Tag Archives: Pictures

HUG

8 Jun

Whine: When I went get Brother Bear out of bed this morning, he sulked at me and shouted, “NO! Daddy do it.”

Cheese: I said, “Fine” and walked away knowing his Daddy was already gone for the day. Joke’s on you, Mr. Crabbypants.

 

<em>Hug</em> [Book]

Brother Bear has this book called ‘HUG’ by Jez Alborough.

On the third  page (are they still considered pages if they’re made of cardboard?), the little monkey Bobo is sad. I always stop at this point in the story and ask Brother Bear why Bobo is sad. And he always says, in a very sympathetic and soft voice, “He’s sad. He wants his Mommy.” (In fact, he says that in every story when a character is sad. It’s a universal problem, really.)

As Bobo continues to walk through the jungle he sees all the other animals hugging their Mommies and he gets sadder and sadder. Until he hears someone shouting his name from above. He looks up and sees (Spoiler Alert!) his Mommy. He shouts her name, runs to her and he gets a big hug.

The last page is my favorite, it shows Mommy and Bobo walking away holding hands. She says “Bobo” and he says “Mommy”. I always use the last page as an excuse to sneak a big hug.

Only this last time when we read it, it went a bit differently. When I asked Brother Bear to name the characters on the last page I pointed to the small monkey and Brother Bear said, “That’s Bobo” and then I pointed to the larger one and he said, “That’s Daddy.”

He said it with just the tiniest hint of rebellion. As if he knew he was rewriting a much larger script than the one glued to the backside of a cardboard book. I tried to argue with him, but he remained committed.

Things around here, they are a’changing.

Bye, Bye, Baby Boy

Now instead of snuggling we play cars. In fact, he’ll come find me and say, “Mommy! Play cars!” And I have no choice but to obediently follow him to his room so we can fill up all the cars with gas, then race them down the Fisher Price ramp and back up the green elevator with the bell. And while we play I listen to him chatter about all the cars and if I listen really hard he sometimes tells me things about what’s going on in his brain. Which is super cute, I just wish his brain could tell me why he smells so bad all the time.

Yesterday while we were playing cars, he toppled over and bonked his head. He immediately threw himself into my arms for about a half a second. Then he jumped back up and rubbed his head. I said, “Do you want Mommy to kiss it?” He shook his head no, rubbed the spot a little more and said, “All better.”

That sound you hear? That’s the sound of my heart breaking.

The shirt seems redundant at this point.

But a few minutes later when a teetering tower of blocks knocked me on the hand, I pulled it back and said “Ouch.” He reached over, grabbed my hand and gave it the most tender little kiss.

Gah. I think I’m going to need a hug.

 

*hug*

Advertisements

The Best Part

5 Jan

Whine: It’s a pretty bad feeling when, as you’re prepping for dinner and shooing a busy, fussy toddler out of your way and you suddenly realize that you may have neglected to feed certain busy, fussy toddlers any lunch.

Cheese: Do Costco samples and a churro count as lunch?

For me, the Worst Part of the day has always been the first five minutes. Always. I have a reputation in my family and in former workplaces as being something of a grump before 9am. Three kids and lots of long nights later, I am getting a little more morning resilient. I still snarl and roll over when little someones show up beside my bed before 7am, especially if they happen to be honking the bicycle horn my mother gave them for their birthday (can you tell I still haven’t forgiven her?) But in general, I manage to keep my torrential anger pent up long enough for me to get to the shower where I refuse to exit until I am feeling somewhat civil.

But then I head out to the kitchen and retrieve that shiny silver can with the big red letters. I pop the top and. . . sigh. The Best Part of my day.  I have said the words “I love you” to my can of Diet Coke. Out loud. More times than I can count.

