Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Forgotten Son

The other day I was scrolling through my phone's giganto backlog of photos, trying to delete some and therefore make space for...more pictures. After flipping through a couple hundred or so, I came to a few that made me think 'oh, crap' - and not in the oops I made some bad choices while drinking with a camera nearby way. In a much worse way.

It appears as though I forgot my son's birthday.

Now before you think I'm a terrible parent, let me clarify: of course I didn't actually forget his birthday! I just forgot to tell you about it - oops! I guess I kinda got caught up telling you about our completely perfect summer camping trip (which was actually a birthday camping trip), so I never did the whole Birthday Blog thingy that every parent who has a blog does, because we can.

And now, goldangit, I can't really remember any funny or even slightly illuminating details to tell you about it, because it was three months ago! Who remembers things from that long ago?!

So I guess I'll just show you the pictures I found, and maybe they'll help jog my memory. Because of the kids' whackadoodle schedule, these aren't necessarily in order, but I'll pretend they are so you don't get a huge headache. You're welcome!

Jonah specifically requested Bavarian toaster waffles for his birthday breakfast. Uh, easy peasy. After getting all jacked up on syrup and powdered-sugar, he wanted to open his presents. Since Paulie hadn't surfaced yet, we took the party to him. He was delighted!

Being the mind-bogglingly sweet and easy-to-please kid that he is, Jonah decided that he wanted to spend some of his precious birthday time playing games. With his family. *tear of joy!*

He was, of course, victorious

This one, not so much

Then some friends and family came over, and he got some completely awesome presents. Jonah is always super eager to fix things around the house and to help Paulie with any number of his buildery projects, so needless to say he was stoked to get this rad tool box and drill - and I'm thrilled to have yet another man around the house to do stuff for me - woo hoooo!

Finally, Jonah got to round out his birthday by eating the dinner choice of birthday-havers everywhere: Pizza (duh - I mean come on. It's pizza). His sweet Auntie Brandy called up Mary's Pizza Shack and had his favorite pie delivered right to our front door. Damn, woman! You know how to make a kid happy!

He didn't want to share...but he did
This is where I would normally do the sigh, woe is me stuff and muse about how time flies and now my little boy is growing up and bla bla blaaaaa, but since it's been three damn months, I'm kinda used to it now.

Better luck next year.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Growing Up

We reached some milestones this week. I turned 40 and Liam got his first professional haircut in two and a half years.

Jodee threw me an intimate party and hired the world's greatest duet to perform. Remember my post about The Paper Dolls from forever ago where I said I was going to have them play at my 40th birthday party?

Unfortunately they left their mics unattended. My apologies to our guests. I hope you were all drunk enough.

Liam's was a more impressive milestone. Here he is at his last haircut just before Easter 2012:

He never cared for strangers touching his head so his haircuts were infrequent, but after the one in the photo above, his objections to haircuts reached levels that could not be subdued by a lollipop. It fell to me for two years to act as his personal stylist and I'd just started to get pretty good at it, I think.

Not too shabby, right?

Still, he was due for a pro cut. He's really grown up a lot this past summer. I've been finding him open to negotiation (bribery) more than ever before, so I decided to give it a shot.

I knew it was going to take a little courage to face Liam's potentially volcanic reaction to being placed in the hands of a stranger with scissors, so naturally I sent Jodee. She was successful.

We'll get at least six months out of it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Hell Skate

The kids and I found ourselves at Cal Skate yesterday, because what better way is there to spend a freakish 80 degree day in November than indoors, in the dark, risking bodily injury and wondering what is that smell? way too often? We say: None!!

Apparently, dozens of other families had the same idea. Fun times a thousand!

I was actually super excited to hit the rink, because I'm somewhat of a roller skating MASTER, ahem. I even briefly entertained the idea of joining the local Roller Derby team because my favorite thing to do is to skate really really fast! But then I remembered that I don't like to pair skating really really fast with mean, scary ladies and various broken bones, so I let that dream go.

So there we were - skating. The kids wanted me to stay with them but once I saw the pace they were keeping I was like "pshhhh I'm outta here, suckers! vroooooom!"

Evie quickly made some real progress and let go of the wall (but she still couldn't keep up with ol' JanikAttack [my derby name, of course], heh). I was super impressed with her ability to stay upright. Equally impressive were her falling capabilities - she's always been great at falling and getting right back up, because she is a badass.

Totally didn't fall

Roller skating on family day is kind of a challenge when you aren't keeping to the perimeter the whole time as my very intelligent son chose to do. Especially when you like to, um, go fast (did I mention I like to go fast?). There are quite a few obstacles to deal with. Sometimes people decide to skate in the wrong direction without any notice, sometimes (read: often) kids fall in front of you as you're barreling toward them, but worst of all is the slow weave: I'm going to meander to the to the to the ri-- I mean left more....

Basically what I'm saying is you have to keep your mind sharp and pretend you're Jason Bourne in order to get around the rink more than twice without dying or killing a small child. There are so many last-second situation changes to watch out for:

Luckily we all got blisters after about an hour so we decided to just share a crappy soft pretzel and call it a day.

