Goodness gracious.

You know you’ve taken a long break from blogging when you come back and your domain has expired, somebody else bought it, and people wonder what the heck you’re writing about when in all actuality it’s not even you anymore.

I guess there is another mommy who wants to be a muser.

Here are the last seven months in a nutshell: had baby #3, bought a company, went to the lake a bunch, worked a bunch, haven’t shaved my legs in a bunch, travelled a bit, and that brings us to tonight.

My sister, her husband, and my goddaughter Mollie are here for the weekend as my sister and I are taking a photography class from rialee.

I wanted to eat her studio.

Seriously, it was so full of delicious photos and babies that I could hardly stand it.

Tomorrow is the practice part of the session, where we get to take our cameras for a spin.

The next challenge after that is to line up my posse and try to get some cute shots before somebody starts crying.

Dream big, eh?

I’ll post some photos post-class. Can’t guarantee how long it will take, but I’ll shoot for sooner than seven months from now.

Geez louise.

I started working from home on February 1. I absolutely love it and don’t miss going into the office at all – especially the whole hair and make up thing every day! (Don’t worry – I haven’t turned into a hermit. I bring the kids to “work” each morning and get out for meetings and such. If I start talking to the toaster I’ll schedule more frequent lunch dates.)

This past Friday, though, I experienced something that tells me that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

I was working from my living room floor on Friday afternoon (don’t ask – long story about fetal positioning blah blah) and I heard some crying coming from outside.

I thought maybe it was the neighbors coming home after school and that their son didn’t want to go inside.

Then I heard this pacing on the sidewalk and poked my head out the front window to see what was going on, and saw a little boy about to cross the street. He was super little, about Peter’s size, and it made me vow that my kids wouldn’t be allowed to walk around town on their own until they were at least 14.

He kept looking back and forth at the road and then behind him, as if waiting for somebody to catch up to him. Cars were stopping to let him pass, but he didn’t go.

I ran out to the porch and asked if he needed help crossing the road. He said yes. I threw on some shoes and ran out to him.

We crossed the street and I asked him where he was going. He said he was going to his babysitter Roxy’s house. I asked him how old he was (kindergarten) and if he went to the school just down the street from us (yes). I asked him how far Roxy’s house was and he said he knew what it looked like, but not where to turn.

He also mentioned that he goes to her house on the “S” days (Saturday and Sunday). I told him that it was an “F” day, and that maybe we should call his mommy just to check and see if he was supposed to go to Roxy’s.

I asked him if he knew his phone number (he did) and told him that we should probably go back to my house and call his house to see if his parents were home (he thought his mom would be working, but didn’t know where she worked except that it was a long ways away).

We turned back for my house and I called his home number and got the answering machine. I then pulled out the phone book and called his school. The secretary answered right away. I told her my name and that I had the little guy at my house. She started hollering “we found him!” to people in the background on her side. I asked if I should drive him over and she said his dad would be right over.

It turns out his dad had shown up a minute late to get him, and he decided to walk to Roxy’s house. They had no idea where he was and had been looking for at least 20 minutes. Can you imagine the fear they must have felt?

We went outside and waited for his dad. He showed me how he could snap his fingers and about how he used to not be able to do it, but now he could.

I recognized his dad as the car that came barreling down the road and into the alley by my house. His dad jumped out and came running over. I could tell he was a mix of frazzled and frustrated and relieved.

The little guy hopped in the car, ready to head home, and I told his dad that his son had done a good job of waiting for somebody to help him cross the road.

They headed home and I went back inside where I emailed Casey to tell him the story. His first response was amazed at the miracle that had occurred.

His second response was that we were definitely not going to send our kids to that school. (You do have to wonder a bit how a kindergartener got away unnoticed, but I’m not going to go there.)

Mistake or not, I am so unbelievably glad to have made the “decision” to work in my living room that afternoon.

We used to have a really boring refrigerator.

White doors, white handles, water/ice dispenser, and maybe a few magnets that may or may not have been holding something to the surface.

