Monday, February 28, 2011

A blog challenge

I've been thinking about how to keep this interesting and found a great idea on another blog I like reading.  So with thanks to Bringing Up Bumble, I'm going to try to do a post a month, on the topics below.  I really like (most) of the topics, and am looking forward to finding a really consistent voice in them.  I'm not doing the posts that require a pic of myself, though, since I man the camera at our house and consequently... those pics don't exist!  The YouTube video will be an iPhone video, and it won't be going on YouTube, since Hubbie is hard core about internet privacy and, well, he knows a lot more about it than I do, so I listen.  That's why I'm not using any of our real names here, either.

Day 1.  I have an x-month old and already I'm thinking: I'm going to miss him/her at this age!  Have you felt that way, and what age do you miss most?
Day 2.  What makes you uniquely you?
Day 3.  A photo that makes you happy.
Day 4. Style 31. Post a pic of you in your favorite outfit.
Day 5. Write a blog thanking someone who has made your heart come alive.
Day 6. Your m
ost embarrassing moment
Day 7.
Do you believe in the "cry until he sleeps" method?
Day 8. Have a beauty secret (e.g. hair tip, make up tip)? Share, please!
Day 9. What virtues do you value in yourself?
Day 10.
What are some of your favorite products, and what foundation/powder do you wear?
Day 11. Post a recipe. Or if you don't cook, try a new recipe and write about how it turned out (pictures please!).
Day 12. Write about what wears you out as a woman.
Day 13.
A YouTube video.
Day 14. Style 31. Post an outfit pic!
Day 15.
What do you wish for?
Day 16. How old was baby when he started sleeping through the night and how did you do this?
Day 17. Write about 3 things that make you happy.
Day 18. If you could, what would you tell yourself before you had your baby?
Day 19. Write about your significant other.
Day 20. Write about your job and why you love it or hate it.
Day 21. Write about your most vivid childhood memory. Post a picture of you taken over ten years ago.
Day 22.
What did you do today?
Day 23.
Who's your celebrity look alike?
Day 24. What is God teaching you presently?
Day 25. Style 31. Post a pic of your favorite comfy clothes.
Day 26. What do you hope your grandchildren will say about you someday when you are gone?
Day 27. Who are your favorite bloggers?
Day 28. Write about your insecurities as a woman.
Day 29. Your day, in great detail.
Day 30.
What do you think is going to happen to you after you die?
Day 31. Your favorite quote.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

And the rest of the weekend...

I feel like we had a pretty chill weekend.  But when I list out what we actually did, it was pretty busy.  And that makes me proud, actually.  That we had lots of experiences without feeling hassled.  It's a lot of what I'm shooting for lately.  Aside from Princesses on Ice, our other big moment was Lion's first trip to the Emergency Room.  The kid is ridiculously physical, so I knew it was coming, but I sort of expected to get past his first birthday.  Nope. 

Sunday morning, in the midst of the usual slow getting moving, Hubbie put Lion up on the bed.  To keep him away from the panic button, which is his new target du jour.  Did you know our house had a panic button?  Neither did we.  We knew we had two buttons and a switch low on the wall that had never done anything.  But apparently when pushed in a certain order (that only Lion knows), they act as a panic button.  We learned this last week when Lion activated it.  Now THAT was exciting.  We had to turn it off at the fuse box, since it seems the alarm doesn't even have to be on for it to work.  Lovely.

So now every time he's in our room, Lion heads straight for the panic button.  And Hubbie, hoping to avoid a repeat, put him up on the bed.  Except Lion still headed for the panic button, by going head-first off the bed.  The goose-egg turned up quickly with a bleeding scratch to the forehead.  I was going to be calm about it (I swear!)" until I saw blood underneath his nose.  Petrified that something in his head was now bleeding out his nose, we went straight to the ER.  Freaking completely out.

They were lovely and helpful and quick (relatively).  And agreed that a nosebleed could have been a really bad sign.  Except in this case, it just meant he had also scratched himself under the nose.  So false alarm.  I know Hubbie thinks I overreact to these things, but I have NO qualms about a better-safe-than-sorry posture to medical care.  Period.  No questions asked.  And I don't feel stupid about it, I feel relieved.  And when Monkey and I did her gratefuls that night, she was grateful he was okay.  And I was, too.
This was one of those wonderful, event and sometimes drama-filled weekends.  Lots going on, but it's all blurring together in my head.  All in all, pretty successful and fun. 

