Thursday, May 22, 2014

Mother's Day 2014

I love school/daycare the absolute most around the holidays.  There is (almost) always an awesome craft involving hand prints, poems, photos, etc.  Especially Mother's Day.  It is my favorite.  This is particularly important when you have a husband who has never done a craft.  Ever.  The kindergarten classes hosted a "Muffins With Mom" event and when I arrived at Norah's classroom I was to find my seat by locating my portrait.  It took be about three seconds. Wonky eye and all.

There was an adorable craft (with a photo!), she served me a muffin, and there were lots of hugs to go around.  I do not know if this is standard kindergarten operating procedure, but I feel like we hit the jackpot with the awesome teacher Norah has had this year.  Besides being patient, kind, energetic, and compassionate, she loves crafts.  With photos!

We had a photobomber.

The next day was a similar event at Lou's school.  He did not, however, serve me a muffin.  We did however eat muffins together.  You might be able to see the blue marker all over his face.  That morning he was very quiet during the short drive from Norah's school to his.  Turns out it was because he was sucking on one of Norah's scented markers the entire way.  Shows you what I get for enjoying a few minutes of peace.

These are his BFF's.  Louie is a bit of the instigator/ring leader.  He will do anything for a laugh and these guys are a good audience.

The class sang "You Are My Sunshine" as a group and it was spectacular.

I also received these gems.

We had the good fortune of hosting GG over a long Mother's Day weekend.  She was unable to come out for her usual Thanksgiving trip due to a knee replacement, so it had been almost a year since we had seen her.  She came bearing gifts, including an authentic Dutch dress and wooden shoes that are 30+ years old.  Bringing some roots!

Unfortunately the shoes were way too small for Norah and her gigantic feet.  Lou loves them and can do quite the Riverdance.

Norah demanded to wear her hair in braids for the next week.  I think she's finally forgotten about it, which is fortunate because I suck at braids.

GG was a good sport about played about 9,000 versions of Spider Man versus Doc Octopus in the backyard.

She also brought awesome new swim suits for the kids.

For the past several Christmases GG has gifted BVZ and myself season tickets to the Broadway Across Austin series.  It has been great because at least six times a year it forces us to actually leave the house and spend time together.  The timing was perfect because Saturday night was the last show of the season and BVZ was able to take GG out to dinner and a show.

Norah was really bummed she did not get to go with them.  Louis did not care.

Instead Lou had a sleepover at Reid's and Norah and I went to Megan's dance troupe recital.  It is amazing how quickly Megan went from being a little kid to a full on teenager.  I am so proud of her. (Yes, Norah is wearing her Christmas dress and orange jelly shoes.  There are fights I just do not fight.)

For Mother's Day proper I told BVZ that I did not care one bit what we did but I did not want to 1) make any decisions, 2) cook anything, 3) feed anyone, 4) wipe anyone's ass, or 5) be aggravated. So, he and the bro-in-law's took it upon themselves to organize a pool party at our house.  They decided on the menu and did all the shopping, cooking, and serving.  

I also woke up to this:

This is my sixth mother's day.  From the beginning, all I have ever wanted is a kid involved craft or photo from BVZ.  I have gotten everything from fancy jewelry to a giant tootsie roll, but never a kid involved craft or photo.  However, this year everything changed.  I went to a brunch for a few hours the week before and apparently a field trip to the reservoir took place.  Please note all of the awesome things about this gift.  The sign made out of a cardboard box (Norah apparently did all the writing).  The fact that they are looking directly into the sun.  No one was wearing sunscreen.  Lou is walking AWAY in the second photo.  Everything about it is a hot, hot mess and I literally could not love it more.  Bravo, BVZ.  You win Mother's Day.

He also took it upon himself to order a fancy cream cake from a bakery that Bubby really likes. Double win.

We cranked up the heater in the pool, everyone came over, and I drank cocktails in a red plastic cup for the next three hours.  It was glorious.

Children ate without me having to fix them a plate.

I actually got to sit down and eat a meal from start to finish.  And it was delicious.

The bar has now been raised.

Tuesday, May 06, 2014


As per usual, there is lots of catching up to do and very little time with which to do it.  The spring time holidays have come and gone and we are exactly one month and three days away from the last day of kindergarten. That seems almost impossible to fathom.  So, in a rambling dump of photos, welcome to the chronology of my iphone from the past couple of months...

