Tuesday, July 29, 2008

a son for a day

On saturday the fergyfive had an addition to the family, Erin's pal Quinton. His dad was out of town (returning that evening) and his mom had to work, so Q was dropped off at 7:30am and spent the day with us. The girls were all very excited and looking forward to this all-day play date.

As we all sat at the breakfast table John announced, "Today I think we'll have a big tea party, and get all dressed up, and DANCE!"
Quinton's eyes got really big and he shook his head and said, "No way! If you guys do that stuff I'm going to leave this house and RUN! We're gonna do boy stuff! We're gonna get big water guns and squirt each other!"
"Cool!" answered John.

So, to Quinton's great relief John got out the gigantic bucket of legos instead of the tea set and the kids went to town with that for a long while. Quinton is an only child and clearly not used to having other kids constantly grabbing and interfering with what he's doing, so he was very easy-going while they played, sharing very readily and helping the twins especially. This sharply contrasted with how the girls played, and screamed, and fought with each other over nearly every individual piece.

Possible alternate title for today's post, or perhaps a sociological study, "Innate gender preferences and differences as evidenced with Legos".

Erin's creation, some sort of tropical equine oasis:

Quinton's creation, an army command station, after hoarding all the little men and various weaponry he could find:

And after a bit of Quinton amassing and fortifying his vast Lego Army while Erin and the other girls fought over who got to play with which lego horse, Quinton attacked and took over the bridge in the meadow.

Next we took the kids to a movie--"Space Chimps" (I'd skip this one if I were you,) though the kids all liked it. John had the good fortune of having Kate on his lap for probably the last half of the movie, and I think she was blocking his view for much of that time. Lucky duck, that John.

After the movie we realized that it was pretty warm out so we got out our massive pool and let the kids cool off for a while and burn off some energy. Quinton loved jumping off of the top and into the pool and the girls usually were smart and got out of his way...usually:

And later while the twins napped I took the big kids out for frozen yogurt and got a couple of really cute photos:

As I sat with the kids at dinner I kept quiet for the most part and just enjoyed the conversation between them and how the dynamic differed from the usual with Quinton's added presense. Normally Erin dominates the conversations, followed closely by Kate, but things were entirely different now--Erin barely said a word and Kate said nothing at all. So I turned on my camera while pretending to simply adjust it, and began filming in the middle of an important debate about what kinds of animals would like to eat them.

I especially like the part, towards the end, where Quinton, who does 90% of the talking here, tells Allison not to talk so much and just concentrate on eating. And I had to keep myself from laughing when he plays a classic annoying game with Erin at the very end:

And shortly after dinner our son-for-a-day was gone again. As loud and crazy as it is around here with three kids, four was certainly louder and crazier, but also fun while it lasted.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

my brother's non-big fat greek wedding

I must mark this day on my calendar--not so much so that I can remember my brother's wedding anniversary as much as to commemorate a day when the world and my blog didn't revolve around what my kids were doing.

Very recently, at my birthday dinner in fact earlier this month, my brother Brad asked me, "What are you doing on the 22nd?"
"Um, I dunno, what day of the week is that?"
"It's a tuesday. Wanna come to our wedding?"
"Um.........yeah..........What?" ...is how I responded, I think.

It's not like I totally wasn't expecting a wedding at some point. Brad and Shadzi were engaged, and I was aware of that. For a really long time. They got engaged after he wrapped up working at the last Olympic games in fact, and before he left to cover this year's games they decided to (finally!) make it official. They opted out of a large wedding/party/reception/thing and decided to marry at (a nearby larger city's) city hall with only a few witnesses and a nice dinner afterwards. John and I were two of the four guests invited, along with Shadzi's sister Nikki and her husband, Victor.

I had the city decorate their lamp posts with plenty of flowers for the occasion. I hope Brad noticed and appreciated my efforts.


The pre-ceremony paperwork. Not a common thing for a wedding photographer (which I designated myself) to document, but then that's not a common haircut for a female either:

Set up, including getting my dad on speaker phone and setting the cell phone on the judge's book for the ceremony:


After (no, I don't have any photos of "the kiss". I was taking photos with Brad's camera at that moment. I was also designated wedding juggler...toggling back and forth between his camera and mine. At several points John had my camera, I had Brad's, Victor had Nikki's camera and Nikki was videotaping, and all of us filming simultaneously. This was a small, but VERY well-documented ceremony.)

And way after. Champagne, wine, beer, shots, cocktails. And somewhere in there was a great meal, and more shots. We may have been a small group, but we didn't drink like one.

