Vacation Recap, Part Two: Thursday Day

Sorry sorry sorry. I had these pictures uploaded yesterday (Sunday) but apparently I broke the Internet or something because I couldn't get to either Flickr or my blog to do anything. My network administrator (aka G) is looking into this problem now. Your patience is appreciated.

On the plus side: now I know what my "Wordless Wednesday" post is going to be, and it is related to the pictures that will be going up tomorrow. Continuity win!

The story so far: we went to the shore for the weekend, but had to come home early. I took a million pictures in 36 hours. And now the saga continues ...

Sand Dude

Thursday, at least, was a beautiful day, and we got in quite a few shenanigans. Like this one, even though I'm not entirely sure what it is. But doesn't it look very shenaniganny?

Shae Finds Sea Shells by the Sea Shore

We went looking for seashells. Didn't find very many, unfortunately, but on an interesting side note, I have been hungry for mussels from the Chinese buffet for days now.


Shae got buried in the sand. I'm still not sure how she felt about it -- as you can see even here, she is trying to undig the pile with her hands, but she kept asking for more, so who knows? I have just about given up on trying to understand this whole two-years-old thing.

Aunt Kathy & Shae
Phil & Shae

Mostly Shae got to hang with her peeps, which is fine by her. And me.


Vacation Recap, Part One: Wednesday Night

So, we cut our vacation short by a whole day and I still managed to take over 500 pictures because I am a lunatic. I'll be dividing the best of the shots we got into four sections: Wednesday night, Thursday day, Thursday evening, and Thursday night.

Walking with the Big Girls

When we got there on Wednesday night, the very first thing we did was take a walk down to the beach. Well, wait: the first thing we did was unload everything we own from the trunk of the car, and then we had a popsicle, and then we took a walk down to the beach. Because why not? It was already more than an hour past Shae's bedtime by the time we got there. Why not keep her up for another two hours or so? What could possibly go wrong? (The correct answer is: mostly nothing, although she did sleep very fitfully.)

Shae & Kimmie

Shae loved hanging out with the "big kids" while we away, and she especially likes my cousin's wife Kim -- we were staying at "Kimmie's beach house," apparently. Kim is cool. I love how it's, like, the middle of the night when we took these pictures, and she's still all put together, with her hair done and her earrings in. A true Southern belle, she is, and I am jealous.

Name in the Sand

My cousin Chris's friend Jen (she's the one on the right in that first picture) wrote Shae's name in the sand. It was low tide, I think, and when a wave finally dribbled in and washed this away, Shae was pretty upset ...

I'm Crabby!

... until we saw old Mr. Pinchy here. Yes, we were face-to-feet with a real live crab. And I gotta tell you: I like these guys much better when I don't have to look them in their creepy stalk eyes.


Tryin' to Reason with Hurricane Season

Well, we're back from the shore a day early. I'm willing to put up with quite a lot while I'm on vacation -- mosquitoes, burnt hot dogs, uncomfortable beds, my cousin Jason's shoes -- but I can't stand the rain. And Hurricane Danny (or is it a tropical storm now? I can't tell any more) is hitting Long Beach Island right now, as it has been all day.

Structural Engineers

So we were only "on vacation" for about 40 hours, which ... well, tolerated more to have a worse time, honestly. Any time spent with family, however short the moments, are always worth it. Especially when they involve sun, sand, surf, and chicken marinated in salt water. (Yeah, I'll explain later.)

Tickle Toes

The good news is, the one full day we spent at Brant Beach was a glorious, phenomenal day, and I have plenty of pictures to show for it (plus some video). Shae loved having other little kids to play with, she relished all the attention my family lavished on her, and of course, she loved being at the beach.

Wave Dancing

Now we will spend the rest of G's birthday watching Dora and Kai Lan and washing dishes and scrubbing the algae off the front porch and keeping an eye on the water-in-the-basement situation. But we will be doing it with color on our faces, which is the important part.


Three Little Birds

Another video. When it rains, it pours, what can I say? (Watch her attention span disappear about halfway in.)

This is what Noggin is best for: teaching my daughter the words to some of my favorite songs, so I don't have to. The dancing is all her, though.


I Have Confidence

"With each step I am more certain / Everything will turn out fine / I have confidence the world can all be mine / They'll have to agree I have confidence in me" -- Richard Rodgers


I knew last summer that we had a swimmer -- that much was evident. But until this year, when we loosened up a little big and gave her water wings, we had NO IDEA it was going to be quite as awesome a thing as it was, watching our daughter take to the water like a duck.

