30 September 2011

Doggone it.

These goofy dogs act like litter mates. They're almost exactly the same age (each just over 1 year) and though they have very different personalities, when they're together they just want to tear each other into bits. Figuratively speaking, I mean.

They're so damn cute.

29 September 2011

Mask master

Just making two masks is never enough, of course, so I made some more. Then I stuck the kids on a swingset and made them model. The designs are my own, but inspired by lots of online images of animal masks, and by Aunt Shirley's suggestions on the original post.

 Emmy the owl, above, and Emmy the crooked bird, below.
 Will the cat. With a sucker in his mouth. (Yes, the cat is inspired by Peter Criss).
 Will as a burgundy owl.
 Emmy Frankenstein:

 Emmy in action as the cat:
And Will the Triceratops. This was his favorite mask, but it is by far the least ... wearable? Correct? Right? It's just all kittywumpus, but I like it in theory, and the boy likes it in practice.

 A fox mask that I'm particularly proud of.

And the girls, finally, in a cardinal mask and a carnival mask. With suckers.

So we're set for Halloween and then some. Now how do we narrow down the choices?

28 September 2011

Rejects from the Annual Christmas Card Photo Shoot

I know that you, like so many Languishing devotees, look forward to our family's holiday card for months every year. And I don't blame you. In fact, here's a little teaser of what might show up if you're a good boy or girl.

Unlike healthy, well-rounded families, we don't actually have an annual Christmas Card Photo Shoot. We just toss the camera to an unsuspecting family member once a year or so and demand they take our picture while Shaun makes faces and rude gestures and the rest of us try to play along.

Above: Shaun in the early stages of making a rude gesture.

 This one coulda been a contender, if it weren't for that pesky, adorable niece. She fits right in, though, doesn't she?
Shaun and Rocket have quite an affinity for one another, but this doesn't really include either V or myself. I'm just enough of a traditionalist to say a holiday photo should include at least 50% of any given family.

That's all I can show you for now. Perhaps I've already revealed too much. Maybe this year we'll go to Wal-Mart and choose a special winter wonderland background for all of us. Maybe.

What constitutes a good holiday photo, in your world?

18 September 2011

Longtime friends

In the big city for just under a day this weekend, I got to see some of my dearest friends from college. You know, the kind of friends who were beside you as you figured out who you wanted to be when you grew up; the friends who would help you devour a pint of butterbrickle ice cream because  the dorm fridge would be defrosted over break and who wants to waste an entire pint of butterbrickle? Ah. The friends that just make you happy to be near. I don't see them nearly enough.
and Tami Jean. The four of us hadn't all been together since Tami's wedding five years ago. That's just not right.

Jeni's David, above, with their son Christopher and Tami's daughter Holly. Chris adores Holly.
 Holly's impossibly tiny fingers. She's already 3 1/2 months old, and this is the first time I'd met her. She's a delicious cuddle of a girl.

And Holly's big sister, Violet.

So, so glad I got to see these folks. I hope it can happen again very, very soon.

15 September 2011

Me and my Lazy Eye

In "Go Carolina," David Sedaris, upon hearing from his speech therapist that his lisp was due to his lazy tongue, describes his reaction.

"My sisters Amy and Gretchen were, at the time, undergoing therapy for their lazy eyes, while my older sister, Lisa, had been born with a lazy leg that had refused to grow at the same rate as its twin. She'd worn a corrective brace for the first two years of her life, and wherever she roamed she left a trail of scratch marks in the soft pine floor. I liked the idea that a part of one's body might be thought of as lazy — not thoughtless or hostile, just unwilling to extend itself for the betterment of the team." (Me Talk Pretty One Day).

In April, then, when I noticed in the mirror that my right eye was a little wonky, I figured it just wasn't playing nicely with the other eye. And then I thought maybe it was because of Peter Falk, known for, among other things, his lack of focused eyes. Since he died this year, I figured the universe needed to balance the number of lazy eyes in the world, so I was selected. (This is how I think, people. If you don't know that by now, you haven't been paying attention). At first I was honored, but then I remembered that Peter Falk's eye wasn't just lazy: it was dead (surgically removed because of childhood cancer). So...um, I don't want a dead eye.

Once I saw it in the mirror (and I looked a lot, because it's really distressing and hard to actually see in a mirror), I noticed I was having difficulty focusing, especially when wearing my glasses, and especially when I was tired. Then I noticed that while driving and wearing my glasses, I had trouble with depth perception (which makes sense, if you think about it: if one eye's looking up Broadway and one is looking across, it's hard to judge how far it is to the crosswalk). I started wearing my contacts more regularly. I thought about getting an eye patch. It made me giggle.

(I look more upset than I really am in this photo: I'm just being silly. It's not a remotely flattering picture, but I don't want you to think I'm just blithering on about nothing. See? I look like Peter Falk. Oh, and it's not usually this bad. Just when I'm tired and not wearing my contacts.)

I went to the optometrist in July, for my yearly check up. I told her I was worried about this wonky eye business, and as she examined me, she kept saying "Huh." Not like "Excuse me, what did you say?" but more like "Huh; that's weird." Now there are many things you don't want professionals to say while they're looking your direction. For example, you hope your dentist doesn't say "Oops" during a root canal; you'd prefer your ob/gyn doesn't say "Sweet holy Moses!" at any point at all....and you don't want your optometrist to say "Huh...." over and over.  It turns out that it's really not normal to develop a lazy eye as an adult. It's almost always a childhood affliction, and important to correct right away as the brain is developing. My old brain is fully developed, though, which is why my focus and depth perception get messed up so easily. And why it surprised Dr. Optomitrist.

