Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Stories, Stories, Stories

My Uncle has this corny joke. It goes, "What's the tallest building in < insert your town name >?" "The library."

Get it?

Yes, the library is full of stories in the most literal sense. In books, magazines, newspapers, microfilm, CD's, etc.

But for me the library is full of other stories as well, my life stories.

Stories of my mispent youth. Stories of my childhood and helping kids younger than me read. Stories published in the paper about how I read a crazy amount of books for the summer reading club one year. Stories about having fun at work. Stories about going in over a holiday weekend to empty the bookdrop with then boyfriend and maybe or maybe not making out in the library. Stories of friendship.

Friendships that have lasted well beyond our careers at the library.

My kids are now weaving some stories of their own compliments of the local libraries. Reagan is a book worm just like her Momma. She must go to bed with no less than 3 books every night. She says she is going to be a librarian when she grows up.

Maybe she'll finish what I started.

Friday, April 23, 2010

My Friday

My favorite picture of the moment. Bill doesn't get why I like it and I can't put my finger on it. It just speaks to me.

I spent an hour at the Botanical Gardens this morning. A nice break from the chaos  potty training. (btw Nolan is starting to rebel a bit, so we are backing off and letting him lead. Really the hardest part of parenting so far!)

As I was walking through the gardens, I was again thinking about how, even when I am all alone with just my thoughts to worry about, I still can't relax and just s-l-o-w down. I was walking through the gardens like I was training for the Johnnycake Jog. I just can't shift gears from Mommy herding twinadoes to being alone. I'd take a picture and quick move on to the next garden. Why can't I just sit down and listen to the birds sing for a minute?

On a totally different subject, I stopped at the Big Bird (Giant Eagle)  and scored cheap cereal. Really cheap cereal. Like 25 cents a box for Honey Bunches of Oats & 1.50/box for Kashi that normally costs 3.39/box.  Also enjoyed the cheap Reynolds Wrap (1.00 for 60 ft.) because, really, there is no substitute for good foil.

Nothing like some good deals to get my blood flowing. I know, it is a sickness. But, my bill started off being $54 and ended at $28.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Journey To Jewel


Sometimes in life there are people you don't know, but their actions touch you deeply.

I have never met Tammy & Jeff Jarrett, but I can tell you they are the best the human species has to offer.

Jeff is a chef at the North Avenue Wine Bar in Hudson and his wife, Tammy, is a nurse. They have 3 sons and an adopted daughter from China. They are in the process of adopting another daughter, Jewel, from China.

This is no ordinary adoption story though. The Jarrett family is adopting a child that according to the adoption agency is a "hard to place" child. You see Jewel was born without eyes/blind. The Jarrett's 1st adopted daughter is also visually impaired.

Many adopting families would shy away from the extra work a "special needs" child could potentially be, but yet the Jarrett family sought out not one, but two, special needs little girls.

A bunch of local chefs pulled together last month and held a fundraising dinner to help the family raise the funds for this 2nd adoption. (The Jarrett's were not planning on adopting again at this point, but fell in love with Jewel and have proceeded with the adoption.)

They are a little more than half-way to their goal and are still many, many months away from bringing their baby girl home.

We could not attend the dinner, but sent a donation. We received a thank-you letter in the mail with an update. Included in the letter was this lovely idea, " Another project we are working on and would love all of you to participate if possible: Jewel's 100 Good Wishes Quilt. We are asking that you send a piece of fabric, along with a note, wish, saying, etc to Jewel. We will turn all the pieces of fabric into a quilt, then make a scrapbook with a small piece of the fabric and your note. We will someday be able to read all of these wishes to Jewel, and let her feel the fabric and her quilt. She will then be able to FEEL the love that all of you had for her, even before she came home to use."

Are you crying, because I am? Talk about good people. Wow.

Jarrett family, we can all learn from you and the love you have to share. You are amazing folks and all five of your children are lucky to call you Mommy & Daddy!

If you'd like to follow Jewel's journey, you can do so here. There is a donation link on the page. Please consider donating so these wonderful people can bring their other daughter home soon and she can reap the benefits of such a loving home and all the wonderful resources she will have available to her in the United States of America.

I can't begin to imagine what little Jewel's life would be like if the Jarrett family hadn't decided to open their hearts again and she had to stay in an orphanage in China.

There are angels among us.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Twinado Talk


Out of the mouths of the Twinadoes.....

