Thursday, May 28, 2009

My sister is a licker!

Last weekend, in addition to dog sitting for the in-laws, a sister came to stay for a few days. Due to the nature of this story, she has requested that she remain unnamed. So we shall call her Sister X.

Sunday was a beautiful day so I invited everyone to go with me on a family walk. JB suggested walking to East Grand Rapids so we could hit up the grocery store for dinner supplies. So off we go, Sister X, JB, I, Olivia in her stroller, Lexi, and Lucy. Old Maggie would not have fared too well on the 3 mile + walk so she had to stay home. (She had been sort of dragging behind on my short walks around the school—perhaps because she’s not accustomed to walking on cement.) I knew that she would not stop trying to keep up though until her body died of exhaustion and I do not want Maggie buying the farm on my watch.

Soon after starting this walk, I remembered why JB and I do not go on walks together. A walk for JB is a slow jog to the rest of the human race. Or at least, to the Teague race. Sister X and I were huffing and puffing and giving it our all just to keep within sight of JB and the dogs. (And our sister Annie walks even slower! She could never go on a walk with JB.) I’m sure Olivia was having fun getting pushed in her stroller at such a high speed. She probably thought it was like a ride in the car!

JB insisted that we were the odd ones, and that no, it wasn’t just a Teague thing, because our brother walked with JB to EGR a few months ago and they kept the same pace. Whatever. I don’t believe you, JB.

I comfort myself with the fact that at least JB will never be overtaken on a walk by a stealthy prowler, because no one can catch up to him without giving themselves away with their huffing and puffing. Either that or JB will be half a mile ahead of them before they realize, “Rats! How did he get up there? He’s too far now! Better find me some other victim. Perhaps there’s a Teague girl strolling around here somewhere…”

Anyway, by the time we reached EGR we were quite winded. After JB and I bought groceries, we all made a pit stop at Jersey Junction for ice cream. While JB went to the restroom Sister X and I were enjoying our cones, harnessing the dogs, and watching Olivia.

Big Lexi of course wanted in on the treat action, but I surely wasn’t giving her any of my cone. 1.) it’s MINE and 2.) she eats poop. Poop eaters don’t share food with me.

But Sister X, perhaps nostalgic of her childhood when she would share her cone with our esteemed Jack Russell, Reba, held out her cone for Lexi to lick with her long doggie tongue. Lick, lick.

I was flabberghasted. Surely Sister X was done with her ice cream, and was just letting Lexi have a lick before she threw it out?

“You’re done with that, right?” I ask her, as she brings the cone to her mouth.


“She eats POOP!!” I exclaim.

Sister X stops the cone in midair and gets this shocked look on her face. Yeah, right. Like anyone doesn’t know that Lexi eats Maggie’s poop with glee, all the time! (In fact, a few weeks ago as I was petting Lexi I saw it smeared down the side of her tongue. Ew!!)

She bring her napkin up to the cone, and I assume that she’s really going to throw the whole thing out now.


She just wipes off the ice cream and takes a big lick herself.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Weigh-In, 5/26

Weigh-in for last night:

JB: no weight loss
April: -3.4 lbs

Yay, me! I've officially reached my pre-pregnancy weight.

However I think that even if I lose the extra 20-25 lbs that I need to, I'll still have this dang spare tire around my gut, where my child stretched me out. I've been faithfully doing my killers and crunchers every day (I never thought I'd say this, but, Thank you, Mr. Collon) but the tire remains. Olivia has been watching me do my exercises and I explained to her that SHE is the one who did this to me. Then she looked at me as if to say, "But Mama, look at how CUTE I am. Sometimes you have to endure horrible things to get cuteness." Then she picked up the dog's rubber toy and put it in her mouth.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Down with the Old

I love old things. I especially love old architecture.

So it has been hard for me to go on my walks with Lucy and Olivia lately, because every day we walk by the old school two blocks behind our house and watch as it gets razed.

In 1924ish Grand Rapids Public Schools built what was then Ottawa Hills High School. It eventually became Iroquois Middle School until 2005, when it was closed due to budget issues. In 2008 Grand Rapids Christian Schools purchased the property for use as an elementary school (they're consolidating four of their elementaries into this one). Apparently their construction gurus decided that the upkeep on the 200,000 square foot building would be more expensive than tearing it down and building a new one.


