Friday, June 29, 2012


Lou has very dry and sensitive skin and so there's always something rashy about him.  Over the past week I have noticed a flat red rash on the back of his neck and left knee, but just assumed it was heat rash.  It's miserably hot here right now and he is rear facing in his car seat, which means he doesn't get the blast of air conditioning like the rest of us.  Today when I was changing his diaper I noticed the rash had spread to his entire trunk and back and up and down his arms and legs.  The patch on the back of his knee was very irritated and he had what looked like hives under his left arm.  I had a brief flashback to this medical mystery and decided to take him in just in case.

The official diagnosis (of course) is a random virus.  Apparently the pediatrician's office is seeing a ton of Hand, Foot and Mouth disease (they have GOT to come up with a better name for that!) and so she thinks this is some variation of that.  He isn't bothered by it a bit so we just have to let it run its course.  He feels fine, just looks gross.  And that's another $15 added to the "it's just a virus" pediatrician vacation fund.

Interview with a Four Year Old

She was so not interested in anything I was trying to accomplish here.


And just like that, my baby turned four.  I am not sure why four seems so profoundly different to me.  There's no toddler, much less any baby that remains.  Her thoughts, wants, likes/dislikes, and ability to communicate is full on KID.  Kindergarten is a mere eye blink away.  Yesterday she asked when she could start having beer with dinner.  


Thankfully she isn't fully without need for the creature comforts of her infancy.  She asked to sleep with us on Wednesday night, a request both BVZ and I were happy to oblige.  As she lay sleeping with her heels dug into the small of BVZ's back and her hot, stinky breath on my cheek, I couldn't help but think about what life was like before her.  I swear I can hardly remember.  

The first thing she said as she opened her eyes on Thursday morning, was "guess what guys!  I am FOUR!"  Yes my dear, my darling.  Yes, you are.  

She's totally down with the fact that she doesn't get presents at her birthday party because she knows "my family is going to give me presents!" And she was ready for them immediately upon waking.  She got a big girl bike and helmet, a Merida doll (from the movie Brave) from Louie, and then BVZ pulled out the big guns and gave her a tricked out My Pretty Pony.  She was pretty stoked all around.

Breakfast was gluten free pancakes with way too much syrup.  BVZ went to work, I took the day off, and Bubby came over to take care of Lou.  Norah and I had planned for weeks that we would go see Brave together on her birthday.  We got a giant bag of pirate's booty, jelly bellies, m&m's and vitamin water and set off for the 9:40 showing.
Too bad for us I either can't read movie times online or someone changed them in the middle of the night, but the first show didn't actually start until 10:25.  Thankfully, both Target and Half Price Books were open and so we killed some time.

My other unfortunate mistake was not realizing that the first show was one in 3-D.  I don't recommend seeing a movie in 3-D if you are anywhere outside the age range of 11 to 17. Norah hated the glasses but if you took them off the screen just looked blurry.  The whole thing gave me a headache.

Despite the circumstances, I LOVED the movie.  LOVED IT.  It has gotten a mixed bag of reviews, but I thought it was profound and heart breaking and visually stunning.  I loved Princess Merida and the complicated relationship she has with her mom.  I am sure it was because I was feeling particularly sentimental about having a daughter who is growing up, but it just reaffirmed what a gift and what a responsibility it is being the mom of a girl.  Norah liked it too, although I did ultimately she was a bit too young.  There are some scary scenes and I don't think she could have possibly grasped the sophisticated plot elements.  At one point she leaned over and whispered, "this movie is LONG!" which I don't think I have ever before heard her say.  

We headed back to the house for lunch, although we were both pretty stuffed full of our gluten free junk food.  We hung out with Bubby and Lou, Amy and Reid for the rest of the afternoon and got in a good, albeit, chaotic facetime with Ruby.  We also got to talk to Aunt Vanessa, and the S's (who are on vacation), and opened lots of awesome cards.  Norah and I took her bike out for a spin but lasted only about 5 minutes before we were desperate to get back inside (I think it was 107 yesterday).

Miraculously, BVZ was able to leave work at a half way decent hour and the four of us went out to dinner.  Norah ate gluten free pizza and a brownie and Lou crammed fistfuls of sweet potato fries in his face.

It goes without saying that we love this kid.  Thanks to everyone else for loving her too.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Princess Superhero Norah

Norah's FOURTH birthday party was on Saturday.  For those who might be keeping track, that would be five days after we moved into the new house.  I figured five days would be plenty of time to be settled enough to throw a party.  I am insane.  Thankfully, we have a team of bulldogs who not only packed up a ton of shit, but also moved a ton of shit, and then unpacked a ton of shit.  I think Stephanie had our entire kitchen unpacked and organized in like 45 minutes.  They are that good.

I am still insane.

The theme, as per Norah's choice, was "Princess Superhero."  When she first originated this concept it was leaning heavily towards princess, but the closer we got the more superhero it got.  I think what finally pushed her over the edge was that I got shirts for myself (Wonder Woman), BVZ (Spiderman), and Lou (Superman) and she didn't want to be left out of that fun.  Old Navy has quite a few superhero shirts but none that were girlie enough for Norah.  Thankfully we found a pajama set she could get behind and she just wore the shirt (and announced to anyone that complimented her on it, "it's actually KAJAMAS!!!!").

