Sunday, July 31, 2011

Kidding around

In a shocking development, they scheduled school to start in just 2 weeks. Why? When? How? Whaaa...? Good thing I actually checked the calendar. It is not outside the realm of possibility that I'd continue on my merry way until someone called looking for my child.  Or I could have arrived at summer camp one morning and wondered why no one was there to care for son.  I am an excellent planner.  

Last Monday (yes, am behind - I have about 4 posts in the queue), I took a day off and we went to Grant's Farm courtesy of the ever-awesome-can't-say-enough-good-things-please-just-sign-a-contract!-jeez!-please,please don't-leave-us! Pujols Foundation

Matt came here all the time as a kid...
(sorry, that was WAY funnier in my head).   
Here he is trying to convince our son how much fun rooting hoofed beasts are. 
My son, wisely, wanted no part of it.

Life saving, day saving mister.  It was hot then, it's hot now...blah, blah, blah

Just out of sight to the left:  FREE sno-cones.
Awesomeness in a cup. 
Also awesome?  Unlimited carousal rides.  My son, the danger magnet, still loves these.  How sweet is this kid?

Photo of our proudest moment (clearly NOT my camera focusing skills):  Mr. Pujols himself was sitting 10' behind me when I (tried to) take this picture.  Did my husband wig out and embarrass himself?  He did not. 

We both spent a few years in a LA and have more than a couple star sightings under our belts - yawn, right?  Plus we're too old to be wigging out.  Though Matt was under the same roof with various A-listers once or twice and is happy to tell you about it in e.x.c.r.u.t.i.a.t.i.n.g detail if you meet him in person.  I have heard the stories already (perhaps more than once?) so I'll be off scrubbing the grout or something.  But this particular star sighting?  Top of my list.  I was even tempted to ask for a picture (that's what blogging does to you - you'll do anything for a post) but he was with his kids and two uniformed security peeps so I restrained myself. 

A big thanks to the Pujols family for a fun day.
[Also? Bonus summer list item done!]

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Dog Days of Summer

I was going to tell you about our fun Monday, complete with photos, but the dogs decided to roll around in something dead tonight.  Did I mention we have 3 dogs?  One would have been bad enough, but three beasts rushing inside for dinner reeking of hot dog and eau de rotting rabbit was gag inducing.  Nothing says I'm a boundary-less pet lover like washing all three dogs at 10pm in my PJs.  My neighbors must love me. 

[Last summer I noticed there were a bunch of spiders on the exposed foundation at night and, having a paranoia of brown recluses, having in short order heard about a co-worker's second massive oozing recluse bite and also hearing about a local lady who died after putting on the sweater one was napping in, and being concerned about my son playing in the basement, I decided I needed to take a picture so I could identify them.  After experimenting a bit, it turned out the macro setting worked best.  So next time you see your neighbor taking close ups of her wall at 11pm, quite possibly in her PJs, just remember there might have been a completely logical chain of thought leading up to that moment.]

This reminds me I never wrote about my dog, Max.  I will soon - though it's one of those sad dog stories, because he didn't live forever.  Max had a fetish for stuffed animals and live skunks.  He was too proud to fetch balls but would gather all the stuffed animals he could find into a big pile and then lay down to rest nearby.  He never ripped a seam.  I found him in a shelter, though we later decided he was mostly Belgian Shepherd.  And, as all good sheepdogs, Max was happiest when his people were sitting in a circle - he would sit slightly outside, facing away from us, watching for stray wolves and schnauzers.

We lived in a condo in LA with him and, absent yard, Matt & I would take him on long rambling strolls through the neighborhood.  Late one night, when Matt was off somewhere, I was going to take him out for a 3 minute 'last call'.  Except there was a full moon and the weather (*cough*  - unlike here) was gorgeous.  So we ventured off along one of our many paths, this one edging a bit of open hillside.  He suddenly lunged for something and was whipping whatever it was back and forth in his jaws.  My first thought, for a blissful half second, was that it must be a rabbit.  Then a wave of skunk hit me.  I was so close the spray was wet - and he hadn't yet let go.  I had to wade in and grab his neck for him to release.  No, it was WAY worse than you think - though due to humankind's amazing ability to adapt to almost unimaginable horrors, I eventually stopped retching.  To his credit (unlike my current menagerie) the smell was even too much for my poor pup (whose fur was ALSO wet) and he stopped at every slip of grass on the way home, trying to wipe it off. 

