Monday, December 29, 2008

Hot Chocolate

Captain BrownBeard, fierce pirate of the Cocoa Seas.



And then apparently he wiped half of it on my living room furniture.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Off-Season Humor

"What happened to my treats that I trickered?" ---Connor, upon discovering his empty Halloween bucket in a closet.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mia's First Haircut

I just couldn't take the mullet a day longer.


BEFORE:



MID-TRIM:



THE STUNNING RESULTS:


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Nibble, Nibble Little Mouse...

"...Who's been nibbling at my house?" demanded the wicked witch.

Guess that's me.

Connor and Mia and I spent about an hour assembling a very elaborate gingerbread house night before last, as a "Welcome Home Daddy" offering (Daddy had been freezing his sugarplums off in Minneapolis, on business). "This is a centerpiece, Connor. We're not going to eat this, are we?"
"Nooo," he replied gravely.
"We want Daddy to see our beautiful work, right?"
"Right, Mommy."
Then I put him to bed.

The house was delightfully silent, not a creature was stirring. So I ventured down to the basement for my nightly email perusal and general goofing off online. I was down there maybe an hour.

I climbed the stairs and rounded the corner to the kitchen, where I beheld a suspicious sight. Someone had pulled out a chair, climbed into it, and dragged the lazy susan, complete with irresistible centerpiece, into arms' reach. They'd then bitten the roof to swiss cheese, and tried to reposition the evidence, albeit upside-down and backward. My gaze shifted to the doorway between kitchen and living room, where a trembling three-year-old stood, the remnants of gingerbread house carnage still lingering at the corner of his mouth.

I said nothing.

He said nothing, then promptly burst into tears.

I'll admit I was a little irritated, but I didn't fail to recognize the humor in the situation. That house must have looked to him like a giant bottle of Scotch to an alcoholic. He has the most ravenous sweet tooth of any kid I know. He probably held out as long as he could, poor guy.



We're keeping the gimpy gingy house on the table. I've promised Connor he can devour it from foundation to roof peak if he'll just wait a few more days and let us enjoy it. I know he's biding his time. This is one of those tales I'll surely tell for Christmases to come. What an adorable memory.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Photos, Second Attempt


Well, not officially. I just thought Mia looked cute in her little red riding hood. And this may be the single photo I've achieved of her smiling since her birthday pictures.

And just for funzies, here's a picture of Connor, Christmas 2005:



Hee hee!! Could you just eat 'em like little gingerbread cookies? No? Just me? Ok, sorry.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Photos, First Attempt



These were taken at our church. I popped the kids in front of a stained-glass window in our sanctuary and snapped a few test shots. The lighting was pretty awful, but a couple came out fairly nice. I'd really like to get them in their full Christmas splendor, head-to-toe (especially since my aunt was gracious enough to get them these gorgeous holiday outfits!), so I'm going to make another attempt in a different locale.



Anyone who's got tips on how to get BOTH my kids to look at the camera and smile simultaneously...fire away. I throw myself at your mercy and beg your tutelage.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Smart girl

Connor's preschool was decorated for Christmas this morning. The children were fascinated. We took a moment to gaze at all the twinkly lights before I dropped Connor off in his classroom. As Mia and I were headed back to the car, we approached the exit door to the church, adorned with a large wreath. Mia's little hand flew out and she pointed enthusiastically. "Circle!" she said. I hadn't cued her.

I'm reminded of a certain tiny boy a couple years ago, who pointed from his little car seat at the "yield" sign on the street and exclaimed "Eye angle!" He was sixteen months when he did that. Just like Mia.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

With my newly reclaimed spare time...

I have been indulging in some creative pursuits. I didn't properly document the colors/styles of paper and accessories I used to create these, but I wanted to share them anyway. Just 'cause I'm proud. Wasn't it yesterday they were both this small? Oh, my heart. I should mention this kind of pastime tends to send me into throes of nostalgia, and it does nothing to distract me from the "belly envy" I'm experiencing due to the recent impregnation of half the women I know. Thanks a lot, girls. I'm going to sit in my son's room now and stare at him until I remember that I haven't had a full night's sleep in three and a half years. That ought to nip it in the bud.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Catching up

It occurred to me that I haven't blogged in about a quarter century. My head is in a fog. Where has the time gone? Is this November? Where are we?


