Tuesday, January 31, 2012

These are my expectations

My Dear Darling Boys,

I would like to apologize for the harsh words we shared outside the Rosa's Mexican Cafe after lunch today. I was unclear regarding my expectations for your behavior during lunch. Given the distance a three-way simulnap/forced confinement provides, I now understand the confused look you gave me when I corrected your behavior in front of our friends. To prevent a similar situation from occurring in the future, I would like to outline my expectations for your behavior here.

1. When you are finished with your drink, you may put the cup on the table near your plate. Please do not attack it with your teeth, attempt to "break it's neck" by shaking it vigorously from side to side, and then spit the shreds of styrofoam out onto your plate.

2. Your straw is not a sword.

3. While honey is not a traditional condiment for a bean and cheese burrito, I am willing to look the other way if it means that you will eat your lunch quietly. I will not look the other way if you eat your honey-soaked beans by licking them off your tortilla or scooping them off with your fingers and rubbing them on your cheeks.

4. If for some reason your hands are covered with a sticky mass of honey and refried beans, and you would like to clean them up, you may use a napkin. I will be happy to provide one. In the absence of a napkin it is never acceptable to wipe your messy hands in your brother's hair.

5. Your straw is not a light saber.

6. If you become disinterested in the meal, you may sit quietly until everyone has finished. Pouring an entire 20 oz. glass of iced tea onto my plate will only get your high chair pushed sufficiently far from the table as to prevent you from further destroying my lunch.

7. The appropriate reaction to the, totally understandable, crushing disappointment of having to share an order of rice with another family member is not to throw all of the food wrappers onto the floor then pout for several minutes.

8. Use your fork.

9. Use your fork.


11. Food is for our tummies, not the floor.

12. Your straw is not a gun.

I hope this clears up any misunderstanding you may have felt. Again, I am sorry for being unclear. I look forward to dining with you again soon. At our house.

With fondness,

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Going Bananas

Ryan mentioned to me the other day that he'd drafted our 2012 family budget and asked if I'd mind taking a look. I didn't have time right then, but I did mention that I'd been struggling to make our grocery budget, which seemed like a very generous number to me, stretch through the whole month. I started a spreadsheet detailing what things cost and how much we were buying, mostly to see if I could resume buying chocolate chips and if I still had to substitute kidney beans for chicken breasts in my recipes, and I was shocked to learn that we were going through upwards of TEN POUNDS OF BANANAS EVERY WEEK.

That seemed wholly unreasonable, so I checked my math again. Sure enough, we were out of bananas, and we'd bought seven and a half pounds of them four days prior. SEVEN AND A HALF POUNDS.

So I put "Bananas: 40 lbs" in my spreadsheet. And then took a deep breath. Because if they continue to eat WES'S BODY WEIGHT in bananas every month, we are in for some large grocery bills.

Ryan went to the store that night for some odds and ends (which always includes bananas and milk, the other money pit in this house) and came home laden with almost eight pounds of bananas.


He walked into the door, chest puffed out, and declared "I'd like to see those freaks eat all of THESE in two days."

We had a good laugh. But guess what. That was two days ago. After breakfast, we had THREE BANANAS LEFT.

So I started watching more closely. And sure enough, when we came back from the playground Saturday afternoon, Charlie went in first. Before I could put down my purse and unbutton my coat, Charlie had helped himself to a banana, peeled it, eaten it in about three bites, and left the peel on the couch. Special. Then James had one after dinner because I felt like a one-year-old should probably have something in addition to just pizza for dinner. And this morning I awoke to the sound of noisy chewing at my bedside. Charlie and Wes were standing there in their jammies, looking to eat breakfast in bed. Charlie held the remainder of the bunch in his other hand, like he was carrying the rest of the six-pack over to the neighbor's to watch the game.

So tonight I bought eight and a half MORE POUNDS OF BANANAS at the store. Even at $0.48 a pound, this is getting out of hand. I might have to keep them up high where we currently store the medicine. I've never seen them go after Ibuprofen with such enthusiasm.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I'll just carry it with the monogram on the inside

I bought James some new curtains the other day and as a result of those clearance curtains I bought with a gift card, I now find myself in need of a new quilt to match them. Nothing fancy, just a navy blue quilt for his future big boy bed. And maybe some matching shams with a planet motif. My budget for this project is about $40, so I have been combing Craigslist and Ebay, with no luck. Today the kids were bored, so I suggested we go to Tuesday Morning, where not only could they be bored, but I could look for a new quilt at the same time.

