Tag Archives: Mom

Wisconsin baby part-ay

I am long overdue in sharing about my weekend in Wisconsin with my sister Erica.

In part, because my extended family is so larger than life that it seems no words of mine could convey what it’s like to gather with them.

The wonder, the chaos, the ridiculousness, the fun.

The love, the generosity, the intensity.

So I’ve decided to take the pressure off myself and just share some of the fun images, and let you draw the conclusions that you will draw! It’s been well over a month now, and letting these images sit any longer would be a crime.

I absolutely must start with this picture of Big Jake.

What a grandfather. If my calculations are correct, he should be turning 90 this year.

He and Mama Kitty are the most interestingly eccentric people ever. For a fun tour of their chaotic, crazy, hidden-treasure-filled home, I refer you back to this post from last Christmas. Which (as you may recall) propelled me into a purging frenzy the moment I got home. Thank you, mannequins in the living room, for planting that Seed of Purging that ultimately made my house a better place to be.

Anyway, we love ’em.

The grandparents, that is . . . the mannequins we merely tolerate.

I also have to state that I love my cousins.

Cousin talk is the best!

Especially when it happens on a blow-up mattress in a nicely air-conditioned space.

And this is Aurora, with whom I spent a summer at 11 years old playing Barbies (who were alternately ice skaters in the Olympics, hard core campers in makeshift teepees, or maidens of the forest by the creek).

Aurora now has 4 precious kiddos of her own.

With a 5th on the way!

When did we grow up???

Aurora also represents my connection to the Slattery family, an amazing, large, multi-talented farming family which includes the lovely Kate and the beautiful Mary (two of Aurora’s sisters-in-law):

I have been following the blog these sisters co-write ever since they started it, and it’s one of my favorites. Kate is about to have another little one to join Olympia, and WOW does she carry that baby (both the baby in the womb as well as her toddler) with elegance!

Of course, as a dancer and harpist and also someone who is over 6 feet tall but rocks heels with a vengeance, I expected no less from her.

The party was for all the pregnant women–me, Aurora, Kate, and Rachel–as well as two of Aurora’s girls who had birthdays that week–and it was also a goodbye party for Erica, who is moving to Arizona. It may have been a party for more people too . . .

. . . but I forget. My family’s philosophy is: why do a party for one person when you can do a party for six or seven instead?

Why indeed.

The more the merrier!

The more chaos reigns, the more my family seems to thrive.

The ability to blossom and thrive in chaos was somehow not genetically passed on to yours truly, so I took many, many naps while there.

And no, you may not ask why the living room is plastered, coated, and indeed almost completely hidden by Christmas stuff.

But you may ask who this cutie is!

His name is Jason, and he was taking a walk with his grandpa, my Uncle Tom.

Anyway folks, I leave you with pictures of me and the pile of presents. Thanks to everyone for the lovely, lovely gifts, which I am working on unpacking into Alice’s room right now!

(by the way, that blanket I’m unwrapping is a GORGEOUS quilt handmade by my sister Erica, seamstress extraordinaire and previously dubbed Nimblefingers the Great)

(a little green outfit also made by Nimblefingers!)

I think I have the most generous family in the world. I love you all, you crazy, energetic, wonderful bunch!

Ikea happened to us.

The last Wednesday in August, we went to Ikea. “We” included me and my husband, my mom, and my mother-in-law Sara.

In preparation for the trip, my husband and I made an exhaustive list of everything we were looking for (measurements included). But no amount of preparation can really ready the soul for a day of shopping in this massive store.

We were there for (wait for it . . . wait for it . . . wait for it . . .)

. . . 10 1/2 hours. From about 40 minutes after the store opened until right after the store closed. We ate there no less than 3 times–lunch (Swedish meatballs!), a revitalizing coffee/cupcake snack, and dinner (mozzarella panini!).

To explain why we were there so friggin’ long, you must know that a lot was going on–we were shopping for a bedroom set, a crib, shoe benches for our entry area, shelving, bins, a CD/DVD storage shelf, and about a million other things which required a lot of deliberation. My mom was also looking around for benches and chairs for her new house, and Sara was window-shopping for couches and livingroom furniture for her new house.

To add to that, there was a snafu in which two Ikea reps (on two different floors, involving two different computer searches) told us at the end of our time there while we were placing our order for delivery service (well, what we thought was the end of our time there) that the dresser we wanted was sold out. So we reconfigured our bedroom furniture plan and switched out the dresser to another slightly less desirable one, only to discover after checking out that there were piles and piles of the exact piece we wanted in the middle of the warehouse area floor. Which involved trips through Customer Service and Returns to get back to our original order.

All in all, it’s very hard to nail an adjective to the experience. Was it fun? No, not “fun” per se . . . but was it hellish? No, not hellish or even especially miserable . . . It was just kind of stunning. Not stunning as in beautiful, but stunning as in getting stunned.

It’s something akin to that blank sense of surprise when something hits you hard, and though you can’t feel the effects yet, you know they’re coming in about 2 seconds. You’re in a strange limbo that can only be described as The Void Before the Pain.

I love Ikea because I love all the things we got (and the prices at which we got them!). But do I love shopping at Ikea?

We’ll just say that I survived it.

And that I need at least 3 years before I’ll be ready for another such trip.

And that if and when that next trip ever happens, I need my mom.