Jul 29, 2008

Bloggedy blog blah blah.

Today is one of those gray, bleak days that saps every drop of motivation from my lazy ass. I'm bored, but I don't want to do anything. Grace seems to be in the same mood, so she's in front of the TV watching every Elmo video in her vast collection. Even Brady looks disgruntled, or, as Zadie Smith put it so well in White Teeth, "not entirely gruntled." Yawn.

Jul 28, 2008

Two hours of barely controlled chaos. Barely.

Grace's birthday party was Saturday afternoon, and she had such a blast surrounded by all the people she loves, I think I popped out a tear or two. We "borrowed" the pirate theme from Jake's party a few weeks ago, and Grace greeted her guests in a black pirate T-shirt, a pink tutu and black crocs. (No, I didn't get a picture of that ensemble, but I'll recreate it soon.) What a fun night for our three year old baby.

Grace refused to get dressed after playing in the kiddie pool, which vexed me because her main outfit was so fabulous, I envisioned her wearing it in all the photos. Plus, I thought she'd be cold. She looks miserable, doesn't she?

We ended up with a really great mix -- kids of all ages who played together beautifully. No arguing, no awkwardness and, most important, no bleeding.

The adults were a different story, but just one was asked to leave.

How cute is Jack, opening the door for Emerson? He just wants her to get out so he can ride in the car, but still.

Picked up this baby (the pool) for ten bucks at Walgreen's. (Jack and Grace are quite the couple at school, I've been told. We approve, mostly because of that irresistible grin and his British accent.)

Got this cake for a lot more than ten bucks at a local bakery. It was delicious, and we're still working on the head.

This doll was the clear favorite of a truly impressive haul. Everyone might as well have left once Grace opened it, because all she wanted was to be alone with "New Bath Baby" for the rest of the night. She managed to tear herself away to give good-bye kisses; she's a big girl now, after all.

Jul 25, 2008

We've kept her alive for THREE YEARS.

Yesterday was Grace's third birthday, a day I have been anticipating with as much excitement as her first birthday (so I could stop worrying about SIDS). We had so much fun all day. I sensed she was acting more mature, and I secretly hoped she felt guilty about her behavior as a two year old. Then this morning she sent her cereal bowl flying, and tonight she asked for a grilled cheese sandwich, which she tossed on the floor before pouring her milk on the table. Brady was delighted. Me, not so much. I know these are a lot of pictures from last night; indulge me. It's the last time I was delusional enough to think we were through the worst of it.

She didn't set her hair on fire or stick her fingers in the flame. Color me surprised.

It was a nice idea, but who the hell eats a cupcake with a fork?

Ah, yes. That's more like it.

She sampled three cupcakes. This was her favorite.

Like a little lady eyeing a finger sandwich...

...and deciding to cram the whole thing in her mouth...

...and giving the finger to the "little lady" label. That's my girl.

This was really fun for me to watch. And if you believe that, you probably don't know me from Madonna.

Early present. I thought it was a chair, but it's just one more thing on which to climb and jump off.

Jul 21, 2008

A little quiet time before bed.

Grace gets so wound up at bedtime, I'm always amazed she falls asleep once she's in her crib. I've felt this phenomenon since she started eating solid food at six months: when we put food in front of her and she eats it, it's a miracle. When we put her to bed and she sleeps, miracle. When I ask her to pick up her toys and she does it, HUGE miracle. I think I need to work on my air of authority; she smells fear and takes advantage of it. Yes, I really am the boss of you, Gracie. Let's both try to get comfortable with that, because this potty training thing is going to be the ultimate test.

Jul 17, 2008

Entitlement, doggie style.

Brady greets each day pretty much the same way: she hauls herself to her paws, enjoys a looong full-body stretch (downward-facing dog, of course), stretches one back leg and then the other straight out behind her, has a good shake, then wags her way to the head of the bed and curls up between our pillows. Thus ensconced with her pack, she seems fully content. Especially, I imagine, because The Small Human is still all the way down the hall.

Jul 14, 2008


I don't recall the exact circumstances, but in this photo Grace has asked for something to eat and is waiting with that singular childhood certainty that her request will be met. Pronto. I love it and loathe it, this confidence of hers. I love it because it makes me feel useful, my (and John's) ability to give her what she needs. But I hate it when the answer is no. At her current age, that usually happens when she tests boundaries or is being unsafe. Later, though, we'll fail her for countless reasons; we won't be able to comfort her when she is emotionally wounded by some despicable boy, for instance, or we'll have to deny her something that contradicts our system of values and beliefs, or we won't be able to afford something that EVERYONE ELSE HAS, which will lead to social ostracism from which she will never recover. It's a lot to think about, really. Probably not for normal people who never lie awake at night wondering if it's better to raise a happy person or a good person. I've been gnawing on that one since we learned during the ultrasound that we were having a girl. I burst into tears because I realized I would have to be a role model. Me. A role model.

