Saturday, September 23, 2006

Rockin' and Rompin'- Indoors!

Our third Rock n Romp was scheduled for Saturday, September 23. All week, the weather forecast called for rain. When I woke up that morning (at 7:30! the kids were at Grammy's) the skies were clear. "Do you think. . .?" We went downstairs and checked the radar. The local radar looked good. I pulled up a regional radar- uh oh. A wall of storms was coming toward us across Arkansas. "Oh well- it's a good thing we have a rain plan!"

Fortunately, the owner of Strings & Things had agreed to let us use their space in case of rain. The only caveats were no beer and everyone signs a waiver. No problem! It was a great space- plenty of room for what was a great turn-out. Not as cool as an outdoor concert (and a keg), but definitely the next best thing.

Chip and Chloe left the house a bit after noon to pick up Tiffany and head over to help set up. Connor and I stayed home to eat lunch and take a nap. When Connor heard that RnR was after naptime, he immediately wanted to get into bed. I told him we needed to eat lunch, and he asked if we could eat while we were taking a nap. A true multi-tasker! I finally got him upstairs to bed. Within ten minutes he was running around upstairs. "I'm ready to go, Mommy!" "Connor, if you don't get in bed and get some sleep, we won't make it to the RnR!" Oh my, was that the wrong thing to say. Next thing I know, he is lying in his bed, sobbing. "I want to go to the Roooock n Roooomp!" I rubbed his back and tried to convince him that it hadn't started yet, and we would get there in plenty of time- after he took a nap. I showed him on the clock just how soon we would be leaving. Another big mistake, as he spent the remaining half hour dutifully watching said clock and whimpering quietly. I finally got him up and into the car. He fell asleep about five minutes before we got there. Not his usual hour and a half nap!

I woke him up and carried him in, only to have Chloe passed off to me immediately. "I don't know what's wrong with her! She's been fussing for an hour!" Apparently she just needed Mommy, because all I saw was a happy baby. (She looked super-cute in her new white RnR t-shirt! You and your kids will too- go over to Mothersville and pick one up!) Connor clung to my leg, groggy and overwhelmed by all the people and activity. He stayed skittish until his best buddy Max showed up. I think I saw him a total of 8 minutes over the course of the next three hours once he and Max hooked up.

By the end of the show we were all hungry and exhausted. We cleaned up at String n Things, grabbed some Mexican food, and got home and to bed as soon as we could. Except for Chip, who stayed up past our bedtime working, but that's a different story altogether.

If you are wondering why you haven't been invited to a Rock n Romp, check your junk email folder- your evite is probably in there! If not, go to and get on the mailing list for the last concert of the season- a Halloween-themed affair at the end of October. See you there!

Monday, September 18, 2006


We've spent more of our blogging time in the past week on the epic Dining With Monkeys review here. It's a multi-part, multi-family review of Bosco's which is actually longer than the dining experience itself was. But it's very amusing, I think.

Just for kicks, here's a pic:

Chloe can't actually stand up for more than a split second at a time, but this pic makes her look like quite a little lady.

Cooper Young Festival

(A quick note- we took no pictures of the kids at the Festival, so I will just post random pics with this entry since I know you don't come here to read my writing.)

Saturday we took the kids to their first Cooper Young Festival. (It was also the first in quite a while for me and Chip.) We considered taking them in the afternoon so that we could see some bands we are interested in, but that would have cut into both naptime and Connor's Saturday evening date with Grammy. Instead we set out at 10:00 am, thinking we might make it there ahead of some of the crowd. Ha!

As we crossed Parkway on Central, I started looking down side streets. "You need to think about parking- the streets are already full!" Chip turned right on Cooper, thinking we might park at Peabody Park. Apparently we were a few hours too late for that idea, so we parked on Cowden and started gathering our stuff. In record time we had Chloe in her sling and Connor and the diaper bag stuffed into the green stroller. And Connor was already eating one of the snacks I brought for him! (I guess he worked up an appetite dancing to JT's new (and somewhat disappointing) CD on the ride there.) As soon as we started down Cooper we spotted Stacey and the rest of "Team Oster" on the other side of the street. "Stacey!" Chip yelled. "Staaaaceeeeyy!" I more impressively hollered in my best former-cheerleader voice. Satchel started looking around suspiciously. "Satchel!" I barked, realizing who our audience really was. He looked right at us, and we waved, and he turned around and kept walking. Eventually we caught up with them, though. Probably because we were a well-oiled stroller machine, while they were actually allowing their kids to get exercise and walk on their own.

