Thursday, November 26, 2009

SIX years ago today!

Happy Happy Birthday, Little Miss Niamh. 6 years and 1 day ago we were childless, fairly newlyweds, new homeowners, living in the armpit of the San Fernando Valley, California. The dog was loved beyond belief, he went to the dog park daily. I worked night shift and slept my days away in said Valley armpit, with air conditioning blowing. Your Dear Old Dad worked at a job he absolutely loved, and tolerated the minimal pay. Then, that night, 6 years and 1 day ago, at about 6:00pm (according the the notepad I still have where I started recording contractions as I was taught to do in my birth class), I started having contractions. (Get ready, Men, here comes a birth story.) I called your Daddy-O at work, a mere 45 minutes away, and he wanted to know if he should leave work or not. "Yes, Dear, please do leave work." 11:30pm, I cried running across the parking lot to the ER at West Hills Hospital. I only ran because I really wanted an epidural. The faster I entered the ER, the faster I could politely demand that they call an anesthesiologist. (To my Home Birth Midwife friend, don't judge me. I am a woman who believes in drugs.) By 11:45pm, I was pain free and happy. By midnight, I was 9cm. SEE! I practically did all the laboring at home without drugs. The nurses informed me that my OB had insomnia and she didn't like being called to deliveries until the last minute because if she woke up, she wouldn't be able to get back to sleep. Honestly, I didn't care, I was pain free. I think Dr. Beaver (go ahead, make fun of her name) arrived bedside about 3:15am. At 3:34, after only 3 pushes, we were parents.  Niamh Mairead Westover, your 7 lbs changed everything. I won't go in to great detail, but Eddy wants to remind you he has only seen the dog park about 5 times in the last 6 years.
Look at you now....all 36 pounds of you. You are fiesty. You love your brother. You love your parents. You
are a loyal friend. You don't like physical exertion, but you like the idea of trying new activities if you can get a new outfit (uniform) out of it. You are learning to read and write and speak Spanish. You have figured out that your name is not spelled the way it sounds, and I have caught you adding a "v" at the end of your name to make it right. You have great wit and delivery when trying to be funny. You still love your yellow blankie and thumb. People say you look just like me, but they didn't know me when I was 6 and looked like a very out of shape Dorothy Hamill. You are beautiful. You accomplish childhood milestones right when the books say you should. You were born one day early, spoke your first words at 7 months, walked one day after your 1st birthday, toilet trained at 2 1/2 years. You love the colors pink and purple and want us to move to the purple house right around the corner. You are disappointed when I buy you the good quality German wood toys instead of the pink plastic junk from Taiwan. You steal candy in the middle of the night, and tell the truth when we ask you about it. You are stubborn and impatient. Some day I hope that gets you far, right now it only gets you in trouble. You still nap 3-4 hours when you aren't in school, and I don't know if you will ever weigh enough to get out of your 5-point harness. You are the best little girl in my world, Niamh. I absolutely adore you.

The real Birthdate

With her buddies from California, Niamh is at the end.

One Year Old!

Blankie and thumb

Ixtapa, Mexico

Second Birthday!

Blankie and thumb

This shirt was the first clothing item she obsessed over.

Grandma said she could use some makeup.

Third Birthday!

First Bike Race

Fourth Birthday!

Fifth Birthday (in Mexico!!)

Fifth Birthday at home!

And then, I started the Blog. See previous entries for the best photos of her Fifth year.
Happy Birthday, Niamh!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I Made This

I just finished painting this for Niamh for her birthday. I love it. It was not an idea I came up with myself. I saw it in a store (to remain nameless so that I don't get sued for copying it), but I thought the quality was crap so I made it myself. I am totally patting myself on the back right now. There is a really good chance she won't like it. Remember the dollhouse (beforeafter) that I stayed up night after night making "prettier" for her. She never played with it. In fact, if anyone wants it, please, take it and give me back the space on the floor. If she doesn't want this one, it is going in my room, above my bed.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Stranger Danger

