Month: April 2011 (page 2 of 2)

I’ve got to admit it’s getting better. Getting better all the time.*

I think that this is the most beautiful house I have ever seen. I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to live there. And wear sun dresses and hats. Every time I drive by it I say, “There’s my house!” Julia says she’ll buy it for me when she becomes a rock star.

“And I’ll give you twenty dollars, Mom. Every day.”

She intends to build her own house in our backyard by adding on to her play set. It already has a roof, you know.

Julia at t-ball

* * *

This morning, I held Dave’s face in my hands, looked deep into his eyes and asked him to read my mind. Which he did. Quite accurately. This either means he’s telepathic or I’m hopelessly predictable. Dave thinks it’s because we’re soulmates, connected by our hearts and, therefore, able to communicate without words.

My husband

Sometimes Dave is like a girl.


But he is my soulmate, I guess. (Why do I hate that word so much?) Because he loves me even when I’m calling him a girl. (I’m not always good at receiving love. I probably need therapy for this. Or just a little bit of alcohol.)

* * *

“I saw the saddest video today”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah, I would show you but I think you would cry. It reminds me of us though.”

“Okay. Now you have to show me. Geez.”

“You would do that for me.”


“Sorry. But you knew you would cry…”

“Well, you can’t tell me about a video and then NOT show me the video.”


“I was thinking about a video idea while the girls and I were on our walk…how it’d be cool to make a short video…of our family walking on the trail….next to the highway…you just see us from behind….and then, a single car on the freeway pulls over…”


“And we rush up the hill toward it…to reveal…WE ARE ZOMBIES! AHHHHHH!”

“I was so thinking you were going somewhere else with that.”

“Instead of the Grimmetts, we could be the Zombetts. Oh oh, that could be good! A web series…about a zombie family just trying to make it in the world today.”

“I would totally be in with that. Have me trying to teach Julia how to play T-Ball and lose an arm…”

“We could call it Undead Living. It could be awesome.”

* * *

Tomorrow, Lucy will be three years old. And on Sunday, we’ll party like Lucy just turned three years old.


So today, I will begin baking and building her cake. The last time I made a cake of this size it was for Julia and it took me sixteen hours. Call me crazy, but I’ve been looking forward to making this cake for weeks.

* * *

If you clicked that link about the cake up there, you may have noticed I got a lot more comments back in those days. (I happened to check my blog statistics the other night. I should never check my blog statistics.) In fact, my blog traffic had a trend of doubling with each successive year since I started writing here…until last year, around this time. At first, I walked around crying and calling out, “WHY?!?!?! Oh, why!?!?!?!?”

I think I know why. And more on that later, maybe. But for now, if you’re still with me, I want to say THANK YOU. Thank you for being here and reading what I write. Thank you for being a part of this story I’m telling, because believe it or not, you are a part of it. It’s more important to me than I may have shown this past year. You are more important to me than I may have shown this past year.

* * *

Phoebe is probably the happiest kid I have ever met in my life.


* * *

Sometimes, I think I have a whole lot more than I deserve.

*The song in my heart today.


Lucy has begun giving regular status reports regarding my position with her.

“I like you, Mommy. I like you better than Daddy.”

Lucy (with a barn and her house in the background)

This is what she looks like when she doesn’t like me.

The face of a child whose life I ruined

She had just told me, “You’re ruining my life!”

I love that face!

Phoebe always likes me.


Dave rarely calls me by my name. It’s always “Honey,” or “Dear” or “Love of my Life.” When he talks to my parents it’s, “Your daughter” and to anyone else it’s “My Wife.” I’m even listed as “My Honey” in his cell phone.


When I hear him say “Leslie,” it sounds like he’s talking about someone else.

I would have a picture of Julia here, but she’s been so busy, lately, I haven’t had the chance to take any. I miss her. I can’t wait for summer when she’s home all day.

She’s playing both t-ball and softball this season.

