Archive for September, 2007


Saturday, September 22nd, 2007

I like to consider myself a good wife for Mike. {I say this because I don’t think there are many women, if any, that would/could stand his many quirks. I used to think it was a joke when people who knew Mike for a long time would congratulate me for taking on Mike’s eccentricities. After a few years of being married to Mike I realized they were dead serious.} Our relationship includes a lot of humor and inside jokes. Mike sometimes forgets this and assumes he can play the same jokes on strangers that he plays on me. For instance, the time he asked the cashier at K-Mart (this particular store was going out of business and offering 75% OFF EVERYTHING in the store) if cigarettes were included in the discount. The lady promptly replied that they were not on sale due to laws, taxes, etc. Mike takes it a bit further to demand that they should also be discounted because the sign on the entrance of the store said “STORE CLOSING: EVERYTHING 75% OFF”. The lady starts to get flustered and defensive, saying it’s out of her hands and that’s what she was told, etc. I could see she was getting upset, so I elbowed Mike and told him to knock it off. After exiting the store I had to remind him that not everyone understands his humor or knows that he isn’t even a smoker. I occasionally have to revisit the same conversation with him, and he geniunely acts like he forgot.

Well, Mike’s new obsession is with moustaches. I don’t know that it’s actually “new” since he did grow one in Iraq and will grow one whenever given the opportunity to do so (on hunting/fising trips, when a group of guys from school all decide to grow moustaches together, etc.). Mike has recently decided that he wants me to design a logo with a picture of a man with a moustache that will also include some cryptic title that nobody gets. This logo will then be embroidered onto jackets that our whole family will wear out in public. Can you imagine my reluctance? Fortunately, I’ve been able to avoid the discussion of said logo until recently I have been accused of not being a loyal wife because I’ve “chosen” to work on other projects such as proofing photo shoots or making requested Simpson family photos for friends and relatives. As a way to make amends I decided to find a couple of songs to throw onto a mix disc for Mike that had to do with moustaches. One sung really struck a cord with Michael, and it’s become his newest favorite. Even the girls sing along when we play it in the car. So I thought I would share with y’all. It’s titled “Man with a Moustache” by the Guys. Enjoy!

Mimi and I are enjoying our alone time. She’s making progress on learning letters. I can confidently say she knows M, S, O, R, B, H, E, and A (in no particular order). I was starting to worry because she was really fixated on E, and every letter I asked her to name would elicit the response, “E”. No headway yet on the potty front, but I’m not going to stress about it. It’ll happen when it happens (despite Mike’s rush to get her trained). I constantly give her the opportunity to try the big potty, but she’s usually keen on going in her diaper. What can I say, if she finds a method she likes, she sticks with it;) As mentioned before, Mimi is quite smitten with Dora and Diego. One of the Diego cartoons that we have on video has him rescuing a baby bear. Mimi takes one of stuffed bears and will rescue it as it’s hanging off the edge of something (countertops, couches, radiators). The kicker is that she comes to me first and says, “Oh no, Baby Bear is in trouble!” I then must say, “Go rescue him, Mimi!” Mimi will then go “rescue” the stuffed bear from its current life-threatening situation. However, if I don’t give my rehearsed response, then I’m asking for trouble. The problem is that Mimi would love to play this game all day and everyday. Why do children not tire of doing the same thing over and over and over…? Just so I can say I mentioned Annie (I get reprimanded for not mentioning both daughters), Annie is still loving school and going daily. She brings home the cutest projects and worksheets and seems to be learning a lot of stuff that I would have not thought to teach her. She has show-and-tell every Friday and took in some butternuts that fell off Hartmut’s tree (she showed some that were still in their and shells and some that were de-shelled). It was cute to see her excitement.


Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

Once again I tricked myself into believing that when school started that life would slow down a bit. No such luck! I’ve had 2 photo shoots in as many weeks with also having church responsiblities that have slowly stacked up and demanded my attention. (How was I supposed to know that those dozens of emails from the Relief Society president actually required a response…just kidding, there were only 5 or 6 or 7 emails…hmmm, maybe more.) Fortunately, Mimi is all too happy to go with the flow without her sister around. This has been quite a relief for me. Annie’s school attendance is quite a chore as well since I have make her a lunch beforehand and actually present a clean, well-dressed child to the school on a daily basis. I think if I had a kid with straight hair it would be much easier to just throw her tresses up into ponytail each day. But, no, if I attempt to do that with her curly locks, it just looks like dread locks gone wrong. Instead I have to sit down with the squirt bottle and brush and work out all those snarls and tangles. Of course, it’s easier to get Mimi’s done at the same time which is in itself quite a feat because she does actually wake up each morning with dread locks. I can’t complain though because Mimi and I are having a grand ol’ time during the day with each other. It’s just that I’m not a morning person, and I’m needing quite an adjustment period for all these new tasks. And check out our latest family photo. Grab one for yourself at Simpsonize Me–too fun.

Saturday night was quite a fun evening for us, particularly for the girls. It was bowling night sponsored by the Naval Dental Spouses’ Club. The girls each got their own ball and a quick lesson from Mom and Dad. They were both determined to bowl all by themselves. Mike and I got quite a kick out of watching them. Mimi would usually just drop her ball down only to find it getting stuck in the gutter halfway down the lane. The bowling staff must have loved us requesting their help every 10 minutes or so. After a while we just started leaving the stray balls in the gutters. Many other kids were there, too, that played with the girls. I’m so glad we managed to get a lane reserved for us especially since I called 2 days after the RSVP date. I’ve mastered that skill. At the end of the night “trophies” were presented to the highest and lowest scoring bowlers. Mimi actually placed second for lowest score (Mike was 1st…I’m just joking). I told Mike we should doing the bowling thing on a bi-monthly basis…he’s not much of a bowler though.

Have a great rest of the week!


Saturday, September 8th, 2007

Didn’t you know…around here “a day or two” actually means a week? So as promised, I’ve put together an album of pictures from our trip in MN last week. Just look at the memories page under “MN Trip 2007“. Enjoy! Be forewarned though, it consists of about 50 pictures 12 of which are of chickens and various other poultry. Another thing I noticed lacking updates is the girls page. I haven’t put together a monthly album for them since May. So that’ll be my next project. I do know off-hand that the only pictures I took of them in June and July are from our trips and visits with relatives (pictures already posted). Hmm!

Remember how reluctant I was about even putting Annie into pre-school last, and opted to only choose the 2-day-a-week-2.5 hour plan for her. This year I went crazy and signed her up for one extra day each week. Well, I’ve gone even more bonkers. As of Wednesday Annie is now signed up for 5 days a week for 5 hours a day. She will even be eating lunch at school each day. You may be asking, “What was she thinking?” The director approached me to say that they overlooked the fact that Annie turned 4 before September 1st. Apparently, this qualified her for the Pre-K/Kindergarten program they’ve got. It’s more of an intense program than the one she was currently signed up for. I discussed it with Mike, and we were both sold on the idea. Within a day Annie’s now practically a kindergartner, and she couldn’t be happier. The minute she found out she’d be eating lunch there everyday she immediately asked if we could get her a Barbie lunch box. Where does she learn about this stuff? The Barbie lunch box was not purchased; instead we got a cute, unicorn one that I liked. I can’t believe unicorns are making a comeback. I’ll have to pull out those crystal unicorns, dragons, and fairies I’ve been hiding in the closet (I hope you know that I’m kidding–sorry if I’ve offended anyone who collects crystal figurines.)

Mimi is happy for her sister but also jealous of her school experience. She has been quite reluctant to leave each day after dropping off Annie. Ok, I’ll admit I’ve had to actually drag her out kicking and screaming out of the school everyday so far. Does this mean that she doesn’t look foward to one-on-one time with Mommy? I am hoping that we’ll be able to focus on potty-training her now that Annie’s not around to distract. It’s so funny though how different Mimi acts without Annie around. She’s very laid back and sweet. I noticed this while in Minnesota when Annie stayed with G’ma. My hope is that we can bond even more and that Mimi will be given the opportunity to flourish on her own without Annie.


