Thursday, June 27, 2013


I am finding myself somewhat irrationally emotional that tomorrow, June 28, 2013, my baby will be five years old.  FIVE.  Five years since life radically changed forever.  It seems like a nano-second in the whole scheme of things, but at the same time it feels like an eternity has passed.  What did we ever do without our girl?

In the days to come I am sure I will ruminate about her current likes and dislikes, height and weight, and various talents and shortcomings.  But for now, on the eve of my awesome girl's special day, I just want to sit with her.  And hug her.  And whisper in her ear how happy I am that she's here and that I get to be her mom.

Happy Birthday, Norah.  My love for you is beyond compare.

*In the interest of full disclosure, the photo that represents her fifth year was actually taken about a week and a half ago.  All others are 100% accurate.  Creative license (and hectic life) notwithstanding.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

GG and Aunt Nessa

We hadn't seen GG and Aunt Vanessa since Thanksgiving, so they graciously agreed to fly out and spend the weekend with us.  One of these days we will actually go and see them.  That day might be ten years from now but it will happen.  GG and V are great house guests.  They go with the flow, are low maintenance, and as long as there is hot coffee and cold white wine, they are good to go.  It was a little overcast the weekend they were here and so there wasn't as much pool time as we were hoping there might be.  

GG had the great idea to have an early birthday celebration for Norah, so we went bowling.  It was a glow-in-the-dark kind of place that had beer for the grown ups and bumpers for the kids.

Lou was more into dancing under the sparkle lights than actually bowling.

We did some arcade games afterwards.  The kids loved air hockey, were miserably awful at ski ball, and were obsessed with anything that resembled a slot machine.

It was a very fun afternoon.  Check out the shirt that Norah is wearing.  It is the dress from her two year birthday party.  She's a totally different kid with the exact same shoulder width.  

Back home we had some gluten free birthday cake.

Lou walked around for the better part of the day saying, "I want cake.  I love cake.  I want cake.  I love cake."

Norah got some awesome gifts including a Tinkerbell costume that she wears, an adorable outfit, goggles, and some fun games.  She is totally into this Charades game that GG gave her.  Louie is obsessed with the card that has a picture of an elephant on it and I have found it in his bed twice this week.

There was lots of movie watching, lots of pretty pony and monster truck playing, and lots of swinging in the backyard.  See what I mean?  The perfect house guests.

Summer Shots

Summer is here with a vengeance.  It is 85 degrees by the time we leave the house at 8:00 am and it's 99 degrees by the time I leave work in the afternoon.  Although I am getting used to it to some extent I still don't deal with the heat well.  I think I would be more understanding if it cooled off in the evenings, but at 7:00 pm it is still as hot as it was mid-day.  We try to get outside every day after dinner, either for a walk or just in the backyard, and it's been tough.  The kids like to look for worms when we walk and yell, "worm, ahoy!" when they find one.  Lately we've found some crispy ones. 

After dinner walk ensemble:

The other day I had a rare afternoon alone with Lou (Bubby took Norah so they could work on their garden).  We met up with some friends at a splash pad up the street.  This kid loves a good splash pad.

Last year we got my windows tinted as dark as is legally allowed and it makes a big difference during the heat of the day.  Everyone still has to wear their shades, though.

Self[portrait of a girl who is almost five.

The other day I brought home a rotisserie chicken and was carving it.  Admittedly I am not the best person for this job because ever since I got pregnant with Norah I have had a major aversion to most kinds of meat and am pretty squeamish about it all.  Which is a huge bummer because prior to her I could/would eat just about anything.  Anyway, Norah was sitting on the counter talking to me while I was doing it and out of nowhere she reached over, TORE off a drumstick and started going to town on it.  Said the skin was her favorite part.  Gag.

The other day we were at Aunt Amy's house playing driveway chalk and Louie couldn't keep his hands to himself so he kept getting timed out strapped in his car seat.

His new school has a splash pad on site and he gets to go a couple of times a week.  It's a huge hassle to send him in swim gear and pack clothes, but he loves it.  The swim shoes kill me.

Norah still won't even try to ride her big girl bike.  Maybe when she's 15.

