Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

CHAGO




He was born only 2 minutes after his sister, at 6:20pm on St. Patty's Day.  But not by choice.  He had so lodged himself beneath my right ribcage that he'd already fractured one of my ribs and had two O.B.s up on their knees on the operating table pulling and tugging to get him out of there.  We didn't think he was ever going to come out.  And I remember wondering how much longer he could realistically live in there if they couldn't dislodge him.  I mean, his sister had already punched out enough room for him to double in size, so I guess, theoretically, he could've stayed until he was 15 pounds at least -- what is that typically, 3 months old?

And here he is at 5, still and always prefering to stay home in his jammies all day with a warm cup of leche and a good book.

Monday, December 22, 2008

SAIA


She was 7 lbs 1 oz when she was born. Our first-born, at 6:18pm on St. Patrick's Day, at 40 weeks. I could only have imagined then the beauty she was going to become. I'm awed every day by her strength. Genuinely floored by her natural maternal instincts. And inspired daily by her insightful introspectiveness...at 5! She's more than I could have ever hoped for in a daughter and is everything I never knew I needed as a mother.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

OH, CHRISTMAS TREE (TIMES TWO, OF COURSE)

I'm ashamed to admit that the kids have made waaaaay more progress on their own little trees than I have.



Nothing like a little friendly competition to get the juices flowing, though. My pics coming soon!

Monday, December 15, 2008

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH (or is it?)

"Will there be anything else, Ma'm?" the cheery checker at Michael's says as I stack another 4 strands of prelit garland on the counter.

"No, thanks," I mutter, "that should do it for now."

And then Saia (aka, the voice of Amy when Amy's not around) chimes in with "MAMA!"

"What, baby?" I say a little startled by her tone.

"What are you doing? You already have a lot of garland at home."

"Oh, I know, honey, but really, you can never have too much prelit garland," I chuckle as the cashier prints out my 4-foot-long receipt.

"But where are you going to put it, Mom?" she prods.

"Oh...I'm not sure yet, baby," I stammer.

"Well, then, you don't need it."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

THE OH-SO-VERY-UNGREEN CHRISTMAS TREE HUNT!

I know, I know, we should buy an artificial tree. Like Jessica Alba, we should be, with her fake grass and refurbished vintage furniture. But we lovelovelove to go out to the Christmas tree farms. What with the Santa train and the elves' workshop and the free hot apple cider and the fake snow blasting out of the vent from the top of the barn. How could you NOT like this tradition?

So, off we went yesterday, with Mommy doing a pretty great job of only being semi-Nazi-ish with her insatiable need to beat our time from last year -- find, cut, and haul home the perfect tree all before noon. And while we didn't break the record, we did a fairly decent job, found us a chubby little tree (only a foot or so taller than Mommy), and left the lot before the rain came down.

Here are a couple of shots. You can see all the rest of the tree-hunting adventure in all it's glory here: Christmas Tree Hunt 2008 Pics.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

NOTHING MUCH


Starbucks' tall-strawberry-and-cream-no-whip. From the gods, I tell ya. Mmmm....

Friday, December 12, 2008

TOTALLY OBLIGATORY

Don't like the mall.  Don't like the lines.  Don't ever like the cheesy Santas they pick.  And hatehatehate the customer service this time of year.  But we did it.  And here it is.

Of particular note...the big red guy's blinging buckle!!! Saia's totally scuffed maryjanes (she's such a little tomboy). And Chago's scarecrowish little body all contorted and squeezed together like a Twizzler. But at least in this shot he wasn't scratching his jalapeno.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

NOT QUITE 100%

"Mama," says Saia afterschool one day. "Why don't we have a menorah in our house?"

"Well, babe, we're not Jewish," I begin, expecting to have to navigate through a very long and detailed explanation about religion.

"Oh, yeah," she says.  "Jenna is Jewish."

"Is she?" I ask.

"Yeah, and Charlotte is only half Jewish," she continues. "And half French."

"Oh?"

"But Riley, you remember Riley, Mama?" she asks.

"Mm-hm," I say.

"She's the best...because she's half Jewish AND half Christmas."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

DID YOU CALL IN GAY (OR GAY FRIENDLY) TODAY?


