Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Toto, I Have a Feeling...

...we're not in Kansas any more.

Nope.  We're road-tripping, baby.  Tomorrow will be our fourth and final day on the road, and boy am I looking forward to pulling into Meme and Kiki's house on Hilton Head Island.

We did the right thing by chopping what could have been two really long days on the road into four shorter days, but after 13 nights in various hotels in Kansas and on the road, I am ready to stop moving things in and out of our cars every night.

Days two and three of the road-trip were rather uneventful, but day one was terrible.  After a late, final night in Kansas (more on this later... it was seriously awesome!), tornado sirens made our "Dorothy" experience in Kansas complete.  (I arrived back to our hotel at roughly 11:45pm to find the Gutsy Dad and the kids down in the hotel basement along with all the other guests.)  We spent Sunday, after church (more on that later, too), driving to St. Louis under a certain amount of pressure to get away from the horrible weather that wreaked such havoc on Joplin, MO.  We had eerie skies, thunder, lighting, torrential downpours, and hail.

Obviously, we survived.  And as we watch the news of the devastation caused by those tornadoes, we are counting our many blessings.

Here we are on the last day, almost two weeks ago, that our Kansas house was normal:

And, because I am a dorky blogger, here we are in front of our Germany house, before we moved to Kansas, in 2009.  Look at itty-bitty Madelyn!

And here we are in 2006, in front of our Washington home, before we moved to Germany. Look at itty-bitty Jillson!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Naming Update

Jillson would like us to name the baby Oona.  Or Michelle-Elan.  (The latter half pronounced the French way, meaning, I think, passion.)

Madelyn would like us to name the baby Dora.

Madelyn would also like us to change her own name to Martin-Sophia.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

"Gradulations" Double-Header

Wednesday was Jillson's last day of preschool.  Here she is outside our hotel room.

We loved Mrs. Wiley, especially because she shared a favorite color with Jillson.  (When we got home, we found that Mrs. Wiley had put a pair of purple sunglasses in Jillson's school bag as a surprise!)

Here are our two goofballs back at the same hotel tree before our special "gradulation" dinner at T-Rex.

Today, Thursday, it was the Gutsy Dad's turn.  Let's see how long he allows me to have these photos posted here before he requests that I take them down for security reasons.  I'm thinking that when the RLBT starts, they will have to be removed.  Anyway, here's the big guy getting his master's hood!

The Gutsy Family, complete with baby bump and crazy "smiles."

Monday, May 16, 2011


Helping Papa inventory books to return to the library.

I am obsessed with language acquisition.  I could spend hours just listening to the way my daughters, especially the 2-year old, decide to use and try out words.

Recently, Jillson has been saying "ta-ta!" instead of goodbye.  She also has been saying "That's not what I expected!" when something unexpected happens.  For some reason, that really tickles me.

Madelyn has some interesting consonant inversions going on.  She says "let's dough!" instead of "let's go!"  as well as "grink" and "gress" for drink and dress.  But she says "gatorade" and "driveway" clear as a bell.  She says cat and cracker perfectly, but says "tum" instead of come and "be-tuzz" instead of because.

Just this morning I watched her stop mid-word to say "I don't have one, t-- either!" instead of "I don't have one, too!"  I could see the little wheels cranking in her brain, could see the flash of exhilaration in her eyes when she tried out a new word and it worked.  The fact that I wanted to stop and kiss her and praise her for correctly using "either" instead of "too" just shows you how much of a geek I am.

But my absolute favorite is the invention of "ploo."  This is not a mispronunciation.  It is a homemade contraction.  I suppose that, correctly spelled, it should be "pl'ou."  It stands for "Please, can you..." or "Please, will you..." and is applied a million times a day:

"Pl'ou change my diaper?"
"Pl'ou hand me a crayon?"
"Pl'ou open this?"

Now, pl'ou tell me, what is more adorable than that?

Yours in nerdiness,
The GM

Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday Music Mojo

Staying home from the gym this morning so I can prepare the house for the packers, who come Wednesday.  (Not willing to sacrifice tomorrow's workout, so today's the day.)  So far I've swung by Sonic for the official drink of this pregnancy: diet cranberry limeade.  And now I'm sitting here blogging.  Hm.

So much to share, so little time.  As soon as I post this, I'm locking myself in the storage room until it is ready for the movers.  I have two laundry baskets full of papers and random things that must be dealt with.  Then it's on to the studio.  This may require a fair amount of Dora for the little one.

Anyway, on the ride from preschool to Sonic to home this morning I heard two pieces of music that always inspire, but in different ways.

If you need a little mojo to get your house in order try this one.  (Having trouble embedding videos today--you'll have to go to YouTube and then come back.)  You know I am always a sucker for a happy reggae beat. I love all the different happy people in this video, too.  Madelyn calls this "Papa's song" (we listen in the car a lot) because the lyrics say something like "hey papa, hey papa, close to you..." or something like that.