I took Monkey to Princesses on Ice this weekend.  She's never been the Princessy type, but she looooves Belle from Beauty and the Beast.  And I love figure skating and sort of hope she will, too, someday, so I thought this would be fun.  And it was.  We rode the metro, which she adores, and I totally gave in to the crass Disney commercialism which abounded.  Lost a lot of respect for Disney, actually.  They resorted to every parent-hated sales strategy there is, including parading light-up toys made of crap Chinese plastic and super-sugary brightly colored nasty not-really-food up and down the aisles during every pause.  There was no escaping it.  And the toy I ultimately sprung for - a Barbie knock-off of Belle - is total trash.  Twenty-two dollars of I'm embarrassed my kid owns this trash.  Belle's dress might as well be made of paper, her hair is nasty, and her head comes off a few times a day.  The shoes she came with don't fit.  Are just too small.... it's bizarre.  Why would you even provide shoes for a doll that will NEVER FIT on the doll's foot?!?  So I'll tred carefully around Disney in the future, which is sad.

Anyway, we really had a lovely time, overall.  It really hit me very hard, actually, going to this big show with her.  So many people, such chaos, but such flutters in her little heart over the excitement.  And when we walked into the arena and the light were low, and Tinkerbell was already skating and we hurried down the dark stairs so we wouldn't miss a single minute of it.... I started to cry.  Happy tears.  For some reason it was all very overwhelming and felt like a huge childhood milestone.  She's just such a KID now.  I was just bursting with who knows what?  Sappiness?  Totally.  It was great.  I know, that's hugely hypocritical.  Can I love the experience of the trashy show but hate the trash?  Love the game but hate the player?  For now, I'm okay with that.  But the next movie I introduce her to will probably be Pixar.  :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

It's funny.  While Monkey was clearly glad to have her Dad around this weekend, she also did a lot of acting up.  When it's just me, life is very calm, because I've learned not to take very much on when I'm outnumbered.  But with him back this weekend, we went back to our usual errand running.  Plus Daddy doesn't really lend himself to planning - that's more my thing - and we never stick to the kids' nap or food schedules, invariably causing meltdowns.  Plus he really wanted to have time with her, so I took Lion most of the weekend while they went to the playground, rode bikes, etc.  And while I know she enjoyed that time, she also tends to do better with some Mommy one-on-one.  I'm assuming the combination of things contributed to her tough weekend, behaviorally.  But today is our afternoon together, so hopefully we'll get things back on track.  Plus Hubbie left yesterday for a three day trip, so we're back to our super calm survival mode anyway.  Although not without a difficult transition back into single parenting as the kids see the changes again.  Just more evidence that what we need is more calm, more contemplation and quality time, and less busy busy.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Oh. My. GAWD.

Hubbie isn't working this weekend.

[pause] [pause] [pause]

Apparently they finished the document and are taking a quick breather before moving on to build the oral presentation. Overwhelmed with riches. Don't even know what to do with myself. Ourselves. Who only knows. Giddy.

Filling the weekend

I just looked at the calendar and realized we have NO plans this weekend.  Not a one.  No birthday parties, no errand obligations, nada.  I sort of don't know what to do with myself, although with hubbie's work-a-thon 2011 ongoing, it's more like what to do with myself and two small children in tow.  I'd really like to go furniture hunting, but that sounds like a bad idea, no?

With Lion's Christening coming up (if we don't reschedule it... no one seems able to come!), the thought of having people to our house is inspiring some frantic pondering about sprucing things up.  I love that we took our time finishing the interior of the house... especially since I've been really unhappy with some things I rushed to get down when we first moved in.  How we use the house has changed SO much.  I have some regrets, and when it comes to furniture purchases, that STINKS.  But we've been here for over six years now (can it be??), and I've never been happy with the living room, among others.  And the years of acquisition of kid stuff with no time to organize it haven't helped. 

If I could only do something about the monster, formal sofa we inherited from the in-laws.  It's lovely and unique, and we dropped a bunch of money reupholstering it (one regret).  But formal is all wrong for our lives.  I have no idea how to work around it.  But I think if I find two relatively neutral and traditional occasional chairs to go opposite it, it will at least complete the room and hopefully not limit us in our ability to use them again later when we can plan to really get the room the way we want it.  Maybe this should contribute to the decision to reschedule?  If we do, that gives me more time to find the chairs!  Hee hee.

