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May 27, 2010

Eggy Phase

Not too long ago, Adelaide was afraid of eggs. We would offer them to her to eat in a frittata, in a scramble, or boiled in a shell, and she would refuse. We would offer to let her crack the shells and release the gloppy insides over a butter-sugar mixture, and she would refuse. However, Adelaide would never refuse a chance to whisk an egg, so we were hopeful.

Apparently, all we needed to do to help Adelaide over her egg-phobia was to add a little heat with a splash of independence (however, closely monitored). I don't know when you first learned to make a batch of scrambled eggs, but I was certainly older than four. Just imagine the possibilities!

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Now it's eggs for breakfast, everyday!

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May 23, 2010

Outnumbered at church

I volunteered to do some of the Bible readings at our new church, Zion Lutheran, because it's a duty that's easy for me and one that I enjoy. Alternatives included making the strange and unique beverage known as church basement coffee (although our fellowship hall isn't in the basement, the "coffee" tastes and smells exactly like the stuff made in the basement of the Methodist church I grew up in), playing in the bell choir (I loathe bell choirs: "Look! It took 15 people three weeks of practice to bing and bong out a song that our organist could sight-read more melodically!") and arranging flowers for the altar.

This Sunday I was excited to be asked to read the story of the Tower of Babel (awesome) and the story of Pentecost (very entertaining stuff with the speaking in tongues and one of the rare truly funny parts of the Bible when some of the gathered crowds conclude that the disciples are just drunk). The one catch: it's Aimee's weekend to work.

Well, I wanted to do the readings, so my plan was to let Henry happily play in the nursery while Adelaide demonstrated what a mature and independent 4-year-old she was by sitting by herself in the pew during the readings.

We rolled out of bed at 6 and left for church at 7:45. During the drive Adelaide and I hammered out our plan:
Me: "We'll sit in the very front so that you'll be just a few feet away from me."
Adelaide: "And I'll be able to see you the whole time. And there won't be any other people around me."
Me: "Right. No, wait, there will be other people, but they'll be friendly Lutherans from our church."
Adelaide: "And if they try and talk to me I'll just walk away."
Me: "That'll be fine."
Adelaide: [munching cereal out of a zip-lock bag] "This cereal is tickling my bottom."

It was as I was helping her out of the car seat that I understood that cryptic cereal comment: beneath her flowery frock, Adelaide wasn't wearing any panties. Surprisingly, this rarely happens on days when I'm in charge of getting the kids dressed, but this morning's preparations had been a little frantic. The churchbells began to ring, and we scrambled inside to get our front-row pew.

After taking possession of a third of the pew with a few dozen pounds of kid crap, we hustled Henry downstairs to the nursery. Which was dark and closed. The door helpfully listed the schedule with the name of the volunteer who had, apparently, failed to show up for nursery duty. Charitable thoughts, I reproved myself as we scrambled back up the stairs to reclaim our pew. No doubt Ms. C_ is down in Louisiana scrubbing off oil-slicked sea birds, or visiting a sick family member in the hospital or... nursing a bad hangover. Charitable thoughts!

The congregation was already murmuring its way through the opening hymn as we finally sat down, my cue was coming up quickly. Henry busied himself with grabbing and throwing all the collection envelopes tucked neatly in a slot right at toddler level as I cast my eye about the congregation for an emergency baby sitter. We're friendly with several youngish families in the church, unfortunately we tend to make friends with talented and active people. Jeff was playing trumpet, J.P., Sara, Anne, and Nate were all in the choir, the Z's were playing hooky. I was running out of ideas. Could Henry just play happily in the pew with Adelaide for a few minutes? I had visions of his rapidly retreating rump crawling up the aisle as I interrupted Acts with a shouted, "Somebody grab that kid!"

Suddenly, pastor P whispered, "Joel!" Holding Henry, I stood up and walked to the lectern. I turned and faced the congregation. They looked at Henry, and Henry grinned at them. Then I turned again and handed him to Pastor P, who had the grace to say, "Thanks!" and give Henry a tickle. The congregation chuckled, and I began to read. I rolled through the Tower story and paused while the choir sang a short anthem. Adelaide was sitting perfectly still, biting her lower lip and refusing to look at me. Keep your legs together, I silently urged her. As the anthem finished I heard a giggle behind me. It was Henry, playfully trying to rip off pastor P's mustache. I managed not to rush through the Pentecost story, took my baby back, and returned to the pew. "Adelaide, you were so brave!" I whispered to her. She clutched at me and sniffed a little bit.

The rest of the service was the usual one-parent-two-restless-kids wrestling and shushing match. Afterward, people were appreciative of the reading and full of compliments for the kids. Arriving home, I staggered in and deposited Henry and our gear on the floor, on my way to a long-postponed bathroom break. Flipping on the lights I was confronted by a toilet paper dispenser rakishly decorated with a pair of little girl panties.

May 20, 2010

For All the World's

I remember with a vivid sense memory the first time that I stood on a stage ... From my high school theatre stage to the Guthrie stage at Vineland Place and all those in between and after, I remember all what it feels like to bask in the stunning warmth of the lights, to feel the quiet yawn of the empty rows, to feel the potential quality of the stage's space and time. To stand on an empty stage is to imagine, to wonder, to be and to play.

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Today, we hiked with a group of preschoolers from the Iowa City Public Library down Linn Street to the Englert Theatre. Adelaide, skipping and hopping most of the way, was full of anticipation to see the stage and theatre. We walked into the empty theatre and were invited to march right up on stage! We listened to the librarian read a story and then danced around on stage for a half hour.

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Adelaide cried when it was time to leave ... a little sniffly with a cold today, a little hungry, a little tired, but mostly sad, she said, "because I want to stay and do a play."

Me, too, Adelaide.

May 17, 2010

Cute!

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I made kitchen chair cushions today! Ha!

So, a few weeks ago, I was at my mom's house. We were in her little craft room and she pulled out a table runner that she'd pieced together (my mom's an expert quilter) and said, "So, is this fabric you?"

"Absolutely!" I said.

So much so, in fact, that we drove to Gruber's straightaway to pick up more of it. Fifty dollars, more of it.

In these weeks following the purchase I've worried about the fabric. I've worried that the darling, expensive fabric would sit and gather dust in the closet. I've worried that eventually I'd forget about the fabric and it would become food or nests for nocturnal house creatures.

Worries, begone!

It took me six hours - over the course of two weeks - to make these little chair cushions. I owe big thanks to my mom's Kenmore, Sew, Mama, Sew!, and a bit of my own cleverness and spatial sense.

Now what shall I do with the leftover fabric? Hmmm ...

May 16, 2010

Eat, Sleep, and Dog Park

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Life these days pretty much revolves around the dog park. Feely probably has the most fun, but everybody finds something wonderful about the trip.

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We all love marching across the big Iowa River dam bridge and looking at the water rush and fall below our feet. From his usual perch on Joel's back, Henry says one word, "Dog," the entire trip.

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Once we're at the park, Adelaide patiently waits for Feely and her friends to finish using the sand pit and then settles in for a good dig. Note in the above snapshot that Adelaide is spelling her name in the sand, right to left.

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And of course, Nine enjoys the privacy and silence of a dog-free home during our family forays to the park, if only for an hour or two.