I Have Confidence

Yesterday we had the absolute bare minimum when we went to my parents' (literally a bathing suit and a swimmy diaper, and that was it -- no hat, no sunscreen), but fortunately my parents had a "bubble" in the car for Shae. I don't remember that I ever used a bubble, but I remember my sisters and younger cousins using them. And when I watch Shae doing everything "by herself" in the pool, I am reminded of no one so much as my cousin Jason.

She doesn't know that she can't swim yet, and furthermore, she doesn't care. It's an amazing thing to watch, and something I will continue to look forward to watching in the future. My family is made up almost entirely of swimmers, and it's fascinating to see how it's in the water and not necessarily in the genes.

New Hat

Oh, and she took care of her hat problem, too. Self-reliance FTW!


All Together Now

Reason #17,290,536 why I love The Beatles -- their cross-generational appeal is undeniable:

And really, who doesn't love The Beatles?


A Kind of Hush

Oh, man, this day. We had a cruddy night last night -- it's been raining again, because the forty days and forty nights of rain we had at the beginning of the summer are meaningless without a matching weather pattern at the end, or something -- and so we're all cranky today. Plus, I am just sick to death of that stupid godawful "Go Bananas" video by the Fresh Beat Band that keeps getting played at the end of every one of Shae's Noggin programs, so we declared a moratorium on shows for the morning.

Of course, in an ironic twist of fate, or wink from God, or whatever, Shae picks today of all days to play with her Little People Noah's Ark playset. The preternaturally smart little booger.

Right now G and the Boo are taking a nap, which I was doing earlier too. All the action in the house is coming from Owen, who has been hitting the 'nip pretty hard, as captured in these terrible iPhone pictures.

"Crazy lady, this catnip is NOT YOURS."

I guess he found this toy under the couch or under the hutch or something. Haven't seen it in a while. I don't know where cat toys go when they go missing. Maybe with the random disappearing grapes, and that one sock from the laundry?

"I said NO. Scram."

He bogarts the good shit.

"For God's sake, woman, leave me BE."

And then he sleeps on the couch all afternoon.


Cupcake Calendar: August


These are some of my very favorite pictures from last summer -- how they all ended up on the August calendar page, I don't remember. Here, she is (clockwise from top right): crawling around under my mother-in-law's coffee table, wearing my very favorite of her onesies, ever (God, I miss onesies!); rolling around in the grass in a Project (RED) onesie that my mom found at a yard sale, and which I have since passed along to Joey, because yes it's a charity program but shit still ain't free; chillaxing in my grandparents' recliner, chillaxing; and OMG CUPCAKE NOM NOM NOM! at my sister's baby shower last summer.

To make up for this abomination ("WTF? no Cupcake Calendar until the month is more than 2/3 expired? STOOPIT WHOOR!"), allow me to offer as a consolation prize this bold imagining of Shae's future life as Action Heroine And Savior Of The Free World:

via Photofunia

You're welcome. Have a nice weekend.



In this edition of the Journal of rockle's Totally Inappropriate Parenting™, we explore the lyrics of that awesome Def Leppard classic "Photograph," especially the lyric: "Look what you've done to this rock and roll clown."

Tattoo You

You've convinced me to spend part of my Wednesday night eating ice cream and drawing "tattoos" on our arms with washable markers. Oh, yes, Mommy got one too.

Picture in Picture

You grabbed the good camera out of the bag and starting running around the living room yelling "CHEESE!" at everyone, so I had to give you the "little" camera to use.

Serious Photographer is Serious

It took a while, but you finally figured out how to work it. Well, how to hold it, anyway -- when the red-eye-reduction light turned on, you had to turn it back around to investigate.

Future Facespace Profile Pic

You even managed to take a picture of yourself that is totally suitable for MySpace and stuff, not that you'll ever know what MySpace is, because Mommy is sending you to live in a convent where there are no nuns under the age of 60 and they don't have any computers or Internet. (Don't worry, I'll send Dora DVD's.)


Dudley Do-Right

Three times. Three. That's how many times I started this blog post today. I get about a paragraph in and then I change my mind, or reconsider my words, and then I end up all side-tracked and emo and boring and pleh. Nobody really wants to read about my latest existential crisis, least of all me. Trust me, I know.


So here's the thing: I was going to write about how lately I've been wondering if I'm a good parent. Like, our inconsistent rules regarding Shae and when and what and how much television -- are they going to ruin her chances of getting into a good college someday? Do we make a bigger deal than we should about making her eat "people food" for supper instead of peanut butter sandwiches and yogurt? Should we start making her do chores? How bad is it really that I let her watch me playing World of Warcraft? When is the right time to give her an account of her own?


