Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1. I still think Cinderella is the prettiest Disney princess. Maybe it's because she seems to be the only one I can relate to. She just might be the reason I like to clean.

2. I'm exhausted. Truly exhausted. If I didn't have the girls to care for, I'd be in bed. Instead I will be getting up from the computer and ironing. See, Cinderella!

3. Abby asked for some alone time in her room. She is playing school. Have I
mentioned I love that girl?!

4. Lauren wrote him a love letter. Five actually. I only let her give him one; the one without her great grandma's return address stickers all over it!

5. I'm a good snuggler. And I'm happy to step up to the task. I can thank hours of Lauren's crying for that. Poor little toddler at school today....

6. Poop stinks. And other people's poop is the worst! I just might prefer the smell of manure.

7. I took a picture of Lauren's foot. I don't want to forget.

8. Pizza anyone? As it turns out I have a cousin, Vinny. He'll be delivering tonight if I can ever get my ironing done. Not so much Cinderellaish, I'll admit.

9. Being a bus stop mom has introduced me to a whole new set of comrades. Where did all of these people come from?!

10. I HATE THIS HEAT! Never mind that Abby continues to get out of school two hours early each day because of it. I hate it! Bring on the snow. Throw a blizzard at us, but please wait until after we've gone to Minnesota and back for Christmas. I don't care, just take away these 90 plus temps! Jeez. Enough already!

Monday, August 30, 2010

I Let Her Go

I remember vividly the day we left the hospital with Abby. They let us take her away from that safe environment, and after a short drive there we were at home on the Air Force Base with a baby. A little girl whom I was responsible for in every sense of her being. She depended on me for everything.
But now she's five. And today I let them take her away from our safe environment, and after a short drive she was at school, not far from another Air Force Base. The little girl I was responsible for was now in someone else's care. I am depending on them to look out for her, to teach her, and help her grow.

She woke up on her own this morning. And when she arrived in the kitchen sporting her pink elephant pajamas & her crazy bed head, she was happy as could be to be starting kindergarten! No muss, no fuss.... we breezed through breakfast and got ready without a batting an eye. She was a girl who knew where she had to be and was determined to get there.

After our first-day-of-school pictures, we were off to the bus stop. One by one parents and little people showed up to take part in the morning's congregation. As the crowd widened she said her good-byes and jumped into her social circle. I was busy conversing with other moms & grandmas, so when it came time to get on the bus she did it with little fanfare.

And that was it. Just after 8:30 and she was gone. I let her go, in the care of someone else, and she was on the bus headed for kindergarten!

Lauren & I headed to our own school, and when our day was done, returned home and baked fresh chocolate chip cookies. Once again the crowd gathered in the hot afternoon's sun to collect the school children. When Abby got off the bus she rushed right into my arms and asked, "Were you waiting here all morning?" Love that girl!

She told me she learned how to read today. Great! That is about all she had to say. She was hot, tired, thirsty, and in serious need of refueling. Good thing I had plenty of cookies, grapes, milk & water on hand.

{Abby, The Kindergartner}

{Abby & Lauren}

{At the Bus Stop}

{Abby Gets on the Bus}

{Front & Center.... And Off to School}

{Off the Bus}

{Our School Girl is Home}

{My Kindergarten Cookie Monster}

Abby's first day of kindergarten is in the books. She loved it! And I'm glad she did.... now when do I tell her the school will be closing two hours early tomorrow due to the excessive heat?
Darn Ohio!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Lauren's Song

I've mentioned it on a couple of occasions that Lauren enjoys breaking out into song. Her own songs. Unique compositions, often changing lyrics to suit her mood. This is a video I downloaded off of her camera. She laid this track down tonight. It is just one of many. The latest of which she is carrying on about the boys she loves. But for now she is still devoting her love to her Lizzie Doggie & Rocket Blanket, at least on this video.

The video is grainy; mostly of her mouth, and ironically a bit of her neck. But her voice is priceless!

