Friday, February 26, 2010



Madee's Weather board made it as a feature on today!

Also, the girls and I spent the day driving to Plymouth, WI to hang out with the other Van Derven girls and celebrate Rachel's 2nd birthday. We left Dad home to fend for himself, but don't worry, he has Ono to protect him and Zeus to eat if he gets snowed in for 45 days.

The girls were AWESOME +4 the whole trip and we made killer time.

I actually couldn't believe how great they were.

It makes me wonder who is really throwing tantrums when it is all 6 of us....YES, ONO I'M LOOKING AT YOU.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Charlie used to run a Microtel

Every time we pass a Microtel, Charlie says, "I used to run a Microtel." It is even kind of an inside joke, because (of course) I have made fun of him for this, and I have also made it my personal mission to make sure they never pass a Microtel without hearing how Daddy used to run one.

"Do you see that girls? Yer deddy used to run a Microtel."

No, they won't miss one.



For the last 9 months, Charlie and I have been in survival mode. and sure there are ways in which it has been made a little more difficult than it had to be, but I guess one of the things we have in common is that we are just like that.

Anyway, in the last 9 months we have seen the "barely making it" version of each other, and we haven't always been at our best. Sometimes we turn on each other. Sometimes we are just so tired and we can't have empathy for the other one. And we have barely had a relaxing moment alone (alone together OR 'by oneself' alone) in a LONG LONG time.

Not that we haven't gone out without the kids, but we haven't gone out on a full tank of sleep or money and an empty tank of stress or worry for quite some time.

We have felt overworked, overtired, under-appreciated, under the weather, under a ton of bricks with the lack of sleep and amount of crank in this household lately. and it has just seemed that if one of these things would lighten up, everything could somehow be better enough to give us the momentum to make this work for us.

We are past Day 4 and Night 3 of taking back our lives after Baby #2 and it is starting to take root in our beings and we have been able to enjoy some moments of rest and both babies asleep at the same time. We had time to hang out last night after bedtime and also this morning before the kids got up. They are even taking their naps at the same time, and Eden is infinitely happier.

And it has been increasingly easy to talk to each other.

Like, suddenly it is less about "whose turn" or "what's fair". Suddenly we are both getting longer stints of sleep and higher hopes for our immediate future and we can see this cool chick/guy we married and we like to talk again.

And this time we aren't even drinking or trying to impress each other. I don't know, I just feel like I can see Charlie as this real (dynamic) person. I know where he comes from. I also know that I don't understand what it is like to be him, but I have an appreciation for his life like it is my favorite movie. Like I could watch it over and over again.

Do you have somebody whose stories you like to hear no matter how many times you've heard them before? I wish I still had some that my grandmother used to tell me.

Oh, I will have to tell you about my Grandmother one day...

Top Stories at Family Sized Fun

- Little Shiloh Jolie-Pitt wishes she had Madee's hair (and almost does!)

- Charlie wishes he had Boner's hair. How creepy would that be for me? Some of you know what I am talking about!

-Madee stood up from her potty, and turned around to face it and pee like her Dad. Priceless.

- Charlie makes fun of how I say "yahoo". But I bet my mom says it the same way!

- We are officially half way through our stay in Duluth.

- I go here every day for inspiration.

- I really really want these in grey, but I am already starting to think more about Southern California and how I won't need another pair of boots once I am there.

- Madee loves her weather board. We amended the Rainbow card to say "Partly Cloudy: Chance of Rainbows" Madee wants the weather to be that card every day.

- Blades of Glory comes on ABC on Friday night, and if this doesn't get you in the mood, nothing will!

- Charlie watches figure skating and ice dancing with the same critical eye he watches football. C'mon girls, join a team and give Daddy something to coach!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

NIght 2

It's 10:35 in the morning, and both the kids are sleeping. In fact, both the dogs are snoring, too, so the house is calm and serene, but not quiet.

Night 2 was a success.

I have rearranged the house a little so the crying of one child doesn't disturb the sleep of the other, and let me tell you, yesterdays nap was long and hard and Charlie and I even had time to hang out after work before they got up.


Eden is totally tapering down on her "cry it out" time and although she is still obsessed with what might be in my shirt, she is getting better and better about just doing something else.

I am starting to think we are going to make it through this alive...

The Chair of No Responsibility

Our furniture isn't really our furniture. Since we are living in a corporate apartment that is basically furnished, we didn't bring much in the way of furniture. So the first thing I tell someone when they come over is we didn't pick this furniture, and really we only own the kid furniture in the house.

And when I tell someone that we didn't pick the furniture, I specifically tell them that the recliner with the cigarette (I assume) burns in the arms is definitely not a piece of our collection. Of course, despite the stains and the burns and the general stupidness of it all, someone is always in that chair.

Of course it is the most comfortable chair in the house.

Square in front of the TV (HELLO Satellite TV, mind you.), close to the front door and in a kind of blind spot that really can't be used to peer around corners into the bedroom or the bathroom, it has been labeled the "chair of no responsibility".


