Friday, February 26, 2010

Stories I like to tell: Part IV (including excessive amounts of tongue in cheek)

The semester before Scott and I got married, I was roommates with his little sister, Katie (who happens to be my age. well, five days younger. but who's counting? I am). We lived in a basement apartment with six other girls. Although I was betrothed to her brother, we had met only briefly before we started sharing a room.

There are many stories that could be shared from that four month period (many!), but my favorite one to tell is the one about the quote wall.

We were young. We were foolish. We did many things that made little to no sense. Case in point: "I know! Every time someone says something funny let's write it on that wall in crayon!" "Brilliant!" "Crayon washes off, right?" "Quite easily, I believe." And thus we spent the prime of our higher education filling every corner of one bedroom wall with quotes--hilarious quotes, to be exact. (No photos! So sad.) This was all great fun and a big hit with all of our friends and we congratulated ourselves on our genius.


I received a frantic call from Katie while visiting Scott one afternoon. "This is another fine mess you've gotten us in to!" "Me?" "The landlord's coming for a cleaning inspection tonight!" "Yikes!"

By the time I got back Katie had already begun scrubbing with soapy water. To our incredulity, it didn't just wash right off. No, instead the paint started coming off until we were scrubbing brownish sheet rock. Oh the ignorance of young adults!! We realized that we would need to repaint it eventually, but there was no time for that now. No time to buy supplies and apply a primer and two coats and that's not to mention the dead-giveaway paint smell! What to do?

Sometimes in a highly stressful and gravely serious situation, people's minds are elevated to a higher plane of genius. Time slows down for just a few moments and everything comes in to perfect focus as our path is made clear. It was with just such a preeminent cognition that we realized our solution: we'll just cover the whole wall with posters.

Luckily we had many. Side to side, slightly overlapping, we created a screen of deceit with the Beatles and swimming elephants, Annie and U2. Where there were small gaps we filled in with photographs and silk scarves. With time to spare we completed the mask of our impetuous inside-joke-graffiti. The inspection was made with none the wiser. We congratulated ourselves on our well pulled off tomfoolery and resolved to get to that painting job the following Saturday.

The day before we moved out (weeks later) found us holding various white paint chips to the wall trying to match the perfect level of dinginess. Our last night, we spent sleeping in the room with two fans on trying to relieve our nostrils and brain cells from the fresh paint smell (also hoping it would not be too noticeable when our landlords evaluated who would be keeping our deposits).

We got them back. In full.

And when Katie returned to our basement apartment the next fall she reported that it was all for naught--they'd repainted the entire basement over the summer.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hello sunshine

I've missed you. I'm so pleased you decided to come join us last weekend. You were so pleasant. (Please come again soon, you didn't stay long enough.) We weren't even chilly basking in your rays sans jackets (it was a nice touch that you brought the temperature well above freezing). Josh had a chance to try out his "really skateboarding" pose.

My favorite part was the opportunity you afforded Afton to try walking on uneven ground. She's not used to tramping over anything but man-made, level terrain, and it was great fun to watch her stumble down the grassy hills again and again.

Joey was with us on the first bright day of the weekend and he and Lydia made the most of it. They dug through a bag of pool/beach gear and made good use of it (although Joey became extremely preoccupied with trying to keep one leaky floaty inflated).

[Still staring at the floaty.]

Friday, February 19, 2010

Winner x3

And now the big moment you've all been waiting for (it must have been hard to sleep last night).
According to (yes, I'm lame--I used to select from 12 numbers. Wow, I hope I didn't crash the server by taxing it with such a huge number. It was faster than creating twelve paper strips and painstakingly writing on them like a caveman) and tripled clicked by Scott Cruze himself the winners are:

Jeigh ("I can't believe I almost missed this giveaway! My kids are huge Harry Potter fans. They would love a shirt, even if it was a little big. Hey, they're still growing right?")
Mom ("I put off entering this giveaway--but I can't resist any longer. I actually know of several deserving Harry Potter fans who would love a snitch T-shirt----so I'm in!")
Erica ("OH OH OH OH OH, pick me, pick me (hand raised high in the air)!!)

Hooray! Thanks for entering, guys. I will email you soon to get your addresses (or you can email me at ammeandneb [at] gmail [dot] com --that might be better, I'm not sure if I have your email, Jeigh).