(Pause the play list on the right column of the page before playing video.)

Flashback Friday

Lauren's latest weakness of the heart takes me back to the days when all of her love belonged to her favorite hockey player.

August 2007

{Lauren and Shane}

December 2007
{Lauren and Brian}

April 2008

{Lauren and Brandon}

July 2010

{Nick (second from the left) and Lauren}

Dressed Up

This morning the house was alive with the sound of music. Again. Looking back, I'm guessing this may have been the reason for her lyrical exuberance on the first day of school. She met her love on my first day of work, and she knew her heart was his.
She wore a dress, just as she told me she would last night {See Laurens' Beau: www.lifewiththelovelies.blogspot.com/2010/08/laurens-beau.html}. She went into her closet and picked out her fanciest one, no doubt to try and catch his eye. It sounds like Lauren may have some stiff competition, as she is not the only one who sees her young beau as the dreamiest boy in the preschool class. But none of that really matters. He is a nice young boy with a kind heart, and cute to boot.
Of course, as you may suspect, the dress came off as soon as we were home and there was no chance of running into Connor. "It's only for school," she told me. But I know in her heart, it's only for Connor.

{Lauren Wears a Dress to Preschool}

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thank You Thursday

1. To the guy sitting in his office, sportin' the powder blue Twins shirt: Thank you for your genetic donation & contribution that yielded our two beautiful and spirited little girls. I literally couldn't have done it without ya!

2.Thank you for those little pieces of home that make me smile. It's a small world when locked in a tight-knit private preschool in the middle of Ohio you find someone else who has lived at & loved Hanscom and another with family in Duluth. {smile}

3. I appreciate the opportunities that have come my way. For the people who believe in me, and for those who see and bring out my potential. You are teachers and givers. You are what makes the lives of others rich.

4. Thank you for the nudges that force me to overcome uncomfortable situations. I'm talking specifically about diaper changing here.... I am more grossed out than I was before I had kids of my own, when it comes to changing other kids' diapers. But I have no choice. I'm not saying I don't conveniently avoid it. I'm working on it.

5. Thank you for the time in my day I spend with "the big kids". While it is brief, I get to eat lunch with Lauren each day at school. And I supervise the older children in the afternoon. I do love working with kids! {I'm thankful for that, too!}

Lauren's Beau

Preschool, Day Three. And already Lauren has a crush. He is the only one in the class who is blonder than she is. The lucky fella is Connor. Just saying his name sends her chubby cheeks a-smilin'. She even suggested she is going to wear a pretty, pretty dress tomorrow. She says it's for me.... I'm sure it's for Connor.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1. That Abby. She met her Kindergarten teacher, Miss Duling (pronounced Dooling), last night at her open house. Accompanying her was her Lizzie Elephant, of course, and the little silver bow that came strapped to the box her Grandma Phillips sent her with a special charm bracelet commemorating the start of school. During the drive home I asked Abby where her bow was, "I left it on my name tag." Why? "So it can be pretty." She's a girl after my own heart!

2. No matter how serious the matter, it's still hard not to laugh when someone says, "Poop Streaks".

3. I feel like crap. Like I've been hit by a truck. One day working with the little tots and I'm this beat up.... it's going to be a long year!

4. I haven't decided if it's a cold or the flu. I'm leaning towards flu. My body aches. Pure ache. I'm sneezing like crazy and I just want to curl up in a ball and lay in bed. However, vacation's over.

5. I had no idea Francis Scott Key was a lawyer. I think I should have known that.

6. I also don't know what Geoff does. Really. I know he does spread sheets, but is he in finance or a comptroller? I'm pretty sure it's finance, but not sure enough to put money on it.

7. The little ones wear me out. Maybe it's the sick talking. Maybe both.

8. I miss summer vacation already. Back home everyone is still basking in the sun & enjoying the fair. Darn Ohio.

9. When we left Abby's open house last night Geoff said, "I just didn't get a good feeling from her teacher." To which I replied, "She sounded Southern." It was like a light bulb came on in Geoff's head: "That's it."

