Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Month (and a day) of Birthdays

From December 26 through January 27 we run the Birthday Marathon. It actually starts the day before, on Christmas, with Jesus' birthday - but we don't bake him a cake. Nourit came into the world 5 years ago on 12/26/05, but on 12/26/11, she wasn't in much of a celebrating mood. She barely got out of bed, and only with the aid of her 15th dose of children's Motrin did she blow out her candles. The upside is, she had cupcakes at school two weeks before, Fritz cupcakes at our house, a cake at Grandma's house and a cake at Nanny & Pappa's. I guess we won't feel tooo sorry for her!
5 Candles
This is how she really felt.

And then, Grandma's 70th birthday happened on the 30th, but this year, we celebrated it for 5 days with Mickey Mouse and all his friends.

Birthday Breakfast with Chef Goofy

Up next comes Mike's birthday on January 12 - right in the middle of a busy week during a busy month during a busy year. We paused long enough to have a birthday lunch and chocolate cake.
38 years ago today, in a small town in the southernmost part of Canada, Mike was born.

Finally, Avi's birthday came and went with various mini-celebrations of her 3 years over the course of the week. This is as close as we'll come to getting her a pet of her own. This horse is currently on his back, a blanket spread across him with a bandage around his foot. Maybe we're cultivating a little veterinarian?
Trot ol' Joe!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Elizabeth and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (or No Good Deed Goes Unpunished)

It all started a week ago when THE SNOWSTORM blew into Chicago. Fascinating and fun for about a day and a half, and parking. My husband dutifully shoveled out our car (and that of the neighbor downstairs - the one who bangs on our floor and curses at us), and we set out two cute little children's lawn chairs when school and work resumed on Friday. We (and about 2/3rds of our neighbors) continued this reservation system through Sunday, but that's when we got THE NOTE.

"What did you do to make you think you deserve this spot?! Next time, I'm taking it."

Didn't they get that we had shoveled it out, and couldn't they see that we had children? (note: the cute teeny tiny lawn chairs were strategically planned.) It made me so mad that someone wrote those mean words, that those people are Out There, filling our air with their selfish, ugliness, and so I decided to make it my mission to do what I could to help shovel out our street. Reverse the ick, and spread more joy and available parking. So I removed the chairs and tried hard not to spend my entire drive to Nourit's school and back worrying about where I'd park again upon returning home. There was, of course, no parking when I returned home. So, while Avi cried in her carseat for a half hour, I shoveled out a spot and pulled in. More goodwill, more parking!

Yesterday, (when it was in the single digits) I got really ambitious. I gave the girls some spoons and tupperware, told them to play next to the street, and got to work. It took me over an hour, but I pulled down one towering mountain of snow single shoveldly. Avi, however, was miserably cold and so I put her in the car and ignored her cries while valiantly wielding my shovel against that bad person who left the mean note (and all the other people like him. Or her. At this point, I was imagining it was the Woman Downstairs.)

That was where it all went wrong. I got prideful. And, I left the car door ajar all night.

Did I mention Mike just happened to be out of town for 32 hours?

This morning, after my usual "Hurry up-we're gonna be late-you're old enough to put on your own coat" routine, I ushered the girls out to the car. The automatic locks didn't work but it didn't register with me until the car didn't even make a noise. Not even a little chirp. I got the girls back out and stood on the sidewalk looking in all directions for...direction, I guess. The young knight in the white, American-made car drove by slowly and offered to jump the car. Amazingly, I was able to find our jumper cables very neatly stored on our back porch, and soon, the car was running strong. Here's where I made the second mistake. I took the housekeys OFF of the car key (to keep it running) and ran back inside for the backpack. Nourit made it to school, we made it back home, the sitter came, and I was on my way to teach class. Things are good. There are good people in the world. La di da!

Class was 44 degrees when I walked up to our space and the building manager was not in. Appropriately, I led my Music Together class through "I'm freezing, I'm freezing, I hope I don't start sneezing" and after a few rounds of 'Trot, trot to Grandma's House' and 'Pop! Goes the Weasel', we started to shed our coats and scarves, and my good humor returned.

A short hour at home, then out to pick up Nourit and head to Hyde Park for two more classes. I meticulously packed my lessons plans, books, extra shoes, snacks for everyone, brewed myself a steaming cup of Emergen-C, took Avi by the hand and walked out the door. Mistake #3 - I left the house keys inside. I didn't realize this until we made it to Hyde Park to meet Mike and discover HE didn't have his house keys either. But I prided myself (there is that word again - pride!) on my quick thinking. Mike could meet my brother in the West Loop, get our extra set of housekeys from HIM, and then meet us again after class. All would be fine.

And it was - right through classes, dinner at Salonica, and out into the car. Everyone's in their carseats and seatbelts and..."Mike, you put the Club on the steering wheel and that key is on the ring with our house keys. Inside the house." He looked like he would cry. After 16 hours on a train, 5 hours sleep and a sore throat, I don't blame him. So I laughed. And Nourit cried. And we tried calling the only three people we knew in Hyde Park whose numbers were in our phones to see if we could borrow a car for a couple hours. However, (and here's that parking thing again), if we borrowed a car, the probability of finding another parking spot that late at night was nil.

And so we ran. We made it to the Metra just before it pulled away, and between heaving chests, laughed some more. Two trains later we were walking the last mile home with the girls sitting on our shoulders singing the theme song from Veggie Tales. Now they are in bed, and hopefully Mike is on his way back with our car after a quick $50 cab ride back to Hyde Park.

And there won't be a single parking spot available.