Sunday, October 25, 2009

My fourth child

This is Kevin James. Not Mike. But when Kevin James is on tv, Gianni shouts, "daddy!" and points at the screen. And this is Kevin James' wife, I think her name is Stephania. Also not me. But I can pretend.

Even with squinty eyes, we're pretty cute. Dontcha see the resemblance? Well, dontcha? From now on I will only answer to Stephania.

Getting a christmas tree last year. Well, of course it was last year, even I won't get one as early as the end of October! Only because it's illegal though.

This is the consequence, oh manly men, of having daughters.

This was Daddy with Cora. Obviously several years ago. Sniff. Snort. Uncontrollable weeping.

Reading to his girls. Blubber. Sob. Bawl.

Easter with Anna like, a million years ago.

Home improving: Up next - how to hold open windows with everyday household objects!

To be fair now, he was the one who suggested I name this post what I did.
Mike came galloping in on his white steed close to a dozen years ago now. Yikes, how did so much time go by?! Most of you know this story, but humor me while I tell it anyway. The first time he asked me out was kind of an accident. I was 19. He was...ahem, older than 19. I was standing talking to a friend and he came sauntering up, all casual like, and asked HER to go out with him that Saturday. She said no. She walked away. We were left standing there in awkward silence. A tumble weed tumbled by. Crickets chirped. He cleared his throat and proceeded to confirm my paranoid suspicions that I am every one's second choice in life (a disease that happens when you are Laryssa's Sister) by asking me if I was busy on Saturday night. Now I remembered him from a barbq we both went to earlier that year and I thought he was nice and good to his niece who he had brought (good with children is always sexy), but I also was of the opinion that he was a bit loud and ornery for my tastes. But what do we know about me, readers? I am incapable of the word no. Besides, who wants to see a grown man get shot down twice in two minutes? So I said yes. And we went out.
The First Date: homemade pizza, Easter basket assemblies for church kids, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It was fun. Monty is always fun. But no love at first date for either of us.
The Second Date: tennis and a picnic. Also fun. More fun than The First Date. I am athletically challenged and playing any form of a sport in front of any form of a human is very stressful for me. I would rather chew off my own eyebrows. Luckily for me, my date was also disastrous at tennis and we spent the whole time dodging each other's tennis balls (and fly away rackets) and laughing and generally annoying the other couple we were playing with, who actually were interested in the game. I remember thinking when he was untangling the racket from my hair, "This guy is kind."
The Third Date: was actually a phone call. See, he worked with The Boy Scouts of America (let's hear it for culottes!!) and had taken a bunch of miniature men up to the mountains for several weeks to do whatever it is miniature men do in the mountains for several weeks. And he called me to ask if he could take me to the upcoming fair. We talked for two hours. I think 1 and 3/4 hours was flirting.
The Fourth Date: the fair. He says he held my hand but I don't remember this. Isn't he sweet and old fashioned? I do remember going out for frozen yogurt afterwards and he sang something in German while we were ordering. I was thinking it was a bit embarrassing until the waitress winked at me and said, "You better keep him." Little did I know how much public singing that man would put me through.
I don't remember all the dates after that, just know that we were joined at the hip. He used to leave me notes at the coffee shop where I worked and do all sorts of mooshy romantic things, which are mostly wasted on me. I either don't notice (unless it's public singing) or I confess to rather having something more practical than roses and a handwritten poem, like a blender. So a perfectly romantic chivalrous man is wasted on me, I know.
Since then, he has given me three curtain climbers, two doggies, several homes, lotsa memories. We've been through less hard times than most, and more than some. He is always and forever there for me, faithful and funny and dorky and romantic. He stills sings publicly and he still enjoys embarrassing me. I wish I could remove his love for football and replace it with a love for home improvement, mad scientist style. He lets me hog the bed. He watches dancing programs with me. He has musicals on his Ipod. Whoops, how did that get in there? He is currently looking for a job. I'm considering pasting this blog post into his resume... would that be a little too like the Doris Roberts character from Everybody Loves Raymond? I think employers would understand and be grateful. He could do Kevin James impressions at the water cooler - very important for moral. He lets me drag him on idealistic family outings where it's all fun and games until someone gets an eye poked out. He thinks I'm Super Woman. This is great until I get really tired and have to smack him and say, "I am not Super Woman!" and then he babies me until I get over it.
Love you, my jungle stud!
Kisses, Stephania.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Gianni Be Good

Around these here parts, Gianni is more of a verb. You know, like when the Dixie Chicks opened their big mouths and said stuff and then it backfired on them and became a term afterwards, like, "whoa, man, you don't want to get Dixie Chicked, dude." Well, you don't want to get Gianni-ed either.