That place is an important part of the historic Ottawa Hills Neighborhood, which butts into our backyard. One day last week as we were walking by the school, an old man approached on his bicycle. He said to me, "I went to high school there! It's crazy..." He then watched as the backhoes tore into the brick walls. Poor guy. I saw photos on about one last openhouse for the school (which I didn't know about! Argh!) and there was an image of an older guy walking the halls and wearing with his old Ottawa Hills letterman sweater. It was sad to me--even though I know that you can't keep everything the way it was.

I unfortunately do not have photos of the cool architectural detail of this building, but I found this one on the web. On a positive note, they are removing these stones and not including them in the demolition. Perhaps the new school will be using them:

Here are some shots I have taken as we walk by:

See, even Olivia is unhappy about this:

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Biggest Loser: Couples

After admiring our large waists in the mirror for way too long, JB and I have decided to do our own version of The Biggest Loser.

We will be competing against each other for the next 30 days to see who can drop the most pounds. In 30 days we leave for our Tennessee vacation and Austin and Lauren's wedding, so this seems like a reasonable cut off date.

The winner will get a prize of his/her choice (within a certain price range). We are still mulling over our respective prizes...

I am excited about this but nervous. I'd like to lose weight, and will be happy for JB if he does, but guys seem to be able to lose weight much more easily. So he could feasibly win, no matter how hard I try. And I've already been trying for a couple of months now and I weigh the same. Boo.

Each week we will post pounds lost so you can see how we do. I did some math and determined our percentage overweight that we are, according to the charts:

April: 30%
JB: 37%


But that’s only if we want to be freakishly skinny. Seriously, the ideal weight for me is less than what I weighed in high school (which was 155). And you know I was crazy skinny in high school when a classmate’s kooky (but nice!) grandma said to me after my first year in college, “Well you’ve filled out quite nicely!” A while later I realized that she meant that I finally had some meat on my bones and looked a little more womanly.

And JB’s ideal weight is also a bit extreme, too.

So I recalculated with what MY ideal weight for us is. And our overweight percentage is:

April: 17.5%
JB: 23%

This is a bit more reasonable. Sooo…here we go! Tuesdays are weigh-in days. Wish us luck!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Dog Wrangling

We're dog wrangling this weekend.

Olivia is thrilled.

(And not the least bit scared that the dogs are playing Wrestle Mania on her blanket.)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Hit and Run

Krystal called me last Thursday to casually inform me that I was her emergency contact person. Random, I know. It was finals week and she had just finished taking her exams. Now all she had to do was finish up her work week at the school cafeteria, and then pack her things and say goodbye to her beautiful Yakeley-Gilchrist dorm room located on MSU's beautiful old North Campus.

Talking to K this time of year always makes me nostalgic for MSU. Spring at MSU is one of my favorite memories. If you've never been to MSU's campus in the Spring, you're missing out. The campus is laden with trees in full bloom: cherry and apple blossoms, dogwood, magnolia. There are flowering bushes everywhere and more tulips than you could throw a stick at. Students are all out on the grass, studying or playing frisbee, and sharing the lawn with the squirrels and ducks.

Here are some shots from my days there. They don't look very nice because I scanned old photos with my flatbed scanner, instead of having the negatives professionally scanned (I totally missed these when I did a big negative scan a few years ago. Bummer!). But you get the point.

A few short hours after Krystal and I spoke, she calls me again, in tears. She had been riding her bike on MSU's campus when she was hit by a big old green van. A big old green van that KEPT ON GOING after it took my sister down. I was so pissed. She filed a police report but she didn't get the license plate because she was too busy getting whiplash and a concussion, so the police didn't hold out any hope for catching the a-hole.

Krystal said that three other people were around when this happened. Two didn't even stop (you're lucky I wasn't there, JERKS!). One girl asked Krystal if she was all right, and she was in so much shock that she said that she was, and the girl left. After sitting on the sidewalk for a few minutes she realized what had happened and called the police.

She felt pretty beat up but thought she was okay, so she went to work. A few hours later she had a massive headache and got worried. When she called me I suggested that she lay down for a few hours to see how she feels.

"What if I have a brain aneurism?!??" she cried. She was starting to get worked up.

"What?" I said.

"I don't want to end up like Natasha Richardson!!" Now she was really crying.

Who the heck is Natasha Richardson? I wondered. I know that K has a friend named Natasha, but I didn't think she had head problems...

Krystal explained that Natasha Richardson was Liam Neeson's wife who recently died from a brain aneurism after a skiing accident.

Oh, THAT lady. I'm sooo not a celebrity follower. I'm proud of that.

