Moments of Clarity

1) Charlotte was a DREAM all weekend - all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. I'm so relieved. I've regrouped and have had time to put things in perspective with her and, out of the heat of the moment, have come up with different techniques/approaches for when we rumble, and how to avoid the rumbling, too.
2) I took some time today to clear out more crud from the basement (my project that will NEVER end). I've just finally had it click that I need to use it or lose it - if I haven't used something in the 6 years I've lived here, it obviously isn't that important to me, and it is either going into immediate rotation or getting tossed. There IS enough room for all of our stuff here, as long as it is our stuff that we use. What am I hanging onto all of it for????
3) Joey O and Michael fixed the kitchen plumbing issue that came up last week, and dropped in a new sink on Saturday. Amazing what such a little thing can do for your motivation. It looks so nice, I've now got the wild hair to get things done in the kitchen - finally paint over the red walls, and I think we're going to tile over the countertop for now (we're definitely not in a position to remodel the whole thing, and we have a lot of tile left from the bathroom and a tiny amount of counterspace). And hauling box upon box upon bag of garbage out made me really want to get the back steps and stairs into the basement painted something fun and nice, so it is no longer a dreaded cruddy blah space that I care so little about that it just collects dog hair and leaves and dead mice. Baby steps to a grown up household? Perhaps. Just realized how much we can do here if I could stop limiting my mind to "It's so small here, there's nothing we can do."

Western Springs Fruit Store

Along the tracks, a few doors down from Casey's Meat Market. Little fruit store, good for picking up some very fresh tasty fruit (though a bit pricey).
Just ran to Casey's to grab meat for dinner tonight (It's about 2 blocks from Charlotte's school) and then stopped by the fruit store to grab potatoes. I had both girls in tow, and the guy says, "We don't take credit/debit cards. Cash only. Or we can take a personal check. I'm so sorry!" Now 9 times out of 10, I have my wallet and ergo would have the $2.50 I needed on me, but in an effort to carry less with me to the stores while toting the carseat, I just grabbed my debit card and ID. I said, "No biggie, I can run to the car and grab cash, just one second." and then he said, "Oh, no, I'm sorry, don't drag the girls out to the car, I'll just put your amount on a house account and you can pay it next time you come in.."

Say whaa?

Is it 2008? Is this Mayberry? How nice is that? I don't go there often enough to think I'd remember to head back to pay it, so I just ran to the car anyway, but thought what a great gesture and a nice place. Now, I could just be clueless and many places could offer this and I'm just in the dark about it. But he indicated that the house accounts/tabs were handwritten on a clipboard attached to the wall.

It also likely helped quite a bit that the guy vaguely resembled Aidan Quinn, which added to the store's appeal.

We've always liked the place in the summer when we'd pick up meat from Casey's and then just needed to grab a veggie or something without running to Jewel, and this sealed the deal. Pricey? Yes. Delicious? Incredibly. Convenient? Yes. Awesomely nice? Apparently so.

Double thumbs up.

State of the Union

I've been so remiss on posting lately. I think because I haven't been good about taking pictures of the girls, which I know is half the fun of checking out a blog. Anyway, here's the goods:
1) So M and I have started playing Guitar Hero III and Rock Band in earnest. Michael and some cronies have played at a local bar for fun, and a lot of people seem interested in it, so when we do it again, we'll get info out to everyone to join us.
2) How can L be so big to me at 5 months old?? Love this kid. She had been laughing like crazy moments before this photo shoot, but in my efforts to get her to laugh on video without my shrill, screeching, "dadaadadadadamaaaaaaaamaaaaaaadaadaddadada" being heard, I missed it. And then she was weary of performing so no big smiles, either. sigh. Anyway, she looks so old to me, now, and it's killing me. I feel like we've been in hiding for winter and thus no one has seen her in ages, so here you go!

Here's what she's been up to lately:
- FINALLY rolled over. After a lot of anticipation and close calls, she waited until Mike and I were in the kitchen and Charlotte was at tot time last Saturday morning. We hear her crying, and go in to see her on her belly. We left her on her back. Drat. Oh well. She hasn't done it too much since, though she is a BIG fan of scooching all over the place like a maniac and is never really where we leave her on the floor.
- We started cereal almost a month ago. I really wanted to wait until the 6 month mark, but she seemed so eager to eat, and despite "them" saying that cereal doesn't help baby sleep through the night, it seemed to work for L. She digs it. Here's a pic or two from the first night of cereal eating:

- She'll sit up for SHORT periods of time, leaning forward, if you put her in seated position.
-She is no longer Chat's mini-me. Definitely still look a LOT alike, but she's coming into her own.
3) How is Charlotte almost 4??
-She is really getting into her role as big sister. Tells L "It's ok, I'm here, don't cry!" There's a lot of mornings when I get up that I poke my head in there, and they've clearly been up for awhile, Char next to Eleanor's crib, making her laugh or doing a puppet show. It makes me melt every time.
-Char is in a new preschool class (same school, new classroom) as of mid-January after Christmas break. She had a rough adjustment, but seems to be getting more comfortable. Still broke my heart when, a week ago, the teacher said, "It was the first day I really saw her smiling and laughing." She brings home awesome projects and pictures and collecting them on her bedroom door.
-My girl is getting into helping more in the kitchen. She's always been great at cooking with Michael, and with me and baking, I thought she only liked cracking eggs, but she was all about measuring out ingredients and adding them to the bowl, etc. It makes me really excited and happy
4) Almost 6 months of being a stay-at-home for me. The adjustment is pretty tremendous and the days have gone so fast, I can't believe it has been half a year. I still feel like I'll be going back to Aon and my team any day now. How weird/sad is that? Still have total chaos in the house, though getting a little better. Ar gave me a gift certificate for a home organizer to come for 3 hours to consult with me. Which is hilarious, because I know Ar isn't using it because she'd have to get organized to have the organizer come by, which is my plan, too. It's like cleaning before the cleaning lady comes by. I'll share any great tips I get once I call and get her out here.
5) We're heading to Kelly's tomorrow for the SuperBowl party. I love that we just force ourselves on her house for shindigs. We all like entertaining, but Shan lives far from the rest of us, my house is like 4 square feet, and Rach-n-Neil...well, their place is pretty fab for get togethers, actually. Rach, why you slacking?? Anyway, Kel has a great house set up, so we're going there tomorrow to watch the game (We'll perhaps bring Rock Band!!)on her "plug from the wall" cable. I'm planning to make little chili-in-a-biscuit bowls (Paula Dean recipe from Food Network). I'll let you know how they turn out!
That's about it right now. Will try to get better on consistent posting and so on and so forth.