Monday, December 28, 2009

Is it Really Over?

I can’t sum it up any better than with this video.


In case you need a reminder of what last year’s Christmas scene was like, see this video for the 1st Annual Nerf Gun War.

If you listen closely, between the "pop pop pop" of the nerf guns, you can hear Noel playing and Alex screaming "Not near the Chihuly painting." There is a tender moment at the end where Cousin Cooper helps Finn load his gun and pump it with air before shooting relatives. This is what Christmas is all about.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

December 26th

On the day AFTER Christmas, we went sledding! I took the kids solo to try out the new sleds I forgot to put under the tree yesterday. With a quick stop at Le Petite Shoppe Kids Consignment, we had the boots we needed to make the outfits complete. The kids slept the hour it took to get there, and then I found a closed Ranger road packed with people illegally sledding. While we were witness to more than a few people get swept off their feet by out of control sleds, we still gave it a try and had a blast. Niamh is super cautious, like her Mama. She wouldn’t go alone and didn’t want me to go any faster than walking speed. Finn, on the other hand, liked the speed and made one attempt at going alone.

sledding 002

sledding 003

sledding 001

The ride home was full of adrenaline induced energy. They fought, talked like babies (like nails on a chalk board to my ears), alerted me every time they saw a patch of snow, tested my math skills, played I Spy, ate only the M&Ms out of the trail mix, sang Frosty The Snow Man again and again, wondered what Santa was doing today, and told some really painful knock knock jokes.

Did You Know Santa Lives in Wallingford?

For about 3 years we have been telling the kids that Paul Dorpat is Santa Claus. For a long time, all we knew was that Paul Dorpat was this guy who walked around our neighborhood and took photos of the houses, including our house, on a regular basis. Same house, taken from the same spot in front of the house, around the same time of day. But, the guy looks exactly like Santa Claus, only he wears chinos, a tackle/photographers vest, and kind of a hippie hat. So, naturally, we told the kids that this guy was Santa Claus. And we told them that he roams the neighborhood throughout the year taking photos of the houses with kids and logs them as good kids or naughty kids so he knows which houses to skip on Christmas. They fell for it right away. Why wouldn’t they? It completely makes sense.

When we bump in to him on the street, they call him “Santa”. He doesn’t really play along. Once he even said, “I’m Paul”, but I can make up lots of good reasons why he wants to be incognito on his mission to catalog good vs naughty, and the kids believe every word I say.

You can read all about Mr. Dorpat by clicking on his name, that is a really nice article about him in the Seattle Times. You can also read his blog for lots of great historical information on Seattle and Seattle’s neighborhoods. Anyhow, the guy simply looks like Santa Claus and we think he is really cool.

Earlier in the week we went to a night of readings and songs by Mr. D and some other locals who had great story telling voices and a lot of character. Steve and I really would have enjoyed the evening….if we had left the kids at home, safely tied to their beds, under Eddy the Dog’s watchful eye.


Minutes after the show started, in an old echoing chapel at the Meridian School, I hear this “pop pop pop” noise come from my left. I looked over at Steve who whispered, “Niamh just farted.” It was like a machine gun. Then, Finn, who was sitting on my lap, did the same thing! I was so embarrassed, but couldn’t stop shaking with laughter. Finn also gave me a good display of other reasons not to bring a 4 year old (almost 4), to such a show. He played with the brand new velcro on his jacket that made a loud ripping noise over and over. He made bubble noises with his lips. And he continuously asked me questions about where Santa (Paul) parked the reindeer while he was here? How was Santa going to get to the reindeer at the end of the show? And, could we go outside and try to look for the reindeer on the roof? Eventually, Steve and I let the 2 of them lay in the aisle on their tummies at the back of the room. There they lay, side by side, continuing with their flatulence, and not caring at all.

We left at intermission.

I sent this email to Paul that night.                                                        Paul,                                                                                                                  Thanks for the evening, though shortened by our flatulent children with short attention spans.                                                   We’ll try it again next year!

Happy Holidays to You.                                                                                 The Westovers                                                                                             Steve, Fiona, Niamh, and Finn

I really liked his reply.                                                                                Very funny Fiona.  I think some of us on stage were periodically flatulent as well.  Thanks for trying Fiona.  You deserve a Flatulence Refund.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

And Finn had a lot of questions about everything Santa. Nonstop inquiries about how he arrives, gets down the chimney, puts out the fire, opens the fireplace screen, closes the screen, puts the fire back on. How the reindeer land, take off, sound, eat, fly.

In the video they are “discussing” how Santa closes the fireplace screen.