There we sat in traffic on I-5. I can't remember who started the conversation, but a kid in the back seat started talking about a show they were watching about kids without parents. My first thought was that it was some after school special on Lifetime. Then, I realized they were talking about Save The Children. (Flashback to college where I entered the house just as my housemate, Dith, said to the person on the other end of the phone line, while crying, "Yes, I'd like to make a donation." I love Meredith, old softie.)
The chatter between Niamh and Finn about these kids was so innocent and funny. They both remembered a scene where some little boy was in the dirt playing with a rock. They thought that was very sad because he didn't have any other toys with him. I should add that we have a rock in our basement play room that the kids have kept track of for over a year. I have tried to toss it in the trash a number of times but they keep finding it and getting mad at me for "accidentally" throwing it away.
They both wanted to know what could have happened to the parents. Finn thought that maybe they died. Niamh responded that their parents can't die because they are just kids. Real touching stuff.
This is where we took the conversation in a different direction. Finn suggested that maybe the kids walked away from their parents at the store and they got lost from them. CUE MOM and an opportunity to teach a lesson.
We had a good talk about strangers and always staying where I can see them, never going anywhere with anyone they don't know. Then, I quizzed them.
"Niamh, what if someone said to you, 'Hey, Little Girl, I have a kitten in my car. Want to see it?' What would you do, Niamh?"
Her response: "PUNCH THEM IN THE FACE!", OK! I guess she has heard this talk in the past from Mr. T.
"Finn, what if someone said to you, 'Hey, Little Boy, I have a really cool truck over in the back of my van. Come see it.' What would you do, Finn?"
There was a long silent pause. Then, quieltly, "I don't know, Mama." You can understand his dilemma.
So, I have a little more work to do with Finn, but, watch out for Niamh, she's scrappy.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

There's A Party In My Tummy

This is what we were looking at. It became somewhat of the theme song for whatever we were about to eat.

Happy Birthday Auntie Mae Mae

Mairead demanded a few things of me before she finalized her plans to visit us from San Francisco on Halloween Weekend. First, the party, photos in the next post. Second, breakfast in bed on her birthday, Halloween. She was at the wrong house if she wanted breakfast in bed. The only one who gets breakfast in bed is Niamh when she feasts on stolen chocolate at 3am. However, I agreed to make her pumpkin pancakes for her birthday breakfast. They were delish, like mini pumpkin breads you get to drizzle maple syrup on.

"Happy Birthday To You...." Watch Finn go through the motions of blowing out the candle with Mairead.


I don't believe he is innocent for a second.

Back to Halloween

For Halloween, we had a small dinner party of about TWENTY-FIVE friends come over before hitting the streets of Wallingford demanding candy. This was something my sister, Mairead/Auntie Mae Mae, demanded we do while she was visiting because Halloween is her birthday. I obliged. It was a lot of spaghetti, a lot of mess, and a lot of fun.

Uncle Dylan has been called "Dill Pickle" since before we had kids. Can you guess what his costume is? It isn't Gumbi with warts. It isn't the various gross things that Steve suggested it could be (use your imagination and pretend you are Steve and you will come up with a few.).
Don't you love the photo above. It looks like he is hanging out on the sidewalk with the monsters eating candy.

I could have taken photos of The Pickle all night. Every time I saw him, I burst in to laughter. My favorite was when he very seriously and politely introduced himself to my neighbor, shaking her hand like he is a a pickle costume!

That's mys sis, Mairead, Raggedy Anne.

Niamh and Finn, the Wind Up Doll and Astronaut.

Left to Right. Rosie the Giraffe, Ella the Fairy Unicorn, and Anjali who had the absolute coolest costume that I didn't get a photo of. She had a Metro Bus created from cardboard, which she wore with straps over her shoulders and she was the bus driver. Genius!

Niamh with Jaya, the super scarey ghost with awesome makeup.

I love when girls do creative costumes and aren't just princesses and dolls. This is Maddy, she is dead.

Our neighbor, Finn, known as "The Other Finn", as Merlin.

Apparently the Shaw Girls (me and Mairead) are the only ones who played "Doughnut on a String" growing up. The other parents thought it was such a silly game. Steve kept chanting "Swine Flu" as the kids took turns trying to get a bite of the doughnut hung from the doorway. Beats bobbing for apples. Who wants to stick their head in a bowl of water for an apple?

Finn, The Other Finn, Niamh, and Maddy getting ready to go Trick or Treating. Maddy is looking ambitious with her oversized shopping bag for the loot.

Dylan, Mairead, Me (Shaved Ice), Erin, Steve in Finn's costume, Niamh, Finn, and Maddy

I packed a cooler for the adults in to the kids' old stroller and we all accompanied our little costume clad kids in begging for candy from our neighbors.

Niamh sorting her candy when it was all said and done...then she and Finn both opted to trade it all in for a toy at Top 10 Toys the next day. More for me and Steve to eat! If I were smart, I'd trade it in for a smaller jean size.

Ahhhhh, the late night festivities. KARAOKE! I discovered about a a year ago, while on a trip with Microsoft, that I love to karaoke. While I look terrified in this picture, I am sure it is just because Erin can't sing as well as me.

Still singing.

Just like her big sister, Mairead also enjoyed rockin the microphone. I'd have to say my favorite was MC Hammer's Can't Touch This. In fact, I am doing the rump in my seat right now just thinking about it.