Magic's In The Makeup

Sometimes I think I let Shae spend too much time with My Anonymous Mother, because I see her do things like this ...

Lip Crayon

... pretending her crayon is lipstick, and I know she didn't learn this crap from me. I know I have lipstick somewhere in the house, but I'll be damned if I could tell you where it is. Maybe the desk drawer?

Nana Lipstick

(I was spying on them through the sliding glass door while I was outside taking pictures for my Project 365 -- that's why there are weird shadows and strangle angles. Sorry about that.)

Shae Lipstick

Still, though, even if she is getting her "how to be a girly-girl" lessons from her grandmother and not her mother, it's nice to know that no matter what, she's still my kid, you know?

Lipstick Aim



Gotta Get Up From Here

Subtitled: "The Big 2010 Casa Gonzales Winter Vacation Reveal Announcement That Exactly NO ONE Was Waiting To Hear About"

It's kind of a running gag around here that my kid is part mermaid, or at the very least part goldfish, but the truth is, she is not the only one. G and I like the water, too, or at least the beach. Almost all of our vacations involve the sea in some form or another, even if it's only tangentially -- Los Cabos, San Diego (where I had breakfast with Shamu on my 29th birthday), Tulum, Boston (where we went on a whale watch), Puerto Plata. Our trip to Vegas in 2005 is the lone random outlier. One of our best getaways ever was our trip to Acapulco in October 2001, when we cashed in our tax rebate for travelers cheques and went to see the cliff divers.

Acapulco 2001

This is the time of year when we normally start getting ready for our annual winter vacation -- maybe we aren't loading the car up and heading for the airport, exactly, but we're doing our research and making our reservations. Well, usually I'm doing the legwork and heavy lifting (G hates planning and packing and parking at the airport, but he loves actually being on vacation) but at this point we generally have only a few loose ends to tie up, and then it's all over but the waiting. Last year we pulled a vacation to the Florida Keys together in 24 hours, and hightailed it out of town a month later.

Florida Keys 2009

Of course this year things are different. G is still out of work and we don't know how long it will be until that changes. We need to be really careful and deliberate with our luxuries. While I did get a lot of overtime earlier this month while we were doing the year-end close at work, we just can't swing the expense of a big vacation right now. We looked longingly at a lot of places -- the Bahamas, a cruise, Puerto Rico, even the Keys again -- but we just can't do it. Not in the style to which we are accustomed, anyway. Maybe we could camp out in the beach under the stars somewhere, but I think the authorities frown upon that sort of behavior.

Pottstown 2009

But that doesn't mean we're not doing something. We deserve a break, and if it killed me (SPOILER ALERT! It almost did!), I was going to figure this damn mess out. It took a lot of time and effort and negotiating and hours that could have otherwise been productively spent playing World of Warcraft, plus a small little bit of magic in the form of a most fortuitous email from my sister, but we have found a place that will give us everything we want. Temperatures in the 80°F's. Tidal pools. Waterslides. Sharks. Room service. Umbrella drinks. Junk food. Photo ops. Down time. Away time.

Palmer 2009

And we're doing it all in two weeks, in New Jersey, at the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, and then at Coco Key Water Resort in Mount Laurel. Personally, I think it's just what the doctor ordered -- my therapist, Dr. Beach.


Wayback Wednesday: April 2006

This is normally where my "Wordless Wednesday" post would be, but I was doing some research for something I wanted to post tomorrow -- yes, I plan this shit ahead sometimes, and it's still completely half-assed -- and I came across some pictures that I don't remember taking, and I honestly can't believe I took, because ... well, they're pretty darned good. (Especially because they were taken with the old crap-cam.)

I was going to do a "contest" thing here where I was going to give a prize to the person who could identify this super-ultra-top-secret-location, but I changed my mind, in part because I can't quite figure it out myself, but also because I decided that I want to tell a story instead. It's probably not going to be a good story, but it was definitely not going to be a good prize. Hey, you pay your money, you take your chances.

Reservoir 1

This is a love story, a tale of a drive that made me fall hopelessly, desperately in love with northern California.

