Monthly Archives: February 2009

Decision of Sacrifice

Perhaps it is her flair for the dramatic, but the Parakeet has always liked Lent.  Maybe, more specifically, she LOVES Easter. Easter is her favorite Holiday.  She puts up the decorations and almost every year since she got married she’s made a big Ham dinner.   Living in the Midwest, Easter takes on a whole new level of excitment because HOPEFULLY (not last year) you are out of the dull, gray, Lenten Winter and into the exciting, warm, sunny Spring. 
This Wednesday, the Parakeet, Huz, and Little O all went to Ash Wednesday service.  The Huz had actually never been. Not sure how that happened, but anyway…
The Parakeet declined when the Pastor offered to put ashes on Little O.  While she understands that O was born a sinner just like the rest of us, she doesn’ t like to think about it, and besides – it wasn’t a bath night.  Throughout the day, the Parakeet had been contemplating whether or not she should ‘give something up’ this year.
She doesn’t always do it, and usually she finds some way out of it: like the year in college she gave up soda (but still drank coffee) and then decided since it was about the caffeine she would still have root beer.  Really effective, right?
She thought about what was preventing her from having the spiritual life she desired.  What was preventing her from doing anything she wanted?  Well, the answer quickly became television.  The Television (and Oprah and sex and the city re-runs and The Biggest Loser) has helped the Parakeet transition into life as a work-at-home mom.  She watches tv as her morning starts.  She watches TV while she feeds Owen and she definitely watches TV in those last couple hours before the Huz gets home.  5PM to 7PM is the toughest time of day for the Keet.  So, not to go totally cold turkey, which would be setting herself up for failure, the Parakeet has decided not to watch any TV before 8PM. After 8PM, the TV serves the purpose she would like it to: time with the Huz and relaxation.  Before 8PM, the TV is just  a distractor. 
She proposed the idea to the Huz and he was completely on board.  He is also going to give up TV  before 8PM.  The first couple days have been a challenge – more the kind of challenge like breaking a habit.  Last night, the Keet was super excited for 8PM.  But, she also enjoyed when she and the Huz sat down to dinner at the table at 6:30, they spoke with each other rather than setting up the tv trays and vegging out. 
Maybe the Parakeet will do more reading.  Maybe she will exercise.  Maybe she will sit still a bit.  Maybe, just maybe, she’ll get into a habit of prayer.  Only the next 37 days will tell, but she is really looking forward to what days free from TV could mean.  Surely, she will also look forward to Easter morning, and isn’t that really what Lent is all about?


A Few Questions Answered or the closest this Bird will come to Facebook

So, one of the Parakeet’s favorite blogs brought up a few questions.  So, the bird decided to answer them here. This is it: most things you wanted to know about the Parakeet and the Huz.

What are your middle names?
The Parakeet’s middle name is Elizabeth. The Huz’ middle name is Randall.  Funny – maybe there are some of you who don’t know their first names.

How long have you been together?
They have been married six and a half years and together for nearly nine.

How long did you know each other before you started dating?
They were working in the same place for about a month-and-a-half, but pretty much as soon as they met they started dating.

Who asked whom out?
Well, the Parakeet asked out the Huz.  He came to her rescue and got her keys out of a locked car in the rain.  She offered him dinner as a thanks.

How old are each of you?
77.  Well, actually the Parakeet is 29 and holding.  The Huz is 31.

Whose siblings do you see the most?
Well, the Huz’ sister lives in Texas.  The Parakeet has one brother and sister in Florida and one brother in Africa.  They see everybody about once a year, which is not enough.  Uncle B and his wife used to live in St. Louis so then they saw them the most.  April is bringing the Keet’s sister and her husband up to Chi-town which is AWESOME.

Which situation is the hardest on you as a couple?
There was that time when they had a baby and no one got any sleep. The baby just kept crying.  Then, the baby would sleep a little if he was tethered to the Parakeet or bouncing in the arms of the Huz.  Then, the Parakeet would start crying. Then,the Huz would give up and go to sleep and then the Parakeet and the baby would walk around the house and it was three in the morning….yeah, that was a stressful situation.

Did you go to the same school?


Are you from the same home town?
No.  The Parakeet grew up in Lake Mary, a suburb of Orlando and the Huz moved all over Texas until he moved to Florida with the Bird and then they drove together up to the Windy City.

Who is smarter?
There is not a safe way to answer this question.  The Parakeet pays the bills.  The Huz fixes the toilet.  Both things are totally necessary.

Who is the most sensitive?
See above question. Meet their baby.  It’s a touchy house.

Where do you eat out most as a couple?
Does McDonald’s breakfast count? 
Actually, when there is something fun to celebrate the Keet and Huz really like Cafe BaBa Reeba – a tapas restaurant in Lincoln Park that also has excellent Paella

Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple?
Beijing, China

Who has the craziest exes?
keeping it simple: The Parakeet

Who has the worst temper?
The Huz.
Who does the cooking?
The Parakeet. But the Huz makes a mean breakfast.

Who is the neat-freak?
There is no neat-freak. They really really need a neat-freak

Who is more stubborn?
The Parakeet is always right. The Huz is never wrong. 