Halloween. The kids had a blast, although we did not attempt a door-to-door after our flop experience last year (Nutshell? Our neighborhood is full of crabby old patoots). We attended no fewer than three carnivals, each replete with candy and inflatables. Connor went as Super Why and Mia was a rosebud . Those costumes got a workout. I gave Connor full license to choose what image would be carved into his pumpkin. He chose "Wallace and Gromit." An obscure subject at best, just like his choice of costume. He did not care that nobody knew what he was supposed to be and everyone thought he was a ninja turtle. This is why I love him.




The Saturday following Halloween, a dear friend of mine drove all the way up from Birmingham, AL to take family portraits of us. She did a STUNNING job. I'll be posting more of those photos in the weeks to come. If you like what you see, book her online: http://www.bonneviephotography.com/ Check us out in her portfolio section! We're famous!





This weekend I actually did something nice for myself. Thanks to a stockpile of gift cards I've been holding onto since my birthday, I was able to replace my nursing bras with real, honest-to-goodness, industrial over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders. No hooks in the front, no flaps, no stretched-out elastic and frayed edges. Nope. Real bras. Nice ones. You'll recall I quit nursing when Mia turned one. Back in July. It pains me to reveal this information, since you'll now be able to calculate how long I've been wearing kaput lingerie. Let me just say that thanks to a professional fitting and some new foundation-wear, I look and feel about five pounds thinner (add that to the 11 lbs I've lost since beginning my quest to drop 30! A bit more to go but I love seeing results!). Rock on. I highly recommend a bra splurge if you haven't recently.

Anyway, the kids were impressed with my purchase.


I also achieved something MAJOR last night. At least in my own estimation. I've been working on a set of illustrations for an aspiring author in Florida for over a year now. You'd think sixteen or so measly little color drawings wouldn't be that time-intensive. I may just be a poor steward of my time. Anyway, it's done. Complete. Finished. I can't believe it. Last night after the kids were safely in their beds, I settled onto my usual spot at the end of the couch, under the lamp where the light's the best, and fought every urge to reach for my pencils. I've been at this for a year! It's been a tucked-away dream of mine to illustrate for children since I was a child myself, though, and crafting these characters and these pages has been such a delight, such a soul-feeder for me, I'm determined to do more. My head is already swimming with ideas and my hand itches to create. I'm going to beef up my portfolio. Updates to come.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Beautiful Dreamers



The men in my little family seem to be cursed with a startling neurosis...they talk...nay...they become psychotic weirdos in their sleep.

I learned this truth early in my marriage, as I was awakened many a wee hour to the sight of my dear husband standing in the center of our bed, swatting furiously at the air. When pressed until he could complete a coherent sentence, Steve admitted he had been dreaming about giant spiders. This still occasionally happens.

One particular evening, I had this enlightening conversation with his subconscious:

STEVE: (waggling my arm and shoving me toward the edge of the bed) Will you just MOVE?
ME: Um, what is your problem?
STEVE: I'll tell you what my problem is. I don't know why this is so difficult for you to understand. Look. You have a potato. Okay?
ME: Okay. Wait--I have a...huh?
STEVE: You have a potato. You cut it in half. WHAT DO YOU GET????
ME: Well...
STEVE: TWO HALVES OF A POTATO!!! Now get out of the way!

I just never know. Connor has been known to order snacks from his bed at 3am ("Baloney and cheese!!") and on occasion, he has run into our room howling, claiming his sister is eating batteries or his dresser drawers are flying around in his room.

So this evening at ten till six, I awoke from peaceful slumber as I was being pummeled with elbows and arms. I believe it took me a full three minutes to gain my senses and realize I was not being murdered. Steve was having a nightmare that our daughter was in danger. I can hardly blame him for flailing. We'll give him that one.

The capper came this afternoon, when our darling son rose from his naptime, shuffled into the living room, and promptly urinated in the wastebasket beside the coffee table, as though he did that every day.

