Things I will miss when she's grown

One of my favorite things about my daughter is the inventive way she plays. I'm always finding little groupings of things that she's been playing with. I came across this one today, and had so many questions:

1. Why is there a 4th wise man? And why is he a snowman?

2. How do the sea shells enter in?

3. At the "real" nativity, was there a panda, blue whale, and hamster grouped around the baby Jesus?

I love to eavesdrop while she plays in her room. Thinking about her growing up, and the playing ending, makes my throat tight. I hope it never happens, and yet how weird would it be if it didn't?!


Sometimes, even though you've forgotten your blog exists, you hear a conversation you just have to post

S: We're learning all about the layers of the atmosphere in school. I can't believe the ozone layer has holes in it! It's so terrible. So I raised my hand and said, "That's why we should go back to riding horses."

C: Riding on sweaty animals isn't going to save the environment.

Those two. They kill me.


T. Gordon Lewis 2/26/1941 – 11/2/2009

Please visit our other blog for an update on our life.



Best. Day. Ever.

We had such a fabulous Saturday. I know I'm probably in the blogging doghouse here, since I haven't really posted anything in months (don't call this a comeback) and I swear I'm working on an update, but I just had to celebrate the awesomeness that was yesterday.

It was a crisp, sunny, PERFECT fall day. Oz and I got up a tad earlier than I'd have chosen, but we got out for a gorgeous run and stopped to throw rocks at the duck pond before heading over for a little of this:

Yep. It was Calder's first soccer game of the season. And he was PUMPED before it. I'm a big fan of pretty much all sports, and had high hopes that Scout's natural athleticism would translate into many hours of team sport participation. But alas, she's not really that into organized sports. So I was more than thrilled to see Calder in action. He's pretty good, and I must admit I was surprised.

We were all pumped as we headed home, and nearly expired when we saw what our neighbors (who have been cleaning out their garage for the past 3 days) had left on our doorstep. Not one but TWO giant boxes of Legos, a huge Lego Yoda in an unopened box, and several different cool sets of wooden blocks, and about 10 years supply of zoo books. Here's a sampling of what the kids did on Saturday:

The best part of it all was that the boxes had all kinds of Harry Potter Legos, which you can't buy anymore. And my kids are TOTALLY into Harry Potter (Scout read all the books last year and is now on her 2nd go round, and I bought black fabric to make Hogwart's robes for Halloween costumes.) So as they found stuff, we'd all celebrate. "I found Dumbledore!" "Look! It's Hermione's HAIR!" "Calder, it's the Nimbus 2000!!" This was pretty much all we did for the next 4 hours. At first we were saying, "This is just like Christmas" but then we had to revise that, because who are we kidding... we never give them this much for Christmas. Calder started saying it was like Halloween if we got presents, Christmas, Hanukah, and and his birthday all combined.

Then we piled in the car and went to Brooklyn for a birthday party. While buying the present on Court street, we bumped into some of our favorite people on earth, the Linds, and a family we loved from our floor in our apt. building. We had the best time at the party catching up with old friends and fell into bed that night happy and tired. (And I made Travs drive by Zaytoons on the way back home so I could get a falafel sandwich to eat in the car. Mmmmmm.)

What an awesome day. The only thing that could have made it better is if there had been Magnolia cupcakes at the party, but the chocolate ones Robin made were pretty fabulous too. Oh, and if Wayne had given me the clog boots he had bought for his wife.

The end.

Golden Nuggets

My sister Sara the other day was rather overwhelmed with being a mom of three, worried about dad, the rash and the spinal tap, and in general not in a good place when she heard a knock at her door. She opened the door and there was a package there with a baseball cap from Georgia and this note inside


Sending love from Georgia! So wish I had been with y'all the other night. I have been thinking about you so very much. I know some of the feelings you may be feeling- there are some things I know for certain the gospel is real and eternal families are freaking real. I know that the lewis family is amazing and together you'll be good and I know you have people in NY that love you so much. So when you wear the GA hat know there is someone in Georgia that REALLY cares.
Love to you.
LeeAnne Pope

Then last week mom and dad got a package in the mail from Washington D.C. and inside were two DVD's about golf and some candy with the following note:

Dear Gordon and Kathleen,
We have been thinking about you a lot lately. We are sorry you must endure this trial but admire the way you are going about it. You are in our prayers and we wish you the best in the coming weeks and months. We hope you will be blessed with strength and peace.
Brian and Amy Barker [travis' sister who has probably met dad once]

These are just a few of the many Golden Nuggets that the Lewis Family has received in the three longest months of our lives. The following are a few of my personal nuggets:
· Tanner, Christian, Scout, Mason, Calder, Sydney, Crosby, and Brig who are hands down the best part of my life.
· Weekly deliveries of fresh bread and homemade fruit pies for dad from Sister Rude Jude Maxfield.
· Becca Bracy Knight and Pepper Sessions who are two of the funniest most delightful people on the planet. [even if Becca doesn't know what a spatula is]
· Jim Strong's shaking shoulders as I sit behind him during Sacrament meeting each Sunday and witness the man of "very few words" giggle at whatever unexpected hilarious thing has happened during the meeting [today it was Millie Martindale saying she wouldn't wish her trials on anyone except maybe Osama Bin Laden]
· My ASICS 2050 running shoes that are always willing/able to be laced up and go as I pound the streets of Btown "running out" my stress, fears, and frustrations.
· Travis Stratford for not only working long hours to provide a living so that Sara can stay home and be supermom but who is alone in NY as his family stays for weeks in Colorado. [I think a move is in order!]
· Rhonda and Meg Hansen for bringing homemade goodies, teaching me about politics, knowing the primary songs [when I don't] and emailing me the opportunity to sign the declaration of independence.
· Chris Martin and the music of COLDPLAY.
· Bishop Dietz, dad's home teacher, who is always right behind me asking how dad is and how he can help.
· Charles Langston for taking the time to gather "golf" reading for dad.
· Comcast for making available every sporting event for TGL's viewing pleasure.
· TGL himself who lies there hour after hour, visits doctor after doctor, swallows pill and pill and NEVER utters a word of complaint or frustration.
· My Savior Jesus Christ who tolerates my constant mistakes, questions, and complaints and supports me and the family more than I know.