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mom Jr.

That is what we call Emma. She really is a grown up walking around in a little, tiny body (and listening to Fireflies). I can't count the number of times when I have heard her addressing her younger siblings in exactly the same manner that I would, using the same phrases and inflection. Sometimes it makes me feel like I'm watching a playback of myself.
"There's our baby girl!" "No Lydia, Josh had that first. You can't just take it out of his hands, give it back." "Boys, why don't you try to work it out on your own?" "I'll just get you a Joshee-amount of cereal. If you eat it all you can have seconds, okay?" "SHHHHHHHH!"
When she had her party I was a little apprehensive about having so many tween girls running all over the house causing giggly mayhem. Could I still be a cool mom while hovering over them to ensure they know and obey all the house rules? (keep your food at the table, wash up when you're done eating, we don't climb over the back of that couch, light sabers don't leave the bonus room, just stay out of the office altogether.) I decided in advance that the answer to that question was "nope", so I mentally prepared myself to just let it all go and enjoy the festivities.
I needn't have worried, for two reasons and I'll tell them to you. #1: there really wasn't any mayhem. The girls were giggle-heads to be sure, but they came for a party, right? #2: I forgot that Mom Jr. was working the beat. When only the first few guests had arrived Emma gave them a quick tour of the house. They dashed upstairs and a moment later I heard her calmly and cool-as-ever explain, "Hey guys, only two people are allowed on the top bunk at a time, okay?"

P.S. Last day to enter the giveaway. So far everyone's odds are very, very good. :^)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Happy belated Presidents' Day!

When he grows up, Josh either wants to be a scientist or president of the United States. Or maybe he could be both because you know, the President doesn't really do anything except for you know, give speeches and that stuff, he doesn't really work (or so he explained to us as we were admiring his school work).

[Translation: If I were president, I would give a speech. I would say... "We should have free-ness. Presidents keep the earth from coming apart." By Josh Cruze

Monday, February 15, 2010

Harry Potter Snitch T-Shirt Giveaway*

*and a faux pas.
In my excitement to share Emma's fun Harry Potter party I forgot to credit and link Cally for the golden snitch t-shirts, which I totally ripped off from her (with permission, of course). Sorry Cally.

But here's the good news: I made extras for the party just in case, and now I have a few leftovers that need a good home. So guess what?
I'm finally doing a giveaway! Up for grabs are three (not one, but three) golden snitch t-shirts. All are youth size large. Leave a comment for a chance to win by 11:59pm Thursday the 18th, and I'll announce the three winners Friday morning. Go fun!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Don't Pocrastinate

My new motto I am seriously trying to get into is, "Just do it now." Lately I have been in a really bad habit of putting things off. Little things, nothing important (usually). Like making a phone call or filing a stack of paid bills or writing down the bag-making-instructions I told Jessica I'd have for her directly after helping her make a bag...about three months ago. I keep a running to-do list in a small notebook and I am constantly rewriting these types of things on new pages as I go along so as not to forget them five pages back. I don't put these things off because they're unpleasant of difficult, I think it's just because my present self highly overestimates my future self.
Present Lori: "Hmm, this email requires a reply/something to be written on the calendar/serious thought. I'll just not delete it and later on when I have a little more time to concentrate on the task I'll very effectively and efficiently take care of it. Good old Future Lori, always comes through."
Future Lori: [has either forgotten about the task or says,] "Hmm, I'll make sure this email stays right here where Even Further in the Future Lori will remember and have the desire to reply to it/write on calendar its information/think about it."
Even Further in the Future Lori: "Oh dang, now it's too late embarrassing. Why didn't I just sacrifice the twelve seconds to take care of this email the first time I read it?"
And thus it goes. Bad Present Lori, bad! I have to go now, I just remembered something I need to just do. Now. Not later.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Harry Potter Birthday Party

Emma is a true lover of all things Harry Potter, so her birthday party theme was not even a real choice. As guests arrived at Hogwarts, brown paper bag lumieries directed them, "1st Years --->". (These didn't turn out as cool in real life as I'd imagined them...the letters weren't very clear. Oh well, they still provided ambiance.)