Because bad stuff happens. A lot of it involves the dog. And his food.

Sometimes it involves his water bowl. We are nothing if not flexible in our naughtiness.

And when that gets dull, things like this happen.

Or this lovely number. My wedding ring and a binki are floating around in there as well but they aren't as visible as the upside down lighthouse figurine, sticking out the side (wouldn't fit no matter how hard he jammed it in there).

Ahhh, this is a particular favorite. He leaves his calling card, a bit like a serial killer leaving a red rose at the scene of the crime. He taunts the police, er, parents.

I'm not including photo evidence of this mornings adventure though. He managed to wrestle off the so-called (ha!) child proof cap to a brand spankin' new bottle of Nyquil. It was the cherry flavor. It looked like the scene of a particularly brutal massacre in my kitchen. Or childbirth. In any case, it wasn't suitable for the camera, and besides, I was trying to determine whether or not to call poison control. Add to that that I am OUT OF PAPER TOWELS. I don't know who's been wasting my precious paper babies with reckless abandon around here but it has got to stop. On the bright side though, the doped up little gremlin took the best nap EVER.

Gianni David is a sweet pea though. Really. He is. Deep, deep down inside. Sometimes I tackle him for a cuddle and once I crush him beneath me and grab both his dirty little paws so he can't pull my hair, it's a lovely cuddle. He's a busy little guy and it's a good thing he's so handsome - people will let him live longer. You can't stay mad at a 24 inch tall Brad Pitt, can you? I didn't think so. Here are some things about Gianni.

We call him Luigi sometimes. This is because his great grandmother thought we named him that. It was never on the table of options for his name, but that's ok. She wrote it in her birthday book right next to his birthday, so, she says, it must be true. We must have named him that and in a strange fit of amnesia, forgot what we named him and renamed him Gianni. Actually his name came about because 1. it's Italian. 2. Mike hated, loathed, despised, wanted to set fire to every other name of the male persuasion I came up with during pregnancy, and if he kept that up I was going to set fire to HIM. So when I suggested Gianni and he didn't make gagging noises, it stuck. 3. It's unusual, but not so unusual that people avoid us in life. 4. We found out later that Mike actually has an uncle Gianni. This is the story and I swear to heaven I am not making this up: uncle Gianni has never worked a day in his life and is very, very rich. We also have an uncle Vinny. Nope. Not kidding. So watch yourselves, people, we have ties. Ferghettaboutit!

He watches too much television. I blame... ok, I blame myself. But he's an early riser and that's about all we can do with him at 6 am: pop something in the vcr and slobber into our coffee for an hour or so. He loves Veggietales, The Jungle Book, Cars, Finding Nemo, and Ice Age. All of which I now despise because I know them backwards, forwards, front and back, inside out, and sideways. I tried throwing in some romantic comedies, but they were a no go. Typical man. And I take that back, that part about despising Veggietales. No one could despise Veggietales. Where else can you find The Boys in the Sink singing the Bellybutton Song? Or The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything? Or bible stories told like a western bible story with french peas? Or The Pizza Angel? Or The Lord of the Beans, starring Toto Baggypants and the evil Sporks (those unnatural hybrid creations between a spoon and a fork). Nowhere, I tell you.

He can climb to great heights. I don't mean that in a "oh my sweet baby can do anything he wants in life," no, I mean literally there is no high surface the monkey can't figure out a way onto. Yesterday he was microwaving all my pot holders on the Baked Potato setting. Not impressive unless you understand that it's an under the counter microwave and that he had to first get up on that counter, and then precariously cross the surface of the stove on his fat little piggies, and somehow manage to pull open the nuker's handle which by all the laws of gravity promise, should have flung him into space.

