Friday, May 2, 2008

I actually DO have other children

This is Big Al. She is 11 and weighs about 60 pounds. My dad gave her this nickname. She is incredibly extraverted and can NEVER be by herself - she doesn't understand how people can read a book in the same place ALL day and not want to talk to anyone else. She and Brian go to country music concerts together (I hate them) and they just saw Kenny Chesney about a week ago. She played softball for about 6 seasons, and now plays travel soccer - although I'm told she doesn't want to do this next year - I'm trying not to be crushed because I enjoy watching her. She wants to take tumbling for cheerleading this summer (Yes, I know I did that when I was young, but I am SO not that person any more) and maybe Lego robotic camp. She is waiting for Disney or Nickelodeon to discover her and build a Big Al 101 type show featuring HER. She wants to sing for the masses, but also talks about being a physical therapist. Although she looks like Brian's family she is my personality clone, so if you knew me way back, then you know Big Al. Every now and then she asks me what she's thinking - and I tell her - and then she rolls her eyes and tells me to get out of her head. She loves the phone, and we don't bother to pick it up unless we remember that she isn't home. Boys call. We hate that. She still likes having us around though, and I hope that lasts a bit longer.
This is Cheesie. She is our builder, and loves to snuggle. She builds streets through our house that are precisely straight, and if the dogs knock a piece out of alignment she comes running to fix it. Her baby dolls also enjoy elaborate towers, and beds made out of blocks. She can't wait to grow up and be a mommy and a teacher, and live in my house (she doesn't want to live by herself - truly she says that). I am flattered that she wants to follow in my footsteps, but I would love her to be a mommy, an architect who changes the world and provides amazing affordable homes without clear-cutting lots, AND I would like her to live next door, not in the next room. She loves to pull things out, create something cool, and then leave it sitting there - forever. She is also HOT competetion for Blondie because they are 18 months apart AND share a room. When Blondie was beginning rehab after surgery, Cheesie would come to therapy with us and do everything perfectly which used to make Blondie very angry so she would try to do it better. Hey, it worked. Use sibling rivalry wherever possible. It can be a good thing.

These are the vegetable beds that T-Rex and I put in a couple of weeks ago (okay, Brian put in the far one because I had to WORK while he sits and works from home in his cushy job looking at computer screens without a lot of stress). We started them from seeds, and then Brian made the raised planting beds. We have corn, beans, a gigantic cabbage, tomatoes, cantaloupe, watermelon, and peppers (bell and jalapeno). The broccoli wasn't too happy, so it died out, but we figure we can get a couple of dinners out of this in the summer. So far the geese and the deer haven't found it (yes, the Canadians ship in their geese every year, and we have confused deer that live here in suburbia). It doesn't look much like suburbia with the giant pond behind us, but we live quite near the shopping.

T-Rex has some very specific interests in her life. She loves the Great Depression, Victory gardens, American Girl, dance, horseback riding, the declaration of independence, cooking and visiting historical places. At one point she wanted to be a zoologist and work with the elephants, but I think now she keeps her options open because she also wants to be a chef, own a ranch, and write historical fiction - probably for American Girl. I've explained that after working at the zoo saving the elephants and the giraffes, she could come home to her farm, feed the horse, cook a gourmet meal, and write in the evening, but I don't think she likes that option. She will be an interesting kid to watch.

I have really great kids, who for the most part are fairly mellow. We spend a lot of time together as a family, but definitely have boundaries. We are working hard to raise 4 strong women, who can do whatever they want (as long as all attend college - preferably Ivy League on a full scholarship). If I could just get them to pick up after themselves then life would be perfect, but then what would Brian and I do?

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