Monthly Archives: May 2009

Amusing to me

21 May 2009
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The Porsche in the school drop off line ahead of me – a tiny little Porsche coupe, a two-seater I would have guessed. Until 3 (!) kids climbed out of the backseat. Their backpacks were in the front bonnet, naturally.

I have been trying to come up with second moment of amusement since then. The best I have is that I paid $15 for 4 seats (total not each) to see Miranda’s spring concert. The front row seats were in the silent auction earlier this year. We still arrived 30 minutes early to get parking.  25 children playing xylophones, drums and other percussive instruments is adorable.

ADDED, A THIRD: I went into the basement to get a soda with lunch. When I came upstairs, I overheard Henry telling my Mom that “Mom is a bad mom.” My mom turned away to not laugh. Why she asked?

“She doesn’t let me have soda with lunch. Or do whatever I want.”

My mom points out that would make me a good mom. He agrees, but I give him a drink of my soda anyway.

You are what you eat

19 May 2009
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At supper tonight (baked potatoes, chicken and broccoli with cheese), Miranda assessed her meal.

Miranda: Broccoli is a vegetable. Cheese? What is cheese?

Sarah: It comes from cows.

Grandma: You pull the cow’s tail up and down.

Miranda: So it comes out like poop?

Sarah: No.

Sarah: The milk gets made into cheese.

Miranda: So 1 dairy.

Miranda: Potatoes?

Rob: Starch

Grandma: Vegetable.

Sarah: Carbohydrate.

Miranda: So 2 vegetables and 1 dairy.

Sarah: And chicken.

Miranda: 2 vegetables, 1 dairy and 1 pou-try {poultry}

Sarah: 1 protein.

Miranda: OK. 2 vegetables. 1 dairy. 1 protein.

Rob: I had a Shakespearean sonnet for lunch to get my daily dose of poe-try.

8 months afire

13 May 2009
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Arabella is 8 months old. Wow. She is figuring out crawling. She can crawl (forward!) for really important things like a little girl’s purple rain boots, her stuffed giraffe, a piece of red lint, her pacifier, but not for mom. It is always better to crawl away from mom. It is more than a little scary to have mom leave that comfy spot behind her.

all smiley

all smiley

She has been red-faced off and on for the last few months. The pediatrician says all children get red rashes when they eat new fruits. It seems there is a fruit correlation, especially strawberries.

Bella has a beautiful smile. She has the cutest dimples.


crawling and smiling

Bella is a happy baby. When Henry walks into a room, she lights up. But even for the second tier – mom, papa, Miranda, Grandma, Grandpa – she always has a smile. She giggles when tickled. She wants to stand up all the time. She is pulling herself up in the couch (from the floor), her crib, my leg.

She also loves food. People food, not baby food purees. If you eat a pancake or turkey or mashed potatoes, she wants that. She is having a hard time with liquids. She still nurses – but if anyone else is in the room, it is too exciting. She is not a big fan of formula. A sippy cup is fun to shake upside down, but drinking? Not too much makes it inside her. And a bottle is just not cool. In the vein of people food, we have experimented with juice boxes and straws. If you squeeze the juice box, she swallows the juice. She hasn’t quite gotten the hang of sucking on the straw. Soon I hope. It is hard to find enough times in the day to nurse in a quiet, preferably darkened room.

I can get it!

I can get it!

Because I am bad at remembering things like this – our typical day goes like this:

wake up between 6:15 and 7:30. If she nursed 2x in the night, she is less hungry. If she only nurses 1x, she wakes up earlier and wants breakfast. I am trying to make sure we nurse before we go down to breakfast.

Play and watch the big kids until they go to school.

Between 9:30 and 10, she gets tired. if there are not exciting distractions, she nurses and naps.

Between 10:30 and 1, she wakes up and is ready to play. Climb. Eat lunch! Lots of lunch! She has not seemed to want to nurse here. But she does eat a hearty lunch.