Reservoir 2

Prior to this trip, I had been to California only once before -- we went to San Diego for my 29th birthday because: hey, why the hell not? San Diego was lovely and that was a great trip, but it was not somewhere I could imagine living. Everything is rocky and succulent, manicured and irrigated, perfect weather, exceptional surfing. The people were all friendly, and I could buy wine in the grocery store, but it never really felt like home.

Driving through this reservoir, though? Seeing the vibrant greens and the deep blue sky and feeling like I was in some kind of technicolor daydream? Holy shit ... this was my kind of place. (And I hadn't even spent any time with G's relatives yet, who were at least twice as fantastic as the scenery.)

Reservoir 3

Douglas Adams wrote once about a place where he said that "[o]ne's first impulse, standing on a cliff top surveying it all, is simply to burst into spontaneous applause" (emphasis mine). This is how I felt when we drove through the reservoir. I made G stop the car so I could take pictures. Who does that? What total wackaloon makes their husband pull over so she can sniff the air and taste the wind and basically roll around in the grass like a dog? Me, apparently.

 And I'd totally do it again. I want to do it again, as soon as possible.

Reservoir 4

As far as we can tell (and G and I both looked at multiple Google maps, online photo galleries, and Wikipedia entries while we were investigating), these are pictures of the San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area in Merced County, California. What we know for sure is this: wherever this is, we drove through a vast expanse of land just like this on our way from the San Jose airport to Merced for G's grandmother's funeral.

And even though we were out there for a funeral, it was one of the best trips we've ever had. (And no, you don't get a prize for reading all the way through to the end.)


Consider Yourself

This is Lexi.


She's one of my sister's new friends-and-relations from Brooklyn. Lexi is the either the cousin or the niece of my other brother-in-law Joe. (Speaking of which -- what are the odds? Seriously? I have two sisters, so what is the statistical likelihood that both of them would marry guys named Joe?)

(Then again, I did have an uncle who was married to two of my father's sisters, so I suppose having two brothers-in-law named Joe is not the weirdest thing going on in my single-forked family tree.)

Future Troublemakers of America

Lexi was visiting over the weekend. She and Shae got along famously. I think it's because of that Nintendo DS thing, or whatever the heck it is, but they hung out all afternoon, sitting there with their heads full of eyeballs, plotting and scheming. I don't know what they were plotting and scheming, exactly, but you can be sure that it was something Not Good.


No, not really. They were fine, and I think they both really liked having someone their own age to hang around with (Lexi's 4). I know Shae did, at any rate. Shae does fine around "the old folks," she really does, but I know I always feel more comfortable when I can commiserate with peers.


Brooklyn is kind of a hike from my grandparents' place, but who knows? Maybe as the weather gets nicer, we'll see more of Lexi, and in the summertime Shae will have a swimming buddy. (We're in no rush to get Shae a DS of her own, though -- I still have nightmares about my suicidal Super Mario men and I am not yet prepared to deal with it.)


Shake Your Groove Thing

We're finally done with our year-end close at work, so I had the whole weekend off, and believe me when I say that it was a thing of beauty. I got to sleep until at least 7:00 (luxury!), I made Belgian waffles and scrambled eggs for breakfast (decadence!), and I even got to sneak in a nap or two (bliss!). Sweet cracker sandwich, there is nothing in the world quite as fantastic as a really good afternoon nap.

On Saturday we took a crock-pot of chili to my grandparents' and hung out for the afternoon. It was sunny and only cool, not cold, so Shae could run around outside a little bit. She was great all day, but the really best part was after dinner, when she turned on the radio and starting dancing around, turning the dining room into her own little discothéque.

Dance Like No One Is Watching

Here's the good news: she has more rhythm than I do. No "white man's overbite" for her. Unfortunately, because she is still a little kid, she doesn't quite have coordination, so some of her dance moves look a little Elaine-Benes-esque out of context.

