Monday, March 31, 2008

Photo Contest: Spring

Stacie over at The Twinkies is have a photo contest for Spring. Here's my entry! You'll need to go vote for it, should you think it's a winner.

Voting is open from April 1st-15th. Vote here.

"It's Spring!"

This is how I feel inside when the first day of spring rolls around. However, while it's technically true, the snow on the ground makes it hard to get any gardening done. This fact leaves me feeling more like this.

Attached at the Heart

I love to read. I also love to research topics I'm excited about. (See my gardening bookshelf for proof: need a book on lawncare, composting or propagation? Got 'em.) Getting pregnant was no different. I researched it. Drove my mom a little crazy, too:

"You don't plan children! You just have children!"

Sorry mom, access to affordable birth control says that I do get to plan children.

So I did.

I don't remember that any of those books mentioned the term Attachment Parenting back in 2001, but apparently that's what we were engaged in.
  • Breastfeeding? Check!
    It wasn't easy and it was certainly painful in the beginning, but I did it because, for us, it was the right thing to do. It was also emotionally satisfying once we got past the breaking in period and the plugged ducts. Whew!
  • Co-sleeping? Check!
    I couldn't bear to be separated from her and she from me in the first few months, so she slept on my chest. It also meant that she'd actually sleep so that's what we did. When the time was right, we moved her to a bassinet in our room and then to a crib in her own room. Ahhh!
  • Babywearing? Check!
    While we didn't call it that, as our firstborn and the first grandchild, Caitlin was carried around a lot. It worked for us and it made her happy.
We worked our way through the other 5 Principles, using our instincts, advice from friends (What did you do when...?) and family and further research.

Caitlin turned out so well, in fact, that we decided to have one more. And then we had twins. Now we've started all over again.

This time, though, there are blogs and websites that offer helpful advice.

Attachment Parenting International (API), a non-profit organization that promotes parenting practices that create strong, healthy emotional bonds between children and their parents, has several exciting changes they would like to announce, including:

  • A newly redesigned web site and new logo at Attachment;

  • Attachment parenting worldwide support forums;

  • Parent Education Program - a comprehensive series of classes for every stage and age of child development from infancy through adulthood;

  • A new book based on API's Eight Principles of Attachment Parenting by API co-founders Lysa Parker and Barbara Nicholson which is expected to be available this summer;

  • A series of podcasts, webinars, chats, and forums with API Advisory Board members and other supporters of AP. Future events are scheduled with Dr. Bob Sears, Dr. James McKenna, and Kathleen Kendall Tacket. Check out the events page for more information.

These are just a few of many exciting things going on at API. I hope you'll stop by and check it out for yourself.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Houses on the Highway

If you've ever driven in the mountains, you know that certain things are inevitable: snow in spring, curvy roads ahead and RVs. What you may not have encountered, yet we did, is a house blocking the road.

Yes, a house.

A trailer home to be precise. It was being moved to its final destination where it would perform its duty as the bellwether for horrible weather conditions. What? We all know that Mother Nature abhors trailer parks: that's why they are forever being flattened in any sort of weather event. Tornado, fire, or flood: there's a trailer home involved somehow.

In our particular case, the trailer home was busy blocking traffic. Lots of traffic on the two lane highway we were taking as we headed towards Glenwood Springs on Tuesday.

We had just passed two halves of a trailer home not 10 minutes before. They were huge and trundling along on their giant flatbeds, courteously staying in the right lane, out of our way. Some folks didn't want to pass them for their own reasons. I imagine that fear was among those reasons since few people want to be squashed by houses. The Wicked Witch of the East taught us well that to be caught in the path of a falling house is a Very Bad Thing.

That being said, we were in a bit of a hurry, trying to make up for lost time. Getting out of the house with twins and a 6.75 year old is a long an involved process that, realistically, should be started the night before. However, when The Man says, "No, no. We'll do it in the morning!" and exhaustion has left you without two braincells left to rub together, you will agree. Then the following morning you will be kicking yourself and wondering why this scene keeps repeating itself. Yes, you'll still need all the bathroom items, but for goodness' sake! Pack everything else the night before! Geez!

Awake Me says, "Exhausted Me, take note!"

Exhausted Me responds, "Yeah, yeah. Zzzzzz."

