Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas from our village

to yours. Wouldn't life be simpler if we all had marshmallow Peeps snowmen outside and a graham cracker paddleboat to get around?

Need a new roof? Get out the Jujubes. New fence? Grab the marshmallows.

Not quite the Sheraton gingerbread display, but they're ours and they had fun creating them.
View from the top

Bitty Girl's gingerbread yard decor

They're both such sugar hounds I don't know how they manage to get anything actually glued down. Next year my goal is to start on cardboard so I can actually move them or put them together. Somehow the blue polka dot plates just don't scream "Merry Christmas!"

We're all shopped, mostly wrapped, and ready for Christmas. After a big day of standing in multiple lines with the World's Greatest Daddy, the kids have checked Santa pictures, visiting the gingerbread houses at the Sheraton and riding the holiday carousel off their lists.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Seven years ago today, I was lying in a hospital bed, water broken but still on bedrest, waiting and waiting, and having no real idea that in just a few short hours, I would meet the most amazing creature who would change my life forever.

I’m having a hard time accepting seven. I read back on my “Happy 6th birthday” post, and evidently I have an annual “hard time accepting the birthday” thing. Although reading the Happy 5th Birthday post showed me we've beaten the Dec 12 curse! But he’s so BIG this year, and doing so many big things. The last year has included: Finishing kindergarten and learning to read, finally losing two teeth this summer, riding a bike without training wheels, really mastering swimming, playing a second year of t-ball and soccer, starting 1st grade and taking taekwondo. He’s taking it all in stride, and while he still doesn’t roll smoothly into new things, it’s definitely getting better.

Starting first grade was so much easier than kindergarten, after the initial transition of a new teacher and not having all his friends in his class. He knew where to go and what the school routine was like, what recess and lunch were like, the office staff (and yes, he’s visited them a few times this year already!). And he can read—oh, can he read! It just clicked at the end of the school year and now he’s reading everything. Street signs (a la NuNu), the sports page, the directions on his homework which he then does independently, Audrey’s books, my email and Facebook (eek!). He reads silently to himself sometimes, and I just stare at him in amazement! He loves math too, and while he’s still far too busy to sit down and write much, the fine motor part of writing is much easier now.

Maybe it’s just me. Maybe it’s that he’s rocketing past me and away from me in so many ways, and that’s the part that’s hard. He tells me “no kisses” when I take him to school, and seriously rolled his eyes at me one day when he saw me peeking in his classroom window. I’m sure his thought bubble said, “OMG my mom is so weird. Look at her out there looking at me. Go away, mom!”

The other day I said something sappy like, “Do you know what I was doing seven years ago today?” and he actually let me start telling him the story of being on bedrest and my water breaking and going into the hospital. Then in the middle of the story, he interrupted me to ask if I knew the score of the Philadelphia game. Hmmmph.

Example #1 of ways he’s way past me: Sports. The boy is turning into a sports mini-encyclopedia, just like his daddy. He is constantly spouting off stats, wanting to know which team is ranked in which place in the top 25, who won the game, who’s the best player, who’s the worst team in each league, and he knows the players’ names and numbers. And while he’s still a fair-weather fan who likes to root for the team with a winning season, I feel a deep love of the Huskies coming on, just like his daddy.
Example #2: Taekwondo. We started a class at the YMCA, and he loves it. I was overwhelmed just watching, but he’s clicked with it and really learned the moves. Up until this point, I could follow along with his soccer and baseball, but now, he’s beyond me. It’s a different world, with “yes ma’am” and “no sir” to the instructors, although we could use a little more yes ma’am at home, that’s for sure. But it’s something about the white uniform and the serious concentration and the way he has just learned by watching (the “fake it ‘til you make it” instruction is given a lot in class) and not by ME SHOWING HIM. Pat has gone with him to class a lot, and helped him with some of the moves, but really, he’s just a student in a class learning from the instructor. And that’s such a big kid thing.