I run the gauntlet of my day, dodging snotty noses trying to use my shoulders as a hankie. There are moments flying at me from all directions. The moment when I peel a screaming toddler off my shoulder and send him into the forced labor that is the Ducky Preschool Class. The moment when Big Sis informs me that my oven is a rectangular prism. The moment when I do the math and can’t figure out how $X(income)-$10X(expenses) = any grocery money. The moment when I lose my cool in an ugly way with a tender-hearted six-year-old over a few misplaced toys on the living room floor. The moment when Lil’ Sis gets dressed all by herself and comes out with her shoes on the wrong feet again, toes sticking the wrong way in their Cindy Lou Who socks and sandals. Trashing the kitchen as I make a meal, two-thirds of which I will most likely send right down the garbage disposal after disapproving glares, stuck-out tongues and the customary two-bite peace treaty.

My actual job, I have figured out, besides surviving each and every day, is to sort through all the moments. Acknowledge the Worst Parts by cleaning them up, or facilitating apologies or apologizing myself. And it’s tempting to get stuck and stop there. Or to frantically try and grab all the Best Parts by scrambling for the camera or holding my breath so I don’t accidentally blow them away, hoping that if I hang on hard enough I can make the Worst Parts go away. But what I really want to do is live in All the Parts and then just say thank you.

 

Thank you.

I’ve Got the Joy

15 Sep

Whine: I have been very successful in getting myself to bed earlier in the last few weeks. Unfortunately this is not the same as going to sleep earlier. Not at all. Lying in bed awake for hours at a time does not quite give you the same restful feeling as it would if you could actually convince your brain to go to shut the heck up and go to sleep.

Cheese: I am a lot better rested than I was six years ago today, as I had been up for two straight days trying to convince Big Sis that she really did want to enter the world and not stay in utero forever.

I remember waddling into the tiny, cramped room with Mr. Dad at my side. I remember oofing myself up onto the naugahyde exam table. I remember the cold feeling as the sonogram tech prepped my belly. I remember crying softly as she said, “It’s a girl.”

The first thing we did before we even finished the appointment was choose our firstborn’s middle name. It would be four more months and a melodramatic delivery room monologue (you’d be amazed how persuasive one can be mid-labor) before I we picked a first name. But from those first minutes of knowing we were having a daughter, we both knew one thing. We were filled with Joy.

And Joy she is and has been.

Kisses from an adoring Brother Bear.

Don’t get me wrong, she has her moments of unjoy. In fact, it’s her extreme happiness when things excite her (like a cardboard box or the number 10) that makes her extreme displeasure (having to stop what she’s doing to eat dinner or getting a pink balloon instead of a red one) so difficult to bear.

See what I mean?

She is also a tiny bit of a crazy person. I often come into the room and notice that she has hung necklaces from the ceiling fan. Or tied all the pull-toys in the nursery together to make a parade (those knots are a booger to undo). Or she tells me from behind the shower curtain as she takes a bath “Mommy, wait, I have a surprise for you.” then proceeds to drench me with bathwater and laugh maniacally while I scowl like a drowned cat. And as much at those moments as I might want to sigh violently and wonder when school starts, I love that crafty little brain of hers.

This pretty much sums her up. A dainty ironman ready to (gently) kick some butt.

School finally did start for her last week. My baby’s in kindergarten.

I wasn’t sure how this would all play out for me because Big Sis is doing a 3-day program at the same school she’s been going to for preschool. So in reality kindergarten is no different for us in location or schedule than it was last year.

But my first clue to my fragile emotional state was the night before the big day when I couldn’t get my First Day of Kindergarten sign printed which was all Mr. Dad’s fault, of course, (I mean, not technically, but still) and I wasn’t going to be able to appropriately capture her fist day and have it on film forever and I started sobbing hysterically and couldn’t stop. Then when  my sister-in-law swooped with my precious sign after a late-night trip to Kinkos and I could barely get the ‘Thank you’ out of my mouth before I was sobbing again, I knew we were in trouble.

Drop off the next day went fine. I managed to keep all the crazy inside and get my little sweetie shuffled into the waiting arms of her new teacher. I made it out of the building and headed to work. Where I did no work. Unless having a four-hour case of cry hiccups and sobbing your way through staff meeting counts as work. Which, since I work at a church, it kind of does.