10. I like Abby's teacher. She is strong, confident, organized, smart, exhibits fine penmanship, and good with the kids & their parents. Heck, she had us signing up for November conferences already. Ufda! As long as Abby doesn't come home spouting off ya'll and fixin' we'll be in good shape.

L-A-U-R-E-N.... ME!

Lauren got herself up this morning, eagerly anticipating her first day of preschool. I met up with her in the kitchen to see her standing at the refrigerator pointing to each or the letters in Abigail's name on her Colorado license plate magnet, she then moved onto her own, "L-A-U-R-E-N.... ME!"
She was eager to eat breakfast, as the three of us sat around the little table together; a sort of calm before the storm. I cringe a little when I announce it's time to get dressed because Lauren has grown quite particular about what she puts on. More often than not her panties don't work for her, and shorts only antagonize the problem, so regardless of the heat she prefers pants.
Breakfast ended and she couldn't get upstairs fast enough to get dressed. She doesn't like even the minimal assistance in her wardrobe selection, so I don't even bother. Her first day of school outfit is her classic standby: The Wenatchee Shirt, comfy black pants & her new Scotch Guarded Nike sneakers. She matched. I sighed.

{Lauren's First Day of School}

{Abby Gives our New Preschooler a Bear Hug}

Abby doesn't start school until next week, so she accompanies Lauren and I to school in the interim. Both girls were anxious to split from Mom when we arrived at their room, and when I saw Lauren she was having the time of her life. She loves her teacher, Miss Lisa. She loves the tire swing on the playground. She loved the meatballs they served for lunch. She loves being a preschooler. And I love it, too!

{A Tree & Some Little Trees}

Friday, August 20, 2010

Flashback Friday

This blog has proved to be a great place to post our latest happenings and keep family & friends updated on our life with these two lovely girls. Consequently, it's also been a great place for us to look back at our milestones, stories & achievements. Since I've been a huge slacker on their scrapbooks, it seems to serve that purpose, too.... though I haven't given up my dream of getting those done. Someday. There are so many note-worthy & amusing tidbits that have happened before the evolution of this blog, I decided to randomly document them in a weekly post I call Flashback Friday.

Let the jump-back begin!

This morning Lauren wanted to play with Play-Doh. It's an activity I never suggest because the girls transform the little table into a complete disaster zone. Not to mention the fact that even if I can avoid assisting in the clean-up, I'm constantly harping on them to get it done. I dislike both.

Looking back, Lauren's been a fan of Play-Doh for quite some time. Though the clean-up was much easier back then....

{February, 2008}

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thank You Thursday

1. Thank you Granny for getting us back to Ohio safely and without incident. I don't know how much longer I can count on you in your old age and aching body. You've been a good car.

2. Thank you Abby & Lauren for always making me smile. You fill my heart with love & my life with laughter.

3. Thank you Geoff. You're my Maverick. You can be my wing man anytime.

4. Thank you nice lab blood-tester lady. I fully expected to enter Crabby Land when we showed up at the lab this morning to have Lauren's blood work done. Instead you were friendly, wore a smile and even left a panicked Lauren saying, "It didn't hurt." You are amazing.

5. Thank you for the gentle nudges. There are too many of you to list you all. You may not know you've given them to me, but you've given them none-the-less. Sometimes that's exactly what I need.

Tooth Fairy Pouches

This idea was one I ripped off from my like-minded friend, Susie. We're mutual idea thieves, so I wasn't afraid to heist this clever tooth container.

I set out to make two: one for each of the girls. Then I decided to make one for each of my nephews, and before I knew it I was cutting up every inch of felt I could fit my patterns onto.

I roped Mom into my endeavour. She was less than thrilled at the start, but once she got started it became her own personal obsession.

