Friday, July 29, 2011

Trains and Secrets

Had a really fun train play date yesterday.  Thanks for having us G family!

Owen told me he had a secret for me this morning, so I waved him over and gave him my ear.  He put himself cheek-to-cheek with me instead and whispered

Ladies and gentlemen

I asked him if there was more to the secret.

Boys eat muffins

I asked him if there was still more.

Boys and sheep

So there you go blog friends and family.  Guard this sensitive information with your life.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Lunchtime confession

We eat this meal for lunch on a very regular basis.  Can you tell what it is?

Mac 'n cheese with hot dogs.  

I can't decide where this ranks in terms of food crimes.  Is it as bad as SpaghettiO's with Meatballs?  Hot Fudge Sundae Pop Tarts?  Bacon-flavored Cheez Whiz on top of bacon-flavored crackers (that are, disturbingly, shaped like chickens)?

Would it influence your decision to know the hot dogs are kosher and the mac 'n cheese is organic?  

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

GG Love

Owen's GG came for playtime and dinner last night.  He hugged her so much I started to worry he might hurt her.  She's seriously one of his favorite playmates.  And Scott and I think she's a pretty fantastic lady too.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A few more wedding pics

Scott had to help me retrieve these from my phone last night.  Yesterday's photo issues were entirely user-related.

I managed to leave town for the wedding without my camera or my high heels.  I thought about the camera 20 miles down the road (still too late), but I didn't realize I forgot the shoes until I was ready to leave our hotel room and head for the church on Saturday morning.  Scott was kinder than he should have been and sped me around town looking for something to put on my feet.  I ended up with some Madden Girl heels from the teen section of Goody's.  They gnawed on my big toes the whole day.  Fitting punishment, I suppose.

As for the camera, if you have pics from the wedding you're willing to share, please e-mail them to me!

Monday, July 25, 2011

He Bore It!

Well first a big congratulations to Scott's cousin Jeff and his wonderful new bride Holleigh!  You were both so kind (and brave!) to include Owen in your special day.  We loved celebrating with you and wish you many blessings.

I have to admit, I was more nervous at this wedding than I was at my own.  Owen's rehearsal as ring bearer on Friday night was abysmal.  He crawled under pews.  He waited until the most solemn moment in the soloist's song to let out a caveman yawp.  He threw the lacquered wooden ring box across the room.  Twice.  So, so bad.  I was ready to pull the plug on the whole thing.

But a call to my mom on the morning of the big day calmed me down and gave me a plan.  We fed him tons of protein and no sugar; I got him started down the aisle, and Scott's dad waited for him at the end.  Once he spotted his Granddaddy, Owen took off running.  The flower girls were adorably appalled that he didn't walk like he was supposed to, but I considered his performance brilliant.  And he didn't throw the ring box and knock out an old lady.  Even better.

I sneaked down a side aisle while everyone was standing up for Holleigh's entrance, extracted Owen and got him out of there before the ceremony began.  The first thing I asked him was, "Was it scary?"

He looked at me like I'd just sprouted a second head and pulled away from me a little bit.  

"No... can I have some cake now?"

Friday, July 22, 2011


We hosted a 1-year-old for lunch this week, and Owen has insisted on using the high chair ever since.  He's just fussing in the photo because he didn't want me to take his picture.  It's not like I had plans to plaster it all over the internet or anything.

Have a great weekend!  We're off to a wedding where Owen has scored a gig as ring bearer.  Details Monday.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Harry Potter of Italy

I woke up missing Italy today.  It's my pesky dreams again.  This time I was going to be there a whole year.  (she sighs wistfully)

Several people have asked about our sleeping arrangements while we were there so I thought I'd post this picture.  Our little apartment had one bedroom on the main floor and a fold-out bed upstairs in the loft.  But the rail for the loft was way too low for it to be safe for Owen to be up there alone, and he only lasted in the room with us for about 3 nights.  The kid just couldn't shut up with us right there next to him.  It would be 10:30 at night and I'd find myself fielding questions like, Can a triceratops run real fast? and Would it hurt if he bit me?  