So there we were, traveling along, passing the Half a Homes and we came upon the Lumbering Behemoth and its Blocker Vehicle. You know, the one with the big sign across the back warning you of the W I D E L O A D you are about to encounter. The vehicle that is blocking the passing lane.

Why? Why is it doing such a ridiculous thing?

Because apparently the driver of the extremely Wide Load, carrying the full size trailer home (No Half a House here!) is incapable of keeping to the right side of the road and making use of the breakdown lane, but is instead straddling both lanes. And fishtailing a little back and forth, just to make things more interesting.

A little frisson of fear to go with your car ride is always exciting, no?

Except that now we are behind these vehicles and we have Places To Be. Behind us are another 50 cars filled with their allotment of people that have Places To Be as well. Yet here we all sit, behind The Behemoth, watching as it swishes back and forth across the lanes like a drunken bowler. We sit in the Passing Lane waiting for our chance know...pass. To our right is a guy in a little sports car that looks like he's thinking about making a break for it and pass on the right.

This is a Bad Idea.

He appears to come to that conclusion as well as we watch The Beast swish alarmingly over to the right side of the road and into the breakdown lane and then swish back again to the opposite side of the road.

Eric is frustrated and is saying not very nice things about the drivers of the vehicles in front of us, their parentage and their driving skills. Eventually, we go through a tunnel and The Beast proves to us that passing it would be impossible as it takes up the entire road through the tunnel, leaving about three feet on either side.

Eventually - a very loooong eventually - we reach our exit and zip away. Fortunately, no one was injured by falling houses.

This time.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Earth Hour 2008

Turn off your lights, Saturday, March 29th at 8 pm your local time and join with millions of others sitting in the dark.

Solidarity and darkness. Who could ask for anything more?

Sign up to be included at Earth Hour. I did.

Thanks to Amy at Crunchy Domestic Goddess for the tip!

Lights out in 21 hours 52 minutes!

This looks cool, too. Almost makes me wish I had a television. Almost.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Six Months

For their sixth month anniversary, the twins decided to get outta town. They went to Glenwood Springs, to "take in the waters".

I know, so young to feel in need of a vacation!, but they do live fast-paced lives. Fortunately, they decided to take the rest of us along, too. You know, just in case they were in the mood for a bit of milk or someone to flip them upside-down.
Daddy and Emma.

You never know when you might feel in the mood for either, whether you're on vacation or just hanging around at home.

The trip was made possible by Grammy, who was heartily sick of her 12'-15' of snow, up in Siberia.
There's even more snow up there now than when this was taken.

We thanked her and Grampy profusely for taking on Caitlin for the 2.5 days we were there and for assorted baby wrangling. While it wasn't a vacation for us (no extra sleep to be had) per se, Caitlin got a lot of really good grandparent time and no arguments. What a nice change! The twins got to know G&G even better and were ooh'd and ahh'd at by all and sundry as we walked through public spaces.
Chatting with Grammy.

Getting to know you. Getting to honk your nose...!

Grammy is fun and tastes good, too!

Twins bring out the chatty in other people.

It's also very interesting how many people come over to tell you that they are a twin. Or as Eric pointed out: they were a twin. Folks, unless you've lost a twin, you still are a twin. 'Til death do you part, as it were. English is such a funny language!

Anyway, news of the twins: they loved the hot springs! It was just like being in a giant bathtub with the whole family! Plus several hundred other people! Who are all of these folks in our bathtub splashing around, anyway?

Unfortunately for you (and I), I don't have pictures of the twins in their super cute swim diapers. Those would be new reusable swim diapers from Grammy. Cute little sunhats, too. My camera is way too conspicuous to drag out to the hot springs and leave it in a bag with the rest of our gear and no one was going to sit out of the pool just to guard my gear. When Grammy sends the pictures she took, I'll post them. Let me tell you now, though: cute! Round little tummies and exposed chubby thighs! Squishable cheeks! Eee!

Ahem. Sorry.

Fashion plates, the both of them.

Emma is really working on the crawling thing and now gets up on her hands and knees and rocks back and forth.
"Dis way. I want to go dis way!"


Logan just complains about laying on his tummy.
"If you want to crawl, you have to spend time on your tummy! Suck it up, ya big baby!"