Convo with Reagan about the REALLY big bees hanging around one of our bushes:
Reagan: Shoo bees, it's not bee season yet.
Mommy: Yes, it is. Bees do good things.
Reagan: They do bad things too!
Mommy: Like what?
Reagan: They "stum" us.

Grammy was talking about summer and lighting bugs and how they can run and catch them this year.
Nolan: "I want to catch Chick Hicks bugs" (You have to be a fan of the movie, Cars, to get that one.)

Nolan & Reagan: "I need my Perrier's!" Aunt Jan & Uncle John always bring them bubbly water.

Our ottoman is old and has a rip. Normally there is a blanket over it, but it was in the wash. Reagan found the tear and started pulling out the stuffing while I was in the bathroom. When I came around the corner and saw fluff all over, I asked what was going on. Her response: "We are making cotton candy!"

Reagan was playing emergency with their fire station that has a CB-like radio on it. She was calling the engine and she said, "Come in Old Hickory!" (that was my Dad's CB handle. My mom had been telling them about it earlier in the week.)

On the day we were taking the kids to Kalahari for their big surprise, Nolan was sitting on the kitchen counter and he grabbed my face and said, "Thanks for taking me, mom!" He didn't even know where he was going! So sweet.

We were at the Metroparks for a storytime and a little girl and her Grandpa walked in. Nolan walked over and said, "Good morning you two. How are you today?"

Nolan on the lack of work being done at the construction site, "Since it is raining the workers are not doing foundations."

Reagan: this triangle is shaped like pizza.

Nolan: Where's mailman Tom?
Mommy: At home having dinner with his family/
Nolan: Yeah, with mailman Mommy.

Nolan on a morning with a heavy frost: "The frosting is coming off the ground."
Mailman Tom brought a package to our door and he asked the kids if the Easter Bunny was going to visit them. Nolan answered, "No, he is at the mall."

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Big Surprise

We surprised the twinadoes with a trip to Kalahari. Not just any old trip with Mommy and Daddy either. Aunt Deb, Uncle Sam, Aunt Jan, and Uncle John joined us for the surprise as well.

All the kids, all 8 of us that is, had a great time. My body is still bobbing like I'm in the wave pool. Could be due to the fact that I've got water stuck in my ear, but so be it! It was a good time.

The day started with a stop at Fatheads for lunch. Uncle Sam & Aunt Deb showed up and Reagan was very surprised and happy to see them.
Nolan got in a little brewing with Mr. Matt.

Then it was off to the big "K." They figured it out when we got off the freeway, because they recogonize the hotel with the water slide at that exit. They both yelled, "Kalahari!"

They were excited to show Sam and Deb around and do all their favorite things. John and Jan showed up just in time for dinner and then we did it all over again!

Relaxing before dinner. All the boys have their vices....beer & a paci.

End of Day 1. They were so done.
The only photo of the whole gang (minus me!)
 I think we've found the magic combo of 6 adults on the twinadoes. I actually got to bob around in the wave pool and ride the lazy river without worrying about who I had my eyes on for a few minutes. Nolan was off with Uncle John in the "bubble tub" and Reagan was with Aunt Jan and Aunt Deb way ahead of me in the river.
Running out of steam on day 2. Reagan was pooped.
Needing some lovin' from Aunts Deb & Jan.

I also came to the conculsion that, even though I totally knew my kids were in safe hands, I can't fully relax anymore. I'm so used to being rushed to get kids ready to do this or that, make meals, or just keep my eyes on them when we are out that, even when I could have just sat in an inner tube on the lazy river, I was kicking and paddling like I was on the Gauley River.

Guess that is how life is these days; stretches of calm with class 5 rapids just around the next bend.

All pictures: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=58475&id=1418118548&l=3ab9484481

Sunday, April 11, 2010



Some things go away in an instant.

This weekend, two places that were near and dear to me, ceased to exist.


Saying goodbye to Michelle, Neil, and Helaine at Beanie's was tough. For me, it means I have no place to celebrate my Dad's life that was near and dear to us anymore. That was the one place we made lots of good memories in together. A place I could go and remember my Dad the way he should be remembered; smiling and relaxing. Having a few beers, some chili, and a cigar. Singing along to George Thorgood or John Mellencamp (when he was John Cougar!)