Then we had kids and this is what it looks like now:

the fridge

Allow me to take you on a tour (counter clockwise if you’re keeping track)…

This is Mr. Peter after his very first bath at home. It’s been on the fridge for just over 4 1/2 years. I’ll never take it down.

Peter after his first bath

These are our “fridge kids”, otherwise known as sponsored children from the World Vision organization.

our World Vision kids

The top left child is Magreth (our first sponsored child from about 4 or 5 years ago, she lives in Tanzania), then there’s Xhjosi (sponsored second, lives in Albania), on the bottom left we have Jose Luis (from Colombia), and finally Tanya (from Ecuador).

Casey has always wanted 7 children. I tease him that the baby in my belly surely brings us to that number.

The kids’ preschool gives us a report each day of how Charlotte felt, what she ate, when she napped, and how many times she used the potty. This report is from her first #2 in the potty!!! That’s definitely fridge worthy!

first #2!!!

This is one of Peter’s first works of art including the writing of his name.

Peter's name and hearts

This little LeapFrog matching game has been a staple since Peter was 6-8 months old.

animal match game

Most of the animal halves are missing now. If we ever get a new refrigerator I’m sure the lost will be found under the current one.

Peter was in speech therapy for about a year. He graduated this fall (only stumbles a bit on the pronunciation of “s” and “l” in the start position now) and received this certificate from his teacher:

Peter's certificate

We love happy grams from school around here and stick them on the fridge until we get the next one (old ones – as well as all of Charlotte and Peter’s daily reports – are then retired to the bottom shelf of my bookcase. Which reminds me – I should really put them into binders or something).

Peter's happy gram

A more recent example of Peter’s penmanship:

Peter's writing

My sister Sydney’s 7th grade picture. The kids love their “auntie Hydney”.

Sydney

Each month we get an activity calendar for each child. I love posting them and need to check them every day because a missed share day does not go over well at the Davis abode.

monthly calendars

And finally, the lovely Mollie Evelyn. Mollie is my sister’s 13 month old daughter (these are her 6 month photos). Charlotte loves looking at cousin Mollie on the refrigerator and says her name and kisses her almost every time we pass the fridge.

Mollie

This appliance has become such a symbol of our daily lives and loves. It’s hard to believe it use to be just white doors, white handles, water/ice dispenser, and maybe a few magnets that may or may not have been holding something to the surface.

I like it so much better this way.

the fridge

It’s been quite the week. A good week, but one of those break neck, “holy cow how many more things can I shove in here” kind of weeks.

Allow me to divulge…

Sunday, January 31

Made it to mass with about half a minute to spare. Church is packed we sit on folding chairs in the lobby. Kids use this opportunity to party like rock stars. Head to dinner with my parents and siblings afterwards. World’s slowest service and after 75 minutes we get our meals. Thank goodness for the iPod Touch and our ability to distract Charlotte. Afternoon with the fam, then off to teach religion class in the evening. Come home to sleeping family (WHAT?), do last minute prep for my move into home office, which kicks off tomorrow, and do some research for the wedding I’m helping to plan.

Monday, February 1

Regular morning routine of getting kids and myself ready for school and work. Get to school before breakfast is served (WIN!) then head back home to work, combating the feeling that I was driving the wrong way. Settle into home office and get ‘er done. Family home at 5:45, dinner, hang out, then pass out with Charlotte.

Tuesday, February 2

Wake up at 1:30am, remembering I need to pack for my 5:00am flight. Oops! Do some laundry, fold laundry while watching Desperate Housewives, pack bag, take a quick bath, get dressed, kiss the family, take out the trash, and drive to the airport. Board plane and fall asleep the second my seat belt is fastened. Continue to mostly sleep my way through three flights to Atlanta, with the exception of getting a 10 minute foot rub in a day spa in the Indianapolis airport (awesome!). Walk through the world’s busiest (and super huge) airport, get to hotel, eat, absorb cable, check email, then pass out again until later in the afternoon. Realize that all tourist spots I planned to visit that day, deeming a 5:00am flight necessary, are closed. Get ready for dinner and roll eyes back in head with heavenly food. Go back to hotel, watch some more cable, do some more work, do a little more wedding research, and conk out.  

