Sunday, February 27, 2011


From where I sit now I hear a constant cheep cheeping, coming from our housemate's bathroom. Poor Molly had kind of a surprise when she came home yesterday and saw her bathroom had been invaded. She's currently out housesitting for some friends... coincidence?

This one's Sal. The littlest and cheepiest. Named by Jane.

Lil is the darker, fluffier one, named by Wren. Wren is convinced that Lil is the smartest chicken in the world.

We're going to get some more next week, but when I got the Callahans with the girls the guy in front of me bought ALL the rest of the chicks. Seriously! I asked if we could have just ONE of the ones he was having them box up and he said "Nope! That would make it unlucky 13 for me!"

Okay dude. Keep your chicks. We'll try Buck Moore this week.

In spite of rainy drizzly weather we've been outside a lot this weekend. Wren has finally (FINALLY!) mastered the art of pumping on the swing. Praise the Lord.

And Jane, in her Snow White dress, eating an apple. I find apple cores all over the house- under couches, behind dressers, last week I found one in the car. Yuck.

Benjamin is growing so so fast, already teething and outgrowing his bouncer. He kicks around and grabs for toys and is generally ridiculously adorable. His personality is so far staying pretty mellow, but he could just be biding his time, with two older sisters around filling the air with chatter.

He's a delight during the day, but if I could change anything it would be to convince his little body to sleep a bit longer at night. He would like to eat more often than I'd like to feed him in the early morning hours... He calls the shots currently, but eventually I'm going to want to use the part of my brain that currently goes entirely to keeping my sleep-deprived body from falling down the stairs every morning.


We lost my grandmother last week. My mother's mom- Alice. Also known as Granny Alley, Awice, Aleey-oop, or sometimes by her beloved husband as "The Old Gray Mare" which usually didn't go too well for him.

When people think of the perfect grandmother she is what they think of- curled gray hair that got "fixed" every week on Friday morning, editor of her church newsletter, founding member of her supper club. She was capable of a "Bless your heart" that was clearly a "Screw You" and in truly extreme circumstances she was capable of both. She always had a twisted off roll of thin mints in her freezer and Oreos in a jar on her counter. With my grandfather she bought a house to retire in, as close to her spread out brood as she could, and put in a pool, a treehouse, a swingset, a sandbox, and a trampoline. I don't think they could have been more clear about wanting to be involved grandparents.

She sewed prom dresses and Christmas pageant costumes. She made huge family meals, everything but the BBQ which was of course my grandfather's job. She quilted and knitted and did lovely embroidery, at least until her hands got arthritic and her eyes lost patience for tiny work.

She bought Hummel figurines to pass to the grandkids and she watched the neighbors houses when they went out of town. She had a "shrimp man" who sold her shrimp, an "egg lady" who brought her eggs, a "berry lady" who brought her blueberries and blackberries, and of course a favorite peach place in Fredericksburg. She and Ed knew the best place to get sausage in any small town in Texas.

She played "Who loves you?" and "give me some sugar" and more games of Candyland and Go Fish than anyone should ever have to and yet we completely believed that she loved every second of it. It's just slightly possible that she really did. Just like she loves watching our magic shows and swim meets and homecoming courts and school plays.

She asked about every game and every grade and was so deeply invested in the lives of her kids and grandkids- our biggest advocate always.

She watched every Texas game with a burnt orange shirt on and a cocktail in her hand. She sang "Geaux Tigers" along with the LSU band on TV. She watched White Christmas every year, with a bowl of nuts and a nutcracker on her table.

She loved pecan sandies and Willie Nelson and her garden but she HATED the water bill and so her plants sometimes didn't do as well as they could.

She made my cousin back in to the driveway so the neighbors wouldn't see the Obama sticker on her car.

She made a wonderful roux but not often, because my grandfather was the official gumbo expert in her home. And she kind of lost her heart for cooking when he went 8 years ago. She still made Christmas cookies most years, but I think she mainly loved feeding Ed, and her kids, and it wasn't such a priority after she lost him.