So this post is an official shout out to all of YOU who through your words, prayers, notes, thoughts, and acts make our days and lives better. WE love you


A day late and $100,000 short

Yesterday was Sara Elizabeth Lewis Stratford's birthday - she turned 36. As you can see we have sort of dropped the ball in doing funny and fabulous tributes on birthdays - probably due to kids/cancer/moving/appliance debacles/remodels/gossip girl episodes and just "life" in general.

So I'll make this short and sweet. Sara rocks. Once Erin McNeil, Carrie and I were chatting and Erin commented that she didn't really know Sara that well. Carrie's response was "that really is too bad because she is such a treasure."

A real diamond in the ruff that Sara. No one makes us laugh more than Sara, she just has a way of turning daily events into a Seinfeld episode. She is clever, smart, fit, efficient, classy, and "able to leap tall buildings in a single bound".

If you have a cyber minute, I'd love to hear what your favorite thing is about Sara AND if you could buy Sara anything for her birthday what would it be.

I love you sis.



My friend Becca alerted me to the fact that today should be celebrated. She and my other friend Pepper, perhaps two of the funniest/smartest and least reverent people I know [outside the other Lewis girls and Erin Boss]have offered their suggestions on how to celebrate this most auspicious day.

- drinking 9 cups of tea
- eating 9 donuts
- sending 9 postcards to people you like
- biking 9 miles x 3
- going to The Nines in Denver to pick up some modern furniture
- stop by Coors field to blow Ian Stewart #9 kisses from the 3rd baseline, followed by 9 9" hot dogs (they don't sell foot longs on 9er days)
- committing to only driving 9 miles an hour wherever I go so everyone on the road will know how serious I am about this holiday.
- Nena 99 Luft Balon www.youtube.com/watch?v=14IRDDnEPR4
- TP the houses of 9 people you don't like
- Rollerblade 9 miles backwards
- Dance to "party like it's 1999" by the artist formerly known as Prince
- Interview your cat and some of his friends to find out which of their 9 lives have been the most meaningful
- Dip 99 strawberries in chocolate

I would love to hear any other ideas


Devil's Causeway

Dave on his recent backpacking trip - he is the one with the blue backpack.
What could be more fun than carrying a 50 lbs backpack across a 3 foot ridge with death cliffs on either side. What a surprise that he just happened to forget to mention this part of the trail before he left.


Little Glass Animals

(As overheard by Carrie from the living room)

Scout: Hey... will you watch my animals for a minute?

Calder: They're not real.


Do we look 30?

I recently had a little reunion with my college friends in celebration of our 30th birthdays. Sadly, one is behind the camera. We did lots of talking...and eating...and some eating...and some more talking. I wonder why I gained weight in college? It was so fabulous to be with them.

So...do we really look 30? Man I'm getting old...


Eight is Enough

Since Rand and Leslie were celebrating their 18th wedding anniversary tonight, the rest of us, sans TGL, did a bit of celebrating ourselves.

Time: 6:15 pm
Place: Pearl Street Mall
what: dinner at the Cheesecake Factory

Mom, Carrie and I got to the restaurant first and approached the hostess.

Carrie: "we have a party of 13, 5 adults, 8 kids two highchairs".

Hostesses [looking skeptical to say the least]: "Okay, let me look around and talk to the manager to let you know how long the wait will be

Manager: "The wait will be at least a 1 to 1 1/2 hours" [She wanted to scare us away but we were committed]

Me: "Sounds great, we'll just go out and play on the rocks".

I got the bright idea to get menus so we could all order right away. Luck was on our side and we were seated within 45 minutes; in the bar area [nothing dumb about that manager] I figure the waitpeople were drawing straws in back to see who would serve us.

Everyone ordered and when it came to mom she looked panicked and said "where is my menu?". Now if any of you know my mom, she suffers from ordering anxiety and usually looks at one of us and says "what are you getting? what do I usually order here? I need more time"

The waiter went to get drinks and brought bread which disappeared faster than a plate of cookies at a LDS Youth Fireside. We waited, and waited, and you guessed it, waited. Sara pulled out Crosby's gluten free dinner and was soon handing rice cakes to Sydney and Kix to Brig. The 2nd round of bread was brought and we realized it was Tanner's Flatiron Steak that was probably holding things up. We moved to the Dora portion of the evening as Sara whipped out her laptop in an attempt to entertain Sydney [who was crawling around under the table] and Crosby who was actually very well behaved.

The food finally arrived. Mason took one bite, or so he claims, of his Nonkraft mac 'n cheese and declared it inedible. At that point Dave made an announcement that if there was any food that wasn't going to be eaten, he was a willing recipient. The waiter disappeard for a while, probably out back doing shots, and we decided against Cheesecake opting for Oreo shakes at Nana's house instead.

