Thursday, July 28, 2011


Clearly, I am in the middle of a long book right now since I haven't been posting much. Remember how I can never post on this blog and read books at the same time?  It feels overwhelming; see, I am even too lazy right now to link to the post explaining that phenomenon. (I am reading The Forgotten Garden which started out pretty slowly but really picked up towards the end.)

Also it's VBS and Doctor Appointment Week, so I've been more occupied than normal. I've discovered there is a hidden additional time suck during VBS and Doctor Appointment Week: actually taking showers and doing hair and makeup. It's amazing how much time in a day I can save by not getting dressed.

Anyway, I just thought I would check in (hi, Mom!) and explain why I've been a stranger.

Here are some pictures to prove it's VBS week.

Ok, I'm off to bed. Peace.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Murder at the Four Deuces

The murder mystery party was so fun! Everyone seemed to have a really great time, and even though some people didn't know anyone else there and no one (but us) knew everyone there, people got along really well. I don't know if our friends are just that awesome (they are) or if being in character was an easy way to have strangers interact, but I think everyone felt involved and included. Some of the most reserved people really came out of their shells and had great "performances", and the most rowdy people gave their characters so much life that it really felt we were with the mafia family from the 1920s!

Some of you were curious to see how this party went before deciding if you wanted to host one, too. (I'm looking at you especially, Erin!) I do recommend buying the game from here  if you are looking to host one of these parties.  There are several themes to choose from, by the way-- you are not stuck with the 1920s theme, though that is the most popular game. And most games are made for smaller crowds, so you can definitely do this on a much smaller scale. The murder mystery parties are a lot of work and take at least a month to plan, but the game comes with everything you need (minus the costumes, food, decorations, and guests!).

I decided to have the food catered since that was one less thing I would have to do that day, but you don't even necessarily need a bunch of fancy food. If you are doing the high school reunion one, for instance, you can serve punch and typical reunion fare (whatever that is). I chose to do all foods from the 1920s, which included toasted ravioli, stuffed eggs (which would later become what we know as deviled eggs), brown bread sandwiches (this was the weirdest thing-- the bread comes already baked and in a can!), meatballs, and stuffed celery. Plus nuts, cheese, grapes, crackers, and olives. Plus wine, wine, and more wine!

As for the decor, I just tried to stay within the art deco/ lavish themes of the 20s. Pearls and boas and jewelry were my mainstays. (My mom was the biggest help in the whole universe on this front.) We turned the lighting low so it would feel like a speakeasy and had a bouncer at the door to demand the password.

We also decided to have a friend take pictures of each couple as they came in so we could have a record of everyone's costumes. He did a great job with the pictures-- I love all of them!

Anyway, I am sure you have seen all of the pictures on facebook already, but in case you haven't, here are a few highlights.

A group shot, minus one couple who had to leave early because of a sick child

Each couple got a shot like this

We staged the wine so it would look like it had been shipped to us

The guests entered through our bedroom deck door, so we had to stage our bedroom as well

The birthday boy/ Sly Sleaze

One of our guests was unexpectedly murdered!

There was a lot of extortion and bribery going on all night

This is one of my favorite shots because this couple didn't know anyone else there but still ended up having fun :)

So, yes, host yourself one of these parties. I don't think you'll regret it!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My mind is too full. . . I must deposit the contents here

I have so many things to share with you, Internet friends. And I haven't had a lick of time, what with Madeline having pneumonia this week. I've been far too busy wringing my hands, timing her breaths, and Googling "when to go to the ER" to open up my computer and write anything. But she seems to be doing better today, so I'll take advantage of this late hour and share with you the contents of my brain.

Madeline has (had?) pneumonia this week. I don't want to give her crap-tastic immune system any more Web-time than that, so I'll move on.

I was pulling grass out of my landscaping beds this evening, writing a post in my head about the profound analogy for life that activity holds. It was about how things creep into our deliberately-designed lives if we're not careful, and how much more difficult it is to purge ourselves of the fruits of our laziness than it is to keep the weeds out of our lives in the first place. So, consider that blog post written.