The beat goes on. Could I sleep at your house?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Smell that? It's accomplishment.



This week I have been seized with a desire to scrapbook like nobody's business. And since I've been putting off starting the kids' baby scrapbooks (good gravy, I'm swiftly approaching four years' worth of material to archive!), I figured now's as good a time as any.

Never mind the mountains of laundry beginning to compost in my utility room floor.

Never mind the two Halloween costumes that beg to be completed by this Friday's Harvest Party at Connor's preschool.

Never mind that we're expecting company this weekend and our house looks like someone held it upside down and shook it like a snow globe.

This is loads more fun. I already finished Connor's four-page Infant Baptism spread, and I'm starting on Mia's.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Harvest Hijinks

Connor: Mommy, what's "autumn" mean?

Mommy: It means "Fall."

Connor: Oh. Sometimes when I autumn I get real bad boo-boos.


On an un-related note, My husband's recent blog has me teary-eyed and sentimental. Did I need another reason to love that man?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Boys and the Red Barn

An outing at Heritage Park this fine fallish noontide, sunshine and scads of bees bouncing thru the grass...my rosy-cheeked son and his dearest chum...a weathered red barn fairly beckoning to be made a backdrop... Now, who do I have handy for subject matter?

Ah yes, the usual victims. These guys are so sick of me.






Any other takers?? This is Connor's dearest little pal, Keaton. Refreshingly cooperative in front of a lens. Perhaps it's because he hasn't spent enough time around obnoxious me.


Connor, are you sure you don't want in on this action?




Er...Can you give me a smile like Keaton?


A little frightening. Want to try again?
Right. Okie doke.



How about if I take a nice picture of you boys together? Would you like that? Yes? Let's try it.





You guys think you're funny, don't you?




Yep. Aw, the heck with it.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Am I Dead Yet?


Apparently, my life just wasn't scattered and frenzied enough. Apparently, I wasn't experiencing quite enough misery on a daily basis. Something had to change, and now. So I signed myself up (along with the whole family, because let's face it, Misery loves company...) for a membership at the YMCA. We are jumping in with both feet--at least I am--with yoga, water aerobics, and weekly use of the weight room/gym (see: "torture chamber"). I've got my whole week planned out, and I'm going to exercise three times a week. Yesterday was my first yoga class, and it was actually splendid. My instructor complimented me several times during class on my balance, and even asked me if I'd ever studied dance (here I believe she was resorting to shameless flattery in order to entice her only pupil under the age of sixty. I did take a dance class in college. Intro to Dance with Cornelius Carter, former member of Alvin Ailey. I'm certain the man did not realize he was leading an introductory level course. His lighter routines left this little white girl purple and gasping like a toad. I think he took special delight in those moments.). After yesterday's class, I laced up my sneakers, trotted out to retrieve the wee ones, who'd been blissfully playing in the kiddie care room (I get to drop them off for two hours at a time! Those Y suckers...), and gathered us into the van. This getting in shape business was going to suit me fine.

Meet me, if you will, in present day.

I feel exactly as though someone has taken a baseball bat to my innards. Honestly, it was all I could do to ease out of bed this morning. It hurts to cough, to laugh, to sit on the toilet. Ladies and gentlemen, I have staged a war on my fat cells and the fat cells are retaliating with outright ambush. A steady diet of Slim-Fast and ibuprofen since Sunday... and I've gained a pound. WHAT??????

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Dare you to keep a straight face.



The diaper box said "17-24 lbs." Dang cheapies don't hold half that.

Monday, September 8, 2008

LOGOPHILE.

What's the word for a word-lover? My son's a textbook case.
Did she say book? Where??



"Mommy, know what? There's two trips."
"Huh?"
"Two trips."
"Mmm, okay. What does that mean?"
"Go on a trip in the van or trip on the stairs. Right, Mommy?"

Yes, Son, and YOU, my Love, are a third blessed kind of trip! Will he retain any respect for his old mom when he realizes he's smarter than she is?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Her Baby Blues


They make my heart melt into a puddle of chocolate syrup. She uses those sparkly little sapphires to her full advantage. Hang onto your Huggies, boys.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Chatty Mimi


What a difference being bi-pedal will make in a person.