But seriously, we haven't even decided on a Godfather, and NONE of his biological Aunts and Uncles can be there.  Neither can one Grandparent.  Not an auspicious start.  Not that it has to be a big shindig, but it's such a nice time to give people an excuse to get together.  They haven't seen him in so long!  Methinks this is one of those decisions I actually need Hubbie's input to make, though, and he's impossible to reach.  That's my excuse.

Gosh I love childcare arrangements.

Are you kidding?  Our nanny texts yesterday morning that she's got a stomach bug.  Hubbie is still working constantly with no flex, and I'm still way negative on my leave from taking maternity leave.  So any time I don't work I don't get paid.  And I need to get paid.  So I get Monkey a playdate after school until 3pm, but what about the Lion?  We have grandparents in the area, so they can bail us out sometimes.  But Granddad doesn't think he's up for the Lion... too active.  And Mimi has an appointment she can't move.  So I just lost a day of work. 

Granted, it was a nice day.  Got to spend some quality time with Lion, visit with some of the other Moms, and then pick Monkey up myself, which she loves.  Cancelled the playdate after realizing I'd have to be home anyway.)  Ran some errands and did laundry.

But again, this morning with the scramble.  Mimi coming over to play with Lion.  Monkey getting picked up by Granddad.  How to get him a carseat?  Lay out everything for Mimi.  Get to work.... 2 hours late and after boss arrives so I'm totally busted.

Balance is a crock.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Groove going again.

I finally feel like I'm getting a groove going with this parenting-solo thing.  I'm not going to call it single parenting, because I think that a huge part of what makes that difficult is living on a single income.  But that's a tangent.  I'm just getting the hang of things after two-plus months.  I no longer dread doing dinner and two bedtimes alone.  I get home, get the download from our nanny, finish dinner with Monkey while feeding Lion and myself.  Then a few minutes of play, or dancing, or Valentine-making before Lion gets plopped into bed.  Monkey hangs out while we do his routine, which is sweet.  Then Monkey to bed herself, relishing her new pajama options. 

What's more, I no longer resent not having anyone to talk to or sit with.  Actually, I'm starting to really enjoy the silence once the kids are in bed.  I get to pick my own TV shows - no more Military Channel! - or even just read quietly in bed without feeling compelled to wring some quality time out of the few hours we get after work.  Or last night, when I had a marathon conversation with an old friend that was seriously invigorating.  I never would have done that if hubbie had been home.  Tonight I may DVR a movie that hubbie NEVER would have gone in for.  Something sensitive and gushy.  Or (gasp) introspective.  Or with subtitles! 

Now, of course, the problem is his life-sucking project is almost over.  This is a great thing, and I'll be glad to have him back.  But I will soon have to give up my new found independence, just when I've grown to appreciate it.  Isn't that the way it always works?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

And we danced.

Monkey and I danced the entire Nutcracker last night.  With our own choreography, of course.  She's starting to add little flourishes as she dances; delicate hands, swoops, finger movements.  We took turns flitting around the living room, and sometimes added a pas de deux (sp?) with a bear, a flower, or Mickey Mouse.  So precious.  Wish I had pictures to share, but I was needed as a dancer.

Both of her Grandmothers took ballet pretty seriously.  Moi, not so much, although I have always loved the act of totally amateur dancing.  I'm starting to suspect it skips a generation.  I may have years of (the cutest little) leotards ahead of me...

Trying to be grateful.

I'm trying really hard to be grateful these days.  It's been a really hard year.  Post-partum depression, multiple child care disasters, significant health worries about kids, and husband working seven days a week until after midnight.  My work leadership changed, and the new folks don't support alternative schedules or telework, so while I've added a second child and rarely have the support of a spouse, I have also gone way, way backward on the flexibility I need, and used to have, to juggle it all.  We've also both had pay freezes - mine will continue for several years, and he actually made less this year.  So we've added a second child and a full time nanny but have less to cover it.  We had always expected to put the kids in private school - that's how we both grew up and we aren't thrilled with our public option - but that's looking unlikely.

I can cut back budgets, juggle, work longer after bedtime, etc, but there are two things that come out of this that I'm really struggling with. The school thing is big for me.  Education has always been a HUGE priority.  The other is that I've always wanted three kids.  I don't feel like our family is complete yet, deep down in my gut.  Someone is missing.  But with money and schedules already tight, three seems like a bad idea.  And would make private schools for any of them much further out of reach.  I'm not young enough to believe we can wait several years, hope things get better, and try later.  This is really, really hard for me. 

