Of friends and 40 and La Ti Da

I’m driving to Chicago tomorrow morning to meet up with my two oldest friends: Renee and Viv. We all turn 40 within a two-month span, so we thought a weekend celebration was in order.

Booyah!

While there, I’ll also be meeting an online friend for dinner.

Much to look forward to, yes.

I shall miss the boys, though. I was just away at the end of last month, so this seems so soon. I love having time to myself. As an only child, I’m quite used to it really. The “me” time. It goes by the wayside once parenthood roosts and ya gotta take it when you can get it. Yet the moment I hit I-96, I know I’m going to be pining for the kiddo. He’ll be in great hands with Daddy, though.

And, speaking of friends, as I was in the beginning of this post, my friend Greg is in the midst of some awesomeness lately. He’s the drummer for the local band The Icicles and also a co-worker at one of my clients. One of the band’s songs was chosen for a Motorola commercial earlier this year and now, coolness, another song is powering up a Target ad. “La Ti Da” is one of Devin’s favorite songs, in fact. (Believe me, I’ve listened to it often enough. Demanding boy that he is.) So take a gander at the ad and get your happy on!

What do you need?

I started packing last night. I decided that I wouldn’t leave it for the last minute this time. And I was doing quite well with the endeavor before half of the electricity in our house went out during a storm. The half that controlled the lights in the bedroom.

I’m very excited. Heading to Colorado Springs to meet a friend I’ve known online for about two years. We have scads in common and she and her daughters have all sorts of plans for my visit.

It will be nice to relax. I get in moments of relaxation in my regular life, yes. Brief respites to flip through a catalog, read a chapter of a book, or stroll with the dog along a leafy street.

Yet as a parent of one 3-year-old and three pets, I feel like I always have to be on. There’s a constant flow of neediness in my household. Need for more milk. Need for a tissue for a runny nose. Need for a walk to the dog park. Need for cat food right now, please. Need for help pulling up shorts after going pee-pee. Need for a discussion of the merits of dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets. Need for a second participant in Stop and Go. Need for someone to open the door when the other dogs in the neighborhood are barking and mine doesn’t want to be left out. Need for someone to turn on the faucet so the felines can drink some extra-fresh water instead of the merely fresh water in their water bowl.

I love all four of these beings (as well as the handsome grown-up being who also shares our house). I love them to bits and pieces.

It’s just that sometimes I want to be standing in my kitchen without a single set of eyes looking at me imploringly. For just five minutes. I want to make myself a sandwich without having to stop in the middle to refill a cup of milk or let the dog back in or shoo naughty cats off of tables where they don’t belong.

So I shall have that for a few days.

And within mere hours of being alone and free, whether during the flight or after I’ve landed and am chatting happily with Laura, I’ll be missing them terribly. I’ll want to be needed again. I’ll be reaching for my cell phone to call and check on them. The stinkers.

Parched

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It’s still hot here. We had one day of relief, and finally some rain, before the temps shot into the 90s again today. Our grass is brown and it’s hard not to feel a bit wilted. Still, we do manage to have some outdoor fun. Tonight, before I started dinner, Dev and I hit the semi-shady front yard for a “game” of baseball, which turned into me chasing the stray bouncy ball into the road over and over again.

After dinner, the family hopped into the Honda mobile and headed to nearby Collins Park for a romp in the greener grass. Devin zipped all over the place, working up his trademark sweat, while Scott and I took turns trying to corral him. Juliette was just happy to be included. The poor thing has missed a few walks in this steamy weather.

More rain in the forecast for tomorrow. We so need it. It’s truly been a long, hot summer.

I am surrounded!

I’m a light sleeper. One of my prerequisites in a guy was that he not snore. And Scott seemed to fit the bill quite nicely. (Well, except when he went out and had a few drinks.)

After we brought Maggie home, though, things changed. My peaceful evenings were gone. Yet I couldn’t complain because I’m the one who brought a cat into the home of a guy who was allergic to cats. I figured the resulting snoring was my lot in life because of that inconsiderate gesture. So I went out and bought a set of earplugs.

But right now, as I type, my 3-year-old is in his room, sawing logs.

What did I ever do to him?

Leaving on a jet plane

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I woke up this morning with some crappy laryngitis-type thing with a raspy voice and a sore throat. I worked for several hours before giving up and just coming home to rest. But nap or no, the throat was still achy when the boys got home tonight.

So what better cure than a popsicle? A popsicle eaten on the deck along with my buddy, that is. We sat and chatted while we polished off our icy treats in the summer breeze. Then Devin gathered up our discarded wrappers and popsicle sticks, balled them up and announced, “Time to go to the airport!”

Wah?

So I asked him why we were going to the airport.

“So you can fly on the plane, Momma. I already put your milk in your camera bag and your camera in there too. So you all ready!”

Smile from me. “Where am I going, baby? On the plane?”