He talks, but not in your garden variety English. This is occasionally a problem because when he talks he expects you to repeat him. You know, so he knows you got it. No "hmmm, uh huh, interesting" or noncommittal sounds will do. You must repeat what he just told you, word for word. If he shouts, "ig oooooo uck!" you'd better quickly reply, "big blue truck!" There normally will be a big blue truck at this juncture, which certainly helps. If you can't however figure out what it is he's foaming at the mouth about, and there are no trucks about, big, blue or otherwise, then things get sticky. You'll probably have to distract him with a lollipop or a handful of Alpo.

He is so addicted to his binki that when he doesn't have it, he still goes to remove it before taking a sip of water. It's like a tic. I know, you think this is terrible, but I find it hilarious. So sue me, tics are funny.

One of his favorite things to do lately is to put on Sugarland's song "All I Wanna Do" and play his air guitar and sing. I tried to videotape it but he wouldn't cooperate. Also he was naked and maybe it was only his mother who would find that sight irresistibly delectable. I had to abandon the camcorder and tackle him.

He knows a lot of his colors!! I had to put that in for bragging rights, and also because it makes me feel like less of a failure as a homeschool mom. Ok, yeah, maybe we are STILL working on memorizing the times tables for like, the 3489365.847623 month in a row, but my not quite two year old can point out blue, green, red, orange, and purple. Or boo, 'een, wed, owag, and purple. Purple is easily pronounceable for a baby apparently.
There's probably more, but I'm suddenly very, very tired. I think I'll lick what's left of the Nyquil off the floor and go take a nap.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Even the cooks and janitors get a day off at school, right?

I get two days off, folks! That's right, the female offspring and the two that I actually claim to homeschool, are spending quality time with their dad on the road and won't be back until tomorrow. That gives me two days off! I'm just really excited. I don't have to explain the paradoxes of improper fractions or spell phalanges or anything that at all resembles education (not that we resemble it much anyway, even on a good day). I could so totally watch soap operas if I were so inclined (I'm not). I can clean the girl's room according to MY specifications (evil chortle). I could fold laundry while watching The View, like a good little stay-at-home mom (I'd rather slit my wrists with a plastic spoon). I could work on my parenthesis' addiction (but, why?)

I love homeschooling. I will say it again, thus convincing my inner voice who is being pesky and meddlesome again. I love homeschooling. But sometimes...just sometimes...I get a little envious of moms who get a seven hour break every day. I'm sure it's not as glorious as it sounds, but when you're trying to read aloud from Betsy-Tacy and renew it online and wash underpants and plan dinner and listen to some spelling and answer a text message and pull a toddler out of the toilet and and kiss a booboo and wipe up spills and empty the dishwasher and load the dishwasher and fret about bills, all at the same time, well, the grass looks awfully green and lush and inviting on that other side of the fence. Sometime the grass is full of happy singing meadow larks and has a picnic spread and waiting. With brie cheese.

So sometimes you have to take a break. And sometimes that break involves your children going on a trip without you. And sometimes that break includes Hagan Daaz 5 Brown Sugar ice cream. And it was good.

I would write more, but I have a lot of things to do today. Among them is a nap and a bath, although not necessarily in that order and not at the same time. Besides I have Anna's little tribute in my saved drafts somewhere, so I will post that as well. If it's too much reading, I don't blame you, you probably don't have the luxury of time today like I do. Maybe Mr Williams would take YOUR kids on a trip sometime; I highly recommend it.


Yes, I do have a toddler around here somewhere, and I will take care not to completely neglect the little dear. But after he's done terrorizing the dog, throwing his lunch, pee-ing on the hearth, losing his binkies, running naked outside, helping himself to a bath, eating dirt/sand/craft projects, making long distance phone calls, triumphantly running pellmell across the house with a potty chair seat full of ... well, you know what, THEN he takes a nap. And after the nap and after he repeats the morning's performances, THEN he goes to bed at 7. So really, it's an easy day for me, and did I mention I'm just really excited about it?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Annalise Rose is our bohemian, dramatic, hippy, little pint-sized actress. She's a mama's girl, and even at the age of almost 8, gets teary if I so much as go to the grocery store without her. She used to be the most antisocial little critter you ever saw; she was famous for her "stink eye" which she would turn on people at the drop of a hat. Now she's the most gregarious and social thing in our house (and don't forget, Mike lives here too). Here is Anna in a nutshell:

She loves old movies and musicals. If it's got songs, pretty dresses, a Jane Austen plot, or stars Shirley Temple, she's all over it. She was the only 3 year old I knew who would play Christine and Raul from The Phantom of the Opera, instead of something more child friendly, like Barbi and the magical singing unicorn.