Juila's favorite sports

She loves it. We couldn’t get her off the field after practice on Saturday. “Let me hit just four more, Mom. Just five more. Or six.”

Favorite thing to do after school

Dave couldn’t be happier about that.

I’ve been having kind of a rough time, lately. Maybe I’ll write about it. Maybe not.

For now, here’s a little something that makes me laugh.

I said, “Just think of how much math was used to build that playground!” And she replied, “Give it up, Mom. Math will NEVER be cooler than the park.”

Yesterday was such a beautiful day. I took my little girls to the park for a late lunch and some play time before picking Julia up from school.

Little Bee

It bugs Julia that we actually do stuff without her while she’s in school.


She demanded to know what time we were at the park exactly. I guessed 2 p.m.


We were the only ones there. We had the whole place to ourselves.

I did it!

Meanwhile, Julia was doing math.

The Man Who Made My Day

I pushed the door open with my hip and heaved a Phoebe-laden car seat over the threshold. The place smelled like my grandpa, under a car on a sunny Saturday morning – one part coffee, two parts grease. I sucked the air in deep and I missed him. I hiked the diaper bag back up on my shoulder and looked around for signs that this was the place.

He popped up from behind the counter, threw his hands in the air and warned, “If ya see a rabbit runnin’ around, ya don’t need to head to the bar for a drink. I’m babysittin’ my grandson’s bunny.” Right on cue, Peter Cottontail hopped by.

“Oh, I see him!”

“So, what are we looking for today?”


“Helium, huh?”

“Yep. My daughter’s birthday party is later this month and I want to blow up balloons.”

“Okay,” he pushed a paper and pen across the counter for me to fill out. He nodded and smiled at Phoebe. “Now, who is this?”

“That’s Phoebe.” I began writing my name.

“You can put her up here on the counter. That way she can see us.”

“Oh, that’s okay.”

“No, you put her right up here. Let’s get a look at that little girl!” He reminded me of my grandpa.

Phoebe grinned and batted her eyes and the man turned to goo. He told me about his seven grandsons and one great-granddaughter. We discussed fish tanks and softball and bicycle helmets. I told him about Julia who was in school and Lucy – the birthday girl – who was spending the day with Dave so I could take advantage of the rare opportunity that comes along every holiday or so to do some secret ninja shopping. I reveled in the ease of errand-running with just one kid – the only one that wouldn’t spill the beans about what was going in the Easter baskets this year.

“So, how many balloons you want to blow up?”

“Like 100?”

“How ’bout I give you a tank that’ll blow up 125?”

“Perfect. How much?”

“Awww….let’s see….how ’bout $38 for the helium?”

“Alright!” I liked that price a whole lot better than the $150 price tag on the balloons they’d blow up for me down the street. “How much for the tank rental?”

He shook his head. “I ain’t chargin’ ya for that. Can you get it back to me by May?”

“I can get it back the day after the party.”

“Nah, nah, nah. You’ll have enough to do. You get it to me by May and it’ll all be good.”

“Well, okay. Should I come back closer to the party to pick up the tank?”

“You can take the tank today if ya want. Save yourself a trip. You’ve got three young’uns. Don’t waste your time runnin’ around. Just take it today.”

He rang me up and told me about his grandson who teaches college in Alabama. He’s the one who made him a great-granddaddy to a baby girl. “A little girl!” he told Phoebe. “But she lives so far away, I don’t get to see her enough!”

Phoebe reminded him of his great-granddaughter.

He loaded up the tank and wheeled it out to my van, opened the back door, and refused to let me help remove the assortment of jackets, a stroller, and some softball gear. He put the tank in and reloaded my stuff. We had to balance the stroller just so and quickly slam the door shut to make it all fit, but it did.

“Thank you very much.”

“No problem,” he said turning toward the store. Then he turned back. “How old’s your baby?”

“Six months.”

