Well, I survived May 21st. Thank you to those of you who e-mailed or called. I welcomed every good thought and sentiment, but I'm glad it's over. The highlight of my day was lunch with my paralegal/emergency contact/work-wife, Liz. She bought me a bottle of Malibu Rum for the occasion. (She knows me so well!). The other highlight was band practice. It's hard to feel bad when Annie and I are "choreographing" our big show-stopping numbers. (Side note to Annie: Those 4-inch heels I wore on Saturday kicked my A-double-dollarsigns. I'm afraid I'm losing my mojo. I'm STILL sore and I didn't even wear them all the way through the first set. I think I'll wear them to work tomorrow just to show'em who's boss!).
OK--continuing the weekend recap: Friday night, my sister, Terri, and her family arrived from Nebraska. She and her husband have three little boys ages 6, 4, and 5 months. So, needless to say, Jack and Regan have been in Heaven. Jack has been running wild with his cousins, Jake and Nolan, and Regan has been fawning over 5 month-old Bennet. Terri and her husband, Ben, came to part of my Rabid Aardvarks show on Saturday night. They are the first and only members of my family to see me perform with the band. They claim to have liked it. But, please recall that my sister is deaf in one ear . . .
Before the show, my sister mentioned that she was excited to do some new things this weekend and to "step outside the box." I said, "does that mean you'll get up on stage and sing with me?" She recoiled and said, "that would be like stepping outside my box, climbing into another box, and then stepping outside that box. So--No!!" Terri sings at least as well as I do, and she went to comedy school at Second City in Chicago, so it surprises me she doesn't like to perform. Oh well, even though she and my brothers are absolutely hilarious and can easily single me out as the least funny member of the family, I am the biggest ham by a long shot. Not one of them holds a candle to my complete and utter lack of all discretion, shame, and sense of propriety. I think I was born outside the box.
Sunday was rough because I was so worn out from the show and my pain-inducing high heels. I don't remember Sunday, so I'm going to skip to today. Oh wait--I just remembered why I blocked out Sunday: the ill-fated picnic!
We did do something "fun" on Sunday. Or that was the idea, anyway. I thought it would be a good idea to take my out-of-town guests to the lakefront for a picnic so the kids could run around and the adults could converse. As usual--my best laid plans went awry. Despite my general malaise and sleep deprivation, I made a delightful feast of turkey/avocado/bacon wraps, homemade pasta salad (my secret recipe), cookies, etc. for a late afternoon picnic. After everything was made and packed and after all the Frisbees, strollers, diaper bags, and children were loaded into the car, we arrived at the lakefront to find the annual kite exhibition in full-swing (Yay!) and thirty mile-an-hour winds coupled with a temperature of 56 degrees (Boo Hiss!). What kind of idiot doesn't look outside the freaking window before hauling everyone and everything across town for a "picnic?" Apparently, the kind of idiot that was born outside the box.
Once we got there, we unloaded long enough to realize it was all a terrible mistake. We went ahead and ate our food in record time-- Each calorie we consumed, we immediately burned-off trying to shiver ourselves warm. It was a totally wasted meal. We huddled together and downed our uncomfortably cold wraps while we talked with anticipation about how warm it would be once we got back in the car. Finn ignored the food and pushed his own stroller around in an effort to keep warm--all the while numb to the steady stream of snot frozen to his upper lip. He did provide a momentary distraction from our suffering though when he fled in horror from a huge black dog on a leash that came past our picnic site. As he ran in an arc inside an invisible 20-foot perimeter around the dog, he was wild-eyed and yelling, "Mommy! Monkey! Monkeeeeey!" Then, as if to simultaneously lend emphasis and clarify, he said, "Oooh, oooh, Ah, ah ah" (which is his best imitation of a "monkey" sound and one that he makes when we read a gorilla book he has). He was plainly convinced that the dog was a gorilla, and from his perspective, it wasn't a bad guess. This dog was a mammoth--with a big face and long black fur. Poor Finn. Imagine--one minute, you're mindlessly pushing your stroller with a snotty nose, and the next minute you are confronted by a gorilla. I would have screamed for my mommy too!
Today, brought more fun--the kids played in the yard and we grilled out for Memorial Day. We all visited Jeff's grave and then took the kids swimming. Finn was in rare form--swimming, racing, chasing, and having a royal blast. We then had pizza for dinner and I was once again reminded that Finn is undeniably the son of Jeff Dodd. Jeff loved pizza. Valentino's pizza in particular, but Pizza Hut was a viable substitute. When Finn heard us talking about ordering pizza, he chimed in and lobbied: "Pizza!! Pizza!!" When we picked-up the pizza, he begged to eat it in the car. I told him "no," but that he had clearly inherited "Daddy's pizza gene" and he sweetly repeated, "Daddy-pizza- gene." Then he washed down a big piece of pizza with apoo joose and was ready for bed.
Jack also has recently adopted one of Jeff's dominant traits. Jack has apparently inherited Jeff's "whistling gene." Jeff used to whistle all the time--while he washed dishes, while he worked in the yard--I don't even think he realized how often he did it. And, now, Jack has the same habit. The first time I really took notice, it caught me off guard. I thought, "Ah Ha! My sign has arrived at last! . . . Oh, wait. It's just Jack. Jack???" And, sure enough--little Jack can whistle like a pro! It's sweet and I love hearing it.
In other news, this weekend--Regan went to Girl Scout camp on Saturday night and spent the night in cabins in the woods on a lake with her troop. She had a great time. Jack will get his "official" baseball uniform tomorrow. He is sooo excited. Aubrey has been enjoying all the middle school "lasts:" the last Pius Dance; the last ACAL; etc. So, it's been a full weekend, but lots of fun. In addition to everything else we did, I'm exhausted from the constant undercurrent of laundry, dishes, and general picking-up that goes with 4 kids and 5 guests, so I'm going to call it a night! Thanks for checking in. Come back soon!
[And a very special "Congratulations" to Katie and Kevin! Wow, Kevin--my hat's off to you. You pulled off an amazing proposal! We wish you both the best of luck!]
Kelly et al.