Well, I survived my wild weekend with my brother. And for those of you that are concerned with my apparent outing of Brad's secret hobby, rest assured you will not be similarly exposed. Brad was aware that we were posting a blog about him and even dictated some of the facts over the phone to my brother while we typed. So, I don't want anyone to stop being friends with us for fear we will launch a similar blog airing all of your idiosyncrasies. And even if we do--consider it a gesture of love and acceptance! As Kerry pointed out in her comment, it takes true grit to hang with the Archulettas, but once you're in--you're in and there is no escaping us as I'm sure Garth, Naro, Candie/Katie, Brad, and several others will tell you. Your best defense is to be completely boring and unfunny so we have nothing to report. (Although, that might only inspire us to make things up, so nevermind . . . )
And on an unrelated note, please don't think that I actually stalk Morrissey. I was only trying to be funny. The only thing I really stalk is this blog--I check it constantly hoping for comments from the outside world. I used to check my cell phone equally as often until I realized it was an exercise in futility that only fortified my suspicion that I'm not as cool as I think I am. Since February 13th, 2009 I have had only FOUR incoming calls on my personal cell phone. I actually counted them in a game of oneupmanship with a friend of mine over who was the bigger social reject. I'm chagrined to report that I was the clear winner. Oh well. At least I can win at something! :-)
Otherwise, I have no new updates. All is well on the home-front. The kids are gearing up for Spring Break and are excited that they will get to spend most of it in Branson, Missouri with Jeff's parents. I trust the weather in Branson will be a nice change of pace for the kids. It continues to be consistently in the 40s most of the time here. We are also gearing up for Easter/Aubrey's Birthday. This year Aubrey's birthday falls on Easter Sunday--I think her first birthday was on Easter and it hasn't been on Easter again since then. I think that instead of a birthday cake I'll just put 14 candles in the ham I'm going to make. (Just kidding!) I hope it's nice enough that the kids can have an Easter egg hunt outside. I think Finn would totally love it.
Today is April 7th and it's amazing to think that 14 years ago, this was Aubrey's due date--and because I didn't give birth that day it was consequently one of the longest days of my life! On April 7th, 1995, Jeff and I had been married for almost 11 months; we lived in married student housing on the periphery of the Notre Dame campus in South Bend, Indiana; I worked at a jewelry store in the mall on Grape Avenue; and I was looking forward to moving back to Lincoln in a month after Jeff's graduation. On April 7, 1995 Jeff already had the cancer that would later kill him but we didn't know it yet. His melanoma is visible in pictures from this time period (his cancer first manifested as a mole on his right jaw line), but was not actually diagnosed until Aubrey was eight months old.
In April 1995, I had only recently met Tony, Brendan, Meaghen, Katie, and M.C.--all of whom would become as good of friends to me as they were to Jeff; three of whom would become Godparents to various future children of ours; and all of whom visited Jeff in his final days. In April 1995, Jeff would often ride his bike or walk to class from our apartment. He had a work-study job at the Notre Dame Library. His co-workers threw us a baby shower and so did his roommates in "The Suite." To Jeff's Suitemates: It may surprise you to know that three of our four children enjoyed the Graco baby stroller you gave to us. It was and still is the best stroller we ever had even though we finally had to replace it when Finn came along because it couldn't withstand anymore wear and tear. And Brendan and Meaghen: All FOUR of our kids used the battery-powered bouncy chair you gave to us. Katie and M.C.--the gift you gave us the night you first babysat Aubrey shall remain our little secret, but the thought of it (and photographic evidence) is the gift that keeps on giving. Ha!
During that first year of marriage, Jeff studied a lot. We both worked a lot. But, we entertained ourselves by renting movies at a place that only rented vintage movies. It was half way to Niles on the main road by our house. I would later drive Aubrey there in the middle of the night when she was colicky and inconsolable. The video store was my turn-around point. In those days, Jeff and I watched a lot of Alfred Hitchcock and Jimmy Stewart. We would make "Hobo Dinners" (crumbled hamburger, diced carrots and potatoes, sliced onion, and a piece of bacon seasoned with butter and salt and pepper all baked in a tinfoil packet) and then eat them on a cookie tray while we sat on our hide-a-bed couch that we would pull out like a bed while we watched the movie. That couch was the single-most uncomfortable piece of furniture ever created--as Tony's aunt and uncle can attest to. I remember we bought it from the St. Vincent de Paul thrift shop for $50.00.
So, when Aubrey was born, our apartment was so small we didn't have room for a crib. We had an "efficiency" apartment consisting of one bedroom, one bathroom, and a combined kitchen/dining room/living room. So, Aubrey slept in either her changing table or her car seat. As an aside, Regan--who had not only a crib, but an entire bedroom of her own--slept in a car seat until she had almost outgrown the car seat and nearly avoided sleeping in a crib entirely--but that's another story. Aubrey--I don't want to hear any complaints about how you don't like your room or your bed. You can always go back to the changing table. Ha!
Well, I won't waste any more time reminiscing. It's late and I should go to bed. I just thought that April 7th was worth commemorating--and not just because it is "No Housework Day" (See my link to bizarre holidays below in the "Ode to My Nannies" post . . .).