Monday, October 31, 2011

Pumpkin Patch

When Ryan and I first met this exact group of people, there were no kids. And then one little boy came along a few months later. And then eleven months after that, Coralie arrived.

Today, there are this many kids:

Actually, we are missing three newborn babies that were present but not pictured.

This whole group of friends doesn't get together very often (see: sheer number of kids), but when we do, it's a lot of fun. They are all good people, every one of them. They are loyal and interesting and devoted to each other. I think you're pretty lucky if you can surround yourself with these kinds of people.

As the Bond family, this is our fourth year to come to this pumpkin patch.

In 2008, Coralie was about eight months old:

In 2009, Coralie was about one and a half:

In 2010, Coralie was about two and a half, and Madeline was about two months old:

(Madeline is under the blanket.)

And in 2011, Coralie was three and a half, and Madeline was one.

(Two apologies I need to make to my children here: Coralie--I am sorry your pants are too short. Madeline--I am sorry we didn't take more pictures of you.)

Memories and traditions make this heart happy, and when you include my kids in them? Fuh-get-about-it. I'm on top of the world.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


A few updates on the girls:

Coralie finished her first session of swim lessons. I'm not really even sure what to say except that I am really proud of her and that she still has a loooooong way to go. The place where she takes lessons has very specific levels with very specific skills that must be demonstrated before a swimmer can move onto the next level. Out of ten skills in Level One, Coralie can cross off three. THREE. At this rate, she'll be in Level One until she starts driving herself to the lessons.

Nah, I'm just giving her a hard time. She is actually doing a great job. Her teacher describes her as "timid and shy", which she is there. Her main obstacle is that she doesn't like putting her face underwater, and that is sort of necessary for most components of swimming.

Where she is not shy is at home. Somehow, and I'm really not even sure how, she has come to be my fashion guru. It all started when she asked to pick out a shirt for me. (Okay, fine.) But then she started commenting on my yoga pant/t-shirt outfits saying she didn't like them and that she liked my other shirts better. (Ouch. And also, is it really that noticeable that I don't dress very nice*?) Then she started intercepting me on my way to my closet so that she could pick out what I should wear. Inevitably, she prefers very fancy, frilly clothes. Yeah, I am not wearing those, so we compromise on something between a dry-clean only shirt and a college t-shirt.

Madeline, on the other hand, remains nonverbal. Well, I should say that she isn't speaking English, but she is verbal enough for our whole family. She grunts and jabbers and whines and laughs from sun-up to sun-down. :) Her little pointer finger gets quite a workout during the day, too. The result: she is pretty good at communicating what she wants. With Coralie, I remember working on teaching her signs and forming her words. Poor Mads-- she gets half the attention Coralie got and therefore has had to develop her own language to tide us all over until she starts talking.

She is also walking most of the time now. It's super cute, and she grins from ear to ear (literally. . . that girl has the widest mouth I have ever seen) when she nears her destination. Man, she is a beautiful child.

I was thinking the other day about how irritating a kid this age can be--they're still so dependent but want so badly to be independent--but when I go to sweep her up during one of her grunt- or whine-fests, I find myself immediately kissing her little cheeks and giving her a tight squeeze. And I think, wasn't I annoyed with her one second ago?

And then I got a little poetic and thought, maybe this is a parallel for how God feels about us? No matter how frustrating we can be, he just wants to give us hugs?

I do love my girls, and I think they're the most brilliant, perfect, gorgeous children ever created. And if that is any indication of how much God loves us, we are very loved indeed.

*I am almost certain that "dress nice" is the correct usage here. "Dress nicely" would refer to how I get dressed as opposed to what I dress in. However, I have been away from grammar rules for awhile now, so correct me if I am wrong.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Scary (Halloween?) Curse

Because this blog is a semi-real-time account of our lives, I have one update to make:

Our furnace is broken.

Yes, if you're keeping track like I am, this would be the sixth appliance to break in the last two months.

What I'm saying is, don't bring anything electronic or mechanical to our house.

Further proof? Ryan's hard drive crashed yesterday when he brought it home from the office. It didn't crash at the office-- it crashed at home. THAT MAKES SEVEN PIECES OF EVIDENCE THAT OUR HOUSE IS CURSED.