I didn't realize until we began our project that Susie stitched hers with dental floss.... clever girl! The button was all me, and Mom was excited to have an excuse to use the Button Hole function on her sewing machine for the first time in 33 years. She did a fine job!
Tooth Fairy, now we're ready!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I like how she used to say monster. It always came out a little more like munster. It still does if I listen closely, but mostly it has faded and a big girl has started to take shape in the shell that is my Abby.

She used to squeak in her sleep. It was an endearing noise that, like a reflex, would cause me to close my eyes and say a little "thank you" for my sweet angel. She doesn't do it anymore, but on occasion I have squeezed her a little too hard and forced one out of her. Ooops. I confess, it does make me smile.

She likes numbers. So much so that when I went to the doctor yesterday I told the nurse not to say my weight out loud or she would announce it to everyone we know. She knows how old people are. She counts everything: people in a room, chairs in a row, sheets of toilet paper.... Always counting. We've taken up counting backwards; I think she sees the numbers in her head.

She's obsessed with days. She can tell you what day we went to Washington (Saturday), which day we left the cabin (Wednesday), she'll even tell you what day of the week she was born (Thursday).

Out of my mouth you can often hear, why not?, you betcha, get outta here, go away, and when she tells me she loves me, back atcha. I know this because she says these things. She asks why, I ask Why not? She says something I agree with I say You betcha. A mosquito antagonizes me I say, Get outta here. The dog is under my feet every where I turn I say, Go away.... She inappropriately says the last two to her sister.

She tilts her head when she is thinking about something and looks out of the corner of her eyes. It's weird to me. I don't get it. But it's my Abby.

She hates to be sticky.

She faithfully recycles, turns on the night lights in the evening, turns down the beds, gets out toiletries....

She writes letters in the air. All The Time! Mostly Lizzie; the Zs are a dead give away.

She talks about death or God every day. Sometimes both.

She's afraid of jail. If you threaten to call the cops you can talk her out of just about any unwarranted behavior. I discovered this by accident.

She whistles. Self-taught.

She sings. She loves to sing. Often it's whatever is hot on the radio. Sometimes it's a Disney tune. She's fond of The Little Mermaid.

She loves swimming, gymnastics, her grandparents, her imagination, ice cream (but not chocolate), picking cherries, eating cherries, apples with peanut butter, snuggling with her Papa, being tickled, giggling, listening to music, climbing the crab apple tree, drawing, writing, going for walks, holding hands on walks, her sister, her Lizzie Elephant, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and sleeping parties with her mom.

Tonight as I carted her off to bed she said sweetly, "Mommy, you're a nice lady."

Back atcha.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1. The smell of freshly popped popcorn at Target is one of my favorites. If I need to get high, a quick 9:15 am visit should do the trick.

2. Random Target Shopper: stop walking down the middle of the aisle en route to the check out. And while you're at it, a shower might be helpful. I know that was mean, but seriously that poor fella needed to freshen up!

3. Matthew MaConauhey bugs me. To the point that I don't even see cute anymore; only annoying.

4. Reuniting with Flonase. My sinuses thank me.

5. For the first time since college I find myself saying, "I can't wait for school to start!" I hate to feel this way, but honestly Abby & Lauren and their squabbles are getting to me. Of course it doesn't help that our days are booked with appointments and chores. How many more days???

6. I love my new hair cut. Nothing fancy. But it's fresh. And my roots are perfectly patched. Love it!

7. What I really want to do is pull up a chair in the garage, read my book & let the girls ride their bike & scooter. Ughh, if only there wasn't a mountain of other things I need to get done!

8. I joined a book club. I haven't decided if I'm crazy, ambitious or both. I read at a snail's pace so getting through a book a month is setting the bar high. This is me, both feet, jumping in.... Splash!

9. I love eggplant. My cousin, Luke, hates it. He uses them for target practice. But I love it. The ones I grabbed from Grandpa & Grandma's garden are superb!