He is an amazing big brother. His little sister adores him, and with good reason. He plays along with her bossy little games, watches her preschool cartoons, and sometimes with a wink and a whisper from me, will let her think she’s winning. He is so proud to play the “big kid.” His class had a Thanksgiving feast, and he let her come sit in his lap while the class was watching a video—later he told me he was kind of embarrassed, but I saw how proud he was. Of course they wrestle and fight and tease, but they also snuggle and play and laugh. Lots of laughing around here—usually about poop or other bodily functions or something silly that involves throwing a ball inside way too hard.

Seven. He has so much ahead of him, and I’m so proud of the boy he’s becoming. I just can’t quite figure out how he got from there
and there

to here.

Happy Birthday, Big Seven.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Santa's little helper

My holiday gift to you.
If you haven't already decorated your tree, I could loan you a helper.
(Note: May need to borrow your ladder)

And you could knock off your holiday baking at the same time...
(Warning: she eats as much as she frosts)

Evidence that it's a long-standing issue: 2008 Christmas cookies

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Of course you are!

Bitty Girl is suddenly interested in letter sounds, mostly thanks to the Sound of the Week in preschool. This week was "C," so they were talking about cupcakes and construction and cats.

At dinner tonight she was making the hard "c" sound, saying "cat, cut, cookie, cracker..."

I said, "And what are you drinking from?" (Thinking she'd say CUP, of course.)

Bitty Girl: "A STRAW!"

And she was. But at least she didn't tell me that straw doesn't start with "c."

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The future of Dancing with the Stars

Impromptu dance party, requested by the dancing girl..

She's out on the deck, dancing to "I Feel the Earth Move" by Carole King. A family favorite of Daddy's when he was little, passed down to another generation!

I had to film through the kitchen window or she never would have danced that long - notice the look I get at the end. But I think the half-lidded eyes is just where I cut off the video.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Warning to all future Baryshnikovs

Today while Bitty Girl was admiring herself in the mirror or washing her hands or ripping out the ponytail I had so carefully put in, I came in to find her with spit drooling down her chin.

"No spitting," I said. "That's gross."

Bitty: "But I'm a ballerina, Mommy!"

Mommy (thinking I might be able to use this ballerina thing to my advantage):
"Oh, no. Ballerinas are graceful and polite. Ballerinas don't spit."

Bitty: "Well, this one does."

Thursday, September 3, 2009

More big than Bitty

(No, this is not his first day of school outfit. He starts next week)

Bitty Girl went to preschool today. Same classes where her brother went two years ago.

Actual conversation on Tuesday:

Brother: "I think Bitty Girl is going to be a little more nervous than I am this year because she's going to a new school and I'm just going into a new class."
Bitty Girl: "I'm not nervous!" (scampers away giggling)

And she really wasn't. Just tired. Good thing she doesn't go again until Tuesday.

Lots of kids, mostly boys, crying. She went right for the ponies and didn't give me a second look.

The "Special Dinner for the Night Before School Starts," Part I
(Part II comes Monday for her brother)

She requested the flowers on the table, eating in the dining room, macaroni & cheese, soft carrots with brown sugar sauce, strawberries, and chocolate cake with pink frosting and lots of writing on it.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Time for zucchini hospice. We seem to be losing the battle to powdery mildew as the zucchini season winds down.

I googled some info and have sprayed a milk/water solution on it, but it doesn't seem to be working. We tried to trim some of the big leaves to get it more light, and then trim off some of the dead leaves, but it's just not looking good.
Chalk it up to a new gardener who will catch it faster next year, I guess. Anyone w/suggestions, let me know...

Audrey Junior, we have enjoyed all your zucchini this summer. You were such a surprise to us - we had no idea you would grow so fast or so big.

Just a few short weeks ago, you looked like this:

And now, I can barely even look at what you've become. We're sorry we weren't able to take better care of you at the end. We'll do better next time.

On a more positive gardening note, our tomatoes are still growing like crazy.
We had aphids nearby and I used some organic Neem oil spray that seemed to work.

Please join us in bidding farewell to Audrey Jr. the zucchini .
We hope she'll make great compost, even with the mildew issue.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Somehow Seaside Survived

Danger Girl, out for a spin on the Promenade at Seaside.
Many unsuspecting vacationers thought they were just out for a stroll on a cloudy August morning.