Wednesday, February 3

Site visit for upcoming event which means walking all over an enormous convention center. Participate in tasting lunch, reveling in the best grits in the world. More tours and such. Back to hotel for a bit before going to dinner in famous diner in Atlanta’s Buckhead. More grits (!) and potato chips with more bleu cheese than humanly thought possible. Back to the hotel to absorb some more cable, including the repeat of the 19 and Counting premiere, look for photographers for that wedding, and work a bit. Then, you guessed it – out like a light!

Thursday, February 4

Rise early to beat traffic and security lines at the airport. Arrive at airport and go through security within 20 minutes of leaving the hotel. That doesn’t happen very often. Use the extra time to have breakfast (grits again!) and the world’s best decaf coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts (seriously – it was so amazing!!!). Leave travel companions who had direct flights to Minneapolis and head to my gate waaaaaaaay at the end of the airport. Get there, buy a water and a magazine, then realize I have 20 minutes until my flight. Oops! Hop on board, realize I’ll be able to watch a movie while in flight, and can’t wait to get to cruising altitude. Watch movie, work a bit, then land in Detroit. Rinse, wash, repeat, land in Minneapolis. Ditto above, back in Fargo to my dear husband. Drive to daycare to get the kids, go to Old Navy and Sam’s Club, head home for dinner, playtime, baths, and bed – sweet bed.

Friday, February 5

Regular routine – early again! – then back home for official day #2 of working from home office. Try to figure out new work PayPal account for most of the day, go get pizza at the end of the work day, get home to family + 1 (nephew spent the night in preparation for Saturday’s festivities). Start transferring photos to Flickr (last update was November – oops) and fall asleep. Wake up to transfer another set, then back to sleep.

Saturday, February 6

Nephew wakes up at 6:30am – WHAT? Thankfully Casey goes downstairs with him and the rest of us sleep until 8:30 or so. Charlotte gets crabby at 10:00, but doesn’t want to nap. Casey, Peter and nephew head out for the Monster Truck show at 11:30am and Charlotte decides that a nap is a good idea after all. We fall asleep together on the couch and I wake up to the phone ringing to see that I drooled all over her face. Sorry! Talk to mom and learn that grandpa has a birthday party until 3:30. Call out for lunch and transfer photos to back up disks as Charlotte naps. Charlotte awoke, ate half my sandwich, then we were off to the party. Hung out for a while then went to Target for miscellaneous necessities in life. Headed home to the boys and awaited in-laws’ arrival for birthday dinner. Headed out for dinner, walked around mall afterwards, and helped coffee cart woman who dumped most of her supplies down the elevator shaft. Home and up to bed for the kids and Casey, Saturday Night Live and scrapbooking on Snapfish for me. Decide to take a bath at 2:00am while reading book club selection which will be reviewed next week, then off to bed.

Sunday, February 7

Repeat the moment to spare Mass attendance. Teach religion class right afterwards while family gets groceries. Head home to play a game, then make banana and peanut butter cup ice cream (two separate ice creams). Kids head up to play together while we’re downstairs, with Casey making dinner. It’s quiet as we eat dinner alone. Casey suggests they’ve taken all my Mary Kay inventory out of the drawer and are sampling it. Consider that and have him go check on the kids. Nothing to worry about. Decide that blog is way out of date and should do something about it. Start watching Super Bowl and writing. Kids come downstairs. Charlotte is climbing on me, thus ending this post. Right now.

 

Today we celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr.

(For trivia affeciandos – his actual birthday is January 15, observed the third Monday in January each year, and one of four United States federal holidays that commemorate an individual.)

News sites are featuring tributes to Reverend King today, many including transcripts of his “I have a dream” speech.