She spent approximately one year of her life in fluffy costume dresses and a pair of moon boots.

She is the Queen of Random Thoughts and will share them frequently throughout the day. All our best and funniest kid stories are based on the things Anna says. A particular favorite: Anna at swim lessons at the age of 4, surfacing with a plastic ring on her head and announcing solemnly to everyone, "I am the angel of fear...!" Random and quite frankly, bizarre.

She is my picky eater. There are healthy options she likes - meatloaf, salsa, chili, spaghetti, a handful of veg - but her tastes change as quickly as the Wyoming weather. She is allowed 3 foods that I won't make her eat (and no, she doesn't get to change them daily).

She is extremely talkative. Especially if there are no other children to interrupt her, that kid can chat for days without coming up for air. She even talks in her sleep.

You cannot make her do anything she doesn't want to do. End of story. Period. The end. You could threaten her with a good tar and feathering and even follow through, but she still isn't going to eat that mushroom.

She has a totally goofy and screwball sense of humor. She also likes the creepy side of life, like Harry Potter and/or Nightmare Before Christmas and things of that nature. It's cute until she's standing over your bed like a vulture in the dead of the night because she can't sleep for fear of ghosts/monsters/spooktacular things.

She loves Taylor Swift and the soundtracks to Mamma Mia, Phantom, and Hairspray, and sings along loudly to them (but only when she doesn't know you're listening).

She is easily embarrassed and doesn't like trying anything new for fear of failing or being teased.

She likes to sew and paint and create. And everything she does she finds perfectly beautiful. She is also easily awed by anyone elses creations. And I don't think she is just being polite - she just sees things through artistic eyes.

She spent the first five years of life refusing to participate in story times, ballet classes, birthday parties, Sunday school, and now we can't get her out of those things.

She likes her role as Little Sister to Cora and never tries to usurp her. She's not a fan of responsibility. In fact, she'd probably like to hire someone to have responsibility for her.

She spoke in full sentences at 15 months old. She had no hair and was quite undersized for her age, so she used to terrify strangers by what came out of her mouth. She was like the feminine version of that talking baby on the E-trade commercials. I think it's E-trade. You know the ones.

She is very messy, klutzy, and has a tendency to walk into walls and furniture. Or fall off things. Or trip. Or suddenly fall over. Most of the time she shakes it off, but if she really does get hurt and there's blood involved, she'll start running around in frantic circles and it is REALLY hard to catch her. She's built low to the ground for speed.

In spite of being the girly one, we have a surprising amount of photos like the one above of her covered in dirt.

She has a blanket named Buttery. It used to be named Butterfly Blanket, but it got shortened over the years. Once I took it away as a punishment and she sat sobbing on her bed calling it, "Buttery! Come to me, Buttery!" She fully expected it to come flying through the air like Aladdin's magic carpet.

She is highly sentimental. She loves photos and photo albums and reminiscing. She saves everything because everything is "special" to her. This is why I periodically have to clean out her room when she's not at home, in order to rid it of gift bags, tags, envelopes, papers, rocks, feathers, and other treasures she can't part with. "But Mom, this was given to me by that one friend I had that one time in that one place, and it will always and forever remind me of that!"

Another Anna-ism for you: Cora informed her that she couldn't "grow up to be a princess." "Fine," she answered crossly, "Then I'll go with my other choice. I'll be a monkey."

She is highly suspicious. Unless you're a kid, you're going to have to prove yourself to her. Even then, she'll take everything you say with a grain of salt. And she can hold a grudge. Case in point; she once told her Papa (Grandpa Dave) that she "would ignore him forever!!!!" Most children would have forgotten the promise in a mere few moments, but not Anna. It was quite a long time before she spoke to him again (several months).