So much for his lead in the physical portion of the talent show! Emma also "steps" when you hold her hands and let her "walk" around.

Fortunately, Logan can get by on his good looks for now.
Daddy and Logan watch Grammy and Emma.

I've been noticing changes in Logan's hair. He now looks like he has a helluva comb-over. It's very sad, actually. He has rubbed off the original long newborn hair from the sides and back and has his "real" hair coming in. Except on top, where he still has his long troll hair, which no longer stands straight up but instead flops over. The other thing is that the new hair appears to be coming in...blonde. Or sandy brown or something. At first it was looking white blonde at the back of his head, but now I'm also seeing gold hair as well. I guess we'll have to continue waiting before we make the final hair color declaration.

His eyes though, are clearly remaining blue.
"Chew toy?" Logan offers to share with you.

We went to that ubiquitous coffee place at one point, and I got a mocha frappawhozit at 7 pm at night. Can you tell what I was thinking? I was thinking: "Mmmm! Sugar and chocolate!" I wasn't thinking: "OMG! Caffeine! I'll never sleep tonight! Neither will the twins!"

Because I'm stupid like that sometimes.


Very few pictures of Caitlin on this trip. She refused to look at me most of the time.

Dinner: fish in a ginger-tamarind sauce. Not as good as it could have been.

The twins slept during most of the drive to GW Springs, which was good. There was a little crying, though.
The tracks of her tears.

Don't you just want to pick her up and snuggle her? Overall, I'd say the twins are pretty good travelers. I'm not ready to get on plane with them yet, but maybe one day.
Saying goodbye to Grammy and Grampy. Logan gives the trip a Thumb's Up!

We wrapped up the trip early this morning and took our little troupe back home.
Places to go. People to see.

We let Logan do a little driving. I think the power went right to his head.
"Don't make me turn this car around, young lady!"

"I bet we could do 100 mph, easy!"

"If only I could reach the gear shift!"

Logan wants you to know that while he hasn't been working on crawling, he has been perfecting his sitting up technique.
"Check it out!"

"Nice job, Logan!"

While they still aren't both sleeping through the night, Emma reverts to sleeping through the night when she's healthy and waking every 2 hours when she's sick. Currently? She's sick and snored like a little old man while in GW Springs. She also proved to us why the twins need separate rooms: when one wakes up you have to move fast or their crying will wake the other twin.

Logan appears to finally be over his cold, but hasn't settled into a longer sleep period yet. We're waiting.

Still waiting....

Emma shows us that, yet again, our children's first word will be "Kitty!". Just like last time.

Kitty fascination.

Might have something to do with the fact that we're constantly talking about the kitty when the kitty walks by. Maybe.

Emma also reminds us that it's good to laugh.

Plans for the next 6 months: Sleeping through the night. Crawling. Sleeping through the night. Walking. Sleeping through the night. Eating solid food. Sleeping through the night, dammit! Talking. Sleeping through the night. No, really, I mean it!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Love & Hate

She loves me.

She hates me.

She loves me!

She hates me!

No flowers were harmed in figuring this one out.

"I just want a crumb of food! I'm hungreeeeee!" she cries as she slogs up the stairs, exhaustion and starvation slow her limbs, deadening the feeling in her legs. Can death be far?

Mine? Hers? Eric's?

Does it even matter anymore?

We had a bad episode yesterday afternoon, right before we were to go for a walk to the park. Big explosion of rotten behavior because...? I asked her to open the door and check how cool it was so that she'd know if those cropped pants were appropriate for the weather or not. She exploded into Awful Child Goo all over me, which caused me to turn into Psycho Mom and call off the park trip.

Instead I took the twins and went for a big walk on our own. To calm down.

Tonight's issue? Having a shower before bed so that when we see Grammy tomorrow she doesn't give her an allergic reaction. Grammy, sadly enough, is allergic to the cats. Hugging and snuggling Caitlin if she hasn't bathed right before they see one another is bad for Grammy.

I would have thought Caitlin's love for Grammy would have outweighed her need to defy me. Apparently not. After I calmly explained the whole Grammy + cat fur = Bad Reaction to Caitlin I asked her if she wanted Grammy to get sick.