We had all parked in the parking garage where I have a pass. I swiped my card as Dave in his car, Carrie in her car, and Sara in the minivan, drove to freedom. At that point a parking security guard [who knew they existed] informed me in Spanish that my actions were not to be tolerated. I jumped in my car and swiped my card one more time.

We arrived at 655 Emporia Rd and I went into Oreo Shake Mode. Crosby and Sydney [and Christian] were entertained by baby einstein and sara went down to chat with Dad. At 10 pm Sara realized Rand and Leslie might be wanting their kids in bed to arise for 9am church so she rallied the troops. She was in the car ready to go when we realized some were missing. Mom called downstairs and Scout, Tanner and finally Mason came up. "Sara's in the car ready to go guys". said mom.

Mason was the last up the stairs: "Hey Nana I'm hungry!!!"

I hope Rand and Leslie had a nice relaxing dinner because we had a BLAST!!!


granola fairy

What happens when...

1. You don't have a kitchen for several months
2. Your eldest sister knows you love homemade granola


You get regular visits from the granola fairy. Thank you yah yah! After a month of eating it for breakfast & lunch it still hasn't gotten old!


The first time...

Brig had a lot of "firsts" in honor of his first birthday. Here are a few:

First taste of a Duffy's cinnamon roll

First trip to a Water Park, "Pirates Cove."
First time sitting on someones lap for 45 minutes without moving a muscle - thank you lazy river! Who would have guessed you would make Brig so, well, lazy?
First picnic at the park!

First shy moment. In 365 days of living, this is literally the first time I've seen you shy (while we sang happy birthday).

First ever (that I know of) cake decorated WITH sugar cookies. How can you beat that combo? Trust Aunt Yah Yah to invent something completely new and delicious!

First taste of said cake & ice cream.

First game of kickball. I held you while I pitched, that counts right?
First time watching cousins open your presents for you.

First time waking up at 4:00am with a whole bunch of sugar related poo and a horrible diaper rash. I hope you enjoyed your sugar...you don't get more until you are 2!

Happy Birthday love. I hope you had as much fun celebrating your birthday as we did!


Happy 1st Birthday Brig

I love you so much sweet boy. You are perfect just the way you are. I wouldn't change one thing about you.


The women of 655 emporia rd.

When Carrie was little if you asked her where she lived she would exclaim sixty the five emporia road. It seems like just a couple of episodes of the Bachelor ago that she was a baby. Now she is days away from her first child's first birthday. Yes, the baby of the family with a baby. When she first got pregnant sara, mom and I would often wonder what it would be like to see her as a mother. We just couldn't get our heads around it.

which... brings me to this post. These past months have been chaotic, tragic, exciting and heart wrenching for the Lewis girls. Everyone is dealing with change, upheaval, sorrow and stress. Carrie is living in a house with no kitchen and will be for at least 2 more months. They don't have a working washer and dryer and they are in the midst of massive remodel. Each time she needs something from the fridge she climbs over the "child gate" and walks down stairs to climb over the metal pole that is jimmied to secure the back door which doesn't have a lock only to go down more stairs. Most of her possessions are packed and stowed away in the basement as they paint, peel wallpaper, clean, sand, etc. and live through renovations. She has setup a room for my mom to sleep in so that she can be near dad while undergoing his "chemo torture". She drives to massage dad at least every other day and throws baby showers and takes dinner to friends with newborns. Oh and did I mention she has a full time job?

It is delightful to watch her as a mother. Every time she sees Brig she acts like it has been a couple of weeks since they were together. She is seriously in love with this little boy and I have to say, he has stolen all of our hearts. i still remember when he was a newborn and she would say "I just can't believe I get to take him home with me". The other night when she went to meet Dave at the ER in Louisville because he had mistaken his leg for a tree branch while trimming with a power saw, she said "will you lock the door behind me. and don't let anyone steal brig". i'm glad she mentioned that because both mom and I wouldn't have thought to lock the door or stop someone from walking in and making off with Brig.

so motherhood has come quite naturally to Carrie but she also had the benefit of learning and watching my sister sara. When I look at sara's children it is absolutely clear that she was on the honor roll in heaven. Sara has been sent very special spirits. Scout's absolute faith and obedience and Calder's raw honesty and desire to "walk the line" Crosby's exuberance and sheer joy are tangible testimony of God's trust in sara. She is patient and tireless as she provides opportunities for her children to experience everything. One of the leading factors for Travis and Sara to move to Edgemont was because of the school.

During the summer while visiting Colorado Sara takes her kids to do something fun everyday. Each night Calder and Scout will say "what are we going to do tomorrow mom?" She is so well read and dedicated to providing her children with good nutrition and health. She rarely gives them fast food and Scout would choose a tomato sandwich, cucumbers and yellow waxed beans grown in grampa's garden over Kraft macaroni and cheese any day. At the park when all the other mom's are sitting around chatting, Sara is the one playing with all the kids. She is definitely "the fun mom".

Her ability to access information on the internet is uncanny. She linked her sudden bout of excessive sweating to an absence of iodized salt [this was after several visits to the doctor]. She eliminated her sudden migraines and dizziness through a change in pillow. She knows what lip balms have petroleum, what additives in foods are harmful and her children are never without sunscreen or seat belts.