{Insert fighting over who-knows-what in the toy room downstairs. Ughhh!}

10. While the townies are drinkin' it up listening to Hairball in the Beer Gardens at the SCFF tonight, I'll be 730 miles away. It's a little odd that I'm okay with this. The truth is, I'd probably eat a sampling of my favorite fair foods (wash a Greek shish kabob down with a state fair malt, then top it off with Tom Thumb doughnuts!) and then spend the evening gagging at the thought of hairballs. I just can't get past that one.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Stranger Danger

I've yet to have that talk with the girls.... the one about strangers. They are with me 98% of the time, and until now I haven't felt I could discuss it with them in a way they would understand without scaring the bejesus out of them. Tonight we had the talk.

I chose to address Abby alone. She was wrapping up her evening bath routine, and Lauren was sitting all ears in the tub. I started right in defining what a stranger is, listing instances when a stranger might approach her. Then in as few words as possible, I told her to yell out, "Stop! Don't touch me! I don't know you," if someone she doesn't know tries to take her away with them.

And then I reinforced, "It is not okay to take candy from a stranger, or ice cream."

Abby jumped in with her serious eyes and her side-to-side head shake, "Or a towel if they try to give you one."

Should a stranger try and offer her a Disney princess towel, be warned, she will not be tempted. I'm hoping that is because she's learned about the possible danger of a stranger, and not because she already has that towel.

A New Chapter

I hate endings. Hate them! I hate saying good-bye, and I especially hate change. I was the one shedding tears on Abby's last day of preschool. It's probably a lot less hate and a lot more about my fear of the unknown.

With every completed chapter comes a new one. Age and experience have gifted me with that wisdom. This summer has been one for the books, but maybe more importantly, it has helped transition us from our care-free comfortable routine into a new more defined one.

I hate leaving Minnesota. I love being home in the place I love, surrounded by people and activities I enjoy. But this time leaving was different. It helps when you have something waiting for you on the other side.

Today was my first staff meeting at work. Having been in and out of the preschool last year with Abby, I knew the environment I was walking into. I just didn't know that the smiles on all of the adults' faces were really that genuine and sincere. This is a group of people who love their jobs, are great at what they do, and have welcomed me with open arms. I hate to say it, but I think I'm going to love it!

We are also opening another new chapter: The Babysitter. Sarah, a family friend and the girls' first babysitter, has PCSed (that's military speak for permanently moved) to Colorado, leaving us with a vacancy to fill on the rare (but hopefully expanding) need for an after-hours child care specialist. Lucky for us another old friend from Hanscom PCSed into Wright-Patt with a daughter egar & willing to take the reigns. She was up bright and early this morning, armed with her bag of tricks, and had a great morning with the ladies in my absence.

As much as I hate being away from home, I love finding the perfect fit in Ohio.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

That Summer

As May drew to a close, the director of Abby's preschool approached me about an open position for the following school year. We began discussing my summer schedule and the small window of opportunity I had to interview for the job. Somewhere between our adventures in Washington, her week of vacation and our escapades in Minnesota. She responded with a smile, "Sounds like you'll be busy making memories." If she only knew....

This summer was a long time coming. I've been making a point of making it to Minnesota every summer since 2003, but it is usually tucked around a lot of time spent lonely. Geoff on deployments or training courses, local friends off vacationing having the time of their lives, and a couple of isolating summers with my hands full of two small babes.

But not this summer. This summer was filled with family, friends, fun, adventures, and more fun, fun, fun! Especially considering we didn't get to do all we'd hoped to accomplish: crab fishing in Washington, the Science Museum of Minnesota, The Minnesota Zoo, catching up with college friends in the Cities & friends in Owatonna.... I guess we've just left something for next year.

For years I have longed to spend time at the cabin, go fishing, sit by the fire, swim all day in the lake's warm waters & eat fresh fish.... this summer I did. A Twins game in the new ballpark, check. A memorable pleasure trip to Duluth, accomplished. Another great trip to Washington in the books.