"No," came the expected response. "I want you to get sick."

Stunned silence.

Eric sent her to the stairs for a timeout. I sat there and tried to figure my next move. I spent hours discussing strategy with Eric last night which all boiled down to: If you lose your temper, she wins.

So I held on. Then I went over to the stairs and calmly asked her why she was trying to hurt me.

There's never any good or logical answer to that.

Then there was the Final Warning: go take a bath and stop this behavior or you're Going to Bed Without Supper. Friendly Friends, before you fret, we had a very late and large lunch at 3 pm, so it's not like she's starving over here. OK? Good. Just wanted you to know that my bath enforcing/get your own water cruelty does have some limit.

So, of course, there was additional Fit Throwing.

This kid, she's becoming a Power Fit Thrower. I wish I could tape it, but Eric won't let me. Not even for Posterity.

Earlier today, we tried "reconnecting" by going to the zoo. There was a Carousel
ride. There were fries for a snack. There was a milkshake at lunch. There was even nice conversation and hugs. There were protestations of undying love and of being her Favorite Mommy.

That was so 5 hours ago, Mommy!

I am so not looking forward to the teen years.

Got any advice? Leave it in the comments. Help meeeeeee!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Caitlin says...

After asking her to finish cleaning up the table, Caitlin refuses to remove the last few dishes: mine. When pressed by Eric for why she hasn't finished clearing the table she says:

"Because I want mommy to divorce you."

And then the roaring began. (Believe it or not, it wasn't me roaring!)

Why? Why did she say that?

Because I dared to tell her that she could get her own glass of water at dinner. Because I'm so damned mean like that.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Eric says...

To a chorus of Waaaa! in the other room from Logan, who is grumping about being Down when he wants to be Up

Eric says, "It's tummy time! Learn to crawl or something!"

Yes, Daddy. Logan will get right on that.

Growing Challenge: Establishing Street Cred

It is time and past time that I potted up my hundreds of tomato plants. Being trapped under twins, I called Heather for help. We've been slogging away at it for several days now, continually interrupted by the needs of small people - both mine and hers.A forest of tomatoes.

Ready for potting up.

One. One Persimmon tomato plant potted up. Several hundred to go.

All of the transplanting is taking place on my livingroom floor and it is slow going. Fortunately, Eric is very understanding of the huge messes I make related to plants and his only desire is that I clean it up when I'm done and that he gets a whole lot of tomatoes come harvesting time, in late summer. I can certainly promise him that! We will have more tomatoes than we'll know what to do with, this year, but I'm certain that between us and a good book on canning, we'll come up with something to do with all of the produce!

Rosemary popping up.

Did I also mention that I've started stevia, rosemary, thyme, oregano, parsley (Italian Flat Leaf, of course), chives, garlic chives and chamomile?

I've never started rosemary or garlic chives from seed before and am enjoying the scent of rosemary, even in its tiny form shown above. I'm looking forward to having some plants of my own, even if they won't survive the winter here. I'm looking forward to trying to produce a bunch of food plants both for sale and for our own uses and tomatoes and herbs are usually a big hit at the market. The question only remains as to how much of a big hit. Do I have enough? Too many? Not nearly enough? We'll find out in a few short weeks.

In the meantime, let's take a short detour down memory lane and let me tell you how this farming thing began.

Back in 2002, we had a helluva drought in Colorado. Everyone was on water rations for their yards and the grass was getting brown and dying off. Since my front yard is on a ridiculous slope and I've always hated mowing the front lawn, I took the opportunity to kill off the grass and replant with something more reasonable, over time.

The first thing I did was lay down landscape fabric. A decision I'm actually regretting to this day. Were I to do it over again, I would instead just use lots and lots and lots of newspaper. Over that I dumped a truckload of wood chips that the tree guys were glad to give me for free, since I'd had a weedy tree cut out of the backyard. If you ever need lots of wood chips, you may want to contact a tree company and ask if they would be willing to deliver some to you for free that would be good for landscaping. My guys made sure they had a truckload of pines in the back for me before coming to my house to remove my tree and then they dumped the whole load out front for my use. A few days later, Eric and I had moved dozens of wheelbarrow loads of chips onto the 50' x 35' stretch of front lawn and the big change was under way.

