Saturday, December 6, 2014

Little Lulu and Brother Charlie


Little Lulu and Brother Charlie. These two keep me busy/entertained/exasperated/on the verge of a breakdown/blissfully content.

Lucy turned 5 months old this week. She is very vocal and curious. She started crawling (what the...) and can hold herself up against the coffee table, which makes a very nice teething toy in her opinion. But no teeth yet. She's sampled some baby pears, carrots, and apples, and likes them all. She also likes finger-mashed bananas and sweet potatoes. She wishes she could eat real food all the time but I'm feeling weirdly resistant to the idea of her growing up. Sometimes I let her suck on a piece of dried mango but I'm sure that's against some Rule somewhere. She has also started sitting in the seat of the shopping cart and I don't think taking her into the store in her car seat will ever be an option again. She loves it. She especially loves the double seat carts at Costco because Charlie is an entertaining passenger to sit beside.

Meanwhile, Chuck has started potty-training (with ever-worsening results, oy) and has learned that he can make Lucy laugh really hard. He's also learned that she likes his toys and that really, really irritates him. He is obsessed with minions, Mickey Mouse, and Cars, and he loves little cocktail weenies, mango, chocolate milk, applesauce, and clementines. About a month ago, a rash appeared suddenly on Charlie's back. I thought it was eczema, or worst case scenario, ringworm, but it turns out it is an uncommon but harmless skin thing called pityriasis rosea. It's pretty pitiful looking, so the name is appropriate! Sorry for the closeup booger shot, but when your two-year-old photobombs your baby's photoshoot with an eager "cheese!" you just roll with it.

Saturday, November 29, 2014


October was a weird month. I very briefly had full-time employment, so the entire month I was working 40-hour weeks from home, often with one, but usually both, kids hanging off me, and it was mostly chaotic and stressful. We missed Floydada Punkin Days, which happened on a really cold and rainy Saturday, so we went the Monday after to Assiter Pumpkin Ranch and picked out a couple of pumpkins. Mike and I found a big jack-o-lantern pumpkin, and Charlie chose a small pie pumpkin. We took them home. And never carved them. The big jack-o-lantern pumpkin is still sitting in the dining room. Fail. We did roast up the pie pumpkin and made an amazing curry pumpkin soup out of it. Yummy fail!

Assiter Pumpkin Ranch was worth the drive. It was pretty abandoned when we got out there, but it was a Monday afternoon, so that wasn't too surprising. I'm sure it was hopping a few days before during the festival. Inside their big beautiful barn-style store, they had a huge variety of specialty pumpkins and gourds (Floydada is the self-proclaimed pumpkin capitol of Texas, after all), as well as different corns and other fall items. It took a lot of willpower to walk away with the pumpkins and nothing else.

Behind the barn are trailers full of pumpkins from the fields. We stuck Charlie in one. How could we not? There was also a little shelter and a bunch of white animals in a large grassy area: a dog, a donkey, and a llama, if I remember correctly. So that was a random bonus for Charlie's enjoyment. It was a really windy day or we would have spent more time exploring the massive pumpkins (up-to-my-waist massive) sitting out in the front of the barn. Lucy wasn't handling the winds well, and the rest of us were feeling pretty blown over, too. Next year we'll try to make the main event and enjoy it even more.

Charlie was a train conductor (engineer? whatever this outfit is?) for Halloween this year. He carried a train whistle and one of his toy trains with him. He already had the cute hat (thanks, Grandma!) and the clothes. Nice, cheap, multi-purpose outfit. Just my style. Mike's mom (thanks, Amy!) made him this cute Frankenstein trick-or-treating bag, which Charlie really didn't want to model, as you can see. Mike took Charlie to the ward's trunk-or-treat, since I had to work, and then the next night we went trick-or-treating in our friends' neighborhood. After the second or third door, Charlie realized that everyone was going to give him candy. For no reason. Everyone. It was a fun night with him, and it only took about a dozen doors for him to be totally satisfied. The next morning he banged on the bathroom door, presented a bucket from his room, and demanded "candy." He never really got the whole "trick-or-treat" thing down. Just "candy."

Other memorable moments in October: Charlie had a 10-day stomach virus. Both ends for 10 whole days. I had two bad nights of puking, and Mike and Lucy escaped unscathed, thankfully. Mike presented a paper at a conference down in Austin and also ran a 10k and did really well! Go Mike!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Finding Ourselves in Lamesa

September has thrown a lot at us: out-of-town guests, a shot minivan radiator, a few weeks of severe weather and flooding, two teething babies, Lucy's clogged tear ducts, Charlie's physical confrontations of late with other kids, and generally the stretching of ourselves and every temporal, emotional, and mental resource we have a little too thin. We were so tired today. Just life-weary, you know? Mike went to a meeting before church, then hurried home and tagged me out so I could go sing in the ward choir and take care of a few secretarial tasks before rushing back to Mike and two really cranky, hurting, frazzled kids.

We made ourselves a quick lunch, packed everyone in the car, and just started driving. The kids slept well, and Highway 87 took us to Lamesa, a little town about 60 miles south of us. Mike's grandmother grew up there, but we hadn't visited yet. I got my fill of old signage. Charlie roamed the courthouse grounds. Mike pushed Lucy in the stroller and waited patiently while I snapped pictures and Charlie picked up sticks and climbed on every bench and wall and kicked every little pile of leaves. Lamesa was quiet on this Sunday afternoon, and we paused in the middle of the brick-lined streets, talking about things of note in our lives, catching up on a month's worth of sidelined conversations.

It was good to disconnect from the extraneous bits that had distracted us this month. I feel refocused on myself and my relationships with my husband and kids. If you need to reset your life, I recommend Lamesa.