Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hail Mary

Ava emerged from her room this afternoon with her green John Deere blanket draped over her head. "I'm Mary" she announced and went to the office to tell Brian the news. "I'm Mary and mommy is Mary and Cate is Mary. And you and Jack are Joseph." "Wow" said Brian, "Three Mary's. That's a lot." She thought for a moment about this theological problem. "Well, mommy is Dora-Boots-Diego-Backpack Mary and I am Green Mary." Problem solved. Perhaps we should call Rome?

Friday, March 28, 2008

No Good Deed Left Unpunished.....

Someone just please kill me now. Use your weapon of choice, make good and sure that I am dead, and then dump my body some place where no one will ever find it. Especially not a committee. Because then they would forcibly reanimate me and want to go over the wording on page 4, paragraph C, sub paragraph B, line 5. "I don't think you can say that unless you also say this...." And this, my friends, is how a simple 3-page document morphs into a 100-page nightmare that you need a team of lawyers and a psychic to interpret.

The whole process began with the noble goal of changing and clarifying our current current RTP (rentention, tenure and promotion) document to more accurately reflect the goals of our department. We were full of grand dreams and plans to create a set of standards that was stalwart yet realistic, that would encourage us to be good departmental citizens and recognize all the hard work we do but for which we (as of now) do not receive credit. God were we stupid. Somehow, somewhere things went horribly horribly wrong......and I can now honestly say that this is about as much fun as getting hit in the face with a shovel. Seriously, had I known that this was going to be the hair-pulling teeth-gnashing exercise that it has turned in to I would have run screaming in the other direction the moment it was proposed.

The document itself has become a virtual spiderweb of edits, insertions, word substitutions and strike throughs (gotta love Track Changes!) - it looks like a drawing by a monkey on crack. Thank God for my friend and fellow committee member, Sue, who is kind enough to return my agonized glances and has a definite knack for keeping everyone on track (she can say things like"That is an interesting suggestion. Let's return to the paragraph we were working on." and not sound like a complete bitch). I think we have a shot at the gold in the synchronized eye-rolling competition.

Okay, I need to go find that monkey and see if he has any crack to share.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Visions of Christmas

So, Brian was rummaging around in the office today and came across a piece of paper on which I had written down verbatim Ava's retelling of the story of the Nativity. They had been doing a lot of Jesus-oriented stuff in Sunday school, and I think that really comes through:

"Pocahontas had a butterfly named Macy and then Jesus come. It is a big, long story. Can you tell it?"

Not nearly as well as you, my sweet.

I have to go now, as Brian just came rushing in to grab his camera and remarked that wasn't it ironic that I was sitting at a computer writing about the adorable things my children do when, as it happened, they were outside eating popsicles and being adorable at right this very moment?



Does it count if they sleep until 6am and then wake up because they have to go potty, but not in the little potty, in YOUR potty? And then it's still nigh-nigh time? And so we go back to sleep? In the tent? Can you fix the tent?

I think it does. So that makes two nights and counting.........

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Dawn of a New Era?

I am amazed. In the words of our presidink "I am filled with shock and awe." I am hesitant to even acknowledge what happened last night for fear that I will jinx us......EVERYONE SLEPT THROUGH THE NIGHT. That includes, incidentally, me and Brian. No anguished screaming, no sad cries of "mmooooommmmmyyyyyyy" at o'dark-thirty. Not a peep. I seriously can not remember the last time this happened, or if it has ever happened. This is also a bit surprising, given Jack's onset of what I think are nightmares and Cate's new-found aversion to the Mother Goose mural in their room. In fact, last night she insisted that Brian put a "tent" over her bed so she wouldn't have to look at MG (he draped a blanket over the sides); I figured this was a bad sign and actually went to bed early, anticipating the nightmares that were sure to come. Imagine my surprise when I woke up to the sounds of their early morning chatter at 7am!

We shall see what happens tonight. Think good thoughts!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Take Two.......

So.....I'm thinking that maybe one post a month is all I'm up for. I've never been a diary-keeper or a journaler. I prefer to talk things out rather than write them down, which has lead to many interesting conversations between me and myself over the years. Sometimes I actually talk to other people too. It might also be the reason that although I love doing research and going to conferences and talking to other scientists about what's happening I would rather pull my fingernails out with my eyes than write up my findings. Just a thought.

But on to more important things - my children. We had a lovely Easter, though I must say that it was a very hectic week-end and I was sorely missing the days when they would happily sit on a blanket on the grass and drool on a few plastic eggs before heading off happily to nap for a few hours. Our day started off on the Saturday morning before Easter, madly scrambling around the house putting together Easter baskets and gathering the ingredients for the strawberry shortcake we were bringing to the family dinner. We had to do this on Saturday morning because we were leaving at 3pm to drive down to Vista for the wedding of our wonderful friends Eddie and Stephanie. That's Mr. and Mrs. Ibrahim to you. It was a lovely wedding, the weather was perfect, the venue was great, and of course the bride and groom were overflowing with happiness. We got to catch up with old friends that we hadn't seen for a while and hang out with the Luhr's clan, including Lo's mom who was down for the week-end. We even got a few dances in, but I have to admit that around 9pm I began thinking that going to bed would be a very nice idea. As I read that sentence, jumping as it does from dancing to going to bed, I can see that it might be interpreted in a romantic, lustful way. Sadly, the bliss I was thinking of was a different kind entirely and involved only me and my pillow.