Which brings me to the matriarch of "sixty the five emporia road", my mom or nana.

Mom was definitely ahead of her time when it came to motherhood. We were the only kids who always had to wear seat belts, bike helmets and sunscreen. We always had homemade bread made with wheat procured from the basement wheat grinder. Ironically, I used to think we were poorer than the kids who had wonderbread. We weren't allowed to have lunch meat with "nitrates" and cold cereal for breakfast was a definite no go.

She always made a point of getting to know our friends and their parents and she never missed a school presentation, choir concert, track meet, basketball/volleyball/soccer game, court of honor, tennis match, or recital [to name just a few]. I never remember my mother being sick in bed. Her motto was "if you're sick you just work threw it".

She always encouraged us to have parties and bring our friends over. Things got a bit out of hand when 1/2 of Carrie's senior class was eating lunch everyday at 655 emporia. But mom didn't mind. We were always encouraged to invite everyone to a party as she was determined that no none feel left out.

No matter how scared, saddened or stressed she is about Dad's condition, she goes to the hospital each day upbeat with a smile and happy. Just the other night at the dinner table she was eating beans from his garden [a delicacy he couldn't indulge in due to mouth sores] and she gleefully exclaimed "these are soooo good. I can just eat them plain they have such a wonderful flavor".

Mom is the one everyone calls with their problems or needs. Whether it is taking toilet paper to Denver for Carrie [they don't sell it at grocery stores down there] or sewing a hook on my skirt or altering a dress for Sara [they don't have tailors in NY], she does it.

so those are the women of 655 that I get to rub shoulders with. i'm not sure how or why i was chosen to be one of the lewis girls but i am thankful every single day. they inspire me and make me want to be a better person.



2 Mondays ago, I went to the post office to mail off Carrie's birthday package. On the card, I wrote that I wished more than anything I could be with her on her b-day, and had planned to write about the perfect day we could have had on the blog for a post in her honor.

Then on Thursday night, at 7.30, I got a call from my mom telling me my dad's leukemia had returned, and on Monday he would be admitted to a hospital in Denver for chemo treatment. By 9, I had purchased plane tickets for Oz and I, and spent the rest of the night frantically packing for an undetermined amount of time. There was a chance I would stay for the weekend, or maybe stay longer and send for the big kids (the idea of S and C on a plane by themselves makes me simultaneously freaked and thrilled. I know they they could do it, but do I really want to find out?)

I barely got to say goodbye to them. I kissed C early Friday morning but he didn't wake up, and when I went in to tell S I was going she smiled like she does when she knows I'm joking. Then she looked in my eyes and realized I wasn't. She was very mature and said she could handle being in charge and helping Amy with the kids and that she would be praying for Grampa. She's growing up so much, I can't believe it.

As luck would have it, Palmers had been living with us for the past 1.5 weeks while waiting to close on their new house, and then waiting while it gets painted. Amy was a real trooper to take on 2 extra kids, on top of being pregnant, watching her cousin's two kids all day, and her own three. So if you think about it, she was in charge of 8 kids (I'm counting the one in-utero) for over a week. She amazes me. She handled all the end of the year school festivities, birthday parties, and even offered to take my kids to their annual physicals but I drew the line at that. I should have made her take Calder for his Lyme disease blood test... I am NOT looking forward to the inevitable drama that will come with that event.

Travis and Enoch acted as Amy's lovely assistants, filling in where needed at such events like the Kindergarten picnic, C's birthday celebration at school (Enoch took C to purchase which ice cream treats he'd give to the class, the cousins put together the goody bags, and Trav went in to hand it all out and read C's favorite book to his class, missing work to do so). I emailed with C's teacher to make sure he was handling it all okay, and she wrote back that he was doing fine and didn't seem to mind that his parents weren't at the picnic because Amy and Enoch were there. My kids are so lucky to have a second set of parents around! So many other people here filled in too, taking my kids for playdates and to swim and letting S attend all kinds of birthday parties she had not been officially invited to. Never one time did Travis tell me I should come home. He kept telling me to stay as long as I needed, and assured me that the kids were great and doing fine.

So, in an ironic twist, on the morning of Carrie's birthday she picked me up from DIA with Nana, and in the backseat was the only person more social than Carrie, ready to bond with his cousin and attempt to maintain constant eye contact with me for the next week. We headed to Boulder and had time to do Tae bo and put the babies down for naps before Grampa came walking in from his golf game (upon learning he would be going to the hospital in three days, he made as many tee times as was humanly possible). I didn't want him to know I was coming, because he would have told me not to. So when he walked in and saw me in an all-too-familiar Billy Blanks pose, he smiled and said, "What are you doing here?"

Everyone celebrated Carrie's birthday that night with take out from the Cheesecake Factory. Saturday we hung out with Rand's family in Broomfield, and Sunday was a nice Father's Day dinner from which Dad, even though feeling fatigued from his low white blood cell count and the beginning symptoms of the leukemia, refused to let us do the cleaning up without him. Typical.

We have come a long way from the first time cancer entered our family. We are even able to make the occasional joke about it, such as at the end of Carrie's birthday party when we adjourned to the living room for Rand and Dave to give my parents blessings, and my dad quipped, "Well, that's one way to kill a party." We are optimistically hoping for another remission, though we know achieving it will be a long and painful road. If this remission is achieved, a bone marrow transplant is likely, which will also be long and difficult. This time around we have a better idea of what to expect from his treatment, which in some ways is better but in many ways worse.