The Day Without a Gay mission statement reads:
"Gays, lesbians, and straight allies plan to call in “gay” to volunteer within their local LGBT communities on December 10, 2008 to protest passage of anti-gay constitutional amendments in Arizona, Florida, and California. Wherever possible, gay Americans and allies plan to volunteer for local gay and civil rights organizations across the country through a brand new national database at www.daywithoutagay.wetpaint.org.
Every day since Election Day, thousands have protested up and down streets in cities across California, including in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and Sacramento. A national, grassroots coalition of LGBT activists have followed in their footsteps. Now gay citizens and their allies are teaming up to show America and the world the compassion, the love, and the posititve spirit of the gay community through service.
On December 10, 2008 the gay community will take a historic stance against hatred by donating their time to a variety of different causes in order to raise public awareness of the need for LGBT equality in marriage and in other civil rights."
Personally, I'm still working through where I stand on the use and abuse of marriage as a general societal institution, but the fact that we're being discriminated against from a legal standpoint based on personal biases is just wrong, and for that I will stand up.

I really don't know what kind of impact this is actually going to have -- or how anybody could possibly even measure it. I don't particularly like the idea of protesting for the sake of protesting, and personally feel that this effort wasn't thought through all that well nor organized very effectively, which is likely how Prop 8 got passed in the first place.

But here it is just the same.

Stay home today if you can and try not to circulate any money.

We do deserve the same basic rights as everyone else. And that alone is worth joining the effort.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Yes, We All Think We're Rockstars!

Okay, think I've finally figured out a way to post this so that you can view it without it completely crashing your system.


September 2008

Thanks for the footage, Tia Sonia!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Coming Soon to a Theater Near You

"Morning, papa," I said this morning when he crawled into bed. 

"How'd you sleep? Did you have any dreams?"

"Nah," he says. "I only had previews."

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Gift That Keeps on Clucking

Out braving the mall today to get pics with Santa and pick up a few gifts when we asked the kids what they wanted to get their Mema since she's going to be able to spend the holidays with us again this year (yay!). Saia, of course, knew right away. She's very observant, that one. She's gonna be one of those great gift givers. It was just a matter of finding the right one (and no, can't tell you since Mema frequents the blog, too, but, yes, she found exactly what she was looking for).

Chago took a little longer to think about it. "Let me try to picture Mema in my head," he said. And he closed his eyes, trying to remember what Mema liked. What she wore. What she ate. Which inevitably led him to decide that he wanted to get her a rottisiere chicken from Safeway.

Friday, December 05, 2008

NO, NO, NOT YET!

Big day today all the way around.

SAIA
Saia's FINALLY got a loose front tooth.  She's been asking for a year, for crissakes!  Even her little friends at preschool were losing teeth left and right.  And now her kindergarten friends are practically all gummy bears.  But knowing this girl's stubborn streak, it'll probably take her just as long for it to finally come out.  Probably just as well anyway because with inflation being what it is, I'll definitely need a job to support this next milestone.

CHAGO
Chago FINALLY agreed to try the drop-off at school.  It's essentially a safety service provided by volunteer parents who stand out front and help get your kids out of the vehicle and escort them onto the playground to help reduce the parking lot congestion and the consequential near accidents with parents and kids running across the parking lot to beat the morning bell.  It's particularly useful on rainy days or on days we're running especially late.

Anyway...Saia's been wanting to try it out since Day 1.  And she works on him every single day on the way to school.  "Come on, Bubba, you can do it," she'll say.  And he'll toss it around for 20 minutes or so and then back out at the last minute, and she's just crushed every time.  For her, it's a symbol of growing up.  All the big kids go through the drop-off.  Only the little little kids have their parents walking them onto the playground.  For him, it's his worst nightmare: A total stranger reaching into the vehicle and taking him from his mother.

But whether she just finally wore him down (an inherited trait, Amy says), or he was in a particularly good mood because he got to wear his Santa hat to school today, he agreed.  And when the volunteer parent opened his door (because he's closest to the curb), and I thought for certain that he was gonna back out again, and then he unbuckled himself and stood up and kissed me on the cheek and said "Bye, Mom!", I think my heart just about broke.

I don't really think I'm ready for this.  I want my babies back.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Reading in IMAX

Listening to Chago read his word list at the end of his school book last night:

"past...pond...distress...raft..."

When he gets to the exact middle of the page (the words are laid out like a 10 x 10 table ), he gets to the word "if" and stops.

"What's wrong, Bubba? You know that word," I prompt.

He stares and stares, tilting his head a little to the left, and then turns to me and says, "but this word looks strange."

"Strange how?" I ask.

"It looks like it's popping right off of the page," he says.

And when I look closer, and squat down a little, and tilt my head a little to the left, I can kind of see what he's saying.  It's the smallest word in the list, so it's got the most white space surrounding it, which makes it almost appear 3D.  It was actually kind of cool.