Who hogs the bed?
The Huz. Totally – The Huz.

Who wakes up earlier?
The Parakeet. 

Where was your first date?
The Back Porch – a burger place – in Kilgore, TX

Who is more jealous?
The Huz is jealous that the Parakeet gets to play with the baby during the day.  The Parakeet is jealous that the Huz can lose weight by drinking water.

How long did it take to get serious?
About what?  They got married when they had only lived in the same town for three weeks.  They were married five years before they had a baby.

Who eats more?
The Huz eats more.  The Parakeet eats junk.

Who does the laundry?
The Huz has become the laundry man over the past few years.  It started one football season and it has stuck.  The Parakeet does do the cloth diapers though. Every. Other. Day.

Who’s better with the computer?
Parakeet.  Occasionally an internet page will take fifteen seconds to load and that is fifteen seconds too slow for the Huz.  TOO. SLOW.

Who drives when you are together?
Lately, the Parakeet.  It raises the Huz’ blood pressure too much.  Long road trips, though – he definitely claims his testosteronal seat behind the wheel.

Feel free to answer some of all of these questions in the comments or link to your blog. Fun to get to know the couples.

The Office

When Big W was about six months old, his parents took him on a trip to Florida so they could look for a house.  GB and Poppy borrowed some fun toys for him including an exer-saucer.  Big W LOVED that thing! He played in it moving from one toy to the next, bouncing and turning.  His Dad, Uncle B, quickly nicknamed it “The Office” because Big W looked like he had a lot of work to get done.
Well, when Little O and the Keet made a surprise trip to GB and Poppy’s house in January, The Office also made an appearance.  Little O (with a bit of help from a pillow) got down to business.  Business was, as they say, GOOD.

When the Parakeet returned to Chicago, she took an “Office” out of the basement she had been saving for such a time as this.  Thanks to Emily and Katie – the Office is saving her life.  O has  so much work to do.  He has to bounce. He has to growl. He has to pull on the butterflies. He has to answer the phone. He has to eat the teddy bear.  It is a lot of work.  Sometimes they even find him in the office on a Sunday.  He is relentless.  O’s Godmother, B, came over for coffee Thursday morning.  You may hear her in the background of this quick video shot again with the phone.
Please enjoy a bit of O’s time at work:

Half a Birthday

022009fLittle O hit a big marker on Friday – six months old!

How has it been six months…and how has it been only six months?  It’s a little like the first two weeks at college, when you’re living in a dorm.  You feel like you’ve been there forever but also like it’s been no time at all.

Friday morning began as most of the Russell mornings do.  The Parakeet was up before seven logging on to the network for work.  She began downloading files and jotting down numbers as quickly as she could in her pajamas.  The Huz threw on cargo pants and a t-shirt when Little O started making hilarious sounds around seven-fifteen.   O greeted his morning with a bit of a growl – the Keet and Huz went into the nursery to see him turned in the opposite direction from where they laid him the night before hugging his lamb and pulling on his blanket.  He smiled HUGE as he caught their eyes and they turned on the light.
The Parakeet changed his diaper as quickly as she could, then put him back in the crib so she could make her seven-thirty phone call.  The Huz started packing his lunch.
She jotted down a few more numbers after talking to the clerks in the office.
The Huz took the dog outside.
The Parakeet mashed half a banana up with some rice cereal and formula.  She fed Little O.  He was alternately excited and distracted, but ate the whole bowl. 
Before taking him out of his highchair, the Parakeet went back to her computer and plugged those numbers into a spreadsheet and sent the result to her bosses’.  While she clicked on the keyboard, O just played with his spoon – banging it against his tray and gnawing on it for a bit, then banging it on his tray again complete with varied vocal accompaniment. 
The Parakeet just looked at him and smiled. This day had come and she hadn’t really even noticed when it happened.  Little O was entertaining himself.  She remembered not so long ago when she thought that would never happen, when she thought she wouldn’t ever be able to leave the room he was in or stop holding him or bouncing him or whatever was that day’s trick.  Here he was now, six months old, smiling at her from across the room and banging his spoon.  He’s growing up, quite literally, before her very eyes. 



In the past couple weeks, Little O had a few firsts you readers should be aware of:

He wore some cute-y little shoes.

He ate some squash (and bananas and sweet potatoes).

He rode in a swing. Wheee!



The Parakeet was looking for something to scrounge up for dinner Monday night. She took a box of Campbell’s Squash Soup out of the pantry.  The ‘best if used by’ date stamped on the top was February 7th
The Keet moved into this apt in May 0f 2008.
She moved an expired box of soup.
In an unrelated story, she has also given up on the ‘Clean up your Messy House’ pledge.


Chicago had a few freaky warm days last week.  The Parakeet took Little O to the park when it was closing in on sixty degrees.  He rode in a swing for the first time.  Ladies and Gentlemen, he could have cared less.  But it was nice to enjoy the sun.  Usually, though, the temps are much colder and this is how Little O looks whenever the Parakeet decides she must get to Target or something else super important .