Thursday, July 31, 2008

I Must Do My Duty

After who knows how many years of watching American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance, and never voting, I am now declaring to the world that starting next week and forever more, I will vote.  Well, for So You Think You Can Dance anyway.  And I will not just vote for the person I don't want kicked off that week.  I will vote for the four people I want in the finale.  The fact that Will and Chelsea are not in the final four is just not okay.  Not okay at all.  

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

BFF

We watched Shawn and Lisa's kids for them while they went out of town this weekend.  It's so funny to me how much Ben and Aviva love each other - especially Aviva since she is constantly being pummeled.  We refer to Ben as the gentle giant, though he is more giant than gentle. 

When ever they see each other they start flailing their limbs and squealing until they get to hug.  At one point I was working in the kitchen and they went a good 20 minutes playing together in the living room before I had to intercede.  

Here they are in the bathtub.  I can't put either of them in with Keely or Max because they get mad about the splashing.  But Ben and Aviva both love it, so it was like a wet and wild water park in that bathroom.  Sort of. 


At one point they were both screaming at me not matter what I did.  I finally put them both in high chairs and gave them food.  That was better, but they were still pretty mad.  It wasn't until I positioned their chairs like this so that they could have company that they were both happy.




Thursday, July 24, 2008

Got me

The scene: Aviva is napping, Max is playing in the baby pool, I am sitting inside in the chair  next to the sliding glass doors.  Max disappears around the corner for a few minutes.  he reappears naked. (FYI - this is not an uncommon occurrence)

K: Max!  Why did you take your swim suit off?  
M: Cause I all wet.  (Big smile and hands out as if he is explaining some new exciting concept to me)
K: (chuckles)
M: (chuckles)
K:  It's not funny.
M:  Yes funny.  You say "ha ha ha" (imitates my laugh)

I ignore him and let him continue playing naked on the deck.  He disappears again and returns with his wet swim diaper back on, and swim suit on backwards and yells, "Look mama!"  

How can I not be pleased with that? 


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Vivs

She's walking.  She has been for a few days but we can't get the video to upload.  So instead, you get to see this pretty picture:


Monday, July 21, 2008

Eye of the Beholder

Max and Keely can really get their creative juices flowing when they play together.  Shauri walked in on a particularly interesting project yesterday.  You can read about it here, but the gist of it is that they found some make shift wrapping paper to make this gift for me:

And they also used them to create makeshift shoes for Max:

Max has been asking for more "bandaids" all day.  Apparently these mini-maxis have artistic potential he has just barely uncovered.    

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Camp Blodgett

For those of you who have known me for more than 10 years, this title surely brings back memories of me spontaneously exclaiming "I LOVE Camp Blodgett!"  

I really do.  Even after all these years.  That's why I was so excited to go see former camp counselor Bryan Griffith's booth at the Ann Arbor Art Fair this weekend.  Abram and I invited him and his wife Tasha over for Sunday dinner and I'm so glad that we did.  We caught up on each other's lives (their's is considerably more adventurous than ours) and reminisced a little about how much cooler Bryan's workshops were than the rest of ours.  We talked about crazy kids (because there were definitely some crazy kids) and crazy counselors (who shall remain nameless) and good times in general.  

This inspired me to write up a list of ten (okay, 12) of my favorite Camp Blodgett memories, in no particular order:
  1.  Eating rocky road ice cream with peanut butter and pretzels late at night while we talk about what funny things the kids said that day
  2. Playing capture the counselor.  Shauri and I hid together in a space that was much too small for both of us.  An eight year old kid asked Shauri, "You stuck?"  When she replied in the affirmative he whispered to his friend, "Smack her booty!"  
  3. The weekend off when the whole staff came down to Ann Arbor and stayed the weekend at our house.  
  4. Katy, Melanie, Chiara and Shauri
  5. Year two, session four, the best oldest girls cabin ever.
  6. Watching Andre and Jerry's step workshop performance
  7. Getting up to perform in the talent show with Shauri to deafening cheers.  By the time we were finished there was just silence.  Except for Andre's whisper, "Don't ever do that again."
  8. Singing The Water is Wide
  9. Night off
  10. The rush of pulling off a good prank 
  11. "I'm fightin' for my life here!"
  12. That Nik loves Mama Quinn