Happy Holidays from our loving family that knows how to talk out our disagreements to yours.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Thank You, Sir

I’d like to give a shout out to the the clerk at Seattle State Liquor Store 96, in U Village. As I paid for the ingredients in my spiked egg nog, he asked me for my ID. Sadly, nobody has carded me in a few years. Then, when he was looking at it he laughed a little. I said, “What?”, thinking he thought it was a funny photo. He said, “Oh, I was way off. By about 10 years. What’s your secret to looking 25?”

Thank you, Sir. Thank you.

**obviously, he was drunk, but I’ll take the compliment anyway**

Blinded By Love

niamh scary 001

As I was looking for the old Christmas photos, I found this page of pictures I took of Niamh. What was I thinking printing and mounting these as though they were some of her cuter photos? As Steve is sitting next to me he is yelling “Oh My God, she looks like an alien!” She does, she is scrawny, cross-eyed, and maybe a little jaundiced. The yellow wall behind her doesn’t do her any favors. Its no wonder she was a cranky baby, she was starving! Those maternal love hormones must have been working overtime because I’m sure I wouldn’t have chosen her as my own in a room full of happy fat babies, but I still wanted to display these photos in an album for all to see. Yikes!

Santa Photos

I cannot believe it is Christmas week and I haven’t posted the kids’ Santa photo! Since I’ve never posted any Santa photos, I’m putting them all up. We’ll go in reverse chronological order because the last one is the best. Be patient, don’t skip ahead.

2009 Christmas 2009 001

This was our second attempt at going to see Santa. I don’t know who’s wise idea it was to go to B Square on a Sunday in December for Santa photos, but the line was too much for us to take. I didn’t stand in the 4 hour line for the H1N1 vaccine to save my kids’ lives, and I sure wasn’t going to stand in the  2 hour line for Santa. But, a Monday morning at Macy’s Downtown turned out to be a great idea! (Shhhh, don’t tell Niamh’s teachers that she saw Santa after calling in sick to school!) We were one of 2 families there. We were lucky we had the time and attention of the photographer because the kids were totally star struck and looked terrified. Finn, Mr. Goofy All The Time, wouldn’t smile. He couldn’t. I think he was concentrating on not peeing on the Big Guy’s red suit. He was so nervous. And my beautiful Niamh, every time I think people are going to approach me to sign you up for a career modeling kids clothing, I see these photos where you look like you are half asleep (I’ll have to post her school photo). Believe me, of the series of pics the photographer showed me to choose from, this was the most animated by far!

Christmas Niamh age 5 001Love this one. Taken at B Square. Great Santa. Great Smiles.

2007Christmas Niamh age 4 001 Obviously, they (Finn) wouldn’t sit on Santa’s lap. Santa pulled one of his little tricks to get a cute photo anyway. Too bad though, I don’t have any classic pics of the kids screaming on Santa’s lap. Missed opportunity at a timeless treasure.  This one was from Nordstrom Downtown. Waiting in this line was a real treat. Santa had 2 breaks while we were in line. One to “feed the reindeer” and one to visit the Men’s Room. You’d think Nordys could hire a Santa with a real beard!

2006 Christmas niamh age 3 001 University Village. I laugh every time I look at Finn’s square chubby face. Niamh is such a little cutie with her wispy hair.

Christmas age 2 001This was from Northgate Mall. (Why have I visited every Santa in the Seattle Area?) The Man in Red looked great but was a man of few words, and fewer teeth if I remember correctly. I think they plucked him right out of the rec room at Kindred Hospital around the corner from the mall. It was the last Christmas photo before Finn was born. The baby on Santa’s lap is Cousin Ashling. I think Niamh had enough of Ashling by the time the shot was taken.

2004 100_0502[1]One of my all time favorite photos of Niamh. Oh, she was so absolutely adorable when she was a year old. Such a love. We didn’t do Santa pics at this point. Instead we went to the park on a sunny December day when we were living in LA, we thought cold thoughts, took along the Frosty that we got for free because we spent a certain amount of money at Toys R Us, and loaded the Radio Flyer with the tree. I still have about 200 photos from this day. Choosing one as the best was a task.