So we stuck him under the stairs à la Harry Potter.  I told him it was his special cave, and he liked that.  But I did feel guilty on the nights we were having trouble getting him to stay down, and I found myself saying Get back in your closet, Owen!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


If an unusual fruit or veggie catches Owen's eye in the grocery store, I usually try to take advantage of his interest and buy one for him to try.  That's how we ended up with this coconut.  And the unanticipated perk?  It seems that check-out clerks are less likely to know the codes of weird things, and if you catch one of them having a lazy day, you might get produce for below the marked price.  

Our coconut total:  $0.01

I found the softest of the coconut's three "eyes" and punctured it with some scissors, and then Owen emptied the milk into a bowl.  It was kind of a mess, and there were little coconut hairs all in it, but he seemed to like the taste of it.  

Then it was time for Owen's favorite part:

The bashing.

Wish I could say he loved eating the meat of the coconut, but I think he found all the chewing to be too much work.  It was still a fun little activity to do with him.

What weird thing should we try next?  And is Put the Lime in the Coconut now playing on repeat in your head?  

No?  Just me?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

Philadelphia: The Less Expected Shots

Independence National Historic Park

(l) Scott and an Asian tourist giving the Liberty Bell legs.  
(r)  Took this photo before the tour of Independence Hall began.  
Turns out absolutely nothing important was signed at this desk.

Fireman's Hall Museum

(l)  Love you Jenn!
(m,r)  Remember the scene in E.T. when he raids the fridge in a bathrobe and gets drunk on beer?  
That's exactly what Owen looked like shuffling around in that fireman's jacket.

Phillies (un)Game

We got rained on for 2.5 hours and never saw a single pitch.  That's a shopping bag on Scott's head.

Pat's King of Steaks

(l) Us polite southerners were feeling out of place in the hard core world of cheesesteak ordering...  
and then the biker rally began.
(r)  We shared a table with a street artist who drew Owen and Coach.  
Yeah, I was a sucker and payed for it, and Owen's portrait isn't exactly spot-on.  But it's my favorite Philly souvenir.

Lowe's Hotel Lobby

CPR Convention = bodies in the hall

Elfreth's Alley

Oh, come on!  A random cat photo is totally unexpected.

Rocky Steps, Philadelphia Museum of Art

Owen's version of  planking.  
Thanks for schooling us on what all those other people were doing, Beck Beck!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Just a tease

Jenn and O at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Photo upload is too slow today to put up all of the "less expected" Philly photos, and I'm having the girls over for salad supper tonight so I've got to go and get the house looking nice.  For starters I put all three animals in the basement so they can't mess up what I clean.  That's 1. Coby, 2. Greta and 3. Owen, if you're counting.

Don't worry.  I don't think Greta and Owen will hurt Coby.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Philadelphia: The Expected Shots

 Independence Hall and the 235th anniversary of the public reading of the Declaration of Independence

Rocky and running the steps of the art museum

Elfreth's Alley and the Liberty Bell

Cheesesteak from Pat's

Tomorrow:  The less expected!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Back from Philly

We've been in Philadelphia with my side of the family since last Thursday.  We had a great time, but I'll have come back later with some of the details.  Right now I have a suitcase full of laundry to wash and a naughty cat to clean up after.

While I was trying to get that photo of the dusky skyline, Owen took advantage of my inattention and tried to perform the little monkey jumping on the bed act.  He must have forgotten how it ends for all the monkeys.  His nose was a bloody mess, but his Uncle Joe showed him how to ice it and he came away from the ordeal with just a bruise and a nose that wheezed for a day.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


I've been missing my Papa a lot this week.  I blame it on my cold-medicine dreams.  Three nights ago he showed up in one and told me he didn't remember where he'd been for the past 12 years, but he'd woken up in a strange hospital and now he was all better and happy to be home and he'd missed me so much.  And of course he hadn't died- what silly thing for me to think.  Then we went to a huge celebration dinner for him, and I stuck to his side like glue and laughed conspiratorially as he made fun of all our strange cousins.

Don't dreams like that really get to you?  I'm grateful for them because I really do get see him again, hear him call me "Dear", remember his mannerisms and crooked fingers.  On the other hand, my subconscious was being a real mean bully with the whole death-was-just-a-misunderstanding thing.

But I really don't want this to be a sad, wallowing post.  I just want to remember him.

