29 November 2007

no more christmas carol post headers, I promise!

I'm over them. Bor-ing.

But I had to post these two pictures of Blue, taken just before Thanksgiving because damn that girl looks like me!

because I had a very shiny nose

To steal a page from Katherine's book, I am going to post a product review:

I was suckered into buying this

because the product claims that after 1 day, 100% of users saw a difference in their skin. And I have to admit, my face looks awesome!

Get thee to a pharmacy and pick some up today!

28 November 2007

over the river and through the woods

to grandmother's house we go this weekend. I tried to call her today and reschedule our visit, but as soon as I heard my grandma's voice, I caved.

I haven't been down there to visit in almost two years.

I think the toodlers will be alright. They may be a little crabbier than usual, but we'll just try to put them down for lots of naps.

My children are very proficient sleepers.

I must be crazy.

silent night

The Lion started to lose his voice last night. I decided not to take him to the pediatrician too because the doctor said that Blue's bronchitis was most likely caused by a virus. He has been running a fever still but no coughing yet so I think he doesn't have bronchitis.

This sucks so bad because I really was looking forward to seeing my grandparents this weekend. We haven't been down there in so long. I'm going to call my grandma this morning and give her the bad news.

Jonathan is also sick. He has been running a fever. So far I am the healthiest one of the bunch, which is rare! I escaped for a few hours yesterday while the toodlers napped and Jonny typed. It was great to get out. I thought I would wind up killing both babies if I didn't go out and get some air! I stopped by Avanti to visit Olivia and she said, "Girl, you've got this wild look in your eye." I said, "Tell me about it. I am going insane." So she gave me a red velvet cupcake and my day got much better!

I am feeling a little crummy today, but I am refusing to acknowledge it. The fact that my hair looks like this

today does not improve my mood.

26 November 2007

it came upon a midnight clear

Sickness, that is. Sickness.

We have 2 sick toodlers in our house this day.

The Lion has a stomach bug. He spent all day yesterday lying on the couch with me or with Jonathan, clutching his Little People pony in one hand and a little palm tree in the other.

Blue, I just found out, has bronchitis. Possibly pneumonia, but definitely bronchitis. She is on two medications. We'll see how this goes. Hopefully she'll be better by this weekend, because we are planning to travel down to see my grandparents.

25 November 2007

it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Jonathan and I tricked out our house last night. Now it's all Merry Christmas everywhere you look. At least on the main floor. The upstairs is still just Have a Nice Day.

And we did it all in only 3 hours. Which is no small feat, people. Especially when you consider all of our holiday gear is stored in the attic. And we have to rearrange our living room furniture to fit the tree in there. And that we did all of this with two toodlers "helping."

Katherine, can you please explain to me: Does the end punctuation go inside the quotation marks or outside? Like "this?" Or like "this"? I thought I learned way back in middle school that they went inside the quotes so that's the way I roll, but I see punctuation all the time stuck outside the end quote and even it's right I think it looks sad and lonely. But I would like to know the rule. So I can ignore it on purpose if I feel it is wrong.

Anyway, the house looks beautiful. I think it helps that we have so much red in our house to start with. And we had Blue helping. Blue was a big help decorating the tree. She hung all of her ornaments on two branches, though. And she hung a lot of ornaments! So after she went to bed, Jonathan dispersed them a little. We were afraid the tree might tip over otherwise.

Lion was not really any help. Still too little. I think most of our efforts this holiday season will be focused on protecting the tree from the Lion. He just sort of charges at the tree and then laughs an evil laugh and stabs at it or grabs at random ornaments. He thinks it is big fun. But I think the fun would turn into a lifelong phobia if the tree fell on top of him so I'm on my guard. Don't worry, little man, I've got your back.

He does love this Little People nativity set that we pulled out of the basement:

It was the perfect distraction while Jonathan put all the lights on the tree. Jonny's parents bought it for Blue for her first Christmas and the kids lovelovelove it. It brings out some weirdness in me, though, I'll admit.Blu e was playing with the baby Jesus and I was all, "Do you see this king? He has a present for the baby Jesus. See? And here's another king. And another! How many kings are there? Do you see 3 kings with presents for the baby Jesus? They came from far and wide to see the new baby and bring him gifts to celebrate his birthday..." It was really nauseating. It was like I was under some spell or something. Like I was channeling BibleMan. Jonathan just stared at me. Maybe he thought we were secretly filming a commercial or something.

Time for a quick appearance by Bible Man. Hang on. Here he is:

Thanks, Bible Man. You may go now. Seriously. Be gone.

But we had been really wondering what to get for Lion for Christmas (because they already have everything they could possibly want, people, and they play with my throw pillows and the remote control) but now I think maybe we'll have to get him some of the Little People animals and stuff. They're pretty small (hence the name) and they don't make any noise.

