Thursday, July 29, 2010

Summer Nites

Tonite was the nite that summer nites should be.... together, with the kids, music in the park, good company, old friends & ice cream.

I spend so much of life caught up in activities & chores. Tonite I got caught up in the moment. The lovelies, Mom & I met up with friends in Central Park to take in a Peder Eide concert. Lots of familiar faces, a heart-filled chat with my childhood physician, and two little girls to soak it all up.

What's left are my memories in pictures....

{Lauren & Abby Taking in Their First Concert}

{Put Your Hands in the Air}

{Those Tiny Fingers}

Thank You Thursday

So much to be thankful for....

1. Perspective.

2. Life.

3. Full-Circle Moments.

4. Remembering to Stop. And Listen.

5. Hearing Words I Haven't Heard in Years. And that Feeling of Being a Kid Again.

Oral Hygiene

Today was the day: Abby's first teeth cleaning & Lauren's first oral exam. The girls were both excited to jump into the dentist's chair. Brenda & Dr. DeLaitsch went above & beyond to ensure the girls were comfortable and stayed abreast of the tools & techniques they were using. Lauren stood a close watch over her sister while Abby absorbed all the information and asked a bounty of questions. It took Abby a few minutes to relax her body and figure out just what her roll is in the exam. At one point Brenda even remarked, "You have a curious tongue." Cute!

Both lovelies left the office with high marks in oral hygiene and a, "Keep up the good work!" No doubt the bag-o-goodies and sparkling teeth were also incentive to show off their pretty smiles.

{Abby gets her teeth cleaned}

{Dr. DeLaitsch counts Lauren's teeth.... All 20 accounted for!}

{Dr. DeLaitsch & Lauren}

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

Ten random thoughts, it's Tuesday!

1. My sister finally has an iron. At thirty, it's about time. I can't prove she uses it, but she has one. Baby steps little sis.

2. Today Lauren wanted "little white meatballs" for breakfast. We didn't have any more powdered doughnut holes so she put it on her Hy-Vee shopping list.

3. I love sleeping with Abby. Maybe it has something to do with all of the nights we spent together when the hockey players moved in to Mom & Dad's. Maybe it goes back to all of the time I felt I missed with her when Lauren came along so soon. Either way, there's just something about being crowded by her skinny little body & seeing her face sleeping peacefully next to me in the morning.... I love it!

4. If Grandpa & Grandma's place had a taste it would be raw green beans fresh out of the garden.

5. Just the thought of going up to the cabin in a few days: pure bliss.

6. I love giving the girls four-wheeler rides around the farm. I'm pretty sure Grandpa & Grandma are going to come home from up north and wonder where all the tracks came from. That would be me. And the girls. I love going up to their place!

7. Winter pajama shopping, done. Ahhhh.

8. Two new tires, a new door panel, and now rotors & brakes. Can this please be it for awhile?!

9. It's hot days like this that make me wish it was a snowy, wet Winter day instead of a humid Summer day. And I would build a snowman.

10. This might be the first day I had a pleasant experience at the Owatonna Post Office. EVER! I walked in there fully prepared to get yelled at by Grumpy McGrumpster Counter Guy. I didn't know what to do with myself when he didn't.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thank You Thursday

This Thursday's thank you list is much less dramatic then last week's. This Thursday I am thankful for:

1. Tiny's passionate spirit. Sure, she is currently channeling her passion in the direction of a nineteen year-old hockey player, but none-the-less, she is passionate. I adore that about her.

2. A night out with girlfriends. With our daughters about to start kindergarten, it's hard to believe Steph & I have been friends since we were that age! Molly & Steph, how lucky I am to still have you in my life!

3. Getting new wheels. No, not a new ride, just a pair of new wheels. I'm back on the streets.... Watch out, Owatonna!

4. Hockey in July. For me, it is like Christmas in July. A nice cool rink, the smell of the ice, sinus inflation that quickly dissipates and sends me into my own personal paradise. How many months until the hockey season starts?