And you thought witches and goblins were scary.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cool parents

I was listening to the radio the other day and a song came on-- I don't remember which song it was exactly, but it was an oldies song-- that reminded me of "Sugar Pie Honey Bunch". This song sticks out in my mind (and probably will for the rest of my life) because of a skit night at family camp when I was in high school.

My friend H and I donned two of my dad's khaki pants, button down shirts, and blazers, stuffed them with pillows, and "sang" this song to two boys wearing women's dresses. (I know, awkward all the way around, right? It seemed like a good idea then. Oh, high school judgment calls.)

My dad had no idea we had stolen from his wardrobe until he saw the performance. (He was not very happy.) But the point is, he SAW the performance. He was there. We were at family camp, and all of the parents of the, ahem, performers were there.

Another crazy component of that skit night is that I wanted to be there, at family camp. In high school. I liked, well, still do like, being with my parents. They weren't the richest or most glamorous parents in the world, but they were/are smart, disciplined, interesting, hospitable, educated, funny, and attractive. I knew my sister and I were loved. I knew that with our family was a place they, too, wanted to be.

Yes, we had our fights, and there were times we couldn't stand each other I am sure, but I never felt not loved or not valuable.

So what if my parents weren't the "cool parents" who let me do whatever I want? So what if they made me change my clothes if they felt my skirt was too short? So what if they only let me go out with Ryan once a week? They were awesome parents.

And I guess that's why I wanted  to be with them.

I hope my kids can say the same thing in 25 years. That would be cool.

Monday, October 24, 2011

It's coming

So I have a whopping four posts started, and I fully intend to write them. Sometime soon. Here are the topics: cool parents: a musing, a girls update, my most recent book club book review, and a recap of our trip to the pumpkin patch.

In the meantime, the girls are getting cuter every day. Today we were singing, "Praise him, praise him, all ye little children, God is love" and Coralie instead sang, "Break him, break him, all ye little children."

So THAT'S her strategy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Top Ten Reasons You Missed Me*

In chronological order:

10. Ryan cut Madeline's hair and I was so embarrassed about it I couldn't even get out of bed.

9. The weather was so nice that we spent a great deal of time outside.

8. I was out of town, with these girls. (Yes, Robin, I stole the only picture anyone took all weekend!)

7. I had the stomach flu.

6. Coralie had the stomach flu.

5. Madeline had the stomach flu.

4. We stained both of our decks and our front porch railings, which took ALL DAY LONG. I wish I had pictures of this because we gave Coralie a teeny, tiny paintbrush so she could "help" us, and she did a great job! But she was in her underwear as we knew oil based stain + three year old = ruined clothes.

3. Ryan got the stomach flu.

2. When I last sat down to write, I got a call from a close friend and just HAD to chat for an hour.

1. Parenthood (the TV show) is sooooo good that it demands my complete attention, Internet be darned.

And now it is Wednesday. I have book club tonight and then a date with THE CARDINALS when I get back. And then another date with the Cardinals tomorrow night after a class at the gym. Also, GO CARDS.

 So you could say the past week or so has been characterized by Lysol and laundry and TV. I know you're jealous of my glamorous life. I sure am.

*This is a less humble way of saying, "Here's my alibi."

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Beatles were controversial, too, I know

Have you heard the song "This Friday Night" by Katy Perry?

Here are the lyrics in case you haven't:
There's a stranger in my bed,
There's a pounding my head
Glitter all over the room
Pink flamingos in the pool
I smell like a minibar
DJ's passed out in the yard
Barbie's on the barbeque
Is this a hickie or a bruise
Pictures of last night
Ended up online
I'm screwed
Oh well
It's a blacked out blur
But I'm pretty sure it ruled
Last Friday night
Yeah we danced on tabletops
And we took too many shots
Think we kissed but I forgot
Last Friday night
Yeah we maxed our credit cards
Got kicked out of the bar
So we hit the boulevard
Last Friday night
We went streaking in the park
Skinny dipping in the dark
Then had a menage a trois
Last Friday night
Yeah I think we broke the law
Always say we're gonna stop-op
But this Friday night
We'll do it all again
This Friday night
Do it all again
(There's actually more, but I'll stop there)

Yikes, right? It's such a horrible song. People love to make fun of her singing, but I won't since she has made a legit living with her voice and I won't argue with that. But the lyrics? Awful. I'll be the first to admit that there are other songs with similar morals (Grab somebody sexy/Tell 'em "Hey, give me everything tonight") that I actually like to listen to. But "This Friday Night" is over the edge.

