August 29, 2008

The Best Laid Plans...

Well, I surely intended to follow up my first day back to school with the promised highlights of Isabella's new preschool curriculum. Instead, I came home to a quiet house. The children just laid down to a nap. So I decided to do the same. And I am so glad. An afternoon nap in the sun, like a kitten, I said my sweet goodbye to a summer well played.

It's been a long week, slowly stretching out of our summer routine, and a rest was entirely in order.  It is a well timed long weekend for this household -- hope you all enjoy similar sunshine to that prescribed for Cleveland.  I'll post snippets of preschool next week. 

Right now, I am already in the Team Craun weekending mode.  I have my home brewed afternoon latte, we are re-listening to Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention, playing with Dough-Dough + practicing writing the letters of the alphabet. 

Happy Weekend.

August 28, 2008

Opposites, Back to School

The big yellow school buses rumbled down our street this morning, and we stood at the screen door in awe watching children in new uniforms flood the sidewalks.  Today is Cleveland Public School's first day back from Summer Break. 

In the spirit of my last post, on my little opposites, and through the lens of back-to-school, I have decided to post a little about our preschool efforts here at home. Bella is obsessed with activities right now, so we have been pouring over our many options recently, to further fuel her hunger for learning and creating.  

Her My Little Chalkboard Book is her favorite thing right now, and I see they have an entire line of learning activity books, in which we will soon invest. The one she has is Opposites Everywhere, we picked it up at a discount bookstore before she could even talk, and unburied it out of our closet only a few days ago.  Here is one of my favorite spreads:

Our criteria for good material? Not only must it be educationally engaging, but challenging as well.  It must further motivate our voracious 3 1/2 year old, and keep her attention and interest.  And since this mommy is usually the one that spends the hours doing the activities with the said 3 1/2 year old, they must also be visually engaging to the 30-something artist.  

Tomorrow is my first official back-to-school day for my Fall teaching schedule at the Cleveland Institute of Art.  So, today's post will just include this single resource.  Look forward to our full preschool efforts in tomorrow's first official day of school post. Those of you with preschoolers should be on the edge of your seats.

August 27, 2008

Split Personalities

Bella told me in the car today that I should go through the red light. She was too tired to stop. Then she told me that from now on, "green means stop, and red means go".  Because she is three, she reorders the world all the time. 

I am amazed at how her brain works...that she not only knows all of these concepts, but can now reason and interchange their opposites, and be funny. And sometimes adamantly serious. Which is funny too. She is my thinker. Schemer. Plotter. My measured adventurer. She is the me I try to shut off in the middle of the night while my mind is racing and my body is too tired to keep up. And my little guy. He is the me I dream of, the me that only slips out when I forget to regulate. He is reckless silly, has an intoxicating and fearless sense of adventure, and he adores the order Bella implements -- especially bringing it all down in a tumble.  
These two playing, walk out my internal struggles.  It's like free therapy. This recent picture brings it all home for me. I look at this, and think: That is so Bella. That is so Nate. I am so lucky. 

August 26, 2008

The Elephant in the Room, #50

So, yes...much as David feared, the plastic elephant has managed to slip into the category of Team Craun's unfinished projects. Elphent has held the corner of the dining room in place for nearly two months now, though she is mostly ivory now -- and very close to being all cleaned up.  I have also narrowed down exactly what I want to do with her. So I have made monumental strides in that regard.  I am sure, around Christmas time, or Bella's Fourth Happy [at the latest] you will all be quite delighted to see how we have repurposed Elphent as a play trunk. That's all I am saying for now.

Thinking of more gardening in the round, if I ever successfully create a succulent orb, I have decided to follow that project with monumental topiaries. My first proposed 3-dimensional green endeavor will be a pack of pachyderms for the backyard. 
Isn't this so lovely? Click here for more info. I personally cannot think of any better memorial to adorn our recovering jungle than a small family of elephants. We, of course, would need one more, slightly larger than the baby, making an elephant counter part for each of us. Bella would certainly insist on a Nonny and a Jacob also, as she does with all her other little family representations in both Bristle Blocks and My Little Ponies. Perhaps, by the time we get around to this she will be a teenager and can help out with all the hard work.

Bella and Nate got to Party with the Pachyderms at our zoo with Dave on Saturday, Daddy Day, a few pictures here. But none of the party. 


