Tuesday, May 27, 2008


"I'm so exciting!"
- Elspeth Paige on Saturday

"The crazy isn't over yet!"
- Elspeth Paige on the way to school today. I almost felt sorry for the teachers. Almost.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday Gratuitous Cute

Laughter brought to you by the letter M . . .

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dvorak and Me

Last night, after Addie went to bed, I slipped out of the house for the East Central Illinois Youth Orchestra spring Concert. Elspeth was my best friend for the evening, and she wanted to go too; until she had the thought that maybe the pottys might flush by themselves at the concert (a phobia of hers) and that maybe there were loud things to dry your hands at the concert (the other bathroom phobia she has).

The featured soloist is the son of a friend, and he IS AMAZING. I was pleased that my act of support, was actually going to be well enjoyed because youth orchestra is WAY better than it was when I was in school. The evening was passing pleasantly enough and we got through intermission and all the myriad awards necessary to the end of year, and to recognize significant effort.

Then Dvorak's Symphony No. 9 "From the New World" began. I love Dvorak and I LOVE this symphony. As a former viola player, I love that for a brief moment (maybe 4 measures, maybe less), the Violas carry the melody. There is a rule in orchestras as far as I can tell that the Violas NEVER carry the melody. They may join it for a moment, stop tangentially past it when the Violins need support briefly, but they never CARRY IT ALONE. Except for that brief section in this piece, and I loved it last night because I caught the glimpse the viola players exchanged when they concluded their moment of glory. I knew the look would come, because I used to have the same look too.

But what I loved best of all, was the memories of my childhood. I do not have a daughter that is able to sit (no matter what I might threaten her with) through any piece of music. She is obsessed with bassoons, and she loves to pick out the trumpet, but she is not physically able to sit still and listen to a symphony, yet. I found myself wishing (briefly) for a daughter that would sit on my lap, I wonder what that is like.

I remembered my Mother buying me a all day sucker and hauling me up to the balcony, where no one else sat, in the vain hopes of sitting through a performance when my father played horn in the orchestra. My Mother, who wisely didn't ask where the gum I was chewing came from, but threw strange glances at the gum pasted to the bottom of seats folded up around us. I remember crawling through the chairs and I am sure I enjoyed myself more than my mother. I wondered if my Mother ever wished for a daughter that sat on her lap, when she took the same kind of girl to the symphony.

I remember laying on the living room floor with my father to listen to music. I would close my eyes and picture myself as a weary soldier coming home through the Pines of Rome, or envision one of the Pictures at an Exhibition.

As I came to myself at the end of the piece last night, I found I was literally sitting on the edge of my chair leaning towards the orchestra.

My grad program educated me on how to select and enjoy a good wine, wear a suit as comfortably as sweats and not embarrass myself at a corporate meal. My undergrad program gave me the ability to develop and defend a cohesive thought. My grade school taught me how to appreciate the finer points of geometry.

But my parents taught me to love music, and that is a gift.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Henn Family BBQ

After enjoying Jon and Celina's 5th Annual BBQ Saturday, Eslpeth and Daddy decided that we needed to have a Henn Family BBQ for our Sunday family night. Elspeth was excited that Daddy brought her Police Car out back for the event.
Adwen and Mommy had fun playing ball.
Addie didn't quite get the principles of the ring toss game . . .
but she did help shake up the ice cream ball (there is cream in the center and ice around it, making ice cream after about 20 minutes of rolling it around the back yard).
Elspeth likes any event that lets her run!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Chick Bits

"Call Me Elspeth Long Toe."

Her father and I have given up wondering where this came from.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Shhhh . . . Don't wake it

Jeremy gets upset when I make references to our elder child's unreasonableness. But the other night he had to laugh as we heard her crying down the hall towards the dining room to share her misery with us and I said "shhh . . It's coming."

The reality is that she doesn't get her emotions right now, and she doesn't understand how to express them so she cries or screams or does something else to reflect the turmoil within. It is Parenting Russian Roulette, and if you are a parent and don't know what I mean, you have probably lied to yourself. It is that moment you steal yourself and your resolve because you do not know if your beloved child will be reasonable in this instance, or test the bounds of how far you can be pushed and still love. Boundary testing is relative, all kids do it in their own form or fashion. We know she is normal and that she is experiencing all the normal things of being 3, but there are times. Yes, there are times, when I see her peacefulness and don't have the heart to wake her just yet.

My Special Day

Started with a rare Elspeth cuddle on the couch (I have been teaching her the art of couch potatoing).
and flowers that Ella and Daddy picked out together(very bright on a yucky day).

And it only got better from there . . .

Mom Finally Got back to the Good Stuff

Pictures of Me!

Monday, May 12, 2008

What I learned on jury duty

I promise to go back to pictures of my darling children, but I couldn't resist one final jury duty post (and I havn't pulled the pics off my camera).

1 - In my state, you may go into any Sam's Club to purchase alcohol without a membership(state law mandated)

2 - Sam's Club frowns on you taking the alcohol without paying for it

3 - If you want to steal this alcohol, it is a bad idea to place the bottles in your coat while in the direct line of vision of an off-duty cop.

4 - Taking the defense of mistaken identity is NOT really going to help you when it involves people wearing less than 2 shoes in an ice storm in the midwest (it wasn't me, it was one of the many other guys running through this parking lot with only one shoe on).

I confess, it was fun, but only because it was OBVIOUS guilt. We wondered why it had gone to trial, and we wondered what we hadn't been told. As luck would have it, I went for a run after the trial concluded, and found the prosecutor and I go to the same gym (we hadn't been 2 hours appart and we recognized each other easily). Now I could ask, and found out my guy had 8 prior convictions and was on probation, which he clearly violated.