We spent about 30 minutes or so exploring the booths with "Stacey and Satchel and Jiro and their daddy!" managing to only spend $1 on a purple balloon, despite the pink and black skirt that repeatedly called my name from over at Mothersville. We stopped to pick up stickers and agree to vote no on 1, then made our way to the "children's area." This was an area with a few makeshift kids' games and two moonbounce-type things. For once, Connor was happy to jump into the moonbounce, and managed to sneak in more time than he paid for. He also played a few games, and came away with a small purple ball from the pathetic selection of toys at the prize table. Chloe and I would have watched him, but the sun was beating down on us something terrible and we decided to take a break in the small patch of shade at the corner of the play area. She and I were sweating through her sling, so we comandeered the stroller. Connor came back to learn an important life lesson- "Shuffle your feet, lose your seat!" I appeased him by handing him snack #2, goldfish, which he proceeded to completely dump on the ground. In order to nip that meltdown in the bud, I said out loud the words we had all been thinking for the previous 30 minutes. "Let's go get ice cream from the Ben and Jerry's stand!" We left Stacey and her brood to explore the rest of the festival, as we headed back towards the ice cream and our car.

It was unspoken that we were headed towards the car, but it was obvious that we were all a little too hot and tired to spend much more time there. We wanted to leave while things (Connor) were still pleasant! So we got back to the magic B&J stand. Lots of good flavors, but I was worried that Connor wouldn't enjoy anything but plain chocolate. "They've got vanilla! And ice cream that tastes like Oreos! And chocolate with brownies in it!" "Um, how about chocolate with nothing in it?" And Chip thinks I project my own pickiness onto Connor. He is worse than I am! We talk him into Cookies n Cream, then soon realize that eating and walking will cause the ice cream to meet the same fate as the goldfish. We hightailed it to Mothersville for some blissfully quiet and air conditioned eating. (Thanks, Andria!) Connor spent more time playing than eating, allowing Chip to eat most of the $4 scoop. After a diaper change for Chloe, we were back in the car and on our way home. It was fun, but next year I think we'll take more money with us and plan to go when we can hear some live music.

Monday, September 11, 2006

MY Child

If any of you doubted that I was actually the mother of Chip's children, I have proof that at least Connor is mine. Not just that we stare blankly at our television overlord in the same manner, although that was our first clue. And not just that he is loud and wildly emotional either. I have even more compelling proof.

One thing is that Connor is now experimenting with sarcasm. I've never been prouder of my offspring. Let me set the stage: at the end of "Go Diego Go!" they have a quiz about the animal that was central to the episode. They ask a question and give two choices. Some are pretty obvious (Does the pygmy marmoset eat tree sap or spaghetti and meatballs?) and some require more thought (Is the llama good at climbing or swimming?). We were watching the other day, and the animal was the red-eyed tree frog. The first question was, Does the tree frog have red eyes or purple eyes? Connor said (with an eye roll), Oh, it's got purple eyes- yeah! Then he dissolved into a fit of giggles. Fantastic!

Another is that Connor has developed a love for "white cheese." That's right, Parmesean cheese. Those of you who know me know how I feel about this perfect food specimen. Those of you who don't, here's a little list of things I have put Parmesean cheese on of late:
1. Microwave popcorn
2. Scrambled eggs
3. Rice Chex
But it's more than that. If I have a container of shredded (not grated), I will just eat it for a snack. During college I lived for a two and a half year stretch on nothing but Diet Coke, Bud Light, and white rice made with butter, garlic salt, and Parmesean cheese. It's important to me. Well, now my son will eat a bowl of it with a spoon. All starches require white cheese, including his morning slice of toast. It frightens Chip, who still refers to the contents of the magical green container as "saw dust" (as if!) but it makes me feel good to see myself in my son.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Labor Day Travels

Sure last weekend provided Chip with an unprecedented amount of alone time, but for me it provided an opportunity to participate in historic single-parent traveling. I know I'm not breaking new ground here, but I consider it an accomplishment to go to the grocery store with both kids- crossing state lines was epic!

We began the trip Thursday night by putting both kids in their pjs, strapping them into their car seats, and kissing Daddy good-bye as we headed for Nashville. Connor was extremely concerned about his lack of footwear for the trip. Perhaps I should have been too. But since we were leaving at 7:00 pm, I was confident that both kids would sleep all the way to Mimi and Bwana's house. That would have happened had I not made the fatal mistake of making a phone call about an hour out of Nashville. Connor awoke and immediately began crying desperately and whining something that was incoherent. Is he saying "I want my Mommy?" I'm right here! Don't wake Chloe up! I pulled over at a gas station in the middle of nowhere and got out to comfort Connor and try to get him to talk to me. Nothing but crying. Since this is kind of normal (if he wakes up in the middle of the night for any reason, he starts sobbing right away) I got back behind the wheel and started driving. About a mile down the road we passed a rest area. About a mile after that, Connor decided to speak clearly. "I WANNA POTTY!" I started to panic a bit- I mean, we had just been at a pretty sketchy gas station and passed the last rest area for 41 miles. Where were we going to stop? As a woman alone at night in Nowhere, TN, I didn't feel comfortable pulling over to the side of the road. And when we got where we were going, I was going to have to find some shoes for Connor so that I could get him and Chloe inside to a toilet. (Connor would NEVER go barefoot outside- why didn't I have something on his feet preemptively?) So I was trying to get Connor to calm down by explaining that he just had to hold out a little longer when he let out one last wail and fell instantaneously into REM sleep. Ah, sweet release! I figured it would dry up some by the time we got to the Chockleys' house and just kept on going.

