Thursday, May 26, 2011

How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?

My brother, Dan, and his wife stopped in for a quick visit this week. Dan makes big, fancy wood doors and sometimes delivers them himself to customers in New England. They drove in Tuesday night, took us out for yummy Italian food, watched American Idol with us, slept on our futon, and were out the door early the next morning to deliver more doors.

Dan has made a few trips here before. The last time he delivered doors was when we moved to our current location. Dan helped pack the moving van, but never saw our new place until this week. Dan was also here when we first moved to Boston in 2004. He pulled a trailer full of our junk from Utah to Massachusetts for us and had an epic adventure driving into the city for the first time. He got lost (of course), did a U-turn on Storrow Drive (with a trailer), blew a trailer tire (related to the U-turn), and raced around to acquire a new trailer tire before stores closed for the weekend. After all that, Dan charged us one fancy Italian dinner.

Somehow I've never taken a picture while Dan was around, which begs the question, "How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?" Thanks Dan and Les, for spoiling us yet again.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Paging Dr. Phoebe

Phoebe likes to raid Bruce's dress-up box while he's at school. This was yesterday's getup, complete with surgical mask and superstar sunglasses.

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I'll eat you up

Ever hear baby-hungry females spout these words?

"This baby is so cute, I could just eat her up!"

I've always thought that phrase was a little weird and scary (or a lot weird and scary), and now I've seen my nightmares realized. Phoebe's latest project is to strip her baby doll naked, pull a few pots out of the cupboard, and squash her doll into a pot and put the lid over her.


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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Star Wars: The Party

Bruce is turning six this week, and we had the party yesterday to celebrate. He invited classmates, kids from church, and neighbors too - so we had a big crowd. Bruce decided that he wanted a Star Wars-themed birthday party and while I refused to buy expensive Yoda plates and lightsabers for everyone, I did put together a few Star Wars games. The most exciting was the pinatas: I made three that looked like the heads of Darth Vader, General Grievous, and a Stormtrooper.
General Grievous proved to be a worthy opponent. He was a bit too sturdy and it took nearly 20 minutes of beating (and eventually stabbing with car keys) to finally break him. At least everyone got a turn, right? It took so long to break him that we only broke one other pinata before moving on to the next game. We had a "pin the X-wing on the Death Star" game where kids wrote their names on an X-wing and had to pin it on a paper Death Star's thermal exhaust port.

The last game didn't go over too well with Bruce. I had each kid write down a noun and tape it onto blank spaces in the Star Wars opening crawl - you know, mad lib style. It turned out like this:

"A long time ago in a GALAXY far, far away....

It is a period of REBEL Rebel spaceships, striking from a hidden JEFFREY, have won their first BIRTHDAY against the evil Galactic Empire. During the battle, PLAYGROUND managed to steal secret DOGS to the Empire's Ultimate DANCE, the WHITE WORD, an armored space station with enough LEGOS to destroy an entire THE.

Pursued by the Empire's sinister CAT, Princess Leia races home aboard her DOG, custodian of the stolen DOLL that can save her JANINE and restore COOKING to the galaxy...."

Bruce thought it was a terrible idea to desecrate the holy opening crawl and insisted that his word - "GALAXY" - be placed where it was. His loyal friend tried to help him out with the "REBEL," but it eventually got sillier (or just more awful, according to Bruce).

We had watermelon, strawberries, pretzels, and cupcakes. The kids watched Bruce open his gazillion presents; he got lots of Legos and has been putting everything together today. More excitement to come on his birthday, but yesterday's celebration was wonderful.

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Monday, May 09, 2011

This is what happens when... find a cute pair of goggles...
...and pull the elastic taut, then snap it against your skin.


Baby J

The past few weeks have been very busy. I've reached that point where I only reply to life-or-death emails, make meals that take less than 15 minutes, and miss playgroups and events because of napping schedules. Sounds like I just had a baby, right? Sort of. I've inherited one during the day; I started nannying Baby J full-time about a month ago. She is four months old and still spends a good chunk of time eating and sleeping. She loves watching Phoebe and Bruce, and laughs when they make silly faces and noises at her.
I expected Phoebe to be jealous of the baby, but so far so good. Phoebe thinks Baby J is just a big baby doll. She likes to rub her hair gently and say "saw" (translation: "soft" - making lots of progress on communicating). She brings her blankets and toys. The only time she shows a tinge of jealousy is when I feed Baby J a bottle. Phoebe has been bottle-free for almost two weeks, but would still take a bottle if given the chance.
A few days ago, Scott was working a night shift and I didn't feel like making dinner. Bruce's favorite restaurant is Qdoba, so for $9 we had a nice date. It was totally worth it: the kids ate like they hadn't eaten in months. It was amazing.