(cue foreboding music...)

Little did they know they barely escaped being mowed down by a pink Princess Huffy with rainbow streamers. At least the training wheels rattle so you can hear her coming!

Did you catch the absolute GLEE in her eyes as she sped up (doing her "magic trick") and whizzed past us? You might have missed it because of her extreme speed. Yes, we really had to run to catch up.

We are in trouble. Very soon. Capital T.

And on the Danger flip side... The Boy, perfecting his tricks. Guaranteed to make his mother's, grandmother's, and great-grandmother's heart skip a beat.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Like sands through the hourglass

Who are these big kids and what have they done with my babies?

Bitty Girl got a haircut and suddenly she's not so bitty.

(and who looks just a wee bit like her big brother?)
The Boy lost his first tooth

and then his second one a week later!

The Tooth Fairy is tired, and Mama isn't quite sure how we got here so fast.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Let's get something straight.

Straight out of Bitty Girl's mouth tonight:

SCENE: Throwing a ball in the backyard with Daddy. Bitty Girl throws ball to Daddy. Daddy throws it back, but the ball rolls under the pine tree. Daddy retrieves the ball.

Bitty Girl: Daddy, come sit down over here by me. We need to have a discussion. (motions for him to come sit on the deck with her) You need to know that on our team, we don't throw the ball under the tree. Got it?

He got it.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

We are thankful

that she came fully assembled. Bossy, but assembled.

In a desperate attempt at organization, we have been busy with some RTA furniture. I'm actually fairly impressed with these ClosetMaid cubes so far. The main reason I'm impressed is probably because I was able to put them together myself, which is a miracle in itself. Pat is usually the furniture man around here, but this week it's Mama and the Drama King and Queen.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Not to be outdone on the bike riding

A few days ago, she couldn't even turn the pedals herself.

She's a true Boss, even when riding her bike

and after a few turns, she refused all offers of help!

Way to go, Bitty Girl!!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Bitty Girl has always called her cousin Grady instead of Brady. The Boy had a preschool friend named Grady, and she just can't get past it.

We've practiced, she's heard it a million times, and she CAN pronounce the "br" sound (see video), but now I think it's become a joke to her. She usually calls him BrrrrrGRADY!

He just celebrated his first birthday, so let's hope she gets it right before he cares.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Snap! go the apron strings

Tonight I’m snuggling w/The Boy before bed, and it’s hot, so I’m wearing a tank top. His arm must have brushed against my underarm, because suddenly, he says, “What was that?”

I inspected, and it’s not that bad – I think I just didn’t shave this morning. I explain that it’s where I need to shave under my arms and he looks completely astonished.
“You have hair under there?”
I am slightly baffled as to why this is shocking to him, do the “we are mammals” talk, and We talked about Daddy’s whiskers and how he’ll have them on his face someday.

I told him how if I didn’t shave, it would look like Daddy’s armpits.
I wish I had a picture of his face—completely repulsed and slightly heartbroken. It’s not like he has trouble finding fault w/me, but I think it goes against the Mommy smooth skin for cuddling thing.

His exact words, “That is totally disgusting.”

Then when I went back in there a little later, he said, “Mom, next time you come in my bed, could you wear a shirt? That was gross.”

I complain all the time about how he’s too attached to me, so maybe I should throw away my razor.

But I was a little sad to see him think I was totally disgusting.

Wait until holding his hand or kissing him goodbye falls in that same category.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Multi-Faceted Man and his secret sidekick

It's a new superhero...

He can be serious and scary... especially when he's graduated to doing tight figure-8s on the backyard court.
(notice the Steelers outfit, Auntie Em and Uncle Brian?)

post-Sounders soccer game

And then his lighter side..

posing for the photographers

entertaining his adoring public with jokes at the Willows

Not to be outdone...
Super Secret Diva Girl - no photos please...

Otherwise they all look like this.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Milestone #2: CHECK!

Here's what The Boy crossed off the list today.

