was going to be there. Then I went back to work - because it was nearly 2pm on a Sunday and I had to get my ass back into the office, what was I, some sort of slacker? - muttering something about how these people were fucking crazy.

Then I forgot my PIN number.

Anyhoo, that pretty much catches you up on absolutely nothing. But I'm sitting here in my "office" - a hotel bathroom anteroom - while everyone else naps. Laugh if you will, but the door closes and I have:
1) a beer,
2) not one but two Sarah and the Goon Squad bottle openers,
3) a sad little crochet project that passes as relaxation these days,
4) a laptop that will get internet radio when the hotel wifi signal cooperates, and
5) a question for you.

How do you avoid getting sunburn on your part? Hair part. No, no, no, not your hairy parts. Your head - the spot on your head where you part your hair.

I'm relatively new to this whole sunscreen business. Remember, I come from the Land of Pasty Dutchmen, where our UV alert took the form of our lobster-red peers. By the time Cousin Bryan - the "dark" one - looked a little pink, Cousin Dawn was magenta and Cousin Alissa nearly had blisters, so we came in out of the sun while my brother and I were a dark taupe. "You kids are brown as Indians," my mother would cluck at my brother and me, which was funny because my brother is Indian, and my mother was not being ironic. Anyway, while I'm trying to be religious about sunscreen now, I don't know what to do about the tender pink line on my scalp that resulted from a few hours on an airboat. Wait, is this why you white people always wear hats?