Saturday, April 19, 2014

Happy Easter

Nothing says Happy Easter like two boys wearing their Easter baskets on their heads, right? Well, then, it's a good thing I've got you covered!

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Or hey, if you need more, how about blissfully rolling around in the grass?

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We're all about the authentic here.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Happy Fourth Birthday, Andrew!

Andrew is now officially four years and two weeks old.

"But, but, but....he's your BABY!" a friend gasped the other day. "How is he FOUR?"

I know. I KNOW.

He's 41 inches tall and nearly 39 pounds. He is eager to hit the 40 pound mark so he can use a booster seat. This works out well for us when we're trying to coax him to drink some milk or eat more vegetables: "Don't you want to be 40 pounds, Andrew?"

We've been talking a lot about the days and weeks surrounding his birth recently. We've had a radically cold winter this year, and four years ago, we had a lot of snow and ice, so there's that parallel. I also remember watching the Winter Olympics from my position as a beached whale on our family room sofa, with my huge belly in front of me as I waited impatiently to go into labor. This year, we also watched the Winter Olympics in the family room, but this time, Andrew was playing with his toys on the floor and asking what those people in those funny suits and masks were doing (skeleton, maybe? Or luge? What's the difference, anyway?)

At any rate, Andrew really is four. We had a big birthday party for him at the YMCA on February 23, and we invited all his pals. He had a blast. They put up a giant bouncey house, so he bounced and played, and then we had cake and ice cream. The perfect kind of party for rowdy four year olds.

Side note about the birthday cake. Andrew insisted on ordering a chocolate cake with white icing and red flowers. So that's what he got. I asked him if he would rather have a cake with Monsters Inc. characters or maybe Thomas the Tank Engine. Nope. He went with the red flowers. We showed him the cake at the beginning of the party, and I asked him if that's what he wanted. He beamed and said, "Oh YES!"

They also wore birthday hats, as Andrew insisted that birthday hats were imperative to the success of his fourth birthday party.

And you know...he was on to something. All the kids were all about putting on birthday hats. Even, ahem, his big brother.

Now that Andrew is officially four, he is also finally a Soccer Player. His first practice was last Friday afternoon, and his first game was Saturday morning. It was a hoot. He was so proud of having his own uniform (red! his favorite color, Mommy!) and getting to be on a team.

He mostly just trotted around after the other kids on the field during the game. But I mean, come on. It was his first game. He's only four years old! Funny how four can be so Big one moment and so Little the next, huh?

Anyway. Happy belated birthday to the Doodlebug. We love you so much!

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Cold with a Capital C

This has been something absurd like the coldest winter ever for Nashville. Or maybe one of the top three coldest winters ever. Whatever the history books show, I can tell you that it's definitely been the coldest winter in my history in Nashville.

In November, I signed up to run the Boulevard Bolt, the annual Thanksgiving Day 5 mile run to benefit homeless ministries in Nashville. At race time, it was 17 degrees. Every time I took a breath, I could feel little ice crystals forming inside my nose and lungs, like an animated graphic for a spearmint chewing gum. I ran the whole race without stopping because I was afraid my joints would freeze into place if I stopped moving.

But hey, I thought, that was an anomaly. Nope. We have had a whole string of frigid weather here, including a handful of days and nights when the temperature dipped way, way down into the low single digits.

Brrrr. That's practically Laura Ingalls Wilder weather. I started to tell William the story of her book "The Long Weather" and then got halfway into it before realizing that maybe it wasn't such a good idea to tell a seven-year-old about how a bunch of people froze to death on the prairie, except for the author and her family, who only merely nearly starved to death.

After our years in the desert, I actually don't mind winter. I'd rather be bundled up in a coat and scarf for a few months than spend a few months burning the top three layers of skin off the palms of my hands on my car's steering wheel because it's 120 degree outside. But single digit temps are nearly as bad as triple digit temps. Just in the opposite direction. They all burn.

I've been known to grumpily instruct William to put on a sweater or another sweater because I was cold.

"Mom, I'm okay," he'll protest. "We're inside the house. It's nice and warm in here. I'm fine."

"No, you're not," I'll retort. "You're freezing cold. Put that sweater on right now. Here, maybe you should wear two."

Don't even get me started about Andrew's habit of pulling his socks off when he comes inside. Or the way that he'll try to put on his Crocs when it's time to go outside. Crocs without socks, natch.

It's been so cold that I've actually seriously considered going around without a coat on, on the few days when it's gotten as warm as 40. Because it seems warm, you see.

At any rate, we're nine days in February now, and it's still cold. We haven't had much snow and ice this winter, fortunately, although William's school was cancelled a few times anyway due to extreme cold. The boys, however, are jonesing for some real snow. They're tired of the sweet flurries that we tend to get on a regular basis--the ones that float gently from the sky before disappearing on contact with...well, anything. For their sake, I do hope we get a Real Snow at some point this winter. I nearly bought a sled on massive clearance for five bucks at Target a few days ago before deciding that would jinx their chances. Just one snow that's deep enough for some sledding or for one good snowball fight. That would be fine.

Of course, I say that, and watch a blizzard roll in the day before Andrew's fourth birthday party, which he's been looking forward to for weeks. Can I amend that wish?

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bidding farewell

Well, here it is again, New Year's Eve. I know that our family will be more than glad to bid farewell to 2013.