After talking her down, Krystal decided to go to the emergency room. She had been freaked out about making Mom and Dad angry by running up their medical bills, as K has had several trips to the doctor or ER this year. Mom reassured her that if she was hurt, she needed to get checked out. That's life.

So she did. And she is okay, despite the whiplash, concussion, and hurt knee and elbow.

Krystal and I found it ironic that just a few hours before her accident she had put me as her emergency contact, and then an emergency happened.

I am really steamed that the van driver didn't stop after he hit K. She is hurt, and her cool vintage bike is probably totalled (though she wants to see if Dad, the fix-it man, can resurrect it).

Sadly for K, Spring at MSU probably won't have the same whistful, bird-chirping, lovely garden, sunshiny feeling as it does for me. Poor girl...

Baby Photo Shoot

(One of several posts covering the last few days.)

The last few days have been a whirlwind. I went home to Mayville to help put on Melissa's baby shower and then we had Mother's Day at our house today. And before I left for Mayville I was hurriedly getting my Mother's Day preparations together. One of the things that I had planned was to take some new photos of Olivia for her grandmothers. Originally, I was going to take her to Sears for portraits since I got a coupon in the mail. I got all excited about this because I am not a good formal portrait photographer myself. But after I went online and looked at their backgrounds, etc., I was not impressed. It just seemed cheesy or something. This perplexes me because I've seen other kids' portrait photos and they don't strike me as cheesy. I also didn't care for JC Penney's set ups, either. ???

So I decided that a trip to Meijer Gardens was in order. Because we were quite busy, the earliest I could get over there was Thursday, which turned out to be a hot, sunny day. I took Olivia in the baby carrier instead of her stroller which turned out to be a bad idea because she is HEAVY, I had to carry my big camera and camera bag, and the gardens cover a HUGE area. Also, because she was in the carrier, she didn't have a good sun shield. Which I didn't consider until AFTER we arrived at the gardens. Fortunately I always carry her sunhat around. But the only arm covering I had was her hoodie, which combined with her outfit, made for quite a warm little girl that made my front side a bit sweaty.

We didn't arrive until around 3:00 because I was waiting for Olivia to take a nap so that she'd be in her best mood for the photos.

She never took a nap.

She wasn't in a good mood.

I got a good first shot which enthused all her Grandmas:

But it went downhill immediately thereafter, with shots that looked like this:

People that walked by would say things like, "Look, how cute!" or "Look at her getting her photo taken!" or "Oh, how fun!" Were they not looking at my child's face? She was crying and and frowning and wanting it to be over. I am quite surprised that no one came up to me and said, "Do you really think you should be doing this? It looks like you're torturing your child." Perhaps these people had been in my shoes before and understood. Fortunately, I had taken some winners earlier in the week so all was well. She's looking more and more like JB:

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Quilt 2009

So I can FINALLY tell y'all what I've been doing for the past four months! Since January Marian and I have been furiously working on a quilt for Austin and Lauren's wedding. I don't know how many hours we spent deciding on a pattern, creating the layout and measurements, picking out fabric, washing and ironing fabric, cutting, and then finally assembling the quilt. We pieced the quilt, which means we put it together, but we hired a woman to quilt it, which is the part where you sew the top, the batting, and the back together. We don't have a special machine and it would have taken us way too long to quilt it ourselves.

The quilt has the Ohio Star block in it. We used a bunch of Marian's fabric scraps, which she said included a lot of fabric that used to be Aunt Helen's (recognize anything, Aunt Helen?). We also bought some fabric that we wanted featured, including a "Go Green, Go White" print, some horse/riding prints, a snowman one, and some Civil War reproduction fabric, since Lauren is from Tennessee. I LOVE that Civil War fabric and want to buy a bunch more for myself.

It was a load of fun to make it. We wanted to see them open their gift and figured the days around the wedding would be a little too hectic. Well, and basically, we were tired of waiting. :) So we gave it to them Friday night when they were in town.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Loony Lu Lu

Lucy is a Looney Tune. Since bringing Olivia home her temperament seemed to changed for the better, but lately she's been up to her old antics again, so perhaps she was just in hibernation mode for the winter.

On Wednesday I leaned down to give her puppy pets when at the same time I smelled and saw death. Streaked down her puppy fur. Where the heck did she find a dead animal? I wondered. She had only been cruising around our very small yard, and I would have noticed a dead animal there.