Anyhoo, Dr. O sent me to an opthalmologist; Dr. Opthalmologist seemed to think my laziness was unimpressive (which, frankly, was a bit disappointing), and I likely just need to do some exercises of some sort, or perhaps some motivational activities to get the right eye back on board as a team player. To learn those, though, I have to go to an eye muscle specialist (whose fancy title I don't recall). The eye muscle specialist is in high demand, and also not local, apparently, because he's only here one day a month. Which means I can't see him until late November. By then, my right eye could have just migrated right out of my head, for all I know. But I guess we'll wait and see (ha! Vision humor!). I'll keep you posted, even if you don't want me to. Peter Falk would want it this way.

12 September 2011

More birthday photos

Below, the hat decorating station (yes, that's a church pew. Yes, in our backyard. Where do you keep your church pew?).
 And here are more shots of my friends and their beautiful children. My sister's a fine photographer, isn't she?

 With such lovely guests, how could it not be a lovely day?

11 September 2011

Birthday Post 2011!

Despite V's insistence for the last year that she definitely, certainly, surely wanted a Star Wars birthday this year, two weeks ago she switched her vote to Phineas and Ferb. I was not going to allow this, until Shaun pointed out it is not MY birthday. Phineas and Ferb Birthday, here we come.

There was a jumpy thing (Thanks Jenn B!). And a wagon full of presents.
 The clothesline, which is practical and beloved in everyday life here, but not very pretty, was transformed into Dr. Doofenschmirtz's Mazinator of Doom with a dozen sheets, strategically placed.
 There were platypus bills and Secret Agent hats. Here's Shaun modeling with V's good friend Parker.
 We played "Pin the Heart on Candace," because she's always mooning over her beau, and Candace is V's favorite. Here's me, spinning dear Tilda, who's grown up so much from last year.
 And here's Dana, with whom I graduated 20 years ago, and who was in Texas last year but this year could bring her beautiful daughters right over the river to see us.

 Candace with all her hearts:

The theme song includes the line "Giving a monkey a shower!" so we did. (I drew that monkey! Freehand! Looking at a picture from the show, but still...)

The water balloons were a huge hit, not the least of which because some of them would not break, so the kids got to pick them up and throw them again and again, and even stomp on a couple. They played until the monkey fell down, and the balloons were all popped. Whee!
 Emmy got bored, so she went in the house to find something to play with. She was the only one, though, I think, so I call that a success.

WD, post waterballoons.
I bought these plastic fedoras at Loopy's Dollar Store, because they are the exact color of Perry the Platypus himself, and the exact shape of his fedora, and I like the idea of alternate party hats. We put out pipe cleaners and straws and ribbon and stickers and a hole punch and scissors for decorating, and the kids did cool stuff.
Here's Oscar's hat, as decorated for his little sister.

We also played "where's Perry?" with little Perries strategically placed all around the backyard. I think there are still a few in the trees yet.  And there was food, of course! Good food that we couldn't take the time to photograph because the wasps swarmed immediately after we brought it out. But we had tacos in a bag (the best. food. invention.ever) and the accompanying cheesey goodness, grapes, olives, and curly cheesey poufs. We also had cupcakes: strawberry and spice, both with pink frostings. (I am forever indebted to my sister for bringing the food back in before the wasps carried us all away).

It was really a lovely party, I think, because afterward I took a desperately needed three hour nap.  Most importanly, V said she had fun, and I hope she will remember it fondly. And hopefully next year we can just go to a movie or something. 

10 September 2011


The day after the first day of kindergarten, V turned six. Six.

She makes up songs everyday.
Loves cheese pizza.
Wants to be a doctor when she grows up.
Thinks playdough is really awesome.
Has no idea what "September 11th" means.
Is not sure if heaven's a real place but is excited for the tooth fairy to visit her.

I can't remember life before her.

06 September 2011

First day of kindergarten

I know it's not new. I know every mama who sends her first born to kindergarten exclaims how quickly time goes, how soon she'll be all grown up...I've said it myself repeatedly. But still, she only gets one first day of public school.  Compare her here to the first day of preschool. She's a giant! Enormous!
V chose the dress herself. When I showed it to my mom, weeks ago (after I nabbed it a thrift store bag sale), Myra shook her head in dismay and said "Kids don't wear long dresses like that anymore, Jenny. Don't make her wear that." So it was with tremendous satisfaction that I helped V button up the back of this dress this morning, at her own insistence.  She feels like a fancy princess, fashion trends be damned.
Public school is so different from Montessori, and V's got so many quirks, I can't help but worry. But she was so excited this morning, it was easy to just be excited too. I don't know if we'll ever catch up with her, but we'll have fun trying.

05 September 2011

Fun with masks!

After browsing around the ever-inspiring Etsy, I decided to head to the craftroom and make my girl some masks.

She seems to like them. Above is V's superhero pose. I think I'll add some fancy sequins or beads around the edges of the purple and cream wool felt.
 This owl was inspired by this mask, and this one. And also by the colors of wool felt I had in the craft room.
It works on grown-ups, too. Maybe I'll make some masks to sell before Halloween. Any suggestions?