Monday, July 14, 2008

Miss Aviva

Miss Aviva.  She is growing up so fast.  She is crawling and she walks along the furniture.  She can pull herself up to standing.  And she's experimenting with letting go and standing by herself.  She loves to be tickled and her favorite part of every day is when Abram gets home.  He picks her up and they play hide-n-seek with Max.  
She still won't eat baby food, but as pictured above, she is now a fan of peaches (go ahead, click on it and see just how much of her body she covered with her new favorite fruit).  She will also eat Kix, Goldfish, and smashed up black beans.  She likes to gnaw on pretzels, but I don't see a lot of actual eating going on there.  

Here's a short, non-eventful video that you should probably skip over if you're not a grandparent or other eager relative:    
video

Monday, July 7, 2008

All in the Family

Max got lots of good Keely time today.  Lisa watched them while I ran errands in the morning (bless her), they came over in the afternoon (and we made lemonade), and then they came back again for dinner since Shawn is out of town.  

I hired someone to come clean our windows and Max yelled up to him, "My Max!" (translation: I am Max).  He didn't get a response, but not to be discouraged, he added, "This my sister!" (pointing to Keely).  Huh?  I interupted, "Is that your sister or your cousin?"  he paused and said, "Oh!" (pause) "This my cousin!" and then he threw his arms around her and leaned his head on her shoulder.  

Is that cute or what?  I love that he loves his cousin.  

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Dear, Sweet Elizabeth


Since I have had two people tell me they actually believed my post about Elizabeth, I think I should probably fess up and admit I have embellished the story a bit. Which you probably would have figured out if you clicked on the link at the bottom of the post. Click here to read the true story. Jeez. Are you happy Elizabeth? You won.

For those not in the know: I tell my version of the story when Elizabeth is within earshot and I know she can hear me talking about her. It always gets her real riled up and makes her laugh, which I LOVE to do. In my defense, it was her idea to each post our own versions of the story on our 18 year anniversary.

So there you have it, Elizabeth is the nice one (but you really should have known her when she was 12), and I'm the crazy mean one that wouldn't let her sleep on with the good pillow.

Independence Day

We had the best fourth of July ever.  Mostly, because having lived in horrifically humid places most of my life, I have never enjoyed a beautiful sunny Fourth of July in the 70's with a nice cool breeze.  

But besides that, we had friends come over for a big breakfast and we all decorated our strollers and bikes.  Then we had a little Independence Day parade down to the park.  

This tradition started two years ago.  Our neighborhood in Virginia had an annual parade.  So we decorated the heck out of Max's stroller and ourselves and headed for the parade.  Of course I got the starting location wrong.  We decided to try and make it anyway.  So there we were, sweating like crazy, trucking through the neighborhood all by ourselves, looking like some overly-patriotic immigrants that just received their citizenship, letting the world know we loved our country.  Suffice to say, Abram was not happy and swore through the rivers of sweat running down his face that this parade wouldn't get the best of him.  

So the next year we moved to a new home and instituted a neighborhood parade that I'm happy to say continued this year.  And now we're in another new home and the tradition lives on!  So once we got to the park we set the kids loose on the playground and the pond.  The adults and some of the big kids played a game of football on the "beach."  And then we headed back to the house to blow up our giant water slide/pool so the kids could cool off.   

After some much needed naps we headed to Shawn and Lisa's for a bbq, a game of celebrity, and fireworks.  I really don't think the day could have been better.  God bless America!

Abram has not forgiven me for throwing out his Fourth of July shirt 4 years ago and has decided that his Australia hat will forever more be his Fourth of July hat.  

Keely, the Queen of the Independence Day Parade

Lisa, the indentured servant of the Independence Day Parade
 
Since Abby was the oldest kid there, we asked her to be the Parade Leader.  I wasn't sure if she would think that wasn't cool enough or something, so I was relieved when she replied, "Really?  Thanks!"  And she made us proud.  Look at that scepter.  If that doesn't wield power, I don't know what does.  

