Saturday, October 29, 2005

Weekend Update

A warm and snuggly welcome to Shea's soon-to-be-favorite playmate, beautiful Sofia Angelina, born today in Long Beach at 2:06am to our dear friends Sarah and James--and big sister Bella.

She measured 20 inches and weighed 7 lbs 9 oz and didn't give her mommy too much trouble making her grand entrance.

Welcome, sweet girl!

Friday, October 28, 2005

Artsy Fartsy

Channeling the angst-addled spirit of Gerhard Richter, Finney's been showing some distinctively abstract expressionistic tendencies lately on the canvas. Consider this piece, hung in the preschool art exhibit. We're calling it Slinky Descending A Staircase: All Fall Down.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Stuck In The Middle With You

For years I had heard how hard two-year-olds could be: Beware the terrible twos. Wait until he's two. Two is harder than one and one combined. And all sorts of other abstruse warnings and strange math.

Frankly, though, I find three to be a far more perplexing and exasperating age. Three is too old to rest comfortably in the mother comforts of toddlerhood, but too young to fully embrace the autonomy of boyhood. Three is able to defend the what, when, and how of his argument, but is unable to remember why he objected in the first place. Three is trustworthy enough to leave unattended for a few minutes at a time but is able to injure himself in new and excruciating ways even under a watchful eye.
Finally, and probably most significantly, three is too old to nap every day but not old enough to go entirely without, which makes three extremely cranky by day..., well..., three.

Below you'll find a recent example of the great divide that is three, complete with photos.

Here's a shot from last night's Fall Carnival at Finney's preschool, where he dressed up in his menacing Darth Vader costume and mustered up a convincing face of equal parts venom and bravado, channeling Anakin Skywalker as he finally embraces his inner badass and gives in to the Dark Side.

Now, here's another shot of Finney just 30 minutes later, when he was too timid to partake in the carnival's CAKE WALK. That's right, walk slowly in a circle with other children for a possible shot at fresh baked goods. No way, man, I ain't going. How about bowling for prizes? Nope. Temporary tattoos? Forget it. Face painting? Are you high? The only way we got Finn to participate in any of the activities at the carnival was to--you guessed it--provide significant security detail, meaning Grandma Emely had to carry him around in her arms on the cake walk.

Don't get me wrong; I'm in no hurry for Finney to grow up. (I mean, have you noticed just how many pictures I take on a daily basis in an attempt to capture and keep close these youthful moments? It's almost criminal.) And I'm fully aware of and sympathetic to the complex changes he's going through this year. I've realized, though, that if three is the adolescence of childhood, the tender time between babyhood and boyhood, I've got a precocious thirteen-year-old girl with her first case of PMS on my hands.

P,S, For those of you familiar with this blog, you'll also notice that three wants to be both Darth Vader and a kitty cat--on the same Halloween.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

More Halloween Photos

Not Without My Papa

At the pumpkin patch last weekend the boys jumped their hearts out in the ginormous bouncy contraption/ germ pod. The one hitch? (You knew there had to be one, admit it...) Finney, timid little guy that he is, REFUSED to enter and partake in the holiday jumping joy without the accompaniment--and protection--of his father.

John, great sport that he is, climbed in and huffed and puffed away with the best of them. It was quite a sight to see all six feet four inches of Papa John jumping with Finn and all the other little children around him. With the sheer force of his size, he was able to catapult each of the kids into orbit a little higher than their own efforts could have produced alone--like tiny schooners getting tossed in the wake of a luxury cruiseliner. (Notice I said luxury, Babe.)

The kids, of course, loved it, but nobody did more than Finney; his joy spread across the entirety of his face and his pride--this is my Papa, yeah mine--was palpable.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Scenes From A Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkins and scarecrows and lollipops, oh my!

Finney Boy's treat basket runneth over on Sunday at the local pumpkin patch, what with all the free popcorn, candy and hot dogs that were being passed out.