Now, while I live in suburbia, we don't actually have a covenant that says I can't do whatever I'd like to my lawn. This is key to making sweeping changes like the ones I have made. I can't speak for my neighbors, but I always imagined they were wondering what the heck I was doing, especially since it took years for the changes to make sense. That first summer, with our decided lack of water, new planting wasn't possible, but setting the wheels in motion was.

The following year I bought a small handful of plants and stuck those in: a few zebra grasses and a few caryopteris and Russian sage that I'd gleaned from a friend's yard. Still just little tiny plants struggling to survive in that sea of wood chips.

Finally, in 2005 I started several hundred xeric plants from seed and installed them, myself, by hand in the front yard.

Since that still wasn't enough plants, I did it again in 2006. I grew several hundred more plants from seed and put them in the ground. Only this time, I was up against a deadline, since I was leaving town for a few days and only had a week to get 500 plants (or as many as I could) into the ground.

By this time, the neighbors were watching to see what I was doing and those that were out early enough would stop and talk to me. Some told me they'd been watching the changes I'd been making for years and were curious as to where I got the energy from and when would it be done? most gardeners know, the answer to that question is never, actually.

The best part was the fact that everyone that stopped to talk to me was excited and encouraging about the changes I was making. That bit of information made all the work worthwhile.

Nowadays, my garden really does stop traffic, or at least slow it down and I find that deeply satisfying.

Here are a couple of emails from 2006.

Originally emailed 5/18/06:
Love is...

Installing a new sprinkler head on your 10th anniversary and being totally cool about your wife planting 27 plants in one day. Then later slathering her burnt shoulders with aloe.

BTW, this is what 500 plants from seed looks like:

That's right. I started planting out today. I only did 21 out of this ~500. The extra 6 were plants that I (gasp!) bought at the store. I didn't have room to start seeds for tomatoes or zucchini, so that's what I bought. Actually spent money on plants this year when I was trying not to. Dang!

5/24/06: Crushing rocks with your hands...

Hurts, actually.

That's exactly what it feels like I'm doing every single day that I'm out there working in the yard. Every day the routine goes thusly:
  1. Wake up as early as possible.
  2. Assemble planting gear.
  3. Remove/toss bark chips to one side.
  4. Cut holes in landscape fabric.
  5. Dig out clumps of hard clay soil. Toss into bin.
  6. Squash hard clay soil until it is in little tiny clumps and mix with fresh compost (Mmm! Compost!).
  7. Put plant into hole, surround with soil/compost mix and firm in.
  8. Water with super secret root stimulator formula.
  9. Repeat 362 times.

Yes, my friends, crushing rock hard clay clumps into finer textured clay clumps is the bane of my existence. Imagine my thrill when I realized if I WATERED the spot where the clump needed to be dug up from my life would be easier! I blame my lack of clue to planting hypnosis and the fact that when I started the soil was softer and has been hardening daily due to lack of constant watering. My focus on getting the plants in the ground outweighed my higher thought functions. BTW, watering the sections I was about to dig was in addition to running the sprinklers for 10 minutes the night before. That ground is HARD!

Did I mention the ground is hard around here? Except for in several hundred small holes in my front yard, that is.

Now I am left with bunches of plants to put into the BACK yard. Tomorrow. About 138. My max so far has been 100 (that was yesterday, I ROCKED!).

Want some? I have 3 kinds of salvias (sages) which are kinda leggy, sedum, goldenrod and some tiny parsley. If you come get it, I'll give it to ya! I'm going to put as many as I can in the back yard tomorrow and then hope for a miracle or friends to come and rescue the remainder.


The Empress of Plants
(Hey, I can self title! Besides, how many people do YOU know that grow 500 plants from seed? Huh? Yeah, I thought so!)


It was after this email that Heather suggested I could sell my plants. To which I responded: No way! Who would want them? After a lot of disbelief (on my part) and discussion, we determined that working together we might just be able to make a go at being farmers...together.

We tried to get started last year, but the twin pregnancy put the kibosh on any activity more strenuous than sitting and drinking a lot of water. This year will be the big test.

Can we do it?

I sure hope so! I'm betting several hundred tomato plants on it. And several hundred more others.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Venice: Day 1

Long ago, in Venice, our story continues. It was 2006 and it was our 10th anniversary. See the first entry here.