5. Girls. My girls. Their hugs, their kisses, their giggles, everything about them. Except maybe their screams and vulgar outbursts. Besides those two things, everything else. Love those girls!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1. As the result of hurrying through Friday's To Do List, I shorted my cookie dough by one cup of flour. I discovered it today when the cookies spread like wild fire on the pans.... Even professionals make mistakes.

2. Twice in the past week Abby has made the squeaking sound I nearly forgot about her making as a baby. I admit that the second time she did it because I squeezed her a little too hard. I miss those treasures from her infancy.

3. Home is where your heart lives. I heart being home.

4. I'm crossing my fingers that my extensive knee pain is a result of the weather. It hurts just to sit down; must be the swelling.

5. Abby's been talking a lot about jail. Just minutes ago she asked me why you can't get married to another girl. I'm deducing either media over-exposure or a complex thought strategy. Maybe a little of both.

6. Yesterday I took the girls to Dairy Queen; I love the way Lauren says Dilly Bar!

7. Driving through the Cities is always a rush. Sometimes it's frustrating, but such a great feeling just being there.

8. This afternoon Abby locked herself in my parents' bedroom with the bag of string beans we picked at Grandpa & Grandma's. I guess it's better than cupcakes.

9. While she was sneaking vitamin-rich veggies, I was sampling the cookie dough. I don't feel bad now eating so much of it before they got baked.... just less cookies for me to scrape off the pan.

10. I don't know who is happier, the girls to have their Papa, or their Papa to have his girls.

{Abby & Lauren Assisting Papa, Painting in the Garage}

Thank You Notes

I read an article in Real Simple magazine recently on the topic of thank you notes. I've always been a firm believer in the power of saying thank you. I'm not one to pick up a phone, so somewhere between that and my love for something pretty I can put my hands on is most likely the reason I enjoy passing on my gratitude in the form of a little paper token.

{Quick Hand-Crafted Thank You Notes}

There are so many reasons to give thanks, not just for gifts, but acts & gestures of kindness are equally as important. As is thanking someone for inviting you in for a job interview, and especially if you are offered the job. I've never received a thank you note I didn't appreciate! A gesture of thanks speaks volumes about one's character, an imprint I'm trying to leave on Abby & Lauren.

The following is a link to the write-up by Amy Krous Rosenthal, author of one of our favorite children's books, Cookies: Bite-Size Life Lessons. It's a great reminder for adults, and perfectly sums up what I've been trying to impress upon our lovelies:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

As luck would have it, I was offered a chance to attend a game during Target Field's inaugural season. Of course I said YES! As game day approached rumors of high temps, humidity and storms loomed over. I only have a four week window in Minnesota, so if I don't go now chances are good I won't make it for the rescheduled date.

Saturday started out beautiful. Hot & humid, but clear. My drive to the Cities was seamless. In fact, it wasn't until we got into the car to begin our journey to the game that the first raindrops appeared. We picked up one friend on the way, then met the other at the Mall of America to catch the light rail. It has never taken me so long to find a parking spot, but with Twins shirts littering the grounds on a Saturday afternoon at America's largest shopping destination spelled parking nightmare.

{Minnesota's Finest: Shawn & Brooke with Rod Carew}

The ride into Minneapolis was tight, but bearable. Dad called on our trip into the city to tell us tornadoes had touched down to the northwest and were heading our way. It rained almost the entire ride into the city, but miraculously stopped upon our arrival.

{Target Field!}

We walked around the stadium, took pictures, and enjoyed the game. I felt a little like I was cheating on the Metrodome, but it is true what they say, baseball is meant to be played outside. It was awesome! The system left us alone, and for two hours we breathed in our open-air seats as the Twinkies battled it out in an exciting 3-2 victory.

{The View From our Seats in Section 209}

The ninth inning had just come to a close when the rain dropped in. By the time we were in line for the tran we were in the thick of it, dodging rain drops, phone calls & texts regarding our danger we already knew was impending by the deafening tornado sirens around us.

