Monday, August 29, 2011


Head Circumference: 15 inches

Length: 24 inches

Weight: 13.5 pounds

Cuteness: off the charts


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Friday, August 26, 2011


I’ve sorta felt like throwing myself a pity party for a couple of days now, but seem to talk myself out of it with my mother’s no-nonsense statement-of-the-obvious: I chose this.


I chose to have a baby, and it’s a choice I would make again if I had the last year to do over, regardless of the repercussions.


You see, this time last year, I felt like I had two friends that were on their way to becoming my best friends.  And they are, probably, still my best friends.  They threw me a birthday party.  They tell me I look great (I don’t, from the greasy hair to the flabby butt).  They encouraged me to dance all night at 7 months pregnant (I made it to midnight, but hey, that’s pretty awesome in it’s own right.  I mean, SEVEN MONTH PREGNANT.  It wasn’t pretty, but it was fun).  They are some of the greatest people I know, and their husbands are my friends and Tony’s friends, too, and it is so, so good.  Except.


Except that they are, due to my long absence while dealing with being very, very sick and then tax season as a pregnant sole caretaker of a crazy child while also working lots, and then having a baby, now better friends with each other than with me.  And I am happy, because they are my friends and I want them to be happy, but I feel so left out.


Sure, I have a baby, a new one, at home.  Sure, I can’t go running with them yet, and by the time I can, they’ll be training for a marathon and I just don’t have the time or stamina.  Sure, I would probably turn down invitations to girls’ nights right now.  But that doesn’t mean that I don’t wish I was asked, that I don’t pine for my girlfriends.  What if, after having been gone for so long, they never ask me again?  And I’m jealous.  Jealous of the bond they have with each other and fearful that even when Jamie doesn’t demand 24-hour care that I will ever be on the outside of that bond.


I’m a social person and I think I need close friends.  But maybe I don’t, and I will learn to live without that in my life for awhile.


So I have to remind myself that I chose this, and try to forget how long it takes to find and build friendships.  A person has to choose her family, of course.  I guess I’m just always hoping that I can have it all.


Those kids, though.  They make up for a lot:



Thursday, August 25, 2011

There’s Still Sand in My Hair

After leaving my aunt and uncle’s house in Sumner, we pretty much drove straight to the beach, with one extended stop in Montesano for gas, nursing, diaper changing, and a potty break.  I was thoroughly impressed that James slept the whole way – during short trips around town, he sleeps in the carseat about 50% of the time.  The other 50% is spent screaming.


Charles also did very well, and, true to form, he had to go potty about ten minutes from my parents’ house.  The kid’s getting to be an expert in side-of-the-road peeing.  This is significant because he did not pee his pants, not even a little bit, during the whole trip.  He CAN be potty trained when he wants to be.


Monday was filled with fun at the beach as dad and I tried to fly the kite we brought for Charles… we were unsuccessful, so he made a kite at the kite-making tent that flew beautifully and held his attention for all of five minutes.  Much more interesting?  The elephant ears.


Why don’t elephant ear vendors at fairs and other locations sell them with a variety of toppings?  Everywhere else besides Long Beach seems to sell elephant ears with either cinnamon and sugar or jam.  You know what the best topping is?  Maple.  Sweet, delicious maple.  A maple elephant ear is like a maple bar without all that useless donut taking up space.  Actually, it’s probably good that you can’t find maple elephant ears everywhere – the only time I ever buy one is at Kite Festival.


On Tuesday, between the hours of 7 am and 11 am, Charles peed through every pair of shorts and underwear we brought with us.  Why?  I have no idea.  He knows when to go potty, he just ignores it.  He also had lots of juice boxes, something we don’t have at home. 


To say I was frustrated was putting it lightly.  I had a complete meltdown.  I was dealing with children all alone (my dad was there, but he doesn’t so much parent as grandparent, which is totally different, is done mostly from the couch, and does not include diaper changing or preemptive potty visits), I hadn’t had much sleep, and I just couldn’t handle it.  I was thisclose to packing up and going home, but we had laundry in the wash, and mom came home to convince me to stay until the next day.  She, of course, knew that I would calm down by the morning.  So we took Charles to the beach for the afternoon, and things got much better.  But he didn’t get any more juice boxes the whole trip.


