Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Middle Girl is turning six on Thursday. She had her party last Saturday.

She decided she wanted a "pajama party." The guests came in their pajamas and brought a stuffed animal. We served pizza and cake, and then showed the Tinker Bell DVD. They ate popcorn and played with light-up bracelets in the movie room. The parents came to pick them up at 9 pm, so everyone got to stay up past bedtime yet still go home to sleep in their own beds. It was like a precursor to a slumber party - very appropriate for 5- and 6-year-old girls.

They seemed to have a ton of fun, if all the giggling was any indication.

Middle Girl is a wonderful hostess. She took good care of all of her guests. Is this a Middle Child thing? She seemed to be of the mindset that it's her responsibility to see that her guests are having a good time. My oldest, on the other hand, tends to think that everyone else should be making sure that she has a good time. I do think that's an Oldest Child thing. (Although, I'm an Oldest, and hope I wasn't like that as a kid... oh, I probably was.)

Middle Girl was very excited about the "Pajama Party" theme. So much so that she wanted a Pajama cake. I had to decorate the cake with drawings of pajamas! It was challenging drawing with my piping bag, but I managed two pajamas and two nightgowns, all in different colors and with hearts or polka dots. I thought it came out kind of sloppy, but everyone else thought it was great! Middle Girl loved it.

It was fun listening to the little girls' conversations. In one, they decided to take a poll: "Raise your hand if your dad eats dinner in front of the TV." "Now, raise your hand if both your mom and your dad eat dinner in front of the TV!" That was hilarious. Is taking polls a 6-year-old girl thing? (Our family always eats dinner at the table together, but since the party girls were at the table, my husband took his pizza into the TV room, which Middle Girl thought was so funny!)


We are going to do her family gifts on her "Actual Birthday," so I am getting the gifts this week. The Boy and I are making a run to American Girl Place as soon as I sign off! Bye for now!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


After dropping the girls off at school, where they would be watching the Inauguration with their classes, The Boy and I came back home. I still needed to eat breakfast, but I switched on the television first. There were Malia and Sasha Obama, in their colorful overcoats, heading through the Capitol Building toward the balcony and their seats. I sat down on the couch.

I would not leave the television until after the ceremony was over. In fact, it was after the Bush family boarded the helicopter and departed and everyone went back inside the Capitol. Breakfast would have to wait.

The Boy watched with me, wanting to know who everyone was as they came out onto the balcony. He identified the men by their ties (between the scarves and the ties, it was easy to identify them by color): he would later say, "there's Joe Biden in the blue tie."

Tears came to my eyes over and over again, particularly when I saw the huge crowd filling up and spilling out of the National Mall. We all want to be a witness to history, especially since so many of us feel ownership of this historical event. I am too young to have fought the hard fight for civil rights, but I did cast my vote for a man who would have been my choice regardless of the color of his skin. I helped make this day happen! WE made this day happen, all of us together. Just look at all of the people who contributed to this moment!

I think this is so important, too: this is no Affirmative Action. This is a man who is more Presidential than anyone I have ever seen. The Boy spotted him the first time they showed him walking through the Capitol Building, and shouted, "there's Barack Obama!" (Although sometimes he says "Arack Obama.") Obama may have more composure than anyone ever has. Imagine how that quiet confidence will come across in meetings with foreign heads of state.

The ceremony began. We saw Aretha and her fabulous hat. Not everyone can pull off that gigantic bow, but Aretha absolutely can. I loved it! We saw a quartet of world-class musicians (Jewish, Asian, African-American, and Hispanic) play a beautiful arrangement of "Simple Gifts." We saw Joe Biden become our Vice President, and then we saw Barack Hussein Obama take the oath of office. I stood up in my living room, wondering why I wasn't with a group of people - why was I holed up in my living room with only The Boy? I watched the Justice rearrange the words of the oath, and Obama pause to figure out whether he should fix the error (he decided to repeat them the way the Justice had said them). And then he uttered the words, "so help me God," and I burst into applause and tears at the same time! I picked up The Boy in a huge hug and swung him around.

Then The Boy said, "can we watch something else now?"

Of course, we didn't. We listened to Obama's speech (well, I did, and it was difficult through all of the "when will he stop talking?" whines) and appreciated once again that Obama doesn't think of this presidency as his, but truly thinks of himself as a representative of the people. It's striking.

I enjoyed the colors in the benediction ("the red man can get ahead, man"), and very much enjoyed watching that helicopter take off and fly away, getting smaller and smaller.

When the girls got home from school, I said, "what did you do today? Did you see history in the making?" Big Girl said, "we started learning cursive!"

They did watch it, but no matter how many emotions they see from me, they just can't grasp this. They will always live in a world where a black man has been President of the United States. They may never understand this the way we do. And you know what? Hallelujah!

I did manage to run one errand yesterday, but other than that, I felt like I spent the day in front of the television.

However, one cannot escape this moment in time: like many, my day included both celebration over a new President and consternation over a family member's recent layoff.