Bust A Move

Still, it was great fun to watch her and my mom together, trying to sing along to the music. Shae likes a lot of "my" music, Cheap Trick and Journey and Cake and Earth Wind & Fire, plus assorted random hits from the disco era and the '80s, which is good, because I've heard some of the stuff that the kids are listening to these days, and I don't like it.

Spin Your Partner

Also, my parents went and got themselves a video camera. So the future ought to be interesting. This clip was taken with our crapcam, and I don't know why it's so dark, but you can still see all the adorableness of the baby 'fro. Plus! My mom dancing like a dork, which is wonderful.

Happy Monday!


Dial "N" for Nana

This headline has nothing to do with this post, except that it gives me an excuse to use the below picture, which I love for reasons that even I don't understand. It's just cool and vaguely creepy.


It has absolutely bugger-all to do with the rest of the pictures you're going to see. Sorry about that. It was taken on the same day, though. So I suppose that's something.

Minions 1

Despite my best efforts to raise my child as a brain-damaged future lesbian -- oh, wait, I'm not, I just want her bits covered so doesn't end up in a Girls Gone Wild video. Anyway. I'm not really a girly-girl and I am trying blahblahblah I keep telling this same story, but the point is, I see no problem with nail polish.

Minions 2

Whatever. She usually scrapes it off with her teeth within a week anyway. But her nails don't get polished at home very often because it's a lot of work getting a little kid to sit still and not touch anything while you're waiting for polish to dry, and I know how much My Anonymous Mother likes to do it. And Shae loves the attention that a good manicure demands.

Pigtail Puffs

Plus, how can I tell her no when I know it makes her so happy?


Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch ...

Here are some pictures of things that happened while I wasn't busy fiddling with my farm. (And yes, I know it's completely ridiculous to play a game about a farm on Facebook, but in my defense, it's also completely ridiculous to play games about diners, fish, pirates, and the Mafia on Facebook, too, but none of that stops me. Also, it's fun! My little farmer chick is really cute, with her pigtails and her pink tractor.)

Llama Hat

You know, I tried to think of some way to explain this, but I kind of can't -- it's just, what do you expect when you're putting your pajamas on and then all of the sudden there is a llama on your head? You would be shocked too, right? I know I would be. Mostly because from what I've heard, llamas don't always smell all that fantastic. Although: diapers. That's all I'm sayin'.


We got this Tinkerbell flashlight for Christmas, and almost every time it gets used, we end up confiscating it, because apparently "Don't shine the light in the cats' eyes!" is code for "DO IT! DO IT NOW!" Which I should totally know, because I don't think I'm a moron, but then again nobody ever thinks they're stupid, and yet I am perpetually surrounded by clueless wonders.

(Oh, and not that you asked or anything, but when I was in high school and college I used to complain that I was a dork magnet, because the #LOFNOTC would, like, stalk me and stuff. I outgrew my distaste for geeks and ended up married to one, but the trade-off was to become a superpowered idiot attractor. "Be careful what you wish for" is the moral of that non-sequitur.)


Uh, yeeeeeeeeeeeeah, I don't know what this face is either. Shae and I were messing around at bedtime, and G took this picture. Maybe there are some rock horns out of frame that we can't see? Dunno. I am just glad that I am not in this picture, because I am having a bad hair life and also I started breaking out again for some reason and I am 35 years old and too old for this crap.



Today is My Anonymous Mother's birthday. I won't mention her age, but I'll be 36 this year, and that's plenty old for the both of us, frankly. I her honor, I have made the following movie where nobody has the top of their heads.

Isn't it nice to see my $100,000 education being put to good use? Love you, Mom. Have a great one!


Hello Kitty

There were some goings-on this weekend that I can't talk about yet or it will ruin the surprise, but I can tell you about our new bath towel -- how is that? Compromise?

Hello Kitty

Seems like there are a lot of bathtime pictures lately, and I'm not really sure why, except for that I think maybe Shae is missing the pool these days (sounds familiar). She asks to take a bath more often than not, and when we say no, she tries to negotiate for a "bird bath." And while I would like to give her "big ups" for wanting to be clean -- she's been learning about germs from Muno on "Yo Gabba Gabba!" -- I also recognize a stalling tactic when I see one, because I've been known to throw in a diversionary maneuver (or twelve).