A bit more trivia for you – did you know that his delivery of that speech at the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 was not the first time he shared those words with an audience?

However, this was the time the message was heard.

The passionate stanzas starting with “I have a dream” were new to Reverend King’s speech that day, and that is what people remember, pass on to present generations, and will share with future generations.

Reverend King’s passion made people stop and think, and we continue to do so 47 years later.

Amazing, isn’t it.

Be passionate about what you do and you will make a difference in the lives of others. You might not share your message with millions and have it resonate for decades, but you and your work have purpose and you too can be heard.

Be amazing.

It doesn’t seem like a new year until I write my first check.

Due to debit cards and automatic withdrawals I haven’t yet had the opportunity, so I’m still stuck in 2009. How unfashionable of me.

No worries, though, as the second mortgage daycare bill is due this week and I’ll be challenged to remember the new year as I sign the date line.

A lot of people make resolutions when a new year rolls around. Are you one of them? Last year I resolved to learn something about each country. My husband and kids bought me a globe for Christmas to help me with my goal and I was so excited to pick up where 9th grade Geography left off, thus prepping me for a future game show appearance.

I never started.

During Mass on New Year’s Day, our priest talked about resolutions and that we often give up on them because we often don’t think beyond what we resolve to do (or not do) in our lives. Instead of resolutions he said we should make revolutions, or real change.

Considering that statement, I realize now why I didn’t start my journey to global knowledge. I didn’t have a plan. Not that it had to be a fancy plan, but I never spent time thinking about how I was going to make it happen – the steps I would take, where I would document what I learned, why it mattered to me to have that knowledge, and how I could share what I had learned with others, namely my children.

To make a revolution I need to think about “the how” and then incorporate “the how” into my life.

I still have the globe. It’s a great addition to our home decor, but I want it to mean more than that. I’m ready to make that revolution.

How about you?

Quick story about the Pete-meister.

I should first share that Peter has a rule about Christmas trees. Each tree must have a star or angel on top or it’s not a Christmas tree, it’s just a tree with decorations. He’s hard and fast with this rule. No exceptions.

Anyway…

This weekend we were driving to the dike for a family sled-a-thon. (Note: the dike is pretty much the tallest hill in Fargo so it’s a popular spot for sledding.)

As we drove, we checked out the neighborhood’s Christmas light displays.

One of the houses had a star on it. 

Here’s what we heard from the backseat:

Dad and Mom. Look at that house. It thinks it’s a Christmas tree! Let’s all laugh at it.

And then he proceeded with the most fake, deep chuckle we’d ever heard for the next three blocks.

He stopped laughing for a little bit and then started  up again. Casey asked him what was so funny and Peter replied:

I am still laughing at that house because it is still funny!

I’m not sure where he comes up with this stuff but I’m glad he does because it sure does make our lives fun.

This post could alternately be titled as “Bad Things Happen When Children Are Too Quiet”

What do you get when you combine puffy paint and small children?

A mess.

Last Saturday Casey, the kids and I went to my youngest sister’s basketball game.

(Side note: Sydney is in 7th grade and is playing on the junior varsity AND varsity teams! How exciting is that? She even scored a three pointer during the varsity game! Back to the story at hand.)

Our kidlets sat for a while (like 6 minutes) and then Casey and I alternated in taking them to the concession stand, restroom, hallway, etc. Basically anywhere that was unlocked and not off-limits within the school.

Their favorite spot was the lobby, where the students’ lockers are housed. They ran around and around the first set, chasing each other and laughing. Casey and I stood together and watched them, having one of those moments where you’re just totally in love with your kids and their utter adorableness.

We stood there visiting as the kids continued their laps, extending themselves from the first to the second locker banks and finally on to the third. It was pretty much a date, right there in the school lobby. Take them when you can get them, I guess.

The date came to an end when Peter came up to us and said he got dirty. Dirty? How would he get dirty in here?