One of the most important things about her what that she was part of a team. She and my grandfather got married in September of 1941, and then they were apart for 4 years. My mom's first 3 Christmases included a propped up picture of my grandfather in uniform sitting under the tree, and when he finally got home safe from Europe, my grandparents were pretty much inseparable. Other than deer season of course. And dove season. And also ducks. Is there a season for ducks? If there is then he was probably gone for it.

After he died my grandmother found a sheet of notepaper where he had written "number of times Alice moved with me" and he'd listed 18 addresses. First in the army, and then in law school, and then working for Mobil Oil. Alley told me that when Ed would ask if she wanted to move again, she would say "Well, where are they going to send the check?"

They were a team- supporting each other and their kids in each new community. And their total delight in each other, even when it was expressed in less than endearing terms, is one of the things I'll remember most. Their marriage taught me a lot about how a good one works. At the stupid age of 20, when I said yes to Chase, I was swayed more than a little bit by the fact that my grandfather liked him. How lucky am I? To have had that model in my life?

And it's one of the reasons why losing Alley is not as sad as it could be. She wanted, more than anything, to be with Ed again. I will miss them both, and I will keep trying to be the kind of parent whose kids come home for a month every summer with the grandkids, because they want the kids to know us. I want to be the kind of grandparent (eventually) who signs up for multi-state, Yellowstone and Glacier Park road trip with the grandkids. And who backtracks when one of them leaves their Carebear in a motel in the middle of Kansas...

They anchored our family and brought us together. We were so so lucky to have had them both, and I hope they have each other again now.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Anna Howard Shaw Day!

Ben and I were late picking Jane up from school, but we didn't let it keep us down. We all stayed late anyway for Wren's big class party.

Ben was a trooper, even without a diaper change, or a mother who remembered to clean the goop out of his eyes before leaving the house.

Wren's class had a crazy free for all valentine hunt, in addition to cookie decorating, filling mailboxes with their homemade valentines, and making presents for their parents. It was a big party, and I think no one would be surprised by the fact that both girls cried on the way home, and Jane passed out on her bed after I cleaned the chocolate off her face.

I helped Wren clean her face too, because she really hates the feel of face paint. Usually she would never agree to be painted, but I guess she was peer pressured into it by her school friends.

She's wearing one of the little heart clips I made for the girls Valentines. Those are almost a tradition at this point, and this year I used another tutorial from The Purl Bee.

And finally, to wrap up a lovely Valentines Day, the girls were invited to a kid party at a WONDERFUL SELF SACRIFICING friend's house, and Chase proved, once again, after 8 wonderful years, that he knows how to treat a lady. That $1.60 was WELL SPENT and I enjoyed the hell out of my Valentine tacos.

I hope Arandas becomes a tradition for our family too. Hair clips and tacos. I'll take it.

Our Snow Day

Jane woke up first and we told her she should climb up to Wren's bunk and look out the window.

We could hear her waking Wren up, yelling "SNOW, WREN! SNOW!"

We fed Anne pancakes and saw her off, on at least the first leg of her terrible never ending journey. If her Bronco is Artax in this metaphor, then I think she should just shoot it in the head before it pulls her down with it in the Swamps of Sadness.... I really hate that movie.

Back to fun snow day!

We had snow ball fights, and attempted to build a snow man, and of course saved snow balls in the freezer, to eat in July. Jane decided not to wait, and ate snow continuously whenever we went outside.

And here's my entry into the freshman photography contest. What can I say, the broken doll parts were all buried under the snow.

Overall we had a super fun day.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

more phone pictures

A smiling baby boy, in some kicks from the baby shower that he is already fitting into!

A cat mask, made and then worn for the rest of the day. Pants optional.

A bibbed baby - with this pattern.

A sleepy, but not asleep baby.

And a Jane, who has asked me all day when it is going to start snowing. She has been looking out the windows watching for polar bears. Apparently they come "RIGHT AWAY" when it starts to snow.

Come on Texas weather, how can you disappoint her?

I mean snow. Not polar bears. That would be dangerous and terrifying.