Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Keeping up with the Big Girls

Not to be outdone by her sister, here is Jenna, complete with costume, shoes and hair...

(Sorry it's sideways!! I am trying to fix this.)

Monday, February 25, 2008


Where have I been? My goodness... it's been a long time since I've written... mostly thanks to a lovely stomach bug that kept me in bed for an entire day and made me very tired all weekend. But I am mostly back in action and what a whirlwind of activity I was... I got the girls up, dressed, and Michaela on the school bus, talked to my mom and Dan on the phone, paid bills, RSVP'd for a father/daughter dance for M and Dan to go to next month, checked out the new Bed, Bath and Beyond store in town, mailed away a package to a friend (Carrie, be watching your mailbox!!), wrote some emails, made a dentist appointment for Jenna, refilled prescriptions for flouride for the girls, made haircut appointments for the three females in the house for next week, heard all about Valerie Bertinelli's life on Oprah, bought a book of stamps, caught up on my favorite blogs, enjoyed a salad at McDonald's, and videotaped Jenna doing her own rendition of "Bop to the Top" while wearing Michaela's blue dress AND the silver shoes (hoping to post that soon!).

That's why I love Mondays... a fresh start to the week.

We had a nice weekend... Michaela wanted to do a Project on Sunday so we headed down to Walmart and bought various craft supplies and made finger puppets out of an old glove. Each finger represents one of us in our family, complete with yarn hair and ribbon and felt clothing. It was fun to do and got out some of my creative energy.
Dan did a Project on Sunday, too: he put a little WD40 on a creaky hinge on his armoire and now it is silent as night. Heaven. For years that hinge has woke me up every morning as Dan is getting dressed and I am trying to eke out my last 30 minutes of sleep before Jenna, my human alarm clock, wakes up and starts crying.

Sometimes it is the smallest of things that brings such great joy.

Other highlights:
- Saw Michael Clayton and LOVED, loved, loved, loved it. Go rent it. Tonight.
- Saw House of Sand and Fog and liked it but was very haunted by it. What a tragic story.
- Finished reading a Judy-recommended book, Abide with Me, and loved it. It's about a 1950's rural New England minister who is coping with the loss of his wife a year before. A great book about small towns and crises of faith.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Today in the car I was listening to a beautiful song by The Roches, who, incidently, are performing in Albany at the end of the month and my dad and I are going to see from the fourth row. The song is called "Instead I Chose" and is not only hauntingly beautiful but also thought provoking: what are the choices you've made in your life? What have you missed out on? What have you embraced? Here are some lyrics:

I had that chance to fall in love
the thing is
I didn't think it was worth it anymore
responsibilities spoke louder, I guess
instead I chose to walk the other way
and be here
I had that chance to leave this mess
but isn't it funny
how I stayed put
saddled up and harnessed
caught horse
instead I chose to call it love
this hard drive
I am riding into the sunset.

I tried one day when we were listening to this song in the car to explain to Michaela that she has the choice to do and be anything she wants to be in life and what an exciting opportunity that is. To me, that is one of the best things about having children... instilling the idea that anything is possible to them through dedication, hard work and blessings from God.

I then started thinking about my choices: my spouse, my job, my house, my church, my friends, my time, my life. How did I get to where I am today? How did it turn out that today I did the things I did? (It was VERY exciting- fed my kids, made beds, did laundry, talked on the phone to Dan and my mom, got dressed, drove Michaela to VBS, talked with some other moms, went grocery shopping, wrote this blog entry.)

Can you think of five choices you've made that have brought you to were you are today?

I've got to believe that the biggest choice that impacted my life today is going to Plattsburgh for college... I changed my major there, met my husband there and set the course for my life. The rest seems to have happened out of that framework. Had I gone somewhere else, I may have ended up doing something more high-powered than social work, not met Dan, gone to get advanced degrees beyond my Master's Degree, not had children, lived in a more urban setting. Or maybe not. Would I be happier? Dissatisfied? Empty? Fulfilled? Richer? Poorer? Thinner? Fatter?

Food for thought... what got you to where you are today?
I'd love to hear any and all thougths you have.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Uppers and Downers

Upper: Nothing in this world tastes better to me than the mixture of tastes in McDonald's french fries dipped in the BBQ sauce followed by a swig of a chocolate shake. Salty, crunchy, greasy, tangy, sweet frosty goodness.

Downer: Went to Walmart the other day. Picked out a cart. One of the front wheels refused to turn. Nothing makes me feel more like an overindulged, white, middle class, suburban, pampered whiner than complaining about how annoying my cart was to push at Walmart....but it WAS really annoying.

So this week is vacation week for Michaela. We've had a very nice break so far... we're all in good spirits and playing well together. Yesterday we had a playdate with the Strauss boys and then hit McD's for lunch. We went out to dinner with my parents, who returned from a weekend trip to see Miss Kate in Michigan. Today is playgroup with Michaela as a guest attendee and then Michaela is going to our church's vacation Bible school program for the next three afternoons. They have a wrap-up program on Thursday night that's always fun to see.
We're setting up some more playdates and fun things to do as well. It is so nice to not have to worry about lunches, homework, picking out outfits, etc. for the week... it's fun just to hang loose!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Lip Sync!!

