Tag Archives: birthday


Lane turned five last week.

Not one to be generally sentimental about stuff, I didn’t intend to post much (if at all, given my track record lately) on it.  But Kate has this weekly thing going on, so I thought I’d join in this week as I have a couple times past and wax a bit sentimental on the occasion.

We celebrated her birthday with a two-part party; first we had some of her friends over for a couple hours.  Luckily the weather cooperated, because the planned activities revolved largely around the inflatable waterslide that was part of her birthday present from us.  It was a huge hit, aside from the small issue that our outdoor water supply is well-fed and is COLD.  The adults took turn pinching the hose so the kids didn’t get too blasted with cold water as they made their approach at the top.  The only downside was that the slide we got is only for kids up to seven, and there were definitely a few adults (myself included) that wanted a turn.  That thing looked fun!  If this slide gets a lot of use, then she might be getting a much bigger one for her sixth or seventh birthday.  😀

After a couple hours, the kids and their parents cleared out, and the ‘adult’ party got started.  I say ‘adult’ but it felt like there were just as many kids around.  I say ‘adult’ because the invitees to this part were the choice of me and Frank — his parents, my dad and stepmom (have I mentioned my dad just got remarried?), our neighbors (who have kids), and a few of our friends from college who don’t live to far away who all have kids.  We rolled out the alcohol, and barbequed, and just had a nice time.  I made a Tinkerbell cake for Lane, and I must say it came out pretty well.

All in all, it was a great day.

And, Lane turned five.  Again, I’m not a very sentimental person, but it really is amazing how she’s growing and maturing.  We still have our issues… the girl is obstinate, stubborn, and strong-willed.  She’s very opinionated, and very vocal with those opinions.  We’re working on helping her be a little more go-with-the-flow, but she often tests our patience.  At the same time, she had both a dentist and doctor appointment in the last couple weeks, and both went so much more smoothly than previous visits.  She was cooperative, and brave, and barely bothered by her polio and DTaP boosters.  We’ll see how well she does next week for the first of two additional dentist appointments to fix the cavities she has (*blush* — but in our defense, the dentist said that a couple of them (between very tight molars) probably would have happened no matter how vigilant we were), but I was really proud of her in these situations, which when she was younger would make her completely stressed out and shut down and uncooperative.  And, she’s 43 1/4″ tall — less than 5 inches shy of being 4 feet tall!  I can barely believe my baby could be so tall.

She’s such an awesome kid, living every moment with all the strength of her emotion and all the energy she can muster.  She’ll be starting kindergarten in the fall, and I simply cannot wait to see what that new adventure brings for her.  Love you, monkey.  🙂



So, today’s my birthday. Whoo freakin’ hoo.

But I have a birthday request: go vote for my entry at http://mothertongue.bloginky.com/2009/02/12/time-to-vote/

I can win some bitchin’ swag. Thanks! 🙂

Trekkin’ around the state

It’s been a whirlwind few days!

As I mentioned previously, Lane went to Buffalo on Monday.  My dad was here visiting for one night with his fiancee from Sunday to Monday, and as they were preparing to leave, Lane started saying she REALLLLY wanted to go to Buffalo with Grandpa Jerry.  Well, he’s retired, and she wouldn’t miss anything more than a few days of preschool and a dance class.  So she went.  By all reports they had a blast.  Tuesday was an off weather day in Buffalo so they hung out at home and watched movies, and Wednesday they went to the Buffalo Zoo.  (I am happy to report no polar bears died while they were visiting.)

Then, Jake and I drove up there on Wednesday afternoon and got there about 9:00 p.m.  Thursday was general hanging-out-with-relatives, and my dad took Jake to see choo-choos (my dad used to work on the railroad).

I also had a very sweet, very frank conversation with my brother about life stuff and relationship stuff of which I will not violate his confidence by divulging the details here, but it make my heart sigh, in that good way.  He’s a good egg who just needs to sort out his priorities a little and really realize he’s more grown-up and mature than he gives himself credit for.

Then, Friday, the kids and I headed for the Albany area, where we visited with my friend Amanda and her new, perfect little baby, and where Frank rendez-vous’ed with us.  We stayed there last night, and then went to my friend Cari’s daughter’s first birthday party, where we also saw other friends we hadn’t seen in awhile, being caught up in the whole moving-into-our-house-and-getting-it-spiffied-up whirlwind, as we are.  But there are tentative plans to get together with the other friends in the next couple weeks, and for Amanda to visit at some point in November, so we’re getting caught up, socially, which feels good.

And now we are home, and I’m sitting on my own couch, and I’m relishing that we don’t have to travel anywhere until Christmas (unless we choose to do so otherwise, before then).  Not that we won’t be busy – we have a dining room that needs wallpaper stripped and a coat of the “tomato bisque” paint I bought before Thanksgiving, among a couple other rooms that need painting.  But after our last two busy weekends… bring on the paint.  🙂

I’ve solved the waffle iron dilemma

You may have recalled, our waffle iron died.

The intention was that we were going to replace it with the same make/model, but lusted after a souped-up Kitchenaid model that makes two waffles at once and is shiny brushed nickel. Honestly, Frank was much more into the idea of the Kitchenaid than I was. The man does like getting top-of-the-line stuff when it’s practical.

