Thursday, December 27, 2012

I Got Yer Christmas Card Right Here

I had planned to post on Christmas Eve, but then we had a technology problem that included Brad running up a flight of stairs while holding our computer. No worries though, it took a few days but we are back in the game. I've got a pretty sweet setup now.

What these pictures cannot adequately capture is a faint, incessant beeping noise coming from the laptop. It's as though the computer is very concerned that its monitor is missing. Frankly, I'm worried, too. From where I'm sitting I can see a lot of caution warnings. Ah, well.

this is dedication, that I am willing to blog this way. this isn't even in my contract.

              The Christmas Card shot. Maybe next year I will send cards for real. Probably not. I only sent out birth announcements because my sister did it for me.                    

 I can't get this baby to smile for a picture. The second she sees the camera she makes this face. But I still love her oh man do I love this chubby, sweet, snuggly baby.

discount Christmas tree. That's why you wait til the last minute.
 This is my sister.
 And this is her baby. A brand-new, still wrinkly, baby. Evelyn makes Pia look like a behemoth.

 Christmas tree safety.
 Obligatory shot from the rear. It was always my mom's job to put on the star at the top, and it was my dad's job to take pictures of her behind and snicker quietly to himself. Of course, this was back in the day when you had to take your film to the store and get it developed and it took like, a year to come back. That was after it sat in the refrigerator for awhile first. Then my mom would flip through the Christmas pictures and pretend to be all annoyed at the butt-shots but we could tell that she secretly thought it was funny, too.

jammin' to some Christmas tunes

slammin' to some Christmas tunes

Hey Cheeks, way to help out!
We went to Midnight Mass. I know that sounds scary with 3 kids but I am not kidding. It's the best Mass of the year. Pia slept and snacked in the sling, Gianna sat limply in Brad's arms and dozed and The Dominator? The Dominator had his best Mass since last Christmas Eve. ZombieDom sat motionless in the pew, mesmerized by the Christmas decorations with a receiving blanket wrapped around him like a barber cape.    
    OMG Christmas am!!!

these poppers are the BEST. I recommend them for all ages. Thanks Aunt Monica and Uncle Richard

new boots!

Allright then. Merry Christmas, from our casa, to yours!

Thursday, December 20, 2012


 *asking for some prayers for our Pia baby....tomorrow morning, 6:30am EST is her CT scan. 4 hours of NPO for my constant snacker, plus the sedation, makes for a nervous mommy. Please pray it all goes smoothly and that our doctor gets all the information he needs to proceed. Thank you!*

Gianna lost her first tooth this past Friday. The losing of teeth is probably the most bizarre milestone of parenting. There's just something a bit off about storing bone fragments in a Ziplock baggie. What am I supposed to do with the tooth? What is my obligation here? Do I keep every.single. tooth? To what end?

I am not good at keepsakes; the best my kids can hope for is the Ziplock to be labeled with a Sharpie and shoved in my underwear drawer, where I'll stumble upon it now and again with a shudder because I really, really don't like teeth. Especially teeth no longer secured firmly to their gums.

I kinda want to throw the teeth away but oh, the heresy! Why do we do these things? Asks I, the burier of placentas under rose bushes. Maybe a little bit because I made those teeth and that placenta, they are flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone!

But mostly I think mothers have an urge to collect and commemorate, to remember and treasure because we sense that we are the storehouses of our children's memories. We alone see them in their quiet moments and loud ones, in secret and in public. We guard their stories carefully in order to dust them off and air them in the right moments. We can say to the newly-made big brother, "When you were a baby I held you so and I hummed this song and you smiled at me and I loved to look at you!" or to our nervous first-day-of-school child, "Your first time at the swimming pool you were a little bit scared but even so, you jumped right in and we said, "Look, that is what we call brave!"

We are the holders of the strange and the silly and serious and the sad and the joyful. We are here for it all, sharing in the struggles and triumphs. Our presence of mind says to our children, "I see you. I have great joy in you." We are the keepers of teeth.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

More Toddler Fashion

Posting two days in a row....somebody stop me!

Can he still be a toddler if he's going to turn 3 a month from yesterday?

 Ok, so we've got a classic here for you today.

Shirt: babyGap
PJ pants: Old Navy
Shoes: Oshkosh
The Piece de  Resistance (the undies): Carter's

I'm not sure what else to say about this outfit. I asked him how he felt about it and all he said was, "Sometimes boys wear their underwear on top." That is his latest reasoning for everything..."Boys don't take naps! Boys swallow their gum! Boys don't like shoes!" Whatever buddy.

