I must begin with an apology. I have been busy beyond all belief and there are more than a few of you out there who are waiting for me to return your calls, respond to your e-mails, and RSVP to baby showers and weddings that have already come and gone (Sorry!). If it makes you feel any better, please know that I also just opened mail this week postmarked June 16th (I haven't even made it to the July mail yet) and that I have not yet gone through the kids' end-of-the-year folders full of everything they brought home on the last day of school. So, I'm running about 3-4 weeks behind to say the least. It seems so basic to open a bill or reply to an e-mail, but, for some reason, the smallest of tasks seem to be the most insurmountable right now. Don't even ask about my laundry. To make a long story short-I bought a half-dozen new bath towels today.
The good news is that most of what is keeping me busy is fun. Since my last post, some of the highlights include:
1. Jack's baseball games. His team is 9 and 1 and is considered one of the best teams in the entire league. His tournament starts this Thursday and I wouldn't be surprised if his team wins the whole thing!
2. The twins' 2nd birthday party. Jeff and I are the proud Godparents of twin girls who are six weeks younger than Finn. We attended their birthday party and enjoyed watching the little ones have all kinds of fun.
3. Lolo's 21st birthday party. One of our Super-Nannies turned 21 this past week. She invited me to her birthday party which consisted of tailgating and a Brewers' game. Out of the 30-or-so people in attendance, I was one of only 3 who was over the age of 30. I note that Lauren has a conspicuous dearth of middle-aged, single, male friends. I should have known that a 21 year-old's birthday party would not yield good results. Note to self: start hanging around the supper club and drinking more Sloe Gin. Oh well. The party was still fun.
4. Summerfest! America's largest outdoor music festival takes place in Milwaukee every summer and the Rabid Aardvarks were, again, invited to play on the Miller Stage on July 2nd. My law firm made the occasion an official "firm outing" so I was excited to perform for my coworkers and, of course, all my other friends who came (especially Mike & Regan, and Jeff!). Based upon how everything else is going, the rest of you should be getting your notice of the appearance and invitation to attend in approximately 3-4 weeks. (Ugh!)
5. Fireworks! My law firm is located in downtown Milwaukee just a couple of blocks from the shore of Lake Michigan. Every year, they open the top floor of the building so that employees and their families can have a front-row view of the city's main fireworks display. (They launch the fireworks off a barge in the harbor). I took Regan and Jack to the fireworks show. Because the building is so tall, the fireworks explode at eye-level only a couple of blocks away, so the show is really spectacular. The kids loved it. (Aubrey stayed home to watch Finn who cannot be trusted for obvious reasons on the top of a building).
6. Fourth of July! We celebrated the 4th of July, first, by going to my friend Mike's birthday party. He lives on a lake just west of Milwaukee, so the kids wore their swimming suits and Jack took his fishing pole and (I discovered later) a livewell full of leaches he planned to use as bait. (He's hard core). The kids ate and played and went on boat-rides around the lake. Aubrey even found a group of teenagers to attach herself to and my other friends who were in attendance were very generous in helping me with Finn so I could variously eat and keep an eye on everyone else. Finn was particularly impressed with the family's dog who he was very interested in so long as the dog remained more than 10 feet away. As soon as the dog showed the slightest sign of reciprocity or hinted at coming nearer, Finn would try to climb my leg like a lumberjack climbing a tree.
7. We were also excited to have family in town for the 4th of July. Jeff's first cousins and a friend came to Milwaukee for a mini-vacation to go to Summerfest and on the Booze Cruise ( a boat-tour of Milwaukee's breweries--isn't this a great city?). So, Aubrey and her cousin, Andrea, went to the Wauwatosa fireworks display while her cousin, John, and his friend came to my Rabid Aardvarks show in downtown Milwaukee. It was quite an event--I don't think we've ever had people crowd the stage like they did last night. And we did THREE encores. At the end of the night a drunk 25 year-old asked me to marry him. When I told him he was too young for me, he asked my age. I told him I was pushing 37. He sobered up almost immediately. When he admitted he was 25, I suggested that instead of marrying him, why don't I just babysit him and then have coffee with his mother?
8. Which brings us to today--We went to mass with the cousins and then to the cemetery to visit Jeff's grave. Then, Aubrey and her cousin, Andrea, went on a walk and got ice cream while Regan and Jack went on a fun bike ride with my friend Kevin. Meanwhile, Finn and I cleaned the kitchen and played outside.
And, of course, mixed in with all the above is the usual going to work, playing with friends, baseball camp, baseball games, band practice, etc. etc. and my minor attempts to keep the house stocked with food and diapers and in just enough order/cleanliness that we don't inadvertently incubate an army of wolf spiders.
So, that's the quick and dirty on this week. I'm sure I've forgotten something and I will try harder to motivate myself to connect with those of you who have reached out to us in both small ways (e-mails) and large ways (major life-event invitations). Until then, don't hesitate to check-in and thanks, as always, for reading. It makes all the difference in the world.
UPDATE: I forgot to mention that July 2nd marked the 16th anniversary of the day Jeff asked me to marry him. July 2nd also happens to be Jeff's grandpa's birthday (Happy Birthday, Grandpa Pat) and his uncle's anniversary in the priesthood (Happy Anniversary, Bishop Tom!). Jeff bought an elaborate picnic basket with "real" plates, glasses, and silverware and fancy linens. He also arranged an assortment of sausages and cheese, fruit and wine and took me on a picnic at Holmes Lake in Lincoln Nebraska. After we ate, he read to me from a book of love poems (it wasn't as corny as it sounds . . .) and at the end of Shakespeare's 18th Sonnet, he pulled out a ring box and asked me to marry him. I accepted--we celebrated and then went home to his parents' house to announce the Big News. We were married the following May. It's strange to think that now I am the only person in the world who can tell that story and who remembers any details of it first-hand. And it's sad that I no longer recall what we talked about or any other surrounding details. Accordingly, I thought I should make an attempt to preserve what little I DO recall about the occasion for our kids' sake and before my budding senility deprives me any further!