And that's why life with the Roosky is never dull!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The next three posts are going to be dedicated to my little munchkins, and why I love them so. First up, of course, is the first born.

Cora Nycole is my little passionate, independent, free thinker. She was born independent and passionate, and along with those traits comes a quick temper. She is typical of the eldest child, I think, in that she is obsessed with justice for all (but firstly for her) and in leading the way in all things. She doesn't mind bending her will to accommodate an older friend perhaps, but in the pecking order of her siblings, she does the pecking. She is passionate about a lot of things: her sis, her daddy, animals, knowledge, and nature, to name a few that spring to mind. She's a deep, deep sleeper, and a good eater. Her metabolism is crazy. Her energy is boundless. She's a video game diva. She's a very advanced reader, but prefers the funny books. She knows her role as The Big Sister and although she sometimes get annoyed at all the responsibility that role brings, mostly she fulfills the duty all day long (possibly because she figures no one else would fulfill it correctly).

Her favorite movies are usually those involving animals as the heroes, and don't even suggest something starring a princess. Her sister's movies make her cringe.

She loves Rascal Flatts and Bryan Adams. Mike says his favorite part of going to church is listening to Cora sing off key and 3 octaves too high about Jesus.

She hasn't worn a dress since she was a flower girl in my cousin's wedding two years ago.

She has the boniest knees on the face of the planet as evidenced by the holes in every single pair of jeans I buy her.

Her favorite food is sushi, artichokes, and fish. One time she used her own money, all in coins, to buy an artichoke at a vegetable stand (the same one that has 2 pictures of her up on their Veggie Wall of Fame). The guy running it said, "This is so . . . weird."

Careers she is thinking of include: an Olympic swimmer, a bull rider (trying to discourage this one), a cowgirl, a food critic.

She gets woozy at the sight of blood.

She has the ability to laugh at herself. She doesn't mind being teased. I can tell her to take a weed wacker to her hair and she'll laugh with me. If I made that comment to her little sister, we would now be in therapy.

She always roots for the underdog. Sometimes she doesn't even know it's the underdog, but somehow she's attracted to the lonely, the young, the old, the pudgy, the weird, the poor. She thinks everyone is beautiful.

She has a problem with sarcasm. Gets it from her dad.

She is the least "girly" girl I know, but when she does get all emotional and girly and moody - watch out! Ok, that one she gets from me.

She uses old fashioned grammar sometimes. Like, using the words perhaps and the phrase as well. As in, "perhaps I'll have the ice cream as well as the cake." It makes me giggle and then she demands to know why I'm laughing.

She has the greatest imagination! She is nine years old but still plays. I love that about her. At any point throughout the day she is a dog, a panther, a horse, all with various story lines. She still likes toys and building forts.

She's my responsible child. She never lets me down in this area. If I tell her she can play in the neighborhood but she has to look out for her sister and be home at 6, I never worry that that won't happen. She helps in the grocery store, checks out her own books at the library, orders at restaurants, etc.

She's more apt to go out for football then take a ballet class. Although her energy and inability to sit still for 3 hours gets in the way of watching a football game at times.

That energy and inability to sit still! Sometimes I wonder if she were in public school if they'd sweetly suggest some meds. Or an IV drip. She doesn't talk through movies, but she makes noises and can't sit still. She does her math lying upside down in a chair. With pencils sticking out of her nose. "Focus, Cora," is a phrase we hear a lot around here.

She's a perfectionist. That one she gets from both her dad and I. She was potty trained in 3 days and never regressed, we're talking no accidents, zero, zip, nadda. But the only opinion she is trying to sway is her own. You can think her work isn't perfect and it won't bother her - she simply wants to impress herself.

She has an adventuresome spirit and has no problem trying new things. She doesn't mind failing at it either. I'd like to say she gets this from me, but I'd be lying. When she played soccer this summer, she jumped out of the car at the first practice - where she knew absolutely no one mind you - ran off to the field without me, and raised her hand and asked, "I've never played this before. Ok with you if I ask questions?"

