Sunday, January 31, 2010

Lollipop Junction

Yesterday we got a Poppy-Nana package in the mail that contained GIANT LOLLIPOPS!

"Thank you, Poppy and Nana!"

Everyone was so excited about them! Jonah had never had a lollipop in his life, so he was completely taken with it, and sat there and drooled it all down his front. I didn't know that a person that small could even produce that much drool.

Elijah thought the lollipop was awesome too, except there was one problem.

Everyone was sitting on the wrong couch.

Obviously, THIS is the proper couch to sit on.

Although, if you ask me, he doesn't look all that happy there either.

So apparently, this is what bliss looks like.

Oh, and Andrew was "playing the lollipop flute". In case anyone was wondering.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Year Of The Tiger Dragon Parade

Today the Kindergarten classes put on a Chinese New Year Dragon parade for the rest of the school at 8am. This meant that I had to wake up at 6am, which is superfun. Even more fun was the fact that Jonah awoke at the very same second that I did, although it was impossible that he could have heard my alarm (his room is on the other side of the house and the door was closed). He has superpowers. On the upside, we were able to easily make it out the door in time for school, because he woke everyone else as well. Thanks, Little Guy.

Lavella was the only one I had to actually wake up, which was difficult, because she looked like such a little angel in her bed.

It was raining and wildly windy as we walked from our car to the front doors of the school, but my favorite part of the little hike (the length of time it takes to cross a hundred yards or so with small children is OHMYGOSH IMPOSSIBLY DRAWN OUT) was where Andrew, Elijah and Lavella got to the first crosswalk before I did, and Elijah decided to start directing traffic. That was cool. It took me almost an eternity to catch up with them, right the traffic and cross my children. Good times.

Andrew's dragon mask:

Andrew was asked to hold the head of the Big Tiger Dragon for the first leg of the parade.

Jonah watched complacently for a moment, but then realized that actually, the parade was all about him.

So he got up and started glad-handing all his fans.

It's amazing -- we have four little people, and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM are characters.

And I love them like mad.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Three days without Greg (and an awards ceremony for Andrew)

Greg is away on a 3-day business trip right now, and the business of caring for the 4 children alone sort of makes my head spin. Any time that he has to go away for even just a few days, I get this sick feeling in my stomach that I won't be able to make it; that I'll somehow fail in the myriad of things that need to be done. I know, it sounds silly after the whole 15-month deployment thing, but still, these are the thoughts that come into my head.

To deal with the above foolishness (in my head), I'm making it a point this week to plan less of my own Stuff To Do, letting things fall to the wayside in deference of spending time with my children. Dinners plans involve things like fried-egg sandwiches, grilled cheese sandwiches large, thrown together "kitchen sink" style salads with toasted bread...we're basically eating lots of homemade bread along with other easy-to-fix additions to make dinner prep less time consuming for me.

So we're managing. Sometimes I feel like I can't breathe, but Greg'll be home tomorrow, and that will be very happy indeed.

Once the children are in bed, however, my time is my own. I've been watching the 5th season of Weeds (which I ordered from last week for this express purpose. Yay escapism!), and working on a Girl Friday cardi from the latest Knitty:

Progress on my Black Friday cardi

Last week there was a Kindergarten awards ceremony at the boy's school, and Andrew was awarded for Perfect Attendance, and Citizen of the Month for the month of December.

Walking in like little prisoners of war, with a "bubble" in their mouths, hands behind their backs (this is how they are instructed to walk in the hallways, and it cracks me up every time I see it)

The teachers getting ready to hand out the awards (Andrew's teacher is the blond, 2nd from the left):

He was very proud of himself.

Well, dinner -- and children -- are calling. It will be good to see Greg again tomorrow. Very good.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Wrapping it all up...

Well, thank you Joy, as always, for your humorous perspective in yesterday's post. I knew I could count on you. :)

Thank you so much Hannah, Grace, Joy and Isaiah for taking the time to come and visit us. We love you all so much, and had a wonderful time!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Spanish Themed Dinner Party

Guest blogger Joy steps in once again for today's post:

So the night started off as any other: the four of us sisters worked together to create a delicious and innovative dish once again. With inspiration from Greg, we chose Spain as the theme for our dinner.

