Tuesday, February 24, 2009

We Knew It Was Coming

Yesterday a dear friend moved away, and not just any friend. An Auerbachian. (Doesn't she look radiant, pictured above with Madelyn?) For several years now, you all have had to listen to me rave about our amazing neighborhood and community. You've heard the tales of all the incredible, impossible, silly, mundane, simple, and gutsy things we have done and endured together. Well now, after all we have weathered together, we must learn to weather something new: not being together. Auntie Jess and her wonderful family have moved away.

Already I have had to try to explain to Jillson--while only crying a little--why she can't play with Marion this afternoon. Or tomorrow. I've had to say I don't KNOW when they can next play together. And Jillson says "'Sokay, Mommy, 'sokay. Marion will come back. She will, she will." And then forget about only crying a little. I cry like a fool.

It is so strange to see the empty driveway and the empty house. It's strange to have one less phone call to make when making plans for the day. Strange to have one less black and tan heiny bopping down the dogwalk route with us. Stranger still to have one less cup of coffee to pour. (Or should those all say "one fewer?" See? I am so forlorn I can't even correct my own grammar.)

I'm trying not to bum out, even though the top half of this post makes it sound otherwise. Rest assured. I'm doing what the Gutsy Mom does best: I'm cranking up the tunes and singing my guts out so I don't feel too sorry for myself. In fact, I am feeling supremely blessed because I know friends like this don't come along every day. This is a joyful thing. Yes, I sat down to write a happy post--ha ha!--all about my awesome friend, Jess, so that when she logged back onto her computer in the States she could read something wonderful and happy. So here we go.

When I was in middle school I babysat a three-year-old girl named Perri Trethaway. She was smart and sweet and a little bit stubborn and sometimes quiet. (Come to think of it, that sounds just like Jess!) But I digress. Here's what Perri would say to her parents when they would leave the house: "Don't go away far! You're right in my heart!" And so that is how it will be for us Auerbachians. We will carry each other in our hearts--even as we scatter ourselves across the globe--forever Auerbachian! (Hey, I said I was going to be happy, I made no promises about not being cheesy.)

So as I carry Jess and her family in my heart, I am going to make this vow. I am going to be more like Jess. I am going to be more compassionate, more reliable, more calm, and a better gardener. Sometimes, I will even be quiet. I am going to pay better attention to my dogs. I am going to cut back on those artificial sweeteners and preservatives. I will fantasize about the best damn eggnog I've ever had. (I won't attempt to make it; Jess's eggnog is so outrageously good that I know better than to try. She has mad eggnog skills, I tell you.) And of course there will be margaritas. And coffee. And dogwalks. And a new definition of long-distance running. (I'll run here while you run there.) And there will also be the long-distance admiration of each other's children.

There will be, ultimately, the planning of ARG Reunion 2010. Children, husbands, and pets included, for they are all friends, too.

But until then, Jess, wherever we all may be, remember this:

My keys are forever in the door for you; Cafe Gutsy is always open.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Furniture Fantasies

I couldn't sleep last night so I started fantasizing about furniture. This happens every time there is a move in my future. I start dreaming about how to set up the next house. Before the last move, I couldn't stop thinking about how I would set up Jillson's nursery once we were finally settled here in Germany. This time, I am OBSESSED with having a room of my own (thanks, Virginia, I agree with every word. My room will be a home office & creative space, aka the Gutsy Mom's Getaway. There will be no treadmill in this room, nor will there be a place for guests to sleep. Sorry. It will be mine, all mine.

I already have a beautiful desk, but since our current home-office-guest-room space is on our third floor, the desk hasn't felt the love since we moved here. I miss using it. I know, I know. I should just walk my lazy arse up to the third floor and use it, but it just isn't practical. What with the WiFi, I just end up turning the dining table on the first floor into my "desk" so that I can keep an eye on the kids. All the better for multi-tasking, I tell you. Hence, while my room must be all mine, it also must be relatively centrally located.

But I digress. This post is about furniture. So here it is. Let's start with what I already have. The perfect desk. Here it is. Hi, desk!

I also have a small, lovely computer monitor shelf-y thing on top, and a chair much like this, in black:

The first thing I would like to add, and perhaps the only practical part of this whole fantasy, is a lateral file like this. No more dented, mis-matched metal units!

When our dining table is not posing as my desk, it functions as a project table. So the next thing I would add to my room is this table. I'd put it smack dab in the middle of my room, as a project table. It has a long, shallow drawer in it, with lots of divided compartments. And yes, I LOVE that it is bright green.

For fun, I would add this colorful, comfy chair:

This neato organizer would liven up the top my desk and tame all those recharging cords (cell phone, Forerunner, etc):

For the windows:

And while I'm dreaming, wouldn't it be cool to have this thing in the corner for wrapping paper, ribbon, and all the tape, scissors, customs forms, and labels you need to wrap presents and packages?

And how about this simply because it is gorgeous, green, and on sale:

Okay, well. Now that I have gotten that out of my system, you know I'll be ending up with this.

Now back to our regularly-scheduled program.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Call the Preacher!

One of the things I love about toddlers is that you NEVER KNOW what they are going to say. Zum beispiel:

"I'm going upstairs to play! I'm going to knock myself out!" (The Gutsy Dad and I both use the phrase "knock yourself out, kiddo!" as a term of encouragement.)

This next tidbit was uttered two inches from Madelyn's crying face: "Enough with the Madelyn Drama!" (I'm sure I don't need to tell you who regularly informs Jillson she has had enough of the drama...)