This makes you cry, too, right?

Big Sis is rocking Kindergarten. She’s joined a soccer team because (her words) “I am really good at soccer.” She makes her own turkey sandwiches and (her words) “Saved Brother Bear’s life the other day.” She has started reading and writing–even sometimes on paper–and she can add and make patterns. I don’t know how, but we’ve seemed to fast forward  from the day (yesterday, right?) when we were teaching her that a cow says “moo”. But then again, it seems like she’s been a part of our life forever because I can’t really remember what it was like without her.

Sweetness

And we have our moments. Moments when one or both of us is frustrated that things did not go according to plan. Times when we both want to call the shots. But that’s mostly because, as Mr. Dad likes to point out as we’re locking horns over the correct way to frost a cupcake, she’s my little me (only smarter and way cuter).

She is my little light. Generous and kind, she runs to welcome her friends with a pair of open (sometimes suffocating) arms. She mother-hens her brother and younger cousins. She often shares her top bunk with Lil’ Sis as they giggle into bedtime. She reminds me to be content with what I have “Mom, don’t be jealous of Aunt A, it’s ok that she has a bigger bathtub”. She’s the one that has given me my dream job. And in a few years when we are locking horns over trigonometry homework or the appropriate length of a skirt (ankle, right?), I want to remember just how grateful I am for this joy she’s given me down in my heart.

We both look shockingly young, don't we?

 

Choose Your Own Adventure

5 Aug

Whine: I heard Lil’ Sis crying in the other room alongside Big Sis’ cajoling whispers. I discovered Lil’ zipped into a carry-on suitcase, head downward as Big Sis dragged her around the room.

Cheese: All we needed was a bigger suitcase.

Do you think I could get this "luggage" past security? PS Big Sis is IN the suitcase.

 

 

 

On our 11th anniversary, Mr. Dad and I decided to get fancy. We threw three kids and everything we owned into our minivan and started leg #1 of what would eventually be a 40-hour road trip. We exchanged a quick smooch on our way out the door, muttered a somewhat sarcastic “Happy Anniversary” then hunkered down for the start of our 2,500 mile “vacation.”

But just as we were about to leave, he handed me two small strips of paper. Homemade tickets for a getaway weekend in the near future. So last weekend we dropped our kids on Kiki’s doorstep and got the heck out of Dodge. We spent a day at Schlitterbahn because what’s more fun than hanging out with thousands of people in their swimming suits? We spent the remainder of the weekend eating our way through Austin, TX.

I could talk for days about our little trip. How Mr. Dad saved cash in the back of his top drawer for months to pay for it. How we waited in line for a water slide for almost three hours and didn’t really care that much because we liked the company (well, except for the nicotine addict in front of us who got a little jumpy around Hour 2). How weird it was to finish an actual sentence without being interrupted, jumped on, or distracted by my lovely but attention-starved progeny.

The theme of our weekend was adventure. We ate tacos from a street vendor. Drank milkshakes with a little kick. Rode an uphill waterslide. Went dancing on 4th St (6th St. was a little too undergraduate for us.) Walked through IKEA (which is WAY on the wild side for me). Wandered around the Texas Capitol. I wore my hair wavy, for crying out loud.

We look well-rested, don't we?

Something about those three days reminded me of the days that seem several lifetimes ago. The days when Mr. Dad and I were just a couple of kids hanging out at the movie theater doing goofy stuff and trying to dig popcorn out of our retainers. The days when my biggest concern revolved around my hair (back the days of perms and hotrollers.) Or the days we spent as newlyweds on roadtrips and dinners out and watching whatever we wanted on TV. And somewhere between the Hotel Starbucks and 4th Street, we rediscovered both our love for really good tacos and just hanging out.