I bribed them with a hot chocolate on the way home and we got out of the house so early that we got there thirty minutes before the store opened. I didn't want to wait, or get them their treat early, so I drove to the next block and pulled into the next best thing, the Goodwill/Salvation Army Shopping Center of Thrift. I do so love it there.

There were no quilts, but that left plenty of time for browsing and reminding the kids to look with their eyes as I touched every single thing that caught my eye. I threw a skirt into the basket, and a plastic bin for Legos, picked up and put back a stack of traffic cones that might have been fun for bike courses, and THEN, I found the PIECE DE RESISTANCE.


A HUGE L.L. Bean Boat and Tote IN MY SCHOOL COLORS. FOR $5.99!!! And it was practically brand new! It had some initials monogrammed on it, but it didn't bother me. IT WAS PERFECT! I bought it without a moment's hesitation.

I used it to buy groceries on the way home. I wondered about the person who would donate such a beautiful bag. I mean, I've been wanting one just like it for a couple of years, but haven't wanted to spend the $40, considering I have a perfectly serviceable (if not pretty, clean, or in good condition) pool bag already.

It was so awesome to carry in the whole load of groceries with one hand. Everything fit inside easily. I gazed at it lovingly as I stirred the butter into the kids' macaroni and cheese. I felt like one of those effortlessly stylish women we see in Maine, heading into the grocery store with their boat and tote over arm. Why would someone take something so wonderful to Goodwill, I wondered again.

And then I gave the monogram a second look.


Does that say...pus?

Oh dear. It all made sense. Someone must have ordered it online, just as I excited as I was to find it. They typed their initials in as they ordered their tasteful embroidered monogram, "PSV". A week later, the package arrived and they eagerly ripped it open and pulled their new bag out, turned it over and thought "PUS?!!!!!??"

I think that makes me love it even more.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Just a Virus

I think everyone is finally on the mend after the first big cold of the season swept through the house. We all got it, but I think this guy got hit the hardest.


He can't help but smile when he sees the camera, but don't let it fool you. He was miserable. Prolific drooling, a hacking cough, and fussiness with a capital EFF. OMG. I have a constant twinge in whatever it is that connects my arm to my shoulder from the neverending holding. I've stirred spaghetti sauce holding a baby, chopped broccoli holding a baby, folded laundry holding a baby, and gone to the bathroom with a whimpering ball of misery sitting on the bathroom floor. I don't mind too much, though, because this guy is a SNUGGLER. All he wants is to be held and then he buries his face in your shoulder. It makes him all the more pitiful.

He woke up at 5:30 this morning, screamed his way through breakfast, then fell asleep in the car on the way to church. This is good, because he hasn't been napping either and I was beginning to think he'd forgotten how. It's been really special hanging out with everyone for twelve straight hours every day this week too. Special, special bonding time. I think we were both happy for the break on Friday when I went to school, considering he spent the two hours in a dorm room surrounded by the entourage of college women he attracts whenever he goes to campus.

Anyway, when we picked him up from the nursery today after church this is what we found. They put him down after a diaper change and he rolled over and went to sleep. He stayed asleep all the way to the car, went back to sleep after getting buckled in, and slept for two hours at home.


Then he fussed and refused to eat all afternoon until his incredibly perceptive parents finally gave him a nip of Motrin and he turned in to MISTER! HAPPY! BABY! Until dinner when he imploded again. Ryan gave him a forty-five minute bath so we wouldn't have to put him to bed before six.

Apparently, it wore them both out. Judging by all the sleeping, he should be good as new tomorrow.


In other-kid news. I naively took everyone to see some military aircraft the other day in an outing that shall henceforth be known as "IS THAT A GUN? IS THAT HOW THEY SHOOT THE BAD GUYS? WHERE DO THE BAD GUYS LIVE? AND WHAT DO THEY DO WITH THE BAD GUYS ONCE THEY GET THEM?" And also, "The time we asked that uniformed soldier where the potty was."


Saturday, January 21, 2012


Yesterday, just seconds after James learned to walk with a walker, Charlie asked me to take his training wheels off. I told him we should wait for Papa. You know, so someone could stay home with Wes and James while I drove Charlie to the ER. It turned out to be a lot easier than that:

Too many milestones are happening!!! My shrieks of excitement were heard all over the neighborhood. He's so stinking cool.