Christmas 2003 001Our very first Christmas as a family. Have I ever mentioned what a horrible newborn Niamh was? I won’t go in to it right now because it might just fill me with rage. Just know that I didn’t sleep for 4 months. I mean it. Not at all. Niamh was only a month old here so I still hadn’t learned how to deal with no sleep. I guess I didn’t know how to dress or brush my hair either. Nice jeans, Fiona. Even Steve’s jeans are more stylish than mine. I am a denim snob. I can’t believe I owned this overwashed disaster. And Sneakers! On Christmas!
Steve is choking Eddy.
Now let’s focus our attention on the doll sitting on the horse behind me. That’s right. I said “horse". My parents have in their living room this enormous horse made from tusk or some other bone. The family is divided about how appropriate it is to showcase this piece of ….art??? During the holiday season, my mom ties antlers to the horse’s head.
Back to the doll. This doll, the one with her boobs hanging out, was also a showcase item at my parents’ home. She was usually displayed in the side-lying position on the couch in their formal sitting room. When you enter the house, she used to catch your eye, and for a second, you’d think there was really a scantily dressed old lady lying on the couch. We named her “Grandma”. I refer to her in the past tense because Eddy ate her.
Cheers to more photos to laugh at, more memories in the making, and more mall Santas to evaluate!

Monday, December 21, 2009


Tuesday, my great husband and great friends tried to plan a surprise birthday party for me. I always wanted to have a surprise party. As a kid, I remember hinting to my mom that she should have a surprise party for me. I remember a couple of my friends got surprise parties, but I didn't. Oh well, just one more thing to do for my own kids.
Steve and Co. did a pretty good job keeping it a secret, but, I found out. I knew when it was, I knew where it was, I knew some of the people who were going. I didn't know how much Steve planned, that he put copies of some of my childhood photos on the tables in an attempt to embarrass me, that so many of my favorite people were going to be there, that Steve told people I was turning 47, or that we were going to spend the night downtown.
The party was at Hula Hula Karaoke. I kinda love karaoke. Apparently, a few of my friends do as well (ahem, Katie! Daria! Ira!). Without blabbing on and on about how funny some of our "acts" were, I think I'll just post some of the video. My initial plan was to upload a photo montage with pics from the night and have our karaoke voices as the soundtrack in the background. But, after reviewing the videos of Katie singing and dancing, I felt that cutting out the video would be lost entertainment. I could barely even edit the videos to shorten them. Every second was entertaining. Without further delay, I present to you Katie! (Yes, she is wearing a onesie. Apprently they are back in style.)

Here is little montage of Daria, Ira, and Katie.

To my disappointment, nobody grabbed the video camera to record me, Kelli, Daria, and Ryan singing Baby Got Back.

Below are the photos that Steve had printed for the event. Nope, they didn't embarrass me. I'm proud of each of the dress choices I made for every one of those high school formals.

My First Grade photo from Immaculate Heart of Mary. I haven't seen my natural hair color in decades, there it is. Niamh is just one year away from my age in this photo. I'm searching for the resemblance.

I probably shouldn't include the names of the boys in these shots. This was a Freshman dance at our brother school, Serra High School. I'm so glad that I went with the color blocking look, all white on my bottom half, and all turquoise (note the hoop earrings) on the top half.

My best guess, Junior Year Christmas Formal. I wish I still had this dress. I could just rip off the arms and wear the body as a super hot strapless.

Senior Prom (Thanks for loaning me the earrings, Sierra, I still remember plastic dangling daisies. I bought my date a daisy corsage. I was developing a sense of style!)

I was a cheerleader, for an all girls catholic high school! So Cool!

Helping make dinner when I built Latrines in Oaxaca, age 16

On the beach in Half Moon Bay with my pup Comer, age 16

Yep, MOST CONSERVATIVE. My classmates obviously knew me really well.

This was right before Steve and I got married, or maybe right after given the opened wedding presents seen in the back ground. I'm sure I wouldn't have opened any gifts before the wedding. That is Big Eddy when he was just a year old, looking healthy and young.

Here are some pics of the night set to music, as it seems most appropriate.

NO, It isn't over yet! Steve got us a room at The Westin downtown with this gorgeous view. Steve had strewn my favorite candy bars (Cadbury Crunchies and Flakes) all over the bed. What a guy.

Steve was bragging that he got the room for a mere $60 with his points. Good thing he got that deal because the breakfast seen here, and you are looking at all of it, was $75!