Whenever Charlie is in that chair he can't hear, see or tend to the children. He is rendered useless and sometimes can't even budge to get his own beer. It is a vacuous hole of a chair that sucks you into its cozy cotton, rocking you into a media induced oblivion UNTIL YOU NEED ANOTHER BEER.

And then I yell, "Oh HELL NO you aren't going to come home after I haven't had a break ALL DAY with the wacky kids and sit down in front of the ESPN and have your beers delivered as you revel in the CHAIR OF NO RESPONSIBILITY!"

Only tonight when he came home, the kids were both asleep. The meatloaf and cheesy mashed potatoes were almost ready. I bought the yummy frozen garlic bread.

And I had a glass of whiskey to offer as I told him to kick his feet up in the CONR.

I guess Day 2 got better.

On Day 2 of Cold Turkey

This is torture.

But I have thought so many times how much I wished I had already done it weeks , if not months ago, and the only way I can stop thinking that way is to buckle down and just do it, right?

It just isn't easy.
She is SO pitiful and grabby and screamy and sad without booby.

I told her yesterday.

"Kid. That's it. We are done with booby. I know it seems unfair. I know you want a choice. But later in your life when you really really want something that I don't want you to have, I will march right out and purchase it for you anyway just to make up for this."

And then I told Charlie the deal. I am sure he will be sure to bring up my promise the minute she wants a dirtbike or a puppy or a senior trip to Italy.

But for now, there is a great disappointment to be dealt with.

Any time she gets anywhere near me, she just presses her face into what ever body part is closest and tries to latch or bite - usually a leg or a foot, since she is kind of a floor dweller. She is also totally crawling with both knees now, and just chasing me everywhere.

It has been a rough 36 hours.

But in 2 weeks, hopefully I won't be crying in the middle of the night wishing I had known the strength to do this now, because it will be done.

This will seem a distant memory, and she will be screaming about something else.

Day 2.
And pretty much 4 out of 4 of us are losing it.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

If I had money...

I'd likely not have it for long!

Click the photos if you want it too!

1. Instax Camera - it's like the Polaroid of the future.

2. Giddy giddy hair bobs. Even if the girls won't wear them.
3. I want this. I am not even really sure what it is other than awesome.
4. ANYTHING from this Fusion Brands place.

5. I would totally rock this shirt.

6. This chandelier is ridiculous and fabulous and over the top. I'd buy 2.
7. This little ring is so simple and beautiful.

8. And, LASTLY, any of these little pretties would also look great on me.
Only at this price I COULD HAVE ALL 3!

What's on your everyday wish list?

Monday, February 22, 2010

It's So True

"Someone once said something to me that I found helpful — parenthood is not a sprint, it's a marathon. I guess I put a lot of pressure on myself, and feel like I've ruined everything. But life is long and all your unnoticed good efforts also add up to something. It's horrible [how judgmental parents can be toward each other]. And I, myself, have done it to people. The other day, I saw this father lifting up a kid by the arm and I was like, oh, that's why I have shoulder problems. Somebody thought it'd be fun, and I probably was laughing, and now the rest of my life I'm with the chiropractor. And I said, 'You know you can cause damage to the rotator cuff accidentally...' I'm such a creep."

— Uma Thurman.

Booby Says "No."


Definitely a subject I have felt MANY FEELINGS about. And of course I agree it is best when it is an option, but I also think very healthy happy babies are raised by other means.

And after 9 months of this, and almost 3 years now of being pregnant or nursing, I am SO DONE.

Only Eden isn't. She doesn't even want to consider life without booby. She has even been saying "boobeh" for months now.


She hasn't found her "thing".
She will roll around in my arms, which is a task to hold on to at 23 or more pounds, doing this alligator death roll thing trying to pull my shirt off or suck through it, and even though we are consistently down to "only at night" nursing, she is relentless in her quest. She is constantly pawing at me, and I hate to say this out loud, but I cringe when she does it because I am SO physically overstimulated and I just want my body back for myself.

I just really think my relationship with everybody in the house would be better if she would just move on.

Madee gave it up at 6 months, and quit "cold turkey" and the aftermath (hormonal changes and headaches and mood swings) were probably the worst part of my entire birth and new baby experience with her. I just remember it being a devastating situation for about 2 weeks until everything evened itself out.

But as Eden lingers, just barely hanging on to what nipple she can get, the process is drawing out. She isn't sleeping, I am not sleeping, I am having 3 headaches a week, AND, WELL, EVERYBODY IN THE HOUSE IS SUFFERING.

And there have been moments when I tell her it is over. That she may never see that booby again. But eventually I give in to her pitiful squeaky little cries.

She just can't quit me.
So what do I do?

There should totally be a resort that specializes in this - nannies for the babies to help them through the self soothing and disappointment and a spa for the mommies as they rehab the girls...

Friday, February 19, 2010

My first OhDeeDoh DIY

I absolutely LOVE this site. I go there every day. Not only do they have adorable ideas on decorating for kids, they have all sorts of adorable DIY ideas that have become instant obsessions until my kids have their own.

Like this weather board.

Here is ours so far...