On another note, unrelated to elephants, 
today is my 50th post. 
I have always wanted to be fifty. 
I feel so accomplished. 

August 25, 2008

In the Round

I am pretty certain we need a small family of these luscious orbs.  They should hang on the edge of our porch framing the view of our once-jungle, now cleared, back yard space.  I saw these at Morton Aboretum, while in Chicago, and since then have found a few how-to resources online, here and here. Likely this project will be pushed onto next Spring's list, but in the mean time, I will track down a good book about succulents and begin the planning phase.  I love the combinations of shapes, sizes, colors and textures of the multiple plantings in the ones pictured above.  

Certainly they are huge and heavy, but the way they dangle from above is gorgeous. I could really get into gardening in globes. A new hobby for all of the spare time I dream of.  I think they would winter nicely indoors as well. We could certainly use some lower-maintenance living things around here.  It could be another preschool life science lesson, perhaps our Earth Day project will come full circle.

August 22, 2008

ABC minus TUV

I woke up every day this week wanting Friday. My first day of this long week left intentionally wide open. My last official day of summer, at the end of a filled-up too busy week.  So I laid on the ground in Nate's room this morning, the nursery, and Bella and I snuggled on the huge white tiger floor rug. Hands down the wildest baby gift imaginable. It even growls when you press its nose. Rather unimaginable actually, certainly the most unexpected thing I had opened during my pregnancy with Bella, yet one of the most snuggled places of the house, now four years later. Thank you Liz

So, snuggling on the tiger, we decided to go a playground before it reached 90 degrees today. One with big ladders, Bella immediately prescribed, and one we have never been to before, she added. WOW. Tall order, literally and figuratively. Those of you who know us, know very well that we do far too much playing at playgrounds, and at 7 am, I cannot think of a single tall ladder place that we haven't already visited at least twice.  First I thought about tricking her, but she has the memory of a bear trap...and I knew the emotional onslaught of any funny business on the mommies part would send our day off into a tailspin fast.

After breakfast, clothes, hair ribbons and sunglasses, and each of us adorned with a strand of beads, we are finally ready to go. Where? For a little drive to find a playground I thought existed, but turns out is just a park. An important distinction we have worked on teaching Bella all summer. So, I am feeling lucky, and decide to attempt reasoning with the 3 1/2 year old while driving to nowhere. We are really close to our favorite playground, Can we just go there please?

Mommy, I really want to go to a new playground, one I have never been to. With really tall ladders. Please, can you just try to find ONE MORE PLACE? I was seconds away from calling my parents, my father specifically, and unduly blaming this whole playground mess on them -- and demanding he help me out with his new fancy GPS device and find a super sweet playground for his granddaughter within a reasonable driving distance immediately. Scheming for a solution, we drive past a pathetic little playground tucked down a side street.  And it works, we have fun, and even though the really tall ladder only has three rungs we played our hearts out. Turns out, to a 3 1/2 year old, the challenge is bigger than the actual scale of the ladder to climb up the proposed adventure.

Here is this summer's other big accomplishment:


Family photo, at the top of the post, was shot by Emily Powers. Video above, clearly not.

August 21, 2008

Special Treat

Bella is so reward conditioned, I get a special treat request [and more often than not, a whine or demand] numerous times a day. She wants a special treat for keeping her shoes on in the car, for being good in a store, and eating all of her lunch, for sharing with the Nons, and having a dry bed [twice daily], for doing her big job on the potty. You get the idea. A special treat. A lot. So much, that it isn't really all that special anymore, but expected. Demanded. Like routine. And a very bad habit.

Yesterday was week three in the elimination of my special treat. We decided to celebrate by going to our nearest hot coffee place, one of our once-familiar daily stops.  I decided the kids could have chocolate milk boxes, and I could have a coffee.  I figured if I lavished each of us with a special treat, there was no way I could fall back into my daily bad habit, because I could never afford to keep up with that kind of bill. Plus, to my advantage for kicking this special treat, I have a blabber mouth 3 1/2 year old. And she would most certainly tell on me. 

So, I order 3 special treats, and pull up to the window.  We are out of chocolate milk boxes today.  Great.  My first instinct is to cancel the entire order. I am not about to get my hot coffee indulgence in front of them, and disappoint them with no promised chocolate milk boxes. This was a celebration for all of us. And I wanted all or nothing.  The young man seemed to read my mind. And he knew very well, that I was a one-time loyal regular.  So he patched the whole thing up, promising to make a very special treat chocolate milk for the kids. A really huge and big special treat, as Bella coined it as we pulled away from the window.  He concocted some lovely version of chocolate milk, divided it into two of the small espresso paper cups, fitted them with lids, and inserted straws through the sipper hole.  And don't worry, they are on us, our special treat, since we are out of the boxes. 

