"Teach Your Children Well" by Crosby, Stills, and Nash

I saw this meme on another site and thought it looked fun. Here's how it works:
1. Put your iTunes/Media Player on shuffle.

2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.


So here it goes:


"Dream On" by Aerosmith


"Hold On" by Sounds of Blackness


"Everything I Do (I Do It For You)" by Bryan Adams


"Hey Jesus" by the Indigo Girls


"In the Arms of the Angel" by Sarah McLachlan


"My Name" by George Canyon


"Great Balls of Fire" by Jerry Lee Lewis

WHAT IS 2+2?

"Angel" by Beverley Mitchell


"Spinning Wheel" by Blood, Sweat, and Tears


"From a Distance" by Bette Midler


"Come Together" by the Beatles

"Against the Wind" by Bob Segar


"I'm in a Hurry" by Alabama


"Old Time Rock and Roll" by Bob Segar


"If I Had a Million Dollars" by Bare Naked Ladies


"Two of Us" by Aimee Mann and Michael Penn


"Drift Away" by Doobie Brothers


"And So It Goes" by Billy Joel


"Seven Bridges Road" by the Eagles


"Staying Alive" by The Beegees


"Separate Lives" by Phil Collins


"If I Had a Boat" by Lyle Lovett

"So Far Away" by Carole King

"Rock and Roll Is King" by ELO


"Rio" by Duran Duran


"Why" by Annie Lennox


"I Will Remember You" by Sarah McLachlan


"Let Them Be Little" by Billy Dean


"Teach Your Children Well" by Crosby, Stills, and Nash


I Want a Dream

I think I've mentioned how hard it is to wake Kyle up these days. This morning when I went in to wake him up, he whimpered and said, "But I just want to have a dream. I just want a little dream."

Don't we all, buckaroo. Don't we all.


Another Random Friday... kind of late

  • One thing I learned this week: Dr. Seuss used only 50 words to write Green Eggs and Ham: a, am, and, anywhere, are, be, boat, box, car, could, dark, do, eat, eggs, fox, goat, good, green, ham, here, house, I, if, in, let, like, may, me, mouse, not, on, or, rain, Sam, say, see, so, thank, that, the, them, there, they, train, tree, try, will, with, would, you
  • I have discovered coffee flavored milk. And there shall be much rejoicing.
  • I finally put up the Christmas tree Thursday night. It is still light-less and ornament-less, but it's a start.
  • Kyle has been obsessed with playing our pinball machine lately, and suddenly he's gotten very good at it, for a 4-year-old. Pretty soon he's going to be better than I. Not that that's very hard. I'm going to get a video of it one of these days.
  • This headline cracked me up:
  • Other great stories this week:
Edgar the Cat's face reattached after accident
Chipmunk takes over woman's car


Happy Birthday To My Big Brother

My brother is turning 40 today. Egads. Do you know how old that makes me feel? Not as old as it makes
him feel, I'm sure. (Did I just use "egads" in everyday conversation? See? I'm getting OLD! Time to start watching Matlock and wearing one of those plastic hat thingies
whenever it rains.) Anyhoo, I just wanted to tell Chris to have a happy birthday. I hope you:
  • eat lots of cake
  • get lots of hugs
  • don't blend into the background
  • feel super
  • and play nice.
With love from Megan, Rustle, and Bolt Doll:


Random Friday

Here are some random thoughts and stories for the day: 
Troy is going to see "My Name Is Bruce" at the Lagoon Theatre tonight. He's very excited. After the movie, Bruce Campbell himself will be there to answer questions.
  • That means Kyle and I will be on our own tonight. I plan to take him shopping in search of new boots (last year's boots are too small) and a new lamp for the living room (ours literally crumbled last week).
  • If you haven't already, go Elf Yourself. Seriously. This is too hilarious. I can't stop laughing.
  • I think from now on I'm going to eat nothing but chai tea and dark chocolate. And egg nog. Man, I loves me the eggnog.
  • It's been harder and harder to get Kyle to wake up in the morning. The other day, he whined, "But the sun is not coming up yet!" And I was all, I know, Bud! It's crazy that we have to get up in the dark. Let's just cancel the morning and go back to bed. But I made him get up anyway.
  • When it snowed the other day, Kyle was so excited. He looked out the window and told me there were five snows. Apparently, he thinks five is a really ginormous number.
  • I took Kyle to get a haircut all by myself Wednesday night. And guess what! He didn't cry at all! He sat in the chair all by himself and even let the lady put a cape over him. Now if only we could find a way to get him to sit still. The hairdresser and I tried to get him to pretend to be a statue. "Like Hermann the German!" I said. "But I don't have a sword," he protested. So the hairdresser got out a comb and had him hold it up in the air. It worked for about 30 seconds, which I think is a record.
  • When Kyle met Santa last week and Santa asked what Kyle would like for Christmas, Kyle just answered, "presents." How sweet is that, in a consumerist sort of way?
  • The scrolly wheel button thingy on my mouse is not letting me scroll up today. Do you realize how frustrating that is? It's done this to me before, but then it miraculously started working again.
OK, that's about it for now. Besides, I've successfully burned the last 15 minutes of the day, and it's time to go pick up Kyle. Have a good weekend!