I left him in the garage and went to the grocery store to buy tomato juice at 1am.  WHY anyone else had to be in the store at that moment is beyond me, and not only other shoppers, but other shoppers who had to finish at the exact same moment I did and get in line behind me and my 15 gallons of tomato juice.  And not only other shoppers with bad timing, but other young attractive prom king-queen type shoppers.  Who politely stood in line for one...two... three... seconds before I FELT them look at each other and "suddenly remember the pickles".   Equal parts mortification and hilarity.

This would be life lesson #136:  don't get in line behind the gal in yoga pants buying 15 gallons of tomato juice at 1am.  Chances are she's not making Bloody Marys.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Photo for Gigi

(Taken by my SIL)

A photo so the rest of y'all feel sorry for me.
Sorry it's sideways.
And, yes, I was stopped at a light, thankyouverymuch.
For the record, this was taken after driving home on the hwy.
So in theory, it's more or less accurate.

THIS is what it reads when I first get in:
(Taken a few days ago, with my not-an-iphone phone)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Here Be Dragons

Well, I think we've all had enough angry ranting for a while, n'est pas? 

How about a semi-surprise visit from my dad, who was working in Nebraska and popped in (after an 8 hour drive) for the weekend?  Did I get a picture of him with his grandchildren, to save for all time?  I did not!  But we did go to the City Museum... which, if you are within 10 12 24 hours driving distance of St. Louis, you MUST visit - before the Arch, before the riverboats, and even before the brewery (especially before the brewery!  Because after going, you'll want to sit quietly and nurse a drink or two).  This place is like M.C. Escher meets Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome meets Walt Disney on mushrooms. 

There are caves and tunnels and tubes, many only big enough for a 6 year old, with lizards and faces carved into them, which then melt into Escher-like stairs, which eventually lead up to a 10 story tall slide. 

This one leads from the 2nd story to the 3rd. 

It tunnels into this ball & all of it is open aalllll the way to the first floor below.
What? Me? Anxious?  

Near the giant hamster wheel (Oh yes I did!  Fortunately this was not documented for all time) is a room with a 76 foot long pencil, a rope swing, and perfect toddler sized slides for the little ones to use, while the older kids explore the massive dark maze underneath even more slides.  If you get to the far edge of the maze without breaking into a full scale claustrophobic meltdown, there's a crawl space, barely big enough for a 6 year old (but certainly NOT his mom) where you can watch the feet of the people eating pizza next door. 
I swear my voice doesn't sound like that in real life!

Outside, there are two planes, a fire truck, and a school bus suspended in air to which you climb (if it's not 100 degrees out and if you don't suffer from vertigo) thru (presumably reinforced) chicken wire tunnels.  And there are trees made of railroad spikes, with branches that turn into dragons' heads, and tractors, for sitting. 

On the roof, which we admittedly skipped this time (note: 100 degrees), there is a ferris wheel (note: you are 10 stories up already. note: aforementioned vertigo), a giant preying mantis, and another school bus half suspended over the sidewalk 10 stories down.  And a pair of giant hippos watching the city.

There are also exhibit rooms with crazy cool stuff like wasp nests and snakes in formaldehyde.  And architectural salvage, including more dragons.  My pictures do not do it justice.  The official ones (including the suspended airplanes!) are here

Oh!  And I forgot to mention the ball pits.
My kids are in there somewhere
This is the sign for "What the Hell, Mom?"
Oh!  And I forgot to mention the tile (I loooovvve tile).  This is the FLOOR:

Oh!  And I forgot to mention all the rebar, and steel, and recycled random bits.  This is a column, covered in gears, with I think what must be marbles in the center. 