Originally emailed 6/13/06:
This is going to be a multi-part adventure, since there are way too many pics to send all in one email. On the bright side, I'll narrate! Unfortunately, since I'm not a blogger*, I didn't take pictures of all the food and gelato that we ate and every single solitary thing that we saw. I just took pics of almost everything.

Be prepared, my chickens!

So we flew a looooong time. We went from Denver to Frankfurt, from Frankfurt to Munich and from Munich to Venice. That last part? I kicked myself for not having my camera in my hands for the small trip over the Italian Alps! They were beautiful. We landed in Venice in the late afternoon, falling asleep on our feet, but thrilled to be in Italy at last. We took the bus from the airport to the vaporetto station and then to our hotel. You've already seen those pics, so I won't bore you again. We were tired, so we napped and ate something, I can't remember it as being spectacular. We had gelato at Michielangelos, right near Hotel Rialto and it was fantastic! I quite literally regretted getting gelato from any other location. We ordered gelato from a place called the American Bar (BIG MISTAKE! Alert! Do not eat at any place with American in the name unless you're in the States!) and it was so bad I asked Eric if I could turn the gelato in and get a good one from our favorite location. He agreed, of course. Ten years of marriage teaches one to not mess with the gelato experience!

Anyway, the first full day of being in Italy, we saw stuff like this:

What's that, you say?'s Piazza San Marco! Did I hear a "Lemme see it again!"?

This time with bell tower! Yes, that is St. Mark's Basilica. In which No Pictures Are Allowed, so we'll have to make do with the outside of it. It was built in the 11th century and looks gooood for it's age, doesn't it? The floors were beyond compare. The gold, marble, paint and plaster lavished on this building are mind boggling. The bell tower is the Campanile di San Marco. It replaced a shorter lighthouse that crumbled into a pile of bricks in 1902, a thousand years after it was built. Those Italians - they build to last! We failed to take the tour up into it and instead, kept on walking.

Artsy shot of flags. Venice's flag, with the lion.

Italy's flag on the left.

I need a wide angle lens to avoid distortion! The domes are beautiful! The art put into just the outside of the building is crazy.

Hey, look! Tourists! Oh...nevermind. See those things those folks are sitting on? Those are wooden platforms and metal stands that they go on. Venice floods about 100 times a YEAR, so they have these platforms that they lay out everywhere to let people get around to all the fabulous touristy places they need to go. Surely you didn't think a little thing like flooding would stop the crowds from visiting, did you?

Here are some more shots while we waited in line to go inside.

Notice that the clock tower is completely covered for refurbishment. Sadness! The clock is lovely!

Nice lamp posts!

A detail above the entrance.
Will you look at the marble? It was beautiful! They used all different kinds all over the place!

Artsy flag shot! I love this place!

After we finished with the square, we went to the Doge's palace next door. However, you'll have to wait for that story tomorrow. It's late!

- Hatchet, from two years ago.

* I wasn't blogging as of June of 2006. It was two months later that I started, after being prompted by Val and Misty. Funny that. Also what is very interesting to me now is that I would love to have seen the food we'd eaten, just to remember the places we went. Some of the food was fabulous, some...a lot less than fabulous.

It's also very interesting to note how my writing "voice" has changed over time. In some ways, distinctly, in others not so much. I still get crazy for gelato, Italy and photography.

I'm also sad to say that I've forgotten a lot of what we saw. I'll have to break out my guides to remember.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Mommy Doesn't Love You at 2:40 A.M.

And other things you didn't want to know.

Mommy does have a favorite. Right now, mommy's favorite is whichever child sleeps through the night.

Mommy doesn't love babies that scream at her in the middle of the night for no good reason. Or school age screamers, either. If you're screaming, you'd better have a good reason for it.

Mommy doesn't love migraines, either. If you're screaming and mommy has a migraine, mommy starts thinking uncharitable thoughts about you. She also wonders how much you might be worth on the open market. Perhaps she could get a pony in exchange for you? A well trained pony that sleeps through the night.