Don't mind the fact that this shot down our street, complete with VW Bus and unweeded house, looks like we live in Trashville. The other direction really does look nicer.

Dad got quite a workout as well. And because The Boy gets his dogged determination from his father, he rode this morning, this afternoon, and this evening.

I won't be surprised if he's poppin wheelies and riding one-handed by Monday.

Friday, June 19, 2009

More like the beginning

I witnessed something amazing tonight. When you wait for something for a long time and it happens gradually, right under your nose, sometimes you don't expect to be hit smack in the face with the wonder of it.

After a busy day, with The Boy's last day of--gulp--kindergarten, an early morning run to Fred Meyer for emergency rubber chickens for Pat's Field Day, coffee/cocoa with Bitty Girl, end-of-school lunch at McDonald's (I know, don't judge me, it's what he chose), and the afternoon at Field Day, I did not have high hopes for the evening. Pat was gone at his staff party, and somehow I managed to get dinner on the table and The Boy showered.

The promise of stories in Mommy's bed found them both under the covers with their book choices. I wish I had a picture - it was beautiful.
The Boy picked up a book from my nightstand and... (wait for it)

started to read it out loud. It was Little Oink, a gift from Auntie Emmy, and he's heard it a few times before. And I knew he could read. He's been reading for months, in bits and pieces, various words on the page or little beginning reader books from his book bag at school.

But as I stood across the room watching him, so confidently reading the words, stopping only occasionally to spell one for me to help him, I could see it happening, the neurons and synapses firing with connections. He didn't give up like he often does, and this book has words like "savored" and "relished". His eyes lit up when he started to spell "because" and then realized he knew it!


I have so many fantastic memories of reading and stories and being curled up with a book. And while this enthusiastic bundle of boy has so many of my characteristics, I often find myself "not getting him." So watching him read a book with delight filled me with joy and familiarity and such a grown-up sense of connection.

Way to go, my boy. You have so much ahead of you, and we are excited to be along for the ride.
And while it may be more "Captain Underpants" and Batman comic books than Little House on the Prairie or Boxcar Children, the light in your eyes is something I understand.

Except when you're laughing at the poop jokes. That part, only your father understands. Thank goodness you have each other.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I just made...

The last school lunch of the year.
And just like every other lunch, we have one turkey & cheese sandwich, crusts cut off, half a kiwi, thermos of milk (usually chocolate), a fruit leather, a strawberry yogurt tube, and rice crackers. What can I say, the kid likes to know what to expect. His dad takes the same lunch every day too.
And don't forget the note on the napkin, although I have been instructed NOT to write "I love you" anymore. Too mushy.
Every time I read those little "How to spice up your child's lunchbox" articles, I let out a snort that is part envy, part wonder. Do kids really eat pita chips and hummus, raw pepper slices, quesadillas, or SOUP for school lunch??
We'll just enjoy our summer of turkey sandwiches at home. At least I don't have to make them the night before.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Now that's old

While in the car today, we passed a cemetery. Out the window, The Boy saw an elderly man walking across the grass with flowers in his hand. We discussed how he was probably going to put flowers on someone's grave, maybe his wife's or friend's.

The Boy says, "Or maybe his mom. Or his grandma, or his great-grandma, or his great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great...

At this point I get sort of irritated and say, "That's enough greats, I get it."

And he says, "Just a minute, I'm almost back to Jesus."

I lost count, but he was probably fairly close. It was a lot of greats. And he's funny.

The final stretch

Today The Boy celebrates the end of kindergarten. Friday is the official last day of school, but today is the ceremony.

He decided to start the party a day early by calling a 2nd grader a jackass on the bus yesterday. Because another friend told him he wouldn't be his friend UNLESS he called the bigger kid a jackass. Lovely. He lost Pokemon card privileges for the week and got a nice dose of "If someone tells you to do something you know is wrong..." but I promise I didn't ask him if his friend jumped off a bridge, would he follow?

But back to my nostalgia. The end of kindergarten. Excuse me while I get a tissue.

He has had an amazing year. He had a fantastic teacher, who in spite of being about to give birth any day, has managed to make it through the year. She is kind and understanding and puts up with an energetic class that includes many livewire boys.