Rebar!  And giant chain!

Pliers, reversed?  And, um, other industrial thingies?

Heck, I forgot about 8000 other things.  The place is a DELIGHT though.  Does living here close by make up for the 100 degree humid hell we're living in?  Ummmm... Almost.  Ask me again in a couple weeks after it cools off.

[And in case anyone is wondering, why yes it IS possible to lose your child within.  Hypothetically, of course. *I* wouldn't know anything about that.  But the nice employees are hypothetically quite helpful if you need assistance finding my your child.]

We did more fun stuff today too - pictures forthcoming!

Bonus video:
She went up & down & up & down these slides at least 672 times.  I finally remembered to shoot some video about 30 minutes in... you can see her running off at the end, FINALLY ready to move on.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ups and Down(s)

This is more a jumbled mix of events then a cohesive train of thought, and I don't think we're going to land anywhere satisfying, but maybe if I put it to it all to screen someone can pat me on the head nicely, at the end, and tell me it'll all be ok. 
We have three appointments for my girl scheduled over the next string of Fridays:  post-op check up with the eye doctor, her first dentist appointment ever, and her three year check up where we'll get a slip for a neck Xray, and more labs to check her thyroid, white blood cells, and a couple other things I can't recall at the moment but googling "blood test down syndrome" sends us down a dark rabbit hole.  And, after listening to her stop breathing for several achingly long seconds the other morning, I'm also going to ask for a sleep study.  And maybe a real hearing test, though I suspect that is more willful toddler-ism than hearing loss, because the girl can hear the fridge open, the dogs' water dish get filled, and her daddy's voice on the answering machine even when she's upstairs and/or otherwise occupied.  [She cannot, oddly, hear me tell her to get down off the fireplace or to not dump said dog bowl.]  At my son's first dentist appointment (at much less than 3 but, among other things, DS caused delayed dentition), they counted his teeth, gave him a toy and a sugar-free lollipop, and sent him on his way. For my daughter's first dentist appointment I have to call her cardiologist for an antibiotic to prevent endocarditis. We will need to do this for every dental appointment, ever, for the rest of her life.

Calling to get that script made me profoundly sad, even if only briefly.  Just one more thing that’s now woven into our lives.  Just as the $1500 in medical bills languishing in our bill box is.  And we're only half way thru her annual out of pocket.  Yeah.

Then there was this bit on NPR about a new in utero procedure to correct spina bifida.  In the audio version, they noted that back in the day, when spina bifida was diagnosed, moms had the choice of termination or delivering a child with what would be probable special needs.  Now they operate on a six inch long fetus.  I found myself crying while I listened - if only it were that simple


That same week, Alison blogged about reading the comments on an article about the aforementioned New! and Safe! blood test for Down Syndrome.  In my esteemed opinion, reading the comments on ANY news article is an exercise in feeling smarter and saner than the average nut job [commenters on the news being quite distinct from those of my lovable gracious readers], but the people here were exceptionally vicious.  Or maybe I just make a point of not reading them normally.  Particularly galling was this guy who, just to make it cut deeper, managed to write in complete sentences and used "preempt" appropriately (though appears unclear on “release” versus “realize”):

Anyone who claims that their child’s mental or severe physical handicap somehow brings love or inspiration into the world are simply in denial about the negative impact on everyone involved. Back in the day these sorts of children would simply be allowed to die. Medical science then stepped in to prevent that unfortunate fate, but any parent who make excuses about how the born-disabled are so important and special fails to release that after they themselves die a child that cannot take care of him or herself will be a burden on someone (either family or the state) and will more likely than not to have a poor quality of life. Since Medical Science has allowed for these children to actually grow to adulthood, it would be no less unnatural to allow science to preempt the problem completely.