Shy Kitty

Oh, and those curls and eyelashes? They are why God invented convent schools. Perhaps Sr. Mary Agnes can keep this one out of trouble ...


Neverending Story

Okay, now we are starting to approach insanity-pepper-and-space-coyote levels of crazy because holy tomato we are still opening Christmas presents.

Happy Present

We've been working on getting her to be more polite and stop asking "What do you have for me?" the second we walk in the door, but if this keeps up, that's never going to happen. Damn you, generous people, don't you realize you're jacking up our manners instruction?

Tiana Doll

The gifts were from one of the salespeople at work that I support. I like her anyway, so the bribes are totally unnecessary, but I appreciate them just the same. I have no adversion to other people treating my kid (as long as they don't try to spoil her). Last year she gave us a cute little dress that Shae wore for school pictures. This year, we got two "The Princess and the Frog" themed toys: a tea party set (yay! plastic!) and a Tiana doll.

Now, we haven't seen the movie, so I can't speak to whether it is good or not, or whether I like the character or not, or any of the stuff that my degree in Writing for Television, Radio and Film is good for. (No, really, that's my degree.) As you already know, I think "princess" is the single filthiest word in the English language, so the entire concept kind of gives me the dry heaves. (And no, I will not accept that The Cult of the Princess has become unavoidable in the raising of an American girl -- not on my watch!)

But at the same time, it's hard to be all about diversity when you're deliberately avoiding exposure to certain things, right? Our household is the very model of the modern poly-racial family -- we've got the white mom, the half-Latino dad, the bi-racial daughter, and even the partly Asian cat (Zöe is part Siamese) -- but what we aren't always tolerant of? Is different kinds of femininity than mine.

Princess 1
Princess 2

All of which is to say that it doesn't happen often, but sometimes we let her put on her crown and play princess. Sometimes. But only for a minute or two.


Froggy Went a-Courtin'

Sweet cracker sandwich, is it the weekend yet? God. It's going to be another one of those eternal weeks where I only get one day off because there are so many things still to do at the office. I need to clone myself or build myself a robot or something to put in all the extra hours at work, so I can be home more. I like home. Home is where the cookies are.

Anyway. Here, have some pictures of my kid in her froggy bath towel! They're really cute. (Although I cannot explain most of these facial expressions. Not that I can under normal circumstances anyway.)

Kissing Frog
Froggy 101

I really can't wait for this year-end close to be over so I can go back to spending silly time with my kid and start thinking about a vacation. How long does it take to get a kid's passport? Maybe we'll take a cruise! (Haha. Or maybe we'll stay overnight in a hotel with a pool and take an inflatable dinghy.)

(Oh, and were you wondering why I called this "Froggy Went a-Courtin'"? Because I was going to call it "Bein' Green" originally, and when I was looking for pictures of my nephew in his bath towel for purposes of comparison, I saw that my sister used that title already for a similar blog post. And so I went with the only thing I could think of that had "froggy" in the title.)

((So, yeah, I punted. As usual.))


Apples and Froot Loops

One last (kind of awkward) holiday-adjacent post and then I think we're done with Christmas. And aren't you glad? I'm finishing up with Christmas with only a month to go before Valentine's Day! Before you know it, it'll be time to start talking Thanksgiving Turkey.

Anyway. In addition to all the gifts from my family, Shae also got gifts from her former foster family. They're really cool that way, remembering her on her birthday and at Christmas, even though she's been with us twice as long now as she was with them. They sent her a Build-A-Dinosaur, which is AWESOME, especially because she is at that age where she is heavily into dinosaurs. She also got something more personal: a set of adorable, hand-me-down winter accessories.

Abby's Gloves

There are two kids in that family, a boy and a girl. These things obviously belonged to the daughter. They came in the mail about a week after Christmas with a nice note, apologizing for the condition since these items were worn and well-loved, but that the daughter really wanted Shae to have them. It wrecked me, tore my heart out and cut it into little pieces.