I was lucky to have friends and family join me for a few toasts, one last burger, and a whole lot of laughs. Kathy, Joanne, Cindy, Terri & crew, Bill, Mom, and Connie all raised a glass with me. Some people were there in spirit (Carrie, thanks for the text message) and others raised a glass from 1,025 miles away (UB & AC.)

After everyone left, I stayed for (what was supposed to be) one more, but when that one was done I just couldn't get up and go. I knew that when I did finally get up, that was it.  It was hard. There were tears and promises to keep in touch. I stood outside and looked at the spot my Dad parked in every week. I looked at the place my mom, Uncle Bob, Grandpa and I stood on the 1 year anniversary of his passing, and I looked at the sidewalk my kids had walked up in January to commerate my Dad's birthday with Beanie burgers and fries.

I'm lucky to have those memories, but now that the tangible place to live all of them is gone, I feel like I've lost that final piece of my Dad that I was holding so tightly.

The other place that is no more is Texas Stadium.

While not as emotionally wretching for me, it still marks the end of some very, very, (nose touch-sorry inside joke) fun times.

When my Uncle moved to Dallas many years ago, I visited him a lot. I even considered moving there. We had a lot of fun back in the day. I got to go a lot of places and see a lot of things that you don't get on the nickel tour of Texas Stadium since he works for the Cowboys. Not too many people can say they've had a champagne toast on the 50 yard line of Texas Stadium at midnight, just sitting on the star looking up through the hole in the roof of the stadium, but I can. I've seen that stadium from stem to stern and then some.

Sunday morning 1 ton of explosives leveled the building in less than 60 seconds.

Another piece of my past is total history.

Good times with good people, that is what I have in my heart and my head.

Cherish your loves, makes memories. They are the one thing you keep forever.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

When Multiples Descend


We went on an outing with my Moms Of Multiples group to the Willoughby Fire Station today.

This is what the parking lot looks like when a bunch of moms of twins and various other configurations of siblings arrive! A dozen cars, but there were probably 40 kids and parents there! Good times.

The kids have been to three fire stations already and a couple of touch-a-truck events so they were ready to just climb on stuff. Nolan has to touch EVERYTHING. He left there with hands black & greasy.

On a side note, at the beginning of the year, some the moms joined a "Biggest Loser" contest as a way to get motivated to lose weight. I joined, but as the truly biggest LOSER, I have faltered and lost any motivation I had in the beginning. I just can't find my mojo. I know how to do it. Hell, I lost 56 lbs before the twinadoes came along. I just can't find it in me and that makes me sad, which makes me eat, which makes me sad, which... you see where I'm going with this.

Anyway, back to my point. I haven't seen some of the "Biggest Losers" in a few months and they look awesome! I will consider my entry fee into the contest to be a good investment because it has obviously motivated others.

After the fire station visit, Ginger, our favorite 4-legged friend, came over to play. She and the twinadoes had a great time and got fairly dirty. I figured out a new way to get the kids in the house and get their hands clean though. Suggest they "help" wash some dishes. I've never seen them bounce into the house so quickly and proceed to get clean (and prune) hands. My floor also got a little wash, but so be it!

Monday, April 5, 2010



How can I be so sad because a bar is closing?

I was driving down Vine St. today and saw a sign on Beanie's Lounge. CLOSING SOON.

My heart sank. Literally. I felt it drop a little.

My Dad was a simple, humble man. He worked hard, standing in a machine shop all day. His one great pleasure in life was going to Beanie's on Saturday after work to have a bowl of chili, a cigar, and a face full of beers.

He'd sit in the same spot every week. We all knew where to find him and lots of times some of us would join him.

This summer it will be ten years (wow, I can't believe I just typed that) that the greatest man I've ever known left this earth. Each August I stop into Beanie's for a drink. That first year I tried to go visit him at the cemetery, I even took him a beer, but it just didn't work for me. He wasn't there. I'd never shared any good times with him there. The only memories there are sad ones and I just couldn't stand being sad when I thought about him. I wanted to think about the good times, so on the way home from the cemetery Bill drove me to Beanie's. That is where I've gone ever since. That's where the happy times where. I can look at his favorite barstool and picture him sitting there.

The thought that the little piece of my Dad that I have left is going to be gone (and all because a Walgreens is moving in and taking over the whole corner) makes me so sad.

I guess my plan will be to spend a little time there this Saturday. If they are still open.