{Driving Rain Rattles the Jumbotron}

Two gentleman graciously gave up their seats on the light rail so Shawn & I could sit with Angie & Amy. It took us well over an hour to reach the other end of the Hiawatha Line as we got stuck behind the train that was stuck with mechanical issues. We'd been chatting it up with these two guys all along, but by the time we reached MOA you'd have thought we'd be exchanging Christmas Cards.... one would show a picture of his grandkids, Angie pulled out a picture of her kid. Not to be outdone Shawn proudly scrolled through a healthy selection of pictures documenting visits from Ming, her resident spider. There was also an exchanged of patio flower pictures, and these guys tried tirelessly to get us to go out for drinks afterward; we didn't bite. No train ride would be complete without someone losing their manners (though I never did smell it), a guy who couldn't stop touching his junk, and a handful of tired little people.

Soggy & sane, we made it back to the Mall of America unscathed. Angie darted for the bathroom, and we watched a dude with a lei, a sparkly glove, cane & tap shoes blend in to the crowd. Ahhh, the big city.

After dropping off Amy, who was tired & ready to get home, we capped off our night with a bite to eat at Perkins.

Thank you, Amy, Angie & Shawn for taking me out to the ballgame. I know my little ones were at home with Grandma & Papa wishing they could go, too. I told Abby that someday when Daddy is home with us we will go as a family. We will. And we'll get her a Digger Dog, too.

Friday, July 16, 2010

To Do List

Today's To Do List:
  • Continue my mosquito killing spree. So far two have bitten the dust by my hands. I am a cold blooded killer and show no mercy to these pests. One is bothering me right now. She doesn't know who she's messing with!
  • Stir up cookies for Dad. He finished off the stockpile in the freezer last week, as evident by the empty bag hanging on the refrigerator. After he saved the day yesterday, I owe him and soon.
  • Visit Grandpa & Grandma. Thank goodness I don't need my car for that. I hear Grandpa's three-wheeler, so he's out roaming the grounds. How lucky I am to still have them around, still in the same place, still with the same, "Hello, Brooke" every time I walk into the house. Music to my ears.
  • Clean out my car. Anyone who knows me would be appalled at its condition. Dog hair & rubbage litter my interior. The exterior is hopeless until we are far from the gravel road. But the interior will be immaculate.
  • Take my car to the shop to assess the damages, after it is cleaned, of course. Can't wait to see what Uncle Mark has to say this time.
  • Drink water. Not just because it is uncomfortably hot (Thanks, Sven!) but because nothing tastes quite like ice-cold well water. Ahhh, the taste of home.
  • Convert my radio settings to my fave MN stations. And listen to Moon & Staci on KS95 this afternoon as I stroll Granny into town!
  • Dine at The Bad Wind Buffet for supper. Okay, so that isn't the actual name, rather the establishment's nickname after my family finishes there. LoL. Papa left our dining experience up to Abby, and she chose Chinese. Lauren's a bit unhappy with the selection (she gets sick from Chinese), but there is a bountiful selection that should suit her liking. It's worth fasting for. Unless, of course, Grandma invites us up for lunch!
  • Pick out my outfit for the Twins game tomorrow.
  • Try endlessly to get my girls to give me just one hug & kiss. Now that they have their Papa I'm chopped liver. But I'm not going to stop trying.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thank You Thursday

This Thursday I have even more than usual to be thankful for....

1. I am thankful for my freedom. I'm especially thankful for the people who have made, and who continue to make that possible. Nothing says freedom like getting in the car and hitting the open road across America's Heartland.

2. Thank you for the variety of music the three of us sang out hearts out to. Even The Little Mermaid Soundtrack. Although I'm still curious how my Barry Manilow, Ultimate Manilow got removed from Granny (my new name for my beloved silver Grand Am).

3. I'm thankful for my dad. So many reasons to appreciate the man. Today I'm especially thankful for reason no. 4.

4. Thank you, Dad. Once again you came to my rescue. Somehow I manage to make it 723 miles, but cannot seem to get down the gravel road without you coming along to bail me out. No snow drifts to dig me out of this time, just a flat tire. What would I do without you?!