Neither does Blue. The night of Thanksgiving, she was starting to lose her voice. We thought it was from shrieking and laughing so much with William. But the next morning she had a fever and no voice at all and she has this awful barking cough. These sorts of maladies always hit us over a 3-day weekend. So I will bring her in to see the doctor first thing Monday (along with every other child in town, I'm sure) and get her on some meds. It is such a helpless feeling, because as a parent I have no idea what to give her to help her feel better. Tylenol doesn't seem to really do anything and Motrin upsets her stomach. And I don't know if either of them will work anyway, since she may need antibiotics, but I can't sit by and watch her suffer. Not that she seems to be suffering. She is a very stoic child when she is sick. I have no idea where this trait comes from (definitely not her mommy) but coupled with her quiet, husky little voice, it is breaking my heart.

This little guy's got nothing on my Blue.

23 November 2007

it's amazing what a little gingerbread and a lot of imagination can do

I was googling images of gingerbread houses for my last post and I found this site, with pictures of a scene from the LOTR Siege of Minas Tirith made out of gingerbread and gummi bears. You should definitely check it out.


is one of my favorite days of the year. And this year was one of the best I've ever had. We had my mother, Jonathan's parents, George and Emily and William and Jonathan's sister, Mary, and her husband, Trevor. It was such a lovely day (until it rained and became freezing cold, that is) that the kids played outside for a while with the grandparents while Jonathan finished up his turkey and his stuffing.

I think Jonny and I work well together on Thanksgiving. I spent Wednesday baking pies and making my crock-pot mashed potatoes and prepping some side dishes. So that on Thursday Jonathan had the kitchen to himself to prepare the turkey and stuffing. He cooks a mean turkey, people.

Everyone brought something and I thought it was so funny that both my mother and Jonathan's mother brought us what have got to be the 2 largest poinsettias in the entire state of Virginia. They are gorgeous. I love having plants in the house again. Bit by bit all of our plants got placed up higher and higher out of the children's path until they were all up so high or tucked so far out of sight that I sort of forgot to water them and they all died.

Anyway, the meal was lovely. And the day was very casual. Blue loved the Macy's parade. George and Jonathan's dad watched the game. Mary and Trevor played with the kids. Emily helped Blue and William decorate a gingerbread house.

I ate about a thousand pieces of fried cauliflower and then barely ate any dinner. I think everyone had a nice time. 

After we played a couple of rounds of Scattergories with George and the kids, Jonathan and I put 2 very sticky and very exhausted toodlers to bed. Then we curled up on the couch and watched "Grey's Anatomy" (so good) and ate more pie until we felt ill.

What a wonderful day.

happy birthday

to my lovely husband!

18 November 2007

the truth hurts

Scene. Jonathan is changing the Lion's diaper. Blue watches.

Blue: I think Lion has a penis.
Jonathan: Yes, he does.
Blue: I think it's little.

Jonathan, to Lion: Don't you listen to that, dude. It's all proportional.

15 November 2007

today in history

Milli Vanilli were exposed as duplicitous lip-synchers. I totally had their cassette tape. What a bummer.

13 November 2007

announcing a new link

I have just added a link to my cousin's blog for my mother. Check it out, Mom. Adorable pictures of Cooper.

toodler update

Blue is loving preschool. She has lots of little friends in the class. And her teacher is amazing. I know I was a bit wary in the beginning due to the potty-training note, but I seriously love that woman now. She is the perfect preschool teacher. Always smiley. Always hugging and kissing the children. Just an awesome, awesome woman.  Blue loves her.

They had a little Halloween parade at the school and next week they are having lunch with the 4 year old class. The 3 year olds are going to be the Pilgrims and the 4 year olds are going to be Indians. So freakin' cute. I signed up to bring 20 Thanksgiving cookies. Which is perfect because I just bought a little turkey cookie cutter.

Jonathan complains sometimes because it seems like the school is constantly asking us to bring in food or party plates or to dress the children in a certain color or something. But I love it. I really do. I don't mind baking fun stuff for the class. And this is the time when kids like having their parents come to their school. You know, before they begin to pretend like they don't know who you are.

The funny thing is Jonathan is the one who really enjoys helping out at the school! I am just much more shy than he is, and he loves to be silly and make the kids laugh. He stayed for the Halloween party at her school while I went home to put the Lion down for his nap. Jonathan manned the ring toss. He had a blast. I would have been miserable. I prefer to be more behind-the-scenes, sending Blue to school with cookies or making sure her shirt is the "color of the day."