He is so proud. And so am I.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


8:30-9:00 - Drive Charlie and Wes to preschool, drop them off, run frantically back to my car with James

9:00-9:45 - Drive to my school, schlep James, the diaper bag, my work bag, my purse, my coffee into my office.  Today I happened to park next to our department chair and he carried my coffee and diaper bag for me.  Wes walked behind us (home sick from school) carrying his backpack and his own hot chocolate.  He looked like a little, three-foot tall, student.

9:45 - Hand James off to Kate (babysitter, not her real name)

10:00-10:50 -  Teach my class

10:50 - 12:00 - Office Hours

12:00 - 1:30 - Eat lunch (takeout from dining hall!!), prepare lab stuff, make copies, work on other research projects, respond to emails

(1:00 My dad picks up Charlie and Wes at preschool, they hang around together, usually at a fast food restaurant that has good coffee and a playground, until 3:00, when they get dropped off at my house with the babysitter)

1:25 - Facilitate transfer of child(ren) between Kate and Kate (both our babysitters have the same name) so Kate I can go to class.  This might mean taking James to the beginning of class occasionally, I'm not sure how it will work out.

1:30 - Lab begins

2:30 (?) - Kate gives the kid(s) back to the other Kate, Kate takes them to my house

4:00 - My lab ends, clean up and take everything back downstairs

5:00 - Arrive at home, sling some food at the kids

5:45 - Ryan arrives, I leave with Charlie for children's choir

Any questions?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

With thanks to Ryan, who did everything else with the house and the kids and everything

I spent my whole weekend in this chair:


And yes, most of that time was spent in my jammies. What's your point?

Ryan took this picture when Wes, straight from a bath, figured the only way he was going to get some mama-time was to climb onto my shoulder like a parrot and help me work.

That was not my plan for the weekend, but Saturday afternoon I really hit my stride on this paper I had FORCED myself to work on. And I do mean FORCED. As in forced myself not to ctrl+dlt the whole stupid thing after the most recent round of questions from my coauthor. But it was going really, really well. I worked Saturday night until I found myself typing nonsense with my eyes closed. Embarrassingly, that happened a little after 11:00. I used to be able to push myself until two! And still get up in time for an eight o'clock class!

After a couple more hours this afternoon, and a couple more mugs and glasses on the teetering pile of nervous eating on my desk, I have two-ish chunks left to write up, and I honestly don't think they will be that hard, and then I'll have a draft ready. Considering the fact that I started this paper when Wes was an infant, it's about time.

If I can get this one off, that will only leave the NSF proposal (draft due the week before Spring Break) and the conference paper (April 25) and all the nonsense problems I've been having with that one. Then there's my class. And the lab. And and and. Should be no problem, right?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

And they're napping now so I should really go straighten up. Oh what's the point?

You guys. I was not prepared for the level of chaos a fifth person could unleash on this house. Sure, I was prepared for a third baby. A cute little passive thing that would sit in a swing or on a blanket. Sure, they're demanding and make a lot of noise, and you don't get much sleep at night when you have a newborn, but at least they stay in one place when you put them down. They don't get all King Kong on their brother's block/Lego/Magnatile creations, they don't eat dog food, and they don't crawl out the back door and into the yard while you're taking out the trash.

James has been mobile since this summer when he learned to roll. Then he learned to army crawl, but he still was only interested in looking out the front window and sucking on the remote control. A few months ago came honest-to-goodness crawling. And then he got FAST. In the last few weeks he's taken an interest in the Big Boy Toys and that is when the real trouble began.

Cooking dinner has become an Olympic event--if the decathalon required athletes to perform all ten sports at the same time, that is. Put the water on to boil, get James out of the dog food. Get the meat out of the fridge, take the food processor bowl away from the baby. Spend the next ten minutes trying to find the ground beef, find it sitting on top of the dryer where it was dumped hastily in a spastic rush to keep James from putting the food processor blade in his mouth. Notice the water boiling, open the pasta box, help Charlie fix his Lego house, move James back into the kitchen, attempt to engage his attention with the basket of plastic cups and bowls in the cabinet. Put pasta in water, hear splashing, nearly kill myself tripping over useless overturned baby-entertainment basket as I rush to get James's hands out of the toilet.

Level of inappropriate language the kids have heard in the last two months: HIGH.