After some internet perusal, I found a great deal on the Kitchenaid waffle iron. And Frank’s birthday is next week. Guess what he’s getting! 🙂

Good dog

Today is Bailey’s birthday. She’s 42.

Well, in dog years, anyway.

Bailey joined our family in 2002. I’d grown up with dogs but had never had MY OWN DOG, and Frank had never had a dog at all, so we figured we should get a dog of a breed with a reputation to be ‘easier’, as far as dogs go. We went back and forth and decided on a golden retriever. It seemed like a safe choice – smart, easy to train, good with kids.

I wanted to put a puppy picture here, but most of our pictures are in storage, and back then I was film-only. So this is the best puppy picture I can offer for now. The big black dog was my Grandpa Bill’s dog, Rocky.

Dog ownership has had its trying moments. Like for the while when we couldn’t figure out how to stop Bailey from jumping. (Somehow we got the idea to cross our arms, look up and ignore her, and it’s like magic!) Like when she had a spate of urinary tract infections – let me tell you, it is not fun trying to get a urine sample from a dog (but a pie tin, slid under at the right moment, works well enough). I lost more than one pair of beloved shoes to her puppy teething phase. And, as retrievers tend to be, Bailey certainly has her share of dependency affection and hyperactivity exuberance and destructiveness energy, but nothing anyone could call abnormal for a golden. She brought a bit of chaos to our generally quiet and predictable lives, and our days were better for it.

This is Frank and my brother, Mark.

But she has been a great dog. She is really smart, and was a cinch to housetrain. With just a bit of work she learned a lot of other useful stuff too, like sitting and staying and crating up. She’s a great dog for car trips, she isn’t at all anxious in the car, and stays relaxed throughout the trip (with occasional bouts of excitement to be going somewhere).

And then the kids came along, and she has proven her great-dog-ness in spades. In her they have a playmate, a jungle gym, a pony, a confidant, a partner in crime, a pillow, a teddy bear, and a guardian all in one big, furry package. She tolerates every bit of toy stealing and ear pulling and being sat on and and stepped on and laid on and jumped on with the patience of a saint, and still all she asks for return is an occasional cuddle and bowl of food.

With Lane when she was a week old.

With Lane last month.

As fitting for a family member, we will celebrate her birthday in a small way. We ordered her this ‘cake’ – it was Lane’s idea. She picked out the design, too.

Yes, I know, it’s a cat – there was a dog picture in the flyer right next to it. I even pointed it out and said “Don’t you think a dog picture would be more fitting? Bailey’s a dog, after all.” Lane said, “Yeah, but she likes cats too – like I like cats!” I couldn’t really argue with that logic. So, tonight after dinner, we’ll all have a piece of cookie cake and we’ll toast Bailey’s health.

So, Happy Birthday, Bailey! And thank you, for being a great dog. I hope we have the pleasure of your company for another six years.

Boy who cried wolf

We had Jake’s “party” today.  Really it was just a low-key dinner at my in-laws’.  Frank’s aunt and uncle were also there.

My dad and his girlfriend were planning to come for the weekend.  They were going to stay with us for two nights.  They were supposed to get here yesterday.  I woke up yesterday to a message on my cell phone, from my dad.  He was sick, and really felt crappy, and didn’t want to risk getting anyone else sick, so they weren’t going to be coming.

At first glance, this might seem noble and courteous.  But then, you didn’t grow up in the same house as my dad.  My dad’s got a few mental misfirings going on, which isn’t surprising given the abundance of mental illness on my grandma’s side of the family.  I suspect he might be cyclothymic or worse-  he definitely has a history of periods that I wouldn’t characterize as a severe mania, but could definitely be hypomanic, and he’s definitely had bouts of depression, too, though nothing I would characterize as a major depression though he’s good at getting angry to cover all other emotion.  He has what could be characterized as borderline personality tendencies, though probably not quite severe enough to warrant that diagnosis (mostly, he has lots of anger and abandonment issues, and troubles with impulse behavior, like promiscuity in relationships and drinking), but that could be part and parcel to the bipolar tendencies, or vice versa.  He also, most pronounced of the lot, has a significant issue with anxiety.  He has it and he often deals with it poorly.  Last year he had a sore throat and became convinced he had throat cancer.  He worries endlessly about stuff that really shouldn’t even take up two minutes of his day, like if he got the ‘best’ presents for my kids on Christmas or their birthdays.  (He got Lane dress-up stuff for Christmas, and my brother got her an Imaginext dinosaur, and she played with the dinosaur more in the next couple days, and my dad kept kicking himself that he didn’t get her the BEST, MOST FAVORITE present, like it meant he was a failure as a grandfather or something.  This, after prodding me endlessly in the weeks preceding Christmas to try to ensure he was getting gifts for the kids that they were sure to LOVE.)  Above all else, he has a major social anxiety.  Well, “major” is probably a bit much, but it’s enough to interfere with his normal life activities.  If you’ve ever watched Sex and The City — when Carrie is dating the Russian, and he gets all ill and upset before certain social situations,  but then once he’s there he’s all confident and charismatic… that’s my dad.  I remember all through my childhood, my dad wiggling out of attending parties, weddings, etc. because he “didn’t feel good”.  Countless times in the car, we all strapped in and ready to head somewhere that required social interaction (even something as simple as one of my little league softball games), and my dad would sit in the driver’s seat, with his head on the steering wheel, either in an attempt to try to get my mom to say, “well, if you really don’t feel well, just stay home” and/or to psych himself up enough to put the car in gear and head toward the kibitzing.  Sometimes he’d sit there for minutes and minutes… and we had to be quiet… oh it was like hours.  I distinctly remember a couple instances where we sat for 20 minutes or more.  I haven’t lived under the same roof as him for more than ten years, but I’ve heard from at least a couple of his post-Mom girlfriends that the behavior has persisted — they’d be ready to go meet someone, ready to go to a party, and all of a sudden Dad wouldn’t feel well and would try to talk them into staying in.