Up until the time that she started pre-school, for the most part, Norah's friends were the kids of my friends.  All of her parties have been awesome because we know and love all of the adults as well as the kids.  This was the first time that we invited kids we didn't know.  It's always a little awkward, but everyone was lovely and (hopefully) enjoyed themselves.  Throw in our awesome family and some good friends and it was a great group of people. 

A rare GVZ family photo.

The Sheehys (minus Uncle Andy who had to work).

The Tuckers.  Notice that Reid is Batman (to Lou's Superman).  They are never going to appreciate how hard we work to make them freaking adorable.

Despite the fact that I was ridiculous enough to throw a party for 50+ people less than a week after moving, I was not delusional to think that I could pull off my usual party food spread.  I cut up carrots and celery (and scooped dip out of a plastic tub), and cup up grapes and strawberries.  Then we ordered 15 pizzas.  15 pizzas is a lot of pizza.  We might be eating leftover pizza until Norah's fifth birthday.

Cake boss (Stephanie) outdid herself once again.  The main cake:

Norah's gluten free cake!

There was a set of regular cupcakes and a set of gluten free cupcakes.  

Decorations were pretty minimalist--I made her a superhero banner and then hung pink and purple balloons everywhere.

Realizing that Lou would be a problem (ie, into everything), before the party started I told Megan she was in charge of him and if he was alive and hadn't 1) thrown anything down the stairs, 2) eaten dirt, or 3) made Reid cry, I would give her $15.  Best $15 I ever spent.

As kids showed up they each made their own superhero mask.  I ordered colored felt masks from Etsy and then got lots of foam stickers.  It seemed to be a big hit.

Trevor was my cruise director and helped organize all the activities.  He told me he needed to "fuel up" before taking on a room full of four-year-olds.

All the kids were super cute and most came dressed in some kind of princess or superhero attire or combination of the two.  Weeks ago Norah announced that her birthday party would be, "Girls only, no penises allowed."  Thankfully she lifted that ban but it was definitely girl heavy.

After making their mask they played and ate pizza.  Not enough pizza, I might add.  We still have a lot of pizza.

Trevor called all the kids to the bottom of the stairs for the scavenger hunt.  I did it Dora the Explorer style, where I read a clue and then the kids had to guess the missing word to get to the next location.  For example, one clue was something like, "Superheroes are smart, they stop and think.  You will find your next clue where you wash your hands at the ____!"  Then they would all scream SINK and run to the sink for their next clue.  They were totally into it, and thankfully, figured out the clues.

I like Norah's face of concentration in this one.

The last clue led them outside and up to the top of the slide where they was a treasure chest full of M&M's and plastic jewelry from the dollar bin at Target.

It was a great triumph.

There was a moment when the kids were like, um, there's a pool here... but thankfully they were easily distracted. And there's Lou, still alive.  He even had pizza for lunch, not dirt.  

Then it was pinata time.  Just as Stephanie is cake boss, Amy has become pinata boss.  She made a giant "4" and crammed it full of gluten free treats.  Amy doesn't mess around when it comes to pinatas and not a single little kid put a dent in it.

After everyone had a chance I turned to Trevor and said, "dude, you know what to do."  It took him one whack to beat the crap out of that pinata and the little kids pounced on it like hyenas.

Once everyone had their loot it was cake time.

Norah totally got a little shy being center of attention.

Trevor was totally cute and made Norah this card that said, "press here" and then when she pressed that part of the paper, he started everyone singing happy birthday.  It was pretty clever.

Cake was eaten, kids played for a while longer and then people started to filter out.  We did have one of Norah's friends from pre-school show up about 2:45 thinking the party started at 2:00 (um, it started at 12:00), and I totally felt bad for that mom.  But Norah was as gracious as ever and invited her friend in for a cupcake and a rousing game of hide-and-seek.  We had some other fun friends stick around awhile longer and I forced all of those nice people to take home pizza.

Norah then got to go swimming with Megan and Trevor (her dream come true), and we patted ourselves on the back for a job well done.  It was so very, very cool to get to celebrate Norah's birthday with my mom, sisters, and the cousins.  All the help aside, it was just really, really awesome to have them there.  We have all missed out on getting to be together these past three years and it was almost surreal that it was actually happening this way.

That being said, it was with a very heavy heart that we had to celebrate without our California friends.  All of our kids have birthdays right around the same time (hence why we were in the same new parent group), and it is really sad for us to miss out on this year's birthday "season."  It has been a big part of our life as parents and it's just one more time I miss them like crazy.  There were a handful of leftover masks that Norah decorated once everyone had gone home.  I asked her what they were for and she told me they were for her "California friends."  This morning I found a purple one under her bed that wasn't decorated.  She admitted that she had hidden it there before the party even started "for Ruby."  We are apparently sending it to her un-decorated with a handful of stickers so she can do one "like she was really there."

Like always, in lieu of gifts we asked for kids books to be donated.  We collected a nice pile of books. I think Norah even looks forward to it, although she did ask for reassurance that WE were planning on getting her a birthday present.

It was a fun day and a great way to break in the new house.  I can't wait until next year.