First the girls were sorted by drawing a house badge out of the sorting hat. We also announced that we were holding tryouts for a new Seeker, they would get the position if they could find the hidden snitch in the castle during the evening (they would also get to keep the snitch).

Two houses went to Divination first. Up in the bonus room they were invited to use their psychic gifts to determine how many Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans were in a jar. Then they took turns drawing from a bag of Harry Potter-related clues, which they tried to get the other girls to guess using their powers of divination--and a huge aqua-doodle mat (you know, Pictionary-style).

The other two houses started out in Transfiguration, where they used magic to transfigure a lump of playdoh into various Harry Potter-related objects.

After a time the two groups switched classes, then they all came together for Defense Against the Dark Arts. This was my favorite. Have you ever played that game States, where everyone sits in a circle and each person picks a state to be and one person is in the middle with a rolled up newspaper and tries to whack you before you can yell out someone elses state and they have to go try and get that person and if the person in the middle hits you with the newspaper they you're it? Well, they played that but with HP bad guys instead of states (Dementor, Bellatrix, Malfoy, Voldemort, etc) and we called the person in the middle the auror.

Once they were worn out from dashing around and laughing we came down to the Great Hall for Potions (adding koolaid mixes--labeled as dragon blood, phoenix tears and such--to their sprite), some snitch cake and opening gifts. (I'd seen candles like this before here.)

The girls each went home with a snitch t-shirt, and finally at the very end someone found the snitch under the dining room table. (Yea Mahaley!)

Many of the guests came dressed in wizardy attire which added to the fun. Emma was thoroughly satisfied with the whole evening, worth the wait from the snow the week before. I think I had as much fun as she did. Ben's birthday is eight months away, he's pretty sure he wants a Harry Potter party too. Maybe we should just leave the ceiling candles up?

Monday, February 8, 2010


Lydia and Afton enjoy an after-dinner game of "I'll Say Beep and Touch Your Nose Then You Grab My Finger and Try to Bite it While Everyone Laughs".
More high chair shots. This time eating cheerios one fine morning...and showing off those top teeth.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Valentine's Day t-shirts for the girls

Inspired by this cool quilt I came across via SMS and the plain white tees that I came across via a recent bag of hand-me-downs from Lisa.

(For Joel--Coming next week: Afton!)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

This is the reason none of the kids had clean socks on Monday

They had gone through them all three at a time over the weekend.

The good: a snowman as tall as Dad, a wicked-cool fort, sledding all over the neighborhood, hot chocolate, having the neighbor's dog chase snowballs, the stunning lack of having anything n particular to do besides hang out together.

The bad: Emma's birthday party was supposed to be Friday night. We decided to err on the side of caution and postpone it till the next weekend.

(Speaking of Emma, why isn't she in any photos? When she was outside I was inside with Afton. When she decided she was cold enough to come in, I put her in charge of Afton so I could run out and get some shots of the snow-creations. The result? No photos of Emma or Afton.)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I've been questioned a few times lately about posting. It goes something like this: How the heck do you have time to blog so many days in a row? [You know, not that I always do, but just on those occasions when I have happened to blog a lot.]
Let's make sure this point is very clear: I don't.
I usually just sit down when I'm in a good bloggy-mood and I've got sleeping-kids time to burn(maybe once a week or so) and write up a whole batch of posts and just schedule them all out so just one appears per day till I'm out of bloggy-material. It's more fun to read one a day than five in one day, don't you think?
The end of blogging about blogging.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Dress up queen

For the past couple of weeks Lydia cannot let a day go by without layering on skirt, after fairy wings, after princess dress, after leotard, after shin guards, etc, etc...
And then to beat all, yesterday she asked if I could help her put on this box.

Monday, February 1, 2010

New Valentine's Decor

We all know by now that Emma is a budding young artist. One of the things that she asked for and received for her birthday was a pile of blank canvases (thanks G&G!). Before the shrink wrap was off she had plans for half of them. I asked if she'd mind using one to paint me a Valentine's Day decoration. She happily obliged. I like it so much I may commission her for other holidays. Behold--her interpretation of "something valentiney": If I have time I'd like to add to our new hearty decor with this tutorial...but more likely it's just another project doomed to spend eternity in the purgatory bookmarked "Good Intentions."
We'll see.