Between 2 and 4, she usually wants another nap -which brings us to between 2:30 and 5, she wakes up.

5 – 5:30 Supper with the family.

After supper, she plays. Maybe papa is home. Or Grandpa watches her. A low key playtime.

Sometimes she naps from about 6:30 until 7:30. If she naps then, she’ll go to bed around 9. Without a nap, she is down around 8.

When I go to bed around 11-12,  she usually nurses again. If she does, she’s good until 5-6. If she doesn’t nurse, then she wakes up around 3 for a drink.

What else will I want to remember…she never goes away. Well, she does, but not routinely. She doesn’t take Miranda to school or Henry to preschool or pick him up. It is a pleasure to have grandparents in the house. She often comes grocery shopping or other shopping – but often is like 1-2 times week. She is not as social as Henry was at this age. She is perfectly smiley with anyone we meet, but her little fingernails dig into your arm as your hold her. She isn’t really happy to be passed around. She expresses her displeasure very clearly with a stuck out bottom lip. If you do not relent and return her to the safety of mom/grandma/her toy/the floor (or back up) she screams. She has a very loud scream.

She seems like the easiest baby in the world, but I think most of that is a function of the environment. 4 adults plus 2 children who are loving, caring and safe give her a pretty secure world. Am I suggesting she’s a recluse? No, she did fine in music class. And she likes other babies and people. They just might not want to pick her up without ample warm up time. But she isn’t mellow. Miranda was not mellow. But Miranda and I suffered from having only each other to cuddle for many many hours a week. Henry was mellow – it’s just a whole different kid.

The Marcus North Shore Ultrascreen

11 May 2009
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We saw Star Trek in the premium reserved seats at the Ultrascreen. Proof of the theory that coupons cost you money – we had Movie Cash for a free ticket (2 if we hadn’t let the first one expire, darn it). Because we had $12 off, it seemed OK to pop for the $16 seats. The experience was sweet and slick. I think I have been to live theatre with fewer ushers.

The premium reserved seats cost the price of the ultrascreen ($10.50, which is $1 over the regular screen price) plus $5.50 at the concession stand. I like eating at the concession stand and I usually buy popcorn and drinks, so this $11 premium was just shifting my spending from the concession stand to the ticket window. Little did we realize that there was an actual bar outside of the premium seats. And that the voucher worked there. So Rob missed out on beer! I missed out on beer! There is gold in them thar hills, friend, and we should collect it.

The premium reserved seats take up the top half of the seating area. Leather seats. Wide. Comfy. I actually had a slight railing obstruction in my view, but the screen/sound/view was  generally fabulous. The ad says tables, but really, all you’re guaranteed is an extra wide cup holder. Every 2 seats or so, they had a table. I was shocked to find the ultrascreen half empty at 10 pm on the opening weekend of Star Trek. We were intrigued by the pizza parlor at the front of the theatre – you could buy pizza and bring it to your reserved seats and enjoy beer during the movie. The two seat groupings have the loveseat option – you can raise the armrest and cuddle. With the extra heavy usher presence, I doubt you’ll do more than hold hands, but maybe not. But if you choose the loveseats, then you share the table, potentially, with the next couple. I think that makes the tables less useful in full theatres, but maybe the world is better at sharing than I perceive.

The seat picking process could be improved. The woman who sold us our seats was friendly and eager, but she found it hard to explain the seating arrangement. I think a nice full color laminated seat map – with the seat groupings and tables marked – would help immensely. There were half a dozen kiosks in the area where you would wait to buy tickets if there were a line. I will try that next time – I hope the interface looks better than the one the ticket seller had. Her screen was cramped and hard to read.

When the next Harry Potter comes out, I want to sit in the assigned premium seats. If that comes out in 2 months, perhaps I better buy them soon? The seats were spacious – you could walk in front of someone without making them move. Score! If the theatre can make the waiting process go smoothly, it will be my best blockbuster movie visit yet.