And then he hands me the treat receipt. Seriously? Did this guy hand me a slip of paper called a treat receipt? Yep. Subsidized addiction.  I could take this voucher in, after 2 pm, slipping back into a double stop in a single day, because this little paper would entitle me to a Grande anything for only $2. A loyal spender program. 

I was so outraged. What a smart marketing plan to undermine their very customers having made recent decisions much like mine.  I was so fuming mad, at first, that I wadded the thing up, and I actually littered. And was proud of it. And I deepened my vows that I made with myself three weeks ago. 

And to the very delight of my heart last night, I got another glimpse of the impact of this special treat, further consolidating my reasons to give it up for good. During an afternoon play session with NonnyBella + Nate engaged in some riotous dress up and role play, watch a clip of Bella right here.  

Drive thru hot coffee place, I am so over you.  

August 20, 2008

Playing with fruit

A way back, when visiting a fun art/craft/misc. life strands blog, I was further linked to a how-to for this cool + refreshing party trick.  Watermelon, on tap -- seriously? Who could resist?!!  I first tested my idea on this mini-melon to make sure the plumbing I had purchased would do the trick. I had an impossible time in the big box DIY center finding the correct pieces and parts in the recommended specifications. Turns out, it works brilliantly with all of the adaptions. So with a full size melon, I made one several days later for a kid-friendly gathering, and concocted a Watermelon Mojito recipe for the adult party the following day of that weekend. Unfortunately, in the getting-ready-for-the-party whirlwind that ensued both days, getting a photo of the big ones completely slipped my mind. So, here is the little one, and as you can imagine, the big ones looked even better and a bit more proportionate to the plumbing.
The punch recipe: flesh of the watermelon, can of Limeade [made with half of the water recommended], and a few sprigs of mint. All of this I pureed in my Vitamix, and strained. mmm. The Mojito recipe: flesh of the watermelon, 6 limes, handful of mint, and several cups of rum. Again, all was processed in my Vitamix and strained. hello, snappy summer drink.

August 19, 2008

Team Craun at Play

This summer has been markedly centered around play and the outdoors. It feels like the most normal + simple summer vacation I could dream of. As it winds down, and I begin to prepare for my Fall semester's teaching schedule, we are slowly spending less time in the sun and I am already starting to miss our grand adventures.  We had the privilege of playing at a local scenic park in late July with a photographer friend, Emily Powers -- and she made lasting images for our family of this most intoxicating summer. 

In these few months of freedom, the little Craunlets taught me how to relax, how to be more playful, how to go with the flow and be less rigid with my expectations + they provoked me to really experience the joy in the very simplest pleasures of living. Team Craun played in the grass with beach balls, took a walk on the waters edge with a bouquet of helium balloons, we skipped rocks, buried our toes in sand, and climbed on large rock walls.

August 18, 2008

Monkey See, Monkey Do

So, the little guy -- my baby -- is Mr. Good Copy.  He works very hard to do just about everything his big sister has already mastered.  This includes dancing like a ballerina, wearing jewelry, reading princess books, jumping, climbing stairs, and most recently -- the POTTY.  I am trying not to get excited. And I plan to be in denial and disbelief until he utters his first full sentence: "mommy, please buy me big boy underwear with cars on them".
This photograph of Nathaniel was taken by Emily Powers

It started a few weeks ago, around bath time.  He is undressed and running around like a little wild man. We usually egg him on, calling him Natey Nudie and cajole him into his bath through all of this excitement. And he loves it. The freedom of diaperless life, if only for a brief moment before the bath. Well, copying Bella, he decided to sit on her potty. It was hysterical, he was practically mocking her, I was shocked at how he new every detail of her potty routine. He must envy all of the attention and accouterments...the bright green potty, with its own roll of paper in a special compartment, all the potty books, the big kid wipes, and the reward that always follows, not to mention the cheering and clapping.  It's a bit like a potty parade around here, many times a day.