Lou and Reid are almost exactly three months apart in age.  They have had a bit of a love/hate relationship for a while, but for whatever reason as soon as Lou turned three things seemed to click for them and they have become pretty much inseparable.  There is certainly still the occasional scuffle, but for the most part it is pure love.  They get into a LOT of trouble together.

 Lou got to visit Reid at school one day for pick up and has not stopped talking about it since. (Yes, he is wearing a pajama top.  Lou has to wear a "uniform" to school which is khaki shorts or pants and a polo shirt with the school's emblem.  It is a struggle to get him ready on time in the morning and so our concession of sorts is that he gets to wear the polo OVER his pj shirt from the night before).

It will be a sad, sad day when the race car cart is no longer appealing to these two.

Wednesdays are my guaranteed day off.  I pick up Louis from school and then he gets to choose where we go.  9 times out of 10 he requests Target (the other times he wants to go to the grocery store).  Sometimes we have stuff to get, sometimes not.  We wander the aisles, eat popcorn, and have a great time. He almost always cons me into buying him a 97 cent hot wheels car.  There have been several times we had to abandon cart for a poop emergency (his, not mine), but it has always turned out okay.  We were picking out Easter paper plates one day and he yelled, "Mom, my butt is saying-Louie you need to go poop NOW!" and so we raced through the store with him hanging off the side of the cart.  We made it with time to spare.

Friday night is family movie night and has recently become family sleepover night as well.  Lou cannot really handle the responsibility of sleeping in the same room with everyone else so he typically gets banished from the room and forced back upstairs by about 10:00 pm.

Both Bubby and the T's planned to be out of town for Easter, so the weekend before we had fake Easter and a birthday celebration for me.  I got some cute pictures of Lou and Reid in their matching seersucker suits, but they are on the other (nice) camera, which effectively means they will never again be seen by another human being.  

I recently discovered that the store H&M carries kid clothing.  Most of the stuff is nothing I would look twice at, but they have a ton of these simple cotton dresses that are $6.  I am sure that means they are made by imprisoned six year olds and for that I am very sorry because I bought several.

Dresses were bought the same day some friends took me for a pedicure and fancy lunch for my birthday. Much champagne was consumed and reckless shopping ensued.  I bought a bunch of stuff (drunk shopping is very irresponsible) but took at least half of it back.  I did buy this dress, which I think I will keep.

Bubby forced us to drag all of the kids out to take photos in the wildflowers near her house.  Steph and Andy were out of town for a weekend away, so Bubby had the bright idea of having their kids hold a photo of them instead.  The idea was funny but the execution ended up being a little morbid.

Bubby did her traditional egg hunt in the backyard with color coded eggs.  She also gave Lou this light up Batman car that sleeps in his bed every night.

Camilla and Norah had matching dresses.  You would think that would mean I got a photo of them together.

Megan will be 13 this summer.  That is unimaginable to me so I can only bemoan how her parents must feel. She is taller than her mom and Bubby both.  I have her by about a half inch but I suspect that will not last long.  She rides in the front seat of the car.  It is bananas.

The weather here has actually been awesome lately.  It's nice out but not too hot.  85 degrees is too hot for me.  We have been trying to take advantage of playing outside because truth be told in like a month no one is going to want to be out there.

Every grade at Norah's school takes a different field trip.  This year the kindergarten went to a local farm.  I was a little torn about whether or not to go with the class--on one hand I like to see what is going on and make sure everyone is safe, but on the other I always look for opportunities to encourage independence.  At the end of the day I left it up to Norah to decide and she emphatically declared I needed to go.  I figure that there will only be so many years she wants me there, so I obliged.  I am glad I went.  It was fun (and not hot) and I loved seeing her in her element with her friends.

I figure this is far enough away that you cannot tell who any of the other kids are.

There was a hay ride.

And stinky animals.

I have been so happy with Norah's kindergarten experience.  I will be even happier next year when the new school in our area opens and enrollment at our school will go from 980 kids to about 650.

Amy picked up Louie for me that day so I could go on the field trip and took him to her house.  As payback, I had to stay with all the kids for a few hours while she went to a meeting for an organization she is involved with.  Four kids is no joke.  Especially when there are power tools involved (don't worry they are just toys).