Here are Max and Collin in the pond.

Not surprisingly, here are Max and Collin in the pond about 5 minutes later.

All the kids.

Enjoying the show.  

Aviva, wondering why her mom isn't keeping the sun out of her eyes.

Abram and Max

I'll post photos of the football game, water slide, bbq and fireworks if I can get them from other people.  

Lisa's blog has some really cute one's of Max and Keely watching the fireworks. 

Climbing the Stairs

She can't crawl.  She can't walk.  But she sure can climb the stairs.  Well, stair.  

Generators and Entertainment

There were severe thunderstorms on Wednesday night and I was reminded of one of the biggest perks of living in my parents house while they're living abroad: a massive generator.  There's nothing like seeing the lights flicker, looking out the window to see all the lights off in all the houses in the neighborhood, and then feeling the air conditioning kick back on.  Yessss.

So Thursday, since her power was still out, Elizabeth E. (not to be confused with Elizabeth HH D.) came over to use the kitchen so she could get everything ready for a baby shower that night.  Max and Collin played amazingly well.  We kept commenting on how we couldn't believe we hadn't had to break up any fights.  

Well, an hour later we came down to see this:

And I don't have a photo, but the same mess is on the other side of the couch.  For a second I started to get riled up, but then I realized I would definitely take the mess for a couple hours of peace.  

Thursday, July 3, 2008

3rd of July

18 years ago today I almost died. It's my fault really, I was running with the wrong crowd. Namely, Elizabeth "hardcore headbanger" Downie.

I wasn't the most responsible child in my pre-teen years. I was known to shirk my chores, "forget" to do my homework, and leave my curling iron on for days at a time. Nevertheless, my mom let me have a sleepover the night before my favorite holiday, the Fourth of July. I invited Elizabeth and my mother grudgingly agreed. She knew better than me the kind of character EHHD was.

After a few hours of fun (crank calling, Elizabeth wrestling Travis while I taunted him with "my friend's stronger than yoooou are," and watching UHF and Dream Team) we went up to my room to get settled for the night. My bed was notoriously uncomfortable, so I offered to let Elizabeth sleep on the plush carpet. After catering to her every whim I finally told her I had given everything I had to give and dropped into bed out of pure exhaustion.

Well, apparently Miss Elizabeth had one more demand. She yanked my pillow right out from under my head. I grabbed it and said, "Elizabeth, give it back right now!" This show of independence incensed her and she wouldn't let her iron grip go. We struggled back and forth for a few moments. When she realized I was not going to let her win this battle like I had so many others, she grabbed the curling iron off my dresser and with fire in her eyes howled, "BURN BABY, BURN!!!"

Then, she plunged the curling iron down to my neck and rolled it up and down, up and down, all the while banging her head, swinging those red and blond locks (at the time she was dying streaks of her hair with Cherry Kool-Aid) and murmuring, "welcome to the jungle" along with Axel rose in her head.

By the time she finally got a hold of herself, my neck was covered with 3rd degree burns. Luckily my brother Ryan ins and eagle scout. After rolling his eyes and sighing when he saw what happened, he advised my mom to take us to the emergency room. While I waited for the doctor, Elizabeth flirted with a boy with knife wounds and my mother just shook her head.

Sadly, the Doctor told me I would not be allowed to go swimming to celebrate our nation's independence. Instead, I spent the fourth watching Elizabeth swim with my loved ones at Silver Lake.

Elizabeth eventually grew out of her crazy phase, (though she's still controlling and vindictive ) and we think it best to retell the story every year (and sometime I tell it to people she is starting to befriend or date, just so they know) so that others can learn from our mistakes.

You can see her do her penance here.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Hide and Seek


Max loves hide and seek.  Sometimes, when Abram is in a really hard spot he'll give Max a hint by making this fairly realistic bird sound.  

When Max is hiding, I know he is pleased with himself and his hiding spot because as soon as I stop counting he starting squawking like a dying bird.