This year the Boy learned to read, to write, tons of math concepts like addition, subtraction, partners of 10, teen numbers, all about isopods (bugs like those roly poly bugs), sea life, riding the school bus, took two field trips, had recess with big kids, played on a soccer team, played an entire t-ball season without breaking his arm, and learned how to appropriately use "asshole" and "jackass" in a sentence.

He made new friends, STILL hasn't lost a tooth, learned all about Bakugan and Pokemon and how everyone has been to Disneyland except for him. Oh, he learned how to say something "sucks," too. As in "You suck because everyone else in my class has been to Disneyland but me."

In September, writing was an excruciating task that he would speed through as quickly as possible. Now, if he's motivated and interested in the subject, he'll write a 10 page book. And by motivated, I mean that NuNu offered to pay him 50 cents a story.

We're ready for summer, but not before we celebrate an amazing year of milestones.

Congratulations to our boy. We are so, so proud of you. But we could do without the curse words.
Pictures from the "graduation" ceremony...
They read out loud their pictures of "What I liked best about kindergarten." Almost every kid said P.E. the field trip to the beach that was 2 weeks ago, or making gingerbread houses. You gotta love kindergarteners. I'm sure his teacher is wondering why she bothered with all that useless math and reading, or even being nice to them.
Thanks to Grandma and Papa for coming!

reluctantly posing with his annoying mom

Showing Grandma his memory book

And from the trip to Baskin Robbins later - waffle cone double scoop!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Meet my new best friend

As I get older, it's the little things that mean a lot.
Like not having to fill up my damn watering can 18 times to water the garden-gone-wild.

Pat brought home this beauty after I complained every. single. day about how long it takes me to water, filling up our little watering can. See, we don't have the drip soaker hose thing figured out yet with the garden beds and the hose spray is too strong even on the shower setting for my delicate carrots and lettuce.

Key information you are possibly missing: Pat built some raised beds, we planted some veggies and flowers and herbs, they are growing, and we may be eaten by a giant zucchini.

Behold, proof that I don't really have a brown thumb like I thought. Yet.
May 13 sprouts

May 22 progress

May 31

June 4 - a new MTV special - ZUCCHINI GONE WILD. We had to move it yesterday before it smothered the carrots. I've named it Audrey Jr, after this Audrey, but if it gets sassy, I'm tossing it in the compost. That's her on the right pre-transplant.

The aerial view of her new home. Wave to Audrey Jr. or she might eat you.

Bitty Girl's garden yesterday - lettuce, anyone?? And as soon as those nasturtiums bloom, we can eat those too.

Zucchini, uh, I mean Audrey Jr. happily growing in her new home. We had a close call when she looked all wilty Sunday morning, but a little water and she perked right up.
That's her new home that Pat built Thursday in 90 degree heat, let me add.

Husband of the year with a side of lettuce and zucchini??

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Very Bossy Birthday

I have a feeling that 3 will bring bossy to a whole new level.
This morning she woke us up saying, "I'm not a baby anymore. I'm a big girl. Wanna wrestle?"
We had a fun weekend, trying not to overdo the birthday business. Partly for the birthday girl, and partly for the older brother who really tried his best not to be jealous that someone else was getting all the presents.

There were treats, including Mommy's attempt at a "pastel petit fours" recipe. They were yummy, but somehow I have a feeling that Martha Stewart felt a cold chill run down her spine sometime around 2 pm Friday afternoon.

There were cousins, and she loved watching them argue about who got to sit next to her.
(notice the big brother face, and the look that she's giving him)

and grandparents (Nanny and Papa's turn is next weekend)

There were balloons
(again, note who volunteered to help her hold them but couldn't hide his true feelings)

And there was a Princess bike from Grandma and Papa.

Heaven help us all. Welcome to three. Nothing like a set of training wheels to inspire your big brother to master that two-wheeled business!

Today she had birthday lunch at Red Robin

was slightly overwhelmed with the birthday singing

had a dip in the pool at home this afternoon,

and wore herself out.

Happy Birthday, Madam Three!