Got to love our system.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Stupid Human Tricks (for Tim)

This one is coming to you live from the Champaign County Courthouse where I am corralled with some number of other upstanding citizens awaiting our moment to be the jury of peers to some other poor citizen.

This has been my experience so far.

Recording devices only include cameras.

Cell phones do not include the aircard that I am using to connect to the internet at this moment (at least Sargeant Bob didn't send me back to my car with it, and I am going to go with asking forgiveness rather than permission (It IS after all in the bag they xray).

Despite the gasps of my fellow jurors, I HAVE left the room (the coffee pot was empty and I had to go in search of provisions) that I am starting to call the paddock.

This is a tight ship. One of the guards just came in and started to ask me official questions. He apparently thought I worked here. My fellow jurors thought this was great fun (we don't have much to amuse us), one asked if we could be released for the day, sounds good to me.

This is my fourth morning here. I have not yet seen the inside of a courtroom. There is a guy in this room who has been called three times and has never seen a courtroom.

This is a great system.

I am told is is the sheer force of our presence down here that is causing all the courts to magically resolve themselves. I have never weilded so much power just by the force of my presence.

Oh, how exciting, some of us are being called up! Juror #104 is going in. My big day.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Chick Bits

Overheard at the dinner table:

"Mommy talks."

"Daddy eats."

"Elspeth plays, and Adwen screams."

Hmmmm. . ..

Monday, May 5, 2008

Stupid Moments

I have had more than my share lately.

I have had to explain, approximately 5,692 times that my black eye came from opening a car door into my own eye. My mood about it has not improved with each telling.

I thought I was inspired to clean the house before playing soccer this weekend, reasoning that I would be too tired afterwards, and Mother wouldn't be available to help this week. I pulled a muscle while rushing from scrubbing the tub to scrubbing the sink, and I didn't get to play soccer at all. I feel like a real Einstein explaining why I have a black eye and a limp today.

I guess I should have read my jury summons, then I wouldn't have had to limp back to the car this morning to stow my cell phone in the glove box. They really don't let them in the courthouse anymore.

I accepted this with good nature, but really, when they played the video of Sergeant Bob (or whatever his name is) explaining that we couldn't bring in cell phones because their ability to take pictures or record sound I nearly laughed out loud. This time I was wise enough not to call attention to the fact, that while my cell phone can do neither of those things, the MP3 player I had in my purse was quite capable of recording sound.

I am batting 1000 these days.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Best Friends

Everyone needs a friend you can just throw your arms around when the mood strikes you. Even if it means you both hit the ground laughing.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Daddy's Girl

When I carried Elspeth for 9 wonderful (if slightly nauseating and painful) months, I knew that she and I would never be that close again. I knew that the minute Dr. Taylor delivered her, that I would no longer be all things to my beautiful first born.

I knew that.

I have watched her grow into an independent (sometimes too independent) child with pride, sadness and more than a little apprehension. I am lucky that her father is equally involved in raising our children, and I am lucky to be a firsthand witness to the special bond that Daddy's little girl develops. It is pure sweetness to see her face glow for Daddy, to hear her declare him her "best friend." She wants to be just like Mommy, she wants to be with Daddy, the difference is distinct right now.

The semester is nearly over. Jeremy and I have been counting the days until he doesn't have to kiss us goodbye on Saturday and Sunday afternoons so he can head to the office to get some much needed work done (always more than he can accomplish). I have been feeling sorry for him, not being with our kids, I have been feeling sorry for me, handling home, kids, everything on my own.

I forgot about the impact on Elspeth. She is tough. She has been a good sport, acting like she is happy that we are having another "girls only" day. But the reality is that she misses her best friend.

She finally has had enough, and has put her foot down in the only way she knows how. She wraps herself around his legs at departure. She cries for him, she asks if Mommy can go to the meeting and Daddy stay home tonight.

I knew that I would not always be all things to her, but it breaks my heart to see her need something so greatly, and it is completely out of my power to provide it.

Last night, shortly after Jeremy left for a meeting, Ella threw herself on the floor screaming about Mommy spilling her milk (not true). After a few minutes, I collected the child and deposited her in her room with instructions that she could come out when she was all done crying. I shut the door when I realized she was going to follow me, because Elspeth can not yet open the door to her room (the knob is too loose, so while she can open doors, just not this one).

The level of screaming was scary, and I called Jeremy asking him to beg off from the Joshua Team and come home to his daughter who clearly needed him. He quickly agreed, but he was on the other side of town and had to drop something off at the meeting so it would be awhile.


I start to feed Addie, and suddenly Ella appears, having suddenly figured out how to open her door. She grabbed her milk and then returned to her room. Shut the door and resumed:


I am not sure when it clicked for her, but a light bulb went off rather suddenly. It got quiet and I heard the door opening and closing as Elspeth explored her new skill. I went back and informed her that Daddy was coming home to be with her. She brightened noticeably at the news and then said, "Mommy, I was screaming and crying. I'm sorry."

She ran down the hall, and was done. We had a few scary moments when Daddy didn't get home immediately, she started to doubt that he was really coming home. We had to call him to confirm at least once, but the glow she had when Daddy was finally seated next to her was beautiful.

I know I can't be all things to my children, I know that not even Jeremy and I together can be all things to them. I know that she will have tougher battles, and that she will sometimes need to find her own way.

But last night, she was Daddy's girl, and that is enough.