Friday morning Chloe and I had to catch a flight at 8:20. I was nervous about getting up and getting there on time, but the Chockleys wake up earlier than the roosters so it was almost no problem. Until we got to the airport (around 7:00) and noticed that the line for the Southwest counter stretched the length of the ticket lobby! Fortunately Sherri and I weren't carrying much- she only had a big suitcase and my Pack N Play, and I had the car seat, my overloaded diaper bag, and Chloe. I mean, we were exhausted and sweating by the time we got through the parking lot! So the big line seemed especially daunting. After about 10 minutes someone walking by randomly said, "If you're traveling with the baby you need to be in THAT line," pointing us to a much shorter line. And by shorter I mean we were only in that one about 25 minutes. I don't even want to think about a world where that random lady doesn't come by and point out the correct line. (Shudder)

Sherri stayed with me until the heavest bags were checked (thank you!) and then after 30 minutes in the security line Chloe and I were hustling towards the gate. We made it with minutes to spare! The flight was full so Chloe had to sit in my lap. Passenger after passenger passed us by until two brave women opted to (had no options but to) sit by us. They were nice and interested in Chloe, which is always fun. And let me just say, she was an ANGEL! Fussed for about a minute when the plane landed, but snapped out of it before anyone noticed. Yay!

Ann Arbor was wonderful, as always. It really seemed like fall there- the kids were back on campus, the temps were in the 60s during the day and around 50 at night, and the college football season started. I even wore a pair of corduroys! We ate lots of good food, drank lots of good wine, and shopped a lot. (My first trip to an IKEA! Wow.) Chloe loved being the center of attention, and we both loved hanging out with Shannon and Carrie.

For the trip home, we made sure to get to the airport early. Apparently all the Vandy fans who had flown up to see the UMich/Vandy game had gone home on Sunday, so the airport was practically deserted. It gave us plenty of time to hang out with Shannon and Carrie, eat breakfast, and mourn the loss of the Crocodile Hunter. Our return flight wasn't full, so Chloe and her carseat got their own spot. As a result, she was even better on the way home! (If that's possible.)

When Chloe and Connor were reunited in Mimi's kitchen, it was like a scene from a romance movie. My goodness, those two are in love! Lots of hugging and kissing and rolling around on the floor laughing. (This picture is not of that blessed reunion, but since they have their arms around each other I figured we could pretend.) After about an hour of this, I knew the time had come for the leg of the trip I was dreading the most- the daytime ride home. Surely this would be a 5-hour Nashville to Memphis trip, what with all the eating and peeing and whatnot that would surely take place, along with the fact that I was pretty worn out at this point and not moving all that quickly. Imagine my surprise when they both fell asleep immediately and stayed that way until we were in Shelby County! Connor even held his post-nap pee until we got home, so no Wolfchase-area potty breaks. I had a lot of fun in A2, but I was glad to get home. For completing such a small task, I sure felt like I had accomplished something remarkable.

Our next trip is the first week of October. Florida, here we come!

Thursday, September 07, 2006


So Steph took Chloe to Ann Arbor over the Labor Day Weekend to see Uncle Shannon and Aunt Carrie, and Connor stayed with Mimi and Bwana in Nashville. We didn't really plan it that way, but that resulted in a long "alone time" weekend for me. (In celebration of that solitude, I'm posting a pic here that doesn't have Chloe or Connor in it! Actually, I've been meaning to post a pic of myself so that I can have a Blogger avatar pic. Ok, I'm just really, really vain.)

What an odd concept. You don't really realize it, but once you get married and have kids, you just don't get much "alone time," and especially not for extended periods. It really made me think-- if I'm not "Daddy" or "Husband" or "Lawyer", what am I?

I had aspirations of bachelor revelry (you know, lots of scantily clad single women in the house, Jagermeister, etc.) but alas, none of that happened. All four of us have been assaulted by a horrible cold, and I really felt like doing nothing the whole weekend. Lots of reading, listening to music, watching movies that Steph would never want to watch (V for Vendetta, Dark Water, Original Star Wars Trilogy, etc.) and U.S. Open Tennis. It was very surreal-- almost felt like I was someone else for 3 days. I suppose I could've made more of it if I'd felt better-- you know, drive down to Mexico and get some real authentic tacos or something. But it was also nice to sit and do nothing. In peace and quiet.

I also realized that there's absolutely no way I could be happy living by myself again. The big mouths of Steph and Connor, along with the constant grins of Chloe, are the things that make my house the place I want to hang out.