That’s when I noticed that Charlotte’s boot had something blue on it.

Blue? There is nothing blue in this area. What is that?

Casey and I got closer to the kids to respectively examine their blue dirt.

Oh crap.

Paint.

Where did they find paint?

I walked behind the third bank of lockers and stopped short.

Puffy painted shirts were drying on the floor. Cheerleaders’ puffy painted shirts. Cheerleaders’ puffy painted shirts with little footprints on them. And carpet. Carpet with red and blue paint.

Oh. My. Goodness.

The kids had run around the corner, coming from opposite directions, and ran right into the shirts. Definitely an accident on their part, but why do accidents never involve buckets of soapy water?

Casey took the kids to the bathroom to start cleaning up their shoes while I paced and tried to figure out what to do to clean up the mess. 

I found a random roll of paper towels and headed to the bathroom to get some water so I could start cleaning up the carpet.

I poked my head into the men’s room to see how the cleaning was progressing. The shoes were coming clean, but Peter had another accident…this time in his pants.

Excellent.

We decided that Casey would take Peter home to change his pants, and would bring back carpet cleaner and a scrub brush.

In the meantime I took Charlotte back into the gym to sit with my parents and siblings while I started cleaning the carpet. They asked what was going on and I told them the story. They thought it was funny.

Yep. Funny. That’s exactly what I was thinking as I worried about getting beat up by high school cheerleaders.

After scrubbing out what I could, I joined my family in the gym and wrote notes to the three cheerleaders who had been impacted by the incident.

The apologies...

I wrote out three $10 checks (accidents are also rarely inexpensive – bummer) and stuck them in the envelopes, then waited for Casey to return with the supplies.

He soon arrived and I got to work. I was glad to have done the “pre-treating” because the paint came out really well with the Resolve cleaner and a bit of scrubbing.

I placed each card by an affected shirt and headed back into the gym for the rest of the game.

Evidence A Exhibit B Exhibit C

After the game, we hung out for a few minutes congratulating our basketball star and letting the kids run in the gym.

As we left the building my phone rang. I didn’t know the number and my heart dropped into my stomach as I thought again about angry cheerleaders.

I answered hesitantly.

It was one of the cheerleaders.

She said she got my note.

She said she and the two other girls tore up the checks.

She said that was way too much money and it was an accident and I didn’t have to worry about it.

I almost started to cry.

Cheerleaders at private Christian schools are awesome!

I told her she was a sweetie and apologized again.

My heart returned to its normal position and we headed off for our next adventure.

Even though we’d already had enough adventure for a few days.

A couple of weeks back we had a little mouse problem. I’m over the trauma now and able to talk about it.

One evening I was nestled on the couch with my laptop and saw something move across the floor out of my peripheral vision. I instantly drew every body part up to my chin for fear of what it could be.

After 15 minutes or so I grabbed one of Peter’s toys, holding it in front of me as a weapon. I walked to the site of the disturbance and gingerly poked around to see if anything would move again.

To my relief, nothing moved though I wasn’t convinced that it was a figment of my imagination.

I went upstairs and woke Casey to tell him the horrible news. “I think we have a mouse. Can you please come and catch it?”

My question was met with “hrmph…uh…tomorrow.”

That was a night of terror, my friends.

You see, the only thing I’m afraid of are mice. It’s unnatural how they can squish their bodies into any sized crevice. It’s violating how they run around your house, poking into your food and running along your counters. It’s terrifying that they could be inside my couch when I sit down.

And now I had one in my house.

The next morning I asked Casey if he remembered me telling him about the mouse. He did and said he would set up some traps later that day.

That evening we were talking in the kitchen and the little vagrant ran right by him into the dining room.

“Get the gun! Could you shoot it?”

Apparently that’s not a practical solution.

Casey set up three traps and later that night found the little bugger in one of them. Knowing that mice usually travel in yucky little packs, he kept the traps up.