The Lion is talking like crazy. He learns new words every day. Jonathan and I will look at each other in amazement, wondering where he is picking these things up. Like, the other day he said dinosaur. It's awful, but I think we were much more involved with Blue, actively trying to teach her new words and concepts. We've slacked off a bit with the Lion, but he just picks them up on his own. Yes, sirree, folks, that tv is a great educator! He speaks in sentences. He'll say "Ank you, Mommy!" or "I don't want it." Although sometimes it's just "Daddyunununununmilk" and that's his way of asking for milk, but in a sentence form.

He is such an emotional guy. He'll be so happy one minute and then screaming with rage and then crying and reaching for me and then blissfully happy again.

I feel like I parent them very differently. Which really bothers me. I don't want to mold them into specific kinds of people due to their birth order, but I think maybe as a parent it is inevitable. We let Lion be a baby much more than Blue was ever allowed to. He is older now than she was when she became a big sister, and I think we were probably a lot harder on her, telling her to be quiet around him and more careful. Sometimes I look at her little face and I feel so terrible, like we put pressure on her to act older than she is, that we expect too much from her because she is the older child and because she also looks so much older than she is.

And I know we are doing the best we can. And that we are not bad parents. That guilt goes hand in hand with motherhood.

But I still wish I could do better. Treat them both in exactly the same way. Which means what exactly? Expect more from the Lion and ease up on Blue? I don't know. I'm just doing the best I can and feeling guilty like it isn't enough somehow. I know, I know, welcome to parenthood. But it still sucks.

shout out

Today I would like to send a little shout out to my adorable son who woke me up at 6:30 this morning.

Thanks, Lion Man. No, really, thanks a lot.

I am usually pretty lucky because the toodlers sleep in until 8 or 8:30 most mornings. But today is a nice rainy dark day and on a dark day sometimes they will sleep in until much later.

Today would have been a perfect day to sleep in since there is no preschool or ballet today and since we are all feeling a bit crummy. But, sadly, that was not to be. The Lion decided to sit up sometime shortly after 6 am and begin howling for me at the top of his lungs. He's gifted, too, because I thought he was crying his eyes out, but when I walked in, he was just sitting in his crib, doing a bawling baby impression. No tears. Actually a huge smile on his face.

What a punk.

12 November 2007

because one onion just wasn't enough!

Not Quite Perfect McDonalds Opens In Illinois Outlet Mall

The Onion

'Not Quite Perfect' McDonald's Opens In Illinois Outlet Mall

GURNEE, IL-For low, low prices, patrons are eager to give Six-Piece Quarter Pounders and Fish McGriddles a try.

National Science Foundation: Science Hard

The Onion

National Science Foundation: Science Hard

INDIANAPOLIS-The newly discovered 'Law Of Difficulty' holds true for all branches of science, from astronomy to molecular biology.

dinner and a movie review

We went to the Olive Garden last night with Jonny's family to celebrate his father's birthday. I love the Olive Garden. And I love that family. Delicious.

For a hilarious account of Katherine and Olivia babysitting the toodlers, click here.

Jonny and I returned home fairly early, so we watched "Notes on a Scandal" with Olivia and Katherine. I had heard enough about the movie to know that I probably would not like it. But I also love Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench so I sort of did want to see it. Anyway, since they had brought it over to watch and we had returned home just as they put the movie in, the decision was made for me.

I can admit that the movie was definitely very well made, well acted, et cetera. It stirred up some very strong emotions in me. I was very uncomfortable. And I did not like it. I think, even if a movie is well made, well acted, et cetera, I still can just not like the story and say "I did not like it." Cate, Judi, you are amazing. Bill Nighy, you too are amazing. But I just ... the whole adultery storyline ... blecccch.

And to top it off, Cate Blanchett's sneaky, adulterous character had a beautiful, smiley little boy with Down syndrome. So she was cheating on this heartbreakingly sweet little boy as well. Blecccch.

I have a real problem with adultery. I think it is wrong. All wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. I don't enjoy books or movies with adultery in the plot. I just have this visceral reaction, this feeling of betrayal that makes me ill. Katherine said my foot was swinging away like crazy during the entire movie. I'll bet it was! I was probably subconsciously kicking Cate Blanchett's character in the beautiful face throughout the film. Take that! And that!

09 November 2007


The tantrums
are every day
now, over anything
his blocks
won't stay stacked,
the legos
have too many
and he can't stretch
out his legs
when he dumps
them in his lap,
none of the books
turn pages fast enough,
and he's seen
all the pictures,
claimed out loud
every one of them
is a ball.

He's learning the boredom
of objects,
their limitations
in providing happiness
and delight.
I sit back
like some Discovery channel
notebook and pen
the wildlife,
how the closer he gets
to tired
he starts to stumble,
and the disintegration
of his control
over himself
sends him
to the floor,
hunched over sobbing
into the carpet,
which I believe
means no,
no to all of it lately,
no to toys
that don't do
what he wants,
no to his body
that betrays him,
slower than
he can compensate for,
skills not fine
enough yet,
his motor thrumming
wildly under
that flushed breath,
wanting more.