Madee runs to Charlie when he gets home from work saying, "Cold hands? Cold hands?" And she just is so aware of changes in mood and environment lately.

It is our new ritual to look up the weather in the morning and decide what we might do and how we might dress appropriately.!


I can't wait to do a play kitchen and a modern dollhouse!

Does anybody have another quick, educational DIY to challenge me with that will inspire the girls? I would love to hear about it!

Always looking for fun ideas and reasons to go to the craft store!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Bridge, The Ice and the Clocktower

When we go over this bridge, the dog goes CRAZY. Charlie used to live here years ago, and Zeus knows that when he hears the tires hit the grating that he is probably going to play on the beach.

And he starts howling and we all toss random objects like toys and empty water bottle towards the back of the car but he won't stop.

He can't.

This is Lake Superior at sunset.

The shore is totally frozen and then beyond where it is totally frozen it is just chunky ice for hundreds of feet.

Ono knows better than to even go out there, and paced around the certain edge nervously until we all cam back to the sand.

It's huge. And icy.

Like, you have never seen anything like it, unless you have seen it.

Then you'd know what I am talking about.

I still haven't had much free warm time for photographing the cool buildings, but I have started grabbing my camera and just shooting out of the window randomly as I am driving (without my glasses) so don't worry about whether or not I am looking where I am going, because I CAN'T SEE ANYWAY.
Which is only one of the reasons Charlie prefers to drive.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Jesus loves Charlie (but I am His favorite!)

For some reason, this event had slipped my mind.

Maybe even for OBVIOUS reasons.

But it is time to tell it now.

Imagine - the middle of nowhere Nevada. (This where you are all, "Isn't EVERYWHERE the middle of nowhere, Nevada? And I say Ha.)

Also, the middle of the night.

The girls are sleeping. Charlie is sleeping. And I pass a sign that I am pretty sure says we have 38 miles until the next town. Keep in mind, that town MAY OR MAY NOT have a gas station.

I said the middle of nowhere.

Anyhoo. 38 miles to the next town. Also important, about 32 miles from the last town.
I look at the gas gauge, and it says we have 36 miles until the gas tank is empty.

Only we are pulling a trailer and so that number is most likely not accurate.

In fact we may have about 20 miles until we run out of gas.

Charlie looks so sweet when he is sleeping. And he has been cranky while awake.

Me: Charlie?
Him: (snore)

Oh well, I tried.

5 minutes pass.

32 miles to the next town
26 miles to the end of the gas tank.

Me: Charlie? Honey?
Him: (snore)


Me: Oh sweet baby Jesus please please PLEASE help me out on this one!

26 miles to the next town
17 miles till empty...

Me: Babe? You awake?
Him: (snore)
Me: Hmmm. It looks like he will need his rest...Plus he will be so snarky about this. This is a HUGE mess up and I NEVER MESS UP! (If you ask me!)

He will NEVER let me hear the end of this one!

I also start thinking about where jackets and gloves and such are - oh yeah. Charlie pulled them out and put them in a quick grab location in case something happens and we have to get out in the 20 degree weather.

Good thinking, Charlie.

15 miles to the next town
9 miles to empty

Me: Baby? Charlie? Hey, WAKE UP!
Him: Yeah.
Me: I don't know how to tell you this.
Him: What?
Me: I don't think we are going to make it to the next gas station.
Him: Then get gas.
Me: I don't think you get it.
Him: Then turn around.
Me: Well? That one is even further away.

I don't want to make Charlie look bad, so no more direct quotes from him.

Let's just say he wasn't thrilled. Not only have I, on numerous occasions, brought that gas gauge closer than comfort allows.

Not only has he, on many occasions, been upset or put out by that.


And now he has to psyche himself up for a cold bitter walk for miles and miles to the gas station and back.

Have I mentioned it is like 1:30 in the morning? So we have that going for us.

And now we are driving up a summit.

2 miles till empty
help me help me help me sweet baby Jesus
I talk to the sweet baby Jesus when I am really pleading. Like the grown up Jesus would just shake his head at me and be all "STUPID!"

But the sweet baby Jesus is sweet. He is a baby. He doesn't want to see me walk to the next gas station...

I can't even look at Charlie now.

I can hear his eyes rolling into the back of his head.

0 miles.
And at least 10 to go.

Me: Just go back to sleep this is all a bad dream.
Him: (uncomfortable silence) (possible questioning of how he ended up with ME!)

And then we reach the summit.

I put it in neutral and we coast at about 80 down the hill. With a trailer.

Me: (putting two firm strong hands at 10 and 2 on the steering wheel) Okay...

Help me Jesus Help me Jesus Help me Jesus Help me Jesus Help me Jesus Help me Jesus

4 miles to gas station
still 0 miles in the gas tank

As we get closer, the mood starts to lighten.

Then we hit another little hill.

Car in gear, pedal down, eye on the gauge.

Then lights on the horizon.

He could totally walk from here...

Anyhoo, we made it.
Jesus and Me: 1
Gas Gauge: 0

And for some reason Charlie decided to drive from there...
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