5. Above all, I'm grateful I made it as far as I did. By the time I got to our gravel road I was down to the rim. There's no telling how I blew the tire. Thank God it didn't happen on the highway, and thank God we are all okay. Someone was definitely looking out for us today!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Abby just can't seem to shake the notion that a BBQ isn't simply a BBQ. Before we left for the neighbors' Saturday night I explained to her that we were going to their house to have a BBQ. She inquired what would be served, so I told her the usual: hot dogs, hamburgers, and everyone will bring a dish to pass. "And BBQ chicken, right?" There was no BBQ chicken. I told her there would not be BBQ chicken, but in her head BBQ & chicken are like ketchup & mustard.... they just go together.

This morning she and Lauren are actively engaged in imaginative play, with a side of argument (par for the course with sisters). Abby informed me, "We're going to a BBQ Chicken." Oh, Abby.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1. On our flight from Seattle to Mpls. Abby told the woman seated next to her that she could see God in the clouds. I'm still wondering what that lady was thinking when Abby said that.

2. It's nice to see my family & friends enjoying their summer. It is also nice to be enjoying mine.

3. I'm going to be honest, leaving for Minnesota before today was not an option for one main reason: I'm really looking forward to watching Deadliest Catch with Geoff tonight.

4. If Hollandaise sauce has roots in Holland, I totally get that. But why are the people there called Dutch?

5. Further complicating things are the Pennsylvania Dutch, not Dutch at all, but German. Somehow this doesn't confuse me nearly as much.

6. I am finally getting through the girls' closet and drawers for the season. It isn't nearly as big of a task as I thought it was going to be. Now, to get the stacks of attire packed up to transport back to Minnesota for my cousins. Make room you guys!

7. The idea of being left behind while the girls are at school leaves me with an empty pit in my stomach. It's hard enough when they go out on a Daddy Date for a few hours. It must be time for me to pave my own path.

8. There's something about a little person running around naked and carefree (especially with predominant tan lines) that makes me smile every time. It won't be long before that comes to a halt.

9. Abby has really transitioned into a girl this summer. I can't even blame it on kindergarten. Everything about her is more mature in these past couple of months. Except, of course, her boobies.... she's still waiting on those.

10. I might enjoy summer a lot more if there was no humidity. Humidity, I'm talking to you.... take a hike!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Boobies are Coming Out

We saw Olivia last night. Olivia is our neighbor girl whom the lovelies adore so much that for months they insisted on being called Olivia. Yep, that Olivia.

Much to my surprise it took an entire 24 hours for the topic of boobies to resurface after months of dormancy. I thought that the crusade for losing teeth had derailed the booby mission, but apparently all it took was one pubing seventh grader to stoke the fire. Once again, Abby has boobies on the brain.

While we were wrapping up bath time tonight, Abby confronted me with her questions, "When you are twelve do you get boobies?"

Of course I told her that it depends on her body, but yes, around that time your body does usually start to develop boobies. "Did you notice Olivia is getting boobies?" I asked.

"Yes, I saw them coming out. I didn't look inside though. They just pulled out, like this," and Abby proceeded to take one hand to each side of her chest and motion breast pulling out from her nipples.

I couldn't even commend her on not looking down Olivia's shirt to monitor Mother Nature in her glory. My laughter could not be contained. She's a sharp little girl, that Abby. If poor Olivia only knew.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Conception, Bert, and Ernie

As is true for most of our deep talks, this morning's great inquiry came during beauty time. While I worked diligently to put her hair in perfect school-girl pig tails, Abby decided to prod into the topic of conception. "How does a baby get into its mommy's belly?" she asked.

"With a lot of love," I reluctantly replied. I was ready to take it further, but secretly hoped she'd move on. She did.

"Did Daddy help you when I came out?" she wondered.

No need to go into the details of how Daddy got the flu three days after she was born and was of minimal assistance, so I answered her quite literally: "Yes, we each grabbed ahold of you and pulled you out."

How this little bit of information is enough for her inquisitive mind, I don't know. But I'm not complaining, just waiting for the day she takes it to that place.


Now an update on Bert & Ernie. The girls did watch Sesame Street while we were in Wenatchee. Only instead of hitting up Grandma Phillips for answers, Uncle Kevin was their go-to guy. And quite happy, I'm sure, to make a joke that made for a great story when he relayed it to the adults....