BUT.  And this is a big, big 'but.'  I have two healthy, amazing kids.  We have two relatively stable jobs.  We have a nice roof over our heads, and are not in fear of ever being hungry.  We live in a safe, friendly neighborhood.  I know all this.  It's why I'm in public policy, frankly, and why I focus on low-income programs.  We are really, really lucky.  And then I think more broadly - around the world.  I look at recent events in Egypt, or anywhere there is ongoing conflict.  And we are so blessed to not know any of those conditions.  So we're lucky.  And I should quit feeling frustrated by the things I thought my life would be.  Because what we do have is the most important.  It's just hard to see sometimes.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Good days.

I finally got to take my afternoon with Monkey last Friday. It's supposed to be on Mondays, but last week at work was sort of crazy and I had to rearrange it twice. But in the end, we had a GREAT day. We had lovely lunch with one of her friends and her Mom and brother. Monkey tried to get her friend to eat sushi (Monkey LOVES sushi), but that was not happening. Then we went to Home Goods to get her a trash can for her room - her request - and had such a fun time exploring the store and debating new potholders. I see many fun girl shopping trips in our future. We got her an adorable, neon pink trash can with a flip-up top on a foot lever. She loves it. Amazing how little things can be so important. We went home and played board games, snuggled, chatted, and just generally had a great time. It was a truly heart warming day, one that gives me a glimmer of hope that we're moving out of the terrible threes and into a kinder, gentler four. I've always said that each new age and stage is better than the last, but three and half has been the first exception to that.

Then, even though Daddy worked all weekend again, we still managed to eek out a pretty good weekend. Except that many, many people are RSVPing no to Lion's 1st birthday/baptism fete. I know we sent out invitations late, but I thought we'd at least managed to warn the key players. Apparently not. May have to reschedule, which would put it really close to Monkey's birthday party, since our church doesn't do baptisms over Lent. Ugh. I don't have it in me to do any more planning/special projects. I need an assistant - anyone interested?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

By a thread

I'm having one of those weeks (okay, it's been more than a week) when I feel like I'm barely hanging on. Hubbie is totally MIA for a work project, has been for weeks, and will be for a few weeks more. This single parenting thing STINKS, people. Seriously hard. I have tried to tell every single parent I know just how awesome I think they are.

Regardless, when I got sick a little over a week ago, I went completely militant about not spreading germs. Pretty much slept for two days straight, even though I don't have any sick leave. Then last Thursday Lion went super cranktastic and started running a fever. Bronchitis AND an ear infection. How long had THAT been coming on that I didn't even notice? I feel like a bad, bad Mommy that he obviously was sick several days (at least) before we caught it, but the pediatrician kindly reassured me I must have a child with a high pain threshold. (I always thought that would be a good thing, but no.)

Friday night, from Monkey's room, comes the cough. The hacking, seal-barking croup cough. So with me barely back on my feet and committed to speaking about four hours away on Saturday, both kids are down. We went anyway, since we all needed a change of pace, and we thought four hours in a warmer direction and some fresh air might be good for everyone. Instead, my kids made the hotel their own personal infirmary and laid in bed for two days straight in another state. Monkey was delighted. Through the fever, she kept raving about how "they bring food to my BED." Child loves room service. go figure.

Anyway, long story short, Monkey is finally back at school today after over a week, Lion is better but still on the clingy, finicky side, and husband is sick, but working through it. Of course. And I'm exhausted. Two coughing kids means I don't sleep for worrying, and that isn't the greatest way to get better yourself. Then I got food poisoning. And now I'm a zombie. Don't really want to eat, but am getting weak for lack of it. And really, desperately need a full night sleep. Maybe tonight? Wish me luck.

Melting Mommy

New day, no signs of the stomach bug yet! Child from yesterday apparently stayed at school all day. Not cool.

But in other, better news, I was up for hours in the middle of the night with Baby Lion! Why, WHY?!? is that good news? Because when I went in to check on him at midnight, he woke and popped up his little, adorable, super-light-sleeping head. This isn't news, and it happens quite a bit. And I know full well to just lay him back down and slip silently out of the room so he'll go back to sleep. But last night he popped up and said "Ma. Ma." And I picked him up. Had to do it. Couldn't control myself. I knew he could utter the syllables, but he called me Mama! (This is a first, clearly.)