Then he gets locked in his booster seat with a handful of Cheerios even though dinner is a good thirty minutes away and I feel guilty for not letting him "free range" like the books tell you you should do. I get the sense that those authors have ONE CHILD. Who is in college. And possibly a prescription anti-anxiety. By the time it's time to eat he is full of Cheerios and DONE with the booster seat. He usually lasts about fifteen minutes then goes to bed.

And where I used to fold a load of laundry or two while the big boys watched a show, I now spend the whole thirty minutes repeatedly getting James off the stairs and reopening the TV cabinet doors he so loves to close. You can imagine how dire the laundry situation has become.

The pinnacle of all this interruption and confusion occurred yesterday. I changed James, then went to shake his diaper out in the bathroom. As I came out of the bathroom I watched in slow motion as he stuck his little hand out the back door just as Wes ran out into the yard. I dropped the diaper and ran to save him from getting pinched. HOURS later, when the babysitter was here and I was about to start making dinner, he crawled around the far side of the kitchen table with something stuck to his hand. I sniffed the something. Uh huh. It was poop. I'd left he poop diaper on the floor all afternoon and he had been playing with it. I forgot to add the onion that time, the soup was a little bland.

If any of you comes to my house between now and June, when James turns 18 months and gets a little bit more sense, I hope you will forgive the mess. But do tell me if there is poop on the floor. That is below even my standards.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Moment of Triumph

He's been working on this since he was Wes's age. He only began hitting the backboard about six months ago. He keeps getting soccer balls stuck up high in the gym at school because he practices ALL the TIME (I know because he points them out to me when we go up to church for dinner. See that soccer ball up there stuck on top of that doorway? I did that!).

It all came together today.

I may have shown this to everyone I passed on the way to the car. I'm a little proud.

Update: He says "SIX POINTS!" at the end. I think it was the sixth basket he made that morning.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Children's Time Gone Wild

We made quite the impression at church today.  I should have known to pack it in and head for brunch when we went to get Wes after Sunday School and found him in the baby nursery, barefoot and wearing a backup pair of shorts.  Apparently he secretly drank a Route 44 in Sunday School and just couldn't hold it for the whole hour.  Happens to everyone, kid, don't worry about it.

But instead of cutting our losses and going out for pancakes, we pressed on, out into the courtyard in the fifty degree weather, with our son in shorts and no socks, into the sanctuary and up to the front row, where we sit because Charlie likes to watch the piano player.

A friend stopped me on the way to ask kindly "You sit up front, right?  How does that work?"

"Oh," I responded with great hubris, "They behave much better at the front because they can see what's going on!"  I smiled and headed to our seat.

The kids were wiggly, so I was relieved when it was time for them to go sit on the alter steps for the children's sermon.

As the congregation sang a hymn, the kids walked up to the front.  Wes walked up the steps to sit down.  And kept going.  And going.  And going.

People around us were giggling.  The woman leading the children's message was unsure how to react.

Wes kept walking.  Around the sacristy table, between a couple of microphones.

Finally the choir director, WHILE CONTINUING TO LEAD THE HYMN, patted him on the head and gently turned him in the right direction, back to the steps, where he settled in next to Charlie.

The leader asked the children "Have you ever been on a trip?"

Charlie piped up.  "We went to the Gulf of Mexico!"

The congregation smiled.  I smiled.  The leader continued.  But then Wes was talking. 

"We stay in a house on da BEACH!  It was WAY UP HIGH!"

The leader somehow continued on with a message about the wise men.  "And what are some gifts we can give Baby Jesus?" she asked, purposely aiming the microphone away from Charlie and Wes's side.  Charlie leaned over and answered "Prayer" into the microphone.

Another kid said something nice.  Charlie wasn't finished.  He made his way back around to the microphone.

"We give him our bodies when we die!"

Like right now.  Jesus, you can have my body right now.

"AND WE CAN DO NICE THINGS FOR OUR FAMILIES!" continued the leader.  Her voice was strained.

Charlie continued to talk, which made Wes continue to talk.  It was one big interrupting party.

I hissed from our pew "STOP INTERRUPTING.  CHARLIE.  WES.  QUIET.  IT'S TIME TO LISTEN." but we were too far away.

Fervent prayers were coming from our pew.  OMG GET THAT MICROPHONE AWAY FROM MY KID.

Finally it was time for the children's prayer and for whatever reason, that made them STOP TALKING.