Of course, our parents were shocked at some of the stuff that we listened to as teens, just like their parents were before them. I could be just another stodgy parent here, but I really do think Katy Perry's latest single has gone far too far.

Being a believer in God, I know that there are certain behaviors that bring more harm than good. Now, not everyone believes that we answer to a higher being who sets forth standards for living a good and happy life, but I think we can all agree that the behavior Perry sings about is self-destructive and irresponsible at best.

Maxing out credit cards . . . Think we kissed but I forgot . . . There's a stranger in my bed . . . Think we broke the law

There is no honor in any of those lines. No strength of character, no dignity. It's no wonder people don't know how to budget or support themselves. It's no wonder STD's are so rampant. It's no wonder people rely on the government to take care of them: this is what is played on the radio and therefore enters people's heads on a daily basis.

This song makes it seem as though making poor decisions is really fun! and harmless! and that there are no consequences, ever! But anyone over the age of twenty knows that making poor decisions can result in heartbreak, harm, and years of trying to fix things.

I like a catchy tune as much as the next person, believe me. And I'm no moral elitist when it comes to finding songs that energize me, that make me exercise better, that make me want to dance around with my girls. But I just can't stomach this song. I don't think we can afford to allow these kinds of songs to be played in our cars or our homes.

What about you? Have you had this kind of reaction to songs like this, or am I just reacting like an octogenarian who doesn't "get" culture? I really am curious, though I won't change my mind. :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

I could never be President

Ah, let's catch up, shall we?

What have you been doing these past few days/weeks? (Silence follows, because all my readers have abandoned me for someone who will actually write something.)

Well, I was sulking in a corner for a good part of the last week. And that "corner" is apparantly a no-writing zone. Also, in that corner is some sort of force field that made me privatize this blog for, like, two days. I don't know why I did that.

So what sent me to that corner? Self-pity, really. Our garage door opener broke (this on the heels of our Blu-ray player, ceiling fan, and ice maker breaking in August), Ryan was at a retreat last weekend then left town for three days, and then our washing machine broke. AGGGGHHH. Life was hard for me for that span of five or so days (see also: I am a wimp).

Oh, did I mention that Madeline was sick?

To add to my swelling fretting obligations, Coralie started twice-weekly swim lessons, so when you combine that with our Awana weekly commitment, my evenings have been full.

So that is why I was sulking: nothing was easy and life was busy. And nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I think I'll go eat worms.

However, if there's one annoying thing to read, it's people complaining about their lives.

I'm so glad I didn't just complain! Because that would be, like, hypocritical or something.

So please allow me to tell you some good things in my life:
-The garage door is repairable, possibly for $26 if Ryan can switch out the part himself.
-Ryan went to a retreat that challenged him spiritually and that allowed him to connect with other men who "get" what life challenges he faces.
-Ryan went on a business trip with his boss who likes him.
-Ryan came home from said business trip.
-I got to pick out a new washer and dryer.
-Coralie is having a lot of fun in swim lessons and is learning some good skills.
-Coralie has memorized five Bible verses in just a few weeks in Awana. It warms my heart to hear her reciting Scripture.
-I am leaving town this weekend to meet up with some good girlfriends. You know the kind, the women who knew you before you became an adult, who clearly remember the time you raised the roof after catching a flag in flag football (huh?), who mail your kids gifts randomly. It will be good to see them. I will also have a few hours in the airport by myself. Heavens, ALONE TIME? Wow. The cost of the plane ticket is worth it if only for the alone time!

So, welcome back to all of us. Let me raise a toast to good, easy weeks and no-sulking zones. :)