Or, if you need ramping down instead of ramping up, just sit down, close your eyes, and listen to this one.  I performed this yesterday with my amazing choir at church.  Perfect mother's day anthem, if you ask me.  (I'm also partial because the composer is a Harvard Grad and the piece premiered at Tanglewood, near my old neck of the woods.)

That's it.  Must MOTIVATE.

The GM

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


(I'm breaking with my self-imposed blog protocol here.  But this just hits too close to home.)
My first reaction was relief.  Super huge relief.  A little less evil in the world.  Thank God.  
Then the relief quickly gave way to a strange feeling of pride--almost smirky-- a kind of “hell yeah, we are that badass” sort of feeling.  You mess with us, we mess with you.   And we will mess with you until the job has been done and justice has been served.  Hooray for the CIA!  Hooray for the SEALS!  Hooray for President Obama!
But the sense of relief and the feelings of strange pride were far more fleeting than I would have thought.  Frustration stepped right in.  I was--and am--frustrated because I know that, despite this huge success, my husband will still be leaving for yet another RLBT sooner than I care to admit.  And it will still take years until we can get all of our service men and women back home.*  

In a perfect world, the news of this man's death would mean that we could be done with our military involvement in the Middle East.  Yes, I know.  The world is not perfect, and I am not that naive.  But really.  “They” came to our country and did something terrible to us.  We then found as many of “them” as we could and we retaliated.  I would like for this to be done now.  Especially since he was found neither in Iraq nor Afghanistan, what are we REALLY going to be doing in those countries now?  Can't we just pack up and go home?  (I know the official answers, but they don't assuage my feelings.)
And that, of course, is where the fear comes in.  Fear of what will happen to us next.  Fear of what it will mean to “them” to see the pictures of our very young citizens partying and whooping it up in the streets like we won the super bowl. Celebrating just as we’ve seen “them” do.  What it might incite.
Please don’t get me wrong.  I don’t think it’s wrong for Americans to be psyched about this.  Heck, I’m psyched about it.  But there are people very near and dear to my heart in Afghanistan right now.  They can’t afford to rejoice or feel relieved.  They must stay vigilant.
Still. Couldn’t we just be done?  Couldn’t we just say we got the bastards who got us and we are going home now?  Couldn’t we just say “the hearts and minds” are YOUR problem, not ours?
It has been a long ten years.  And I am tired.  And proud.  And relieved.  And just plain ready to be done.  

The GM.
*(I am also frustrated that this event--huge for our country--is being used by some to create even more division along political party lines.  This should be a time of unity, as we share our satisfaction. It should be a time to put aside differences.  Maybe it is for some.  But I am now on a self-imposed Facebook-reading moratorium because of the crazy things some people are posting, and also because of the things I feel like writing back. But that is another story.)

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Artistic Phase Continueth

During the 20 minute nap I took today, while the children were supposedly downstairs in the playroom watching "Angelina Ballerina," Madelyn located a blue magic marker, drew all over herself and all over the play "store" and kids' table, and--somehow--mixed the blue marker ink with water in the play pots and pans and dumped blue water all over the playroom carpet.

I was alerted to this disaster when Jillson came upstairs in her dress-up clothes, started flicking the lights on and off, and said, "Attention!  I am Mrs. Junah.  I am a grown up.  I am here to tell you that your little baby is pouring water all over the floor.  The water is blue."

(Mrs. Junah and I later discussed how it would have been appropriate for her to inform me of the craziness much sooner, perhaps even as early as the moment Madelyn picked up the verboten marker.  We've been discussing the fine line between tattling and "acting responsibly" a lot lately.)

After washing Madelyn off, I quarantined the kids upstairs so I could give the steam cleaner yet another workout downstairs.  I am pleased to say the marker came up nicely.  Hooray for Crayola's "washable" line.

I decided to take a mommy break in the playroom before coming upstairs and watched the last fifteen minutes of a cheese-o-rama E! documentary about William and Kate's road to the altar.  I heard the kids clomping around upstairs in and out of my closet, no doubt trying on my heels and slinging handbags around.  Should've known better. After all, it was taking a mommy break in the first place that led to the marker all over the playroom.

For if there is anything we've learned from the paint incident (also Crayola's washable line), it is that there is always a coda.

My royal-watching respite was interrupted by Tilly who came running downstairs and sat down in front of me and stared at me in that way that dogs do that can only mean "one of my kind is in distress."  Sure enough, I went upstairs to find the door to my bedroom was locked from the inside.  The kids were not in there.  (They were lying on the living room floor with couch pillows and blankets, pretending to be asleep. In heels and with handbags.)  But Zephie was locked in the bedroom, and she was not happy about it.  This is a dog who does not like to be separated from her peeps.

Thankfully, I was able to jimmy the lock open from the outside (who knew that door knobs had tiny little holes in them for this purpose!) to rescue Zephie.

And all was well again.

And I did not take my eyes off the kids for the rest of the day.

And even so, Maddie colored on the kitchen table with red crayon right in front of me.  Then, after her time out, she came over to say I'm sorry and give me a kiss, and she licked my mouth instead.