Even though I'm totally crazypants and borderline delusional and more than a little bit self-indulgent, still and all, I worry about whether I am doing a good job, motheringwise. Don't think that I don't know and appreciate that we were given an absolute once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with this kid, in the truest sense of the phrase. I love her more than life, more than anything, more than the moon, and I want to do right by her.


And then I look through the eleventy jillion pictures on my hard drive, and I see how many of them show her smiling and happy and all-around awesome, and I realize something: maybe God really does trust and believe in me, after all.


The Candyland Can

Oh my God, did I just reduce myself to using a Sammy Davis, Jr. song title for this blog post? My sweet Lord, I need a vacation. Or a tequila. Or possibly both. Where is my manservant? I need someone to book me a flight immediately. And also pay for it, 'cuz mama's broke.


My Anonymous Mother is like some kind of yard sale Batman: where does she get those wonderful toys? This is a giant Candyland game, which would be absolutely perfect for toddlers if they understood the concepts of "turns" and "rules" and "no cheating" and "not every square on the board is yellow."

Neighbor's Moonbounce

My sister was talking about getting some "quality Shae time," which of course I think is completely redundant while I write blog posts on my lunch break -- all time with Shae is quality time! -- and then I go home and I have to interrupt a Very Special Episode of "Shaun the Sheep" so we can eat dinner and all hell breaks loose and I want to remind my sister, again, to WAIT TO HAVE KIDS UNTIL YOU A THREE-YEAR STOCKPILE OF VALIUM IN THE BASEMENT. Minimum.

What Is This Face?

I don't even know what the hell this face is supposed to be. No doubt it will be going on the "Blooper Reel" special feature portion of the DVD of her life. Or whatever. (My teeth still hurt too much to mix metaphors properly -- endodontist on Wednesday.)


Everyday People

Pretty quiet weekend with nothing major to report. We hung out at the pool for most of yesterday (the part that wasn't spent at the dentist's office, where they found nothing major, despite the fact that [a] it's been entirely too long since I've been to the dentist, and [b] I have periodic excruciating pain in one of my teeth, to the point where I have taken so much Tylenol and Advil that I am afraid my liver is going to fall out), and we're not planning to do much today because it's supposed to be too hot to live.


Apropos of nothing: every day I love this new camera more.


By The Beautiful Sea

Haven't offloaded the pictures from today yet, so here are a couple more pictures from our day trip to the beach earlier in the week -- hopefully these will tide you over. (Get it? "Tide" you over? Snerk.)

World's Smallest Seashell

Here we are, showing off the world's smallest seashell. Shae found this one all by herself, assuming that you allow "stepped on" as an acceptable definition of "find." We wanted to bring some shells home for the various assorted grandparents, but we sort of forgot. Guess it's a good thing we're going to shore later this month, huh?

Singing in the Sand Pit

I don't remember if Shae dug this sand pit by herself, or if G helped, or if it was left over from another family's misadventures, or what, but anyway: there it was. And Shae loved it. If we had let her, she would have sat in that sand pit all day long, moving sand from one side of the pile to the other with her shovel, singing her ABC's to herself.

And I wonder: when we finally let her watch the Star Wars movies, and we get to Return of the Jedi and the bit with Jabba the Hutt and the space yacht and the fight over the sarlacc pit, will she still like the sand that much?

Juice Box

Oh, man. It was such a sweltering day, and it was so awesome to sit still for a minute and gulp down a cold drink. Shae is little (relatively speaking) so she could fit under umbrella and sip her juice. My personal favorite part of the day was sitting in the hot sun eating ice cold grapes. My lips to God's ears: those were THE BEST grapes I have ever eaten in my life.

Incidentally: she is enjoying a Capri Sun 100% juice pouch here, because they're easy to keep cold, and it is virtually impossible to find a "flavored water beverage" that does not contain acesulfame or some other kind of artificial sweetener. And I don't get it -- isn't it cheaper and easier to just mix juice and spring water? Why do they add extra crap? She drinks watered-down fruit juice at home.

Homemade Sari Thing

If you look carefully (not recommended) you will see a half-chewed grape in Shae's mouth here. We'll ignore that part, OK? And just focus on the smile in her whole face. We loved being at the beach, and Shae is already asking to go back. Probably we should have gone earlier this summer, but with everything else going on, it was too much. This day was definitely a great cap to a fantastic (if terribly, terribly busy) weekend.