If you're wondering whether I hesitated to take him out in public thusly attired, you give me far too much credit. Toddler fashion only counts if other people see it; of course I let him wear this out of the house.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Story Time

When I was growing up in Alaska, we lived on about an acre of wooded property on the side of a mountain. Not super super high up, but enough to where we could stand on our deck and, after stealing my dad's ancient binoculars from their cracked leather case, spy on Dall Sheep picking their way across the opposing side of the Eagle River valley.

One winter, Christmas was approaching at a worrisome pace and we had yet to procure a tree. My little brother and sister and I were very worried over this; so we hatched a plan to save Christmas. We would cut down a tree ourselves. We just had to plan it out right. My mom worked 12 hour shifts at the hospital in Anchorage some weekends while my dad was in charge of us at the homefront.

My dad was a free-range parent before free-range parenting ever became a thing. He made sure we were fed our main meals and that we didn't come to fisticuffs too often, and otherwise watched Sunday afternoon football and left us to ourselves. This was our opportunity. We suited up to venture into the great Alaskan wilderness and made a stop in the garage to get an ax, a hand saw, and our plastic pink toboggan with the yellow rope handle. We were about 8, 6, and 4 years old. Yes. With an ax. And a saw.

The air was piercingly cold and clear and the snow-covered trees muffled our boots like a secret. I could smell the smoke from wood-burning stoves lingering in the softly drifting snow. We searched until we found the most perfect tree and began chopping and sawing it free. We became so sweaty that despite the cold we removed our coats and tossed them onto the snow. Finally, with a satisfying thud, the tree came down and we loaded it onto our sled. It was awfully heavy, and the weak winter sunlight was fading quickly, so we pulled with all our might.

We were so proud of ourselves! Our own tree! I can still see the flushed cheeks of my brother and sister, their smiles from ear to ear, my sister's brown hair escaping wildly from underneath her favorite purple fleece hat. We pulled the sled with the tree all the way up to the house and went inside to tell our dad the wonderful thing we had done.

He was less than pleased, and even more so when we showed him where we'd cut the tree down; just over the property line of our neighbor. "We have all these trees, and you couldn't cut down one of ours? You had to go next door?" he demanded. But then he laughed and added, "Your mother isn't going to like this," and we knew we were now conspirators. We knew he would help us put the tree in the tree stand and string it with lights.

Years later, I was leafing through some old photo albums when I came across a series of Christmas photos. The tree in the photos was the most sparse, bedraggled thing, and I teased my mom; "I hope you didn't pay too much for this tree!"

"Oh, we didn't. Don't you remember? That is the tree you guys cut down on your own..."

With our child's eyes, it had been the fullest, most fragrant tree in the history of Christmas. What is the moral of this story? Football and children don't mix? Childhood is magical? Ax and saw safety;  think of all the things that could have gone wrong!  I don't know really, mostly I just a little bit wish  I could one day send my  kids out with an ax and a saw and let them have an adventure, and later, a story to tell.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


I cannot help you not be late. I have not figured out the virtue of punctuality whilst caring for and toting about small children. But what I can give to you this Advent season are these:

Ambiguous, Legitimate-Sounding, And Technically Not-Lies, Reasons For Being Late

1) There was an environmental spill in the area (There was poop....everywhere.....the kind that needed a bath tub and soap and a whole new set of clothes for all involved.)

2) We were experiencing a slight scheduling conflict (Every single child was asleep and the house was blessedly silent and there was no way I was going to wreck that situation until the very last minute possible, even to be on time. Sorry....kinda.)

3) I was involved in an intense project and lost track of time (I was just going to have a quick little nursing sesh with the bebe before hopping in the car but I got side-tracked by her sweet milky smell and her round cheeks and pudgy wrist chub and her big, beautiful eyes gazing up at me and before I knew it, 20 minutes had gone by.)

4) We had some car trouble (No one would get in their car seat with out the power of some WWF-style wrestling moves.)

5. We had an impromptu therapy appointment go over-time (The almost three year old was losing his mind over some perceived slight and could not be induced to put on shoes or underwear and the tantrum needed a strong and nurturing mothering touch and small exorcism to reach a satisfying denouement that included shoes, undies, and getting in a motor vehicle.)

6. There was...a situation..... (All hell was breaking lose and I'm not even sure how we're all still alive and smiling and HERE. We're here, isn't that the important thing?)

And then there's always the act-confident-don't-offer-any-excuses technique whereby your confidence tricks the people waiting for you into thinking you weren't really late at all and that you meant to arrive at the time you arrived and it was all part of your well-executed plans. I'm still perfecting that one.