Friday, December 31, 2010

Give A Guess

Anyone? Anyone know what this says? No Westovers are allowed to answer.

Christmas 2010 018

I drew a blank. I hadn’t even had a sip of wine, my creative juices depend on grape juice. I was paralyzed.

Anyone else?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Dear, Santa… Bite Me

Hey, Santa. Don’t choke on these cookies Friday night.

Its 5:40am and I’m just going to bed after baking, decorating, and cleaning up after your cookies. I think if I bump in to you as you come down my chimney, I might just shove them down your throat.

You better be bringing me something with 4 wheels that seats 7 with enough space for 2 dogs and my idea of the camping essentials.

I’m serious, don’t cross me, Old Man.

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His Name Is Rocky

Just after I fought back tears, begging Steve to please just help me because I was up until 3:30am wrapping gifts, got up at 7:15 to register Niamh and Finn for the next session of swim lessons, spent the rest of the morning at Target/GAP/QFC with only 1 cup of coffee, was dying to get the dogs to the park because they haven’t left their hallway for a week, and still had to get the kids to see Santa before Dec 26, bake and decorate Santa’s cookies, and make egg nog because I’m working the 3 days before Christmas Eve, a neighbor asked Steve if we knew the dog that was hanging out on the side of our house. (Holy run on sentence, Batman.)

Steve came in and told me there was a Pit Bull in the driveway. Me being the idiot that I am, I stopped what I was doing (which was making an even bigger mess in the house), and went to meet the doggie. He was a neutered male with no leash or collar (sounds familiar), who shied away from and barked at Steve, but came to me with just a little encouragement. I liked him right away because he liked me more than Steve. People usually like Steve more than me, but dogs are waaaaay smarter.

Steve was on his way out the door to work…on the Sunday before Christmas…and yelled to me as he got in his car, Looks like your day just got derailed. Bye.



So, Freddy and Gus had to wait to go to the park. Niamh and Finn had to wait to see Santa. Everything on my list of Must Dos today, got pushed to my much longer list of I Really Hope I Get These Things Done.

I asked Niamh and Finn, Fred and Gus to stay downstairs because this dog is a Pit Bull and I’m a racist. He was fine with me, but kids and Boxer puppies could be a totally different situation.

Within 2 minutes, the dog barfed on the floor and peed on my coat. The coat wasn’t really his fault though. He lifted his leg to pee on my dining room chair and my coat was hanging on the back. The coat was an unfortunate victim.

He had the most nauseating smell coming from his rear end, I knew that I couldn’t keep him in the house for long. After barfing and peeing, I was pretty sure I knew the next thing that was going to come from the inside out.

So, I posted a note on the forums of our neighborhood blog, called the Animal Shelter to see if someone reported him missing, and asked a few people on the street if they knew him. Then, we got in the car to take him to the Animal Shelter to see if he was micro chipped.

Have you ever read the book Walter the Farting Dog? I now believe it is possible for a dog’s gas to stop burglars from robbing a house. In the car, with nowhere to run from the smell, Niamh said it was making her eyes burn.

Speaking of Niamh, I asked her what we should call the dog because we didn’t know his name. She said Pimpy!

Pimpy!?, I said. Why Pimpy?

Because he’s a pimple.

Why is he a pimple?, I asked her.

You said he was a pimple, she said.

NO! He’s a Pit Bull, not a Pimple!

So, we took Pimpy to the shelter. He was chipped. His name is Rocky. He has a file at the shelter. Apparently Rocky is a regular at the shelter and his owner isn’t too quick to retrieve him. Twice in the past they have had to send her certified letters to tell her to come pick him up. Knowing their 72 hour policy before putting dogs up for adoption, and knowing that there are a lot more racists out there, my stomach sank thinking about what might become Rocky’s fate.

I don’t know what to do for him. He was very sweet, even buried his big square head in my stomach when I bent down to pet him, just like Eddy used to do. But, I don’t want him. I can’t have him. 

