Monday, August 31, 2009

One More Fair Picture

This is hard to see, but the Susan G. Komen foundation had a display at the fair, where we were invited to sign a breast cancer banner:

I can't say enough about how much we support the Susan G. Komen foundation, the Race for the Cure, and the 3-Day. I was so glad to see their big display this year right on our walk down Cooper Street.

State Fair 2009

Oh, the State Fair. It is an experience like no other. We got there (after much maneuvering to park...we should just always follow the same routine...park in old neighborhood and walk...) and immediately Rose #3 had to go potty. I'm talking we were not even THROUGH THE GATES when she started the potty dance.

Did we go before we left home?

What a silly question.

Anyway. Major drawback to having all girls - mommy has to do all the potty runs. So, we ran to the potty, made it (PHEW) and found our way back to the rest of the family. Because there was clamouring for minidonuts, we meandered down Cooper Street. And, happened upon, wouldn't you know it, the Lego Experience. As Fair attractions go this was pretty good. The - er - kids - got Lego guy necklaces and got a sticker for each activity they did. Here we are below building "something you would find in the rain." Rose #1 thought up cloud, which the booth attendant said no one had done yet (very creative Rose #1!!) and I did a boring puddle But here we are building with our Legos:

Now, the Kidway is right across from the Legos. We managed to eat our minidonuts and then it was time to descend upon the RIDES! Rose #3 went by herself on the whales while Roses #2 and 1 and I waited in the line for the ferris wheel. Here is Rose #3 in motion:

And here we are post-ferris wheel ride. We had a good time! At first I was a touch nervous when the ride guy had us switch places with another family "to balance." Do you really need to balance a ferris wheel? I was sort of under the impression that it was strong enough to really hold people in any combination. I was also reminded, I must confess, of the movie The Notebook where the romantic lead character climbs up a ferris wheel. Uh, no thank you. I was nervous enough that the car would somehow become separated from the main wheel. We all made it down safely, as you can see:

This is just a cute shot of Roses #2 and 3 riding together in the wagon. Rose #2 was a really good girl at the fair. She did not complain, hardly, and she walked a TON.

After a large quantity of fried food we were making our way over to the dairy building for - what else? - ice cream, and we spied this aptly-named restaurant which I think is in the horticulture building. Next year we are definitely eating at The Peg:

Things were fabulous at the Fair until the very end when all, and I mean all, of the fried food caught up with Rose #1. Last year's upchucker: Rose #3. This year's: Rose #1. Look out Rose #2 - your turn for 2010!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Rose #3 Loves to Swing

Here is something I always say about going to the park: it ought to be about running around and getting tired! A lot of times it ends up being about swinging on the baby swings as long as possible until Mommy simply refuses to push anymore. Here is Rose #3, with whom I set off for the park alone (Roses #1 and #2 were waiting for the neighbor kids). She is gleeful, nay, jubilant, that I agreed to push her on the "beebee sing".
And here, looking contemplative and proceeding with a bit of trepidation as she got herself out of the beebee sing:
And safely ensconced in the other big red swing. I realize I did not focus the camera correctly but I loved the picture anyway.
I wish you could know Rose #3. She loves Gabriella from High School Musical. She worships her big sisters with fierce devotion, but she will also clock them hard on the arm with a lightsaber if given a chance. She loves strawberries and Dora. Our "surprise" baby is quite a character.
Tonight as I was kissing her goodnight Rose #1 told me that she didn't think I could know how big a part of her heart I, her daddy and her sisters are. Oh yeah? Wanna bet?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Putting the Roses to bed

We are the poster parents for bad sleep habits. We have finally kicked Roses #1 and 2 out of our room at night. Rose #3, not so much. She still creeps in with me every night. A part of me, OK, a big part of me, doesn't mind. She is unequivocally my last baby, and as Rose #1 in particular grows up so quickly - lost tooth #5 tonight!! off to second grade in a couple of weeks!! reads Harry Potter all by herself!! - I am holding onto Rose #3's chubby baby arms and baby cheeks as long as I can. (She's not that babyish anymore, at age 3.)

Another confession: I sit in their bedroom while they fall asleep. I've done this on and off (mostly on) since Rose #1 was born. Seven long years of sacrificing 30 minutes each night to be present with my girls while they nod off.

An Aside: I am a bit weary of saying "SHHHHHHHHHHHH!" and "Do you want me to leave this room right now?" as they settle down.

Tonight Rose #1 asked me if I like staying with them when they fall asleep. I said it was a good question, and I mostly like staying with them. This is true. She said: "I think of it as a way for you to spend more time with us, since you have to work so much."

Out of the mouths of babes. That's exactly what it is, and exactly why I co-slept with my girls, and why I could hardly bear to kick the older kids out of our bedroom, and why I sit in here, night after night. I just have to remember that the day will come when they won't even want me to hug them, let alone stay in their room...

Friday, August 21, 2009

Look Who I Saw on Nicollet Mall!

