02 May 2023

The Last Tennessee Visit

 My dad is very ill.  He went into the hospital on January 1 and has declined in health ever since.  He and my mom sold their house of 32 years this week and are living in Utah at my sister's house.

We drove down at the beginning of April to help pack and prepare for the move (and to escape the intolerable Canadian spring).  

Dad was able to come upstairs for Easter dinner, but mostly it was too difficult for him to come up and eat with us.  Charlotte remains the child least afraid of him.  When he came up and wanted to sit in his armchair, Charlotte was already sitting there.  "Why don't you let me sit there?" he said, to which she replied, "Then where will I sit?!"  She also made him some 'unicorn tea' out of colorful ribbon.

Hunting for Easter eggs in the backyard.

Dying Easter eggs

Having a parking lot lunch before going into Dollywood.  The kids loved Dollywood.  The two oldest are the perfect age for an amusement park.  They rode rides until the park closed; guzzled about 82 gallons of soda from their refillable drinks; and enjoyed cinnamon bread.  Then we all got a violent stomach bug for 24 hours, but it was a great trip all the same.

Charly had a great time except on the Raging River.  When she got off, she declared that she would never go to Dollywood again.  Then she went and road the little cars three times in a row and decided that she liked 'Dry Dollywood' and only disliked 'Wet Dollywood.'

The kids discovered Uncle James' Star Wars figures.

08 April 2022

A Post for My Charly Girl

 Charly is 3.  Maybe it's because she's the only child in our family without a younger sibling at the age of 3, but she just seems like the easiest 3-year-old we've ever had (but still naughty).  She's sweet and funny and full of personality. 

She says 'wuse' instead of 'use,' which I find utterly charming, even when she wants to 'wuse' my scissors to snip up paint brushes and playing cards.

She thinks this plate of my grandmother's is hers.  It's her cookie plate and she runs for it every time we eat cookies.

She's wildly in love with babies.  She tells me that one day she will have real babies and I can help her take care of them but they will not be my babies.  They will be hers.  I find little beds all around the house.  The baby on the right is named Baby Dear, after the baby doll in the book of that name, and it is her favorite baby.  Her favorite stuffed animal is a soft, sparkly unicorn she bought at DI on a trip to see my sister.  She calls the unicorn Yoon the Pyoon and sleeps with her every night and sometimes pretends to ride her. On that trip to Utah, she also fell wildly in love with her cousin Tooie and thinks about him and talks about him often.

I asked her to pose.  

This is a very Charly photo.  Note the following: 1) uncombed hair (always a battle) 2) the expressive hand gesture and bend at the waste which is common when telling us stories or giving explanations 3) clothes picked out herself (always) 4) Tongue stuck to the side in concentration.

Charly is pretty mild for a 3-year-old, but one day she got really mad at Howard and told Neil, "Say 'poop' to him.  Get out your bad words!  Say bad words at him!'

11 April 2021

Reading ALL the Romance Novels

 Here is what makes me happy in a pandemic when I cannot get to my home country to eat Mexican food and see my mama: novels by Kristan Higgins.  I read all 20 that were available to me in the last three months and they were the perfect thing.  I'm going to have to find a new perfect thing, because there's only one book left to read.

This is also a perfect thing.  Spy kids with their Easter sunglasses.  They kept ducking and rolling through the house.

21 March 2021

Covid-19 Memories

I found this in my draft folder from earlier in the pandemic.  We're fortunate that our kids are in school full-time now, we're back at church one hour a week, and we're mostly able to do the things we need and like to do every day - just with masks and social distancing.  The only thing we really long for is looser travel restrictions.  We'd love to go visit our family in America.  Anyway, here are some early pandemic memories for posterity.

Some of my favorite Covid-19 memories:

Drive though car wash with the whole family.  It was the first time the kids and I had been anywhere for 6 weeks, and the kids were thrilled!  They whooped and hollered as the suds and water covered the van, but I had to hold Charly's hand, because she was scared.  Then we picked up Chinese take out and felt excited that we had actually left the house.

Charly wearing her little pink robe all day and night. Adorable.

Taking the kids to build a dam on the beach road.

Take out - such a treat when you're homebound.  Several times Steve brought home take out and there was much rejoicing. 

Family Pandemic Concert, featuring "Babies are Nice" sung with piano accompaniment.

The kids' letter writing project.  I forced them to write letters and send them to friends and family and they received lots of fun ones in return.

And some of my least favorite:
Mass Murder

My friend Annie passed away from cancer.  The day she died, Steve decided we should all go out for supper, since Covid restrictions had just loosened and I could take it easy and have a treat.  I hadn't been in a restaurant for 4 months and it was the least fun eating out adventure of my life. 

17 August 2020

This Girl

We've got our last toddler.  She is so naughty and so delightful.  I thought we were finally at the stage where we could have planters full of flowers on the front step - that I could keep them alive for three months, in addition to the other plants and people and animals I keep alive.  Charly eats them.  Every chance she gets, she runs from the back deck to the front step and chomps on begonias.  A few days ago she just ripped the remaining flowers right out of the pot.  Maybe next year.

Charly's other favorite pastimes are swinging on the grape arbor, taking care of baby dolls (today she was washing her favorite doll's head in the water flowing out of the storm drain), reading books about babies, blowing kisses, and harassing the cat.

Here she is helping the cat by putting the cat's dry food into her water for her.  You can see that we put the cat food on top of a storage container that sits on top of a storage bench to try to keep it away from toddlers.

Here is Charly checking out a display at the natural history museum.  

Sometimes she climbs up next to her daddy and hands him a book to read 8 times and that is the cutest.

She's at about the age I usually wean my babies, but because she's the last baby, the thought of not nursing her anymore makes me feel like crying, so we'll keep it up a while longer, even though she enjoys pinching me with her razor-like finger nails while she drinks.

19 January 2020

Gems from the Bairn: 7-Year-Old Edition

We just started having 'fancy' Sunday dinners.  Fancy in this particular instance means that no one eats off plastic and we light candles on the table.  Last week at our fancy dinner, Steve was admonishing the Bairn to use his table manners "in case the Queen comes for supper," to which our boy replied, "Why would the Queen have supper with me?  I'm not a pro wrestler or anything."

Discussing his future with me: I'm not going to have kids, because then I'll have more money to spend on myself.
Me: But children give you someone to love and to love you.
Bairn: Isn't that what pets are for?
Me: Who will take care of you when you're old?  I'm taking care of you while you're young and then you're going to take care of me when I'm old, right?
Bairn: I'm pretty sure that by the time you're old, there will be robots that can take care of you.

12 January 2020

One-Year-Old Baby

Look how big my baby is!  And her sister!  Sometimes we call that baby Birdie.  I don't know why.  It's fun.  She turned a year old in Tennessee at my parents' house.  First we strapped her in a minivan and drove for 3 days to get there.  Mostly she didn't mind and when she did cry, that good sister of hers would do a puppet show for her from the back back seat or I would throw crackers back to her as a peace offering.

She can do lots of new things: walking, climbing, clapping, kissing.  I like to just sit and watch her toddle around the house doing all her jobs (wearing boots, yelling at the cat, making messes) and marvel at how fantastic she is.
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