Monday, January 31, 2011

From The Archives

I just found this as I was putting some recent videos on our external drive.

I’m so glad I found it because I might watch it every day for the next month. It was taken November 2009, a couple months before Finn’s 4th birthday. He is adorable.

I love him.

She IS An Athlete

Grab an adult beverage for this one.

Jump roping is Niamh’s “sport” of choice.

What you are about to see is a “choreographed” end of season routine by Niamh’s after school Jump Rope Group. Much of the routine is improv by each kid. Some kids went home and thought about what they were going to do. Some kids (ahem, mine) thought they would just go with what the music moved them to do the moment of the performance. Or, they would just look to their neighbor and copy whatever they were doing.

I gotta say, I nearly died, and I did cry (cause I love her like my own), when Jaya had the spotlight. She had obviously prepared. The differences between those 2 best friends are many. Yin and Yang. Felix Ungar and Oscar Madison.

Niamh is in the grey and white striped shirt. Jaya is in the blue T with the peace sign.

Jump Rope is on Fridays after school. Most Saturdays, Niamh complains of muscle soreness. This is a REAL sport.

**The Instructor, a 5 time World Jump Rope Champion, was about 38 weeks pregnant at the end of the season. Whenever she jumped rope, I would pee in my pants as an empathetic gesture.**

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Taking It Too Far

Finn and I were playing Kinect Boxing and yelling out intimidations to each other.

You’re going down!

I’m gonna knock you out!

Watch it, Sucka, I’m the Champ!

You, know, harmless little things like that.

Then, Finn yells out, You shit in your pants!

Can you hear the record scratch and the room go silent and still? It did…for everyone except for Finn…he just kept on playing as if he had said I’m going to tickle you to death!

013 012

And that concludes yet another lesson in Don’t Say Anything In Front Of Your Kids That You Don’t Want Repeated.

**I’ll have a little conversation with Steve about Steve’s language around the kids.**

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


On December 3, 2010 we arrived home from dinner to find a wrapped package on our doorstep. There was a note attached that read something like this:

Dear Niamh and Finn,

You got 3 free days, but now I’m watching. Be good.

Love, Santa

Inside the pretty package was our very own Elf On The Shelf. We had heard about this elite group of Scout Elves from our great friends, The Prentices. We were insanely jealous of them for getting to host their very own Elf. Who said envy gets you nowhere? Envy got us our very own Elf On The Shelf. 

Niamh and Finn jointly agreed to name him Elfa. (For the record, we have a stuffed cat named Kitty, dog named Puppy, Seal named Sealy, and who could forget the trio of pigs named Piggy, Liggy, and Ziggy. I was shocked that they didn’t name him Elfy).

Elfa watched the kids and their behavior every day from December 3rd-December 24th. Each night he would magically fly back to the North Pole and report to Santa their naughty and nice behavior. There was plenty of both. Then, in the morning hours before we all woke, Elfa would return to our home for another day of Scout Elf reconnaissance work for Mr. Nick. First thing Niamh and Finn did each morning was look for Elfa and see where he perched himself after his flight back to us.

There were a few days that Elfa didn’t move from the spot he was in the day prior. On those days, we usually found Daddy to blame for touching Elfa and taking away some of his magic and ability to fly. All it took was a day of rest and Elfa’s magic was restored.

Elfa and the kids had a special connection. Niamh and Finn would see him blink, wink, raise his arms, and turn his head. I never saw any of that. I think it must be a kid-elf kind of a thing. One day, Niamh even spotted Elfa at her school watching her. She said he was watching from behind a big air vent on the playground.

Elfa must have witnessed a lot of behavior that I missed, because in spite of the balance between naughty and nice behavior that I observed around here in December, the kids still got gifts from Santa on Christmas morning.

Elfa left them a gift too. Elfa gave them a set of walkie talkies. Since he left for the North Pole on December 24th, the kids have kept in contact with Elfa via the walkie talkies. Its usually hard to make out what he is saying to them because of all the static, and sometimes he gets interrupted by other Elves on the same radio frequency, but Niamh and Finn are satisfied just getting to hear his voice.

And, now when Finn can’t find something, he blames Elfa. He says that Elfa *poofed* it somewhere else!


