Follow My Sorry Ass

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Happy Belated, To My Firstborn

Happy Belated Birthday, my sweet baby James.

How is it that you're already a decade old????

Pictures (of the birthday dude, of the Michigan trip, et al.) below.

At Pentwater.  Ice cream cake from Aunt Kay!

With Alanna's kids.

Horseback riding
Go-Karting.  What better fun for turning ten?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Things to Never Have

Things To Never Have In Your House If You Have Children

1.  Sharpie Fine-Tip Permanent Marker, 24-Pack Assorted Colors ('80's Glam).  Cost of item: $14.99 plus free shipping.  Cost of lesson learned: $3,000 in carpet and carpet pad.  [Yes, I have pics.  They are on my deactivated Facebook and I don't want to have to log on and retrieve them.  I think I even took a video.  You'll just have to take my word for it.]

2.  A piano.

3.  A large container of fish food.  And a fish.  (Dubya Dee is alive and well, and luckily there's no particular story that goes along with this one--yet.)

4.  Couch pillows you kinda like.

5.  A yardful of neighborhood kids and not enough banana licuado in the blender.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Moms of Boys (Scary Mommy)

Can relate to almost all of this, except for the totally-blue-uterus part.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


I love Weird Al.

Sunday, July 13, 2014


Elise (disgruntled): MOM.
Me:  What?
Elise:  When Emily lost her first tooth, her parents gave her TEN dollars!  And you only give one.
Me:  Well her parents must be rich...

Me (30 seconds later):  I mean, Tooth Fairy!  Her Tooth Fairy must be rich.  Not her parents.
Elise (unfazed):  Please, please give me ten dollars.
Me:  Plus, this isn't even your first lost tooth.  It's just your first front tooth.
Elise:  How about two dollars?


In other news, I made a meme:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Few Trip Pics

This was basically the front yard of the house.  Will and James snorkeled together several times a day.
With James and Zachy
Elise on Water Cay
Here it is, your moment of Zen.
Joe and big kids on Water Cay.
The house.
Ridiculous selfie at the locals' beach near town.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Our Trip: Quick & Dirty Version

We're back from Utila.  Here are the highlights of the trip:

The Good:
-amazing rental house with stunning views
-breathtaking snorkeling right out front of property
-no one in our party contracted malaria*, explosive diarrhea, or that emerging "Chicken-goon-yay" virus* (*we think)

The Bad
-semi-automatic weapons on bank guards y la policia were a little intimidating
-power outage on day five; toilets no longer flushed (Poo Central Station in the two bathrooms)
-!Hace calor in Honduras!  Especialmente cuando no funciona el aire acondicionado.  =Hot, sweaty baby.

The Ugly
-I will need to post an image of all the insect bites covering my legs and back, in order to do the situation justice.  Luckily Zach didn't get too many.
-Zach forgot how to sleep through the night somewhere around Day 2, even when A/C was a-roarin'
-Fun Fact:  Honduras has an exit airport tax of US$40/person (surprise!)

Friday, June 20, 2014

Riding in Cars with Kids

Mid-1990's flashback of the week:

James:  Mom, what's a "wonderwall"?
Me:  (Turning down the Oasis song on the radio)  I don't know, buddy.  What do you think it is?
James:  A koala.
Me:  I think that's a "wallaby" you're thinking of.
James:  Nope.  Two different things.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

You Might Be From Detroit If...

You Might Be From Detroit If...

#001. think Kelly Clarkson should have named her baby River Rouge.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Dads: The Sound of You

I read a surprisingly cool quote in People, from Matthew McConaughey:

"It's nice when [the kids] notice the deep voice from across the house, and they know it's Papa.  They know it's Dad."

This totally happened today, when Joe came home from work (yes, he did work on a Saturday; building spaceships does take dedication even on Father's Day weekend; make that Dadication.  Zing!)

Zach was helping me unfold the laundry I'd just finished folding.  The two of us were upstairs, in the special laundry-folding spot (the floor, in front of the laundry room).  Joe came into the kitchen through the garage entrance and started talking to the big kids, who were in the grips of Minecraft.  Baby and I heard the familiar clink in the key bowl--Joe putting away his car keys.  And immediately, Zach perked up and started yelling and waving his arms.

