Thursday, January 31, 2013

Back-Posting: Aliza's Black Apple Party

I finally finished organizing all of jessica's amazing photos from Aliza's birthday party back in June!

(The link will take you to the first post in the series, and then you just have to keep hitting Newer Post...)

I am thinking that perhaps this is the last of these home-made birthday parties.

End on a high-note, and all that...  

Maybe instead there will be 4-6 friends, a movie, a pizza, and a sleepover this Spring, and we'll go all-out on an all-ages Halloween party instead...

Now I just have to convince Dubbadad that hosting 4-6 extra children in a 1270 square foot house overnight is a 'sensible' undertaking.  (Last time I attempted such a thing, there were twice as many overnight guests, and I sent Dubs to Poppy and Grandma's for the duration...)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


so excited
(off to 6th grade camp with a bag full of snow gear)
so optimistic
('skinny' vanilla latte, almonds, Mr. Penunmba)
so frawnch
(loving how cette jeune fille copied the style of the sample drawings)

The boy who couldn't make it through a sleepover at a friend's house only two short years ago is off, with 4 pairs of wool socks, new woolly slippers, Scotch Guarded jeans, and absolutely no anxiety (on his part).  

He is hoping there really is snow (it has been sunny).  He is hoping to be in the same cabin as his Forensics partner (the teachers have kept cabin assignments a secret).  He has been looking forward to this day since the trip was announced in September, and he was positively vibrating with anticipation and glee this morning.  

And thank goodness his mood was contagious because otherwise I would be fretting about him remembering where everything is in that big duffle and about him losing Dubbadad's super-cool steampunk-y sunglass case and about him getting sick or hurt way way up there in the mountains and of course (of course!) about BEARS.

So I am not fretting.

Nope.  Not me.

(Liar!  What am I going to do with myself at 9 tonight, and there's nobody waiting to hear me read from Adventures in the Mirkwood Cave-Castle of Lee Pace*?)

Still, I think it's going to be fun having Aliza as an only child for two whole nights.  

Though she has not been looking forward to this at all.  

Aliza has made me promise -- against Ander's wishes -- that she can sleep in his loft bed until he comes home.  Tonight, over dinner, Dubs and I stared and stared and stared at her, and said things like, "Isn't it nice to have all this focused attention?" and then whenever she mentioned Ander we would say, "Who is this 'Alexander' you keep talking about?" or  "Aren't you a little cleverkins of an only child to invent an imaginary sibling!" or  "Tell us more about this 'big brother' of yours!" And then I popped into Ander's room shouting back over one shoulder "Just a sec -- I need to get something out of the GUEST ROOM!"

I promise this didn't go on for too long.

It was kind of lovely to sit with her at the table doing -- uninterrupted! -- homework, to baby her a little and help her with all her after-shower rituals, and to ultimately let her sleep with me, the teaspoon to my soup spoon (after re-thinking the whole 6 foot high loft bed + 8 year-old with interrupted sleep-cycles equation).

Tomorrow Dubs has basketball after work, so Aliza is going to do all her homework with her tutor so that when I pick her up she and I can take early showers, call for Chinese take-out, build a fire in the fireplace, and read together.  

It's possible she is warming up to this whole only-child idea.

*what I have taken to calling The Hobbit, in hopes that the so far entirely under-utilized Lee Pace will be playing the Mirkwood Elf King in the next Hobbit movie...

Monday, January 28, 2013

As We Rounded the Corner, Walking Back to the Car After Ballet

We Watched "Pollyanna" Over the Weekend (Now She Understands Why I Hung These in Her Windows Way Back When)

"Pollyanna" was one of my mother's favorite Disney movies.  I remember loving Hayley Mills, and the 'glad game,' and the 'rainbow makers' -- and being absolutely stunned by the sudden dark turn it takes in the last act (I warned A&A). 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Later Sunday: the Discovery of Merng

Sunday Afternoon: Shoes, Snack, Stroll

Their feet have grown again.  


Ander got suede Pumas sneakers and canvas Palladium boots at the westernmost branch of Sportie L.A.  (He wore the Palladiums out of the store, with his old shoes tucked into the new shoe box.)

Aliza -- sporting Adidas Sambas purchased via Amazon just last week -- used her pocket money to buy a large Schleich sea turtle at Puzzle Zoo.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Last Night; This Morning

Last night, after I had read her Virginia Lee Burton's The Little House, and after I had pointed out that this week's vocabulary words (URBAN and SUBURBAN) were nicely illustrated in that story, and after we had turned off the light and talked about someday living in the country, and after I had turned on her 'sound machine,' and after we practiced what she is trying to say to herself if (when) she wakes up during the night ("I am barely awake, I am in my cozy bed in my lovely room, I am surrounded by people who love me, and now I am going back to sleep"), I told her I love her and am so proud of how hard she is working, and I told her she is strong and brave and kind and that I feel lucky - so. LUCK-y - to know her.