See ya next year, Elfa. We will be waiting for you.


All this because he wasn’t winning at Kinect bowling.

And he’s my mild mannered child.

Christmas 2010

NOG Nog. My Annual Contribution to gluttony. You’re welcome.

Going through these photos a month after they were taken, I realize I haven’t seen some of the gifts the kids were given since the day they were opened. I don’t think the kids know they are missing some toys. It must mean that Christmas wasn’t all about the toys, right? I guess it could also mean they got more stuff than they could keep track of, but I like the first possibility better.

Believe it or not, Christmas around here is pretty mellow. Steve and I don’t host anything. Can’t get any easier than that.

The schedule was Christmas Eve and Auntie Alex’s and Uncle Steve’s house. Christmas Day at home with just the four of us. Christmas Dinner at Uncle Erik’s and Aunt Alethea’s house. Easy as pie for Steve and me.

The Shaws are all in The Bay Area and we miss them at the holidays. But, we talk to them lots and they are kept well informed of Santa’s arrival and the kids’ reaction to their Christmas gifts. There is also this here blog to share the memories with them.

So, without too much more delay (as if 31 days after the big day isn’t long enough), I present to you OUR CHRISTMAS 2010.

Part 1. Christmas Eve at Auntie Alex’s and Uncle Steve’s house.

As always, the presentation of the table, the decorations, the meal, the chocolate mice…amazing. Alex, you have really screwed yourself. We will never celebrate a major holiday anywhere but your house. You do it too well. Dummy.

5291095471_8dda18fcf5_b 5291098769_1b0f8f0584_b5291698492_da8a5bc376_b

Finn isn’t usually allowed to shoot at people with guns, but, because it was Christmas, we made an exception. 


5291695910_c9b2f73316_b The Kids and Steve, got these personalized shirts from Alex. Steve’s was the Gaelic spelling of his name. The first one below is for Cousin Lincoln. So cool.

Christmas 2010 035 Christmas 2010 034 Christmas 2010 0365291078161_f835c1554b_b5291102449_c3458ab7bb_b Christmas 2010 039Christmas 2010 0145291709924_1bfb6ec3be_b5291732818_41b91872aa_b5291713428_4af1691445_bThis is the point in the evening when things got a little weird. Auntie Alex put pasties on herself and on Niamh and entered the two of them in the Ugly Christmas Sweater Competition.

5291716178_7dfc8b00c6_bIt was a tough competition but Park won.

5291117009_083a563146_bYes, that’s a Fidel Castro piƱata. Why? Is that odd? Like your grandpa wouldn’t want one too?


And, we had our annual visit from Bo Bo the Magic Dancing Bear.

Part 2. Christmas Day.

We are still recycling boxes and paper.

I love our tipsy tree.

Christmas 2010 129 Christmas 2010 157Christmas 2010 134 Christmas 2010 136 Christmas 2010 139 Christmas 2010 148

After breakfast I put down the camera and didn’t pick it up until January. Steve got sick and spent the rest of Christmas in bed. We had the most delicious array of soups for dinner at Erik’s and Alethea’s for Christmas Dinner, a tradition I hope we continue….and another that keeps me from hosting a major meal.

Thank you to our generous family for spoiling us all another year. You guys make some pretty great holidays and some pretty great memories.

**Addendum** Photo credit for the good photos goes to Auntie Alex. Yes, she’s a great photographer too. Do her talents ever end? Nope. And, she’s nice. And, she lets her kids eat sugary cereal. Her kids are so lucky.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

World’s Worst Nurse

Today I had a minor little surgery on my wrist. I would call it a procedure but it turned out to be a little more surgery-like than I anticipated. For example, when they took me back to the OR instead of an exam room, and asked me about 10 times the last time I had food or drink as though they could smell the chocolate on my breath, and put a surgical cap on me, and placed 2 IVs, and an Anesthesiologist introduced herself, I started to think that maybe I should have followed my NPO instructions a bit better. I was supposed to be NPO at 7am, but I got up at 7:30. I had to eat…and have coffee…and a snack. It was more like 9am, or maybe just a little later. And I didn’t think one square of chocolate before leaving for the doctor’s office would hurt anything because chocolate melts and things that melt are emptied from your stomach faster leaving less risk for aspiration. Right? I’m sure I’ve read that.