The Small One seems to have developed, along with newfound walking skill, an entire vocabulary overnight. Our little songbird's entire list of words consisted of "Dada," "Mama," (only used when she wants something. Learning early, I guess...), "baby" and "Woof." In the span of about a week and a half, she's suddenly blossomed into a regular chatterbox, letting loose with all sorts of delightful expressions. Amongst her numerous new terms are "brother," "snack," "bath," "down" and "stuck." I took her to the store with me yesterday morning to get her some suitable walking footwear, and when I placed them on her feet, she smiled and said "socks!" I had no idea she even knew that word, since nobody's worn socks in our house since Spring.

Of course her favorite pastime continues to be following Brother around and doing whatever he does. Connor began learning his alphabet at around her age, using the foam letter shapes he played with in the tub. With his help (and mine), she can recognize two letters already. Maybe he will teach her to read in a couple years!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

SHE'S WALKING!!

We have a toddler! This evening at about bedtime, Miss Mimi decided it was time to let go of the wall. About ten minutes after these shaky first steps, she began patrolling the entire house, and climbing everything. Help! Hee hee.
video

Friday, August 22, 2008

From the over-disciplined to the yet un-disciplined


Connor's really enjoying preschool and so am I! Last week's Bible verse was "A soft answer turneth away wrath," which he and I both benefitted from memorizing. Ha! Mia STILL isn't willing to walk alone, but she and Connor have been getting along better recently (not perfectly, but I'll take what I can get). They play together a bit more these days, which is encouraging. Connor still has his contrary times, and that's when I know he needs his space. I know how it feels to have a younger sister always in your stuff. We're still dealing with power struggles with Connor, especially at mealtimes, but I'm trying some new approaches to see if we can settle things without raising our voices. If he refuses what's on the menu, he simply doesn't get a meal. Yesterday he was on a food strike all day until 8pm, when I finally threw out his dinner from the PREVIOUS night that I'd reheated about six times (it was getting petrified). He decided he'd eat meat loaf with the rest of us and ended up downing two plates. I'm not sure which of us won that battle. He's got a stubborn streak like nobody's business. We love him anyway.

In other news, I received a text message from my sister last night saying she'd been robbed at work. Nobody was hurt and the assailant wasn't armed that we know of, but as soon as she opened the cash register to ring up his waffle purchase, he leapt the counter, shoved her backward, jammed his hands in the till and made off with about $200. Becky called 911 from her cell phone. She and the thief were the only ones in the dining room; the cook was out back emptying garbage. He tried chasing the guy down but he got away. When I finally got her on the phone last night we both cried. I'm just glad she's ok. Doubtful they'll catch the guy, but I have to think he must have been pretty desperate to knock over a Waffle House.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hooray for preschool!



We had a bit of a bumpy beginning, I'll admit. I cringed this morning as I backed awkwardly out of Connor's brand new classroom, deflecting grabby little hands that clung to my pant leg and clawed at the door frame...I attempted to level my blood pressure despite howls of protest as I made my exit...Would it be like this all year? Good glory.

Well, the tides had changed by the time I came back to pick him up. He was positively radiant. He loves his teacher, his class, everything. Impressed everyone with his writing and math skills. Didn't act like a demon. I was relieved. At home he drew me a self-portrait. Most impressive. I think it's going to be a good year.




Happy Anniversary, Babe.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Nine tenths of a century...

My Poppie's ninetieth birthday is coming up in a month. He is so dear to our family, and we all have such fond memories of growing up with him in our lives. He's such an unforgettable individual. I feel especially blessed to be able to watch my children, his great-grandchildren, developing a warm relationship with Poppie that reminds me of my own tender years with him. My project for him has been an 8x8 memory book, complete with sentiments from every generation descending from him. I completed the first two pages tonight, one for each of my children:




Thursday, July 31, 2008

She's at it again.

I'm a sucker for natural light. Our living room pours delicious rays in the morning hours. Couple that with our nice chocolate walls in there, and you've got the makings for lovely photos. After several minutes of pleading and dancing, I even succeeded in coaxing Connor, my shrinking violet, from his lens-phobic shell. Mia needed no encouragement.