We made Zarzuela to serve over pasta, complete with clams, mussels and shrimp. Faith claims she got a mussel that tasted like a "dirty diaper." Apparently I enjoy child feces, because I thought it was delicious.
(Zarzuela - Spanish seafood stew, recipe from Cook's Illustrated: The Best International Recipe, also available online if you subscribe to Cool's Illustrated online site.)

After dinner we ate this really expensive ham stuff (sorry Faith; I suck at references), which was so tasty, I think I cried at one point. We also ingested other miscellaneous cheese/olive/fig items that were equally awesome.

At this point in the evening, we had eaten quite a lot but definitely drank more. The wine was red and delicious, just like the apple. Except fermented. And alcoholic. And waaayyy more expensive.

Greg introduced us to the "Poron" which is that weirdly shaped vase up there. I thought it was a pipe, but after he brought out wine instead of pot, I realized it was a Spanish drinking game. Hooray!

This is Hannah, attractively modeling the "Poron" method.

She's not bleeding from her hand. At least I'm pretty sure she's not bleeding from her hand.

I think I did a better job at modeling.

I've received many phone calls from Agencies, you know.

Especially certain Agencies.

But then they saw these photos.
And decided against giving me a call back.

Grace tried really, really hard.

But (as usual) it didn't work.

After completing the task, she remorsefully averted her gaze in contemplation of what she had done.

Faith then took her turn while Grace looked on appreciatively. She's very supportive, you know.

Greg was simply a master. He got the stream into his mouth without many mishaps or spills. He was probably the only one who avoided looking like he had just been through a major battle.

Yes, he's got some serious skills, that man.

The night ended well with me taking a very random picture of myself. That stump on the right is believe-it-or-not my arm. And I'm not actually cross-eyed.

The night was a great success, YET AGAIN. The food was fantastic (and homemade) and the wine (and champagne, and liquor, and vodka, and tequila... etc. etc.) was top-notch. In all seriousness, I was very touched by Faith and Greg's hospitality and love for us. They opened up their home and let us make a complete mess for a whole week without kicking us out. This was a great personal victory for Hannah especially. I just want to thank them publicly (you can't get any more public than the internet) for all that they did. I love you both! (and your children, I suppose)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Misc. pictures from our visit with my sisters...

One of the most precious aspects of the visit with my sisters was the opportunity to watch my children get to know their cousin, Isaiah.

He discovered the bathtub (my parents don't have one at their house, where he and Hannah live), and was so thrilled by it that we gave these three a "swimming pool" bath nearly every day that they were here:

Babies in the tub

Yes, in that last picture, Isaiah is whacking Jonah in the head. That happened several times, and each time Jonah was amazed and offended. Yet he still sat with his back to Isaiah, which was sort of too much to resist. Good times.

Here are the two little fellows watching a video together.

Jonah's got a black eye, and I could come up with a story about how he was on the loosing end of a fight with Isaiah, but he actually fell all by himself and hit one tiny thing. Talent.

A Mexican inspired soup that we made one night:

It's Green Pozole, made with Tomatillos. I am so obsessed with Tomatillos right now -- I'd use them in everything, but I don't want them to wear out their welcome on Greg, so I'm attempting to exercise restraint. They're kind of tomatoey but firmer, with a slightly citrus flavor, and they just taste really....fresh. I don't know how to describe it. Just go out and buy some. You'll be happy. (Or actually, maybe you should wait until they're in season in your area -- living this close to Mexico, we can get some things sooner than our East coast readers may.)

Elijah "reading" a favorite book to Isaiah (besides the 1st and last pages, Carl books have only pictures, not words):

The book is currently in our "most read" list in this house.

Joy tried on the pajama pants I had sewn for Elijah.

Fits her quite well, don't you think?

Yet another dinner: Vietnamese Bahn Mi (pork meatball sandwich)

As you can see here, I actually ate mine as a salad with the baguette on the side. This is how Grace ate hers:

(Words spelled out with Siracha chili sauce)

Hannah and Isaiah brought a birthday gift to Jonah:

It was an adorable "old man" sort of sweater-vest/corduroy pants outfit, which I didn't get a picture of.

My parents also sent belated Christmas gifts, which arrived in the mail a few days after the girls got here:

A bunch of books...

And Twizzlers!


Joy couldn't help herself, and jumped into the middle of it.

Elijah thought it was the funniest thing he'd ever seen.

There was also a doll for Lavella.

Here, Joy is reading one of the books to the children.

"Thank you, Grandpa and Grandma!!"