Shea, meanwhile, was just getting used to the idea of sitting up--being propped up, really--on a less than accomodating hay bale. She's totally not a country girl but, given her mastery of the primal screaming thing, I'm pretty sure she's got a little bit of rock and roll in her.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Frighteningly Realistic

This past weekend we attended the first of many Halloween parties we have scheduled on the calendar over the next week or so. With little ones, the Halloween season seems to stretch on for the entire month, much like the annual hedonistic birthday celebrations I threw myself during most of my twenties. But I digress.

The kids were just adorable, natch; Shea went as a cow and Finn as a cat--costumes you're likely to see again in future entries, so we're trying to keep them clean. Cousins Reilly and Kendra, who hosted the spectacular bash, were dressed as a dog and spider witch, respectively. We adore them and wanted to trick-or-treat them into our goodie bags and take them both home with us for good.

John and I,
by the way, showed up in what the crowd agreed were the most starkly realistic and convincingly scary costumes of the night: Exhausted Parents. The dark bags under my eyes even received rave reviews for their exacting realism. Man, if they only knew; that was the easiest dress-up I've ever done and I have my tiny, sleep-challenged, blue-eyed, bovine beauty to thank.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Almost Halfway to Her First Birthday!

Another Fascinating Baby Update:

Shea had her 5 1/2 month checkup yesterday and she's now 17 1/2 pounds and 26 inches long, so she continues the trend of growing faster out than up.

And her thighs--her Shar-Pei thighs!--are better than drumsticks.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

First Snow of the Season

The last morning of our trip to Big Bear saw the season's first snowfall; the hills that were brown and orange on our way up the mountain had turned a patchy white by the time we made our way down.

We made a point to stop and let Finn out of the car to walk around a little in the fresh snow, as what's an annual fact of life for most of the country is a downright novelty for us beachfolk. He loved touching it and when he reached down for a pinch and brought it to his mouth he proclaimed, "Mmmmm, good. That's the best snow I've ever tasted!"

Given that he's only been in the snow twice before, that says a Southern California mouthful.

You can watch the video for yourself, below.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Change of Scenery

October has always been my favorite month to travel. In my mind, it represents the true end of summer, since September is still so gorgeous--and summerlike--in Southern California. It's a great time to take one last break before transitioning into the long fall/winter.

So this past weekend we took a four-day family vacation in the mountains of Big Bear--a welcomed break from the regular weekly schedule. We indulged in lots of walks in the gorgeous autumn scenery, ate more than our fair share of yummy treats, hunted for pine cones, and even reveled in some quiet time (a relative term, I realize, when a certain garrulous little boy is involved). We even received the first snowfall of the season!

The first night in town, however, while visiting the grocery store to collect our supplies, Finney took a nasty spill off the back of the shopping cart, right into the cereal shelves on aisle 14. He tore open a 1/2-inch gash just below his right eyebrow but, thankfully, didn't need stitches or injure his eye. John and I each sprouted a few new grey hairs right there and then.

As the rest of the weekend devolved into a series of uncomfortably close calls for Finn--he ran full speed into the sliding glass door and walked face-first into (bounced off of, actually) a wooden beam in the cabin--we realized that, with a high-spirited and sometimes absent-minded three-year old in tow, we were not only experiencing the first onset of colder weather--we're entering injury season.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

The Big Five-Oh

This marks the 50th post here at Double Duty Diary...hope you're enjoying the photos and stories.

We're planning to take a few days away from the computer and will return on Monday with batches of new images and anecdotes. Enjoy the weekend!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I Got Your Seasons Right Here

People often say that California doesn't have seasons. That, instead, we have one continuous state of sunshine and glory and sparkles, where occasionally it rains for an hour or two in order to help the endless fields of flowers grow so our air can be floral-scented.

Of course we have seasons. They're just harder to notice than the seasonal changes the rest of the country experiences, so many of their subtle cues can be missed by the untrained observer.