Jul 13, 2008

He didn't SAY he'll call, but I think he will.

We had some wacky wind and a small, unplanned fire, but the kids had a blast and the burgers were yummy. Not a bad date at all. (We're courting the entire Martin family to ensure a future marriage between the kids.)

My mom picked up these tent thingies at a garage sale and they have been a HUGE hit. Better even than the appliance boxes we used to play with as kids, and just as flammable. (That tunnel in the background came from IKEA, and I had an obscene amount of fun this morning tossing treats into it so Brady would run through.)

Grace is doing her signature "scorpion" move here. Good thing she weighs less than Maxwell, who is clearly planning to try it out the next time his own Daddy throws him in the air. I don't see that ending well for either of them.

"Better him than me."

Working off dinner, one beer at a time.

Maxwell put a tent cube over my head and took pictures of me. He's only five months older than Grace, and he can work a camera and eat with chopsticks, among other things. Not that child rearing is a competition or anything.

Totally suave and stylish. And tuckered out.

Jul 12, 2008

Water buddies

It's almost impossible for a toddler to not have fun at the park, especially when there's water involved. Maybe that's why Grace and Julian had so much fun the other day -- neither one of them could say, "That's MY water. I WAS USING THAT."

I will be so sad when she loses her little pot belly. Her pants might finally stay up, but by then she'll probably be one of those girly girls who will wear only dresses. Or, as a friend's daughter insisted, twirly dresses. (The twirl factor had to be tested in the dressing room before a purchase was made. I'm not kidding.)

They make a cute couple when they're not arguing over toys. Julian looks a little possessive, though. I hope he knows they're not exclusive. Grace has a date with Maxwell tonight -- you know, totally casual, maybe burgers in the backyard. She'll dress down so she doesn't look like she's trying too hard. I wonder what he'll wear.

(Photos courtesy of Julian's mom, Justine)

Jul 9, 2008

Behaving badly on the Fourth.

Our friend Kent (Grace's godfather) and his better half, Carrie, were in town for the Fourth of July weekend. I know we had a great time; I wish I could remember more of it. A few pics and a video.

Grace dressed for the occasion in an outfit Kent bought for her. Just wearing this made her act like a rock star, I swear.

Carrie puts the finishing touches on a platter of guacamole. Grace loved her so much, she had be right next to her at all times or she would ask, "Where's Perry?" Wait, maybe that was me.

The little celebrity emerging from her ride.

We're confident Kent is committed to guiding Grace on her spiritual path through life, when the time comes. Right now, all he really needs is upper body strength and a little more stamina.

There just no getting around it -- saying goodbye sucks.

Jul 2, 2008

Serendipity doo dah...

In my ongoing quest to confuse people from my past by contacting them out of the blue (some to whom I haven't spoken in almost twenty years), I may have found a little of what I've been looking for. After a Google search and a couple of emails, today I spoke with David, my boss from my first job out of college. I worked in the marketing department of a liquor distributor, and David was The Don of Fine Wines. I grew up in a really small town, and my college experience in St. Louis was a four-year game I couldn't win because nobody bothered to tell me the rules. David was everything I wanted to be, and I was completely infatuated with him. He was older; he knew wine and food; he was effortlessly dapper and cultured; he had traveled; and, to top it all off, he was funny rather than boorish, which wine people can tend to be. He also provided me with a shitload of free wine (gotta know the product) and took me to fabulous parties, wine tastings and all the hottest restaurants in St. Louis. He put a mini-fridge in my office and brought me lunches he had cooked himself, introducing me to the idea that Italian food can taste good even when it's not smothered in gooey sauce. And he turned me on to cooking, for which I will always be most grateful. I can quickly and easily julienne basil, de-vein shrimp and peel tomatoes thanks to time spent as his sous-chef, and I will never be able to stand inferior olive oil or overcooked poultry. Hearing his voice this afternoon, I felt like it was just yesterday he pounded on the wall between our offices to get my attention.

What does this have to do with the little pirate above? Just that I appreciate the influence he had on my life, the ripple effect of having known one person for a short while. Working for David for one year was like getting paid to go to finishing school. But had he managed to convince the bobble-head running the company to pay me more, I might never have left St. Louis, moved to Chicago, met John and had this kooky little girl that makes me laugh every day. I wasn't my best self when we knew each other, but he put up with me then and sounded genuinely happy to hear from me today. That's pretty wild if you think about it. Thanks, David, for that and for the David's Old World Brand Pastrami I'm going to pick up at Elephant's tomorrow.

As for Rachel, David's wife and business partner, I had a feeling he had met his match the day she came into the office wearing leather pants. She was smokin' hot. Lucky man.