By the time we got on the road home, I was through with adventure and chomping at the bit to get home to my babies. Who, for the record, seemed rather unimpressed and a little confused upon seeing me. Brother Bear looked at me as if he may have remembered me from a former life as he looked to his Kiki for reassurance. I wanted to shout “GOOD GRIEF, I WAS ONLY GONE THREE DAYS, HOW BAD IS YOUR SHORT-TERM MEMORY KID?” but he’s a baby and he can’t count anyway, so I didn’t. But then we bribed them into coming home with us with a stuffed platypus and a few Disney t-shirts.

And now we’re back to Real Life. Which I don’t mind too much, since my kids can make an adventure anytime, anyplace. (Do you hear that, Costco? We’re coming for you.)

Recovered, part II

5 May

Whine: It’s May 5th in Texas–Cinco de Mayo– so that means it’s FIESTA time. Unfortunately, Brother Bear misunderstood. He thinks today is Stinko de Mayo. (Rimshot, please.)

Cheese: I’ve already got my fajita meat marinating to throw on the grill, it’s a perfect 79 degrees and it’s Thursday. I love Tejas.

Since I promised pictures in my last post, I’m not going to waste a lot of time writing words, etc, since it will take every last ounce of my brain power to post pictures without doing something dumb and blowing up my computer.

The following pictures are brought to you by  CNET who reviewed the photo-rescue software and decided it wouldn’t eat my hard drive, and by the kind folks at Easeus who offered said not-hard-drive-eating software for free.

Hard at work.

I love this picture of Big Sis writing Valentines in footie pajamas. She was getting discouraged about halfway through, as handwriting is her nemesis. But once I reminded her of the smiling friends who’d receive these, she got excited and powered on through the rest. Her tender heart makes me ooze happy feelings.

I cannot stand the handsomeness.

Mr. Dad and Brother Bear got extra-gussied one Sunday (very unusual for them). There were some serious double-takes as they walked through church. But once people regained their power of speech, they mostly made a lot of doppleganger-type comments.

I'm astounded they didn't get Royal Wedding invites.

After having attended their fair share of Princess Parties, the girls now assume that every party requires elegance and panache of the highest order. They wore these outfits to a birthday party, then came home and shoveled some dirt.

The red-haired pigtails kill me.

I brought cookies to Lil Sis and her preschool class. She lit up like Aurora Borealis when she saw the Hello Kitty balloon. It’s good to know that the little things like showing up with a balloon and some lame grocery store cookies can still make her day.

"Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair. . ."

The cousins (Big Sis, Lil’ Sis, Aves and LizzyRabbit) at Lil’ Sis and Aves’ Rapunzel birthday party. The cake pictures I recovered were too damaged to use (sad face), so here’s one I managed to snap with my phone.

Rapunzel's Tower Cake

There was quite a lot of engineering involved with this cake. Basically, Mr. Dad drilled a giant hole into the base of the cake (and also my plate), then stuck a dowel rod through the middle. We stuck the tower (rice krispie treats and fondant) around the dowel rod. It worked pretty well until the rice krispie treats starting migrating south and left a solid 2″ of dowel rod showing. Mr. Dad tried unsuccessfully to refrain from saying “I told you so.” Mostly I think he was mad he didn’t get to use his circular saw and blowtorch on the thing.

I'll eat you up I love you so.

In case you don’t recognize it, this is a Max and Wild Things cake from Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. For some reason, the Max cake is one of my favorites of all time. I think it’s because it is one of the only cakes that when I finished I wouldn’t change a thing. There was a separate Wild Thing cake for Brother Bear to destroy, but it’s not worth posting until the After shot.

The After Shot

There are lots more pictures of this cuteness, including when cousin CharChar got in on the action and the inevitable bath that followed. If you really need more in-depth coverage of the event, you’ll have to wait until the album hits my Facebook page.

Ear Infection: 1, Aaron: 0

You might think this last picture would be after the cake extravaganza, but it’s not. Poor Brother Bear has bad baby ears and can’t seem to stop filling them with swamp water. When he cries a bunch and falls asleep on the floor, that’s my cue to go see the Dr.