I breathed in her warm, after-shower smell, and kissed her temples.

And then I fell sound asleep next to her, outside the covers, on her narrow, mint-scented bed.

Last night, after Dubs had tucked Ander in, after Ander's lights were out (except for the closet light) and his sound machine was on, after I woke up in Aliza's room and put my glasses back on and walked down the hall, I climbed up into Ander's loft and listened to him talk about his upcoming Forensics competition. While he talked and unconsciously fiddled with Star Blanket, I not-so-stealthily sniffed his hair. We talked about the changing textures of long-loved stuffed toys, and about how jogging is no fun "until it is." I told him I love him and am so proud of how hard he is working, and I told him he is strong and brave and kind and that I feel lucky - so. LUCK-y - to know him.

And as much as I wanted to fall asleep right there, I climbed down and we exchanged the magical sleep-inducing lines, invoking the promise of seeing each other soon "in the morning light," and eventually I ended up in my own bed.

Last night (early early this morning?), after Dubbadad's iPad chimed us awake, after we talked in the dark about high schools and reading levels and whether or not there was something under our bed that would lick my hand if I let it hang over the edge, I dreamed that it was morning, and that Ander was standing on a step-stool in my bedroom, trying to reach a comically oversized pair of scissors that were hanging on the wall by my dresser. I told him, jeez, I can't believe those scissors have been there all these years and you never-ever tried to reach them when you were little, and NOW you're trying to get at them? Stop, you're going to hurt yourself, boyo. And he climbed down off the stool and walked up to me and I realized I was sitting on my bed and that he was only as tall as the bed.

And then of course I knew I was dreaming.

Because there have never been ginormous scissors hanging on my bedroom wall.  

And nowadays, when we are both standing, Ander can look me right in the eye.


This morning, I am sitting at the cafe near Ander's school, waiting for my lunch-lady shift to begin, and I am thinking about how on the way to school I told him that I have always liked sourdough toast more than fancy clothes (and it does seem to be a choice some ladies must make), and how he chuckled at that, a big-boy chuckle from the backseat, his long legs bumping into the back of my seat.

Monday, January 21, 2013

While -- Somewhere Under the Hollywood Sign -- Ander Practiced for His Next Speech Competition (and Ate His Weight in Hot Dogs, and Ran Around Shooting Nerf Weapons)

trying to Facetime their friend in cold, cold Canada
they set up this very intricate story/game on the back step, in the last patch of unseasonal sunshine, half an hour before Miss L was to be picked up

Sunday, January 20, 2013

'Tangerine Tango' Hit the Spot

I'm forever saying, "You will NOT be one of THOSE kids who cannot sit still without an electronic device." But then they pointed out that I was in fact taking their pictures using an electronic device. Dubbadad caved, and let them check on their dragons...

Everybody and Their (Three Yappy) Dog(s) Had the Same Idea, But Still, It's January and a Breezy 80 Degrees Out, and THIS is Very Nearly Our Backyard

the steep, scrambly bit
taking panorama shot, looking through binoculars, taking picture of shadows, 
rabbit-earing she-who-gave-him-life
spoiling the tourists' and photography students' shots by sitting in our favorite shade-spot
(all they had to do was tilt UP)
snowy mountains, circling crows, Downtown
Pacific Design Center, Century City, Santa Monica, Pacific Ocean

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Making Our Way Back Across Town, After the Gymnastics Birthday Party in Pasadena

Have you seen the chandelier tree?

You must see the chandelier tree.

(We were hoping that our quarters would buy us a light show in the branches, but it seems that they will just help pay the bills.)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Yearly Checkup (Already Old Enough, She is Finally Tall Enough and Heavy Enough to Escape Her Booster Seat)

She was distraught at the possibility of a flu shot.

He promised to dance for her if she needed one.

(He in fact danced for her -- flailing limbs and bopping top-hat in the tiiiight space afforded us in exam room 6 -- while they took her blood sample.)

But then they offered her a choice between a jab or a snort, and as Zaza is a saline spray pro, up her schnozzle it went.

At Ander's School: Fancy Friday

necktie + petticoat + Converse hightops + handball = fancy
green rubber bands + boys' school blazer + bow tie = fancy
black lace over acid green satin + fuchsia polar fleece + Converse sneakers = fancy
curling-ironed spiral curls + feathered clip = fancy
embroidered mirrors and cream-colored lace = fancy
teensy-weensy top hat + stylish specs = fancy
he wishes he could always be this fancy on friday 

At Aliza's School, After Friday Sing

We all sang "If I Had a Hammer," and Aliza leaned into me, and I may have gotten a bit weepy when k-through-third and all the parents who could manage being there shouted "SONG. TO. SING." just the way Peter and Paul sang it* while Mary's voice arched over them.

*at 1:26