Happy White Trash Thanksgiving to You and Yours

Years ago, back when we were still dating, Troy and I started a tradition for the day before Thanksgiving. We call it White Trash Thanksgiving. Here's how it works: For supper we treat ourselves to Kentucky Fried Chicken mini-banquet specials. Because it's a holiday, we even get one of the parfait cups. No silverware is allowed--we must use only the spork provided with the meal. (Kyle, however, is given a real fork. No need to repeat the "I think he swallowed part of the spork" incident of 2005.) While we eat, we watch COPS (or NASCAR, if we can't find COPS on any of our 100s of channels--that's actually happened once). We let Kyle run around in just his diaper. We call each other white trash names, like Cletus and Joleen. More recently, we've added trips to Wal-Mart and the Salvation Army as part of our tradition. 

Now, lest anybody be offended, you have to know that this isn't much different from any other night in the Schoeneberger household, except for the spork thing, the NASCAR, and the white trash names. Those mini-banquet specials are tasty, and they're a great deal. COPS can be very entertaining (we like to make bets on how many minutes go by before there's 1) a guy in wife-beater shirt, 2) a guy with his crack showing, 3) a naked baby, and/or 4) a mullet). Kyle loves going to the Salvation Army--begs for it, even--because we always buy him a cheap toy. And Wal-Mart is one of my favorite stores. I hate myself for loving it, but man, the prices are good. 

And so, if anything, we're making fun of ourselves. But I see it more as celebrating who we are, accepting it and embracing it. I don't do that often enough.

I'm proud of our little family tradition. It's unique, just like we are.

Happy White Trash Thanksgiving!


Do Buffalo Have Bellybuttons?

Irene gave Kyle a little plastic buffalo toy yesterday. As a result, Kyle and I had the following conversation last night:

Kyle (pointing to the buffalo's private region): Mommy, what's that?
Me: Oh my! It looks like your buffalo is anatomically correct!
Kyle: But what is it?
Me: It means your buffalo is a boy buffalo.
Kyle: But what is it?
Me: It's his wiener.
Kyle: What's it do?
Me: Well, what does your wiener do?
Kyle: It makes the pee-pee come out?
Me: Yes!

Then this morning, while I was dropping Kyle off at Irene's, he was reaching his hands up in the air, and Irene said, "I see your bellybutton!" Kyle laughed, and Irene asked him, "Do buffalo have bellybuttons?" 

Kyle gave her a funny look and said, "Nooo! They have wieners!"

Yep. That's my boy.

Stand by Me

Video of musicians from around the world playing the song "Stand by Me." Totally awesome.


He eats!

So Kyle hardly ever eats anything. We had Thanksgiving yesterday at my Mom and Dad's, and Kyle wouldn't touch a morsel other than a banana later in the evening. But as we were heading home around 7:00 in the evening, Kyle suddenly announced that he would like to eat a Krabby Patty (that's what we call hamburgers in the Schoeneberger household, because somehow referencing SpongeBob makes food more appealing to our little Gandhi). Because Kyle so rarely actually requests food, we made a swing through the Burger King drive through. Then I watched with amazement as he ate an entire hamburger without me having to say, "Kyle, eat your food!" or any other such nagging. And when he finished, he actually said, "I would like more Krabby Patty please." As rare as it is for Kyle to actually request food, it is even more rare for him to request MORE food. Sadly, we only bought the one burger for him, so he had to settle for some crackers instead. 

I don't know what was going on with him last night, but I'm guessing that he'll be able to last until Friday on just that single burger.


What I Learned This Week

If you order a BLT sub at Subway, the L and the T are not implied. When they ask what you want on your sandwich, you have to be specific. I usually mention the lettuce and tomatoes, just in case. But it feels silly and redundant to request lettuce and tomatoes on a BLT. You don't need to specify that you want ham on your ham sandwich, do you? 

So the other day, when asked at the Subway drive-thru what I wanted on my BLT, feeling adventurous I simply answered, "mayo, pickles, and extra tomatoes." And that's how I found out that the bacon is implied. At least the sandwich had bacon. I'm not sure on the tomatoes--I may have just gotten the extra tomatoes but not the original allotment. And there was definitely no lettuce at all. 