Monday morning the mood changed dramatically, when Dad called the hospital and was given an arrival time of 1 PM. He was stressed and scared, which shook us all to see. He has always been the rock we all lean on in times of distress. He patiently waited in the hospital until Wednesday morning, when finally all the necessary testing had been completed and his body was ready for the first round of chemo.

It was a long week for all of us. Crosby developed a fever on Tuesday afternoon, and I was afraid to go visit my dad until I was sure I wasn't contagious. A virus at this point entering his system would be a disaster. When we visited him, we wore gowns and gloves and my mom and I wore face masks to be doubly sure we didn't infect him with anything, which made our visits rather hot.

When I went to say goodbye to him on Thursday evening, we talked while I gave him a massage. Then as I was preparing to leave, I told him how much I loved him and to stay strong. He told me my job was to take care of my family and "not worry about him." Yeah right. He also reminded me not to be thinking about him while I drove home; he was worried about me being sad and getting in a car accident. Today Rand told me that my dad apologized to him for "ruining his vacation." It's so true to his character that even when sick in the hospital, he worries about everyone else more than himself.

I got back to NY late Friday night, and snuck in to hug and kiss the big kids who I missed like crazy. I spent most of the night with Oz, who woke up every two hours screaming. As I rocked him through the night, I was reminded to enjoy every moment of my life, even the bad ones.

I love you, Dad.

If you'd like more regular updates on Gordon's condition, you can visit tglewis.blogspot.com.


The price

Turns out the price of our home is greater than just the purchase price. We've also had to donate:

-one fifth of a thumb that got drilled off (Dave)
-one sprained finger (Dave's brother)
-one sprained wrist (Dave's brother)
-one bloody gash in the leg from a hand saw (Dave)


After (taken at 1am in the ER):

10 stitches. Granted it would have been more, but about 2 inches of skin was too far separated to be stitched back together. So the Dr. went ahead and just cut that chunk of skin off.

When I asked Dave if he was ok as we sat in the ER for 3 hours, he said "I'm just mad that I haven't gotten home to eat my dinner yet."


The 2nd coming

Farrah Faucet and Michael Jackson in the same day? Typical Jackson move to try to steal poor Farrah's thunder.

In other news, there is some horrible smell in my mom's refrigerator that we can not isolate and eliminate. The offending smell surfaced Saturday and at this point, Sara, Carrie, mom, and I have all individually and collectively opened, smelled, discarded and personally interviewed each item in/around/under or on the fridge. It is truly maddening and will be the demise of us all if we don't find it.

Tonight we plan to move the fridge out and see if something or someone has died behind it.


I have some other pictures, too

Here are my pics from the shower, to prove that people (at least the guest of honor and Carrie and I) attended this event.

A new kind of shower

This post in long overdue. A few months back Sara and I hosted a 40th birthday party for our fabulous eldest sister - Miss Yah Yah.

Since there is nothing Laura loves more than chocolate, we decided the only logical thing to do was shower her with chocolate.

Thus...and new kind of shower was born - The Chocolate Shower! The party was great fun, and here are pictures to prove you wish you were there.

The Invite:

The Table:

The Chocolate:

I would kill for one of Sara's chocolate brownies right now which sadly did not get photographed. People also did not get photographed, although they were there. I was too distracted by the chocolate to take pictures.


Adios, Winnie.

Poor Scout.

She's been wanting a dog for YEARS. She's always been an animal lover, even when she was tiny. Plastic animals were her toy of choice... which was handy, because they were small and we could easily fit her whole collection in a little box in our tiny apartment. Every time she's asked me for a dog recently, my reply is either, "Not until Crosby is 3" or the newer one, "I'd rather have another baby than get a dog."

When our friends got a dog and were looking for a new home for their guinea pig, it seemed all Scout's dreams were about to come true. I geared up for having an animal in the house (not something I'm remotely a fan of) and for about a week, she was the world's best pet owner. That pig got more baths than it knew what to do with. It was fed constantly. It's cage was cleaned religiously, every few days.

Needless to say, this level of care did not continue. Travis and I began discovering Winnie didn't have any hay, or water. We began wondering if we were being party to pet abuse. We had discussions with Scout about this, and promises were made; charts created. And finally, guess who mostly ended up taking care of the guinea pig.

But the real problem was the allergies... Trav's allergies. They just kept getting worse and worse, the longer Winnie was in our house. Once it warmed up enough, we moved her to the garage... which at least meant we could play Rock Band again without Travis wheezing all night long, but by no means was a solution. So, I began in earnest looking for a new home.

I finally found one through the magic of Craigslist. Is that the greatest of all inventions, or what? I emailed back and forth with Winnie's new owner, figuring out a time we could drop her off. The new owners had a baby pig named Trixie that they thought was lonely, and the lady promised Scout could meet Trixie and be assured that Winnie was going to a great new home.

Fast forward to Tuesday, when was threatening rain. I loaded all of Winnie's supplies into my car and we took her to the address in Yonkers; definitely not the best part of a not super nice town. Trixie's owner wasn't home, and the guy who opened the door looked a lot like a white supremacist: shaved head, ripped jeans, tats all over, many piercings, and huge black combat boots. I made awkward conversation while we lugged all her stuff to their porch, where the kids talked to a black cat. We had heard a dog bark when we knocked, so I smiled and said, "Man, you guys really have a lot of pets! You must love animals!" and he grunted and said, "It's for the wife and kid. The only one I like is the rat."