Here's another one of our methods of coping with the crazy schedule: baking chocolate chip cookies. Bruce loves doing this - it's his thing. Phoebe is happy to sample the chocolate chips too.
Bruce likes to say, "The best exercise is to move every day." I think it's something he learned in gym class. We follow that advice and not only walk to and from school, but often stop at the park on the way home. Baby J is happy to get out for a walk, and Bruce and Phoebe are happy to be out of the house.
18-1/2 months. Have I mentioned that I just love this age? Phoebe learns so much every day and is absolutely adorable.
Bruce is still learning a ton too. We have had to institute a "no math at the table" rule. Last weekend we went to the Cambridge Science Festival and he built a robot that propels itself around and draws circles on paper.
Here is Bruce on the track at 7 a.m. Scott was working all night at the hospital and I didn't have time to run that evening, so I took Bruce and Phoebe to the track and ran circles around them before school. Mileage ended when Phoebe discovered the steeplechase pit, which was being filled for a meet later that day.
For Mother's Day, Scott made breakfast in bed for me. Phoebe sat next to me and stole my toast, leaving crumbs all over the bed. Bruce decided that breakfast in bed was super-cool and requested it for his birthday. That evening, we had a picnic with friends at the Arnold Arboretum's "Lilac Sunday." Bruce was in a much more pleasant mood on Sunday; the night before, I told him to put his PJs on and he told me I was the "meanest mom ever." I'm harsh, I know.
And finally, here is a picture of my dirt. I'm excited to eat some broccoli and tomatoes out of here!

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Sunday, May 01, 2011

The Newest Mars

We got to meet the newest Mars, David Cameron, who was born just a few days before the marathon. He came three weeks early at just over 5 pounds.
This little guy is No. 29: my siblings and I have 29 kids.
David has perhaps the hairiest back I've ever seen on a baby. And the hairiest ears. And the hairiest face. (To his credit, he is a preemie and it's "normal," whatever that is)
Congrats Chris and LaTrisha!

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The Columbus Clan

We spent most of our Ohio trip at my parents' house, but for two days we drove the 2-1/2 hours to Columbus and visited with four of my siblings that live around there. We packed our two days full. We had dinner with Erik and Lois and Janis and kids the first night. Lois made a ton of pasta, a big salad, and about a million delicious breadsticks in the space of about seven minutes. She's amazing like that. While dinner was en route, some cousin bonding went on.And I had to throw in a picture of this: my niece and nephew wrestling on the floor. It reminded me of younger days with my sibs. We spent that night and the next morning at Karyn's house:
Phoebe loved playing in the kitchen. It has a kid-friendly cupboard with a tea set and other kid-sized things. The contents of the cupboard are on the floor in the background.

Phoebe thoroughly enjoyed the carpet. We have hardwood laminate floors at home, so plush carpet is a special treat - especially for someone who spends a lot of time there. Phoebe is sure cute, and it's a good thing: she did not sleep through the night for the first few nights on our trip. She would scream with her eyes closed. Every night we debated whether to fully wake her up or let her cry herself to sleep or to tuck her in or whatever. I'm not normally one to argue - unless you wake me up at 2 a.m. and try to get me to make a decision. We hiked around Karyn and Andy's neighborhood and found some geese to feed.It rained most days we were there, so the ground was muddy.
But the kids were happy.
Bruce enjoyed finding frogs and bugs (there's a bug on the rock in front of his hand). While driving around my rural hometown with my mom, Bruce asked, "Where are all the sidewalks?" I'm afraid we have a city boy on our hands.
We blew bubbles in the backyard and spent lots of time with cousins.
Columbus adventures not pictured include my rain-soaked run with Janis, our ice cream outing with Sarah and kids, and our visit with Dave at his running shoe store.


Angry Birds

Bruce became hopelessly addicted to this game while in Ohio. He sucked the battery life out of my mom's phone before moving onto Scott's iPod. It might be hard going back to school after this.

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Seen at Grandma's

We went to Ohio this week and stayed with my parents. Scott had a week off, which is so rare we just had to do something. Phoebe learned how to work the parents and grandparents pretty quickly to get whatever she wanted.
And most of the time she wanted cupcakes.
My mom made these fancy treats and left them on the table as a centerpiece for a few days. Phoebe pointed, signed, climbed, and cried her way into getting cupcakes. When she got one, she would lick the frosting off (of course!) and pick the sprinkles out. When she didn't get one....
(note: the above photo was taken at about 10 p.m. - and eventually she got her cupcake)

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