Easter morning dawned way too early, given that we got home a little shy of midnight. However, it was all forgotten as the kids trotted into the living room for a little pre-breakfast play time. When Jack spotted his Easter basket he said in the cutest voice imaginable "Oh my goodness!", and then before diving in to it helped his sisters find theirs. Seriously. I can only hope he will be this perfect when he is 20. I thought it was very interesting to see what each child selected first from their baskets: Jack went right for the new Cars puzzle, Ava gleefully snatched up the My Little Pony in hers, and Cate made a beeline for the chocolate bunny. Yep, that's them in a nutshell.
Fired up on sugar (them) and caffeine (us) we decked everyone out in their new Easter clothes (see "pics" at right) and headed to church. As expected, it was packed and we were lucky to find a pew with enough room for all of us and my stepmother, Therese, and brothers, John and Stephen. They weren't having Sunday School that day, so the kids were in church with us. For about five minutes. When the service hadn't even started and already we were breaking in to my secret stash of toys I knew we were doomed. Thankfully John and Stephen volunteered to take them over to the nursery and hang out with them there. After the service there was a big egg hunt on the church lawn; they divide it into "4 and under" and "5 and up" searches. Most of the parents of the little ones are smart enough to fill the eggs with goldfish or cheerios, but there were a few packed full with M-n-M's and jelly beans. Seriously - are you on crack?!? Like they aren't going to get enough sugar today? A highlight of the search was Ava's finding of the golden egg, which earned a prize of a bucket of sand toys. She was so cute standing by Father Mark, smiling her shy little smile as he gave her the prize. She is such a funny little thing some times, and gets rather shy and embarrassed when the spotlight is turned on her. But she was very excited to get the sand toys and told us all about how she would use them when we went to the beach and would we be going to the beach today? No? How about tomorrow? Would we be going to the beach tomorrow?
After church we headed over to Danielle and Ben's to have lunch with them and their daughter Amelie. Ben put together a great egg hunt that kept them hunting for a good twenty minutes while Danielle soothed our weary souls with a fabulous frittata and chocolate-dipped fruit. We even got some cute pictures of all the kids together on the couch - no small feat given the amount of sucrose coursing through them.
Back home for a nap. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Sorry, let me get a hold of myself. Ahem. Back home to spend a few hours lying on the couch desperately trying to catch some sleep in the 10 second intervals between telling the kids to stop talking! and go to sleep already! I mean it! Right now!
Finally on to dinner with the family. I could write an entire book on this dinner and countless holiday dinners like it, but I figure you have families so you probably know the drill. All I can say is let these experiences be a lesson to you, so that one day when your daughter or daughter-in-law shows up with teary-eyed cranky children high on sugar and actively craving more you won't take that opportunity to remind her of the importance of sticking to a regular sleep schedule but will instead lead her to the couch and get her a margarita. Or maybe get her the margarita first.
Finally home, a quick bath to rinse away the sugar-coating, a few books, a few tantrums, and then.........sleep. At last the sugar coma kicked in, giving Brian and I a chance to exchange forlorn looks of love and longing before collapsing on to the bed. Ah, Easter. Is it really a whole year before we get to do this again?

Saturday, March 15, 2008


So, my wonderful friend Lauren started a blog in an effort to keep family and friends abreast of the current happenings in her life. Although she leads a very rich and fulfilling life where many interesting and noteworthy things happen to her every day, most of her blog has centered around the ever-changing miracle that is her son, Owen. As a fellow parent, I love getting lost in the minutiae of Owen's development, and as I was reading her last post it dawned on me that not only did this blog serve as a newsletter for aforementioned family and friends, but it was also a virtual scrapbook for Owen. I mean, all this stuff gets saved somewhere out there in the ether does it not? So when Owen is 15 and feels as though no one really understands him and thus no one truly loves him Lauren can bring up the March 3, 2008 post and say "This is the day I told the WORLD that you had learned how to sign cereal. I was that damn proud of you." And then he will snap out of his malaise and go on to be a productive citizen and a credit to his parents.

In that spirit I am starting this blog. So if you don't want to hear about the wonderfulness that is Jack, Cathryn and Ava Carlson you should probably stop reading now. Also, just as a warning, my writing skills pretty much reached their apex in 8th grade, so I wouldn't set my standards too high, if you know what I mean. And I think you do.