If my little public service announcement saves even one person from a lettuce-less BLT, then my work here is done.


The Stuff of Dreams

I just remembered two of my dreams from last night. In one, I was sitting next to Jerry Orbach at a broadway play. (Yes, I realize he is dead, and no, I haven't been watching old episodes of Law and Order.) We chatted for quite awhile before the show, and he gave me his business card so that when I was ready to move to New York and become a star, I could look him up and he'd get me a role. Then the show started, but after a few minutes, a red curtain came down, pausing the show. Everyone cheered. I had to ask Jerry what was going on, and he said it meant that we could move to better seats, kind of like a game of musical chairs. He moved up a few rows, but somehow I stayed in about the same place. I was so sad because I wasn't sitting next to my new friend Jerry Orbach anymore.

I don't remember much of the other dream other than that I was watching Jennifer Hudson perform. And I remember thinking how brave she was, to be out doing shows so soon after her mother, brother, and nephew were killed. And the sound system kept going out.

Hmmmm.... Interpretations, anyone?


A whole crate full of cute

I found this link on the net, and it's so dang cute, I just have to share it. 

And I know I haven't posted anything personal lately, but I promise I will soon. So for those of you waiting for a Kyle fix, just hold your horses. And in the meantime, enjoy these puppies.


A fun little quiz

In your post-Halloween sugar rush, how well can you identify classic candy bars? As you can see, I totally rock. I'm an expert. 

The George Costanza Candy Identification Quiz

Score: 100% (10 out of 10)


Boo! ........................ (did I scare you?)

Happy Halloween!

You know, I don't remember liking Halloween this much as a kid. I mean, I liked it and all, but I don't remember REALLY liking it. 

And it's not just because of the candy, although I love that we bought candy three weeks ago, you know--for the TRICK OR TREATERS--and then had to buy more two weeks ago, and then again last week, and finally last night (but I'm pretty sure these last few bags will last long enough to actually make it to the trick or treaters).

I really love dressing up. I love coming up with the idea and putting it all together. Each year, my costumes have gotten more and more complicated. This year's even involved papier-mache. Yes, PAPIER-MACHE. Do you know what that means? Next year I'm going to have to actually sew. And eventually, there's going to be welding involved.

Actually, what I think I love the most is the costume contest at work. I love the positive reinforcement that comes with winning. Competition makes me a little obsessive that way. And my costume-contest-nemesis, the guy who has won the past three contests, transferred to our other office, so he was finally out of the competition. Thus, I sensed an opportunity. I went a little crazy. Hence, the papier-mache. I didn't even get started until Monday, so my evenings this week have been consumed by costume-making. 

Unfortunately, I wasn't the only one to sense the opportunity. A lot of people went all out to try to claim Bob's spot at the top. I was a little worried. 

But guess what! I won! I'm told it was close--12 votes for me, 11 votes for the runner-up. I won a $50 Target gift card. I'm so going shopping!

And so, without further ado, here is my amazing, first-place costume. Behold.....


Happy Halloween!


And now for a little humor

from Huffington Post
(It might be a little easier to read there)

Today, October 15, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

And that's why I've decided to share my story, as best as I can tell it, even though the pain is still fresh. It is a long story, but please be patient.

On September 7 of this year, Troy and I got a positive home pregnancy test.  [The plus sign means positive.]

We had it confirmed the next day with a blood test. My estimated due date was May 15, 2009. 

Troy and I were over the moon excited. We couldn't wait and told our families a few days later. Troy told his coworkers and students by the end of the week. I made a scrapbook page:

We told Kyle he was going to be a big brother. He had been asking for a baby brother named Tyler, just like his friend Blake's new baby brother. Every once in a while, he'd work the topic into conversations--"I'm going to be a big brother! I'm going to have a baby brother! Or a baby sister!" He loves babies so much.

But I didn't tell everybody. I wanted the news to leak out slowly. My plan was to wait for my first appointment on October 9. Once I heard the heartbeat, once I saw that little bean on an ultrasound, then I would feel safe announcing my news to the world. I was counting down the days until that appointment. 

I felt wonderful. Tired. Occasionally queasy, but none of the horrible "morning" sickness I experienced with Kyle. Instead, I was starving constantly. I craved vegetables, especially tomatoes, McDonald's cheeseburgers, macaroni and cheese, and cottage cheese.

I felt so good that I even commented that I barely felt pregnant. Again, I was anxiously awaiting that first appointment to prove that it wasn't all just a dream. 