Saturday, after his nap, I mentioned the potty.  He bolted into the upstairs bathroom, and began pulling at his diaper through his pants. Honestly, I sighed. As much as I want him out of those diapers, he can't possibly be ready, my baby, he is only 20 months, I thought.  It is such a pain to undo the pants, the onesie, and the cloth diaper,  and lift him onto the big potty fitted out with the kiddie potty with handles, only to wait while he plays another round of the I could be a big boy game. And then, I hear that oh-so-lovely tinkle sound, and he smiles and babbles out some happy remarks. HE HAS JUST USED THE POTTY. You must be kidding me.

I am still consoling myself that this was just a coincidence. He is still copying Bella, playing a game, and it was chance or excitement, a cool breeze, or the gushing water sound of the running washing machine that actually put the potty into the porcelain.

Until, this morning. Dave is changing his diaper, and mentions we are running low on cloth diapers. And I reply how great it would be to be done with diapers. If Nate could actually use the potty. The little guy picks up on our conversation, charges into the bathroom -- and again, the tinkle sound, the big smile, and the melodic chatter of success.

Now I just need Bella to teach him how to ask for his underwear, and then we can begin his formal potty training.

August 15, 2008

The View from Here

There is a silent wind-up, and I have one second to grab the arm of any nearby piece of furniture to brace myself.


I almost can’t stand that two word sentence when it flies out of her mouth at 100 mph in a high-pitched selfish squeal. It is usually accompanied by pulling a princess toy from her younger brothers grasp, or simply shoving him to the ground and then prying it out of his hands.  This holy boldness. This selfish shrill of a proclamation. Standing ground for what is hers.  Sure, she is a self-centered 3 1/2 year old, like most her age, but she is also on to something.

How confidently kids stake claim on what is theirs. On what they deserve. On what was created for them, even before they breathed a single breath. What was already fought for. And won. For them. And they unabashedly run for it. Unhindered with the lies that they are undeserving.

They are wired knowing the whole world was made for them, and if it isn’t too heavy for them to lift, they pick it up and carry it off. This week alone, we have stopped to examine much that belongs to them, including: rocks, grass, flowers, butterflies, birdies, slides, really tall ladders, clouds, the hot sun, and pine cones.

The last two weeks have been so provoking for me. I have been playing with my two little people so intensely, and entering into their perspective. Watching them, and sharing their experiences intimately and first hand. Joining in. Agreeing with them. As they dare to dream.  Because dreams and life are still inseparable concepts to them. And that is intoxicating to this thirsty spirit.

And so is the view from a place that Dave + I are dreaming about.  A bit of land in our city that may or may not even be available.  Of a city that we have so much hope for. A city that is ours. And I am strangely comforted, that this is not a dream that we do not deserve to have. That is a lie. Because this land is ours, and this view is ours, whether we ever really own it, or not. Whether we ever design a place called home for this land, and build it, and physically move our lives into its spaces. And whether or not the city builds a landmark urban-view playground that we dream of for the adjacent properties.

Like Bella’s “that’s mine”, I have muttered snidely “God knows how that will ever work out”, for more than three years now.  But you know what, it is actually true. When I change the tone of those statements from sarcasm + unbelief to that of a bold + believing faith: It is mine, and God knows how it will work out.

Here is the view that is making my heart sing:

Please excuse the low resolution image. A dreaming husband captured this shot the other day using his phone, and put it on our desktop to surprise me. 

August 14, 2008

Earth Day, at long last.

We had the best of intentions to celebrate Earth Day this year, on time that is, when the rest of the world acknowledges the green holiday.  I mulled over many thoughtful commemorative ideas, and considering I was planning on including the preschooler, I am actually proud of myself that I managed to almost get to my goal. It seemed so simple. We would give our family and friends tender young plants, perennials so they would keep on giving, that we would plant + watch grow from seed.  

The plan was to buy a nifty little gadget called the Potmaker.  This lovely wooden tool would reuse/recycle newspaper and form it into a handy + plantable seed starting pot.  

