Wednesday, April 21, 2010

(Semi-) Wordless Wednesday - A Shakespearean Masterpiece

The last stop on my girls' weekend was our old college haunt in Columbia, MO - Shakespeare's Pizza.  Best pizza in town and I'm pretty sure they were able to finance construction of the patio on what I spent on pizza, beer and pinball during my time at Mizzou.  A great end to a great weekend!

(Only in Columbia.  Seriously, there are stores that offer all three.)

Before (sort of)...

Almost there...

And after.
Then we ate the smiley face.
The end.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A 20-Year Road Trip

If you caught my tweets yesterday, you know that I'm enjoying a long weekend with some girlfriends this weekend.  (Mad props to R for doing single-parent duty for four days.) 

The occasion:  all four of us are hitting a birthday that ends in "0" this year.  I've known each of these ladies more than half my life, and it seems not so long ago that the milestone birthday we were hitting was "20" and not... well, you can take your guess based on the title of this post.  But it wasn't too far into our 20s that we all started to go our separate ways. Some moved, some married, some started families, and while we've kept in touch and gotten together from time to time, it's been less and less over the years. This will be the first time we've all been together since my wedding, nearly five years ago, and I can't wait.

One of the neat parts of this trip is that it took me through my college town, a place I don't get back to often and where I spent a lot of time with these gals during those "20" years.   I had the luxury of not having to be anywhere by any certain time today, so I took a little mini-tour back in time and around campus. 

Oh, those columns.  It's weird how six big chunks of stone can almost instantly bring me back to my college years.  There was nothing I looked forward to each spring more than that first warm day that I could stretch out on the fresh green grass of the quad, look at the blue sky and enjoy the moment.  But, like any other 20-year old, I couldn't have imagined that my life 20 years later wouldn't look exactly how I had it planned back then.  (Seriously, try telling that permed-haired, acid-washed-jeans-wearing smartass that over the course of the next 20 years she would become a lawyer and mom of two living in Minnesota...and watch her laugh, and laugh, and laugh...)

As I was driving through my college town, though, I really started to feel the past 20 years.  My old hangouts look somewhat more run-down or are gone altogether.  (The old cool basement alterna-techno-bar where everyone dressed in black, moped around and danced by themselves?  Yeah, it's an underground cafe/coffee shop now.  Sigh.)  When did traffic get so bad?  Why did all these darn kids take the good parking spots?  And how can these really, really young looking kids be in college? 

So we clearly aren't 20 anymore:  all four of us have said how much we're looking forward to nights of uninterrupted sleep during this getaway, and we're all bringing crafts to work on - not quite the "stay out until bar close" nights of our youth.    But none of us would trade the blessings, challenges, joys, struggles and ordinary moments of the past 20 years for anything.

What's your college nostalgia?  Or, what are your fun weekend plans?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

'Tis the (Baseball) Season

We love us some Twins baseball in the Just After Bedtime household.  Witness:
  1. The ratio of Twins caps to people in our home is about 3-to-1.
  2. Our 3 year old cheers "Get a hit, Joe" when a game is on.  (Okay, so maybe she says it regardless of who is at bat, but its a valid point nonetheless.)
  3. The Easter Bunny's biggest hit with the girls this year was their new Twins shirts.
There's just something beautiful about the game, and the season itself -- especially here in Minnesota.  Spring training kicks off just as the grey and cold of winter is really weighing us down and we're sure we'll never feel the sun again.  Opening day, just like the springtime with it, brings the fresh promise of a new year, rebirth and warm, fun days ahead.

I was raised to love the game.  When I was young, our hometown newspaper offered free or discounted passes to Cardinals games for good report cards.  The better the grades, the more games you got.  Now, it's a bit of an understatement to say my mom is a huge Cardinals fan.  HUGE.  And I like to joke with folks that the baseball tickets deal were the reason I did well in school, 'cause I sure didn't want to cost us any games by bringing home a less-than-stellar report card.

But the thing is...the first year I was old enough to earn tickets, it was just my mom, my brothers and me -- money was tight and baseball games were a rare treat, and to be able to help contribute to something so important to our family has stayed with me much longer than the curriculum I learned to earn the tickets in the first place.  (Pythagorean theorem?  World history?  The periodic table?  Yeah...I got nothin'.)

With that history, it wasn't even a question what to do when the Twins announced that their first games at their shiny new stadium would be against my hometown Cardinals.  It was an unexpected blessing, though, to have a connection at work who set me up with seats three rows behind the Cards' dugout for Saturday afternoon's game.  The sun was shining, the field was gorgeous and the Twins won.  But best of all, my mom was as giddy as a schoolgirl.

As R said that day, I'd earned the best report card ever for her.

Any baseball fans out there?  Share your favorite memories (though I'd appreciate none involving the Twins beating the Cards in the World Series...I was still a St. Louisan back then...)!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter!

Just wrapping up a weekend with family, friends and many blessings.  Better Minnesota Easter weather than I could have hoped for, and a chance to enjoy the season through the eyes of A & C.  They did a great job sitting with Mom, Dad and the grandparents in the "boring room" at church (i.e., the sanctuary - their words, not mine) and had a great time hunting for eggs in the backyard.

Couldn't help but share a couple of favorite shots from the weekend. 

R and me at the Twins/Cardinals exhibition game.  Couldn't have asked for better weather.  Outdoor baseball is a beautiful thing.

C and A enjoying their egg hunt in the backyard.  Honestly, we could have put puppies and the entire Disney princess lineup in their plastic eggs and I'm pretty sure that they still would have lost out to the peeps and chocolate.  Hello, sugar rush / sugar crash...

So, how was your weekend?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Loves and God Blesses

So to get this blog thing started, it seems a post about bedtime would be in order.

With my husband on kid-duty from dawn to dusk, I generally get to be the boss o' bedtime around these parts.  As any of you who have parented for any amount of time are well aware, some nights go well, some not so much, but it's time with my daughters that I'll take any day.

Today was a particularly trying day.  Coming off an emotionally-wearing, up-too-late night the night before, trying to get the house in order before my folks arrive tomorrow for the holiday weekend, wrapping up things at work to spend time with said folks, and trying to keep a non-profit organization in crisis afloat - by the day's end it was starting to take its toll.  By the time bedtime rolled around, I had to stall an extra 40 minutes while the younger one's lovies finished a spin in the dryer after a naptime Pull-Ups fail.  This slight change in routine resulted in everyone, including me, being worn slick by the time we made it upstairs.

Got C, my 2 year old girl, tucked in, and headed to do the same for A, my not-quite 4 year old girl.  C pops in and needs to be escorted back to her room, where she proceeds to melt down entirely, while A calls me in a sing-song voice from her room.

By the time I drag myself back to A's room, it's a good hour after normal bedtime.  We get to the "Loves and God Blesses" part of our nightime routine, where we list everyone who loves A and everyone who needs God's blessings.  With A, this can be a mixed bag -- she either comes up with a winner ("God bless friends who go on a long walk with Mommy") or a dud ("God bless SpongeBob"). 

Tonight was a good one.

"God bless God.  He made a pretty nice world for us to live in."

Yep, that's a winner.  If my 3 year-old has this figured out, seems that it would do me some good to remind myself from time to time.

Here's hoping you are enjoying our pretty nice world these days too.