Her favorite thing right now is writing and doing her "art" projects.  Aileen made her this awesome notebook cover that holds her markers and it gets used every single day.

Lou's school did a Father's Day lunch (that miracle of all miracles BVZ was actually able to go to), and the dads got these canvas tool belts that the kids "painted" along with a picture of the kid at the work bench.  Cuteness overload.

Norah is still pretty obsessed with dresses and doesn't want to wear anything else.  I got her this maxi dress for a baby shower we were attending (see below) and she loved it.  She looks so grown up in it and asks to wear her "maxi dress" pretty much every day.

At the end of the week if Lou has had no "incidents" at school he gets french fries.  It's the highlight of his life.  This was last week.  There will be no such highlight this week.  Sigh.

My forever BFF Sarah is having a baby in August.  I got to be one of the hostesses for her shower last weekend.  I hadn't hosted a fun event like that in a long time.  It was held at a fancy schmance salon where people could get pampered and drink champagne and celebrate Baby B.

I was in charge of food.  Mmmmm.  Food.

Fun favor bags (of which I had nothing to do with):

The gorgeous guest of honor:

Sarah and Norah and super tight.  They both are celiacs and like being fancy.  Norah was stoked to be invited to the party and enjoyed getting her very first pedicure with Sarah's niece.

I have finally done what I should have done two years ago and signed the kids up for swim lessons.  They start on Monday.  Norah, who is still a giant chicken, really got motivated when Lucas and Ruby were here and she became very conscious of the fact that kids her age, and kids much younger, are literally swimming circles around her.  She really wants to be able to swim sans floatie.  Louis continues to be a swimming dynamo.  He has no fear, loves going under the water, and has discovered the awesomeness that is the slide.  All indications point to him being a strong and successful swimmer once he gets the right set of tools to not drown.

Father's Day was fun and low-key.  We got BVZ camping chairs (not for camping of course, but for drinking beer in the driveway) and made him breakfast.  Then he got to go on a long hike by himself and we had everyone over for swimming and grilling.

The most popular dinner spot around here is at the counter, sitting on the trash can.  Both kids love it and fight over who gets to sit on the trash can.  I let them do it as a reward.  BVZ calls it trash can dinner.  I reward my kids by letting them sit on the trash can.  That's awesome.

Lou has been doing a ton of art projects at school.  This is his favorite so far.

BVZ has been out of town a lot and the kids like it when I send him photos of them "being cute."

On Sunday, Louie was running in my room, tripped over a pillow, and sailed face first into my nightstand.  It looked bad, then better, than much worse, than much better.  Kids heal so fast.  Three days later and it's almost completely gone.

Thursday, June 06, 2013


Louie started a new school at the beginning of the week.  His previous school doesn't have a summer term and we knew we were going to have to move him anyway because the hours were ridiculous (earliest drop off was 9:30).  The new school is super close to the elementary school Norah will be at in the fall and so despite the fact that I am still taking two kids to two different schools, at least come fall it will be very streamlined.

I like the school a lot and the facilities are pretty amazing.  It's a structured program (not overly academic, but the time during the day is very structured), which I think is actually a really good thing for Lou.  He was having a hard time towards the end of the session at the old place paying attention and following directions because he was not very engaged and had a lot of free play time (ie, time to find trouble).  The teachers say that he's very interested and participates in all of the crafts and different centers and seems to be really into it all.  Also, they include snacks and lunch, served in an all organic, sustainable cafeteria.  I don't have to pack a lunch for him anymore.  Hallelujah.   

The only wrinkle has been drop off.  He was fine the first day but the second, third, and fourth he has lost his damn mind.  Hysterical crying like I have never seen out of him before.  Begging me not to leave him.  Norah has been with me (I take him first and then her), and it upsets her so much.  Today, the teacher took him out of my arms and said he'd be fine and we left.  Norah was pissed that we were leaving him and cried until we got in the car.  Thankfully, the teacher sent me a picture about three minutes later of Lou happily playing on the slide and we both calmed down a bit.

This parenting gig is tough.

Dat a Man!

