Jul 6, 2012

Just Start With Your Name, And Some Pictures From Your Phone

Hello. My name is Donna, and I'm an infrequent Blogger. 

I've struggled with this problem for a while now; probably ever since my youngest child turned 1. In fact, that same child just turned 4, and he hasn't had a birthday post since his actual day of birth. 

 I asked said child how his recent birthday was, and how he took the personal rejection of not getting a birthday blog post. "I was freaking happy," he said. 

As you can tell, he's already exhibiting some real passive-aggressive coping mechanisms. 

Check it out: a blog update! I have no idea what that is! 

So shall we catch up?
It's been a while, so you know what that means: oh yes, bullet points.

  • Mark went back to Seattle in June for about 2 weeks. To demonstrate my fearless independence and super adult skills, I locked us all out within a few hours of his departure. I also got to demonstrate my astonishing acting skills when the locksmith charged me 125 euros, and I was like, oh that's totally reasonable and not at all exorbitant. It's practically pocket change. How droll. 
Waiting for the locksmith. On the upside, at least it wasn't like this:
June in Amsterdam
  • Are you ready to be jealous? Mark has a 4 week sabbatical in August, and we are going on an extended vacation through Europe. We've got the basic itinerary mapped out: Germany, Norway, and Portugal. (Why yes, we are going for the most random European vacation ever.) The logistics and details however... you know, the things that should have been finalized months ago when you're taking 5 people through multiple European countries at the height of travel season, and here they are, all un-finalized with less than a month to go. Yay! As fun as it might sound, it is entirely overwhelming to plan, not to mention unbelievably time consuming. And do you know what happens when I have to spend more than 5 minutes on the computer? Well there's this tendency that laundry has to propagate, that sticky things have of getting spilled, and that my children have of trying to kill each other. I turn around and the zombie apocalypse is taking place in my house. Welcome to what I affectionately call my Trip-Planning Shame Cycle of burden-guilt-yell/eat chocolate/fend off zombies-guilt-laundry-repeat. The end result is usually me in a fetal position, in some corner whimpering I don't wanna go on vacation. Please don't make me go on vacation.  I spent a few hours looking up hotels in Oslo last night, and my right arm started to cramp up from pointing and clicking. How lame is that? And now, I feel like a jerk for complaining about it. See what I mean about the shame? Time to go find some chocolate and some kids to yell at. 

  • Speaking of yelling at kids... I have this ridiculous tradition of making a strawberry-rhubarb pie every 4th of July. I realize those make no sense together at the moment, but just wait. Despite being the most non-culinary person the entire rest of the year, for some reason on July 4th I feel the need to prove my patriotism by baking all day in the heat of summer. Then we have a party with lots of friends, pie, and root beer, and I miss all those things dearly.  We decided to continue the tradition in Amsterdam with more pie, some crazy expensive root beer I tracked down at the American/British import store, and some new friends we've made here. We showed up at the park, triumphant with my made-from-scratch pie (transported by bike by the way), with mouths watering to dig in. And then, Sam stepped in it. In the pie. We had put our picnic blankets down, spread everything out, and told the kids not to step in the pie, Which is exactly the opposite of what Sam did. And that's where the yelling part comes in. There's no picture of the defiled pie, thanks to my dead phone, but here is a picture of my kitchen in the middle of all the patriotic pie-making frenzy. If this doesn't prove how much I love pie America, I don't know what does. Actually it doesn't do it justice at all. Let's just say that there are many, many reasons why I'm no food blogger.

  • You're probably wondering about the dog? That's Wilbur. We're pet sitting for some friends. The kids adore him, and he's really ruining my plan of showing the kids how caring for a pet is unrewarding, hard work.  Dang it.
  • Sam lost his first tooth last week. Actually, he didn't so much lose it, as much as he fell off a slide and knocked it out. When I got the call from the school, I was supposed to be resting the ankle I had twisted after taking my bike off a sweet jump. Actually, I didn't so much do a sweet jump, as much as I biffed it going up a small curb. Which caused me to turn my ankle, and then tip my bike over, with the boys on it. Some guy came over to help us up, and I'm pretty sure that he was trying not to laugh. I don't blame him; all I could think of while lying on the ground, tangled up in my bike, was that I totally missed my chance to be on AFV. In other words, it was awesome. 
Totally looks like Alfred E. Newman?
  • OK, let me dwell on Sam a little more. Recently I asked him to clean his room while I was in the shower.  So naturally, when I got out of the shower, the room was still a mess, and Sam was gnawing on his door handle. I am not making this up. He's also developed a freaky rash all over his torso that is non-contagious, totally random, and takes 6-8 weeks to heal. And he owes me 20 euros for losing his 2nd backpack in 2 months. And he stepped in my strawberry-rhubarb pie (did I mention that?). Totally love that kid! 
  • I don't think that I've mentioned yet, I've been asked to play the organ at church. That's right, you didn't know I played the organ because I don't.  I took a beginner's organ course over 10 years ago, and thank goodness for the two things I actually remember from it. Basically, I sweat my way through every hymn, while everyone sings in a language I don't understand. One fun stories so far: once I decided to push a button in between verses of a long hymn, to change up the sound a little and make it interesting. What I didn't know was that it would increase the volume by about 4 times. I was pretty much committed at that point, so we sang the rest of the hymn at FULL blast, while I tried not to laugh myself off the bench. It's an Organ Circus each week. 
  • I signed Mia and Sam up for a yoga class. Yes, you may make fun of me now. 
  • And this concludes our session of Infrequent Blogging. Thanks for your support, and we'll see in another month, give or take 3.

This post brought to you by First World Problems.


Courtney @ Ordinary Happily Ever After said...

You should visit Hungary. My kids still can't get over that there is a country called Hungary. It's even sillier than Turkey :)

I am DYING over Sam chewing on his door!

Saskia said...

Your vacation plans sound great. Also, the heat doesn't seem so bad in Provo (where I am till the end of July) when I hear how much it has been raining back home.

Karla said...

So excited for you and your European vacation! My brother is there now---maybe you will run into him! (Stranger things have happened.) I have an old friend from college who is moving to Amsterdam soon from Portland---I don't know much about his wife (except she is a fashion designer) and they have a baby named Oslo. Donna, please write more! Yours is the only blog in my long queue of blogs that I get super excited to read.

Marie said...

Donna, save yourself the grief and angst of reinventing the tourist wheel and go with Rick Steves. His books are so very helpful and easy to use.

Sara said...

Stepping in the pie, classic and tragic. But, the question is, were you able to salvage enough to at least eat a little?

I hope you had a great 4th of July!

Jen said...

So, how was the root beer? I've heard the European versions aren't quite the same. Did you get some Leninade too? Of course Sam stepped in the pie -- if not him, it would have to be someone else. xo

Bardsleyland said...

Karla, thanks! I'm totally flattered!

Marie, I use Rick Steve's website all the time-- it's full of great info. One problem though is he's not exactly the guru of traveling with children. But I do think he advice is usually the most frank and worthwhile.

Sara, yes, I was a tad embarrassed to admit it, but we salvaged half of it, and gave Sam the part that was contaminated. :)

Jen, it was A&W! And I would love to get my hands on some Leninade. Although they have a lemon-cactus sparkling soda here that I love.

SUZY "LA JEFA" said...

What? No Spain on your vacation? Have fun having to buy at least 2 hotels rooms for your family. My kids wished for pictures of your bike crash. We love AFV (thanks, Netflix).