Troy called me at work one day. He asked if I was feeling okay, if my pregnancy felt okay. He'd had a dream that I miscarried, a dream that was sickeningly realistic. I assured him that everything was fine. I was fine. The baby was fine. And in one week, we'd get to see it for the first time.

We made plans. We talked about names. We started arranging the guest bedroom to become Kyle's new bedroom. 

Each day, I carried my little secret with me at work, looking forward to the afternoon of October 9, when I could finally share it with all my coworkers. Knowing my little secret, my happy news, made me smile. 

On Monday, October 6, I began to spot. Just a little. Barely enough to call it spotting. I know spotting can be normal, so I tried not to worry. I stayed off my feet that night and tried to relax. In the middle of the night, it got a little worse. I called the nurse help line and talked to the OB on call. She assured me that it was quite possible that everything was still fine, but to call first thing in the morning to set up an ultrasound to be sure.

At 10:00 Tuesday morning, we went to get our ultrasound. I was scared, preparing myself for the worst. I expected the baby to be gone. Maybe it wasn't ever there in the first place. Suddenly, we heard the heartbeat. The technician turned the screen toward me, and I saw that little bean. I could see the head, the little arms and legs. The baby was there, measuring 8 weeks and 6 days and right on track. And most importantly, the heart was beating. It was alive. The heart rate was 194. Much higher than I remembered Kyle's ever being. Is it too fast? I wondered. We were given a picture of the baby, then sent to the clinic to follow up with a doctor. I left the ultrasound clinic clutching that picture as tightly as I could. I didn't want to let go. There was a baby, and it was alive. [In the picture, the head is on the right. You can see the little arm buds and legs (I think, or maybe it's the umbilical cord).]

At the clinic, we spoke with a nurse. She said the heart rate was a little high, but it could be that the baby was moving around, doing some cardio, causing the rate to spike. She said to just take it easy, try not to worry, and come in on Thursday for my regularly scheduled appointment.

We picked up cheeseburgers for lunch. Exhausted from worry, I took a nap. But I went to sleep full of hope. The spotting seemed to have stopped. I had a picture of the baby. I had heard the heart beating away.

When I woke up, the spotting was back, a little heavier than before. I spoke with the on call doctor, who tried to reassure me that as long as I wasn't bleeding heavily, there was still hope that the baby would be okay. And even if it wasn't, there was nothing I could do by this point to change the course of events.

Within half an hour, the bleeding became horrible. I sat in the bathroom and cried. When Troy found me there and saw what was happening, he knew we needed to go to the emergency room. 

We dropped Kyle off at my mom and dad's and went to the ER. It was so hard for me to say the words, "I think I'm having a miscarriage." 

The ER doctor saw me. She confirmed that it was a miscarriage. She tried to help with the bleeding. She thought she saw the sac pass. By 8:30, she sent us home.

It was October 7, just one month after seeing that beautiful plus sign on the home pregnancy test. One month, and the journey was ending. It was also Kyle's birthday. Exactly four years ago, I had given birth to my beautiful, healthy baby boy. Now, four years later, I sat in the bathroom, begging my body to let go of the rest of the tissue from this failed pregnancy.

That night, I slept for awhile on the floor in Kyle's room. I listened to his sleepy breathing and tried to focus on my gratitude for having one healthy child who fills my world with joy. 

October 9, that day I was waiting for with such hope and anticipation, finally came. I went to my appointment as scheduled. But instead of finally getting to see and celebrate the new life growing within me, this appointment was just to confirm the end. I cried in the lobby, surrounded by all those happy, pregnant women. My doctor, who had been on vacation while all this was happening, hadn't even been updated about the miscarriage. I had to explain it all to him. 

My doctor was concerned that there was still some tissue that hadn't passed. He gave me medicine to help my body expel it, but if it didn't work, he said I would need a D&C. It didn't work. On Friday, I had a D&C. It was truly the end.

My heart is broken. I cry myself to sleep every night. I know we can try again. I know it wasn't my fault. I know it was probably for the best, that there was probably something very wrong with the baby. I know all this, but I'm not sure I believe it. Not yet. I still have more healing to do, physically and emotionally. Writing this has helped.

One out of every four pregnancies ends in miscarriage. So many other women have gone through this same heartbreak. In a small way, that's comforting, but at the same time, I really didn't want to join their club. 

And so, on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, if you are also a member of this club, please know my heart, broken though it is, is with you. 

May all our angel babies bring us comfort today and always.


I love buffalo!

Kyle watching "Go, Diego, Go!" tonight:

Diego, on his way to rescue a baby penguin: Do you like penguins?

Kyle: No! I love buffalos!

Man, I love this kid and the way he makes me smile when I need it most!


Presents come from Christmas trees, don't they?