My intention was not just to enjoy our summer, but to give the girls the opportunity to experience life, enjoy the pleasures that fill my heart, and learn, learn, learn. This summer we did them all.

Mrs. Gordon was right when she offered up that friendly comment. We've returned to Ohio with golden skin, much blonder hair, and wonderful memories. And I returned to a job waiting for me at the start of the school year. This is going to mean a big change for our family, but one that should be seamless and exciting.

So next week when Lauren begins preschool, her school will also be my work place. I'll be working in another part of the building. I'll be home to put Abby on the bus, and I'll be home when Abby returns from her full days at kindergarten.

We're entering a new chapter in our lives. And what a great way to kick it off after having THAT summer!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thank You Thursday

Thank you....

1. Bumpy Duluth roads! Because you relentlessly rumble the entire structure of my car, I can no longer feel Granny's shake when I drive on those hilly streets. For 23 hours you made me completely forget about my car's unforgiving wheel drum vibration.

2. To all of those who do things for me, the girls, for Geoff and don't have to. You know who you are. Thank you!

3. Grandpa for rebounding again! You can be a grumpy old man sometimes, but you're the only grandpa I've got and I love ya! {smile}

4. Mom. She gave up a cozy night of napping in her chair to sew Tooth Fairy pouches. I thought my Aunt Linda was going to wet her pants when I told her what Mom was up to. If you know my mother then you know this is completely out of character for her. Thanks, Mom!

5. Steph, Taylor & Lauren for a great day at the water park. And for being such great friends!

The Water Park

Our First Visit to Owatonna's New Water Park:
  • It might look like a rock, but chances are it's feces.
  • Poo in the pool.... I bet it happens more than we think.
  • Regardless of how many balls there are, kids will find something regarding those balls to fight over.
  • When you get the friendly reminder to reapply sunscreen, heed the warning. Wiping one's eyes repeatedly does in fact remove sunscreen from her facial chubbies.
  • Not sure if a child is peeing in the pool? If she is spreading her legs and holding her crotch you can be pretty sure she playing in her personal biffy.
  • Who was the child urinating in the pool? I'm not telling.
  • Saw Jessie, my Rice County Fair partner in crime. Good kid. She looks great in red and rocks the Ronnie Milsap eye wear. I bet she's a good swimmer, too.
  • If that poopie was floating in the water instead of hanging out on the grate, I wonder if the pool would have been closed down.
  • Okay, so I didn't reapply sunscreen to the girls. Sue me for working on their golden glow. The aloe is hard at work on Lauren's burnt spots.
  • Jury's out on whether or not the moms or the kids had more fun.
  • Steph, if the girls & I were full-time townies, it could be dangerous. I'm pretty sure we would be at the water park every week!
  • This just might be the least number of tats I've seen at any given public pool. Score one more for Owatonna.
  • Yes, it would be nice if the bathrooms didn't smell like a cocktail of dirty feet & simmering sewer line. And a few intermediate water slides would be nice. But River Springs Water Park was a sure hit with four little ladies, and two happy moms. Until next time, girls....

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

Ten random thoughts for the day....

1. I always check my nose to make sure it is free of residue before I slip into the dentist chair. But this morning I forgot.

2. As I was sitting in the dentist chair
I realized that my nose was not angled such so that Sharon & Dr. DeLaitsch could investigate potential collections. A check after I left the office revealed a clean cavity. Whew!

3. I think my Minnesota accent has gotten thicker. Either that or being away from home has made me acutely aware of it.

4. I giggled to myself as I listened to the conversations we had in the dentist office. A LOT of "oh yahs" & "you betchas". The only thing missing was a good hotdish.

5. I've got my mother emotionally involved in
my projects. It's unusual for her to press through a project day & night. And not just the curtains, the Tooth Fairy pouches, too. I love it!