They returned to the pew like nothing was amiss and proceeded to wiggle and squirm and try to lie down and otherwise make church a total circus.  But I heard most of the sermon while Ryan took Wes to the Narthex for time out, so it wasn't a total loss.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Much better!

Thursday afternoon I was walking down the street from the coffee shop back to our car at the library, pushing the stroller and trying my hardest to keep everyone out of the street/flowerbeds/ashtrays without totally losing it when I noticed that a new salon and spa had opened up downtown.

Under forces completely outside my control, but certainly related to THE PACK OF CRAZY WHO GO WITH ME EVERYWHERE I GO, I walked through the door and up to the counter where I proclaimed that I would like to schedule a haircut and pedicure for Saturday afternoon, please.  As Wes and Charlie noisily jockeyed for position on the massage chair in the sitting area, I scheduled an appointment for 4:00.

This is kind of a big deal for me.  I like to get fancy, girly haircuts where they offer you coffee or tea while you wait, but it just seems so inequitable with what the rest of the family does (I line them up at Great Clips like sheep at the county fair.  Ryan included.  And then pay with a coupon.).  To compensate for the fact that my haircuts cost five times what theirs do, I only go like four times a year.  And the last time was only two months ago.  And my hair still looked pretty normal, which is all I really care about.  But still, a tiny island of femininity in my testosterone soaked world sure sounded nice.  It would be a bonus haircut.

I could cancel up to twenty-four hours in advance, I reasoned.  But then yesterday at 4:00 came and went and suddenly, I was COMMITTED.

I looked forward to it all day today.  Even though I spent the whole day happily working alone at my desk with a warm beverage, I still kind of felt like I deserved an hour away.  Just an hour!  At 3:30 I couldn't take it anymore so I grabbed some magazines, hopped in the car, and left.  I tried not to behave too gleefully as I left the house, but I don't think I was successful.

While I waited in the quiet, zen looking reception area, a nicely dressed hipster type brought me a hot cup of tea and asked if I would mind if she gave me a complimentary hand massage.  I did not mind, as a matter of fact, bring it on.  Then the stylist came and led me to my chair.  We briefly discussed what style I wanted (chin-length stacked bob, as always, how original) then it was time to wash my hair and massage my scalp with wonderfully minty shampoo and conditioner.  "This is why I don't go to Great Clips" I thought as I struggled to stay awake and keep from thumping my foot on the ground like a Golden Retriever.

When she was done cutting and styling my hair I was a little startled to learn that it was already 5:00 and I still had my pedicure left to go.  Startled and a little giddy, I mean.  I called Ryan and told him not to hold dinner then fired up the massage chair and opened my In Style.  Sixty (!!) glorious, QUIET, minutes later I had pretty, coppery toes, freshly styled mom hair, and my very own bottles of minty shampoo and conditioner.

I was starting to feel a little bit bad for Ryan.  I had not expected to be gone for two hours, especially not THE two hours before dinner, the worst two hours of all.  So I called him.  He answered on the first ring.  "You'll be just in time for dessert," he said "I couldn't wait any longer.  The core was melting down."  I could hear screaming in the background.  It was in stark contrast to the aromatherapy lotion that was I had smeared all over my feet. 

The kids jumped all over me when I got home.  "You got YOUR hair cut, Mama!" exclaimed Wes.  Charlie snuggled into my lap and observed "You smell MINTY."  They both were totally enamored with my toenails and fancy disposable shoes.

We ate brownies together and then put them to bed.  And now I am happily back at my desk working on the conference paper while Ryan works on work stuff at the kitchen table.  I haven't had this much energy in WEEKS.  I think I better go back to that place weekly, just until the paper is done.  We'll call it a professional expense.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The process of conference paper acceptance

1. Shock: Wow, that piece of crap I slapped down in fifteen minutes, typing with one hand while I ate a Freebird's burrito with the other hand, did not proofread or otherwise seek feedback from someone (Like my coauthor?)for then submitted without a second glance because I was tired of thinking about it ACTUALLY GOT ACCEPTED? FOR A TALK?

2. Anger: FIFTEEN PAGES? How on earth do they expect me to write fifteen pages on top of all my other responsibilities! KIDS? TURN ON THE TV! MAMA'S GOTTA WRITE A $#@$@#$ FIFTEEN PAGE PAPER? Fifteen pages. I hope they like figures.

3. Bargaining: God? Are you there? I swear if you could just help me remember the name of the Excel spreadsheet where I put all of the analysis for this project I swear I'll volunteer for Vacation Bible School again this year.