So Kyle's birthday is next Tuesday, October 7. He's going to be 4. How did this happen? He's my little baby! He can't be 4.

We're having his party on Saturday (which, by the way, was his original due date). For those of you who weren't invited (no offense--if you're in the area and want to come, let me know!), here is the invitation:
He actually requested the Wizard of Oz theme. How sweet is that? 

It's been fun getting ready for his party this year because he actually seems to get it this year. At least somewhat. For the last month, he's been pointing out toys and saying he will have them at his house after his birthday. I told him that he doesn't need a lot of toys, but now he just cuts me to the chase and says, "I need a lot of toys for my birthday. A lot of them."

This morning he told me, "My birthday is coming up and I will have a Christmas tree and lots of presents at my house!" He was actually disappointed when I tried to explain to him that there would be no tree. Then he repeated the Christmas tree claim to Troy, who also had to try to explain that there would be presents, but no tree until Christmas. The poor kid was still disappointed, but he finally said, "Oh. Okay. Presents!"


Hurricane Kyle could soon become a reality!

One of Kyle's nicknames has been Hurricane Kyle. He can move through a room with about the same amount of force and destruction.

Now it looks like there could be a real hurricane named after him! Look out, world!


I killed Tom Brady

I'm not really sure how this happened. One minute, I'm all, "Well, if you really need somebody, I suppose . . . as long as Bob isn't in it . . . maybe . . . but I don't know . . ." And the next minute everyone's all, "Welcome to the league!"

And now I am the lone female owner in Troy's fantasy football league. 

I'm not clueless when it comes to football. I've diligently watched the Vikings blow leads for several years now. I've cheered for Troy's fantasy teams. I've watched ESPN. Heck, I even watched part of the draft. 

I used to pretend to play along. It was like fantasy fantasy football. Because that's just how non-committal I can be (just ask Troy about being engaged to be engaged). I'd look through everyone's lineups and pick a team for the week. Some weeks, I tried to stack my team with all the superstars (going by the scientific premise that if I had heard the guy's name, then he was probably pretty good). Then the next week, I'd pick based on who had the coolest names. It didn't really matter, because I still usually lost. Or fake lost, since I wasn't really playing.

When it came time to pick my real fantasy team, I was really nervous. I didn't do any prep work ahead of the draft. I trusted the cheat sheets that Troy printed out for me online, and I depended on Troy's advice as we went through the draft.

I had fourth overall pick. My choice came down to Joseph Addai or Tom Brady. I actually stewed over this for awhile. Addai was ranked higher on my cheat sheet than Brady, but not by a whole lot. Troy assured me Brady would not be a stupid pick. Then I thought about all those touchdown passes to Randy Moss last season, and I figured I'd really kick myself if I passed on Brady.

Plus, Brady is kind of cute. (There, I admit it. I picked him because I think he's cute. That's not the only reason, but it was a factor. If he were ugly, I might have gone with Addai.)

So, I went with Brady. I imagine at that moment, all the way in New England, Brady felt a strange, sharp pain in his knee and a horrible sense of foreboding. 

You're welcome, Joseph Addai.

Because it only took 16 minutes for Brady's season to come to an abrupt end. And it's all my fault.

I swear, next year, if I'm crazy enough to do this again, I'm going to pick an all-a$$hole team. All the jerkfaces that I hate. Terrell Owens. Chad Johnson Ocho Cinco. Michael Vick, if any team takes him after he's out of prison. Then I won't be disappointed when they're lost for the season.

The only way I could feel better about this situation would be if Addai goes down too. Is that horrible of me or what?

I did end up winning my first-ever real fantasy game. (Thank God we use team quarterbacks, so even after Brady went out, his back-up still earned me some points.) But the rest of the season is looking dismal.

Not that that's going to stop me from blogging about it.

Week One: Best call of the week

during the Detroit-Atlanta game: 
"Kitna has a wide-open tight end."

I swear, this joke never gets old. 


That New Crayon Smell

I love back-to-school time, especially now that I don't have to go back to school. But there's a feeling of change in the air, of old friends and new beginnings. As a teacher, Troy doesn't exactly share my sentiments at this time of year. He spent most of last night curled up in a fetal position. 

Even though Kyle is not in school yet, I try to take advantage of all the sales by stocking up on arts and crafts supplies for Kyle. Last week I bought him some new crayons. I only got the 24-count size because that was what was on sale. And Kyle doesn't really give a darn about coloring. This makes me so sad. I try to get him interested, but he doesn't like to do it.

I think part of the problem is that he has inherited the ice cream bucket full of old crayons left over from Troy's childhood. "They were good enough for me!" Troy insists. But I don't think Troy realizes that crayons age. And they just don't color very well anymore. Kyle doesn't have the patience or the dexterity to use them. He can't push hard enough to make a mark.