From This Moment On

So ... I was stuck in the city for two days. We're rolling out a new computer system later in the month, and some of us had to have training. I also had several nervous breakdowns, because I hate driving in the city -- doubly so when I get lost. The less said about that whole debacle, the better.

Anyway ... while I was busy not being able to get one damn productive thing done, some people *cough*Jaime*cough* were heckling me about not putting more wedding pictures up. Can you believe that? I was trying to make it out of the city alive, and she's harassing me.


But I digress.

Jaime & Shae

I left G in charge of the camera for most of the day, so a lot of these pictures have Shae in them, and we already know how cute she is. But my sister is pretty cute, too, especially in this picture.

Shelley & Daddy

My dad and the bride during the father-daughter dance. I don't remember even seeing the father-daughter dance. What song did they dance to? Does anyone know?

Tim & Brendan

This is my cousin Tina, looking hot in a red dress. (Other people might know her as Justine, but other people are WRONG.) There were lots of kids at the wedding, which is always nice to see. Here Tina is dancing with her adorable son Brendan, in an orange tie. Well, it's more of a pumpkin.*

Red Light Special

NO FRICKIN' IDEA, but I like it. I think the people in this picture are (L-R) The Bride, my cousin Holly, her niece Bianca (my cousin Steph's daughter), Brittany, Shae (that one's a definite), my cousin Autumn, and me. The bridesmaid on the far right could also maybe be my sister, but I am pretty sure that is me, rocking my Phillies Crocs.

Jess's "WTF!?" Face

Actually the lower right-hand corner of a picture of something else -- the bouquet catch, I think -- but I totally love my cousin's wife Jess's complete "WTF!?" face here. Do NOT mess with her, she will CHOKE A BITCH.

Shaezie & Pop

My contractually-obligated picture of Shaezie and her Pop-pop. This is one of the last pictures from the "roll," and I think this was taken near the end of our night. Shae danced for like four straight hours or something, and when we got back to our hotel room we had a hell of a time getting her to sleep. Nobody ever bothered to tell her she's supposed to be tired once in a while, I guess.

* = Bonus points to Tina if she remembers the reference.


Who-ly McWhat?

Dear Rooney Family and other Pittsburgh Steelers investors:

There is not really a delicate way to phrase this, so in my typically brazen Philadelphia style, let me just come right out and say it -- Steely McBeam is kind of a dork (even if he does look an awful lot like the great and powerful Coach Cowher) and I think you need a new mascot this year.

Your mascot for the 2009-10 season should be someone who is so steeped in the culture of football that they want to see touchdowns at baseball games.


Someone who is all about the fundamentals and who will keep on practicing, even if the only ball of any sort in the house is a Sesame Street kickball.

Three-Point Stance

Someone who is so polite and gracious that after they kick your tuchus on the field they will make you a cup of sweet delicious invisible tea.

Hines Ward's Tea Party

Come on, Steelers ownership team, don't you want to replace that dorfwad of a mascot with the cutest little girl in the world?

Cutest Mascot Ever

But if you can't be convinced, we'll at least settle for lifetime free tickets. Or, if you insist on driving a hard bargain, we'll take box seats just once. You know you want to.

Thanks in advance!
xoxo Your Very Favorite Fans,
rockle and Shae.

PS -- It wouldn't be too hard to convince us to change her name to Jeromina Bettisa, either.


Scenes from an Italian Restaurant

Here are just a bunch of pictures from wedding rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. First, though, a caveat: since I was in the wedding, I had stuff to do, so I left G in charge of the camera. That's enough said about that, I think.

Supermodel (You! Better! WORK!)

Little Miss Supermodel, looking for all the world like a recent graduate of Miss J's Runway Academy. This girl is FIERCE. And she does have excellent posture.

Never Were There Such Devoted Sisters

My sisters. Real smiles. It was a really great rehearsal dinner, at Gaetano's Italian Restaurant at the Southmoor Public Golf Course. The food was fantastic and the company even better.

Girls' Club - 2009 Edition

The Girls' Club, 2009 edition. I have no idea what we're saying here, but I'm willing to bet money that none of us are talking about the same thing. Unless it's ice cream.

World's Littlest and Most Adorable Vampire

With this blue light action going on, and all his wee teefers showing, my nephew looks for all the world like a tiny adorable little vampire, doesn't he? The kind you sort of want to bite you in the neck, or the finger, or whatever. Except, we're usually trying to nibble on him.