At some point in the evening either Brad and Shadzi asked, or more likely, John started offering them not entirely sober yet surprisingly coherent, marriage advice. And a less than sober Victor was particularly enthralled though I'm pretty sure he wasn't in any shape to retain much of what John offered. Brad and Shadzi's wedding day fell on Nikki and Victor's 9-year anniversary, and our 7-year was 3 weeks ago.
"Only seven years?" Shadzi clarified, visibly surprised, "I thought you'd been married, like, twenty years or something."
"It only seems like twenty," John and Victor agreed.
Meanwhile, I think I'm going to look into some cosmetic dermatology services at work.

Regardless, we all had a very good time.
Congratulations Brad and Shadzi!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

and be sure to bring home the correct monkeys

John and I like to joke about that with the girls and with each other whenever they'll be going to an animalish sort of place. Mom visited last week and we spent most of a day at the zoo and so the same good advice needed to be reiterated. The girls don't think it's so funny to talk about confusing them with (other) monkeys, but we know better.

It was overcast and a little foggy and nicely cool at the zoo, located in that more-typically-foggy-than-not location. It was a nice reprieve from the heat around here and we actually needed sweatshirts for quite a while. I also brought the stroller along which these days doesn't get much use, and just when one of us thinks about getting rid of it another outing where the stroller saves us from having to carry pooped out (or more often, stubbornly putzsy or ever distracted) twins comes around and it proves its worthiness for a while longer.

The girls had a great day, "enthusiastically" posing for their billionth picture, but this time with giraffes:

...getting up close and personal with the wildlife:

and getting an especially cozy view of a busy grizzly bear:

Erin's favorite activity was reading. Everything. Every sign, every little placard, every bit of educational this or that posted everywhere and we could not move on to the next thing until it had all been read and clarified and digested.

Kate or Allison frequently tried to move things along by flipping through the little displays in order to see the pictures quickly, but Erin ultimately dictated the pace.

Kate's favorite part of the day was the petting zoo, of course. She rushed in there and latched herself onto the first goat that had the misfortune of standing still, and she hugged it and hugged it and talked into it's ear like it was a dear, lost friend. And then all the girls joined in on brushing Kate's new buddy. I could have/should have/might have titled this post, "Kate, the Goat Whisperer."

The girls got to sleep on the drive home. I didn't.

Friday, July 4, 2008

my and america's birthdays

In order to confuse you I added some additional photos to the preceding post. Enjoy.

A week of things to celebrate--John and my 7th anniversary on monday, my birthday thursday, america's birthday today. I can hear the local fireworks show as I type this as a matter of fact. One of these days we'll have to go view them but we have to wait until the kids are able to stay up this late first. I think they'd get more out of it that way.

We rarely go out to restaurants with the kids, thus we rarely go out to restaurants at all. But on thursday John had two mid-morning appointments with contractors scheduled at our house so he wasn't going to the office right away so I suggested we all go out for breakfast. This is something we've never done and to mark the occasion we went somewhere truly special--IHOP. It turned out to be a nice time actually. The food was okay, the kids were very hungry, and thus they were very interested in eating which is always nice but not always the case at mealtimes. The huge pancakes topped with gobs of fruit and whipped cream were a big hit with the girls. Later that day Erin proudly proclaimed IHOP as her favorite restaurant EVER. I think the folks at Zagat need to be informed.

That afternoon John announced that we'd be going out to dinner too. Twice in one day--totally unheard of. Brad and Shadzi were joining us and my friend Trish just happened to be in town and she was available too. John chose the local japanese hibachi place which we always enjoy and the girls had never seen. The good part about that place is the cooking is pretty entertaining for the kids, the bad part is the duration of the meal. But I brought along some distractions for them and they enjoyed themselves and ate very well again.

Kate was very interested in the cooking.

Allison was very interested in the ice cream for dessert.

This morning we headed to the community center (again this year) for the pancake breakfast and other family festivities they have going on. The senior citizen center orchestra started setting up but Kate and Allison didn't wait for the music to get on the dance floor and start moving. They were the only ones dancing and they got lots of adoring looks and laughs from all around.

Then it was time for some "face painting on my arm" (which made me wonder where they'd gotten that idea). And with my girls all looking like tattooed sailors we joined the kids' parade around the neighboring park. Then finally a sing-along back at the center.

And a photo-op with Uncle Sam.

Then this afternoon we went to Grandma and Poppy's house for more celebrating, including the best peach pie I can remember, topped with candles for me. It's been a busy and fun week and it's become apparent that "partying like it's my birthday" was easier before having so many of them.