I am anxiously awaiting the day when I can buy Kyle the giant 64-count box. Again, Troy thinks this is excessive. He made it through school with the small box, and so can Kyle. And yeah, look at how much joy Troy gets from art now. None. I hope Kyle can grow up with a better feeling about art. And that starts with the 64-count crayons. 

Or those 150-count towers. Now, those really rock. 

I found a quiz at the Crayola site where you can test your knowledge of all 64 colors. Try it out for yourself here. I got 12 wrong, but it's not my fault. I don't think the color is calibrated correctly on my monitor. Plus, a bunch of the colors are new since I last got a fresh box of crayons. 

Let me know your score, and have fun coloring!

Daily Show Video


New pictures at Multiply

I have posted the rest of my August 2008 photos here at Multiply. (I know there are a bunch of blank ones--ignore those for now and I'll try to fix the problem from my home computer.)


Stop that, Mommy! You'll break it!

Kyle has a video of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom that we found at the Salvation Army. He loves it. We can no longer just read the book--we have to sing it.

It's a catchy enough tune, but I need to sing along with it more to really learn it. Unfortunately, he doesn't like it when I sing along. Yesterday he actually told me, "Stop that, Mommy! You'll break it!"

Me: "I'll break the tape?"

Kyle: "Yes!"

Oh gee, I didn't think I was that bad. I know I'm not the next American Idol, but c'mon.

Anyway, here is the video of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom for your viewing pleasure.


It wasn't the State Fair, but . . .

I love the State Fair. I worked there for a few years during college, and since then it has held a special place in my heart. I like seeing the animals (for a little while at least, before the smell starts getting to me). I love seeing oceans of people all around me in every direction (for a little while at least, before the smell starts getting to me). But most of all, I love the food. There are the standards: my annual indulgence of cheese curds (I only need them once a year to remember why I only need them once a year), pork chops on a stick, corn on the cob, Sweet Martha's Cookie Jar (heaven in a bucket), and fresh french fries. Excuse me while I wipe the drool off my computer. I love to see each year what new deep-fried food on a stick they've come up with--the possibilities seem endless. I don't need to try them. I just need to see them.

But this year, we decided not to go. We just didn't feel up to following Kyle around ride after ride in the Kiddie Park, not getting to see any of the stuff we wanted to see, putting up with meltdowns every time we tried to leave and go somewhere else. Plus, it's really, really expensive.

Instead, we drove to New Ulm. Yeah, New Ulm. It's about 45 minutes away from here.

What's in New Ulm? Well, our first stop was to see Hermann the German. We thought Kyle might enjoy seeing it. But Kyle is weird about statuary. He loves the buffalo statue here in town. But he freaked out when we tried to show him the spoon and the cherry in Minneapolis. He has also freaked out about the neighbor's ceramic garden frog. And so, he freaked out about our buddy Hermann. Did NOT want to go anywhere near him. Luckily, there was a park nearby, and he had fun playing there for awhile. Before we left, we gave him a chance to see Hermann, but he declined. Troy did go check him out--climbed all the way to the top. But I don't do so well with heights, so I stayed with Kyle on ground level.

After Hermann, we went to Happy Joe's for pizza. Kyle was so impressed. "Wow," he said breathlessly. "That's so cool!"

Hundred-foot statue, meh. Cheap arcade games, now that's amazing.

At one point, Kyle was inspecting one of the games with another little boy. "I saw Hermann the German today!" he told the little boy. I'm sure the other little boy was so impressed.

After Happy Joe's, we went to K-mart. Yes. K-mart. One of my sleazy little pleasures. We don't have one in town anymore, and I miss it. So I go to K-mart whenever I can. In fact, I probably wouldn't have agreed to go to New Ulm instead of the State Fair if there hadn't been a K-mart in New Ulm. Kyle and Troy were bored out of their skulls by the time I finished there, but I found tons of really cute shirts for Kyle for really cheap.

By this time, Kyle was talking big about seeing Hermann. He wanted to drive past him. So we did, but when we asked if he wanted to get out of the car, he freaked again. It's obviously a love affair from afar.

We went to Flandrau State Park next. Troy and Kyle went swimming for a little while, then we spent some time at the play area. Kyle made a new friend--a little girl named Chloe who is starting kindergarten in two days. They were having a blast filling her shoes with pebbles and dumping them onto the metal slide. It made a pretty cool noise. Kyle was sad to leave, but he wanted to drive past Hermann again. Not get out, just drive past. This time I got out and snapped a few pictures.