She is super competitive with her sister, but not with anyone else. She's won every race she's ever swam in her meets, but if you asked her, she'd have to think about it. Mike and I had to actually tell her, "You do know that the point of this is to win, right? I mean, it's ok to pass the person next to know that, right?" She didn't want to be rude or make the person feel bad about their progress.
She isn't a sheep. She would rather have one good friend then pretend to be someone she's not with a whole group. She'd rather play with the boys, and they'd rather play with her (this is going to get suspicious soon though, at least on the boy's part). Mike comes home from work and growls, "why are there two 11 year old boys in my yard?" She's going to be one of those naturally pretty girls who doesn't know it which only makes her prettier, but if the boys get all weird and romantic on her she'll probably knock their blocks off.
Just a few reasons why, around here, we love The Cora!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

wyoming weather update

The autumnal view out my window. The largest ice monster here is taller than my middle child.

Just an update on the weather, y'all.
The temperature here is 18, or 3 with the wind chill. Some lovely trivia facts for you this morning - courtesy of my husband who is foaming at the mouth with disbelief - it is currently warmer in:

Oslo, Norway

Moscow, Russia

Anchorage, Alaska

Duluth, Minnesota

...and compared to Cheyenne, Wyoming, it's quite balmy in:

North Pole, Alaska.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

oh, the weather outside is frightful!

There's probably frost on the pumpkins, but we can't find them.

I'm guessing at least a foot of the white stuff fell last night. And it's still falling.

I'm ready, Mommy! Let's go sledding!
The 10th of October, folks, and the snow is a'flyin.' As I write this, it's 10 degrees, and with the wind chill it's -2. Our high today is 21. If you don't believe me, check out MSN weather and type in Cheyenne. The highways are shut down, and my dreams of moving before winter hit are dashed. I'm a little peeved, mostly because autumn is my favorite season and we had none of it. No jewel colored leaves to kick through. No apple or pumpkin picking. No cute, fashionable little jackets for us. Straight on through to the snow pants, wool caps, knee high water proof boots, and huge, poofy coats. We may as well enjoy being snowed in though, so the girls are out with the neighborhood kids, sledding, and I plan to spend the frosty weekend baking, watching movies, drinking hot buttered rum which I don't actually much care for but it's appropriate for the weather, snuggling with my hunky husband, and updating this. The killer is my new Diana Gabaldon novel is ready to be picked up at the library, and I'm too chicken to get in the car. We did get the snow tires put on Mike's car yesterday, just in the knick of time (or is it nick of time? I don't know what that expression means now that I think about it). One of our favorite winter pastimes from last year is sitting by the picture window and watching all the cars get stuck in front of my house. We're not completely cruel, if they can't get out after about 15 minutes or so, we will go help, but it isn't really all that helpful because my husband refuses to buy a snow shovel in protest of mother nature. So if you want to come visit (after the highways open back of course) you will have to kick your way through a whole lot of snow to get to my front door. But anyway, in spite of Scottish highlanders waiting for me in the hold section of the library, I'm not quite ready to venture out yet - maybe next week.
I don't how the settlers did it. I don't how they did it in California, much less Wyoming. I can't imagine being a woman back then, isolated, with no modern amenities. Small wonder some of them went crazy. I'm not very social at all, but a few days of no one to talk to and just your four walls to stare at, and gulp, no television! I should probably take up knitting or something constructive. Maybe you'll all receive scarves in the mail soon. Email me your favorite colors.
On the nightstand: Dean Koontz
Homeschooling Digest magazine
a nice cleared off spot, ready and waiting, for An Echo in the Bone
On the tv: football...sigh
So You Think You Can Dance
Top Chef
In the dvd player: Burn After Reading
Henry Poole is Here
In the cd player (ya, ya, I know y'all have Ipods): Leann Rimes
Alison Krauss and Union Station
Shawn Mullins
Jack Johnson (doesn't write anymore, but you'll laugh all day reading the old posts)
In the oven, or soon to be: clam chowder
cinnamon raisin bread
oatmeal cookies
chicken pot pie
a test run of a dairy free chocolate cake
Ok I have spent three times as much time trying to align margins and put in spaces and tabs on this dumb bunny post, and it just won't stick. The evil geniuses at blogger are laughing their sadistic heads off at my expense. I am sorry for the smashed together look of this blog, and if I were smarter, perhaps I could fix it. Unfortunately you'll just have to deal with it, and hopefully it won't annoy the living daylights out of you the way it does the author.