4. Depression: WOE. My computer doesn't have the right software, I can't find my analysis, my dissertation reads like a drunk third-grader wrote it, my coauthor is in Cabo, preschool is closed this week, and there are NO COOKIES IN MY WHOLE HOUSE. (Pour a third cup of coffee, tighten bathrobe belt) NO WE CANNOT GO TO STORYTIME, GO OUTSIDE.

5. Acceptance: (At one o'clock in the morning, paper is due at COB EST) OK I can do this. I CAN DO THIS. (Put on another pot of coffee, unearth lucky coffee mug in sink of dirty dishes) Introduction? Let's use the first half of the abstract. Historical Research? I'll just borrow that from this other paper that's going nowhere. Method? Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V from the old dissertat-o-rooney. Woohoo ten pages! Results and Discussion? Conclusions? Crap. Get on Facebook to await arrival of flash of brilliance. Stand up and walk around. Sit back down. Check Google Reader. And Facebook. Still waiting on flash of brilliance. Force self to look at each graph and make some observations, however infantile they might seem. Get to third graph when sleep deprivation and caffeine combine to make you INCREDIBLY INTELLIGENT AND CLEVER ALL OF THE SUDDEN. WRITE WRITE WRITE LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT. Submit paper electronically with little-to-no proofreading. Go to bed. Wake up with hangover-like worry that you did something embarrassing last night and can't quite put your finger on what it was. Decide not to care. Pass out bananas to very loud children and forget all about it.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Pictures! Because I've been enjoying so! Much! Family! Time!

Well, whoops! It's been five days without a post. You would think that all the stinking quality time we've been spending together would mean I'd have lots to say, but after a while The Crazy just fades into the background and hardly seems noteworthy anymore, you know? Except for one noteworthy thing--after almost two months (was it more? I do not know, but the ped hasn't called in the CDC yet, so it couldn't be more than a month or two) I think we've finally settled James's diaper rash down. You know what did it? CLOTH DIAPERS. I know. Not the plan. But it's the only thing that works and we already have some and whattareyougonnado? He still wears disposables at night. I am not interested in reliving that extremely messy part of Charlie's infancy and it seems to be OK for his preshus little princess-and-the-pea bottom. So there you go.

Pictures! A little bit after Christmas (because without preschool and/or work who can remember what the hell day it is anymore) we went to meet some out of town friends for lunch (This friend, Abby, and her family). There were five boys between us. Charlie was the oldest. It was loud. And lots of fun. The three "older" boys sat together at their own table in what can only be described as Lord of the Flies meets Peter Pan meets Transfats. Ketchup was sucked up with straws, is what I'm saying.

Captain Hook insisted on wearing that grubby bandaid for three days. Battles, you have to pick them.

On the other side of the aisle, at the adult table, we have the two good boys, who sat nicely in their chairs and ate their lunches without (much) complaining. James's shirt was grunge-i-fied by the large cup of lukewarm coffee he dumped all over himself in the play area, but I think he's eyeing Travis's bib like "Man, if I had one of those I wouldn't smell like a barista on a bender right now."


On New Year's Eve Eve Ryan and I went to the symphony to hear a concert of all John Williams' music. It was exceptional. There was a heavy "Star Wars" theme and I was too chicken to go up to the real live Stormtroopers, so this is what you get. IMG_1777

The orchestra opened with this and it was so enjoyable. The crowd cheered when the conductor came back for the encore and cheered louder when an image of Superman came onto the screen. SO fun. A wonderful show and a wonderful night away from The Crazy.

And finally, we finally got around to having a first birthday party for James on New Year's Eve morning! His cake was covered with yummy blueberries! We had family over! I made four pizzas! It was lovely.


James approves of cake. And pizza and family passing him around.


New Year's Eve was interesting because Charlie crashed into the space shuttle at full speed with his celebratory noisemaker in his mouth and started bleeding. His lip turned out to be fine, but it started an hour-long tantrum that was TOTALLY out of character for him. I finally figured out he hadn't eaten anything but birthday cake all day and force fed him a PB&J and the evening was salvaged. Yay blood sugar! Fettucine Alfredo, champagne, and apple turnovers followed and then the kids put on their jammies and went for a walk to look at fireworks while James went to bed. I celebrated by taking some Tylenol Cold and going to bed at 9:30 after a couple of episodes of House Hunters. ROCK ON.