Yay! Lip Sync 2008 was last night and it was a great success! 34 groups of kids - that's about 200 kids- from Michaela's elementary school performed two and a half minute songs each and the audience, filled with parents, grandparents, siblings and friends, who welcomed every act. Most groups were all girls or all boys and they differed greatly: most of the girl groups were highly choreographed with lots of dancing and synchronized moves while the boy groups tended to rely more on jumping up and down and sliding on their knees to the edge of the stage.

It was a packed house, as you can imagine, with eager family members three or four deep standing up in the back of the filled auditorium. We got there an hour early to get a good seat and my Christian values were tested as a woman on crutches approached our row. I had specifically chosen an end seat so I could video and take pictures unobstructed. As our row was filling in, a family member of the woman with crutches asked her, "Do you want to sit on the end?" and I thought, "No!! NO!! I've dragged my kid to four weeks' worth of rehearsals for this moment and I am going to see it from the aisle! ...But... I really should give her the seat if she needs it...Please don't say yes. Please don't say yes." But before I had to decide, the woman on crutches very nimbly took a seat down our row. Problem solved.

The last group was the staff of the school doing "Be True to Your School", complete with the principal doing a rockin' guitar solo. It was a great way to end the night. We got there at 5:30pm and left at 9:15pm (yes, that's over two and a half HOURS of lip sync-ing), so you can imagine we all were ready for bed when we got home.

So, without further ado, here are pictures of Michaela before the show:
And with much excitement, I offer you video of the Big Performance -Michaela is second from the left:

I love the Internet!

We were so proud of M and the work she put into it. It's not easy to perform in front of 450+ people when you're six years old.

Great job, Michaela!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Religious Revelations

We are at church last night for the Wednesday Lenten service. We go up for communion; Michaela is kneeling on my left and Jenna is standing on my right. The host is offered to me and I eat it. The assistant comes around with the tray of little cups and says, "This is the blood of Christ, shed for you."

Horrified, Michaela snaps her head towards me and says, "That's BLOOD??!!??"

"No," I whisper. "It's wine."

Why she was tuned in last night to this after coming to the communion rail every two weeks for the last six and a half years, I'll never know.

As we were walking away, she whispers to me, "That wine kinda stinks."

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Ode to Winter

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Re: Christmas Decorations

To: The World
From: Cheryl

It's February 9th.
Take down the Christmas wreaths, trees, bows, yard signs, kissing balls, icicle lights and garland.
It's also time to put away the faded-paint-covered hollow plastic illuminated nativity sets.
The Christmas season will be back in 8 months and you can enjoy it again then.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Related story: When I was about 13, my mom made me call our local nursery/greenhouse and ask if they had kissing balls. I was completely mortified just saying the word "balls" to a stranger (now I know that everything at 13 is mortifying). It is a famous story in our family and I bring it up every year as further evidence of my Dickinsonian childhood.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Too much tv, too much time

So the other day while holding Jenna during her nap I was flicking between two shows: the 1949 Little Women movie and VH1's Rock of Love 2 and I giggled to myself. I may have been the ONLY person in America watching both at the same time.

For the uninitiated, Rock of Love is a reality show in which Bret Michaels, former frontman of the 1980's rock band Poison, is looking for love by "dating" a bunch of women who are all living together in the same house. They are mostly strippers. They get drunk, try to make out with Bret, and if he likes them, he gives them a pass at the end of the episode and asks each one- I am not making this up- "Will you stay and continue to rock my world?" (notice the band/music theme going on here?). It's horrifying and addicting and terribly cheesy and represents all that is wrong with pop culture at the same time.
I like to get fashion tips from the girls.

In the same vein, last night I flicked between African American Lives (Henry Louis Gates traces the geneology of famous African Americans with astouding results) and Project Runway, which usually isn't too trashy but last night they were designing outfits for wrestling divas of the WWE. Lots of sequins, lots of gold and silver lame` and lots of spandex.
And lots of fake boobs.
Again, fashion tips were plentiful.

Please, please end the Writers' strike.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Reality vs. Dreams

Here's what we've been up to this week:

Michaela did great at gymnastics. And looked great doing it.

Jenna played with her babies.

These are the ones in the Daily Rotation.


Mommy unleashed her inner elementary school teacher by organizing a fraction of our arts and crafts supplies. I also bought bins for the babies and their clothes and bottles and diapers and wipes and food and bibs but Jenna cried and told me the babies most certainly do NOT want to go into a bin. So I put a blanket in the bottom of it and made it soft and cushy and "see how much the babies like it now?" and that was okay.

Mommy also spent alot of time this week on attitude adjustments and explaining that just because Mommy is the Mommy, she is no one's servant and everyone needs to pay attention when she speaks and not blow her off and be grateful for what Mommy does for us. We also worked on tone of voice and speaking kindly to each other.

Especially when talking to Mommy.

Mommy was kind of cranky this week.

Mommy needs another 12 hour cropping day. Or a day on a warm beach. Or a week on a warm beach with Daddy and lots of spa services.

A girl can dream.