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There was a guy with big beach ball flowforms set up and he was letting the kids play with and in them.  Charles was really frightened.


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You see that big flowform in the background?  Kids were playing in it.  If that’s not a kid’s dream come true, I don’t know what is.  But Charles was scared, and he refused to even look at the cute frog on the ground.


But then!  Then, we walked about a hundred feet farther and Charles suddenly realized, “Hey!  That could have been awesome!  I want to go to there!”  So he ran back to play in the flowform.  We had to physically pull him out to leave awhile later.


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The moment of realization

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Running back

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So rad.


The next day, Charles got to go to the beach early with grandma and have breakfast (where everyone was impressed with how much he can pack in), ride in the golf cart, and play in the bouncy house:


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We hung out with Ruary and Milo (“My friends!” says Charles) and my parents and Tony’s parents got some time with Jamie:


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On the way back, after stopping to see a friend in Hoquiam, we hit the worst traffic ever on I5.  I’m used to backups at Fort Lewis, but this traffic jam lasted from Olympia to north of Everett.  My boys, though?  They were ANGELS.  The one slept, the other sang, and ate snacks, and talked a blue streak, and watched “WoodyBuzz” on the iTouch. 


We will not be visiting the Kite Festival without Tony ever again, though I’ve been spectacularly calm this week because, really, it can’t get much worse than last week.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Week 8 Asides

I will write about our vacation, I will post photos, but first, a few 8-weeks-old updates.


This is where Jamie is right now:


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That’s right.  In his crib.  Napping.  For more than 5 minutes.  Hell, at this point, it’s more than 20 minutes.  I did the dishes, started a load of laundry, and cleaned out the entry closet. 


For those of you familiar with our sleep issues with Charles, this is a revelation.  A baby who sleeps.  Without fuss, without fight.  As late as last night, Charles put up a screaming fit to get to sleep.  Mom, Dad, I am so sorry for those years of sleep problems.  I now know what you went through, the agony of “just go to sleep, child, OMFG.”  And I know Tony and I are not alone in this issue, not the least because both of our parents dealt with it (I was a bad sleeper, sometimes screaming for hours, and I’m told that Sarah was as well), but also because of the existence of this book.  I want to read it, but I’m not sure if it will make me laugh or cry…


Jamie is smiling now, and often, too.  He’s just so chill and happy.  He wants nothing more in life (so far) than to have his diaper changed, be fed (all the time), and be held by mom.  I’ll take it.


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My days are just awesome right now.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Schmaycation Part 1

We’re baa-ack!  A full week of vacation for the kids, parenting away from home for me.  Was it relaxing?  In a way.  Was it stressful?  Yes.  But I’m glad I went, and I’m glad I didn’t take the dog.  I’ve a new appreciation for my involved-dad husband, and I learned that I can do this alone if and when I have to.  And though they weren’t really home all that much, I was glad to see my parents.  Since Jamie was born, I haven’t been able to see much of my mom, and even though she was working, we got to have some time together, and she got time with her grandsons.  All good things.


On the Saturday before last, Tony and I loaded the kids into two cars (because I was heading to the beach and Tony was heading back home) and drove down to visit my aunt and uncle, my cousins, and my cousin’s new wife in Sumner.  We only had to stop twice during the (normally) two hour drive to change diapers, feed, and have potty breaks, so I call that a win.  Once we were there, Charles demonstrated his vast ability to get hurt even when there are no obstacles nearby and everyone loved on Jamie.


And then we pushed Charles waaaay out of his comfort zone and my cousins took him tubing:


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Charles called them “the boys” and probably would have tried to get them to take him with them to college if he knew what college was. 

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That is a look of sheer terror on his face, but if you ask him, he wants to go again.  Now.  Anytime.  C’mon, boys!