Today at about 12:30 my office phone rang, and it was my brother, who with my sister-in-law is walking 60 miles today and in the next two days on the Twin Cities Breast Cancer 3-Day. I was able to slip downstairs and see them walking by on Nicollet Mall!!

They've done so well, training and preparing. Breast cancer is a cause very close to my heart (no pun intended, really) and I am so grateful to them for walking to end it.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dinner with Aunt Boo and Baby Kate

The Roses were all aflutter tonight to welcome Aunt Boo and Baby Kate for dinner. Fancy outfits were donned, flowers were made (with pipe cleaner stems...does anyone use pipe cleaners for cleaning pipes?), and pictures were taken. Rose #1 was more cheerful in real life than she appears in the photo:

Rose #2 felt she had to tuck her collar under. For reasons best known to herself.

Rose #3 couldn't stop hamming it up long enough to take a serious cute picture. So here is her silly cute face:
And Baby Kate is officially a TREAT MONSTER. She didn't want much to do with her grilled cheese and late summer vegetable soup, but she sure liked the squirty whipped cream:

Do you let your kids squirt the whipped cream into their open mouths? I never, ever, ever, ever do. Oh, just kidding.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Not to get into the wearying counting thing again, but...

H is out of town, again. I am here by myself with the Roses, again. Night #2 out of 5! I guess 5 isn't that bad.

We actually did pretty well tonight - to Target for school supplies. Guess what? Rose #1 can read her own school supply list (obviously), and can also mostly fetch her own stuff off the list. So, I sent her off with her list and a pencil, and I helped Rose #2 get her kindergarten supplies.

Second grade school supplies are a little bit more serious than kindergarten supplies, and let me tell you that the whole exercise set us back some serious scratch. What do people who can't pay for school supplies do? I hope they build some extra into the quantities they ask us to buy to cover the kids whose families can't pay. I read an article about homeless students in the Minneapolis and St. Paul public school systems today, and it really hit me hard. Such a sad situation that has gotten much worse over time instead of better.

On a brighter note, we have lots of company over the next few nights. Aunt Boo and Baby Kate are coming over for dinner tomorrow night, and Aunt Heidi invited us for dinner on Friday night. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Shiny New Haircuts and...Tomatoes?

An actual post with pictures. This is a novelty!

Two important things happened tonight. First, the Roses got haircuts. Seriously, you should go check out Aunt Boo at Petite Salon. Rose #1, my total tomboy, reported with absolute glee that Aunt Boo used "product" in her hair today. This warms my heart. Rose #2 (not crosseyed despite the look in this picture) got her hair chopped off! I was actually rather surprised when I saw her. I am actually just fine with the Roses picking their own hairdos (this may be directly related to the importance I attribute to my own appearance...something I actually want to and should work on...) but it took me a minute to get used to. It is, thanks to Aunt Boo, absolutely darling.
And Rose #3, who has the fastest growing hair I have ever, ever seen. In this picture she unfortunately has a mouth full of homegrown tomatoes. (Don't look now, but isn't that - wait for it - a picture of the tomatoes below??)
Why yes. Yes it is. Oh, did I mention? We grew these! Thanks to the forebearance of our neighbors, who did not even bat an eye when I asked if they minded if I cleared out a small patch on our property adjacent to their BEAUTIFUL FLOWER GARDEN (which has been encroached upon by a tomato jungle, I am ashamed to admit), we have a ton of tomatoes. Rose #1 and I LOVE tomatoes. Even #2 and #3 will eat sliced tomatoes if there is a sprinkle of salt on them.

Monday, August 17, 2009

MND Newsletter

Rose #1 had a very brilliant idea, which was to make a newsletter for Monday Night Dinner. We had the first edition tonight. Rose #1 wrote some of it, and I wrote the rest.

Here were the headlines:

"Celebrating August Birthdays"
"Waterpark Fun" (regarding our weekend trip to Cascade Bay, which was really quite fun and at which Rose #1 took it upon herself to slide down the big steep slide in 6" water without asking permission, and being just fine anyway)
"Baby Kate Took 5 Steps"
"3-Day Walk Coming Soon" (to donate)
"H to El Paso, TX - Again" (need I say more. That's one of the articles I wrote.)
"Guppy Loves Her I-Phone"
"Memory" (regarding a funny answering machine message that I recall from my childhood)

If any BECHAMPer is reading and wants to submit an item for next week's MND Newsletter, it is a free for all. The only rules are: no leaving people out, and no making fun or being mean. Otherwise, GO FOR IT!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Of Loose Teeth

Or tooth anyway. Rose #1 is working on #5. 5 lost teeth, that is. She wants to keep up with her cousin Sam.

Rose #2 is jealous because her sisters got to appear in Uncle Andy's video project. There are many advantages to going to a year-round school; having sisters who do not is not one of them.

Rose #3 said "Wive United" in the video, and held out her hand. S.D.C. (So darn cute.)