Norah picked up their playroom with the promise of as many stickers as would fit on her chore chart.

The next day was Good Friday and a school holiday, so we took all the little kids to the most beat down place on the planet, aka Kiddie Acres.

Kiki has this crazy thing where every time she eats chocolate ice cream or drinks chocolate milk she gets a ring around her mouth.  Apparently it is genetic and has been passed down to the next generation.

Louis has zero sweet tooth which makes me think something else skipped a generation.

The next day was my birthday.  My birthday is obviously always around Easter season and twice before (at age 6 and 16) it has fallen on Easter Sunday.  I thought maybe my 36th birthday would have also been on Easter but no dice.  I have no idea if/when it might ever happen again.  Because he is a man that does not mess around, BVZ gave me a giant bottle of Tito's vodka.

Arguably, the best present of all times, in the universe, forever, the end.

I also got a card drawn by Louie that was an octopus and shark because he knows I like ocean animal that are purple and things with teeth. I could not take a photo of it at the time because he hid it.  I later found it in the pantry.  It's awesome.  

I got to pick what we did and I chose bowling.  I knew it could either be the best day ever or a total disaster.  For sure it was the best day ever.  We rule at bowling.

Lou refused to use the metal brace thingie and insisted on hurling  rolling the ball each time.

Caught in the act.

I was pleasantly surprised by how into it they were and how supportive both kids were of each other and us.  Louie would yell "STRIKE!" no matter how many pins got knocked down and was generous with the high fives.

The only snafu came when trying to extract him from the arcade.  This is the Batman game.  We did not put money in the machine once, yet he sat there "playing" it for upwards of 30 minutes. Hell hath no fury like taking Lou away from the Batman game.

Later that night I went to a movie with a friend at the Drafthouse.  I saved most of my calories that day so I could have a goat cheese burger and fries during the movie.  Totally worth it.  It was a great birthday.  I could do a lot worse than 38.

Easter morning meant Easter baskets.  We don't go overboard for holidays and so each kid got a special candy and a small special gift.  For Norah that meant the new Tinkerbell movie and she was beside herself.

Lou got a new Batman shirt.

They hunted for eggs.  Norah piled hers up nicely in her basket.  Louis ate the candy as he found it, discarding the eggs along the way.

He was totally not into the chocolate bunny.  I think it freaked him out a little.  One bite and that was the end of it.

We hosted a casual cook-out for the S's, our friends the R's, and BVZ's cousin and family who recently moved to the Austin area.  Here is my dessert table full of Type 2 Diabetes.

I begged the kids to take sweet photos in their outfits.  This was right after Norah said, "my favorite word is family. Or maybe love."  To which Lou replied, "my favorite word is butt-face."  And then cracked up.

Norah loves her second cousin, M.  Because she's sweet and kind and will do whatever Norah tells her to do.

Megan is such a good sport.  She is in that weird spot of being too old for some things (Easter egg hunting), but not old enough for others (not eating candy).  She needed something to collect the loot in and I made her use the Elmo basket.  Not only did she think it was funny, she posed for a photo with said Elmo basket.

Trevor was also a great sport and helped all the little kids find the (very obviously) hidden eggs. We also tore through about six dozen confetti eggs (cascarones).  The backyard will not be the same for a while.

Food was casual--burgers and corn, potato salad and fruit.

The R's made a watermelon bunny.  Which kind of looks like a watermelon mouse, but it was still cute and delicious.

It has been really hot around here the past week.  However, the pool is still very cold.  That hasn't stopped these two from jumping in every evening after dinner.  They LOVE to go skinny dipping. Because they have no body fat they can't stay in for very long, but it is still fun.

I had lunch at school with Norah the other day.  She was into be for about 10 minutes and they was ready for me to go so she could spend the rest of the time with her friends.  And so it begins, I suppose.

We have been to a couple of birthday parties at the Thinkery (Children's Museum) lately.  They do an experiment with the kids each time--last weekend we were there and they made a squishy substance from glitter glue and a "mystery" ingredient.  It is super cute.

This was mere seconds before their 'cheers' resulted in a pink lemonade flood on the table.

More swimming.  At least they were willing to wear suits this time.

 Tough guy.  That is all.

Whew.  That was a lot.  See you on the flip side.