“Oh, she’s probably just startin’ to be a whole lot of fun, startin’ to talk and all.” He beamed at Phoebe. “She sure likes to smile.”

“My oldest girls have been saying ‘butt’ to her a lot. They want that to be her first word.”

He shook his head and chuckled.

“I didn’t tell them she’s already said ‘dada.'”

“I bet your husband didn’t feel too bad about that!”

“No, he didn’t.”

“Well, alright. Take care, young lady. Enjoy them young’uns.” He started to walk away. “They grow up awful fast.”

About a Husband

on the days he’s home
he wakes me up with a kiss
and cappuccino

(he’s already up
because he takes Jules to school
and lets me sleep in)

he picks up the chores
that I hate the most, but he
doesn’t mind as much

he can make me feel
attractive, even when I’m
wearing blue sweatpants

he still holds my hand
when we’re riding in the car
and opens my doors

when we have brownies
he eats the edge pieces so
I get the middles

And when I tell him,
“people are people” he sings
“so why should it be…”

I used to play the song “Puff the Magic Dragon” again and again just so I could cry in an increasingly dramatic fashion when “that mighty dragon sadly slipped into his cave.”

“Lucy! LUCY!

The sound hit the panic button in my brain and I flew from my station at the washing machine, up the stairs and around the corner to find Julia holding a limp Lucy in her arms.

“What’s going on?” I sputtered, breathless. Chest heaving.

“She’s DEAD!” Julia wailed.

Lucy was still. Expressionless.

“Oh, you’re playing?”

Julia tugged a rag doll Lucy across the room. “Oh! LUCYYYYYYY!” she cried.

“This is pretend, right? Lucy?” I held my side and bent into my hand while I tried to get my breath back.

There was no peeking. No tiny grin. The kid was committed to the role of “dead girl.”

Julia continued to sob and drag Lucy into the dining room.

“What’s this?” I asked pointing to the piano bench.

“It’s her grave,” Julia said solemnly.

“I see.”

I grabbed my camera.

“You’re taking a picture?” Julia asked, perking up.

“Uh huh.”


“I have no idea.”

“Well, wait.” She grabbed the tombstone and scrawled her name across the bottom.

“You’re dead, too?”


The Grave

And that’s Sunday afternoon at our house.

Looking No Further Than Our Own Back Yard…Beacuse That’s As Far As We Can Afford To Go

Back in 2005, Dave and I started geocaching with Julia. And for about a year, it was how we spent all our spare time. Then, we moved. I got pregnant. And then I got pregnant again. And there always seemed to be something else we had to do in our spare time.

Now and then, Dave would say, “We should go geocaching.”

I’d say, “Yeah, we really should, but…” and I’d either point at my giant belly, the brand new baby, or some project I was knee-deep in and working on and make the “yeah, right” face.

And then another six months would go by.

But on Friday, Julia had a day off school and while Dave and I had plenty of stuff we had to do, none of it was what we wanted to do and so I said, “Hey, we should go geocaching.”

And we did.

Julia and Lucy find a cache

We did a series of 10 caches along The Old Port Washington Road which was Ohio’s first state road. It led us to parts in our area we’d never seen or even dreamed were out there. We saw some interesting and beautiful places and ended up feeling like we’d gone somewhere new when we really just spent the day playing around in our own backyard.

Me and my girls out geocaching

Dave and the girls out geocaching

Julia and Lucy out geocaching

Lucy and Grandma out geocaching

My mom, Julia and me

Phoebe and Dave out geocaching

Leslie geocaching in Amish County

We should do that more often.

(P.S. If you’re into geocaching, you can find us on the website. We’re JuliasCacheCrew.)

Won’t Get Fooled Again

It’s April Fools’ Day and our morning started as you might expect.

Julia tried to fool her dad, but Lucy fooled Julia instead.

Then Dave tried to fool Julia back and it sorta worked.

Mostly, it was a lot of fun.

Who have you fooled today? How did you do it?

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