After that, we stopped for some ice cream at a little shop that sells home-made ice cream. Now, last time we offered ice cream to Kyle, he refused. (I swear, he can't be my child.) So we didn't buy any for him. But after a taste of Daddy's strawberry ice cream, he wanted his own pink ice cream cone. We got him a kiddie size, which we let him eat in the car. Holy mess, batman! He had rivers of ice cream streaming down his arms, even down his legs. He even managed to get ice cream on the front of his hat, which would periodically drip down onto his face.

As soon as we got home, he got a much needed bath.

So, it wasn't the State Fair, but it was still a pretty good day. Kyle had fun, and that was our goal.


How Stinkin' Cool Is This?

My handwriting is now available as a font! Check it out:
You can find it here.

Admit it. You're jealous. And you should be. 

But I have to admit that the simple task of writing the alphabet has turned into an obsession with my handwriting. You wouldn't believe how many sheets of paper I went through trying to write the ABCs. Just ask Troy. I realized that I never write a letter the same way twice. And I worried that the resulting font would be way too boring for anybody to want to buy. But I have to say I am really pleased with how it turned out. I hope people like it and use it!


That's what I call job security

Wanted: Copy Editor
Major League baseball team seeks eagle-eyed editor with close attention to detail to avoid embarrassing snafus. 

Seriously, folks. Which is worse, the error itself, or the fact that it went unnoticed for four innings? 

I suppose you can't really blame the 5-year-old Chinese kid forced to make this jersey for 5 cents an hour.

I wasn't watching the game that night, so we'll never know if I would have noticed it myself. I like to think that I would have.



The Slogan Generator

I needed a little mindless diversion this afternoon, so I came across this stupid little thing. I have to admit it made me laugh.

Your Slogan Should Be

How Do You Handle a Hungry Man? Megan.

And so I had to try it for Troy:

Your Slogan Should Be

Do Me a Favor, Plug Me into Troy

And Kyle:

Your Slogan Should Be

Kyle. Champagne for the Brain.

So, what's your slogan? 


More photos added at Multiply

Hi, everyone! I just wanted to let you know that I added some more August folders to my gallery at Multiply. You can check them out here.


Random Friday

I have just a few random thoughts to share with you today.
  • My cat Loki landed on my face at 5:30 this morning. Scared the bejesus out of me.
  • The word "bejesus" is actually in the dictionary.
  • Lucky Charms really are magically delicious.
  • More than half of Kyle's sentences lately end with "in my belly," as in, "I did take a nap . . . (pause for dramatic effect) . . . in my belly!" or "I love you, Mommy . . . in my belly!" Then he laughs like he's the funniest guy on earth.
  • I stayed up too late watching the Olympics last night, and I still missed the excitement of the come-from-behind U.S. wins in women's gymnastics.
  • This one day, at band camp . . . Just kidding! I've never even seen that movie.
  • I have Bryan Adams' song "Please Forgive Me" stuck in my head. I don't know why.
  • "Peel" and "unpeel" mean the same thing.  Same with "ravel" and "unravel."
I guess I'm out of random thoughts for today. Feel free to add your own.


Olympic dreams? Special Olympics, maybe.

Maybe it had something to do with the Olympics, watching those athletes perform physical feats. I was inspired. And I was crazy. 

I had a brilliant idea. Riding my bike to work would save gas, the planet, and my ass. Actually, the hope is that it would help me lose my ass. Or at least the part of it that is fat. And losing my fat ass (and any other fat that has accumulated on my body) would make me healthier, thus saving my self. 

I've been working toward this for months. I've gone through every excuse in the book:
  • My bike is old. So I had it tuned up and checked over, and after some new tires, it was given a clean bill of health. 
  • The seat was too low. So I raised it. 
  • I needed a way to carry my stuff to work. So I bought a rack that goes over the rear wheel. 
  • I didn't know where I could store my bike at work. So I asked, and I found out there's a bike rack at the other entrance. 
  • I didn't have a lock. So I bought one. 
  • I didn't know which route to take. So I tried a few routes with the car and figured out the shortest one (about 3.5 miles, in case you're wondering). 
But every morning, I found reasons why I couldn't ride my bike that day. I got up too late, I'd tell myself. I have a lot to carry today. It might rain. It's supposed to be 80+ degrees this afternoon.

And then it occurred to me: I wasn't going to do it unless I just did it. If I continued to wait for the perfect conditions, I would never do it. 

So, yesterday, I decided to do it. Maybe. I almost talked myself out of it. I checked the weather forecast and saw that there was a 30% chance of rain and it was supposed to be hotter today than Tuesday. I thought maybe I'd wait until Friday. It's supposed to be cooler and dry. Yes, definitely on Friday.