Star Trek

10 May 2009
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About 16 minutes before the end of the new Star Trek movie, the prequel to the original series, I realized that the writers weren’t going to tie up the interesting space time alteration they created. And if you are a Star Trek fan and you haven’t seen the new movie, I would consider this a SPOILER. But nary a review of this movie has mentioned spoilers at all. So SPOILER: the new movie is not a prequel in any way that I would consider a prequel. I wondered how they could tell a back story about characters we’ve watched, loved, hated, analyzed for 40 years and still tell a story. How it could be new and different and yet still get us to the beginning of the original series?

The answer? They don’t. They are starting over. Instead of the life James Kirk lived that led him to Starfleet, the original series, the Enterprise, the movies…Kirk led a different life. Starting at the moment of his birth, when his father was killed by what turned out to be an Romulan from the future. And so, this prequel is actually an alternate reality. The filmmakers get to tell the story all over.

As for a movie review, the movie was everything the Onion promised, watchable, funny, exciting. My flaw my be literalism, but I spent most of the movie trying to figure out the puzzle of how they get this batch of familiar cadets onto the path that leads to the original series. I wondered how many movies they could squeeze in before they got to William Shatner’s Kirk. I am a little vague on the chronology of Star Trek. I suggested to Rob we  find a Trek fan to help us fill in the gaps. And SPOILER alert, when Spock’s mother doesn’t get beamed off of Vulcan, and then the planet itself gets destroyed, I realized we weren’t in the same playbook. Maybe not even the same universe. I may be a fast and loose Trek fan – no Klingon boggle in my future –  but I always liked Spock’s mother and I knew she had been a presence in Spock’s life.

There was something profound about the idea of constancy of personality and character. Kirk, Spock, Bones, Uhura, Chekov, Sulu, Scottie – we know them, love them, care for them. And it doesn’t seem that they’ve had the same life events, but it was them. And while considering the nurture v. nature, genes v. environment debate as generally complex, I am fascinated to see that personality is so resilient in the Star Trek universe.  If Rob were to read this over my shoulder he would point out that Kirk may have essence, but the storytellers were hinting at a whole new Spock. Spock and Uhura kissing was a shift in a new direction. If he was confounded by human behavior in the original, in alternate reality, he is having a much harder time sticking to logical Vulcan.

The skeptic in me says that if we didn’t know and love the logical, cold original Spock, the emotional new Spock would be much less interesting.

I don’t know if the movie reviewers don’t care that this new Star Trek movie is not a prequel but a do-over or if the reviewers don’t know or like Start Trek enough to feel the discontinuity. Up until that last 16 minutes, I still thought they might close the loophole in time and go back to the original timeline. Kirk’s dad wouldn’t die, Vulcan wouldn’t be destroyed, Spock’s mom would live. And that would be OK. It was mind bending to think that the story starts again. I can imagine a new series where they redo the original episodes – can you imagine the Trouble with Tribbles with modern CGI?

So if you like Star Trek, see the movie. We saw it on the UltraScreen. That was pretty cool. (See my next unsolicited review on the ultrascreen). If you aren’t a Star Trek fan, I think the movie will still be entertaining. Go see it. It will its sequels more interesting.

Skip to my lou

10 May 2009
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On the 1st, Ron, Miranda, Henry and I went to Miller Park to watch the Brewers try and fail to beat the Diamondbacks. On our way in, we met the Racing Sausages. Woot!







Hot Dog!

Hot Dog!




Hello! you are my sunshine

7 May 2009
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Hello! It was a beautiful day in Wisconsin. I saw 79 degrees on a bank sign. Warm, sunny, blue skies. The budding trees are popping so vividly around me that my sinuses hurt. Even though my allergies seems well controlled by the Costco Aller-Clear I am taking daily, just seeing the buds and blooms makes me wince. When it isn’t making me smile. It is gorgeous out.