We ordered said tool, we even went out and bought three types of seed and some organic potting soil.  We made the sturdy little biodegradable pots one afternoon late in March -- the last day of the month, if I remember correctly. We sowed a variety of seeds into the little pots: Coreopsis, Chinese Lantern, and Butterfly flower. [pictured in listed order below] 

We lined up two trays of the future plants on the dining room window ledge and waited. Watered. Waited. Watered and waited. Watered and waited some more. Repeat forever. Long gone was Isabella's attention and interest in what I kept reminding her was coming. I dutifully speared the seed packets on bamboo plant markers, and we would occasionally look that them, and wonder when they might begin to grow. I swear they looked like this forever:

Actually, right up until Earth Day [April 22nd], to be exact. When they finally looked like this: 

On Earth Day, or two weeks later, when they were still growing at an indistinguishable pace, we decided to give the plants a solid Team Craun try, but to forgo the thoughtful--but already quite belated--gift idea.  Some time after Mother's Day, we planted them into window baskets, so they could continue to grow ever so slowly. And sometime in June or July we hung them on the fence so they could try to survive on Nature's provisions since we were already proving quite negligent.  I had nearly lost hope for these plants.  It was actually consoling that they were out of sight for weeks, and practically left to themselves.  I just couldn't bear it. I used to have a green thumb. Who could ever imagine how slow seeds grow?

Today [nearly 4 months after Earth Day] digging for something to do shortly after the sunrise with the little people, we headed outside with our shovels.  While we were in Chicago, Dave prepared a small bed, easy to view from our dining room windows where this whole thing began.  By 9:30 am, we were already packing up, as proud little gardeners finally celebrating our Earth Day. 

I am sure there is no chance of these things actually blooming this year. I only hope now that they survive, and come back next year around Earth Day as their packages promise.  Maybe in 2009, they will help us to celebrate on time.

August 13, 2008


I have been waiting to wake up today for two weeks. I had placed a mental marker on the 13th. I thought I had remembered correctly that 14 days makes a habit. In a bit of research I have found a range from three weeks to three months. And a few schemes that claim results with things like two solid hours of intense concentration tapping energy from the core of the earth and such. However the math of habit-forming really works out, today is day 14.

I am crossing all my fingers that this habit-forming works also in reverse. Today is my 14th straight day without the coffee drive thru, and my efforts of un-habit-forming.  The first few days, I was compensating with several cups of home brew, or an occasional soda pop -- YUCK. The last several days, I am proud to admit, I have held my sanity on only one morning espresso. And no more headaches, already this week. I am sort of stunned, to be honest.

The only thing I am missing right now, aside from the lovely brown and milk-chocolaty warmth of my favorite comfort-drink-to-go, is my energy.  I fell, consistent. I think this is in part due to the waning days of summer, and the getting started all over again apathy, but I am missing those spontaneous [or not so much] bursts of energy that would besiege me after a cup, or three.

Good habits are formed; bad habits we fall into.

Author Unknown

Funny how easy it was to pattern my life around a bad habit, everything sort of fell into place, and then started getting out of control. Looking back at the weeks of summer now gone, I liken my daily and often bi-daily comfort caffeine excursions to Alice falling down the rabbit hole -- it certainly was a lovely adventure.  But I am reminded of Dorothy’s desire to end her good times in the Land of Oz, and I find myself now repeating the mantra: there is no place like home.

August 12, 2008


Never have I played so hard.

We spent a full week in Chicago with the Grand Dubs, played until we had fully exhausted them, and then drove back home.  Here is one of my favorite photos of Bella + Nate with the Grand Dubs:

See more of our raucous fun playcation here.

I still cannot believe how many racer slides, tunnel slides, twirly slides, bumpy slides, double racer slides + super huge tunnel twirly slides we adventured.  Bella, Nate and myself stayed with my parents for 8 full days, sandwiched by weekends where Dave was there, and each day was highlighted--if not once, then twice--with time exploring a different playground.  Isabella went down the tallest twirly tunnel slide I have ever seen -- and all by herself.

The power [or influence, maybe] of the Grand Dubs is unquantifiable.  They grew up a ton this week, they soaked in the sunniest days of summer, played harder than we ever have, and exhausted all the available energy of their grandparents.

Bella enjoyed the rain, and actually asked to wear her raincoat, and go outside in the storm. Nate decided to speak up, all the time, and used actual understandable English words I knew he had in him. Bella sported princess hair-do’s all week, including double french braids, and is still requesting pony tails and clippers daily. Nate fearlessly climbs stairs now, up and down, by himself. Bella memorized Jack and Jill, and recited it with grandma every night before bed. Nate no longer takes a bottle at nap and bedtime, and has enough new words to joke about it.

Unpacking from a week of play, we are up to our ears in books, balls, ballerina skirts, candy, and pictures. This was the summer vacation of Bella’s wildest dreams. Last night, she said of her playcation: It had “everything I like: SLIDES!”  