Mommy's ability to be a good mommy is severely hampered due to lack of sleep. So if you want Good Mommy to show up and cuddle you, you need to be Good Sleeping Baby. This "growth spurt" thing is for the birds. Why does it take both of you a week of no sleeping in order to grow more? Shouldn't you be growing throughout the day?

Mommy doesn't like plugged milk ducts, either. Get on that, would you?

Mommy is really sorry you're still sick. It sucks, I know. It especially sucks knowing there's nothing I can do for you, other than wait it out. The $75 co-pay to be told just that sucks even worse, somehow.

Mommy sure is glad all three of you are as cute as buttons most of the time.

Now please go to sleep. Mommy loves you most when you're sleeping.

Monday, March 17, 2008

And Then There Was Cake

Postponing my party to Sunday was a Very Good Idea.

On Saturday, the lovely cleaning lady showed up and cleaned. This left me with a clean house and less stress which enabled me to hang out with Caitlin, sans siblings, even though I probably should have been potting up plants. However, the cleanliness of my house was so soothing to my nerves that I thought I'd take the baby-free time to re-connect with my eldest daughter.

Good choice, I think.

Then, Sunday struck. The craziness that is pre-party time at our house turned clean into not-quite-so clean.

I decided to make my own cake rather than have Eric run out and purchase one at the local bakery. "Why not," I thought. "If anyone deserves one of my cakes, surely it's me!" Since I wanted to "keep it simple", I wasn't going to make an elaborate multi-layered, buttercream beast. I knew the twins weren't going to give me that much free time. As it was, my "simple" high altitude chocolate fudge cake making got interrupted by twinnage no less than 3 times, turning a "simple" cake making process into the extended-dance-remix version of itself.

Le sigh.

Eventually, they both passed out and the cake was safely in the oven. Eventually I even got to shower and clean up all of my cake making tools. Eventually the party started.

I don't take a lot of pictures at my own parties. That should be someone else's job. When it's not my birthday, I'll document events. When it is my birthday, I shouldn't have to shoot it myself. I do, however, need to shove my camera into the nearest set of hands (Thanks Sierra!) if I want any pictures taken at all, I've discovered. Thus is the life of the photographer.

Unfortunately, most are of my "bad" side.

Note: Photographers are notoriously picky about photographs of themselves.

By the time I remembered the camera, the first wave of party-goers had already left, off to another party. Left behind with the cake was:
Doing that vicarious baby thing.

Heather with Logan.

Faith shows us her hair-tie.

Heather's daughters.

And then we make off with the cake. I'll split it with you 60/40.

Patrick, his fiancee Beth, Scott and Sierra, Eric and the other kids. Here, Patrick takes over icing the cake while Scott explains some dastardly plan. If there is a Scott, there is a dastardly plan hatching. Guaranteed. Eric monitors the icing in the background.

Not even during my own party do I get to escape the Baby Remora!

I'm temporarily off icing duty since someone needed some milk.

Men bearing cake.

When all was ready, it was singing time.

Please let me sleep! Please let me sleep!

Wishes were made.

Birthday girl with birthday necklace.

Yes, that is me at 39. Fabulous receding hairline from all the excessive hair shedding, no? Yes, I fully admit to retouching my own face minimally so that you wouldn't see the baggage I tote around under my eyes where I keep all the excess sleep dust. I'm not using the sleep dust, so it has to go somewhere. Apparently, it goes into the luggage under my eyes, so technically this is what I'd look like if I actually slept. Yay for Photoshop!

Mmmm! Cake!

But let's talk about the cake, because that's what you're really here for, isn't it?

It's the Chocolate Fudge Cake from Joy of Cooking, slightly altered for this elevation on top of the existing high altitude changes. Iced with chocolate whipped cream instead of a traditional frosting and covered in strawberries and blueberries (I said "Some fruit", they went to town. I think it turned out beautifully. Thanks for overachieving, gang!). Nummy!

I take great pride in my cakes and we try out a different one for each birthday. We haven't settled on a "traditional" birthday cake yet, unlike Val's family and their Red Velvet Cake. Maybe one day. Even kids that don't normally like cake eat my cake. Of course, the downside was that Heather was up for hours with a very wired-on-chocolate little girl. Sorry Heather! Hopefully it was worth it anyway.

Mmmm. Cake!

Time until next birthday cake: 3.5 months.
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