Long story short, I’m sure a therapist could have a field day peeling away all the weird layers they would find there, assuming my father would ever open himself to that possibility.  (He won’t.  I’ve lobbied him aggressively to try.)

Given that history… it’s really hard for me to totally buy any time my dad says he’s too sick to do something.  And since this weekend meant coming here with his girlfriend and staying with us in our house (foreign territory), then going over to my in-laws’ house for a small party (even more foreign territory, coupled with the possibility of not having bought the BEST GIFT EVER), well, it was a situation ripe for an attempt at playing hookey.

I don’t doubt he actually was sick.  I’m sure he had at least a sniffle or a scratchy throat.  When I called him yesterday evening to see how he was feeling, though, I caught him at the mall with his girlfriend; they had just gone out to dinner.  And he hadn’t had to miss any days of work with this bout of avian flu or whatever he thinks he had.   I’m really not at a point anymore where this surprises me, or even disappoints me much.  And maybe he was/is sicker than I’m imagining.  But he’s been the boy who cried wolf my whole life, so it’s hard to assume the best when it’s probably not the case.

Despite Dad’s shenanigans, we had a nice evening.  My in-laws made a lovely dinner and I supplied a from-scratch carrot cake with cream cheese frosting that was sinfully delicious – even though in my quest to drop what is now 34 of the 37 extra pounds I started with (thank you very much) I subbed some Splenda for part of the sugar, some wheat flour for part of the white flour, and some applesauce for some of the oil required.   According to the recipe builder on the Weight Watchers website, the changes shaved 4 points (about 200 calories) off each slice of cake.

Jake got a couple toys, some beach/pool stuff for our trip to Aruba in April, and a smattering of clothes.  And he loves cream cheese frosting, but only if you let him operate the spoon himself.

Day off!

I stopped by the in-laws’ yesterday to drop off a couple CDs they wanted us to test in our computer to see if they worked in our computer or if theirs is just wonky (and theirs is just wonky) and our bottle of Scotchgard so the FIL can Scotchgard the new fabric he just upholstered onto their kitchen chairs.  (Not because they asked for it, but because I’m sick of them freaking out at the idea Lane might get a grain of rice or something on their new chairs.)

I left, ten minutes later, with a bottle of barbeque sauce (don’t ask) and the plan that after they did the stuff they do in the morning, they would come over tomorrow (which is now today), I would install car seats in their car, and they would take the kids off my hands for the day.  Um, yay!  Granted, I love my children.  But they’ve been gone 45 minutes and my apartment is quiet, and cleaner.  I was thinking of going for a run walk/jog but it’s cold and windy here.  Not that I mind cold and windy.  Hell, I grew up in Buffalo.  But I have sensitive eyes, and cold and windy means that within a minute of being out there my tears ducts would be in overdrive, my face would be wet, and my nose would be running faster than my feet.  So I think instead I’ll do my kickboxing video (it’s the Kathy Smith one and I love it, way better than Tae Bo) and take a long, uninterrupted shower.

Then… what to do?  What to do?

I really need to do stuff to get ready for this weekend.  My dad and his girlfriend Linny are coming and staying with us this weekend, which means I need more food and to plan stuff so we’re not just sitting around staring at each other all weekend.  And, they are coming this weekend because it is JAKE’S FIRST BIRTHDAY (written in caps because it’s still quite a shock to my system) and we’re partying at the in-laws’ on Sunday.  They are supplying dinner for about ten people, and I agreed to supply cake.  So I need to work out the cake details… I’m thinking of going carrot with cream cheese topping, but I haven’t committed to making it myself or just ordering one from Costco.  Though, now that I’ve thought about it for seven seconds, I think I’ll make it myself, if for no other reason I can control the ingredients and ensure a nut-free cake that Jake can eat, and maybe make it a little more Weight Watchers-friendly so I can have more than three bites.  I also have to wrap our presents for Jake.

So it looks like my plans are:

  • Work out
  • Shower
  • Plan a cake
  • Grocery shop

You know what?  I bet I can fit a mani/pedi in there.  Oh my feet and hands will thank me.  So I’ll do that after I grocery shop, I think.

Yay!  Day off!!