Tony also got a chance.  I understand he also attempted wakeboarding with less successful results.

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You can totally tell which one works inside all day every day.

It was a beautiful weekend filled with great family and hot sunshine.  Charles only got a few owies (he smacked into Tony’s knee and his tooth, the latter resulting in a bruise on his forehead that has yet to fade), only choked on his peanut butter English muffin once, and didn’t have any major meltdowns.  I call it a win.


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Charles took this out-of-focus photo.

Truthfully, there’s something just nice about not being in your own home for a bit.  For the most part, the new environment helps Charles to behave himself – largely because he is unsure of everything.  And my aunt and uncle are fantastic hosts who made us feel so welcome.  By the time we finally left on Sunday, Charles was fed and ready to zonk out in the car, Jamie had been held by someone the entire time, and Tony had been good and beat up by the water. 


When I get another chance, I’ll tell you all about the trip to the beach, during which I almost gave up and drove home three days earlier than planned.  Who had a meltdown?  I did.

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Fair-ly Good Time

Oh, the puns one can make with “fair.”  A Fair Assessment, Fair Weather, etc.  Tony would probably have some better ones, as puns are his m├ętier.  After nearly 6 years of marriage, I have heard them all a bunch of times.


The Skagit County Fair is exactly what you might expect: a whole bunch of 4-H, some rides, and some overpriced vendors.  Great for an hour or two of entertainment.  In the future, I imagine that Charles will spend lots more time on the rides, but for now, the animals hold his interest.


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Oh. Em. Gee.  three-day-old piglets.  Thank God children don’t mature that quickly – those things were already running around like crazy, and poor mama pig looked pooped.


Have I mentioned that Charles, for all his Tasmanian-devil activity level, is pretty introverted?  He’s scared to try new things unless he has a member of his peer group along with him.  He’ll try anything with the preschool kids, who are mostly older than he is, or if he is the older kid and leading a younger friend by the hand.  But with us?  Or all alone?  He tucks his chin to his chest and backs away if he can.


Here he is not touching the calf and leaning heavily on dad:


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And here he is not enjoying his pony ride:


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Well, maybe he enjoyed it.  He spent the whole time with his head turned to the side and his hands in a death grip on the saddle horn, but if you ask him, he wants to do it again and again.


The part of the fair that needs no bravery?  Ice cream made with local milk.


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Yeah, that’s the good stuff.


And here is Bubba, who is patiently awaiting confirmation from Guinness that he is the world’s largest bull at some 3000 lbs:


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Charles might have thought we wanted him to share his ice cream with the big guy when we sent him over to pose.



And the small one?  How does he fare (fair!) these days?   Well, Jamie sleeps.  And eats.  And sleeps more. 


He is in mortal danger of being over-loved by his big brother, who wants nothing more than to keep Jamie with him at all times.


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Several times a day, heck, several times an hour, Charles says, “I love mine baby brother.”  It would melt my heart if he could control his strength such that his affection wasn’t so dangerous.  I have to be ever-watchful, and I can never leave James alone in a room when Charles is in the house because Charles will try to pick him up and cuddle him or feed him something.


I suppose it’s a damn sight better than those children who hate their newborn siblings and try to hurt them on purpose.  Can you imagine?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Does anyone else have a gap between their abdominals? No? Just me?

It wasn’t so bad, really.  Tonight, it will probably be worse.


I felt the first step in my abs.  The abs that have been stretched out beyond belief.  The abs that still have a half-inch gap between them running up my midline.  The abs that are clearly not ready for anything so vigorous as running.  And then I did situps afterward, just to punish myself (I only did, like, five).


I felt ALL of the next steps, over the course of 1.52 miles (thank you, MapMyRun) in my legs and hips.  It seems that those muscles have downright atrophied during a long and brutal pregnancy. 