Lou's favorite book right now is "The Big Hungry Bear."  If you are not familiar, the unknown narrator of the story convinces a little mouse that a big, hungry bear is out to steal the mouse's red, rip strawberry and gives the mouse advice about how to hide it.  Louie is obsessed with the page where the mouse dresses the strawberry up in a disguise.  He howls with laughter every time he sees the page and screams, "Dat not a strawberry, dat a MAN!" and then proceeds to roll around like it's the funniest joke he's ever made.  He probably does this 300 times a day.

Pre-K Graduation

Norah's graduation from Pre-K was kind of anti-climatic.  I feel like there had been all of this build up for weeks and then the actual day of was kind of a hot mess.  First of all, BVZ was out of town for work, which sucked.  It was on a Wednesday evening, so I came home from work early.  I should have known something was up when she was sound asleep on the couch.  Bubby said that she had fallen asleep and she had left her there because she seemed so tired.  Kid hasn't napped in well over three years.  We let her sleep as long as possible and then I and got her ready in the beautiful dress Bubby gifted her (which I of course failed to take a single picture of her in).  All was well and I thought we might actually be there with a few minutes to spare, when I made the tragic mistake of trying to fix her hair.

Now, I am no Toddlers and Tiaras mom.  I pick my battles and hair and clothing tend not to be battles I choose.  Kids need choices and some degree of control and there's no sense in sending them somewhere they are going to be uncomfortable and preoccupied with how they look or feel.  She was trying to grow her bangs out and so I asked if I could pin them back.  I did and she didn't like how it felt, so I took it out.  End of story.  Or so I thought.  She lost her damn mind.  I could not for the life of me figure out what was going on.  She said she didn't want her hair pinned back.  So, I took the pins out.  There were still many tears and many dramatic arm flails.

I thought we had it sorted out when she tried on her black dress shoes, which apparently in the course of about 12 hours became too small.  Fine.  Pick out another pair.  Wear any shoes you have except for the pink cowboy boots because you flop around in them and they are hard to keep on sometimes.  The tears.  The wailing.  The fist pounding.  WTF.  She finally settled on purple tennis shoes.  Fine by me.  Then more tears because she thought I was upset at her.  Gah.  

We were a little late, but got her shuttled to the right spot to sit with her class.  There were three classes graduating, each with about 16 kids.  Everything's bigger in Texas, even pre-K.  

Thankfully the family was there early saving seats because it was packed.

There was a slide show of all the hilarious graduation photos. Each kid was decked out in a cap and down and posed in front of what looked like a law library.

I brought the good camera, but something was off because the flash didn't work, the zoom didn't work and it took the most horrible pictures of all times.

The program was pretty short.  They had the kids recite a bunch of crap they learned during the year, and then sing some cute songs. Norah was so over it the second it started.  She yawned and fidgeted and generally looked annoyed.

Then each kid's name was called and they received their diploma.

Again, totally not impressed.

She perked up a little when it was over and she got to see the cousins. 

She had a great teacher this year (and will be with her throughout the summer).

I wanted a cute photo of us, but we were both tired and sweaty.  At least you can kind of see her cute dress.

Each kid got a cup with balloons and some small gifts from the school (a book, some candy, etc.)  It also had a message from the parents (that we filled out months ago) with our hopes for their future.  It also had written down what each kid said they wanted to be when they grow up.  Norah's said, "I want to be a cheerleader."  OMG.  What?  It was part hilarious, part perplexing.  I mean, if she wants to be a cheerleader more power to her, but it's not something I could ever imagine her saying.  On our way to the car I asked her why she said she wanted to be a cheerleader and she insisted that she never said it.  I dropped it but she got more and more agitated, INSISTING that she never said that and it was wrong.

On one hand, thank god she doesn't want to be a cheerleader when she grows up, but on the other hand I was a little dismayed because I was worried that maybe she actually did say it and then tried to retract because she somehow sensed I wasn't fully into the idea (I would never tell her anything but she can be whoever she wants to be.  And I really do mean it).  Either way, it was no good.

Thankfully, we were distracted from cheerleader-gate by cake at home and sweet gifts from the family.  All's well that ends well.