Well. Calder jumped on that and before you knew it, he was talking about how he was dying to see the rat. The kids had already been told they'd get to meet Trixie, so what was the problem with meeting the RAT? The supremacist looked uncomfortable and said, "Uh... the rat is sleeping" while I tried to corral the kids into the car. As we walked down their driveway to where Oz was waiting in the car, I had one kid wailing, "BUT YOU PROMISED!! YOU SAID WE COULD GO IN AND MEET TRIXIE" while the other one was crying, "YOU LIED TO US! YOU SAID WE COULD SEE THEIR GUINEA PIG!" Oh boy. Things were not going my way. Apparently I've done too great a job of teaching my kids to not judge people by what they wear.

It all came to a climax when Calder angrily kicked some rocks which hit the car. I lost it and said, "I'm telling Dad that you did that!" and I snapped at them both to GET IN THE CAR, NOW. Finally, once they were inside I tried to explain that I didn't lie, but that the woman who had promised me that we could meet Trixie wasn't at home and it would have been an unsafe idea for us to go into that man's house. I'm still not sure they really get it, but at least we got out of there in one piece without having to interface with the rat.

So goodbye Winnie. And may I add... Good Luck.


To give you a taste...

...of how much work we have ahead of us.

Wish us luck.


Better Know a Reader Series: Television land

I'd like to thank Carrie for that most excellent lead in to my latest inquiry about the minds of our readers. I don't know about you, but it's been a long, sad week for me. All the shows I was watching are now over, and I'm missing my TV friends. So my question to you is this: If you could "live" in a TV show (note that I said TV, not movie... we'll get to movies later), which show would it be and WHICH CHARACTER would you be?

Let's say I had to pick from the TV shows that are current right now. My top two favorites are Gossip Girl and FNL. Well, that's not entirely true... I completely adore 30 Rock but honestly, I wouldn't want to be any of those characters.

So, if I chose GG I'd definitely chose to be Blair Waldorf. She's rich but not freaky rich like some of the characters, she has by far the best clothes, and I love her looks. Dark brown hair, big brown eyes; she's so adorable. If I were her, I'd be a whole lot nicer but I'd probably pick Chuck over Nate too. Does that seem weird?

Now if I were to be a character on FNL, this is much, much harder. The obvious pick would be Lila Garrity, for the main reason that I would get to be the girlfriend of Tim Riggins. But I don't think I could take having Buddy Garrity as my dad... not even to get to kiss Tim. So then I thought that I'd maybe want to be Julie, because she's so cute and has the best parents in the world and I figured next season she'll probably steal Tim away from Lila anyway, because Lila will be off at college and Tim will probably still be in Dillon. But then I remembered that episode where Julie had her hair up, and she had the freakiest ears I've ever seen. Seriously. So I don't think I could be her either. Which puts me back at being Lila, and I've decided that this is okay because for sure Buddy is going to die of a heart attack very soon, and hopefully he has a big life insurance policy of which Lila will be the sole beneficiary, since everyone else in the family ditched him and moved with the mom (who can really blame them?)

But, let's say that you can pick a TV show that is no longer on the air. Well, then that's simple. I'll give you one guess who I'd be:

And if I had to be a character from Dora the Explorer, I'd be Benny the Bull. He's the coolest.



Sorry for the lack of blog posts. Things have been a bit hectic. We close on our new house tomorrow. (New "old" house as Nana keeps saying. Apparently a home built in 1924 doesn't qualify as a new house.)

This in and of itself is decent news, but the REAL news is that our new zip code is only 1 numeral off 90210.


Needless to say I'm thrilled.

Do you think the theme music will kick in everytime I pull into the drive way? A girl can only dream...


Memorial Day Part II: NUGGETS fever

This is in no way a rival to Sara's eloquent,clever and as always tremendously delightful post but I needed to piggy back a bit to describe Memorial Day weekend in Colorado. One word my friends


Yep, I am convinced [and have substantial statistically corroborating evidence to prove it] that it always rains Memorial Day weekend and then is sunny and gorgeous the next day - you know what I am back at work.

So it was good TV watching weather as I watched the Nuggets play on Saturday and Monday! Yep, I've been a hardcore fan for almost 2 weeks now. In fact, I'm first chair clarinet on the bandwagon that we've all been enthusiastically jumping on as we cheer our team on. As you may recall, The Rockies had a similar "Cinderella" season to the World Series several years ago and our State experienced the same sort of unifying phenomenon. It is amazing as everyone is just a little nicer, just a little happier, just a little more yellow and blue. You pass folks on the street and you give them that knowing "so did you watch the game?" smile. Unless of course you are Rand and have celestial connections and somehow get tickets to both games. This leads me to my favorite conversation of the weekend [I was with Carrie, Dave, and Brig on Monday]:

Laura: Hey guys, are we going to watch the game? Let me call Leslie and see if we can go there.

Leslie: Rand and I are actually going to the game but you are welcome to come watch it with the boys and Becky [impostor babysitter]

Dave: Even though I haven't done anything today, I'm really tired and don't feel like driving to Broomfield.

Carrie: Yeah, I want to watch the game also but feel the same as Dave

Laura: Don't you have any friends who have a TV/cable? What about Wandrys?

Carrie: No, they don't have cable.

Laura: Is it on the Internet?

Carrie: Dave, can we splice in cable just for the game?