Oh, the whole year itself was not bad. We had some wonderful times. A few highlights...Our family went to Pensacola again and had a ball. The boys are both enjoying school. David retook and passed his boards and remains a Fellow in the American Academy of Pediatrics. I worked hard at building my freelance writing business and did pretty well. I ran in my first five-mile race on Thanksgiving Day. William had his first piano recital, which went very well (he bowed at the end of his piece, which brought down the house), and Andrew sang with the preschool contingent in front of the whole church on the Children's Sabbath. William is reading on a seventh-grade reading level, and Andrew is eagerly looking forward to playing soccer this spring. And of course, David celebrated the Red Sox winning the World Series again this year.

But this was also the year that my father-in-law Aaron was diagnosed with lymphoma for the third time in less than four years. Cancer takes a lot out of a guy. So does the treatment. And we worried. Worried but hoped.

We worried over him, as he began chemo in November. We missed him on Thanksgiving, but we knew that it was better for him to stay home and rest and steer clear of us and our germs (between David's line of work and two little boys, we are always germy). We resigned ourselves to not getting to celebrate his birthday on Christmas Eve with him this year, too. But we all told ourselves that we'd look forward to celebrating the end of chemo with him sometime in January. We held out hope for a bone marrow transplant after chemo, hoping that it would be the cure, the cure. We told him that we couldn't wait for him to see Andrew play his first soccer game. And maybe see William play a few basketball games later this winter, like he did last year. We looked forward to eating burgers and drinking Coca Colas with him when he felt better.


Unfortunately, Aaron's body just couldn't make it that far. On Christmas Eve, on the day of his 71st birthday, he went into cardiac arrest at the oncology clinic. It was over, almost before it began.

We were all shocked. No, surely not, I thought. No. The chest pain that Aaron had been experiencing that morning was supposed to be reflux. Or perhaps a panic attack. Something. Not a heart attack. Not a fatal heart attack.


Unfortunately, it was true. Aaron was gone. And he is gone. And yet, I can still hear his voice in my head so clearly. I know, and yet somehow I don't know.

As I wrote on Facebook, in the shocked days after his death, Aaron was a devoted grandfather to William and Andrew. He adored them, and the feeling was mutual. He attended soccer games and basketball games and read stories and served giant (seriously) bowls of ice cream and defended "my clients" when they got rowdy and caused trouble with their mom or dad. They had code words that they said back and forth to each other ("hooty hoot!").

I will always be so glad, so grateful, that the boys got to spend so much time with him. William, especially, has so many terrific memories of his Grandaddy Aaron, and he will always cherish those. David and I will, too. One of my favorite Aaron-and-William memories is from when William was almost three. Aaron went to the preschool to pick William up one day, and a couple of the teachers spotted the two of them walking down the hall, hand in hand. "Ah ha!" one said. "Now we know exactly where he comes from!"

Two of a kind: William and Aaron.
There is so much more I could write. I could ramble on and on here. But the most important thing is this: we loved Aaron. David loved his daddy so, so much. I loved my father-in-law. The boys loved their grandaddy.

Oh, yes, we will miss him so much.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

Merry Christmas from my house to yours.

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Peace on earth, and good will to all!

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Friday, December 20, 2013

Smile for the camera, boys!

A few years ago, I used to start worrying about taking the perfect Christmas card photo before Thanksgiving even rolled around. We had always received armloads of cards with pictures of beautifully dressed children who posed and smiled perfectly for the camera, and I always wanted to be able to create one, too. 

Well. Getting the perfect Christmas card photo of our two boys was a lot harder than I thought it would be. Sometimes, I'd get a good photo of William, only to catch Andrew looking away from the camera. Or Andrew might finally smile for the camera, only for William to be groaning for me to hurry up. Or the picture would be blurry. Argh.

I usually wound up cobbling together my favorites, even if they weren't perfect, and made a card with those pictures. At least they made me smile, I reasoned. 

This year, I knew I wanted to use a favorite beach photo for our card, so I wasn't even concerned with trying to get a good Christmas-themed photo of Andrew and William to use for a card. So when we recently made the rounds of Cheekwood and Santa's workshop, I brought along my camera and mostly just snapped photos for fun. No wheedling with Andrew to just please look at the camera, please please please? No asking William to please settle down and stop dancing around. 

And wouldn't you know it? I got some terrific pictures of the boys! They're just being themselves. This is what they're really like. 

And you know what? These make me smile...a lot. Hope they make you smile, too....

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Brotherly love

They fight. They tussle. They argue. They get sent to Time Out for fighting, tussling and arguing. They also look at each other, touch each other and take each others stuff.

Pretty normal, I'd say. I might remember doing a few of those things myself, once upon a time. I'm sure David would probably make a similar admission.

They also look out for each other, and they do nice things for each other. Two recent examples. William wrote that Andrew was his favorite person on a poster they made together. And at Target last week, Andrew asked if he could pick out a special snack to give to William after his piano lesson.

They really do love each other. It just happens to sometimes involve arguing over who gets to play with Mommy's iPad or who gets to open the door first. Sometimes it involves loud screaming and door slamming and "ow, he pulled my hair"-ing.

But it also involves William volunteering to read bedtime stories to Andrew ("I read really well because I read with lots of expression," he told me confidently) and it involves Andrew putting his little head on William's shoulder and listening intently, while they snuggle up together in Andrew's bed.

Some photos of brotherly love, at a good moment:

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