Thanks for sticking around through the whole post, unless you skipped to the end. In which case I don’t blame you. I’m pretty glad we got our pictures back. And tune in next week, for the riveting third installment of the “Recovered” series. You won’t believe what I lost this time. (Unless you’ve already heard this story, and you probably have.)

Five for Friday

27 May

Whine: Constructing zebra cupcakes takes longer than one might think. I didn’t realize this until I was two hours in and only halfway done. At midnight. A 2 am bedtime makes for one sleepy mommy.

Cheese: Zebra cupcakes require black licorice. And since I’m the only one in the house who likes it, I don’t have to share the leftovers.

This new baby thing is finally catching up with me.

My house is hovering at a mess-level somewhere between ‘hovel’ and ‘Hurricane Rita.’ The other day I was in such a hurry that I ate peanut m&ms and a slice of bread for breakfast. Showering every single day seems like a waste of precious alone time.

And so my dear, sweet little blog has gotten shoved to the side along with that stack of overdue library books and unopened mail.

I miss my blog. It’s one of the few ways I’ve found to deal with the incredible weirdness that is my life. My brain feels cluttered by the stack of unwritten posts. Just because I don’t have time to write doesn’t mean they don’t have time to give me more “material.”

It’s late now and I’m nursing a serious overachiever hangover from making all those zebras, so for today’s post you will get five pictures of my most recent baking adventures.

Don't you love the little chocolate bees? I know I did.

Honeybee Pie: Big Sis and I made this together a few months ago. It’s a cookie tart crust with lemon chiffon filling with an apricot glaze. The beehive effect is achieved through. . .bubble wrap! And I was so obsessed with doing it just perfectly that I hand shaved the almonds to make the wings on those chocolate bees. (Recipe from The Pie and Pastry Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum, whom I adore.)

Fancy schmancy.

Apple Tarts: Apples filled with butter, cinnamon and sugar then covered in pastry and brushed with, you guessed it, butter cinnamon and sugar. Seems a little redundant, but I promise you, it’s not. I made these for our romantic Valentine’s Day dinner. (Recipe again courtesy of RLB’s Pie and Pastry Bible. I so want to be her when I grow up.)

E-I-E-I-O

Barnyard Cake: My lil’ sis and I made this for Lil’ Sis’ birthday. She liked it so much she kept singing “e-i-o moo moo dere.” My favorites are the little mini-cupcake chicks. (Recipe from Betty Crocker, design from Family Fun magazine.)

That's cake sushi on the top, which is my favorite kind.

Cherry Blossom Sushi Cake: This is a golden almond cake (also RLB’s recipe from The Cake Bible) with a rasberry buttercream between the layers and a vanilla buttercream on the top. And I hand piped all 40 of those cherry blossoms (and a few hundred more, actually), then ate the remaining icing. I designed it myself for my friend Ted’s sushi-inspired birthday soirée.

I stayed up until 2am for this? Totally worth it.

Zebra Cupcakes: I made these for Sophie’s last day of preschool. Her class this year was the Zebra class, so I thought it’d be fun. At midnight when I was only halfway done, Mr. Dad took pity on me and offered his zebra-making expertise. Now THAT is a good husband. (Cake made from a box, designed by me. Photo courtesy of my friend Tina.)

I hope this post didn’t make you as hungry for buttercream icing and black licorice as it did me because I’m not sharing.

Gratuitous

20 Apr

Whine: Four am is definitely not the time you want your kids to figure out that they outnumber you. Last night Mr. Dad and I had to switch from the man-to-man defense we’ve used up until now and implement the zone.

Cheese: (cue music) The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup. . .

gra·tu·itous  \grə-ˈtü-ə-təs, -ˈtyü-\
1. not called for by the circumstances : unwarranted

Cuteness

Serious Cuteness

More Cuteness

It's almost too much, the cuteness.

Gratuitous.

Sorry for the short post, but I figured with pictues this ridiculously cute y’all would just pretend to read the words anyway, so I figured I’d save us all some time and leave the pictures as is.