This may be a weird thing to share, but when I took a creative writing class four years ago, one of our first assignments was to create a character profile based on someone we knew.  I chose Papa.  There's a wee bit of language so forgive me.  Papa was a WWII sailor.

Ed Swanson saw nothing dangerous or illogical about his plan. The roof needed to be fixed, and he was perfectly capable of doing it himself. When a curious neighbor or concerned family member asked why he wouldn’t hire help or at least rent the proper equipment, his Swedish blue eyes shined. “Awww, what would be the fun in that?”  

And so, in order to reach the summit of the roof, the 72-year-old climbed nearly three stories to the top rung of a 20-foot extension ladder that, in turn, was precariously balanced inside the raised front bucket of a commercial-grade tractor. With thick, work-beaten hands he replaced screws and applied patches to the barreled fiberglass structure that covered his swimming pool. He worked each day for as long as the sun would keep him company, coming down only for lunch and “nourishment”, his euphemism for Budweiser.

Sweat soaked through his pale blue Dickie coveralls and beaded up on his bald head, which he protected from the sun with a same-pale-blue bucket hat. He owned one suit (for his future burial, he said), a few dress shirts and slacks, some bolero ties, and 23 pairs of coveralls in five colors, which he always matched to his hats. His wardrobe was utilitarian but not shabby. If he tore a pant leg, he sat at his sewing machine and carefully mended it, and he starched and ironed his bucket hats so that the brim stood out straight and didn’t flop. Even his hats were hardworking.

He’d had the pool installed twenty years before at the suggestion of his wife’s doctors.  Rheumatoid arthritis had knotted her joints and gnarled her hands and feet, and Ed hoped soaking in a heated pool would give her some relief from the pain. She’d been gone nearly a decade now, but even death could not earn her a reprieve from Ed’s blunt honesty. “Margie was a pain in the ass! Always complaining. Never supporting me in anything I wanted to do,” he’d say with such weariness that it seemed he had just been arguing with her. And yet the piles of discarded Kleenex, which regularly appeared by his bed and on the kitchen hutch, were a testament to how much he still missed her.

Once he finished the roof repairs and it was time to move the tractor back to the shed, Ed would feel a little melancholy. His projects were his babies, and he always experienced a kind of postpartum depression following hard labor that only a new project could cure. Previous cures varied from major home remodels to building a catwalk for the squirrels when they were having trouble reaching their feeder. And cures didn’t have be physical – he craved a mental challenge too. His college-age granddaughter once lost out on resale profits when he took her statistics and astronomy books. The former served as a resource in his quest to win the Texas lottery. He constructed a frequency distribution table that spanned four years of drawings and began to regularly predict three or four of the six drawn numbers. The latter fueled his fascination with sky and space. “Did you notice those Hubble shots? The gaLAXies are gorgeous!” (He had an endearing habit of emphasizing the wrong syllables in words when he was excited.)

Ed read the entire Bible, Qur’an and Book of Mormon but ultimately decided to keep God and dump religion. He attached a brush hog to his tractor, cut a path through the woods behind his house and called it his church. He took prayer walks there twice a day.  Others were welcome to join him on the condition that they remain quiet. His was not a charismatic church.

Everywhere else, though, Ed greatly valued conversation and company. He often invited his daughter and granddaughters for a breakfast of twelve-grain toast and coffeemilk over which they spent hours talking and laughing in his tiny kitchen. And an evening drink by the pool with friends was the perfect reward for surviving a day of kamikaze roofing. Once fully “nourished”, he’d stand, tuck his arms and do the twist as he sang “C’mon baby, let the good times roll…”

I think my instructor liked the piece okay.  But she said the last line felt really contrived.  I found that funny, because I didn't have to contrive anything.  He really did that.  And fairly often.  I imagine Papa would have liked that a writing teacher found him stranger than fiction.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Vintage Owen

March 2008

I'm under the weather today so I thought I'd toss in some old photos of my boys and head back to the couch.  Owen gave me a cold, which he recovered from in about half a day.  I'm on day three.  Sucks to be old.

If I had been on my game at all I would have posted these on Father's Day.  Better now than never!

Friday, July 1, 2011