The mile-and-a-half went by pretty quickly, actually, as it is a route I walk frequently and, oh yeah, it was only a mile-and-a-half.  At about a 10 minute per mile pace.  I’m planning to continue this exact route for the next couple of weeks until my legs don’t hurt quite so much anymore, then I’ll start adding miles.


I think the last time I ran at all was when I was about 10 weeks pregnant.  I was so sick from the afternoon until I passed out at night that I had to do my exercising in the morning.  There comes a point when you feel like you’re going to pee your pants on your run, and that point was at 10 weeks, so I stopped.  It seems like forever ago.


I might try running in the morning again, but it will take some willpower.  I like to be up before Charles so I can have his breakfast ready for him as soon as he wakes up to counteract the low blood sugar freak out that often happens in the morning before he gets a first bite of eggs or peanut butter or whatever.  So I’d have to get up even earlier, and let’s be honest, we’re not sleeping through the night or even close at this point.


But, I imagine I would frequently come back from a run to scenes like this, and that would be nice.


August 2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Cookies and “My Cookie”

Hey!  Guess how many cookies I’ve had today?  Well, not cookies, per se, but raw cookie dough frozen into balls so I can make cookies by just turning on my oven and laying them out on a sheet.  WHICH WILL NEVER HAPPEN LET’S JUST FACE IT THOSE COOKIES DOUGH BALLS WERE DOOMED FROM THE OUTSET. 


Four.  Four cookie dough balls.  This is bad for two reasons: my tummy is a bit mad at me for the low level of nourishment it has received this afternoon, and my six week postpartum doctor appointment was this morning.


I’ve been declared healthy, so now the burden of weight loss is on me… no more can I claim that I can’t work out because it’s too soon.  Oh no.  Now, the only things getting in the way are my willpower, the dishes, the laundry, the vacuuming, brushing the dog, cuddling a sweet and squishy newborn, changing his diaper, cooking, playing with Charles, hanging out with Tony, sleeping, grocery shopping…  Hmm.  When does a mom have time to work out?


I guess I should start eating better, too, but I suffer from the lack of appetizing one-handed meal availability.  And a sweet tooth.


I have 30 lbs to lose.  I guess that’s what happens when you gain 55.


I also cleared the air a bit with my doctor (whom I adore).  It seems he thought I might harbor a bit of anger towards him for letting James sit with his head half out of my vag for a nightmarish 15 minutes while I pushed.  When I think about the pain of those 15 minutes, as I cried, told the nurses I couldn’t do it, and very nearly vomited, sure, I shudder a bit.  It was, honestly, the worst pain I have ever felt.  But I’m not angry.  If anything, I am thankful.  Take it from a mother who has had it both ways: you DON’T want an episiotomy if you can help it.  Once Jamie was born, the pain was gone.  That was not the case the first time around, and I lived in mortal fear of pooping until Charles was about 8 weeks old.


The doc also told me that the other doctor did “too good” a job of stitching me back up last time, which is why I wasn’t stretching nearly as well as I probably should have.  That’s an old-fashioned man doctor for you; take an extra stitch for the husband’s pleasure.  Sorry, Tony, but Doctor B said he sewed me up a bit looser this time so if we decide to have more kids, it’ll be easier next time.  I love a doctor who is on my side!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Acceptance Speech

You like me!  You really like me!

Or, at least, you like my ramblings.  So I will continue to rant and complain and post photos and I’m promising myself to make a solid effort to talk about some of the fun and good stuff that happens as well. 

As I told my sister-in-law, I sometimes feel like I am the only one in my peer group to admit to insecurities and “failures.”  I look around me and see a whole lot of people who seem to have this parenting thing down.  They have their kids under control, they make dinner every night, and they are not crumbling under the pressure or near tears or about to strangle anyone and they are certainly bouncing back from pregnancy a heck of a lot better than I seem to be.  And that’s hard for me, because I know, rationally, that everyone has struggles.  Maybe everyone does not obsess about their bodies like I do.  Maybe everyone does not have a dire need to get the dishes clean every night.  Maybe everyone does not have world’s most strong-willed toddler.  But we all have something.  (Right?  Right?)