So we spent a good while snuggling in the dark, with me saying "You SAID it! YOU SAID IT!" Which, in hindsight, probably also did not promote his return to sleep. Oh, well. I'm a zombie today, but it was worth it.

I meddled today

I don't like meddling. Or conflict in general. But today, for unknown reason, I felt empowered. So when I dropped Monkey at school and another child volunteered he had puked last night (after having been out with a stomach bug), and his nanny confirmed he still felt terribly but his parents said he should go to school, I felt justified. Went to Head of school, recounted story, and said he needed to go home. Why does that make me feel mean? Poor boy should have been home recuperating and I canNOT handle the stomach flu in my house right now. Or ever, really, when it should have been avoided. The school has a very clear policy on this, by the way.

Blech. Fingers crossed Monkey doesn't get sick. Not to mention the Lion. Cannot handle the idea of Baby Lion puking. I was tempted to tell Monkey not to play with him today, but figured that would have been cruel to the poor kid. No need to make his day any harder than it already was. Have I mentioned I hate conflict?

"Irritable and Difficult"

Just got off the phone with Monkey's teacher. I had been dreading this conversation ever since our nanny told me (teacher told her) it was coming. Particularly since Monkey has been a total wreck for the past four days. Worst.Monkey.Ever. Banshee screaming like I've never seen it - actually left me shaking the first time (it's only been twice).

I'm rarely at a Total Loss for how to deal with her, but I was. And so when our nanny told me the teacher would be calling, all I could think was Please, God, do Not let Monkey have done that at school. Turns out it's just been a little testing of the new teacher. Ha. That's nothing. Test away, Monkey. We have you covered.

But I do need to concoct a strategy in my head for how to mange these crazy outbursts, or she will quickly turn into one of THOSE children. I bought four books off of Amazon. Parenting with Love and Logic, Kazdin Method, 1-2-3 Magic, and How to Talk So Children Will Listen.... Now I have to find time to read them??? Internet search efforts to figure out which is most worth my time have failed.

Hubbie is working like a crazy man, rarely home before bedtime even once a week and gone most weekends. So I don't blame her for acting out - everything is off kilter. Plus yours truly is super stressed out for all the single parenting, and probably not being the most consistent of disciplinarians. But, ugh. I love and value my time with them so much, and it kills me when it is unpleasant, high-conflict, I'd rather-be-at-work time.

Baby Lion

This is my sweet, sweet boy. Those big blue eyes take it all in. He's sooo physically active, but calm nonetheless. My mellow child - how did THAT happen? He's persistent, but methodical. He chooses his 'words' carefully, but when he decides to be vocal, look out.

I call him my Lion. He was a Lion (not cowardly!) to his sister's Dorothy for Halloween, and it stuck. Mostly because he pursues whatever he has his eye on. Usually electronics or stairs. Or anything that splashes. Bathroom doors stay shut, since he a) climbs into the tub, b) thinks the toilet seat is a teething ring, and c) SPLASHES.

He identifies that phone from across the room, and moves steadily to claim it. Cannot be distracted. Overcomes obstacles in his path cleanly, silently sneaking up on it until it's in his jaws, before you even knew he was there. Immediately zeroes in on any moving object like he's been programmed for it.

He can be so serious. I'm still getting to know him, but he's his own man. He greets Mommy in the morning with a gleeful, quiet smile. Then starts to climb out of his crib.

My Monkey

My Monkey will be 4 in March. She earned her nicknamed in the womb, when she was so active she could make my necklace dance in meetings. When she was an itty bitty baby, we knew she was sound, super-sound asleep when that last right foot would finally fall still. Even now she is BUSY. Now she jumps and runs and wants to hang upside down or be thrown or tickled or somehow be always in the throes of an extreme. Until, of course, the independent Monkey emerges. Imagining. Then she doesn't need dolls, or toys, or people. Dinner goes uneaten because the Mommy spoon and the Daddy fork are taking baby peas and nuggets on a walk around the plate. She is a creator, a nurturer, an over-enthusiastic hugger. Poor baby brother gets over-hugged ALL the time. Increasingly, we get invited, maybe demanded, to enter her worlds. I am Daddy (or Grammy) to her role as Mommy, or teacher. Lately, I am the Beast to her Beauty.