People tell me all the time that they could never do my job, that it takes a special type of person to be a nurse. I work with so many different personality types that I always think Of course you could. Nurses are not the angels they are perceived to be. Today, I realized that its true, not anyone could be a nurse. It really does take a little bit of sacrifice and ability to anticipate the needs of someone else. Not everyone is capable of that. Take Steve for example….

Steve brought me home, talked on his cell phone the entire time because I was interrupting his busy day at work and people were calling him, he locked me outside in the back yard, and when he let me back in, he slapped me on the ass and left for work again.

My restrictions are self limited but I have a clunky partial cast and ACE wrap on my hand and forearm. I cant do much with my right hand, and right after we left the doc’s office, it was starting to hurt to even wiggle my fingers.  

After Steve left, I was starving. Remember, I was NPO since 7am(ish). He left me with 6 bags of groceries to unpack, no lunch prepared, and hurting as the numbing medication was wearing off.

First, I tried to make lunch, but with one hand I couldn’t even spread peanut butter on bread. So, I ate carrots, grapes, and chocolate dipped in peanut butter.

Then, I wanted my Vicodin. Guess what? It is child proofed and with one hand I couldn’t open the bottle. I texted Steve that he was a bad word and I couldn’t open my pain meds. His response: Use my vise in the basement. Luckily, a neighbor was home and she aided me.

Now, with Peanut Butter, Vicodin, and Heineken, I am pain free, in a much better mood, and able to type with both hands. That’s all it took. Not too much to ask…if my loving husband had stuck around to hear me asking.

My_HipstaPrint_0[1] Steve is planning to get neutered in the near future. When he does, I think there might be a few pot holes and rail road crossings on the way home.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Santa Photo

Santa Photo 2010 001

Christmas 2010 006Finn joined us after a long day at the office. I’m glad he was able to unwind, let off some steam.

Christmas 2010 007 Christmas 2010 010

That’s right, I’m working my way through December posts.

It doesn’t even matter anymore what The Big Guy said to them, what they said to him, how excited they were waiting in line. Its done, really done, like a month ago done.

Historical photos found here.

I feel like I’m working behind a desk, trying to get work done for a long past deadline. Except I’m in my PJs, our contractor just came to the door and looked horrified by my appearance at 11:15am. I should be embarrassed. I’m just glad he didn’t see Finn. Finn is in his jammies too, he’s eating candy canes (to get me in the Christmas Spirit), he stinks, and he’s watched a week’s worth of television in one morning.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Birthday at the Movies

About a million months ago Niamh turned 7. With the holidays, our thrice flooded basement, and my preoccupation with couches, I’ve neglected to tell the story of her birthday party.

Its been so long I can barely remember the details.

In an effort to avoid cleaning the house, we decided to take Niamh and 4 friends of her choosing to see the movie Tangled.

I will say this, I remember being surprised at who the trouble maker in the group was. Don’t be fooled by her innocent looks. Don’t be fooled, People. Keep a close eye on her. We found her in the bar at the theater…with a fake ID. (OK, I made up that last part.)

014  Jaya, Niamh, Hayden, Ava, and Drew

012  Again, but with Finn this time. Some day he will realize how lucky he is to be Niamh’s little brother.

010    I still love these two together. Jaya + Niamh = BFF

009Look at Drew, she’s the third kid in the row. She spent a lot of the movie with her hands over her eyes. She is one of those funny kids that just can’t sit through any movie without getting scared. I found this out one day when she was over at our house and didn’t want to watch tv with Niamh and Jaya. What kid doesn’t want to watch television after school? When I finally got her to tell me why she didn’t want to sit with them, she said it was because she was afraid of the show they had on.  It was The Care Bears: Adventures in Care-A-Lot. She’s a hopeless case.

Following the show, we had lunch at Gordon Biersch. Coincidentally, they serve really good, really large glasses of beer there. Gosh, that was such a nice surprise. Steve and I totally chose the restaurant based on proximity to the theater. I swear, we had no idea they were a brewery. Scouts honor.

016 025017024And so, Niamh, that concludes your birthday post. I apologize that it did not get the attention it deserves. Next year, I’ll try harder. In the 7 weeks since your birthday, your Dad and I have really noticed you maturing. There are lots of hands on hips. Lots of eyes rolling. Lots of emotional meltdowns. You’re getting good at using just hand gestures to kick Daddy out of your room. Last week, when I asked you to pick up the books in your room and you said “And what are YOU doing right now, Mama, that you can’t do it?” Well, I started to cry inside. I’m terrified of age 15.

I love you, My Little Girl. Please, don’t change too much. I don’t think I can handle it.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Very Urgent Matter

I have things to post about that date back to November. Niamh’s birthday party to be specific. I’m going to have to lock myself up in an all night diner to get it done.

In High School I used to have to go to Denny’s right off Hwy 92 in Foster City and study until the wee hours of the morning. Then I’d take a nap and get up for Crew. I can’t believe my growth wasn’t stunted by my lack of sleep and young abuse of caffeine.

In College, it was Perkins in Lewisburg, PA, off the 15. I’d read Biology lessons and eat bread bowl soups and salads until I could no longer sit comfortably because my insides expanded to the point of pain with coffee soaked dough.

In Nursing School, Honey Bear and Zoka were the spots.

I’m a pathological procrastinator.

I don’t know what that means, I just made it up.

The more I have to do, the less of it I do. Crap just continues to pile up. The projects multiply because as I sit staring at all I have to do, I come up with more things I want to do. Then, instead of doing all the things I have to do, I waste time reorganizing kitchen cabinets.

I need to leave my house and all my distractions to get anything done.

Meredith? Liz? You out there? Wanna chime in about the desserts I’d feel the need to bake before sitting down to write a 10 page Spanish paper about a book I never read. Or how many times I rearranged the furniture in my 8’x10’ bedroom?

Its torture.

So, before I can blog about Niamh’s birthday, Piggy and Liggy, Santa Photos, Elfa, Christmas, and New Year’s, I need to stop obsessing about the couch I am going to buy. I sit and click back and forth between the same 3 furniture sites night after night. I’m scared I’ll make the wrong choice and Steve will never let me buy another couch. Our Living Room will remain void of a place for guests to sit and sip. We will never sit in comfort and open Christmas Gifts. We will always sit on the hard floor criss-cross-applesauce watching cardboard accumulate in a pile. I’ll continue to wonder if it would be weird if I tried to bend and stack the boxes in the shape of a chair so only my feet rested on the floor, not my rump, legs, and heels.

We need a couch.

I’m 36 years old. Steve is closer to 40. We should own Living Room furniture. Its kind of a status thing for me at this point. My neighbors don’t respect me and I’m certain its because of our sofalessness.

I know I have at least 4 or 5 faithful readers with good taste. I don’t want to name you because I think there are actually 8 readers in all and I don’t want to offend the other 3 or 4.

I need your help. You all know me. Ignore what you know about Steve when helping with this decision.

Here are some photos of our pathetic Living Room.

Front Room from Entry DoorFront Room from Streetside Fireplace Corner Front Room from corner with leather chair Front Room from Dining Room Doors 

The Leather Mission Chair now sits where the big cardboard box is in front of the glass cabinets by the fireplace.

The trunk can go to hell. I’m tired looking at it.

Some day there will be short shelving under the picture by the front door and I can retire the round table to our bedroom. Steve needs a bedside table. Currently he uses the floor for books and alarm clock. Our bedroom is a whole different project.

I just bought two of those little round tables. I kind of love them. They will go next to, or in front of, the couch.

The couch will go against the wall where the little round table is now. An arm chair will some day join it to form an L shape sitting area.

Get the idea?

Here are the contenders.

Option 1 with In Room Example:Option 1 Option 1 In Room

Option 2:Option 2 

Option 3 with In Room Example:Option 3Option 3 In Room 

Option 4 with In Room Example: Option 4Option 4 In Room 

Option 5 with In Room Example:Option 5Option 5 in room

The color will be neutral, probably along the lines of the last couch. I have pillows from Etsy all picked out. Some day, a solid color rug, but for now, my old poppy one will work just fine.

Please help me so I can get on with my life.

The kids need baths and we all need a home cooked meal.