While on one of their great adventures, Bert & Ernie were playing baseball. Knowing exactly what he was getting into, Uncle Kevin asked if Bert & Ernie lived together. With an answer that was simple and straight (pardon the pun), he pushed further, asking which one was the pitcher and which one was the catcher; it was a curve ball that went right over their heads. The rest of us got a good laugh and a sense of relief that the lovelies had no idea what he was talking about. Looks like our chat about homosexuality may be able to wait after all.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Thank You Thursday

Today I am thankful for....

1. Air conditioning. With air quality reaching the low mark and humidity hanging in the air, I'm ever so grateful for the AC.

2. Geoff. You make me laugh! And different as we may be, we couldn't be more alike.

3. Target. There is no background music, no pomp and circumstance, yet a trip to Target is like visiting a spa.... you even get to keep your clothes on! (Obviously I didn't make it long on my quest to avoid Tar-Zhay.)

4. Vacation. More specifically returning from it refreshed and with new perspective. It does a mind good.

5. The innocence of little girls holding hands. After two weeks on gymnastics hiatus, my heart smiles when I see the girls hooking up hand-in-hand with their friends.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

Ten random thoughts? We'll see if I have that much floating around up there....

1. I will never fly Delta again. Unless it's free. Then yes, I probably will. If I had my choice I would always fly Midwest. The big leather seats, foot rests, fresh warm cookies on every flight. Oh, and don't forget that friendly Wisconsin staff. They have my vote for best airline, hands down. (Pssst, and they serve Leinenkugel's!)

2. I'm convinced more people believe my lovelies are twins than previously thought. I get asked the question often. Today at the commissary a retiree actually walked past us, then walked back up to us and asked, studying the girls the entire time. He then proceeded to return to his wife and their cart directly behind me and they engaged in a lengthy debate about this issue. Hello! I can hear you.

3. Friday & Saturday nights it reportedly got down to the 50's here in the Dayton area.... cold in these parts. It climbed back into the 90's just in time for our return on Sunday. Rats!

4. I am paying for luggage-schlepping through the airport. And after traction on my back this morning, and pushing a monster cart of groceries this afternoon, tonight is not going to be pretty. Hello hot pack!

5. This morning is proof that if there is no milk in the house Lauren will not eat breakfast. Unless we make pancakes. I wasn't up for making pancakes.

6. Vacation is nice. Returning to elements of reality.... not so much.

7. Is it weird that I'm not weird? Okay, I'm a little weird. But not weird. I'm beginning to think that isn't normal.

8. Abby is really good at drawing hearts. She practices a lot. In fact, she loves writing, drawing, all of it! One of the many things I love about her.

9. Lauren tied a scarf around a stuffed dog and pulls him around calling him Bullseye. I'm almost certain that she will hit me up for the real Bullseye on our next trip to Target. The only question is, how long can I avoid Target?

10. Abby's whistling persistence has paid off and she can now power along with Jiminy Cricket and Give a Little Whistle. I am proud of her, but still get a kick out of Lauren's efforts; not so much a whistle as a high-pitched hoot. To each her own.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Back to Ohio

As we left Washington early yesterday morning, I left my Facebook status with this: "Three Boring Words: Back to Ohio. On a happier note.... Happy Birthday, America!" If I only knew.

{Abby, Brooke & Lauren in Leavenworth, WA}

It was another great trip to Washington. This year was different than the last; we added new adventures, and while we didn't get as wild and crazy out on the deck this year, we still had a great time. But our two weeks were over and like all good things, this trip had come to an end. I was regretting having eaten way too much. I think we all were.

The Phillips house was bustling early on the morning of the Fourth; we all enjoyed breakfast together and the last few minutes of each other's company. And according to plan, the four of us took off at 7:30, heading for the airport in Seattle. The two-and-a-half hour drive is breathtaking through the mountains. But, it was too long to make it without a bathroom break, so we stopped at a hole-in-the-wall grocery store in Easton. Last night's eat-a-thon had finally caught up with me.... deviled eggs, bean dip, cherries, ribs, corn-on-the-cob, coleslaw.... And when we left the establishment I left myself refreshed. It was only temporary.