Please keep my brother-in-law in your thoughts.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pass the Tissues

Here we go! The Inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama. Our young country is making a giant leap forward! We're growing up, and we can't go backward now. Racism still exists, and there is still a long way to go, but here we are. And we won't be going back.

Pass the tissues!

Twitter's broken... hopefully they'll fix it soon 'cause I want to join the party!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

photo challenge

Laurie points out on her blog how hard it is to photograph Craftsman homes! I agree, and maybe that's why they're so appealing to the naked eye.

She issued a challenge to photograph Craftsmans, which I will humbly enter:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


This morning, at 7:57 am, as I was pushing the kids out the door (late) for school, the phone rang.

Which is highly unusual at that hour, but I couldn't get it. We were late and had to get to school!

When I got back home, the caller ID indicated that it was our local hospital calling. There was no message.

"That's weird. Why is the hospital calling at 7:57 am?"

"Maybe The Hubby has been in an accident on his way to work...
I should check my cell phone and see if they tried calling that, too...
No, no calls.
I should call The Hubby at work to see if he is there...
but he is always in meetings and I can never get him on the phone and I just get his secretary so I try not to call there...
but I am going to worry about this all day if I don't just call and put my mind at ease...
This is silly. I'm sure it was just a fundraising call.
But at 7:57 am? That is very strange.
I had better call The Hubby.
No, I am being irrational. I should leave him alone.
I think I'll call The Hubby."

I called him. He was fine.
But why did the hospital call at 7:57 am?

Caller ID is a blessing and a curse.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Getting up to speed

Yes, I'm home.

I actually have been for over a week. The drive home was easy, thank goodness. We split it into two days, including a chance to have dinner with some friends. We didn't need chains for the drive home, although it did snow on us a bit. Pretty!

The Portland snow, the likes of which hadn't been seen in over 40 years, was pretty much completely melted by the 27th. It sure was tough getting up there, but we were glad we got to see it and play in it before it was gone!

We spent our time in Portland playing with family. Playing, my nephew's baptism, then playing, and more playing!

We drove home on Jan. 2 & 3. This means I had to watch the Rose Parade on television FOR THE THIRD YEAR IN A ROW. It's kind of lame of us to live here but be out of town during the Parade. Maybe next year I'll be able to see it in person again...

The first week back to school after vacation is always kind of a shock to the system. It's kind of a feat just to make it through. By Wednesday, I woke up exhausted and with a headache, and didn't improve until the weekend. I did manage to get Christmas packed up and put away. I'm not quite as happy with my pack-up job as I was last year, but after several re-arrangements, it's all in the bins... so all's well that ends well.

This weekend, the kids spent some of their Christmas money. They all got things that go with their Christmas gifts. Big Girl got a DS from Santa, so she bought herself a case and a game cartridge. The Boy got a Leapster, so he chose a cartridge. And Middle Girl? Well, Middle Girl got an American Girl doll* from Santa, so she decided to order an outfit for Kit.

We also took the kids over to the golf course to practice on the putting green and the driving range. The Boy got clubs for his birthday from my MIL, so we had to go use them and enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend! Everyone shared the clubs and started working on these skills. I think it really warmed Daddy's heart to see them!


* She's been looking forward to having her own American Girl pretty much ever since Santa gave Elizabeth to Big Girl two years ago. Big Girl was 6.5 at the time. My rule is "no American Girl until you are six years old," which in some ways has been hard on Middle Girl: she has some fellow little-sister friends who got American Girls at the same time as their big sisters, so that they were four or five. Luckily, I can point to the "For Ages 8+" in the catalog and say, "see how Mommy spoils you? I won't make you wait until you are eight!" and she has been appeased.

She turns six at the end of this month. She spent the last year deciding which doll she would ask for for her sixth birthday, and the decision was made by summertime: Kit. I wanted to come up with a way to surprise her, though - it was so fun to see Big Girl's face when Santa surprised her with Elizabeth. There was an obvious answer - let Santa bring Kit even though it was before the sixth birthday.

And it worked! She was speechless. She couldn't bring herself to open the box and touch Kit, so amazed was she that Kit was really here. I had to help her! She just stood there, across the room, and pointed!

My Santa errand was so fun, too. I went over to American Girl Place to pick out the perfect Kit, and as I was taking all of them off the shelf and examining them, a wonderful store employee came over to help me. She was an African-American woman, probably in her fifties. She was much more picky about the dolls than even I was! She took the lids off the boxes, examining their eyes, hair, the way their clothes were sewn, the even-ness of their legs, and when she found the best three, she put them up on a shelf together (lids off) and talked to them. "Are you the one, honey? I'm feeling you. Oh, Kit, girl, you sure are hot right now..." She asked me which one I thought was best, and when I chose one, she said, "now I can say that that's the one I was feeling all along. She was meant to be the one for you..." It's kind of cheesy, I know, but I had the best time with her, choosing the right Kit for my Middle Girl! What a Christmas it was for Mommy.