Saturday, September 1st, 2007

Here we are at Grandma Minnesota’s house this week. It’s been a merry ol’ time with lots of activity and wonderful weather. I’m happy to report that the plane ride from D.C. was quite bearable while the girls busied themselves with movie watching and Leap Pad learning. Of course, there was some boredom and squirreliness, but it was manageable. About 2 weeks ago I received an email from Northwest Airlines saying my schedule had been changed from direct flights to having a layover in Chicago and sorry for the inconvenience. At first, I accepted my fate, but then decided to call NWA to have them put us back on direct flights. To my surprise, the nice lady on the phone granted my wish with no arguments and extra charges. Dealing with a 2 1/2 hour flight was doable for me alone with the girls, but having an extra 3-4 hours to kill would have been another story. We arrived safe and sound, and the girls we excited to see G’ma. Mimi played it a bit coy at first but soon found herself enchanted and cuddly with her long, lost grandmother.

We went to church on Sunday which was nothing new for the girls. I did expect a little uneasiness when dropping the girls off in Primary/nursery. However, Annie nestled herself between two girls her age in Primary and became fast friends with them. I thought for sure Mimi would be unwilling to stay in nursery with strangers. Immediately upon entering the room Mimi discovered a baby doll amongst the shelves of toys. She gave me the crocodile to babysit, and then she was off to play without a second look back at me. Now speaking of the crocodile (or as Mimi calls him, “cro-a-ile”), G’ma came up with the idea to use a receiving blanket to swaddle the critter. Since doing that Mimi has carried that thing around tightly swaddled under her arm. She has gotten into the habit of undoing the swaddle and then swiftly requesting that he be wrapped up again. It’s very sweet and annoying.

On Monday we headed over to the Wild Rumpus Bookstore. You may recall from our last visit to Minnesota (almost 2 years ago!) that we went there; it specializes in children’s books and has live animals featured all over the store. There are several cages scattered on shelves or hanging with birds and chinchillas. In one aisle you encounter a glass piece on the floor that looks down into a cage of rats down below. This cage has different levels for the rats and even includes a ladder that reaches the glass. Many cats roam the store also, all with bobbed tails (hmm, wonder why that is). Mimi became extremely captivated by one of the resident cats and followed him around for the rest of our time there. Oddly enough, the cat didn’t mind. Memory served me well, and I peeked behind the cash register to find another cat and a fluffy chicken sleeping next to each other on their own beds. G’ma bought the girls a couple of books (mainly for Annie’s birthday) from the “Fancy Nancy” series.

After dinner that night we walked over to the playground nearby G’ma’s house. On the way there the girls were intrigued by little discoveries such a cattails, grasshoppers, maple seeds (helicopters), and milkweed. The playground was very well-equipped to keep the girls busy. It was great fun, but then the girls were tired to walk home. But the evening wasn’t over for tem yet. G’ma had bought cupcakes and planned to have impromptu birthday party. We even had candles. Annie was presented with a few birthday presents from G’ma including the books from Wild Rumpus. She was overjoyed and surprised to get another birthday party. The girls slept well that night;)

Tuesday was the day we were all waiting for–going to the Minnesota State Fair. We met up with Auntie Sara, Hayley and Matt. My girls were getting grouchy about an hour into our time there (which had all been spent in the Creative Arts Center). The Tom Thumb doughnuts cheered them both up almost immediately. Going on a couple of rides after really perked them up, too. Lots of good food filled up our tummies: doughnuts, cheese curds, corn on the cob, pronto pups, fresh-squeezed lemonade, and sno-cones. I’m sure there was much more that we would have enjoyed, but that was all I could handle. Some of the new food creations for this year were kool-aid pickles, uff-da brats, fried fruits, batter-dipped/fried potato slices topped with cheese, s’mores on a stick, and much more. The fair staff made an attempt to be “green” by supplying compost drops for corn cobs. The decision was made to pay admission for the butterfly garden, and none of us regretted it. The kids were not shy (except Mimi) about letting butterflies land on them and picking them up. Mimi made it very clear that no butterflies were allowed to touch her or be within 3 feet of her. If someone had a butterfly on them, then Mimi would move to another location. Sara, Hayley, Matt, Annie and I also rode down the giant slide (Annie did have to sit on my lap, but she was disappointed). The animal birthing center was one of the favorite attractions where we saw newly born lambs, chicks hatching, baby ducks, calves, suckling pigs, and teenager rabbits. Of course, we made our way through several of the animal buildings including sheep, chickens, horses, ducks, and geese. Per Mike’s request, I took a plethera of pictures of chickens. The girls were pictured with minature, dressed up horsies where one promptly urinated a gallon within feet of our feet. By about 3:30 p.m. we were all tuckered out. The girls, G’ma, and I left soon after. It was quite an event to never forget.