I think it is perhaps tougher if you know me in person.  This is the place where I vent, where I air almost all of my problems, at least those having to do with parenting, body image, weight-loss, and other life things (there are some things that are sacred, of course, and some things I have trouble writing about simply because you all know me; I sometimes think that if I were a famous blogger with a wide readership, I’d be inclined to be much more personal and, perhaps, gruesome, just because I probably would never meet you).  If you meet me, I am bubbly, kind, and very patient with my child (I’d say children, but Jamie is not terribly demanding in a way that requires patience… yet).  I probably appear to have it all put together.  And the trick is, that’s likely how you appear to me.

What is it about human nature, about motherhood, that makes us wish to cover our weaknesses and struggles, to put on a happy face, to pretend like nothing is bothering us, nothing is throwing us for a loop, nothing is getting us down?  Wouldn’t we be better off if we shared more of what’s really going on?  Shouldn’t we be more transparent?  At the very least, in knowing that other people struggle, I think I would gain some close friends, close friendships that I think I am missing out on right now.

The most stunning realization for me about motherhood are its inherent isolation and loneliness, followed closely by the lack of time – time to work, time to myself, time to do anything.  I shouldn’t feel so all alone all the time, especially since I KNOW plenty of other mothers.  But when you can’t count on getting out of the house at any specific time (I meant to go to work today after I dropped Charles at school, but he threw a monster tantrum and we ended up being an hour late.  I was drained and just threw in the towel and came home) and you need to pack diapers and snacks and extra clothes and the activity and the friends need to be amenable to stopping and going home if the shit hits the fan (or the diaper blows out), well, it all seems like a lot, you know? 

I think that’s why I keep this blog, really.  To reach out and touch somebody.  To not feel so all alone.  To air my dirty laundry in the hopes that when I bring it back inside it doesn’t stink so much.  As a coping mechanism, I suppose it is as good as any.


All through our childhood, Leland and I teased our mom about her singing voice.  She’s a bit tone-deaf, and without rhythm, but she does love music.  And who’s to say she shouldn’t sing loudly and often if she wants to?

Thanks to many years of music lessons, I have rhythm.  However, I have inherited my mother’s awful voice (it’s a lovely voice when she speaks, though I still think my voice sounds like that of a 12-year-old boy).  And now my kid is the one who tells me to “stoppit!  No singing, mommy!”  The only time mommy singing is acceptable to Charles is when he requests a specific song out of one of our songbooks, usually a Christmas carol, but also Elmo songs (which drive me nuts, as all of the Elmo songs are classic/traditional songs like “She’ll be Coming Round the Mountain,” but with Elmo lyrics).

Well, I’ll tell you what.  At least for now, Jamie likes my singing.  I can get him to calm down with just one round of “I’ve been Working on the Railroad.” 

Sorry for all those years of being a pain in the ass about your singing, mom.


I think we’re going to start a new lawn service in town: Naked Toddler Irrigation.


Seriously, though, thank you, everyone, for your kind comments.  I wish we could all have coffee and bitch together.  We’d be much happier, dontcha think?  You make my day with your words.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Things I know about myself.

I require positive reinforcement.  It’s like air for me- without it, I am pretty melancholy.  I think, lately, that a bit of “baby blues,” or the never-ending post-partum hormone soup that is my body, is making such reinforcement even more necessary to keep me from just, well, quitting.  Not quitting life or anything dramatic like that, but rather quitting being social at all. 


I am a mess of contradictions.  I admire my body for carrying two large, healthy babies to term and then nourishing them.  I hate my body for how it looks, how the lumps and the flaps and the sags all come together to make something that is so much less than it used to be before kids.  I love spending time with my two boys.  I hate that since I don’t go anywhere or do anything other than be “mom” anymore, I have nothing to talk about, nothing to contribute to conversations.  I love my job, but I hate that I have been so easily replaced and that it has become ever so obvious during my leave that not only am I not needed there, but that someone else could do my job so much better than I can. 


