Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Working on the railroad

Harry and Suzy sing all the time. The sing when they are in the car, running around the yard, at bedtime, while they are in the bath (individually these days - the joint baths are over after the 'no Suzy, my tail is in front' conversation), while they are in the bathroom doing other things. Suzy names songs with colors: Inch by Inch is the green song, All through the night is the beautiful pink song, Goodnight sweetheart is the blue song and so on. Some of Harry's favorites are 'I've been working on the railroad'. He sings it a little off tune and never gets the words right, so when we were headed to Chicago for some fun a couple weeks back, I couldn't resist this shot.

See, he's not really a morning guy. He's a complete and total grouch and moves about as fast as lead. But, he's easy. You just say, if you hide a smile it only gets bigger. And he can't stand it.

Now, our girl is another story. She pops up, happy to be awake and demands chocolate milk and cartoons because, hooray! it's another day! You might even be able to put on a penguin suit after your train ride while you're at the Shedd Aquarium. Have you ever seen a cuter penguin?
Not to worry though, after you are cruelly stripped of your penguin costume, there's a boat ride over to Navy Pier and more fun on the (oddly expensive) rides with your cousin Liam.
And just when you think it couldn't get any better, your Aunt Sarah takes you and your cousin Eddie (I really sort of love that my kids have a cousin Eddie and almost hope that he gets an RV) for a ride on the carousel.

It's no wonder you've always got a song.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


One of Suzy's favorite songs is 'Happy Birthday'. She usually wants someone to sing it to her before bed, or 'the beautiful pink song' a.k.a. 'All Through the Night'. The 4th of July is a sort of birthday and I usually have to work really hard to resist the urge to have a giant party with loads of kids and too much Jell-o. The one year I didn't successfully resist the urge wound up with 100 people and a tent. Pete's still not talking to me. The last few years, we've scaled things back a bit (and stayed out of divorce court) and just had a few friends over for the fireworks.

Call it American ingenuity, but s'mores must be made, even if you can't reasonably start a campfire in your yard. So, we improvise. And it works. And kids garbage up on the chocolate bars because it takes so long to cook a marshmallow over open flames.
But I'm glad for the slow cook time. Because while he waits for the marshmallow to turn the perfect golden brown, he slides his hand into his pocket and looks at you. It's a new look, but you can see yourself in it - and he asks, 'Mom, do I have to eat this?'

But you forgive him after you scrape the pictures off the camera and find this one. Just for a second you feel a little bit bad that your hazel eyes won the genetic race over your husband's lovely blue eyes.

Only for a second, though.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Daddy, I want a pony

I never had pony fever. Don't get me wrong, I liked plenty of girl things; stickers and Hello Kitty and Barbies and Strawberry Shortcakes and the like. But horses? Ponies? They just seemed like it would be a bit of a mess and you might get stepped on. Lucky of us, Aunt Kathy has the pony fever. So we took a ride to celebrate an anniversary and got a pony ride to boot.

Riding a pony is serious stuff. My favorite part of the picture is her little fingers on the grabber thingie (look, I said I didn't have pony fever, did you really expect that I would know the proper names for parts of the saddle?) perfectly laced together. She looks so sweetly happy up there. Like she would never yell at a poor, helpless teenager who stepped on her pile of dirt and then demand he help her fix it while pointing with her insistent little index finger. Or, never, ever, would she climb up on your lap and steal your cookie; not that you would mind if she did because you're the Dad who buys her a second pony ride every time we go to the zoo.

No, not our girl. She'd never be so sassy. She just looks at you and says, 'Mama, you bein' a punk.'

Monday, July 11, 2011

The first season

We've made it through our first year of Little League. This is no small accomplishment - we spent May freezing our hinders off wondering if summer would ever come. Then June, we were still cold and wondering why on earth we would have signed up for such fun and then we were sweating out the innings and then *poof* it was over. And our Mariner was walking around in his hat and shirt with shorts and talking about tennis lessons.

He hit, he ran, he scored, he RBI'd, he hit the cut off man, he won, he lost (a lot), he wore his sunglasses and then took them off and couldn't figure out how to hold them and his glove and thrown the ball (2 runs scored, too late, too late) and he had a great time. Is there anything better than baseball?

You can bring your baby sister (I know, she's not really a baby anymore, but she'll be his baby sister forever) and she'll do her super hero pose and cheer you on while happily filling the role of 'dirtiest baby at Little League Park'.
But the best part is sitting with your team and having an Orange Fanta and a hot dog after the game. Because your mom never buys Fanta and you're a boy. A magical, American boy chasing down ground balls and looking impossibly grown up. Sniff.