If I give out his case number, will someone check in on him and maybe foster him? I really wish I hadn’t been the one to find him. I can’t handle the guilt of being the one to take him to the Animal Shelter. 

Pimpy, I’m thinking of you, Pal. I’m sorry your Mom sucks. I’m sorry I can’t handle anything else in my house that isn’t fully responsible for their bladder and bowels. I’m sorry I judged you. I’m just plain old sorry.

Now, after taking Fred and Gus to the dog park, bathing them, and taking Niamh and Finn to see Santa, I’m in the kitchen, making 2 batches of cookies for Santa, wishing I had prioritized the Spiked Egg Nog over the cookies, hoping Pimpy finds a better home for the holidays. sigh. I miss Eddy.

Thursday, December 16, 2010



Niamh told her teacher that the dogs had surgery on their necks so they wouldn’t have babies.

I was dying thinking about Niamh putting together the information she knew. She knew the dogs had surgery so they wouldn’t have babies. She knew they were wearing cones on their necks. The logical assumption is that babies come out of dogs’ necks.

What worries me is she never questioned that assumption.


She also thinks this guy flies to the North Pole every night and tells Santa about her behavior towards her mother each day.

I’m thinking the magic of Christmas is going to last a few more years around here, and that I can keep telling her babies are made when a man kisses a woman he loves….or two male dogs lick each other’s faces.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Misery Loves Company

Friday the boys were neutered (by a Vet who explained the surgery with the terms "balls and weiner").

They have 10 days with the cones.


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Gus is lucky he’s got a brother willing to help him out.

photo 1

Don’t judge me. I had an itch. This stupid thing wouldn’t let me get to it.

By Day 2 they were feeling better. Only 8 more days with the cones.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Its The Thought That Counts

Hey, Pals. I am so sorry to tell you that I am unable to buy you the Christmas gifts I was planning this year. You see, our basement flooded, so, Steve and I will be buying drywall and sump pumps, new throw rugs and dog beds, baseboards and paint.

I’ve had to cash out the following gifts:

Meg- I had prepaid some sclero at Via Vascular. Dr. Jensen still has your chart. Drop my name. He knows me and my deep femoral veins well. The package was complete with compression stockings and and pedicure at HOA on Roosevelt.

Katie- I had bought you the cutest “something blue” for your wedding. Just because you aren’t getting it doesn’t mean you can continue to put off getting your effing dress. Get on it. April 29th is not so far away. (Believe me, my abs and I have been counting down the days until we see a bikini in Hawaii).

Aleah- There is this new brood of chicks that are disease resistant and have the most perfect fluffy yellow down. I had ordered you 4 of them. I’m sure they will find good homes (that aren’t haunted with the history yours has).

Julie- Custom bedding for the camper. Not that she needed custom sheets….she’s pretty perfect just as she is.

Brooke- Puerto Rican Coconut Egg Nog. You’re lucky. I’m making it anyway for myself and my brother-in-law, so I might as well make you a jug too. Kinda wish I had some right now.

Hope the rest of your Families’ and Friends’ basements are dry. I’d hate for your stocking to hang limp from the chimney’s.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Please Tilt Screen about 10 Degrees to the left


011Perhaps we were too quick to choose our tree.

Perhaps we should not have assumed a $70 tree would have been straight.

Perhaps scoliosis is not something that just happens to vertebrates.

Perhaps our house leans a little.

Perhaps its perfect.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


This Thanksgiving, I didn’t bring my camera to dinner. Oops.

We travelled to Steve’s brother’s house in Snoqualmie to enjoy a meal with Uncle Mike, Auntie Michelle, Cousin Emily, Grandma Pat, and Grandpa Denny. The meal was delish, just the right amount of everything. No gluttony in The Westover Family…something I am still getting used to but it is probably better for me in the end. I exclaim out loud that I am so full, I can’t eat another bite. But really, I am just trying to fit in. Once a Shaw, always a Shaw. I can eat my body weight in one sitting. Just ask a Shaw. Don’t ask a Westover, I’ve never shown them what I can really do. They just wouldn’t understand.

Even without a camera to document the holiday and leave us with some photo memories, the night will still be memorable.

At some point during the meal, each adult called out a “private part”. Some used the more vulgar term for the private part they spoke of, ahem, Denny.

Steve raised his glass and said he was thankful for his wife who does everything around the house, all the laundry, all the cleaning, all the shopping, all the cooking, while he does nothing. Don’t ooohhhh and ahhhhh at what a great guy he is. He was mocking an argument we had earlier in the day. He was really being a jerk but Steve is one of those guys that ends an argument by being cute. Steve is annoying to be mad at. I always end up looking like the jerk because I sit in a corner with a scowl on my face. Arguing with Steve is never a fair fight.

So, this Thanksgiving, I was thankful for in-laws who cook for me, in-laws that can yell out penis during Thanksgiving dinner, a husband that generally ends the arguments, the Shaw stomach which means I never feel “uncomfortably full”, and these guys

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Finn and Liam

We were in San Francisco for my parents’ joint 70th birthday party last weekend. While there, Finn met his second cousin, Liam, for the first time. The two hit it off immediately. They are 3 months apart in age, share the same head shape, and are both goofs when a camera is around.

Check out the faces. I couldn’t stop laughing as I was going through my photos today. The only photos I have of them with a “normal” (relatively speaking) face, are those where they don’t know a camera is pointed at them.

Mom and Dad's 70th Birthday Weekend 039 Mom and Dad's 70th Birthday Weekend 127Mom and Dad's 70th Birthday Weekend 030Mom and Dad's 70th Birthday Weekend 033Mom and Dad's 70th Birthday Weekend 061 Mom and Dad's 70th Birthday Weekend 062Mom and Dad's 70th Birthday Weekend 063 Mom and Dad's 70th Birthday Weekend 142Mom and Dad's 70th Birthday Weekend 074Mom and Dad's 70th Birthday Weekend 084Mom and Dad's 70th Birthday Weekend 128Mom and Dad's 70th Birthday Weekend 087Mom and Dad's 70th Birthday Weekend 222     Their Good Bye Hug. When they can write, they will be pen pals. 

Friday, November 26, 2010

I’d Give Her a 2 on The Wong-Baker Faces Pain Scale

This morning, my little girl became….a little girl with pierced ears. I’m not willing to allow her to be anything more than that just yet. Even though she sometimes thinks she’s 19, she’s not and she can’t argue with me about that fact.

I’ll start by telling a story about my little sister, Mairead, known to many as Mae Mae. When I was 7 years old, my Godmother, Eileen Bradley, gave me the gift of pierced ears for my birthday. This was controversial in my house because my parents did not approve of us having pierced ears. I don’t know what they thought it reflected in a young girl when she had cute little stud earrings, but apparently it was bad. Good Ole Eileen didn’t see it that way so she felt she’d help me out by gifting me pierced ears. You can’t give back a gift!

Because I got to have my ears pierced, my older sister had to have her ears pierced. That was only fair. And, because we got to have our ears pierced, Mairead had to have hers done as well. Mairead was only 3 years old. The jewelry store had just one person there so she did one ear at a time instead of the double whammy get it over with in one double hole punch with one machinist on each ear method.

The gal punched the first ear and Mairead was gone. She jumped out of the tall swivel chair, out of the store, and through Stanford Shopping Center. When we caught up to her, she refused to go back and have the other ear done. It took about a week to get her back there.

I did not tell Niamh that story until after both her ears were bejeweled. I don’t think it would have mattered because apparently all these years of Finn beating her up has made her tough.

Happy 7th Birthday Niamh 008

Just in case she needed a hand to squeeze, she held mine. I was still able to video the procedure while Steve took photos. 

Those Sneaks, they did it on the 2 count! All she said was It startled me.

When it was all over, we went to Taco Del Mar for a birthday burrito. It was Niamh’s choice of restaurant. We offered her Tutti Bella, Boom Noodle, Gorditos, Canlis. But, a girl wants what a girl wants and this girl wanted TDM.

 Happy 7th Birthday Niamh 013 Happy 7th Birthday Niamh 015Happy 7th Birthday Niamh 016Happy 7th Birthday Niamh 018Of course, her Bestie Jaya was there. 

On a somewhat related note, because today commemorates the day I first experienced the joy of an epidural, I was reflecting on my amazing ability to labor and I remembered my birth ball. I love to buy stuff, and after attending my birth class, I was convinced that I needed to buy a birth ball. I don’t remember when or why I was supposed to use it. I do remember it wasn’t cheap and I had to have it. Somewhere in the beginning of my third trimester, our dog Eddy ate the birth ball. I had to buy another one. The second one wasn’t cheap either. I’m sure I also paid for express shipping just in case I went in to early labor. I had to have the birth ball available to me. Turns out, my labor was short lived and there was no time to bounce on the ball. Some time in the first few days Niamh was home, Eddy ate the second birth ball. It was his cry for attention. I didn’t deserve it. I’m sure if Eddy had paid closer attention to Niamh’s incessant loud screams for her own attention, Eddy would have felt I had suffered enough and he would have left me my birth ball to throw myself against when all sanity was lost. Instead I drank (I drink).

Cheers, Niamh. I love love love you.

The Last Time We Will See Our 6 Year Old Daughter

Tomorrow Niamh will be SEVEN years old!!!

At 11:00 she gets her ears pierced which is what she hopes to be the start of a life adorned with jewels. Its tough to know your child’s dreams will never come true.

When I took this photo of her I said This is the last photo we will have of you as a 6 year old. Tomorrow you start growing hair on your chest.

She looked at me puzzled, peeked down her shirt and said Oh, I already have some. Do you still have hair on your chest?

Nope I replied. It falls off when you turn 9.


Happy Birthday, Niamh. I never knew life could be so challenging until I became your Mama.

I love you to bits.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My Sister-In-Law Is Really Cool, And So Are These Photos

Steve’s sister, Alex, is really really cool. She’s the kind of person you want to find fault with because you want to find some reason not to like her. But, as hard as you try, she’s just too likeable, and nice, and creative, and generous, and tolerant of your raucous husband and kids, and she texts you back recipe requests and wine recommendations.

Our kids like her better than they like us. I think they would leave us for her in a heartbeat.

I would leave them for her in a heartbeat, too.

Whenever there is a Westover Family gathering, we go to Alex’s house. She has the best table decorations, a gigantic hot tub, and wine that she should not be wasting on me and Steve.

Last weekend, Steve’s parents came home from Montana for the Winter so we had a Westy gathering at Alex’s house. She had set up a photo booth in her entryway for us all to play with. I think that Steve and Niamh had the most fun with it. **I try not to say or write “Steve and Niamh” together. It was not intentional that we named our daughter a name that rhymes with her dad’s name.  I usually try to separate their names in conversation by putting someone else’s name between theirs. For example, “Steve, Finn, and Niamh went to the park.”  It was also not intentional that my name and Finn’s name are so similar. Steve and Niamh. Fiona and Finn. How vain. **If anyone reading this is wondering how S T E V E and N I A M H rhyme, maybe I just gave you a clue how to pronounce our daughter’s name.

In case someone else wants to replicate the photo booth, you will need a gigantic black piece of heavy fabric, an enormous frame to put the fabric on/over, a laptop computer, a fancy camera, a remote for the camera, and a tall tripod. Sounds easy, eh?

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Alex, Grandma Pat, and Cousin Lincoln.

Thanks, Alex, for ALL you do for us. I hope you know we appreciate it. You Rock!