Just outside of Seattle we stopped to gas up the rental, and shortly after returning to the road we noticed that the directions Geoff had instructed me to print out at the last minute were not taking us to the right part of town. This is where our real adventure began. Navigating the road and his cell phone GPS (yes, we know this is illegal in Washington), Geoff got us back on course and to the airport with our two hours before departure to spare.

The routine looks like this: Drop Brooke & the girls off with all of our luggage, car seats & golf clubs at the curb. Geoff takes the rental back, then meets us inside where we have found a safe little corner to use as our holding area. We then finagle our way to check-in upon Geoff's return. Booked through Delta, we started there with the check-in process. However, since they have rerouted us to an Alaskan flight, we were forced to drag our goods there (a good 1/4 of a mile away--or so it felt). Once at the Alaska counter we were met with another problem: Alaskan Airlines does not have a grievance with Comair (the carrier Delta put us on from our Mpls. to Dayton flight). This means our bags will not get to Dayton. Big Problem! So back to Delta we trek with all of our stuff in tow. Lauren broke down twice, stopping in the only narrow space in the shoulder-to-shoulder filled airport to cry "I can't do it." Pulling a suitcase and carrying a lunchbox is a lot to ask of a little lady for this long under these conditions. Lucky for us, a nice man helped us to Delta's Special Services counter. We waited in line.... again. By now there was no way were were going to get on our 12:25 flight. We were rebooked on Delta for 1:05, but didn't notice that the gentleman at the counter had only booked me and the girls; we picked up on that while standing in line for security. A LONG line at security. Geoff left us to revisit Dennis, Delta's semi-helpful counter attendant. By this time I was sweating buckets in my hooded sweatshirt, which I bring on the plane to save space in my bag. It can be chilly on those flights, so it does come in handy. But let's be honest, when you have no room in your hands, you have no choice but to wear the bulky garment. Then I got frisked. The security woman told me she was going to have to give me a pat-down. Honestly, go for it, chick. I am sweaty, I am tired, and as long as I get on my flight, I don't really care what else happens to me right now. Lucky for her I was not wearing a diaper filled with my Easton deposit. But the adult diaper is a whole other story.

That's pretty much it. Geoff pushed his way to the front of the line at the Delta counter and got his ticket, then quickly advanced through security. Dennis was kind enough to check our bags at no charge, so we carried minimal weight through the airport. Our flight to Minneapolis was smooth. We ate our lunch Grandma packed us and Lauren passed out for much of the flight. We had just enough time in Minneapolis to get to our gate on the other side of the airport. The girls loved the moving walkways, as we took those all the way from terminal F to A. Geoff sat by Lauren on our flight to Dayton. She was quite squirrely from being so well-rested. I snickered about that as Abby & I quietly enjoyed the fireworks display below.... the happiest part of America's birthday.

I often joke about our quiet life in Ohio. The truth is, minus the heat and humidity we came back to, I love our simple Ohio life, especially after what we went through in Seattle. Having said that, I already miss our family in Washington and we're looking forward to next year's adventures.

But for now, we rest.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Plugged In

This morning while engaged in beauty time, Abby & I were having one of our morning chats. Today's topic: bodily functions. More specific: gas. Where does it come from? Why does it smell? And on and on....

I began by telling her that gas is air in your body that needs to escape. I proceeded to discuss the purpose of food to fuel ourselves for energy, much as cars need gasoline, and to operate TVs we plug them in.

Abby's response, "Like when you plug the toilet."


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thank You Thursday

This Thursday I am thankful for:

1. The hospitality of my in-laws.

2. Revisiting favorite hot spots and discovering new ones.

3. My mother-in-law. For getting the girls their very own nostalgic lunch boxes, then playing along as they made lists and packed a lunch. And, of course, for taking them on a picnic to enjoy them.

4. Rhubarb.

5. Special time with people who are special.


{About Me}

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Fairborn, Ohio, United States
I'm a teacher by trade, writer at heart & mom in every sense of my being. I never considered writing as a profession, but after I got married and began moving around the country, I began sharing my adventures, misadventures & updates through a sort of e-mail newsletter. I found a true passion in unconventional story-telling that has followed me into motherhood.