Our relationship with that family is awkward to say the least, even though it probably shouldn't be -- but I have to admit, until the adoption was final, I was terrified that someone at the agency would review the paperwork, change their minds, and send Shae back with them. It wouldn't happen, of course, because they chose to give her up to another family, to us -- but still, I had nightmares.

And of course I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge that they would have been able to provide her with a very different life than the one we are giving her. Maybe even a better one, even, but definitely different. For one thing, there are other children in the family. They have horses, and they used to have a pool in their backyard. The mom was mostly stay-at-home, and when she wasn't, she was a teacher's aide at the other kids' school. Their home and their life seemed very serene and organized to us, not like the clang and clamor of living with us.

Oh yes, I was jealous of them, more than a little bit, and intimidated -- and also very, very sad. From the very first second that I got to hold Shae in my arms, I knew that it would take nothing short of an Act of God or Congress to separate her from me. My protective maternal instincts, such as they are, kicked in right away. There was no way I would ever give her up, not even if I had to die fighting.

And yet -- this family did. There were special circumstances, as there always are, and they had to make the agonizing choice to help find Shae a "forever family" rather than a temporary foster home while they took care of their personal business. And I know that they did what they did because they wanted to do the best thing for Shae. I understand it. But -- when we visit with them, talk to them, all I can see and hear and feel is their palpable heartbreak at having given up their little girl.

So you can imagine that visiting with them has been awkward, to say the least. Sometimes uncomfortable. We're able to be friendly, and the kids always have a good time together, but I always feel so miserable around them because I'm afraid of ... what, I'm not sure. Judgement, maybe? Although honestly, most of the judgement would come from me -- making unfair comparisons of her life with us against her life with them, when it's really like comparing organic apples and generic Froot Loops. Worlds apart. (They'd win.)

But I do really want to work on having a relationship with this family, because they are very nice people, and also because hopefully one day they will be able to help fill in answers to questions I will be asked. They've actually met Shae's biological mother; by the time we became her foster family, mom had stopped coming to visits. They've met at least one of Shae's biological siblings. Even though their connection to her past is tenuous at best, it is still more of a connection than what we have.

And also: they loved her once, and they love her now. How awesome is that? Shae's been spared a lot of really horrible stuff because of this family's capacity for compassion, kindness, and love. If not for them, and the really hard decision they needed to make, G and I would not have Shae right now. We owe them everything, and they expect nothing. They deserve better than that. And so we keep in touch.


Asleep at the Meal

January is one of the worst months at work because we have a metric ass-load of year-end stuff to finish before we can start all over again, so I end up working a bunch of 60-hour, 6-day weeks in a row. It sucks, and I am not going to bother sugar-coating it. I like my job just fine, sometimes I even love it, but January is probably the month when I daydream most frequently about winning the lottery and leaving town for warmer climes and boat drinks and sand in my toes and trashy paperbacks.

Lately I've been getting to work around or even before first light, about 7:00 AM, and I haven't been leaving until 6:00 PM or so, well after dark, which means that basically I only get about an hour to spend with Shae before bedtime. I hate it. Usually I am home in time to help with her bath and wrangle into her pajamas for prayers, but yesterday she didn't take a nap at school and she gave G a hell of a time at dinner before she fell asleep at the table:

Asleep at the Meal

I feel absolutely terrible about it. I already feel like I spend so little time with her, and I didn't get to see her at all yesterday. I mean, it happens, and when G was working he would have days when the same thing would happen, but ... I'm not used to it. It's weird, and it makes me feel guilty. Even guiltier than my poor liberal Catholic heart usually feels. Especially because when I went in to check on her:


I of course took her picture with the flash because I am the worst parent in the world.

It was weirdly quiet last night, especially so early, and we couldn't quite figure out what to do -- she was in bed by 6:20 or so, and we're normally trying to get through the nighttime routine for another hour and a half or so. There was no laughing, no screaming for potty, no streaking up and down the hall. Eventually I got bored and tried to cause trouble by taking pictures of the cats (conveniently captioned below, because some people don't believe me when I say we have three cats).