By the time I finished my cereal, the little Nike ad in my head was telling me: just do it. 

When I left the house, I had an out-of-body experience. No, I didn't trade my body for the sleek, sweaty-but-sexy beanpoles from the athletic shoe ads. I wish. But I did feel like I was watching a completely separate person. I didn't really believe she was going to get on her bike and ride away. And even then, I had my doubts. She'll turn around. I know she will. She'll come to her freakin' senses. Was she crazy? Was she really going to ride her bike all the way to work? 

Then, before I knew it, I was past the point of no return.

It wasn't pretty, let me tell you. What they say about never forgetting how to ride a bike is true. But that doesn't guarantee you'll be very graceful at it. I've added a lot of extra weight since the last time I rode a bike. And I've lost a lot of flexibility too. Note to self: next time, buy a women's bike. Back when I bought this bike 15 years ago, it wasn't so hard getting on a men's bike. Now, I have to lean it down as far as I can and try to swing my leg up and over the back tire and the seat. You should see me attempting this feat. Sometimes I lose my balance and do a sideways hop to get out of the way as the bike crashes to the ground. 

On second thought, no you shouldn't see me. Because if I knew anyone was watching, especially just for the sake of amusement, I'd never ride again. 

So anyway, after several attempts, I finally mounted my bike (that sounds dirty, doesn't it? it isn't. get your minds out of the gutter!). It took several more attempts to actually propel myself in a forward motion without tipping over. Once I got going, though, I felt a little smug. Okay, a lot smug. "Look at me!" I thought. "I'm so healthy! In your face, car-drivers! You overpriced-gas-buying, pollution-spreading fat asses!" (I could say things like that because I was on a bike and therefore not a fat ass. Plus, it was in my head, so nobody heard me.) 

Then I reached the bridge. Did you know there's a hill there? A mammoth hill. Think: mountain. I didn't know that. It caught me off-guard. By the time I reached Mankato city limits, I was panting. Not a good sign. At least it would be flat the rest of the way. Not. There was another mammoth hill just before Madison Avenue. Funny, I never noticed that before. I tried climbing it, but I'm no Lance Armstrong. I finally got off the bike to walk.

The bike dismount is just as painful and comedic as getting on the bike. It's the same routine, just in reverse. I hoped to God nobody was watching.

So I walked the bike across busy Madison Ave, and I couldn't bring myself to get back on. I was dying. I was sweaty. I was panting. My legs felt like a strange combination of Jell-o and lead weights. I weighed my options. Maybe I could call Troy and have him pick me up and bring me to work. But he'd probably mistake my heavy breathing for a prank call and hang up. (At least, I hope he'd hang up! I don't want my hubby taking sex calls from random women.) So I slowly pushed my bike forward. 

By this time, I was no longer feeling very self-righteous. All those in-your-face thoughts vanished. Instead, the only thing running through my head was, "Never again. Never again. Never again."

I rode/walked my bike to the last great hurdle: Good Counsel Hill. Unlike Bridge Mountain and Madison Ave. Peak, I knew about this hill. And I had no intention of biking up to the top. I had planned all along to push my bike up the "old hill," the road on the other side of the hill that has been closed to traffic for years, far away from the main road where my coworkers could drive past and laugh at my sorry ass trying to get up the hill. But I hadn't counted on being out of breath and dying before I even set foot on the hill. 

So I started up. Really slowly. Seriously slowly. And I stopped to catch my breath. A lot. I started counting the steps. Seventy-five more steps, then I'll stop. OK, now 50 steps. Then 25. Then 12. And with each step, I chanted, "One less step. One less step." 

Kyle's been watching the Little Engine that Could a lot lately, so of course I got that annoying song stuck in my head--"There's no mountain that we can't climb. There's no tomorrow that we can't make it over..." Or something like that.

During one of my many breaks, I did consciously stop to take a look around me. The trees and bushes were a million shades of green. Sunlight beamed through the early morning mist. Birds sang. Everything smelled fresh and alive. 

Except for me. I smelled neither fresh nor alive.

Finally, 50 minutes after leaving home, I made it to my desk. I was sweaty, out-of-breath, and red-faced. But I was there. And I didn't get up again for at least another hour.

By quitting time, it looked like it was going to rain. So I had Troy come and pick me up.

Now here's the craziest part. After a few hours, I recovered. And I'm not sore today at all. (We'll see, though. Maybe it will hit me tomorrow.) And now I'm thinking maybe I will do it again. It can only get easier, right? That which doesn't kill us, yada yada yada, right? 

I do need to make a change in my life. If I want to be happier, healthier, and truly get the most out of this life I've been given, I need to do something drastic. Here's hoping this wasn't the last bike ride for me.