Hello! In winter, especially that past two brutal winters with the excess snow and cold and misery, I wonder, why do we live here? And in this pitch-perfect spring weather, I was left thinking, is this why we live here? And as much as I like it, I have had to realize that the weather doesn’t have very much to do with where I live. Darn.

Hello! But I am enjoying this weather and I have observed it closely as we’re still grounded. Wednesday, Miranda came home from school and took a nap. I don’t think she’s napped after school since, hmmm, 3 year old kindergarten? Maybe 4 year old, but only when she was sick. She had a 102 degree fever that came down nicely with Advil or Tylenol.  NB: a new way to feel old, cut adult-sized pills into appropriate-sized doses for your 7 year old. And have her swallow them. So Miranda stayed home from school today. She was quiet. The pediatrician’s advice was to keep her home as long as she is feverish. He doesn’t think she has swine flu – rather we are lucky enough to have our own virus sweeping the area. She won’t go to school tomorrow. I hope she recovers for Monday.

Hello! Is Miranda has the bug Henry had, which may be too much coincidence for anything but a poorly plotted mystery novel, that I think she’ll feel better tomorrow. But he slept it off. And I don’t think her couch surfing is nearly as curative.

Hello! In other news, my grandmother finally got to go home from the hospital. They kept her an extra day and that was odd. We are all looking forward to not being terrified.

Hello! Arabella has enjoyed the extra brotherly and sisterly love time this week. I think she will try to give up her day naps during the summer. She will then sleep all of September and we’ll be shocked. She gets tired but the smile never leaves her face. She could watch Henry for hours. She can crawl, in a  way. She will maneuver herself on her hands and knees up to 3 steps away. But she doesn’t quite know how she did it. She would very much like to repeat it.

Hello? Are you thinking, what on earth? Yes, me too. Henry has started nearly every declarative sentence for the past 2 days with Hello?!?  It is weird. I was thinking of it today as a cross between Joe Pesci – very often it is “Hello! Let me talk, guys!” – and Yakov Smirnoff, unsure of his grammar and diction. His excessive use of guys means I better steer  him toward non-food-service jobs or else he will be that waiter whom old people hate,a lwasy saying :what would you guys like?” Of course, the old people who hate that will be 120 by the time Henry waits on tables, so who knows. Maybe the Baby Boomers will find it more endearing. “Hello!”

sick day

5 May 2009

Henry slept all day yesterday. He woke up briefly to eat, he  took a  walk with me outside, he woke up to enjoy being put to bed. Today he is fine, I think. The antibiotics for his sinus infection are back in action. Phew.

Miranda with “the worst headache of her entire life.” When she added her teeth hurt, I was sure she had Sinus Infection, the sequel. And so we headed to the pediatrician’s office. And while he agreed that her symptoms sounded owl-y, she wasn’t quite infectious. And so she had a strep throat swab as a precaution. And we’re back to watchful waiting. Since she decided roughly 30 minutes before we went to the doctor’s office that she wasn’t really sick, that outcome seems fair. But she had a malaise that surpassed lazy summer day TV watching. And she was sleep walking the night before. So I will upgrade her to well, with caution.

I know the swine flu has provoked an abundance of caution, but it feels self-fulfilling. Miranda might be sick. I let her stay home. Multiplied over a school and it starts looking like there is an outbreak. When really, there is just caution. I hope. I am still nervous, in that “I know it is irrational” way.

The trees are spreading pollen everywhere I look. My allergies feel on the cusp of being bad. I am torn between wanting to nap during the day and not wanting to give in, because once I give in I might as well cancel my plans for the next week.

* * *

We had our scary phone call of the month…maybe we can shoot for year, if you are listening O Universe? My grandfather took my grandmother to the hospital for feeling weird. And slurring her words. And not feeling right. And at 83, you just go with these feelings. But the call was that she was admitted to the ICU. Her blood pressure was really really high. And they wanted to scan various parts of her to see if anything was amiss. 24 hours later, I can say, the tests seems normal, all systems go. I can let go of that breath I was holding. My mom visited today. She is supposed to go home tomorrow. She is on a new blood pressure pill. And we’re at hopeful, watchful waiting that she’ll stay fine.