So there you go. A very exciting night in my house, which is code for "Sorry, I am so busy working that I don't even know if I still have a life."


Open Letter to Certain Philadelphia Eagles Fans

WARNING! Really bad language. Sorry, but I'm really mad.

Dear "fans,"

Look, I already know you're not going to read this, so I don't know why I bother, except for that if I don't say something I'll never be able to live with myself. For the benefit of your short attention spans and your need for instant gratification, let me get the gist of this message out of the way, and then I can circle back around: STFU. GTFO. DIAF.

And now, to be more explicit: WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? Honest to Christ, you would think that losing a football game is absolutely the worst damn thing in the world to happen, like the future of all of humanity depends on what happens on any given Sunday. You act like this has never happened before, and worse than that, you think it's perfectly acceptable to piss and moan and act like the world owes you something.

Well, let me tell you -- and I'll use your own idiom here, so that everything is perfectly clear -- ain't nobody owe you shit.

You know why people don't like us Eagles fans? It's not because of the snowball fights, or throwing batteries, or Santagate, or any of that nonsense. It's not because we had a drunk tank and a judge in the bowels of the Vet, or even that we needed one. It's not the accent or the "New York bias" or any of that nonsense.

No, it's the fucked-up "Alice in Wonderland" bullshit, where one thing goes wrong and all of the sudden you're all completely off the rails, like the Red Queen running around screaming "Off with their heads!" You're totally nutso. Bonkers. Crazypants monkeyshit insane.

Look, you can blame McNabb if you want, just like you always do. Go ahead, blame him for everything -- riots, fires, mudslides, tsunamis, heartburn, cancer, and global warning. God knows you will anyway, even without my permission. But perhaps you are forgetting about the 10 other guys on the field. The O-line that didn't block when they should have. The receivers who couldn't get open. The backs who weren't fast enough, or agile enough, or whatever enough.

And what about the defense? They failed to stop the pass once in a while. They didn't stop the run. They didn't hold on to all those potential INT's, didn't make the sacks, didn't make those game-changing moves that would have turned the tide, shifted the momentum, made all the difference.

The coaches? Don't even get me started. The refs? Ridiculous. The cheerleaders? Not nearly cheery enough. The beer? Not cold enough. The hot dogs? ... You see where I am going? You are looking for one thing, one person, one reason, and there isn't one. You want a crusade, because you can't accept that maybe this wasn't our year. Sometimes it isn't. Instead, you need to be all Don Quixote, tilting at windmills in your mind, and nobody told you that your Dulcinea is a whore.

It's taken me a long time to get to this point, an endless series of pointless arguments using logic and reason and rationality, but you know what? Most of you are brainless, idiotic boors. You wouldn't know a good player or a good person if one bit you on the ass. You have Donovan McNabb, who might not be "money" but is certainly class, and you'd rather have Michael Vick. MICHAEL FUCKING VICK. The dogfighter. The felon.

You people make no goddamn sense. You want to be martyrs, but you want blood too.

What I am getting at is this: you dumbasses don't deserve a good football team. You have one, and you don't appreciate it, so you don't deserve one. I hate Andy Reid, and I am saying he is too good for you -- chew on that for a minute. The fact that Brian Westbrook sullies himself to entertain the likes of you douchenozzles is proof positive that he is a far better person that I am, a veritable saint among men, who deserves a statue of his own downtown next to Rocky.

Seriously, I think I quit this bitch. And it kills me to do it, because I love the Eagles. It's not them, and it's not me -- it's you. I'm done. I'm out. I'm kind of glad the season is over, because I need a lot of therapy to get myself back together. And I suspect that when all is said and done, there is going to be one less Eagles fan next year. And not because I don't love the Eagles, but because I can't stand to be one of your ilk any more.

You know who you are, and I hope you're all proud of yourselves. Have a nice life, or don't -- see if I give two shits. STFU. GTFO. DIAF.

xoxo, rockle.