6. Cavity, curtains, cookies, cucumbers, banana bread, laundry & lovely hair cuts. Busy da

7. Geoff lost his lunch in Canal Park. I mean, lite
rally he lost his lunch. Three bites in.

{General Tso's Overboard}

{One man's loss is another bird's treasure}

8. We should have just split an order to begin with. But both of us agreed the $4.50 was definitely not wasted.... it was worth the bounty of laughs.

9. Geoff & I are easily entertained by flipping through the Direct TV guide and reading porn titles & descriptions. It is undetermined if we have a warped sense of humor or if we are just easily amused.

10. And then there's my dad. Snuggling up with his little ladies watching cartoons. I'm not sure if there is anything else he'd rather be doing. Love my dad!

Monday, August 9, 2010

[duLutH paCkEd]

On a whim, Geoff decided to leave the confines of Dayton behind and join us in Minnesota for our last week of heaven. Geoff and I decided to take an overnight trip, packed it up and headed to Duluth!

Only One Rule: We can only do things we can only do in Du-LutH!

Lunch at Sir Bens: √

Breath-taking views of the lake: √

Beauty on the beach: √

Walk the Lake Walk: √

Bulldog Pizza for supper: √

Using our detective skills to locate Geoff's grandparents' graves: √

Hot tub & Sauna: √

Mount Royal doughnuts for breakfast: √

Wedding rings cleaned & checked: √

A visit to campus: √

General Tso's chicken for lunch: √

A stroll through Canal Park: √

A much needed get-way for Brooke & Geoff: √

Back in Owatonna with our lovelies: √

Uff da! That's a lot to pack into 24 hours, doncha know!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Thank You Thursday--The Cabin Edition

This Thursday I feel I have a lot to be especially thankful for....

1. Thank you to everyone who worked hard & continue to work hard taking care of my grandpa. And thank you to the guy upstairs for allowing me to be home in this moment.

2. Thank you for the moments spent watching the girls play in the sand at the cabin. Their idea. Their fun. My heart smiled.

3. Thank you, Aunt Bonnie & Uncle Kim, for taking us out on the lake. My heart fills with pride when I see the girls drinking in this place I love.

4. Thank you for their smiling faces. It's the thank-you that keeps on giving.

5. Thank you for reminding me of the power of love, and the bond between a mother & a child.

Fighting the Fears

Every child has her own fears. When the bear showed his face at dusk on the night of August 2nd, it was clear that the thought of a bear right outside the comfort of the cabin was enough to throw Abby into a paranoia of unsecured doors. "Lock the doors. Don't open them," she repeatedly insisted.

I had my own fears here and there as a young lady. Outhouses--hated them! Forget the smell, they were dark & deep and a skinny butt like mine could fit with ease through that opening. Never mind the alligator I was sure was living in its depths; thank you made-for-TV-movie on Channel 9 for making my early years of cabin visits without indoor plumbing a literal nightmare!

I was also afraid of the gold lion on Grandpa & Grandma's bathroom wall back on the farm. Grandma loves that lion, and the truth is if someone took it down from the wall in the cabin's bathroom, where it currently resides, I would probably pitch a bit of a tantrum. But whenever I sit on the can it looks at me. It creeps me out. That just might be why I use the outhouse.

{From the Home Interiors Collection, Circa the Disco Era}

With said mention of alligators, it is probably no surprise that I am not fond of any reptile, including the cabin's current resident frog. After being enlightened on its local, I bravely grabbed the bait cup & lid from on top of the basement fridge, but screamed like a girl when the frog leaped out of my grasp.

{Big, Scary Frog}

And then, of course, there is the bear. When word of the bear's arrival reached our cabin's phone line, my body filled with excitement. Not fear. No fear. Okay, a little fear, but just a smidgen. I went outside for a picture, but with little space between me & the cabin door, what is there really to worry about?