Today's third example is my current favorite though, as it came COMPLETELY out of nowhere. Joss took me and the girls in for dinner last night due to our orphan status, and there we all were hanging out and chatting, while the kiddos ran around. Out of the blue, Jillson walked up to Joss and proclaimed:

"I'm getting married!"
"Really?" we all said. "Who are you going to marry?"
Beaming with pride she replied "LOGAN!" (Who was playing upstairs and therefore spared the embarrassment.)
We all giggled and congratulated her, while she added on:
"And we're going to get lots of presents!"

Seriously. I have no idea how she even knows about such things. None.

If You Say So

At bedtime last night, I tucked Jillson and her two baby-dolls in (getting tucked in is a big deal these days), and she said:

"Good bye, Mommy. I need to go to sleep and dream about pancakes."
"That sounds like a lovely plan," I responded.
"And you need to go to sleep in your room and dream about Papa."


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Dancing Lessons

For those who need some comic relief today, and for those who would enjoy proof that I am trying to follow my daughter's lead in finding joy in simple things, please enjoy these video offerings.

First, before bedtime the other day, Jillsie discovered a "mirror" in the french door windows, and couldn't resist doing a little chair dancing... (You will need to tip your laptop on its side for this one. If you have a desktop, you will need to tip your head. Sorry.)

Always one to oblige Diva Three, Diva Junior (aka the Gutsy Mom) joins in. I realize this is way more embarrasing for me than it is for Jillsie, but nevertheless, I present:

Monday, February 9, 2009

We Sing, We Run, We Make Things

Let's see... I had the pleasure of singing again this week. Twice in a row; I'm starting to get a reputation! The dogs got three big walks (and assorted little ones); I lifted twice; I ran three times. Go me!

Unfortunately, I also had my first spell of baby blues. I've been waiting for it. And, well, for those of you who also may have been wondering when the other shoe would drop, the answer is: yesterday. It didn't last long and wasn't too deep, but I just felt so sad and hopeless and unmotivated. Thankfully, the Gutsy Dad was right here, and, after nearly ten years of putting up with me, he knows how to lift my spirits. I'm feeling much better now, thank goodness.

In Gutsy Girls news: Jillson had her first haircut ever this week. (You may recall I cut her bangs last spring, but quickly gave up when I realized I have no talent for bang cutting and I didn't want to have to do bang upkeep forever.) This time the haircut was a family affair: I cut while Papa provided much needed distraction and the occasional chin hold to keep the head steady. Maddie did her part by hanging out in the bouncy seat, quietly gaining weight. She is now 11 and a half pounds!

How much cuteness can one couch take? Check out this multiple-girl pile-up! Left to right, Marion, Jillson, Kerala, and Denali with Madelyn on her lap.

Lastly, here's the start of a project I've been talking about for ever and ever. I finally got started on it. It's my very own family cookbook! The pics make it look huge, but the pages are only 6x6 inches. I created a template in Word, so I can type up all my favorite recipes and collect them in one place. This also makes it very easy to duplicate for people (Trin? Heather? Mom?) who want one of their own. In order for a recipe to get "in," it must be something we make on a regular basis; no random recipes torn out of mags or printed off the internet that languish in binders unmade... This is the food we REALLY EAT. (Thanks to Cathy Zielske for the inspiration, as always.)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

On A Roll

What a week! I've been so surprised by how great I've been feeling since Madelyn was born, that I figured I better ride the wave. This past week was a good start. I managed to go on three long dogwalks, I did my weightlifting workout twice, and I got my first run in. So far so good on the goals I set out in the last post.

I am particularly excited about starting up the running again. I'm starting back with a "Run 2 Walk 3" ratio, and a distance of 3 miles. This went well yesterday. My average pace, to include all the walking, came to 13:37 minutes per mile. To quote one of my favorite runners: "I'm slow; I know; Get over it!" I am trying very hard not to compare my current running status to what it used to be, but instead I use my past accomplishments as part of my new running mantra. (You know, the thing that uninspired runners mutter under their breath in time with their footsteps to get them through a tough mile... in geekier times I used Shakespeare's sonnets--no joke.) For now, mine goes:
I ran a marathon
I passed a kidney stone
I survived back labor for 30 hours
So this... is... nothing!

Also this week... Jillsie showed a new interest in her potty training and has been wearing underwear (so far without accident) quite often when we are at home. She is enjoying teaching "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" to her German classmates, and she is SUCH a good big sister so far. She helps by taking dirty dipes to the trash and by giving Maddie her binky when she fusses.Maddie is already a month old! How on earth this happened so quickly, I have no idea. She is starting to be awake for longer stretches of time during the day, and she is beginning to socialize more. She is trying very hard to smile, which is adorable to watch, and she now weighs over 10 pounds.My wonderful friends, pictured here in their ballgowns, threw a "Welcome Brunch" for Madelyn this week. We celebrated the arrival of our littlest Auerbachian, shared good food and conversation, and, yes, I was showered with gifts. I love you guys! Thank you so much for spoiling the Gutsy Girls! (Haven't uploaded photos from the shower yet, so the ball pic will have to do.)In more "me" news (after all, it is my blog) I sang a duet this week with an awesome baritone. It was a beautiful piece, not technically difficult, but satisfying in harmony and message. It felt SO GOOD to really sing again. Note to self: must do more of this in 2009.

The week is closing out as most do... the Gutsy Dad and I are lounging on the couch during naptime, armed with our laptops, watching "CBS Sunday Morning" news on the TV. We're making lists, comparing calendars, and gearing up for another busy week.

Happy February, everyone!