On one hand this is easily dismissed as just one random guy who can't get laid and whose mother didn't give him enough hugs.  But he's not alone.  There are thousands of more comments out there just like it, and probably even more people who believe it, even if they wouldn't express it.  It's hardly worth addressing exactly how wrong they are - especially in this space, read by my daughter's family & friends, & similar parents who are busy loving their little inspirations and don't have time to leave troll-like comments advocating passive infanticide.  I started to, in the role of mommy-advocate, but the process infuriated me.

My discomfort with this piece of garden art from earlier this month was because I suspect Random Commenter & his kind most likely interpret this much differently than I do.  I suspect he quantifies "legitimate reason" as income, job title, or number of patents filed.  Family, friends, Sunday brunch, smooshy hugs, and playing in the kiddie pool while blowing bubbles probably isn't reason enough to justify a life.


Then of course, this week we had GQ weighing in on Bostonian's fashion sense, writing they suffer "from a kind of Style Down Syndrome, where a little extra ends up ruining everything".  This was well covered in the blogosphere so this is for my family:  read Dr Brian Skoto's response here, and I’m also going to link to Anna's post with explanation, and who also awesomely posted her own funny-pants photo, and to Cate who had the best line - "My kid isn't a cheap punch line". (Which I think I’m going to steal for use during my next office lunch).  I bravely ventured into the comments of the (now revised) GQ article and saw a lot of griping about overly sensitive speech police.  No, bastards, we're just don't think our kids are ruined.  Or punchlines.

I feel zero compulsion to qualify my life but I sometimes wonder if by mentioning our $1500 in medical bills, how much we're paying in life insurance so my daughter won't be a "burden", or my daughter's speech delays, if I might not be contributing to the perception of a "problem".  Maybe I should present thrice-weekly photo-shopped catalogue spreads instead, to sell the up-side harder.  I joke about rainbows & unicorns but I kind of assume y'all know I'm joking, given my normal morose tendencies.  We live in the real world, not in an afterschool movie.  Raising any child is hard - the need to feed and clothe them and make sure they are minded, schooled, entertained, encouraged and grow up not to be sociopaths who leave troll-like comments online is a "burden".  They suck money, time, sleep, and they leave stretch marks and cesarean scars.  My daughter's delays don't bring me love and inspiration, MY DAUGHTER does.  Both my children do.  That we do a little extra for her is natural - we do a little extra for my son too, in different ways.  I would chew off my own arm for either of them.  It's puzzling how few get that.  It's infuriating that I would have to defend it. 

On a brighter note, my adopted home state (gawd, I never thought I'd say that!) just took the nice step of cleaning up their language and will remove the "R___" word from officialdom.

Also, courtesy of Love That Max, not 30 minutes ago, came this (speaking of catalogues):
As if we needed another reason to love Nordy's

In the interest of not making my head explode I'm going to ignore the first part of her post with the potato reference. 
Well, I guess I won't...
People suck.

Monday, July 18, 2011

(Belated) July Birthdays

Little sis: Tall, blond,
biker, (to be) PhD.
What's not to love?  (Horns!)

Dearest Em' - so glad
you married my bro!  My kids
and I adore you  

Ten years old?!  How can
that be? So wise, already.
 So much more to come!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sabotage! and Schedules

This week has just kicked me in the rear.  I started this post last night and gave up after rewriting the same paragraph for the 3rd time.  No particular reason, I just felt like a bug squished on a dirty windshield.  I have a long post that I've been wanting to write all week but I couldn't pull it together and now only have a little time before my niece's birthday - so y'all're getting more smorgasbord.  [Is this why people tweet?  Consider these long trial tweets.  I knew I'd get sucked in eventually.  Who wants to bet I'll be on facebook by Christmas?]

~~~ My brother & the rest of the family finally came back from their wildly long exotic sailing trip.  I didn't mention they were gone because I didn't want my internet addiction to be blamed if their homes were robbed*, but it's been terribly quiet these last few weeks.  My brother & I either have similar work tempos or the same level of ADD because we email.  A LOT.  Instead, I sent out sad little missives to random other people who didn't think I was nearly as funny as he does and who don't think emailing back & forth 37x a day is normal.  This bit, of course, is in no way intended to guilt him into getting thru the 400+ emails he mentioned so he can start entertaining me at work again.
     *Except they were anyway.  Maybe not so much "robbed", as shenanigans with the cat sitter who crashed my baby sister's car, but drama nonetheless.  And she gave him the keys, which was an allegedly questionable call.  And her insurance carrier just offered her twice what she paid for the thing.  And there's that whole "exotic sailing trip" thing.  So you have my permission not to feel sorry for her.  (Sorry, C!)