Wednesday we just hung around the house. Exhaustion maybe from the day before. The girls weren’t too upset about that especially because the next day brought more fun stuff. Uncle Jake and cousins Kayla, Anna, Dylan and Mya and Auntie Marissa and cousin Owen came for a visit in the morning. It was the first time for us to meet 18-month-old Maya and 5-month-old Owen. Mimi and Dylan really hit it off, and I didn’t see much of them. Annie was in awe of Kayla and Anna–TEENAGERS! They were so sweet to keep her company during the entire visit. Once Owen arrived Annie and Mimi were ecstatic about seeing/holding a real, live baby. Usually Mimi is the one drawn to the babies, but Annie surprised me with her constant attention toward Owen.

Following the visit with the cousins we proceeded to the Evans’ home to drop off Mimi and me. G’ma offered to keep Annie overnight, and I was more than pleased to oblige. I had promised months ago to take Katie’s senior pictures, so we did that soon after my arrival. Mimi stayed home with the other Evans’ kids. The senior pictures turned out quite nice, if I do say so myself, and Sara and Katie seem very pleased with them as well. I was able to get them edited while still at the Evans’ and even put together a few fun collages. It wasn’t very difficult to get some awesome captures of Katie since she’s such a beautiful girl. What I would do for hair like that! I’m so excited to finally have some senior pictures to add to my portfolio. Mimi and I got cuddle together that night for bedtime, and it was so nice. She was very sweet when she woke up just laying there quietly until I was officially awake and ready to rise. My girls have never done that for me before. {O.K.! One quick, funny story. I brought along a set of workout clothing (just in case I decided to exercise…ha) but forgot a pair of p.j. pants. So I’ve been wearing the workout pants as p.j. bottoms each night but I quickly put on jeans before exiting my bedroom each morning. When I decided to get up out of bed that morning Mimi pulled the covers down to say, “Get up!” She immediately noticed the workout pants, and exclaimed, “EXERCISE! Billy or Minna?” (The girls have gotten into the cute habit of asking me each morning when I work out whether I plan to do a Billy Blanks or Minna Lessig DVD–“Billy or Minna?” is what they say.) I had to explain that Mommy had no intention of exercising that morning much to her confusion.}

Today we got to see the Evans one more time since they make a Saturday visit each week to do piano lessons for Hayley and Matt and do yard work for G’ma. And tonight we got to spend a little time with Auntie Stephanie and cousins Dylan and Maya. We met up at the playground close to G’ma’s neighborhood again and then headed back to the house for ice-cream. The only uncle we didn’t get to see was Uncle Dave. Maybe next time. Oh dear, I just looked to see that I’ve written nearly a book about our visit to Minnesota. Wait, one more quick, funny story. While at Sara’s I checked my email and saw that I had received an email reminder for my NWA reservations. Kathy was also there, so I figured it would be a good time to look at what time my plane too off on Saturday. I’m almost ashamed to admit this, but my flight actually wasn’t set to depart until Sunday. Ooops! How utterly embarrassed I was. I quickly asked if Kathy had any major plans that I would be interrupting. Church was all that she had going on, and she wasn’t too upset to realize that she’d have to miss. So there you have it, our entire trip all packed in to this post. Sorry it extremely long and jam-packed. Stay tuned for a gallery of images from the Minnesota trip. It should be up within a day or two…I promise I won’t flake out this time.