Nonetheless, I marched her downstairs to the tub and a bit of Drama Clean shampoo. Generally after a bath Lucy will run into the living room to dry off (after I have thoroughly towel dried her--apparently this is not good enough for her). She'll do these running dives onto her side and then wiggle back and forth on her back in an attempt to rub off the water. It's quite a loud ordeal, as she dives into the floor with great zeal.

This time, however, I guess she wanted to try air drying instead. This consisted of running wildly around the house, throwing herself into the ground at regular intervals, and then racing into another room. Downstairs, upstairs, downstairs, back upstairs again, round and round. Leaping onto furniture only to leap back off--a sort of Lucy-style hairdryer, I suppose.

Did I mention that Olivia had JUST fallen asleep?

So this lunatic dog is wreaking all sorts of havoc and I don't really want to yell at her because that, too, could wake up the baby.

Instead, I ignore her and pick up a can of WD-40 and spray the squeaky hinges in our side door. The squeaking had gotten quite out of control, though JB claims he never noticed it.

When Lucy sees me at the door she gets really excited and stops her flying dog antics. She instead jumps up and down excitedly at the door, thinking I'm going to let her back out. That I'm going to let her back out, as a wet dog, to roll into the death again.

In order to oil the hinges on the door, though, I have to open and close it several times. Each time I open, Lucy braces herself, muscles tense, waiting for me to give her the "release" command.

As I open the door I look at her. She's ready. Her muscles are about to jump out of her skin. She sees me open my mouth, words start to come out. Her muscles leap into action because the only plausible thing I could be saying at this point is, "Free." In the split second her body starts to move toward the door she hears, "Sit!"


So she starts to run backwards to sit down. Then I change my mind because her sitting there will be in the way so I decide to also say, "Go back upstairs!" This further confuses the dog, and we get into this little dance of me saying, "Sit! Stay! Go upstairs!" while opening and closing the door several times, and her little doggie body trying to respond, while at the same time trying to sneak outside before I holler another command. It was quite exasperating, but it seemed to help her dry off.

So we get to an understanding. Lucy is sitting by the door, not going out, no matter how many times I open that door. Then I slip outside to look at the hinges from that angle and she bolts out right after me.

Devil dog!

Devil clean dog with damp fur ready to absorb dead animal guts!

Yes, Olivia is still asleep, and her bedroom is at the back of the house and she will probably hear me yelling, but I have to do it anyway.

Lucy races to the garage, her latest hangout, as there is a chipmunk that lives in the garage walls that is constantly vexing Lucy by hiding in them right as she's about to catch him. But she hears me yell her name and she turns around.

It's a doggie vs. master standoff. Her legs are spread, ready to run, I can see her little heart pounding at the exileration from escaping. She's watching me, waiting for me to falter. I stare her down. I say to her in a low voice, "Lucy! Come!"

She stares back, considering the distance between her and I. There is enough space, she decides. Without breaking eye contact, she drops one shoulder to the dirty cement, and then defiantly ROLLS INTO THE DIRT.

I race after her. "Lucy, NO! STOP!" As I reach the garage she runs around the car, now thinking that we're playing a game of chase. Eventually she bolts to the backyard, to the freshly laid, wet wood chips that JB put down last night (and where, I later realized, the dead animal remains must be).

Lucy is ready to roll and I'm ready to murder.

I guess I must have gotten my Dog Whisperer voice right because when I say, "Sit!" she does, and waits for me to scoop her up. Fortunately she did not get that dirty from rolling in the garage floor, so she did not need another bath.

Thinking that all is well, I let her shoot off into the house. She quietly disappears somewhere and I'm left with a few moments of peace to finish the project that I'm working on for Austin and Lauren's wedding present. Marian and I have put our heart and soul into this gift, and I was doing my final part, which involved writing something very neatly and beautifully in fancy script. I had written this thing out several times, trying to get it just right. I had finished what I thought was the final draft and went looking for it. I had asked JB to proofread it for me before I made it official, so I went to our bedroom to find where he laid it.

Lucy was already in our bedroom, perched on the very edge of our bed, looking out the window, on "Squirrel Patrol." She was perched on the edge of the bed, right where JB had left my beautifully written project.

And Olivia is sleeping in the room next door so I really shouldn't be screaming right now.

But really, dog, COME ON!

Fortunately for her, before JB left for work he said that I should redo the writing with a different font, so Lucy had not wrecked anything.

It is also fortunate that she loves my sleeping baby, and happily plays with her and lets Olivia pet her. So I will keep Lucy and not kill her. For now.