~~~ In the last nine days, I managed to miss my niece's, my sister's, AND my sister in law's birthdays because I am a terrible, terrible person.  We mailed my son's lovingly crafted cards (Ha! Though those were late too, natch) but I forgot to call on the actual days thereof.  It was made tragic when I emailed the family a not-at-all subtle hint thereabouts, perhaps even on of one of their actual birthdays, about my daughter's desperate need for more Signing Time DVDs, in celebration of the 3rd anniversary of HER arrival into this world.  Except that auspicious day is weeks away.  Nice.  They will be getting their very own birthday posts & haikus forthwith.  Happy Belated Birthday Everyone!

~~~ I'm now convinced Matt is trying to sabotage my blogging career.  After trying to make my laptop die faster, he did finally get it running again (and I'll concede it was zippier) but his Dexter-like tendencies got the better of him and on Wednesday he dumped a glass of chardonnay on it.  We now have a new no drinking and (hard-)driving rule.  It dried for two days and he swears it'll work just fine - as soon as we hook up the spare monitor and order a new keypad.  I wanted to keep the current one as it smells like butter (with hints of citrus and pear) but its little circuits seem to have fermented.  Also, the whole point of a laptop is that it's portable - usb cables and separate screens remind me of work.  The laptop lets me kick back in bed with pillows and a glass of win...  oh. 

~~~ And last, as much fun as continuously complaining about my lack of sleep & funky running times would be, I'm going to try a Brand New Schedule.  I even wrote it out (what can I say? I'm a geek visual learner).  I've been staying up later & later (& getting to work later & later) and my TV watching had skyrocketed because I'd be wide awake after running at 10pm and trying to wind back down.  I just gave away all my books in January because I didn't have time to read anymore - yet I've recently found myself at 12:30 in the morning on my third House*.  T.R.A.I.N. W.R.E.C.K.   We'll see how this works - stay tuned for another thrilling edition of Suburban Working Mom Trying to Do It All!
     *In the theme of always being late to the party, WHY didn't I start watching this sooner?  I love-love-love the one offs.  The random statistically impossible events which make me tick are the entire theme of the show!  Actually I do know why...  I have my very own brilliant-yet-difficult people in my life (hi dad!) and the first show I watched, when I initially decided (wrongly) that I didn't like it, just came up in repeats, and it involved a pregnant woman and sick baby.  Blech. That one was deleted.  But the rest?  Fun!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

He heard it in a song, he says

My 6 year old:  Mommy, was does BFG mean?
Me:  You mean BFD?  It means...wait... what?

He also tells me that he never remembers coming into our room in the middle of the night.  He says he must float in on a cloud. 

And just this past weekend my girl started to nod her head 'yes' and 'no', appropriately.  Very deliberately and emphatically.  I never realized she didn't do this, till she started.  Such a little thing, and yet so proud. 

That is all. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A new look, A new plan

We have a new header!  [One of the fireworks from July 4th - though pleasingly grassy].  And the orange from 1973 is gone!  Whoo-hoo.  We're trying a post-modern all-white look and will see what my brother, the design snob, has to say about it.  Google also demanded $5 from me as I've apparently exceeded my free photo storage space so I've now officially bought in to this blogging business.  Too late to get out now!   

Though I can't use all my exciting new space yet - forgot to pick up new camera batteries (again). 