The easiest way to tell what season it is? Just check your local candy aisle!

Spring: When Peeps and Cadbury Eggs are sold.

Summer: When red, white and blue candies are sold.

Autumn: When minature Snickers and Milky Ways are sold.

Winter: When candy canes are sold.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Roll Over, Beethoven

Another Fascinating Baby Milestone Update:

Despite the tremendous incumbent weight of her cheeks, baby Shea rolled over from her back to her belly yesterday!

(Her hair, meanwhile, has now grown to such adorable lengths that I'm able to put her front section up in a "Cindy-Lou Who" fountain style. Ahhh, miniature-sized hair bows and clips make me smile.)

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Not Piglet, Not Pooh--Not Even Roo

Happy Birthday,
Auntie Gretchen!

Thanks for the red balloon, the yummy treats, and for helping me guess my code name. . . TIGGER!


Friday, October 07, 2005

Picture This

This photo kills me. Each of them has the funniest expression on their face.

Shea: "Look what I can do!"

John: "Babe, this is the 17th frame you've taken of this pose. Got the one you want yet?"

"Papa, I know the routine. You just have to keep a smile on your face for her, even if it gets a little stale after a this!"

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Love By Numbers

One of the really great things about babies is that they let you cuddle them. All the time. Their tiny bodies are just designed for this hands-on comfort, especially before they can sit, crawl and walk. They're warm, they're soft, and most of the time they smell great.

Not so with three-year olds, who are just too busy, thanks anyway, with toys and puzzles and rocks and bugs and balls and Buzz Lightyear and Papa's shoes and whatever else stands between me and him or can be placed there quickly to deflect any oncoming, open-armed scoops.

Which is why I cherish the rare times when Finney allows me to snuggle him like he did when he was a baby. Most often, this happens first thing in the morning, when he's groggy, bleary eyed, and his I'm-a-Big-Boy defenses are down. Yes, that's the prime time to strike.

So yesterday morning, when Finn crawled out of his toddler bed and into
my queen size bed, I wrapped my arms around his Big Boy body and inhaled deeply to savor his sweet sleep smell. Then I told him that I loved him a hundred million trillion.

When he didn't respond, I asked him if he loved me a hundred million trillion in return. As he's always a fan of hyperbole, I expected him to up my love ante and profess an even greater amount of unbridled affection for the woman who gave him life and fetches his juice daily.

"Nah," he drawled. "Ten and a half."

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Perchance to Dream

Forget everything I ever said about Shea being a good sleeper. That's so over now. She's actually failing her Sleep Through the Night 101 class.

Anyone know a good tutor?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Finney's Got A Girlfriend

When Finn arrived at school yesterday, his adorable classmate Maya ran up to him, gently put both her hands up to his face, and pinched his cheeks--pinched his cheeks!--to greet him hello. Then they hugged and ran off, hand in hand, to the playground to play.

When I came to pick him up after lunch, Finn's teacher asked me if he and Maya were friends outside of school, or neighbors, perhaps? They had apparently established a strong bond--given that it was only the third week of school--and had been holding hands all day.

Actually, Finney and I just met Maya and her mommy on the first day of school last month, when Maya helped push Finn on the swings. (It was so sweet I actually took a picture of it, above.) That could have been our first clue. Then, come to think of it, they stood together when it was time to line up for class.

Ah, young love. We should have seen it coming.

Monday, October 03, 2005

I Want My Mommy

It's All About Mommy these days for baby Shea, who has a mean case of separation anxiety the moment she's away from me. In many ways, it's quite flattering to be the single object of need for the sweet nugget. But when you consider that we haven't been apart for more than four hours since the moment she was born--technically, for nine months before that, too--it can also be slightly fatiguing.

Thank goodness for naps. Oh, wait--I don't get those any more. Well then, thank goodness for coffee.

And baby love.