We Skype with my parents regularly; watching the kids interact on the gorgeous screen of the iMac with the Grand Dubs who are miles away is astounding. When we came downstairs the first morning of our stay, Bella + Nate played immediately with Grandma + Grandpa as if we see them every week.  

Last night Bella was talking to her now well-rested Grandparents about when she might come back again, without hesitation or any relevant concept of time or distance, she shouted: “Saturday!” 

August 11, 2008

Itch + Scratch, even when we are fifty

Early in dating and engagement, I would frequently ask Dave if he would love me even when we were fifty.  I have always wanted to get old. And to get old with someone. 

Several weeks ago, on a warm summer evening, our very retired neighbors June + Glen were chatting with us over our fence.  They speak of themselves mostly in third person, as mama and papa out of years of practice, and have grafted Isabella and Nathaniel into their small tribe of great-grandchildren.  

June inquired about some bug bites on Nate’s face, while Glen listened in behind his crossword puzzle, and she commented that it was good that Nate did not itch them. I heard Glenn mutter scratch under his breath before June had even finished her sentence. Then June laughed, and went on to explain that she always says itch when she always means scratch and Glen always dutifully corrects her.  And she was so cute, and so proud of her husband, and their relationship that has withstood so many pressures and forces over time, always.  Next, Glen quipped: why did you have to tell her all of that?!

How lovely it all is.  I have reflected on this exchange for more than a month now. And that urge to tell. And it’s compulsion to share, relate, and blab to the whole world through words and example. The itching, the scratching, the banter of two old married people.  The deep intimacy of their union, the passage of time, and togetherness.  Really knowing another human being -- so intricately.  And the comfort of always. Even when you reach fifty, and further.

Above, is my long-winded preface to a Happy Anniversary.  My husband and I celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary today, and a decade of being together.  A third of our lives spent joined, and I can’t imagine it any different. Husband, I decided in reflection on the above passages, to blab it to the whole world.

I look forward to getting to fifty with you.  And passed that, I look forward to sharing our life with younger neighbors some day, reassuring them with all of our always anecdotes. Showing them first hand what relationship looks like all walked out. Finishing each others sentences. Forgetting and remembering the same things over and over. 

August 1, 2008

This Creature called Comfort

Wow, slaying this one may be a greater victory than childbirth with no pain medication.  I swear to not become a new wacko-advocate for the banning or regulation of caffeine, and I will not urge my legislative representatives to classify it as a drug.  I hope to fully recover, and some day enjoy a casual cup of Joe, and not struggle with boundaries of caffeine control. 

In the meantime -- why should I go at all this alone? 

That 18 month old, well, he is about to loose his bottle in Chicago. Seriously. He is an irresistible snugly little guy. But a nipple? I think we are encouraging a severe oral fixation, that by the time we are finally weaning him at 18, he will be old enough to buy cigarette's and make a horrible switch to satisfy his need. 

Bella's thumb sucking ritual, putting it lightly, is causing a dental disaster. One of her teeth has actually flipped itself sideways to make room for the semi-permanent fixture in her mouth. She now sucks her thumb, and rubs her spit-coated two index fingers together in small circles, smiling and asking: "who wants me to stop doing this?" The dentist hunny. The person that showed us the mess your mouth is becoming from this chewed and callous thumb obsession. Oh my.

I might be having a too-early midlife crisis. But I am just in the most OCD mode right now, and I think I am going on a media fast* as well. Starting bedtime tonight, when we drive out of Cleveland, and away from all of my vices, or at least my biggest ones: my coffee shops + my internet.  So, I have a six-hour ride in the car to consider the vast consequences of all these decisions. These give-it-up goals are well timed with a respite I have planned to stay with the Grand Dubs in The Windy City.  And lucky for Dave, he will be home and miles away from the bulk of the madness of this life-changing week. And when he returns to C-town to pick us all up again, we are all likely to be fully recovered -- and happier than ever to see him. 

*I must divulge we plan to Skype occasionally this week, so the Craunlets can see/talk to daddy on the weekdays...but no blogs, written or read, no facebook, no e-mail, no flickr, no twitter, no perusing of the Internet for the perfect product for an impulsive want, or a need we don't have.

We will be back online in time for our Anniversary -- 
August 11th.  
Don't worry.  I couldn't live without you for good. 


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