Dave: Uh, no and plus it isn't legal. Maybe we can drive to my mom's to watch it.

As we drive in the pouring rain 20 minutes South to Dave's mom's house

Dave: Carrie, I'm thinking we should get cable for Christmas!!!

Tune in tonight for game SIX!!!


Memorial Day 2009

What an action-packed weekend we had!

It all started Friday morning, when Scout awoke with big puffy red eyes. I knew it was an allergic reaction to something, and kept thinking (especially as it turned into a nasty rash on her cheek and forehead as well), "Man am I glad she didn't have this on Tuesday when she had her photo shoot!" She had been chosen to model for a new Johnson and Johnson product launch. The above photo is one that was taken that day. I don't have any of her poison ivy on this computer (and am too lazy to walk into the living room to get some) so just imagine that beautiful girl, covered in a nasty red rash.

Friday evening Amy and Brian showed up with their little cuties, Vera and Ella. Ella and Scout hit it off immediately, and had not one but TWO cousin sleep overs (Scout is only allowed to have sleep overs with her cousins, so she was very excited about it... so excited she didn't mind sleeping on a shared blow up mattress the size of a postage stamp.) Vera was adorable and we tried not to notice what an amazing communicator she is... despite being 5 months younger than Crosby. Get a delayed kid and an advanced kid together, and there is a vast difference. They very much enjoyed watching Dora together though, so once again we find that Dora is the glue that holds us all together.

We had fun playing in the backyard all afternoon and ate dinner, and then around bedtime Calder complained that his ear was hurting (he had mentioned it that morning, too) so I decided to take a look. And nearly freaked out. Because inside his ear was one of the freakiest things I HAVE EVER SEEN. It looked like a wheat kernel (maybe bigger) and was surrounded by tiny black specks. My first thought was that a bug had taken up residence in his ear and laid one thousand tiny eggs. I casually said to Trav, "Hey... will you come and take a look at this?" and he looked as shaken as I felt. It was clear something was wrong, but we were trying to keep things mellow for C. Brian looked in and declared it was a tick, which I had suspected. He began describing the ticks that would attach to his dogs and how they'd get so big their shells would crack apart, and Travis began giving Brian non-verbal cues to stop talking while I sauntered over to the phone to call our resident health expert, Tania.

Thank goodness she was home (and thank goodness all the people in this story so far have blogs, so you can go and check them out with my awesome links). She told us to come right over and she and Emily graciously paused their movie to remove said tick. She was amazed at how big it was... I think it's been in there quite a while. What's so crazy is that three years ago almost exactly, after we first moved here, Calder had a tick behind his ear and Tania took that one out too. We were both amazed at how much better he handled this tick than the last one. He's come a long, long way in three years. I can't believe it happened to him AGAIN. Scout would have been delighted at the chance to show up at Emily's house on a Friday night, and would have been intrigued by the tick. She probably would have brought a vial for it, and kept it in her room and named it Phil. But she did get the poison ivy, so I guess her life isn't totally charmed.

Saturday morning Brian and I went for a run (impressive because he'd gotten up with Vera when she awoke at 4.30 AM!) and then we headed to the Bronx zoo. We had a blast riding the monorail and seeing the giraffes, and any other animal we passed on the way to and from the monorail. Our favorites from the train ride were the elephants and the baby rhino, which Calder declared was about the same size as Oz. Not too far off, for sure.

We BBQ'd that night and went to the duck pond and had fun hanging out. The next day we did church and more BBQing (we are loving our grill. Can't believe how easy and tasty it is!) with the Palmers, and did lots of playing on the swing in the backyard. The swing/backyard post is coming... it definitely deserves a post all it's own.

Monday I finally took Scout to the dr. Her rash was worse than ever and she was losing it from all the itching, and I'm glad I did because he told me that when poison ivy gets on your face, the only way to get rid of it is using steroids. He also told me that she was exposed to it THREE DAYS before it showed up, so yeah... she got in it at the photo shoot in Long Island! Good thing, because I had been stressing about Crosby getting in it and was afraid it was in our yard somewhere.

We headed into Central Park to hang out with the Barkers one more day before they left. It was a hot, crowded day at the park and the train ride was long both ways, but all in all we had a great weekend. We loved having our cousins come to visit! And thankfully everyone is healing well from their adventures in nature. Can't believe we got a tick and poison ivy and we didn't even go camping! Now we just have to wait three weeks to see if Calder gets lyme disease. Sigh...


Crosby is Two

On Friday May 8th, Crosby turned two. How is this possible? I can't explain it. It only feels like a year, at most, since I experienced what both the midwife and doctor who delivered him said was the 2nd worst birth they'd ever seen. Seriously.

With the older two kids I wrote monthly letters for about 2 years of their lives. I seriously have dropped the ball on that, and it makes me so sad. I'm going to try and start it up again... even if it's a "group letter" to all three kids. When I look back on those letters, I read so many things I had forgotten about. Cute things they did or said; aspects of their little personalities that have now gone.

Anyway, here's a letter to Crosby on his 2nd birthday.

My darling Oz:

Happy birthday! It's hard to believe you are two. In some ways you seem younger (because you still don't talk... but we're working on it!) and in some ways you seem older (because you're bigger than most 3 year olds we know. And some 4 year olds. And physically, you're quite advanced.)