Then, that afternoon, back at the house, I came upon this scene. Nothing like your kids and your dog to remind you that the clock struck twelve and you are no longer the Belle of the Ball. What you are looking at are the wrappers of those favorite candy bars that Eddy found in Steve's computer bag and ate....ALL OF THEM! The party was over, back to the routine antics of life in the Westover House.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Here's Your Holiday Card

I don't do Holiday Card mailings. So, here ya go!
Happy Holidays
The Westovers
Steve, Fiona, Niamh, Finn, and Eddy

Monday, December 14, 2009

I Love My Dog

We have this big huge softie of a dog. He weighs anywhere between 85-90 pounds (we all have our skinny days and our "I'm retaining water" days). A lot of people are afraid of him when we are out walking or when they come to the door. I keep telling them that he is friendly, couldn't hurt a flea...or a Chihuahua!
We took care of our good friend's 2 Chihuahuas last week while she was away. We had been camping with them a few times over the summer and the kids just loved the little different than their own big beast at home....and Niamh says, "Saying Chihuahua is really fun!" So, we took Sadie and India in to the family for 5 days.
I took this video of Eddy greeting them when they first arrived. Now, if this doesn't convince you that this old dog is the friendliest and most harmless creature, I don't know what will. Beware of the Chihuahua though!
I have to make a note about the state of the house in this video. The orange cord hanging from the door was for some lights we were hangning from the porch. They have since been taken down because the cord is just so tacky. We had also just put up the Christmas ornaments and the boxes are still lying around. The pack and play by the door was just returned to me after I loaned it out and still hadn't put it away. And, there is also the Chihuahuas' kennel in the middle of the room. Geez, what slobs we are!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Someone's Got A Crush On Me

I have been finding these little notes all over the place. They are written on receipts, scrap paper, Lipton Soup envelopes, you name it. Looks like I have a not-so-secret Admirer. I'm pretty smitten with her too. For the record, she does have a dad, she just like me better.
Click to enlarge-it's worth it

Translation please? top to bottom, left to right
Love, Niamh. My Mom is my favorite friend.
Mom, I love love love love you.
Mommy, I love Mommy. I love because you are my best fan.
Fiona Mommy
You're my mom

I think I'm blushing.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Niamh's Birthdays

It must be because Niamh's birthday is always around Thanksgiving that the celebration seems to go on forever! This year her birthday was actually on Thanksgiving Day. So, we celebrated at home in the morning, at Grandma's and Grandpa's that evening, then had her birthday party with her friends a week later. Truly, it all started a few days before her actual birthdate because on Monday morning (3 days before the day), she declared that we should call her "Birthday Girl" since her birthday was upon us. Yes, Ma'am.
Get ready for the onslaught of photos..........

Remember that Doll House I keep referring to? The one I spent so much time making prettier for her? Well, turns out, all it needed was some fancy princess castle furniture from Auntie Alex to make it fun to play with.

This doll was the gift that Steve and I bought for her. It took a lot for me to break down and get it for her. She kept pointing it out to Grandma in the toy store and said it was what she really wanted for her birthday. Niamh has so many dolls and stuffed animals that she loves for about 2 hours and then go in a pile in the round red tub in the play room. I figured I might as well get her the toy she asked for and won't play with, rather then get her the toy she didn't ask for and won't play with. I know you are dying to know if she plays with it? What do you think?

On to celebration #2 at Grandma's and Grandpa's house.....

Makeup, obviously a grandparent gift.

Makeup, obviously a gift that Finn enjoys as much as Niamh. He applied this himself.

Pumpkin Pie! Her favorite dessert!

And the Finale, her party with her friends at Paint The Town at U Village, followed by lunch at Pallino Pastaria. A venue I would definitely repeat.
Niamh has a fun group of friends she has met in kindergarten. Though the #2 person on her list of invites was her teacher (suck up),  we thought it best to let teachers have rest from their students on the weekends.

Yes, that is Jaya with the Buckaroo hat on. I'm telling you, that girl's style is tough to match.

Not shy for the camera. These girls are all personality.

I was only a little surprised that Finn chose a purple monkey as his art piece.

During lunch, this Sweetie told me she could only eat a little bit of cake because she is getting a she only ate the frosting. Love her restraint and discipline.

My favorite shot from all the parties!
Happy 6th birthday, Niamh....again. Guess what, Girlie, December is someone else's birthday month. I'm not talking about that baby in the hay. I'm talking about ME, your Mama. I think I'm ready for you to start referring to ME as "Birthday Girl."

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Day at the Salon

Recently, Niamh got a really cute bob style hair cut. It was so perfectly adorable that I decided to take her to see the gal who cuts my hair at Gene Juarez downtown. I wanted Chloe to make it just a little bit edgier, not so cutesy perfect.
We entered the salon and the receptionist handed each of us a smock to change in to. I took Niamh to one of the curtained rooms to take off our coats and put on the robe. As I was putting mine on, Niamh said to me, "Do I keep my underwear on, Mama?" I turned to look at her and her skirt was at her ankles and she was pulling down her tights! Hilarious! "No, Babe, we aren't here for a female exam. Just a hair cut!" We'll have that bonding moment in about 10 more years.

ADORABLE and edgy!