“You going to see Daddy and then come right back here.”

“But Daddy is here, sweetie. He’s just at the dog park right now.”

“You going to fly all the way to the dog park, then fly back here to be with me.”

Sounds like a plan!

All around town

I love Saturdays. At least the ones where we have the time and inclination to get out and about and take advantage of what our city has to offer.

Yesterday we did. We breakfasted at Brandywine in Eastown and then headed over to the tres-crowded Fulton Farmer’s Market for some fresh strawberries.

When we got home, I had an email from Kara asking if we wanted to meet up at the Eastown Bizarre Bazaar. Heck, yeah! We’ve been Flickr pals for months, but we’ve never managed to get together in person. So this was our chance! We met up with the entire family and watched Devin and the girls zoom around crazily while Karisa Wilson played an excellent set. It was HOT, but we had some shade and some slushies. Kara is so sweet. Her whole family is. I’m so glad we made this work and I can’t wait to do it again.

Afterward, despite the zooming about, or maybe in spite of it, Devin refused to nap. So we went with our original plan and drove our little posse out to Muskegon to enjoy our first dog-beach outing of the year. The dog was happy. The boy was happy. I think the dad was happy too. And I always get a kick out of our visits. We even reconnected with an old dog-park friend. Although our car is now full of sand.

Check out the Bizarre Bazaar pics.
Kara posted some too.

As for the beach, this one’s my fave. Happy Father’s Day to you, Scott!

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Six years and one day

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We tied the knot on June 9, 2001, in Seal Harbor, Maine.

The wedding was supposed to take place on Little Hunter’s Beach in Acadia National Park. But the stairs were being repaired!

I didn’t handle that set-back all that well. Especially coupled with the fact that the Bar Harbor town clerk refused to issue us a marriage license because Scott didn’t bring his social security card along. Even though the clerk in Northeast Harbor had no reservations about it. (We got two to cover our butts.)

I had a bit of a meltdown that day.

I’m surprised Scott married me at all after the drama. Heck, I produce drama pretty much daily around these parts. Today’s included getting my head whacked really hard by the skull of a three-year-old, followed up by tripping over a plastic school bus in the living room and smashing my toes very hard, then crying in frustration as my cat threw up for the fourth time this week. Yada, yada, yada.

Yet even though our wedding seemed slightly doomed the evening before, the next day was one of the most perfect of my life. I was happy and carefree and excited. The back-up location proved to be a likely better spot than the first would have been. Scott wrote some killer vows that were both endearing and funny and so very Scott. And then we had a wonderful reception with the 20 people who joined us that day in Maine. I go back to that day so often in my mind, remembering how perfect it was.

So somehow, regardless of the drama, the two of us prevail. Happy day after our anniversary, Scotty! I had so much fun on our date night in Kalamazoo, and I’ll miss you while you’re away this week. Smooch!

The places we meet

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I have two friends who met on the Internet and have been married for nearly seven years. Happily. But everyone winces when they hear “we met on the Internet” stories. The headlines always blare out the bad stuff that happens.

So where’s this going?

Well, I’ve found myself meeting a few people of my own on the Internet lately. No, not anyone who’s going to break up my marriage. Most of these people are fellow moms who I share parenting fun and challenges with. Oh, and kid photos too. I’ve also met a very nice gentleman who’s a Korean-American adoptee and who connected with me through my stories about Devin. (Hi, Patrick!)

So, yeah, there are some very cool relationships that can be made online. And they don’t have to be of the hot-n-heavy variety.

One of these friends came to town with her family this weekend. Sarah lives in Chicago and I completely forget exactly how I came across her, but it was on Flickr. So last fall, when we were Chicago-bound for the weekend, I asked her if she’d be interested in meeting up so our kids could hang out. And us too, of course. I read her blog regularly and she has a lot of very wise and informed opinions to share.

It was really great to meet the family in person. Cadence and Devin bebopped to some dance music as Superman and Miss Kitty Cat. It was a short visit, but a nice one.

So when Sarah emailed me that they were coming to GR, I was very much up for another chance to get together. This time we had a bit more time to chat. And the kids had a lot more time to run. Run, run, run! I’m used to having Scott to help me corral Dev as he rockets from Point A to Point B, but he had a work trip. Luckily the romping was done mainly on the grounds of Frederik Meijer Gardens, a very safe haven for exploring. I believe the young twosome had a grand time boating, digging and climbing. And did I mention running?

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SeaWorld = Hell

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Can you believe I actually payed $10 so the kids could feed dead fish to these fellas?

We’re baaaaack!

Let me just share some advice with anyone heading down to Orlando any time soon. Do not. Do not. Do not take a sleep-deprived three-year-old, a petulant five-year-old, and a non-commital 11-year-old to a theme park teeming with thousands of other screaming kids and clueless parents. It’s a guaranteed recipe for a tension-filled experience.

I almost threw them all into the tank with Shamu. Almost.