And I just envy his ability to see the world like that all the time.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

YES, WE DO BLEED RED & GREEN

Under the guise of a reward for a good day at school on Monday, we pulled all of the Christmas boxes out of storage and tore into them like a pack of hungry wolves.  The cinnamon and cloves and anise immediately filled the air.  And glitter, somehow, was magically everywhere.  It was like we were suddenly living in a snowglobe.  And as we pulled out our traditional decorations and giggled over some of the homemade trinkets from years past, the kids started stacking up the Christmas books and movies and CDs in the order they intended to pour through them.  Oh, did I forget to mention that part?  Yes, well, you see, we...well...we hold them hostage -- the stories and songs, not the kids.  

They get boxed back up every year along with any Christmas-themed stuffed animals and don't see the light of day again until the weekend after Thanksgiving (again, just to be clear, not the kids).  We don't tell any of the Christmas stories or even hum a single Christmas song note until the next December either, so it's like opening a giant nitrogen filled santa-in-the-box when the season finally rolls around again.  Christmas literally explodes into our home, erupting from the green and red plastic tubs and filling every nook and cranny of our lives until the tree finally (and much to our dismay) comes down after el Dia de Los Reyes Magos on January 6th. 

The kids, you see, are cursed -- having inherited from me (and I come by it honestly, too) a vigorous (some -- Amy -- might say fanatical) love of all things Christmas.  

The very thought of December peeking right around the corner made what should've been a very long relaxing weekend just drag on and on and on for me.  And at the very moment we changed the calendars on Monday morning, down came the fall leaves and berries wreath, away went the colorful gourds and Indian corn, and gone is all evidence that we actually do NOT live directly on the North Pole.  

I immediately reset my radio stations to the all-Christmas-music-all-the-time ones that drive Amy absolutely loopy.  We sing Rudolph and Santa Clause is Coming to Town to and from school.  We watch every black-and-white movie we can find and are totally sold by the ABC Family 25 Days of Christmas marketing campaign.  We tape any and all Christmas movie program guides to the fridge, have written our Christmas lists in triplicate, and wear Santa hats, elf hats, and reindeer antlers as part of our everyday attire.

So, you see, you'll understand now why it came as such an utter, and I don't believe it's an overexaggeration to say, terrifying shock to hear our beautiful little girl reach into the DVD pile for a movie last night and holler excitedly at the top of her lungs, "MAMA, PLEASE, PRETTY PLEASE CAN WE WATCH THE CORPORATE EXPRESS NOW?!?!?!?"

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Well, we always knew he was hard-headed

So, I'm making dinner last night. Amy's watching football. Saia and Chago are wrestling (again!) in the hallway when we hear a huge THUD!  Followed immediately by a piercing screech.  And then a very calm Saia saying, "Mom, Chago's hurt."  (Just amazing when they decide it's time to exaggerate and when to understate.)

But yes, he was hurt. Slammed his head into the corner of the bannister -- just like she did this past summer.  And he ended up with a cut that looked almost exactly like hers, just north by about 3 inches.  I mean, I know they're twins, but come on!

So, we frozen-corned him for 30 minutes on and off.  He stopped crying almost immediately, which surprised us all, but then the second he happened to swipe his hand across his hair and saw the blood on his fingers he burst into fresh squeals and screams.  But we got him all cleaned up and he hardly even had a bump.  The cut was more of a slice than a deep wound.  So, we liquid bandaged him and monitored him for the next 2 hours.  No headaches.  No throbbing.  And he seemed to sleep well, except for a really dreadful dream about his sister -- which, I guess, is to be expected.

And today, he's all back to normal.  His biggest fear, it seems, was whether I was going to have to cut his hair.  (Which I didn't.)

Monday, December 01, 2008

His Story

I know I've posted about this before, and will have to check the archives to confirm, but...

Was singing Rudolph to Chago last night (yes, I know, it was technically still November, but I guess I'm just as excited as they are for the season to begin so I'm just a big softie about these things) and we got to the end of the song - "you'll go down in hiiiisssttttoooory" when Chago says, "Who's story, Mom? Rudolph's?"

"What story, Bubba?"

"HIS!" he says. "Do they mean Rudolph?"

"Oh, no, Papa," I explain. "It's history not HIS story."

"Well then, what's history?" he asks, "because all my life I thought it was HIS story."

"Well, it's all the things that have happened in the past," I begin.

"So," he glances sideways at me with that now familiar look of condescension on his face, "how is that different?"