Here is a snapshot of you at exactly two. I wish I had a picture of you eating the yummy cupcakes Amy made for your birthday party, but you hate cake and the picture would have just been of you dropping a cupcake off your high chair, so I didn't bother. I didn't want you to waste one of those cupcakes that I could have been eating! But there are plenty of foods that you do like, for example: GRAPES! (this is probably your favorite thing in the world to eat. But they have to be purple, not green. And when you eat them, after I cut them in half and put them on your tray, you have to turn EACH AND EVERY one of them over, cut side down, before you eat them. OCD?) apples, pineapple, strawberries, toast, yogurt, green beans, sweet potatoes, carrots, bananas (but just in baby food form. Real bananas get thrown to the floor), and chocolate. You have no interest whatsoever in ice cream, cookies, cake, lollipops, or really any treat except for chocolate. So your belly is unexplainable... unless maybe you are going to be Santa Clause when you grow up. But if that's the case, why don't you have a beard?

One of the funniest things about your eating habits is that if I offer you something, you always accept it. Then, after inspection if you deem it unworthy of eating, rather than hand it back to me or refuse to take it in the first place, you hurl it to the ground. Nice. You're a big fan of water, green plant juice, and milk. The only "grown up" food you eat is pizza. No meat. Not a chance.

Your prized possession is your blankie. Here is a montage of photos displaying your kiddie pool we have on the deck in back. Your all time favorite past-time is throwing things in water, preferably rocks. So we fill this pool with water, and then get you rocks from the back yard, and you'll spend HOURS throwing rocks in, then getting in the pool and throwing them out, and then getting out of the pool and tossing them back in. The problem is, other things have gotten thrown in besides rocks. Like Dad's iPhone, which miraculously survived the dunk. And Erin's cell phone. Which did not. And an Elmo plays the piano book. On the day I whipped out the camera, you decided to throw your blankie in the water. This provided much entertainment... and I was glad we have 4 backup blankies!

Because you are so interested in water, we have to keep all the toilets in the house tightly shut. But recently, we discovered we also now have to keep the doors to the bathroom shut as well. This is because your new trick is to get in the bathtub and start the water, and then throw your plastic animals in the water rushing from the tap. You often do this when we are rushing to school, requiring a full clothing change, which does not help our punctuality. But we still love you like crazy.

You've become a proficient jumper lately and adore climbing on my bed, burrowing in the pillows, and then jumping all over the place. You also enjoy jumping in your own bed. Most mornings I wake to the sounds of you jumping and laughing. It's better than any alarm clock I could imagine, even the one that puts out a bacon smell instead of an alarm.

Your love and devotion to Dora the Explorer is still intact, despite my attempts to introduce you to other worthy cartoon characters such as the Backyardigans or Bob the Builder. You'll tolerate Diego, but only if Dora is in the episode (or, inexplicably, Baby Dino.) You'll watch certain Baby Einstein shows, and really love watching the kids play Wii sports. In fact, you love watching anyone play sports, your favorite being basketball. When we take the kids to swimming you spend the first half of swimming scanning the floor for items you can pick up and attempt to throw into the pool, and the second half of the time trying to escape to watch the college team practice basketball. This does not include the time you spent about 10 minutes eating a yellow crayon while I talked to Ellis's mom, and then you threw it up all over the two of us. That was super classy, by the way.

Being outside is the best thing in the world to you, and you make a break for the door whenever it's left open for even a second. On rainy days you stand in front of the sliding glass door and stare out, desperate to be out in the water. At the playground, your favorite thing to do is swing. I like it too, because it keeps you in one place so I don't have to chase you all over to keep you alive.

All in all, you are a busy, joyful little guy. This probably goes without saying, but I love you fiercely... as do your siblings, dad, your siblings' friends, and everyone we come in contact with. Your joy is contagious. As I run on the Bronx River path with you in the jogger, people I pass smile with glee at the look of rapture on your face, as you squeal with delight and open and close your hands. You live life to the fullest. Now promise me you won't get any older... I don't want you to stop ever being my baby.

I love you buddy.


My son is turning into my dad

This isn't a current picture of Calder. If you could see him now, his long hair flowing in the breeze, you might think he was a young lad with a hippie mother. I've offered many times to give him his "summer cut" (we buzz the boys every May) but he's decided he wants his hair long. So I've offered a trim. His bangs are so long, they pass his eyes by at least a couple of inches. Maybe when people start thinking he's a girl will he take me up on the haircut.

But, I digress. The picture very aptly shows a side of Calder that is quite a bit like his grampa. Birthday party season is heating up around here, and every time he gets an invitation [and declares that he will NOT be attending] I realize I never posted about a conversation that happened about a month ago.

S: It's Saturday! What are we going to do for fun today?

Me: Well, Calder is lucky... he has a birthday party at 4:00.

C: [Grumbling and sighing heavily] Is it going to take the whole day?


I really like the Better Know a Reader series. I always find your answers (the SEVEN of you who commented, no wait, Yah Yah commented twice so actually only SIX of you commented) very entertaining.

In case you were wondering, I would pick bread. I LOVE bread, especially my mom's homemade bread. I could live on that for six weeks if needed, along with chocolate. My mom usually makes bread before we come to visit, but this trip out she didn't have time, so she took an entire day to make it while we were there. I think Scout and Calder each ate an entire loaf. Nothing beats it, especially fresh from the oven. I made sure my food storage has tons of flour and yeast, so I can make it if need be. Assuming my oven would turn on, that is.

Laura, I love that your "real food" item of choice would be chocolate chip cookies. See for most of us, that's considered a treat. You crack me up.