Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I stopped by one of Omaha's largest consignment sales twice last week -- on opening day and again on the final day when most items are half off. Basically, they are giant garage sales filled with nothing but children's things.

They're generally great.

This year was no exception. On Saturday, for example, I got 17 articles of clothing for $25. Great.

So I brought one of my reusable bags to the sale to put items in as I went along, and when I checked out I assumed I could put my things back in there after the price tags had been removed.

Two junior high-age girls were helping me and when one reached for a plastic bag, I said, "Oh, I've got my own bag."

She sort of paused and looked at her friend and then down at the plastic bag in her hand.

"I think we have to use this bag," she said.


No, that's ridiculous, I thought.

So I said, "Well, I'd really rather use my own bag."

And finally they gave in, warning me they'd have to tie the neon green ribbon to the handles of my bag then to prove I'd paid.

No problem, I said. And then I added, "I'm trying to save the environment by using my own bags."

I smiled.

And they just looked at me, blankly.


Sunday, September 28, 2008

Outdoor fun

We've been taking advantage of the summer-like fall.

Yesterday, we spent a couple hours at a pumpkin patch that was fun and super low-key. We crossed paths with maybe 10 other people the entire time. They had animals -- goats, horses, sheep, chickens, llamas, bunnies, plus a pet dog and cat -- and an assortment of other kitschy Halloweeny-type stuff. Rye's favorite part was the pit filled with feed corn that we jumped into over and over again.

We also took the hayrack ride to the pumpkin patch. And though it wasn't technically a patch -- they had obviously picked the pumpkins from elsewhere and placed them in this well-kept grassy field -- we still got the feel of picking our own pumpkins. Plus, Rye didn't know the difference. We picked two pumpkins to take home.

Rye also got his face painted for the first time ever. He choose a witch and it turned out really great, but he was being shy about it after the fact.

Last weekend, we went to a place called Fontenelle Forest, in Bellevue, about a 25-minute drive from our house. Even though it was "free day" and therefore packed with people, it was really cool. The highlight was a brand new outdoor nature classroom, which was the coolest I've ever seen. And the trees, of course, were amazing.

Here are some more photos of the pumpkin patch:

And from Fontenelle Forest:

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Halloween already

Our neighbors -- I'm not kidding -- decorated their yard for Halloween right after Labor Day.

And I don't mean a scarecrow and a bale of hay on their porch. I mean plastic pumpkins and ghosts and cut-out witches on posts stuck in the ground. I also mean an assortment of gaudy Halloween ghouls hanging from their tree.

Halloween is my favorite holiday.

But this is a bit early. In my book, it at least has to be October before the witches and skeletons come out.

When I was a kid, I remember picking out my Halloween costume a week or two before the big night. We'd go to K-Mart or some other discount store and get what I liked on the rack. I remember very fondly being Oscar the Grouch the year I was four. Later, my friends and I would sometimes raid my dad's costume shop and get a little more creative. Still, I'm pretty sure I was the Wicked Witch of the West at least two years in a row.

But back to the timing. Rye declared two weeks ago that he wanted to be The Emperor from Star Wars. In the past, he has said he wants to be Luke or Obi-Wan or Darth Maul. So I figured we'd just narrow it down a few weeks before the holiday, enough time for Dane's mom to make the costume.

She heard his choice, though, and couldn't wait to get started on the costume.

So now it's done and he's tried it on several times. We completed the look yesterday by attaching blue pipe cleaners to knit gloves - the Emperor shoots blue fire or lightning or something from his hands.

If little boys can look cute as really mean guys, Rye looks really cute.

He's planning to say, "Execute order 66."

Yeah, that's the command to kill all the good guys.

He's told me I can be Padme (Luke and Leia's mom), and Dane gets to be Obi-Wan.

I was planning on Wonder Woman this year.

But I'll let the little boy win out.

Happy early Halloween!

Check out Rye's blog for his take on the costume -- and a photo.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Back again

The weekend we left Rye alone with grandparents for the first time went just about absolutely fine.

They locked themselves out of our house yesterday -- no, we had not given them a key -- so spent the night in a hotel.

But to Rye it was just another adventure.

We called home a lot and just about each time he said, "Hey, Mommy, how was the wedding?" Finally, this morning, I was able to tell him it was nice.

Our weekend away was not as great as I'd hoped it would be, for a number of reasons. One, it rained. Two, the wedding was so fancy I couldn't shake the feeling that I didn't belong. Three, we didn't get to spend as much time with a couple friends as we'd hoped. But that might be just the way things go sometimes.

Highlights: The wedding and reception were both really beautiful. The booze was free. The hotel was just a walkway away, which made getting back afterward simple. The Boulevard brewing company tour was lots of fun (mainly the free beer at the end) and the dive of a restaurant/brewery we went to afterward was as well. One friend is maybe even better than I thought. We slept about 10 hours Friday night and watched grown-up TV all we wanted. The room had Starbucks coffee, and even had the to-go cups you'd get at the actual cafe. I ran on a treadmill again for the rest time in many months. Rye had, I think, a good time without us, which proves again how well-rounded and adjusted he is, even at 3.