And then
there's no to me,
the one staking
out his boundaries,
designated marks
of reach,
what remains
what will be
and the decisions:
about food,
diaper changes,
nap times,

In the cool
middle of the night,
when he's finally
too heavy
and given over
to fight,
I can still rock him
back to sleep,
tell him
it's all coming,
loss of innocence,
there's always more
shiny toys,
the squeezing confines of flesh,
people who say no,
and this is what we have
in deep darkness,
what we come back for,
where we fall safely,
what we are when we love:
bodies in nightshirts
piled like hills
to a horizon line
of blue,
sunrise a hum
up from the throat
and around
into the arms
holding on,
but not too tight.

DeAnna Jones

party food

I am having a Pampered Chef party tomorrow night! I've never had one before, so it should be fun. The demonstration is "Beverages and Appetizers" so it is the perfect party for me to host since I love party food. Olivia says I remind her of Cher in "Mermaids."

For those of you thinking, Um, Erin, you don't look anything like Cher, I say: Duh. Rent the movie, people.

For those of you too lazy to rent the movie, I say: Fine. (sigh) Cher's character only served finger foods. Ever. And it is a really good movie, so you should still rent it.

bad hair! bad!

I have got to take a shower. I look like Criss Angel Mind Freak:

Without the jewelry.

05 November 2007

Duck on a Bike

This is the Lion's favorite book. We read it together every evening before bed.

He loves to point to all of the animals and shout out their names. "Duck! Chicken! Beep! (Sheep)" He even points to the random animals (some butterflies, a bird and a frog) that are not instrumental to the story. They are just decorations on the page but the Lion points to them as well and shouts their names.

There is a picture in this book of a bunch of little kids riding bikes. It's a 2 page spread. Lion always points to the boy riding out in the lead and yells "Daddy!" For some reason, "Mommy!" is the little black girl riding beside him, which always cracks Jonathan up.

04 November 2007

I Must Needs These Items


I don't even drink tea.

brand spanking new stuff!

Um, hi, my name is Erin and I have a problem.

I was in Marshall's today with Blue. I don't even remember why I went in there.

Anyway. I was in there. And I fell in love. I saw this teapot of the Tower of London. And one of the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament. And one of a double decker bus. And one of a red phone booth.

I cannot explain or even describe what happened next. But I did at least call Jonathan to tell him I was buying all four of them for myself.   A month before Christmas.

I now have a teapot collection. I collect teapots. I have gone from being a woman with one serviceable Ikea teapot to a woman with a teapot collection. In a matter of minutes.

I love my new collection. It is so awesome! I can't wait to show it to the DWAFS. I can't wait to get one of those Anne Boleyn teapots. And Henry VIII. Is there a Jane Austen teapot anywhere out there?

Rose River Trail

On Saturday, er, I mean, yesterday some members of the Biggest Loser Fredericksburg went on a 4 mile hike in Shenandoah National Park. It was a beautiful cold day. It was a beautiful hike. Although I was sadly disappointed by the complete lack of wildlife. I think I have been spoiled by my previous trips to Shenandoah and duped into thinking the wildlife are shameless paparazzi lovers. Seriously. I usually see insane amounts of deer. Gobs of them. And I've even seen black bears. This time? Nothing. Zip. Nada.

But we did catch this action:

Must be mating season. Check out Olivia's face. Classic. I am merely admiring the beauty of the world around me while y'all can just go on with your bad selves. Or something to that effect.

I lovelovelove this picture. Notice how I am so completely bundled up and Katherine is wearing a tshirt:

And this one:

And this one of Katherine, the Amazon queen. Not because she's tall, but because she looks like a warrior. No Retainer Girl in sight.

And this one of Olivia, that she yelled at Jonny not to take and which she will most likely hate, but that I think is an amazing picture. (Um, Katherine, how were all those thats and whichs? Did I do okay?))

So after the awesomeness of the hike, we stopped in Culpeper on the way home and ate dinner in a little diner that had oldies in the jukebox and cheeseburgers for $3.95. What a wonderful day!

Halloween pictures

The Lion as David Beckham

me as Britney Spears

Blue, the pirate, in her preschool parade

the post-parade class party

Daddy and Blue making a Jack O'Lantern

these were taken by my brother-in-law, Trevor:

Blue and Aunt Mary

I love this picture of my Lion

Papa Shel, Grammy, Blue, Grandma and the Lion

Shelton, Mary, Blue, Jonathan, me, Mom, Lion, Susan and Tim (holding Bristol)