Since Ryan is out of town this week, Mom generously agreed to come in to spend time with us girls. THANK YOU MOM-- I am pretty sure you are the only reason I'm not insane, Mads is not in the hospital, and Coralie's not on the streets. I hope you all have a mother like mine. She's amazing on her own (smart, interesting, funny, capable), but she's also a great mom. She's very loving and encouraging without being drippy/sticky sweet or fake-mom-like. Do you know what I mean, Internet?

I am throwing a huge party for Ryan's 30th birthday on Sunday. Huge as in 35 people, not 350, by the way. Mom and I have spent hours and hours figuring out how to turn our house into a 1920s speakeasy, and I think we've done it. I can't wait for the party (I am firmly hopeful that Madeline will be well by then, but she's been sick a week already, so. . . hopeful is exactly the word I am looking for. There is no guarantee with her.) I've got a few more things to do tomorrow, and then Mom and I will start the actual staging of the speakeasy tomorrow night. I am planning on having a talented photographer friend of mine take some pictures, so I hope to be able to put those on the blog next week.

Speaking of pictures, I am working on converting my photo storage boxes into picture albums that we will actually look at. The albums are all about the story of Ryan and Katie Bond (et al) and date back to 1997. We looked SO YOUNG. Because, you know, we were. My sister would be humiliated at my total disregard for the aesthetics of the albums, but we all have our strengths, and scrapbooking is not even in my top 250 talents.  (Not that I have 250 talents, but if I had to rank all possible talents in the whole world, this would be 250 removed from me.)

There, that feels better. I think that I might be able to sleep now, knowing I've purged my thoughts. Thank you for lending me your ears. :)

Now, if you'll just take a minute and text, tweet, or email me something interesting that would occupy my mind, I'd much appreciate it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I turned 29 last week. I was d-r-e-a-d-i-n-g it, but turning older came and went with nary a fuss. I had a very normal day, and maybe that's why the turning older part didn't bother me. A big fuss was not made; I took the kids to Exploration Place with a friend, came home and read during their naps, and then went to the gym when Ryan got home.

There was no cake, no candles, no birthday song. And I am glad.

I realized something this year-- my birthdays are best when no one makes a big deal out of them. I loved all the facebook and text "happy birthdays!" and the cards and gifts from family, but I also loved not having a fancy dinner to go to or a party to attend.

I am a year older. I know myself better than I did on this day last year by 365 days. And you know what? I like myself. If I don't think too much about my actual age, then I am thrilled to grow older. Life is better the more you know, don't you think?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Counting Crows

I love Counting Crows, specifically their album August and Everything After. That was my favorite album when I was in middle school, and it probably still is. I don't know if it's because their music is that good or if it's totally related to the nostalgia, but I love listening to that CD.

Instantly, I am free. Counting Crows was around before I had kids, before I had a job, before I had a husband or even a boyfriend, before I had obligations. I was 13, thinking about boys and flat abs and painted toenails and self-tanner. I was totally consumed with me, and  I was happy.

When I listen to those songs, I am back in my tiny bedroom that was really too clean to belong to a middle school girl, with my CD player, twin bed, and window that looked out onto the wooded backyard. I remember my friends, the boys I liked, and the boys I thought liked me. I remember riding the bus, walking to the pool, sitting in class. I can even picture many of the clothes that were hanging in my closet. There is a strange peace in being self-absorbed, and I get flashes of that when I listen to those songs.

I still am happy, but it's a totally different happiness, of course. I have many more responsibilities, and those responsibilities carry more weight. The freedom simply isn't there. The happiness is hard-earned; it means more because of that, but it is heavier.

I think it's important to experience nostalgia. It reminds us who we are, because who we are is largely where we came from. For me, I was once 13, sitting in my bedroom, full of optimism and myself. When I climb into my empty minivan, I turn off the kids' Bible songs CD and turn on Counting Crows, and I feel like I am sharing a secret with myself. And it makes me smile.

Friday, July 15, 2011

If they made caffeinated clothes, I would wear them

Oh you guys. I am a tired one today. I literally got slim to no sleep last night. (Although if I am being all technical-y here, and I am, I am not sure exactly how much "slim sleep" really is.)