Can't wait till next time!!!

Monday, November 10, 2014

My Last Weekend as a Thirtysomething Dad

I left my twenties as clueless as when I entered them. I went into my thirties with the vague notion that kids would be happening at some point during the decade. I figured I'd probably be pretty into them, but I had no idea to what degree. I don't know that anyone can know what it will really be like until it happens. It's a fantastic surprise.

Since it was my last weekend as a thirtysomething dad, and my thirties will forever be defined as "the decade my sons were born", I figured I should pull it together for one last hurrah. One of the many things I've learned in my struggles is that showing these boys a good time is not hard to do. You put their needs before your own and, at some point, include pizza.

On Friday I did my weekend grocery shopping trip on my lunch break for two reasons: 1) So they wouldn't have to endure the market and 2) so I could "forget" my groceries at the winery, forcing me to go back and retrieve them with the boys in tow. A winery, to a little kid, is basically an enormous play structure with candy that grows on little trees.

Late Harvest Zin

After that it was just your average night at home for dinner, movies, and a thousand piece puzzle.

Serious corner-piece action

Saturday started in the usual way. My 8am wake up call came rumbling down the hall and dove under my covers, demanding French Toast.

Always left
Always right

Now, it's pretty arrogant of me to assume that spending the entire weekend with just dad is every boy's dream, so I got them a girl. Coincidentally I had to host a tour at work for a few hours that afternoon so I had an excuse to invite the cute 15-year-old neighbor over to watch the boys....or more accurately, for them to watch her.

[ Not pictured, because that's creepy ]

That evening I took a big chance and took the boys out to dinner, in public, by myself. They sat, finished their cheeseburgers, fries, and lemonade, and were sweet and happy. Mind blown.


Sunday morning began in the same vein as Saturday, but a little earlier and a little rougher. I'd gotten the boys down early Saturday night and celebrated my window of freedom in my usual fashion. A rookie move.


I needed reinforcements, so it was off to Nana and Papa's house for brunch, followed by feeding farm animals and riding a carousel. We ended the night with pizza.

Finn speaks 'goat'

So, next weekend I'll be "Over the Hill". I prefer to think of it as "On Top of the Hill".

Best birthday present ever

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Love Notes

My daughter is all kinds of loving me lately.

I know this shouldn't be newsworthy information, but it is. Trust me. Since birth this girl has been able to go from sweet, fun-loving goofball of adorableness to head-spinning screamer of everything-is-unfairness at the drop of a hat, much to the bewilderment and confusion of all those around her. When I say 'all those around her' I mean anyone who is nearby to witness her acting this way toward me, because by all accounts I'm the only one with which she shares this joyful tradition.

People tell me that she only lets loose with her tirades around me because I'm her mother, and I'm the only person she feels truly comfortable unloading all of her pent-up wackadoodle emotions onto because she inherently knows that I love her until the end of time no matter damn what. And lets face it, that is true, so lucky me!

I never really know what mood she's going to be in when we encounter each other on any given day - sometimes she wakes up happy, sometimes she wakes up ready to collect heads. Who knows why? No one. No one knows why. We all just have to put on a smile, strap on extra jetpacks of patience and hope for the best. Again, I say 'we all' when I mean 'anyone who has the good fortune to be around me during these moments'.

She loves to mash her face against my face
Over the past several months however, Evie has been totally into me. It. Is. Awesome. She tells me how much she misses me when we aren't together, and I know she isn't just playing me because this is backed up by Paulie and her Aunties, who hear the same. She and I plan elaborate Evie and Mama activities, she insists I sit next to her at the dinner table, she asks if she can help with the dishes, she asks my opinion on any number of things she couldn't have cared less to ask about before. We talk for hours about life, love and stuffed animals.

In short: the kid finally likes me! I suspect it might have something to do with my working more, and/or taking a class one evening a week, both of which prevent me from being at her beck and call every moment of the day and thus forcing her to realize how good she's had it for so many years. Win!

It is entirely possible that I am imagining that reasoning, though. She might just be in a 'I Love Mom' phase. As shown below, on both the cover and final page of a book she recently made me:

There was one other page to the book, which went a little something like this:

She makes me 'laght' too!
Now, sure, these books and drawings have been coming at me left and right. A quick look at the calendar on which she records her favorite part of each day reads "Seeing my Mama," "Spending time with Mama," and "MAMA TIME!!!" But lest you think she's just trying to butter me up so I'll let her eat more candy or take her to get her nails did, I found proof that she's being sincere.

Before you judge - I found this OPEN, with the marker still inside of it, and facing upright. She'd left it on the coffee table and I was cleaning up in preparation for some guests. You all know that I revere the diary as a personal and sacred place, but I couldn't help but notice what she'd written:

The next page is equally charming and mom-loving Needless to say I closed it right up and put it away in her room like any privacy-respecting mother would do.

I am going to ride this wave of love for as long as I can - I'm sure it's going to extend from now until well past her teenage years. Or, on second thought, I'm pretty sure it's going to last FOREVER. *love!*