Hospital have changed for better in recent years. My grandfather got to stay overnight in her ICU room. She had unlimited visitors without hourly restrictions. I still remember waiting in the statue-clad lobby of St Vincent’s when my grandfather went in for something. My mom and dad could see him, but we kids were forbidden. It was such an unfair feeling, to be denied access when someone is so near. I can only hope we don’t get to explore more of those policies, procedures and rules anytime soon.

have I forgotten your birthday?

3 May 2009
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Many apologies. My mind is a sieve with really big holes. Maybe more like a colander.  If I am confessing, I might add: leaving Henry’s antibiotic in my grandparents’ refrigerator. This was worry my grandmother. I also forgot to give Henry the antibiotic.

A small redeeming point to this story (and why the next sentence was not, it was a long a tiring drive back to Green Bay and home) is that the antibiotic came in 3 bottles. And he is taking it for 2 weeks. So it might work out.

I had made a little vow to myself to post every day with May. Ha! Not even 2 days in a row. At least it was not a public vow.

We attended a lovely wedding on Saturday. The wedding was nearly archetypal for a family wedding in my extended family. Catholic ceremony – Miranda made her 2nd Communion. She was delighted.  There was dancing and family style chicken. The bride and groom were sweet together and I wish them every happiness. We achieved about half the family dancing (which is higher than normal), resisted making toasts or fools of ourselves, and thoroughly exhausted the children. Miranda was determined to dance the Chicken Dance. Henry gave up about 5 minutes before it was played – he laid down on 3 chairs on the side of the dance floor and watched us squawk, flap and squat with sleepy eyes.

Henry starts T-ball tomorrow. Miranda can bring family to music class on Tuesday. Henry has his mother’s day show at preschool on Wednesday. And there is a half day of school on Friday.  I may have to resort to writing on my hand to make it everywhere.

Closer to Wrigley Field than I’ve been in years

1 May 2009
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We headed to the Brewers game tonight. Swine flu fears be damned, the place was sold out. 42,000+ people watched the Brewers lose lose lose. And it wasn’t the losing that made me think of the Cubs. The crowd was 20-somethings, drunk and overly dressed in Brewers gear. They were polite drunks for the most part. The wave was started by two enthusiastic guys, but by 3 sections over, the crowd was too cool to raise their arms. There were a lot of kids running around. Kids as in 22 year olds and kids as in 7 year olds. We only brought 2. The “5 County 5 game” promotion increased the number of families, I would assume. Half price seats means that it is easier to bring twice as many kids, right?  These are 5 days to make up for the 360 days in which every taxable good costs more to pay for Miller Park. Despite saving $56 over our 4 seats, I am not convinced I came out ahead. And I am not even opposed to taxes as a political, theoretical or rational position.

The game was a tough one. The sort of plays that make baseball hard for me to enjoy. Bernie Brewer did not slide to celebrate home runs. Henry and I missed the Diamondbacks spectacular half inning, and it frustrates me to have all of the action compressed into 10 minutes. And we lost.

I think I would have enjoyed the game more if the concessions were better marked or more evenly distributed. We had to walk forever far away to find nachos and cotton candy. And we couldn’t find soft pretzels, despite seeing people in the crowd eating them. I suppose the marketing and placement of food matters less when your crowd is drinking. It still irked me and I think I drove a nice woman at the closest concession stand crazy by approaching her stand 3 times to ask for food she didn’t sell.

After the game, as we sat in the parking lot and inched our way onto 94, Miranda thought we should rank the evening high, middle or low. On a scale of 3, Rob and I chose high. Miranda and Henry chose middle. The game felt long and all the cotton candy Mom can buy won’t fix that.