The next night I was working in the living room and heard the SNAP! of another trap. I ran upstairs to get my mouse hunter so he could remove number two. Number three came the next night and we’ve gladly been mouse free for a few weeks.

I can rest – and walk – easily.

But somebody in my house thinks that a mouse would be a nice addition…as a pet.

My mom dropped off a wrought iron outdoor candle holder and Peter told Casey on his way into the house the other day that it would be the perfect home for a mouse.

“It would be a nice mouse and it wouldn’t get out of its cage and Mommy wouldn’t have to be scared, she would like it,” he said convincingly to his dad.

“Uh, I don’t think Mom will go for that,” said Casey.

“Well I’ll tell her and she won’t be scared.”

My little salesman walked into the house and told me of his idea.

“Absolutely not” was my reply, thinking that Casey put him up to it.

He burst into tears.

Casey then told me what Peter had told him and I felt bad.

But not bad enough to actually purchase my greatest fear and bring it willingly into my home.

Sorry kiddo, not going to happen.

Every morning when Peter walks by the cage he remarks at what a great home it would be for a mouse.

He’s going to have to keep dreaming and I’m going to have to get a candle.

I’m awake at this late (for me) hour waiting to turn my biscotti.

My son’s preschool is having a bake sale tomorrow, with the proceeds going towards gifts for kids through the Christmas Giving Tree program. Isn’t that a great idea? They’re hoping to sponsor seven or eight kids this year. I’m so proud of them and so glad that my children are going to such a wonderful place during the day.

I chose to make cranberry and pistachio biscotti for a couple of reasons.

  1. I figured there would be lots of really sweet things and that maybe people want to change it up a bit (or maybe that’s just me).
  2. I haven’t made biscotti in a long time and (selfishly) want some for myself. That’s okay, right?

This recipe is super easy and I used to make it on a more regular basis…until the incident.

I’m not sure if you’re a biscotti-making individual so let me explain just a bit.

Biscotti is very easy to pull together, but it’s a bit more labor intensive than other baked goods when it comes to said baking. You first bake it as a log for 25 minutes. You then take it out of the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes. Then you slice it, tip to one side, and return the lovelies to the oven for another 10 minutes. After that 10 minutes, you rotate the little buggers so the other sliced side gets its chance to firm up for another 10 minutes. Then you let the puppies cool before putting them in a container.

See what I mean? A little more crazy than good old chocolate chip cookies and their 12 minute bake time.

Now that you know the logistics of the situation, I present to you…the incident.

I was on the second biscotti bake of the routine after slicing the logs and tipping them up. I returned to the couch to await the next buzzer (I could clean or something during this time but I prefer to couch it up with some good old NBC late night shows).

Only I didn’t hear the buzzer after 10 minutes.

Or 20 minutes.

Or 30 minutes.

Or 40 minutes.

50 minutes later I stirred from the couch to a most peculiar smell. I thought and thought…ACK!!!

I ran to the kitchen where I could see smoke billowing inside the oven. Oh man.

I turned on the microwave fan, grabbed a potholder for each hand, and braced myself before opening the oven.

Finally I threw open the door, stuck in my arms, plucked up my beloved stoneware, and ran to the door.

My darling biscottis (biscotties? biscotti? biscottae?) where absolutely black. Just charred to their posthumous sweet innards.

There was no saving them.

I let them cool before depositing them in the garbage can (I always fear that placing hot things in a garbage can will cause them to combust internally and start a fire. I drown used matches in water for minutes upon minutes before throwing them away. I prefer cautious to weird.) and then tried to salvage my stoneware.

Years later and I can still see biscotti markings on it. (Kind of like those chalk lines on CSI or Law & Order. Okay, nothing like them.)

So…tonight I’ve been hyper vigilant, keeping myself busy with Facebook, Twitter, and this post.

If only Facebook, Twitter, and this blog existed back in the day…

If you’d like to live on the edge as well, check out the cranberry and pistachio biscotti receipe here. Be vigilant, friends, and success in the form of delicious biscotti will be yours!