Like elephants

I grow increasingly surprised at the memories of these two small girls. Lately there's been a lot of talk of every hotel trip we've ever taken. "Remember, we slept in the bunkbeds, and we swam in the pool?" "Remember, we took our floaties?" They are terribly fond of starting and ending stories with "Remember?"

I remember visiting Grandma & Papa when they lived in Batavia. We went to a mall that had a merry-go-round in it. Months later we went to the mall again, and Ella says, "Is this the mall with the merry-go-round?" We'd been to malls around here inbetween, and she never asked it then. She was 2 at the time. She also remembers which ones have little potties.

Out of nowhere one of them will start in, "Remember, Mom, you were gone, and we were under a blanket with Daddy outside, and we watched the fireworks?" Um, yes, that was last summer.

If I tell the girls we're going to Grandma's house, but we take a different route, Ella pipes up in the back seat "Where are we going??? This isn't the way to Grandma's!" She also remembers how to get to church, Target and Sharon's (where she gets her hair cut).

Here's the kicker. Last night Natalie (2, remember?) says to Daddy, "Daddy, remember I was scared of Chacha the frog, and the big snake, and we saw Sharkey the Shark?" It took us a second to figure out what she'd said it was so random. And yes, that was a trip we took to the very big mall, last July, when we went to Underwater World and Rainforest Cafe. We haven't talked about Sharkey or Chacha since. Six months later the 2 yr old is talking about it again. I don't even think there'd been anything frog, snake or shark related to jog her memory.

There's just no easy outs with these girls. They'll remember if you say "we'll do ____ later." I hope all of this memory work translates to school. I can see it now, "Remember, the Magna Carta was originally issued in 1215 by the English and influenced the development of common law. Remember that it was written because of disagreements between Pope Innocent III, King John and the English barons regarding the rights of the king? Remember that???"


An update on that procrastinating issue.

I'm sure I've mentioned, but Ella's in dance. And I maybe mentioned when she performed for the first time (two dances for the grandmas & grandpas at a nursing home), I was at my mother's cutting her no-hem pants with an hour to showtime.

Tonight, weather permitting, Ella will dance at halftime of the high school basketball game. She is to wear her poodle skirt. The one that's too big. The one I need to somehow fix so it's not so big. It's 1 p.m. We need to be there at 7. I need to give her a bath in order to do her hair. I have some work to get done as well. I'm just pointing out that I don't seem to be heading down a better path than last time.

Of course, living in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, it's possible there won't be a game. It was -10 when I checked at 9 this morning, and -34 with windchill. The opposing team is coming from 1 1/2 hrs away. Perhaps they'll decide they'd rather not come. I'm not sure what to wish for at this point. Their dance class is so cute, it'd be fun to watch. But it's also going to be insanely cold, and staying home under blankets with tea in hand holds some allure.

In any case, I'd best do something about that skirt because if it falls down around her ankles it may be the end of dance class. She has already asked if everyone watching the game is going to laugh at them. I think I managed to explain that yes, people might laugh a little -- but just because they think they're so cute. Did I mention home ec was not my strongest class?


Home vs. Away

There are two types of people living in this house. The travelers (Ella and I) and the homebodies (Brennan and Natalie). I'm not sure if Natalie will stay a homebody. Right now it seems like she just doesn't really care if she stays home or goes somewhere. All summer long Ella's first words every morning were "Mom, where are we going today?" And if I replied "Today you get to stay home and play with your toys," I would get "But, Mom, I'm not sick," in response.

I can understand Brennan's point of view. He's gone all day. Lately he's been gone some long hours. He's out amongst grown ups all day. Even when he gets home he's had to pull out the laptop after the girls go to bed, and reply to emails or work on documents. So I can see wanting to come home and relax. If you're on the move all day, you probably don't feel like taking a spontaneous road trip.

The travelers in the house are getting a trip itch. It's winter in Minnesota, and however mild it has been, we're still getting a little stir crazy. Case in point, yesterday Ella says, "Mom, remember when we stayed at the hotel, and brought our floaties, and swam in the pool? That was fun." This morning she says to Grandma as I'm dropping them off for my much needed Thursday, "Grandma, we stayed in a hotel, and swam in the pool, and it had a twisty slide, and I went down it with Mommy." Natalie announces she was too scared to go down the twisty slide. All true. And the trip she speaks of was one to the Dells. In October of 2006. Over a year ago. Then she says, "And one time, we stayed in bunk beds." Yup. That was this past July. She'll also still occasionally bring up driving to Florida with Grandma, Mom and Natalie. That was over Natalie's first birthday. Ella wasn't even 3 yet.

Growing up my parents owned a weekly newspaper, and they couldn't travel together. Someone had to stay to make sure the paper got out every week. Which meant I often got double the vacations. Out to Boston with Mom. Skiing with Dad. Drive out to Wyoming with mom, and on the weekend Dad would come and Mom would go back. I almost wonder if this is in our future. If the homebodies will stay home, and the travelers will travel. Maybe once the girls are a little older, and Brennan's work isn't so demanding, we'll settle in to a few more trips. Or maybe, Ella and I will road trip to an ocean. It's not that we need to go to Europe, or see anything in particular. Sometimes we just need to get out of Dodge, and get a change of scenery for a bit.

For now we'll look for some balance. Take an extra trip to Target or the mall. I'll look at ticket prices for Seattle, and research hotel prices in Duluth or the Dells. It's like window shopping. Look forward to a trip to Wyoming in June with my family (which Brennan is hopefully able to break away for, not sure yet). We'll get there.