She is fiery and strong. Oh, my. Firecracker. She knows her mind, and her play is intense. It cannot be interrupted. She is my 'little bit' - always the smallest of her friends but certain she is the biggest. What do you say to the not-even-on-the-growth charts child who declares she is bigger than Daddy? She is so darn cute. Breath-catchingly poised and lovely. I wish strangers would stop saying it, because that isn't what I want her to value about herself, but it is true. A 23 year-old smiles back in her preschool photo; coy and cynical portrait on the playground.
Discipline will be an issue (umm, o.k., it is already)... that much is more obvious each day and I struggle to find effective methods that respect her intelligence and protect her spirit. More on that later. Much, much more, I'm sure. I don't intend to let our mother-daughter bond evolve into a battle of wills.

She is my heart. Who knew I could love something this, this much or with this purpose? She is my deepest insides - the best possible incarnation of me and I know now the reason I am Here. She has all the possibility in the world, and I am constantly cowed by the responsibility of helping her make the most of it. But still, she has always led us. She taught me from the very beginning that I am NOT in control. She knows what she needs, in the big sense, of course, and Mommy can only guide. Occassionally steer. Definitely not row. Monkey rows her own boat.

Overdoing it. Easy does it.

So I'm back.  Trying to restart this blog thing originally initiated about four years ago.  Doing too much.  Trying to refocus my OCD on doing a limited number of things with intention.  And calm.  I owe the kids that much.  Ironically, a lot of how I want to do that is by taking on something new - this.  It's therapeutic, and let's me reflect on how well I'm doing.  So here goes.

"You're spread too thin."  I think the first time I heard this was in middle school. It's been a theme. Our wonderful nanny, Tammy, who lived with us for a few years when I was a young teenager, visited a few months back and said she learned how to multi-task from me. I'm not sure I take that as a compliment, especially since I've been thinking a lot about the quality of my non-work time. This is a really new thing for me. In school, at work, and in housework, time spent is all about how productive you can be, right? I'm "results-oriented," in public policy lingo. And I'm really good at it.

I'm also a ridiculous over-researcher and contingency planner. My current project is summer camp. My spreadsheet has 9 camp options, sortable by price, dates, location, key activities, etc. Next year will be kindergarten apps for one and preschool apps for the other. Hold on to your hats.

Thing is, "results-oriented" and over-researching don't really translate into quality time with my kids. And I get SO little time with them, it just has to be high quality. So I resolve to stop multi-tasking them. No checking iphone email while we hang out, no running errands during my hard-fought one afternoon a week with Monkey. I'm sure there will be exceptions, but I want to be fully engaged.

So this blog is meant to force me to reflect. Slow down. Remember and process. Live instead of plan. Plus be a vehicle to talk things out. Dear Husband doesn't really relate to my need to reflect on and debate all the variables the way I do, and since friends have their own lives to lead (sniff) and can't really spend all day on the phone with me rehashing (as we did in high school), I'm going to use you, dear reader friend, for this purpose.

I think it will be healthy for me, with hopefully some fringe benefits for my family, and maybe (maybe?) entertaining for you in the process? Fingers crossed.

Along came a Lion

 Sweet baby in the hospital.  Day 2, maybe?  Taken with my iphone, believe it or not.
 His first day home; meeting big sis.

 How do you say no to that face?

Already loves everything with wheels.

A lot seems to have happened since...

... I left this blog for lost.  Monkey turned one.  And two.  And three.  She started preschool around two and a half and LOVES it.  And when she was three and a half, she got a baby brother.  Her baby.  Who shall be called Lion.  More on that later.  She's a great big sis, although sometimes the hugs are a wee bit too strong.  Lion's learning to wriggle away, though.  He shows every sign of being able to hold his own.  :)

Here are some of my favorite pics you missed out on, in rough chronological order.

 Dad and Monkey on her first Christmas.
 Monkey's Christening; on her first birthday,
 At the beach.
Little Miss Contemplative.
 4th of July; getting ready to watch the parade.
 We went through a loooong phase where EVERY picture involves trying to make this face.  They're darling.  At least the first 56 were darling.

The ridiculous amount of snow we got in December/January 2009-2010.
 The cutest school photo EVER taken.  Ever.

Someone likes the beach.  And mugging for the camera.


I recently started trying to blog again, but just stumbled upon this abandoned attempt from years ago.  I think I'm going to merge the two, since their topics are the same.  So I'll be posting some posts here that will be dated today, but happened in the past few weeks.  Then I'll be trying to migrate the (very limited) design to this space from the other.