As for the frog & the lion.... I took care of my toilet needs in the outhouse & my bathing was done in the lake. Possibly encountering the bear, but avoiding the frog & the lion!

Ten on Tuesdayish--The Cabin Edition

Because the internet does not exist in my world at the cabin, my Ten on Tuesday list was scribed the old fashioned way, on a lined tablet. Now that I'm back to civilization, here it is: Ten on Tuesdayish--The Cabin Edition

1. Matt must have made my bed on the front porch at the cabin. The pillow case was inside-out; I left it. But the comforter nestled upside-down drove me nuts; I flipped it.

2. The Horse Stall--the outhouse. A lovely restaurant.

{Lauren waits to take your order}

3. Can it be I'm the only person not abreast on Indian Wrestling? Was this pass time lost on the children of the 80s?

4. Countless hours of swimming.... these girls are undoubtedly mine.

5. Lauren LOVES being out on the boat. Though I'm not quite sure who loved it more--Lauren or Aunt Bonnie & Uncle Kim.

{Lauren, not so sure about hanging out with the crappie outside of the live-well}
6. Lauren's working hard at cracking open sunflower seeds. It comes with being out in the boat, don't cha know!
7. Abby loves Paul. She loves him in the way many girls before her have loved him.

{Abby & Paul: The Engagement Photo}

8. I dream of nights lying in bed, listening to the loons call out in song. Waking up to their morning cries is the greatest pleasure of sleeping on the front porch.

9. Fresh fish, egg bath, cracker crumbs, a hot frying pan: the taste of the cabin.

10. Lauren's sun-kissed cheeks, blonding hair, bright sky-blue eyes & bare feet--she's a Minnesota girl to the core.

{My Minnesota Girl}

Bearly There

I fancy myself a well-rounded gal. Admittedly, I don't know everything, I don't even know a lot. But I know a little about a variety of topics: My mind is a collection of useless information.

After my latest trip to the cabin it became clear I need to brush up on Bearology--more specifically: What does bear poop look like and is that pile next to the steps at the cabin one of their samples? What do I do if I'm one with nature and the bear rears his presence? And most importantly, how do I get a good photograph of this couple hundred pound critter so my little cousin doesn't doubt my encounter?*

But this I know: Bears are clever beasts and can break into the Private Dumpy without destroying the structure. Bears are not nearly as fond of Old Dutch BBQ Mesquite Kettle Chips as we are, but prefer them to Doritos. Bears have no time for vegetables past their prime, but are curious about boxed wine.... I never did find the bag housed inside.

I learned something about the neighbors, too. Not everyone saves the Box Tops for Education or the Kemps milk caps for the kids. Not everyone recycles their plastic & glass. And not everyone burns their paper plates in the fire, though they do use them to leave one another brief messages. I have no way of knowing whose garbage is whose, although I was curious enough about the paper plate jottings--they must need a new notepad at the Ryans' cabin.

In a twist of irony, I went up to the dumpy to resurrect its existence in my Grand Rapids, Minnesota t-shirt with a weathered black bear proudly printed on the front. I'll never look at this T quite the same again.

We anxiously awaited the bear's return the following night. Gary, our watch-dog next door, opened the door to the Private Dumpy not as an invitation, but more as a proactive I-don't-want-to-repair-these-doors gesture. Shawn, Abby, Lauren and I sat around the fire after we finished roasting our hot dogs & stayed out until dusk. Nothing.

Curious to see if the bear got into the trash I took the girls on a bear hunt. We jumped into Granny (my beloved, bear-proof wheels) & headed for the dumpy. Nada.

I've no doubt this isn't the last of the bear at the cabin. As for the girls, it was our first & last encounter. For this trip at least.

{And by 'Private' We Mean: No Bears!}

{Bearly There}

{A Message to Bear}

{A Happy Dumpy}

*I have several shots of the bear. I think they are shots of the bear. Until I can get the pictures on to my computer where I can adjust the exposure the above pictures are the only proof I can offer.


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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.