Guess why I didn't sleep last night.

Go ahead, try. Take a guess.

(I'll wait.)

Yes, you're absolutely right! Madeline is sick again! That poor baby. As sorry as I feel for myself, I feel so much worse for her. She doesn't want to eat, can't sleep, and is so cranky that I just know she feels like hell.

So anyway, as you are tucking your kids (or yourself) into bed tonight, say a prayer for Mads. I would love for that sweet child to know what it means to be healthy for more than a few weeks at a time.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


I guess I either read or I write. I haven't written a single word since last Monday, but I have read a few books and several magazines. I finished my latest book yesterday (Little Bee, and before that was The Scent of Lightning and Rain or something like that. . . I don't necessarily recommend either unless you are completely out of other options) and decided to wait to start another until I wrote a little. I only have enough space in my head or time in my day for one: Thoughts In or Thoughts Out.

I don't think either one can be neglected for too long before I go crazy. :)

Are you like that? Do you find you have bursts of energy for one thing and only one thing, or do you like to dabble in several things at a time?

Thursday, July 7, 2011


In case you don't believe the girls are growing up, here's proof.

Coralie at one week:

Coralie today:

Madeline at one week:

Madeline today:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Before I became a mom, when I envisioned being enamored with my kids, I pictured a tableau where I gazed adoringly at my offspring and they gazed lovingly back. We would be gathered around the table, or a chair even, complete and whole and content.

In reality, my girls turn away from me faster than I can make eye contact sometimes. Life is so quick, so busy, so efficient and productive.

I don't sit in a chair in front of a fire while my kids bring me my slippers and then sit at my feet as I read them a story. We don't engage in any form of a staring contest where we communicate admiration with our eyes.

But they do come to me when they are sad, or hurting, or unsure of themselves. They reach out for me from their cribs, and they kick out of excitement when they see me enter their rooms. They ask me a million questions a day, imitate me, compliment me.

And I hug them, hold them, console them. I pick them up and play with them. I answer their questions, read them books, give them baths, make their meals.

There is no such thing as a tableau in real life; it is only in art that one sees those freeze-frames.

But I hope that if my life were a movie, anyone could press Pause and see a million versions of love between me and my girls. I know sometimes the movie would also reveal frustration and anger and exasperation, but the love is always there. Always.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My daughter's bed

As I was smoothing Coralie's covers on her bed after her nap, my hand ran over a hard lump. I fished out the object and saw that it was a tiny wooden figurine, of the sort that goes in a dollhouse.

I smiled, thinking of all the things I have fished out of her bed:
Matchbox cars
Toy irons
Little Tike laptops
Hair bands
Kids' National Geographic magazines
Band aids

Then I thought of more important things that I have found in Coralie's bed:

And finally, I thought of the most important things I have found while lying in her bed:

I see her bed, touch her bed umpteen times a day. It is a special haven, for her because it gives her a place to rest, and for me because it means I have a daughter.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Fish face

I don't really understand why the mask has a fish on it.
Madeline certainly doesn't care if there is a fish on her mask.

I guess maybe it makes it more bearable for the parent?

Yeah, she's cute even with the mask on.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

This was the first book our book club read. It was fascinating. It's about a young mother who died of incredibly aggressive cervical cancer, the cells they took from her without her knowledge, and the fallout that occurred when her family found out.

You've got to read the book. It's hard to believe that it's non-fiction, that this is a true story. I don't want to give too many things away, but there are some really good questions that must be asked after reading it, like how much of our bodies we "own" and what research subjects are entitled to if discoveries based on their specimens spawn a multi-billion dollar industry. The book also raises a ton of social questions, ranging from the issues of education to access to good medical care.

I just couldn't believe some of the things this family had been through. Consistent incest, abuse, neglect. Total lack of education. Crime sprees, violence, alcoholism. Strokes, heart attacks, diabetes. Bankruptcy. And yet, out of this mess comes one of the most impactful medical breakthroughs of the 20th century.

If you are into science, medicine, ethics, social issues, psychology, religion, or just people, you must read this book.