Update, 2:26 PM: Oh, Internets. Just when I had just about given up hope -- along come the few, the proud, the brave, the ones who agree with me. I disagree almost entirely with this article (primarily because I have come to the realization that I am, above all else, a McNabb Man, and whither he goest, so shall I go), but please allow me to draw your attention to the comments. Very little froth and foaming, and some actual and sensible reasoned posting. Thank you, Commenters at The700Level! Mwah!

HOWEVER. Most Eagles fans just suck out loud today, and they can, as I previously stated, STFU, GTFO, and DIAF.


Lazy Sunday

We stayed in Pittsburgh later than we originally planned to, until more than halfway through what turned out to be the Steelers last game of the season (damn you, Baltimore!), and since we've been back I've spent more time at work than at home (damn you, year end close!), so these pictures are a reminder of ... well, not sure what exactly, but maybe how much I hate my life sometimes?

Lazy Sunday

Probably "hate" is the wrong word -- obviously I don't hate my life. My life is perfectly fine, better than many, even if too congested with the responsibilities that everyone has. Maybe I am just too tired to appreciate the Sturm und Drang of the mundane. I'm working all the overtime I can while it's available, partly because I need to, but also because I am hoping maybe I will be able to squirrel enough away for a small vacation. That probably won't happen, but I am going to try.

Exercise Ball!

At home our Sundays are really lazy, laundry and something in the crockpot and football all day, and while we do play of course, our house is old and small and dark, so it was nice to be able to spread out and fool around with different toys and make a mess and let our hair down a little, with no agenda and no hurry to do something or be somewhere -- except away from the dinosaur robot.


It was also really nice to hang around with other parents while Shae hang around with other kids. Sure, she's at school all day, but while she's there we can't see how she is interacting with her friends, and we only really get reports when something goes wrong. So it was nice to see her being just as charming and clever and curious as she is at home. And because we're related to these people, I didn't have to hide the layers of crazy that I usually do.

Goofy Face

Oh, but that hair! We're calling it "Polamalu Hair" because we don't know what else to call it. And before you even ask: yes, it is EXACTLY as hard to do her hair in the morning as it looks like it would be.


High Society

What ... you didn't think I would be finished with my recap of the Wedding of the Decade of the Week without discussing the pictures of Shae, did you? I know you saw them in my Flickr photostream while you were poking around over there. It's okay, I don't mind -- they're good pictures, and she looks so cute.

Shae Getting Ready

Well, okay, maybe this isn't a great picture -- I think that the picture I posted from the road on Sunday was better, insofar as Shae doesn't look quite so slack-jawed -- but it does give you a good look at Shae's dress for the wedding, which was really something. I love this dress, which is something I can't recall having ever said before. You know I am not a girlie-girl kind of mom, but when it's a dress-up occasion, I don't fart around: my kid is pretty, and I aim to put her in frocks worthy of Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn.

Don't worry, it was also a steal: $85 retail, got it for $25 about a week before Christmas. Worth every penny, because she looked so pretty. (Oh before you ask, yes, I did pick out this particular dress in part because it matches her handbag, which was a Christmas present. Just because she's a Classy Broad doesn't mean she can't also be a Garanimal. And it doesn't make the dress any less awesome.)

Everybody Loves Champagne

So long, farewell, au revoir, auf Wiedersehen -- we let our toddler taste her first champagne. (She kept calling it "soda," which means we'll be able to put ginger ale in a glass and fake her out for another decade or so.) Also, this picture reminds me very much of a story, kind of a family legend at this point, that involves my little sister running around at a wedding, drinking all the wine that was left in those little shot cups after the toast was over. Hey -- it was the '80s. Mistakes were made.

Perfect Little Lady

And this, right here, this is the face that charmed a dozen waiters and made me come undone. She was a perfect little lady, saying "Please" and "Thank you" and eating her salad and drinking her chocolate milk and practically fighting off marriage proposals already. I ask you -- what immunity can I possibly develop to this face? Those sparkling eyes, those chiclet teeth, those perfect cheeks, those unbelievable eyelashes?

Dudes, we are DONE FOR.