Monday, August 10, 2009

This Just In: Another Trip to El Paso

H to travel to El Paso again next week. Hmmm. That means I get to work extra hard this week in exchange for being a single mom next week. Can't hardly wait. ??

The Roses have learned to snap, led by Rose #3. Yes, my 3-year-old daughter learned how to snap before the 5- and 7-year-old. Rose #3's brashness and leadership shine through again.

Rose #2 is in fact laying in bed snapping right now. This is in lieu of falling asleep, you understand.

Rose #1 was playing with the next door neighbor boy tonight and as he went in his house, he said: "I've never said this before, but you're AWESOME!"

Awesome, snappy, overtired children. Can't wait to do it by myself again next week.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Rose #1's Hand

Rose #1 has a limb difference. Her left hand did not fully form in utero. Aside from utter, utter shock on the delivery table (after a truly horrific 48 hours of induced labor), when the not-so-sensitive obstetrician said, "Your baby has a birth defect," we have not really worried all that much about her hand. Rose #1 had surgery when she was seven months old - it was reconstructive surgery to change around her bones so they were best positioned for growth - but ever since then it has been just part of our everyday lives.

They do not make prosthetic hands for limb differences like hers. She has a functioning thumb and a fused fourth and fifth digit, so she has a pincer grasp. We actually feel lucky that she has so much function in her hand. We went to OT a couple of times when she was a baby, but even the occupational therapist pretty much sent us on our way.

Until today. H took Rose #1 to her annual appointment with Dr. Ann VanHeest, the orthopedist in town that every kid with an upper extremity limb difference sees. Believe me, I know who everyone sees, because we are in a great group for families who happen to have a kid with limb differences. All the kids at Little Fins see Dr. VanHeest. We have been seeing her at the University, but today she told H that she wants to start seeing Rose #1 at Shriner's.

Here's why. Shriner's has good resources for adaptive things - an insert in Rose #1's baseball glove, a special handle for her bicycle when the time comes for her to have hand brakes, etc.

I feel like the worst mom. I just haven't worried about Rose #1's hand all that much in, oh, the last year. I've never seen her be unable to do something that she wanted to do, and that's the standard I have used for whether she is all right. It never occurred to me until today that yes, maybe she can put a baseball glove on her left hand and use it, but out there somewhere someone has a device that will make it easier for her to use and make it work better.

So tomorrow we get the application form for her to be seen at Shriner's. There is a wait, apparently, to get in there, largely because the care is free. A long, long time ago the Roses' Aunt Tonya's father (Grandpa Tom!) offered to sponsor Rose #1 at Shriner's and, true to form, I thanked him but largely ignored his offer. I thought we didn't need to go there. I guess I was wrong. We'll get there as soon as we can, Rose #1, and maybe we can start making things a little bit easier for you.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


OK, the title didn't come out as witty as I had hoped. I have been going through a bout of ennui about my blog. Maybe it is because I am writing a lot of other stuff. I am in a course at The Loft in Minneapolis about forming and retaining sustainable writing habits. The instructor has us set goals each week for how much writing we want to do, and darn it, she has us BET on ourselves. So, never one to lose a bet that I can actually impact - you know, the Powerball is not one of those bets, more's the pity - I have to keep doing the goals that I set. But I am writing. A lot. I finished (FINISHED!) a draft of a short story. Good thing it is OK to write sh**ty first drafts (apologies to Anne Lamott). And I have been doing a bunch of other writing.

So I haven't been terribly prolific here. But the Roses are still around. Rose #1 and #2 are going to a really fabulous day camp at St. Thomas. They swim, play games, do crafts, and they just love it. Rose #3 is getting massive one-on-one nanny time with our truly outstanding nanny Lauren. The only stick in my craw is how little time I get to be with them. Why aren't I gutsy enough to do something about it?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Blueberry picking...

Today we went blueberry picking! The blueberry picking farm was quite a ways away - about 15 miles south of Red Wing. As Rose #1 said when we arrived, it was worth the drive. Blueberry picking is fun! There were a whole ton of blueberry bushes in long rows, and the Roses, Guppy, me and Aunt Heidi, Uncle Jay, and Beatrice and Gus went to town. The blueberries were so, so good right off the bush. They tasted blue. The texture was also quite good especially compared to blueberries that you buy at the store. Those blueberries are kind of mushy, and they always make me feel like I have to gag them down. These blueberries were firm and tart. Yummy.

After we were done picking, I got some pictures of the manual laborers. Rose #1 was very diligent about picking. She loved the berries and was very patient.

Rose #2 - my girl who said (at the age of about two): "I do not like fruit. I will spit it out" - did not enjoy the blueberry picking much. She tried one blueberry and did not like it, and then she mainly wanted to play on the tire swing. But she was a good girl:

Rose #3 loved the blueberries - picking them, eating them, spilling them, all of it.

I could not get a good shot of Gus, who is obscured behind the water cooler in this picture, but Bea will usually stand still and smile big. This picture was no exception:

Tomorrow morning I am going to try to make homemade blueberry muffins with very, very fresh blueberries!