Friday, July 11, 2008

Take a Letter, Please

We are now learning to write in our household!

...Steve's a little behind the rest of us, but he's practicing a lot. He's hoping to master his own name by the end of the month...

One of the most miraculous and worthy investments in our playroom appears to be the revered Aqua Doodle. Connor can't get enough. It was a Christmas gift from his Uncle Jason, and on it he has drawn his first recognizable face, complete with ears and hair, and now his fledgling attempts at letters. Last night he'd write a letter and then get up and do a celebratory dance. Soon he was scrawling out simple words all by himself, like "papa," "Mia" and "poop" (Thanks a lot, Daddy, for that last one. They're going to love my kid in preschool next month).

I raided the dollar bins at Target this morning and found Connor some Disney workbooks for practicing writing. Here's his very first solo attempt at his name in pencil:



And just so Princess Mimi doesn't feel left out after Brother's been the subject of three consecutive blogs, here's a peek at her big day. Click on the mosaic to enlarge:

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Well, buckle my swash.

"Arrr! I'm a pirate! I'm gonna warrrter the garrrrden!" ---Connor, while playing outside with his toy sword and watering can.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Don't make me come back there.

Ever had a kid frustrate you so much you just want to scream? We're going thru a bit of a "defiance" stage with the young man presently. I believe the last time his father spanked him, he smiled and declared "I didn't even cry!" Rarrgh.

Connor's favorite store is Lowe's. He can usually convince his daddy to take him there at least once weekly, with the sole aspiration to try out every riding mower they have in stock. Their last visit was cut rather abruptly short, however, when Connor, who had already been dragged bodily from his lengthy test-drive session, and who had also been picking his nose conspicuously from his place in the shopping cart, stood and frantically shouted, "I lost my booger!" over and over. "Where's my booger?"

Our young man is a perpetual source of entertainment. Despite a harrowing week at Vacation Bible School ("Are you Connor's mommy? Well...your son is certainly...spirited!") and lots of time in his room at home for antagonizing his sister and smarting off to us (age three is turning out to be more "terrible" than two in lots of ways...sigh...), our boy always manages to redeem himself at the flip of a switch. I explain all the time that the world of little boys is new and fascinating for me, the oldest of two girls. When I was a child, even masculine playthings were unacceptable. The only mildly male toy I owned was a giant stuffed lion with a mane, and I stubbornly immasculated the poor thing, clipping barrettes onto it and tying bracelets around its paws . Now my house is filled with water pistols, miniature lawn tools, tiny cars, and wee superheroes. I used to entertain myself quietly for hours, building apartment dwellings for my Barbies. Connor is not content to play any game that does not involve a slobbery motor noise (he's even taught Mia to do it. I fear I may have to tolerate some tomboy tendencies eventually.). Every piece of furniture we own has already become a launch point. The other day I strode innocently into the kids' playroom to find that my son had pushed a dining chair up to the toy shelf, balanced a small folding chair above that, and was standing on top, straining to reach something I thought I'd cleverly placed out of his reach. I stifled a scream because I knew if I startled him, we'd be driving to the E.R. next. Someone once told me when I was pregnant with him that I should go ahead and nail all the furniture to the floor. I remember laughing then. I'm immersed in a world of grubby fingernails and bruised elbows and knees, of sweaty feet and ketchup-smeared cheeks. He is clumsy, irreverent, stubborn, loud, and sloppy. But he's wonderful. I adore the little made-up tunes he sings, often while trying to stand on his head ("I'm the very first Connorrrr...in thuh worrrllllld!"), and the impulsive way he flings himself into my lap for a snuggle. I love the little dusting of freckles that has appeared across his nose this summer. I love the way he dares me to tickle him. I love that he still lets me rock him sometimes. I love that he brings me bedraggled clover blossoms. I watch him sleeping, nearly buried in a mountain of stuffed friends he insisted on piling around him, one leg dangling off the side of the bed, a tiny puddle of drool collecting on his pillow, and I KNOW I will look back on this time and MISS it. I'm going to do my best to remember that.