This afternoon I set up the kiddie pool with the old Tyco slide in the backyard with thoughts of languishing under the umbrella with a beer and a book while the kids played, but I ended up playing catch and blowing bubbles for them instead.  I don't think my boy could've been happier, having mommy's full undivided attention.  My girl was just laughing and laughing and kept going down the slide (more or less) unassisted.  Tragically there are no photos of this but it was idyllic.  I really, really, really should do things like this with them more often.

And with that goal in mind, and to prevent the summer weekends from drifting past in a haze of parental laziness and inertia, and shamelessly inspired by this post, we made a list of things we were going to do the rest of the summer:
  ~camp in the backyard
  ~go to the science center
  ~and the transportation museum
  ~and the zoo
  ~and the city museum
  ~catch fireflies
  ~visit the giant bottle of ketchup reported to be in the vicinity
  ~actually use the sidewalk chalk we've owned for at least two eons
  ~go on a bike ride
  ~make rice krispie treats
  ~play in the kiddie pool in the backyard

I'll leave it to you to figure out who added what to the list.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


On Tuesday, before Auntie M left, we went to the Botanical Gardens.  Since there have been lots of other professional photos of flowers and garden trips on line lately (*cough*), I'll spare you my cheap camera/amateur attempts. 

Ah, hell - why not?  Here's one:

But more important are these two.  How do we feel about dressing twins in matching clothes? 

Matt, contemplating where these nice ladies could go in our backyard:

General running around, despite the heat

Want.  Along my fence.  Maybe some grape vines too. 
That would require actual gardening though. Huh.

The always fabulous Auntie M:

I love going when the lilies are in bloom - many have faintly scandalous sounding names:

We went back to the gardens again last night for a members-only picnic and music-thingy. 
Beautiful late afternoon light?  Check. 
Industrial sized bubble machine?  Check. 
Happy children?  Check. 
Extra camera batteries? 
Extra camera batteries?

Before the camera died:

At one point my girl needed a diaper change so I was standing in the very crowded, very humid bathroom with a stinky child and 40# of gear, while waiting a questionably long time for the large stall to open up to use the diaper changing table therein.  That is the moment that a mom approached me and told me her 13 year old son had DS too.  And, bonus, we're in the same school district, which she loved.  Nice!  I'll admit I would have preferred she'd said hello while we were lolling about picturesquely on our blanket 10 minutes earlier, but I'm not complaining.  

The whole thing was also funny because I had not that very morning made a comment on Becca's blog that in a perfect world these interactions would not be so noteworthy, because those with disabilities would be as much a part of "mainstream" society (forgive the term) as various races/ethnicities/sexual persuasions are now (as compared to 60 years ago).  But it's not a perfect world - so I'm make note.  Because it's just fun to find "like".   

I also saw this at the gardens but this post is long enough, and I haven't decided what to say about it yet:

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Little Monkey

Last week my girl and I were singing when she very clearly signed 'tree' and then 'leaf'.  Mother of the year, I had no idea what she wanted & couldn't think of any tree songs she might've picked up at school.  She kept signing them over & over and got increasingly pouty when my guesses fell short.  I'll admit I was wondering a bit - other than in Signing Times, landscaping items don't come up too often in our daily conversations (as anyone can see from my backyard).  What else could she be signing?  On Friday her teachers ran through a couple options and suggested the monkey song.  She looked SO relieved and happy when I asked if that was the tree song.  Jeez, mom, try to keep up!

My monkeys were always jumping on the bed but I guess this is the school of realpolitik:
5 little monkeys, swinging in the tree
Teasing Mr. Crocodile, "Can't catch me!"
Along comes Mr. Crocodile, quiet as can be, and
Snatches! that monkey right out of that tree!
4 little monkeys...

Did anyone else notice there are no LEAVES in this song?  I don't know if they covered this at school, but that is a huge leap, understanding that leaves & trees are part of the same thing. 