I frequently write little notes and give gifts because that is the kind of attention I crave.  I feel slighted that the people most important to me in my life can’t give me the same attention (two of them are much to small – I don’t begrudge them this, and it is wonderful that Charles has started to spontaneously say “I love you.”).


I pour my troubles out into this blog, but I can’t think of how to cleverly portray all the wonderful things that happen everyday, so you might think that life always sucks around here.  I assure you, it is only I who sucks.


But the fact remains that this highly personal blog is a vehicle for me to interact with people, to be social in a way that I can’t at work and at home.  It’s supposed to be the trusted friend who can help me through my problems even if I don’t have a close friend to confide in over coffee (I don’t).


But you’re not doing your part, internet friends.  I have two family members and one friend who routinely comment, and a few who stop by.  Where are you?  I think I need you.


But maybe not.  So I’m going to stop letting it all out here.  Maybe I’ll post once a week, maybe not.  Is it even a good idea that I put photos of my kids on the internet?  I don’t know.  With all the evil people out there, maybe this blog has inadvertently exposed my boys to some awful maliciousness that will cause me to regret these years of posting about our lives. 


I have never been good at keeping a diary.  What’s the point of writing when no one else will read it?  What I need is fulfillment, a good diet, and someone to lie to me and tell me I’m wonderful.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

From the Mouths of Babes

Charles, recently:


“Mommy!  Mommy!  I have peanut butter!”  Oh yeah?  “In mine MOUTH!


“Mommy!  Mommy!  Mommy!  Mommy!”  Yes, Charles?  “Kangaroo!  Kangaroo!  Kangaroo!  Happy Birthday!  Happy Birthday!  Happy Birthday!”


Charles, what kind of ice cream do you have?  “BROWN.” 


“Mommy, I kiss James.  Mommy, I hug James.  Mommy, I take James’ diaper off.”


“Hands up, TOUCHDOWN!”



James, recently:


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Monday, August 1, 2011

Sunday, Better Sunday

I have a vague memory of pulling the camera out of my bag after we decided not to go see the airplanes Saturday… but where did I put it?  Thus, no recent photos.


My mom thinks that I am letting Charles make decisions for our family by letting his misbehavior dictate what we do and don’t do.  I’ll have to ponder this for awhile.  The fact is, he doesn’t have a lot of privileges (we don’t watch TV, his bedtime is firm, etc) to revoke, and he doesn’t actually care if his toys are taken away.  On Saturday, he had to go to bed without stories because of misbehavior, and he then continued to tantrum for another hour or two… sooo, I just don’t see how I can give him consequences other than not letting him do what we all wanted to do.  Thoughts?


My mom also mentioned that I was similar to Charles in that she would have to tell me the plan for the day, and if the plans changed, she would have to tell me as soon as possible so I could process it.  It’s nice to know that even though the kid doesn’t look like me at all, he carries some of my personality traits.


Bottom line, Sunday was a much better day.  Charles slept, and I think he might have finally burned off the bug that kept him home from preschool last Wednesday.  He did this all day (I uploaded the photo before losing the camera, obviously):


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Couch, TV, Gatorade.  His fever broke within 24 hours, but maybe he was still feeling out of it on Saturday?


The holy terror that was Charles on Saturday turned into a smiling angel on Sunday, and the whole day was fantastic.  We were motivated to clean inside and out because we made plans with friends to barbeque at our place (yes!  We did it!  And it wasn’t so bad!  Everyone else brought the food so we didn’t have to cook!  Except that I have yet to do the dishes!  But oh well!), so the backyard looks great.  We first went to the spray park with our friends and their kids and then we all ate and chatted until an appropriately late time for three couples with young children (7:30 pm – we are laaaaame).  It was refreshing and so much fun.  I think I forget how much I love friends.  Small children make keeping them a bit difficult, but at least friends with other small children forgive you when you text them last minute to say that your kid isn’t up from his nap yet and you’ll be late.


We’re having more company tomorrow – and they’re bringing dinner.