And, you know, it was something different, something we don't normally do. And that is often a good thing in and of itself.

Today is our sixth wedding anniversary, but so far Dane hasn't been able to do much but sleep. He had perhaps a little too much wedding fun last night.

That's OK. I feel a lightsaber fight coming on in the living room anyway.

Here are some photos from the weekend:

And this one, just because:

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Wet blankies in the middle of the night

I've been in work mode the last two days. The reason: Dane and I are going on our first ever post-Rye adult vacation on Friday, and before we go, I feel the need to get my ducks in a row, as my mother-in-law would say.

That means: vacuuming, sweeping, laundry, dusting, stocking up on cat food and people food and toothpaste and anything else I might possibly need when we're not even here this weekend.

At work, too, I'm like this. Efficient, quick, even prolific is what I'm aiming for even more this week. The bottom line: I just really really don't want to have work hanging over my head. I don't even want to have to cram it in and be all stressed like I probably will be anyway Thursday afternoon.

So last night, well on my taskmaster way, I washed all of Rye's clothes, including the sheets on his bed and his jammies and his blankie that you can only wash when you sneak it away from him (which means we only wash it about every other week).

And then last night around 2 in the morning, I heard him whimper. And then I heard him open the door to his room and pad down the stairs and through the dark into our room. And then he stood by my bed and said, "Mommy, my pants are wet."

And they were very wet and he was shivering and sad. And I got him cleaned up and changed and then he slept the rest of the night with us.

It was not a big deal at all. And accidents happen to everyone, of course.

But here's the thing: Rye never wets the bed. Like maybe once before.

So. Of course, it happens the very night I give him clean sheets and blankets and even a clean blankie. He had had a bath, too.

I think these things don't just happen.

(Yes, I did wash again today, blankie included).

Friday, September 5, 2008

Rock star drummer

I interviewed a little boy the other day who said he wants to be a rock star drummer when he grows up.

But if that falls through, he said, he'll settle for a veterinarian.

Rye has not yet announced what he wants to be when he grows up. And given his mother's complete lack of musical ability, I wouldn't guess rock star drummer -- or singer or guitarist or anything -- is in the cards for him.

Still, he has recently begun singing along to one song in particular.

He calls it "the Rye song" and he often requests to hear it in my car. Really, it's "Mr. Brightsides" by The Killers.

But it's been nicknamed "the Rye song" because long ago Dane made a movie of video clips of Rye's first 18 months of life set to, you guessed it, "Mr. Brightsides." (Note: I would love to post that video here, but Blogger long ago stopped letting me load videos. Hmph.).

So yesterday I took Rye to daycare and he requested the song.

It started, and he immediately started bobbing his head and singing along.

You can imagine how cute that was.

But, if you know the song, you would also imagine that there's no way he knows all those words, which are sung rather fast.

You would be right. He does not know all the words, but as kids do, he sang them anyway, so that no actual words were coming out of his mouth but rather mumbles and partial words and whatever else he thinks The Killers are saying in that song.

It was pretty great. But I did not laugh out loud. Rather, I listened secretly, smiling to myself as I drove.

When the song was over, he quickly asked me to "Turn the music off please, Mommy." I did, and then he said, "Did you hear me singing?"

"I did, Rye," I said. "I liked it."

And he smiled, content with himself and, I suppose, pondering a possible future career.

(Side note: Rye has two new posts on his blog. They are good. Check them out here.)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Because I'm a journalist

I am not allowed to write about what's going on in our country right now politically.

Luckily, Heather Armstrong, the mommy blogger of all mommy bloggers, did it for me.

Go here.

It's worth it.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Four friends + a wedding weekend = how things should be more often

One of Dane's best friends got married this weekend.

That basically meant really busy, really fun days starting last Thursday night with a couples bridal shower. Friday night was a rehearsal and dinner, Saturday was the wedding and Sunday was a brunch that somehow stretched all day.

That was the basic plot. But the details were much better than that.

One of the things I really hate about being an adult is that all the close friends we made when we were kids -- and a few from our early to mid-20s, too -- live really far away. So the people who know us best, who get us, who we'd love to have as more permanent parts of our lives, are often nowhere near.

That's why this weekend was as fun as it was. We slept very little (which was compounded when Rye started throwing up at 3:30 Friday morning -- after I'd gone to bed at 2:30), and I drank more than I have in the last couple months.

But it was all OK. Because just hanging out was really fun.

Yesterday's brunch was at the groom's aunt's house, which is tucked away in a northwest Omaha neighborhood that might be as good as it gets in suburbia. Out the backdoor was a lake, a willow tree and a swing. It looked straight out of Dawson's Creek. And I loved it.

We twirled and spun on the swing. We picked overripe vegetables from their garden, we built an ewok village in the sand. Rye got really wet, and even he said, "Well, that's OK."

And it really was.

Here's us right after the wedding (Dane officiated, by the way):

Check out the bug Rye found at the lake:

Dane and his friends:

And this morning, we ran a race. Here's Rye before his half-mile holding the carnation I got after my 5K: