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.

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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.

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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!

She Dreams of More


Niamh: Mama, do you know what my dream car is?

Me: No, what is it?

Niamh: A limousine

Me: Why?

Niamh: Cause you get to demand things from the guy driving.

Me: How is that different from when I drive and you demand things from me?

Niamh: You say no.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Halloween Happened

Halloween happened and if I don’t get moving on posting about it, Thanksgiving, Niamh’s Birthday, and Christmas will have happened too.

In this house, to our kids, Halloween is all about high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, and dyes red 40 and blue 1. To kick off the frenzy that turns perfectly normal kids in to whining, crying, begging little turds, we had a pumpkin carving party here at the house.

What kind of Ding Bat invites a bunch of kids over to get high on juice and cupcakes, then hands them carving tools and lets them open up pumpkins on her living room floor?

Me. I’m a Ding Bat.

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Then, there was The Monster Mash at Niamh’s School. The kids got dressed up the evening before Halloween for a night of games, Haunted House, pizza, and CANDY in the cafeteria and gym.

We saw our good friends Drew and Jaya there with their families.

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In The Fortune Teller’s Tent, the Gypsy Lady told Finn that he liked dogs and owns two Boxer puppies. Finn, and Steve, were totally amazed at her accuracy.

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Jaya doesn’t do Halloween costumes half-heartedly. The gal goes all out. Remember her costume last year?

Then, there was Halloween itself. A gorgeous Fall day. Before hitting the streets with my flask in my hand and the kids in the lead, we headed over to a neighbor’s house for some nourishment.

These were the cutest Thing 1 and Thing 2 I have seen.

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I’m a big fan of doorway bouncers. Finn was about to go pro athlete with doorway bouncing when he outgrew the upper weight limit. He did tricks in it. He would spin himself around until the tethers were tight, then he’d lift his feet and unwind. He would also walk himself forward until he couldn’t go any further, lift his feet and get flung backwards. He did this endlessly.

What’s happening in the following photos is I am trying to get Finn to wear the space helmet he begged me to buy him for Halloween last year.

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Finn: I don’t want to wear it.

Me: Here, Finn, I’ll open the visor so you can see. Wear it.

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Finn: Nooooooo, I don’t want to.

Me: Wear it.

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Neighbor taking photo and trying to get on with her life: Why don’t you have him hold it?

Me: Hold it, Finn. Cheese.

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$5 to anyone who can guess what my costume was.

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After a long walk up and down the block, the kids achieved their goal. They were whiney, they had sugar headaches, they sorted their stash, they made a few trades, and I’m sure they had a few pieces stolen by Daddy.

Just about every night since Halloween, they go through the torture of having to choose just one piece after dinner. Here, Finn leaves it up to chance with eenie meenie miney moe.