Her signing is taking off... she's recently picked up pig, frog (which admittedly looks a lot like 'pig'), bear, mouse, bird, hot, cracker (the last just now because we hardly ever had any in the house-but she learned immediately & with great enthusiasm once given a graham cracker the opportunity), socks, ape (but, oddly, not monkey), and she's pointing to a whole bunch of new body parts.  I still haven't figured out a name sign for her brother though.  I know there is a lot of protocol & sensitivity around the name sign issue but I've exhausted my available resources - Google, Julia, and Matt's one cousin who I've met twice and who hopefully just didn't know who I was so ignored me, or who I heartily offended with my presumptive demanding email.  But she needs to call her brother something and is nowhere near finger spelling yet.  We've been playing around with it a bit but nothing's clicked - in case anyone asks, however, it will be an "adaptive sign" (only).  Tricky business.

Pictures from our singing signing session Tuesday morning:
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

MORE songs!

Bonus Mommy Love Picture

Frog?  Pig?  Frig?  Prog?
Old MacDonald, as a Mad Scientist

Bear, adapted.
Or:  Old MacDonald's Farm expands into zoo animals.
Keeping time! 
(Actually I have no idea, but it looks snappy!) 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Speaking of first world problems and lack of sleep... it's well past 9 o'clock right now.  I worked late, granted, but I should be going to bed right now, maybe even after 22 minutes of the Daily Show, but instead I'm going to post some exceeding blurry pictures from the Fourth, go running, and try to figure out who is getting how much of my paycheck on Friday.  Probably while I have the TV on, so I might get sucked into an hour long show instead of Jon's 22 minutes of sanity & light.  Assuming I get up in time, I might get about 5 hours of sleep.  Which I can manage for a day or two but then what?  The ONLY soft part of my day is bedtime - surely there is a magic formula that I can use to balance my various "me activities" & house stuff (including the neverending ohmygoodnessWHEREdoesitcomefrom? laundry) with just enough sleep so I don't get whiny and grouchy?  First world problems indeed - At least I'm not washing the laundry by hand in the creek, right? 

Anywhoodle - we had a blast on Monday.  SO MUCH FOOD.  So much food all weekend - mango salad with cilantro lime dressing (a new favorite), gazpacho, grilled salmon, fajitas, cherries, strawberry & blueberry pancakes (so patriotic!), BBQ on Monday and pasta with homemade pesto...  guacamole, hummus, more guacamole... We had 7 grown ups over for dinner on Monday and enough food for 20.  Nevermind all the yummy leftovers from various other meals.  I'm halfway tempted to make a comment about how we celebrated America's independence by gross American excess but this is the bright stuff of life - friends, family, celebrations.  Love it! 

[This also by way of explanation for why I'm going running tonight, regardless of the time - let's all hope my knees don't collapse under the weight of all those avocados]

And y'all might love it along with me if I knew how to take a picture at night.  My neighborhood has not yet fallen victim to the evil that is Big Brother preventing us from shooting our eyes out and setting our neighbors' roofs on fire.  MULTIPLE neighbors appear to spend serious coin on professional level displays so we lined up our chairs, sprayed on the bug spray and dreamed of the day we could keep up with the Joneses.  Though we tried - oh, we tried! 
What are you planning on landing there?


Not pointing out the obvious here.
Because I'm not 14 anymore.

Terrible!  But I am documenting the sparklers for posterity,  
 in case Big Brother wins. 
Edited to add:  Am obviously (hopefully obviously) joking about Big Brother on this, the most patriotic of holidays.  What the various sides chose to go Big Brother over is a neverending mystery - marriage or motorcycle helmets?  Which is more restrictive and intrusive and has less effect on others?  What people do in the privacy of their own bedroom, or the goofballs who want to feel the breeze in their hair and end up in a coma in the hospital on the state's dime after trying unsuccessfully to swerve around a semi truck at 85mph?  And then sue the semi truck?  Nope - No opinions here.  Happy 4th of July! 

Also:  I got 6 hours of sleep. Bonus hour!