Saturday, June 30, 2007

Am I blue?

In a word: no. No, I'm not depressed. No, I'm not teetering on the brink of alcoholism. (Nothing against alcoholics, you understand. I love alcoholics! But other than an occasional festive mojito, I can't really tolerate the stuff.)

No, Trey and I were just having a little photographic fun with the Robinsons, who've been ON MY CASE to blog about how fabulous they are. After overcoming an epic case of writer's block, I've now done so. And with nary a dishonest word, I might add; they actually ARE pretty damn fabulous.

So today, with a clean conscience, I slipped free from the bonds of the blogosphere to go have some outdoor fun with... well, more blogger types.

And so the wheel of responsibility turns again, because now I am compelled to tell you how fabulous the Raditraubners are! (Or was that the Wisweinicellos? I get so confused.)

The background: Sarah Kate at Totally Rad wrote this yummy post about picking blueberries. In a flash, Jen was all over it. Then sweet Wisner chimed in. So no way was I missing out: fun? friends? fruit? We're so there!

Oh, it would have been great, if not for the constant, ceaseless rain that hammered north Texas all through the night. And even though we caught a glimpse of clear sky when we woke up, the idea of dragging many children through muddy fields to pluck soggy berries didn't sound like much fun to anyone.

So, Plan B: a nature hike. We loaded up our respective families and hauled north a bit, where we all met up at a beautiful, sprawling park. This particular park boasted a winding 1.5-mile paved path, loaded with lush green vegetation, and (this was key) a nifty playground that perfectly distracted whiny kiddos from the blueberries they'd been promised.

Sadly, abandoning the playground for the winding path prompted a lot more whining. And a steadfast refusal by the youngest muppers to hold any weight whatsoever on their strong little legs.

And so we carried them, cheerfully at first, and then a lot less so, as the temperatures rose and the humidity soared. But every now and then, my better half was able to work himself free from the clutches of the children to snap a few pictures of them.

The results painted a much better picture of this fun morning than my words ever could. But look for yourself and judge.

Yep, he was pretty proud of those pictures. Until Jen sent us this, that is.

This leaves us a teeny bit green with envy at her mad photographic skills. But grateful for the day with fabulous friends, and looking forward to the next get-together. Under blue skies, we hope.

Friday, June 29, 2007


Next stop: Yoknapatawpha.

And smart, too.

Snapshot from the nursery:

Spencer, in a spot-on impersonation of his father, digs up an old disposable camera, points it in my general direction and pretends to capture an image of me changing his sister's diaper.

He cranes his head to examine the nonexistent digital display, then nods and says with absolute sincerity, "Dat looks cute."

I throw back my head and laugh, saying, "You know who's cute, Spencer? You are!"

Then I turn my attention to my daughter and say, "And YOU'RE cute, too."

"I not cute," she replies, in her inimitable voice that's light as a feather yet utterly serious.

"I pretty."

I've said it before and I'll say it again: I just love them oh, so much.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Pick-up sticks

Dear Jen:

There's a reasonable chance that your husband is going to tell you the most wildly outlandish story of seeing the Franklins at school today. Specifically, he may tell you a story of seeing the Franklins attempt to destroy the school today.

Hopefully this note reaches you before you have a chance to question your spouse's credibility or creative imagination. Because, with head hanging low and shoulders slumped, I feel compelled to tell you that he's not exaggerating even a little.

Spencer DID try to kill the receptionist. Oh, but look: I'm getting ahead of myself.

As you know, our eldest children have been enrolled in camp together this week. They've donned imaginary toques blanches and have worked together with their fellow campers to prepare healthy meals in a familiar educational setting.

It's been great fun for all involved, particularly the grateful parents of said children, who love them beyond words but appreciate an occasional break in a summer that's, to date, boasted nothing more than endless rain.

Did you ever notice that whining, it is contagious? The children whine about the rain until the mother begins whining about the rain until the mother's mother finally agrees to trek to Dallas to put a temporary stop to the madness.

For a few days, it was heavenly. The muppers had Nana, who gave them free rein to bang on the computer keyboard without correction, repercussion or cessation, and I didn't even care, so grateful was I for the distraction and the supervision while I shuttled their big brother to camp.

But yesterday, Nana returned to the Alamo City, leaving me to make the daily rounds with twins in tow. And so it was that at three o'clock this afternoon, the three of us came barging through the school doors with one simple mission: to fetch and retrieve Carter.

That's when poor Chuck had the misfortune of crossing our path. At first, he seemed genuinely happy to see us and we exchanged the usual pleasantries.

But then Carter bounced out of the classroom and instantly fell to his knees, crawling along the halls and meowing loudly, with two small, eager copycats hot on his trail. I detected a flicker of pity, or horror, or both, on Chuck's face: every other child appeared to be walking calmly on two legs whilst maintaining normal tones of voice. What the heck was going on here?

In my best Snow White impersonation, I asked the children to come along, please, and follow Mommy to the car. As my exhortations got louder and less musical, they actually did stand up, only to dash wildly from one end of the halls to another. "It's a race!" Carter bellowed.

Oh, fine, I thought, I'll let them blow off steam for a second. I tried to act unruffled as Chuck and I casually recapped the weekend.

But the race began to spiral out of control just as I spied a disapproving frown from another mother. Yep, it was all coming back to me now: the no-running-in-the-hall rule. I tried to keep my voice calm but stern as I issued a new demand to march calmly down the hall NOW, while attempting to grab assorted limbs as they flew past me.

Suddenly, the pack broke loose and made a halfway organized lurch toward the front of the school. Chuck was not only maintaining a straight face, to my relief, but was issuing an invitation for the whole lot of us to come over for a swim when...

I looked toward the front door and saw movement. Something falling. Something large and festive. Before I could even recall how to make my legs run, two full-sized flagpoles, with state and nation flags attached, came crashing onto the receptionist's desk, narrowly missing her cranium.

Standing just behind the imaginary cloud of dust was Spencer, with wide eyes and an enormous smile. And then he made a dash through the open door for the parking lot.

One of the flagpoles cracked, of course, and a hefty Boy Scout medallion topper snapped clean off. The receptionist was, to put it mildly, miffed at my giddily unrepentant child. I apologized profusely to everyone in earshot, made some weak gesture to repay the school for the damage, and slunk out to the car as quickly as possible.

The oddest thing: Chuck never did finish the sentence that began, "You know, we'd love to have y'all over... "

I'm sure it was just an oversight, but please don't worry: we're free anytime.

Best regards,