It was unmistakable recognition of Dad's dad-noises by our almost 10-month-old.

Zach was thinking, "Dad's home!"  And he wouldn't be consoled until he was in Joe's arms.


One of the hardest moments of my life was, after my dad's accident, being in his house while he lay across town in the hospital.  Listening for the familiar, late-day noises of my teenage years and not hearing them.  Not hearing him stroll jovially into the house after a day at work to call out, "Hullo!" in just his way.  I was an adult by then, with kids of my own.  But at that time I felt as vulnerable as if I had never left childhood.

I remember praying to hear those things again.

Thank you, higher powers that be, for the dadsounds in my life.

Thursday, June 12, 2014


Went camping in the Eastern Sierras last weekend, via an invitation from some very brave friends.  It was fun.  We froze at night and it was sunburning hot in the daytime, but the Costco 8-person tent continues to serve and protect.

I'd call it a success.  Zach only ate one handful of dirt and nobody snagged himself with a fish hook.

At an alpine lake near Mammoth.

Dad 'n' Zach

Will and Elise stand on boulders; James stands in a pit and looks tiny.

Thursday, June 5, 2014


Joe says he'll buy me a shiny new mom taxi if I can run a 6:30 mile.

My first thought--beyond wondering whether my husband is growing weary of the ol' love handles--was, Oh Good!  Now I can get the giant, tricked-out, gas-guzzling SUV I've always secretly wanted (but outwardly scorned).
"They see me rollin'/ They hatin'" -Chamillionaire Family Taxi

Then, a few minutes of internet research revealed the price of a giant gas-guzzler to be much, much too high for the likes of us.  Even the sensible one, without the spinners.  Oh, well.  On to the second choice...that schoolmarmish Honda minivan with the built-in vacuum.  Yesssss.

"You spilled something?  Vacuum it up RIGHT NOW.  Yes, while we're driving.  Need I remind you what our last minivan looked like on the inside?"  -Me, to anyone under age 12

But....dang.  Who would have thought you'd have to buy the Touring Elite (read: the most expensive one) to get the HondaVAC?  Frickin' Honda, you are really bumming me out, man.

So now I am a little sad.  And that's to say nothing of the kidney selling we'd have to do to afford any vehicle whatsoever (new or pre-food-encrusted) at the moment.

But hey, at least my love handles are shrinking.  :)

And here's another tally on the positive side of things:

Displaying photo.JPG
Zach-in-the-Box, for real this time.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Comic Book Artist

Here's a comic James made of his dad's life.

Notice the montage of scenes from Joe's life, each likeness with spiky hair and a smile.  There's Joe scoring in water polo (bottom left).  Top right is Joe winning a Junior Nationals event when he was 17.  Bottom right: looks like he's underhand serving a volleyball?  Top left: Joe with undisclosed female (me?). And top center, the family man with wife and gaggle of children.

My favorite is the "TM" indicating James is trademarking this idea.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Metal Dads!

This is so cool.  I want to tell every guy I know how "metal" the dad life can be.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Will's Words of Wisdom

Words of Wisdom (A Fill-in-the-blank assignment)
by William B., age 8

A penny saved is:  "a penny lost"

Absence makes:  "work to do"

An apple a day keeps:  "growing"

Beauty is:  "amazing"

Children should:  "always be friends"  [Awww...]

Money is:  "not all that matters"  [Good job, Will!]

People who live in glass houses shouldn't:  "be teased"

There's no place like:  "home"

Two heads are:  "better than one"

You can't teach an old dog:  "tricks"

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Yet Another List of Kid Quotes

"I'm so over first grade."  -Elise

"You don't want to continue swearing because it makes you sound like an idiot."  -James, gently reminding me why I need to stay on the "no-swearing" wagon

"[Funny Neighbor Kid], You are being such an 'A-S-S Hole'!"  -James, at the park playdate this week, when said-neighbor-kid threw a water balloon at Will

"We already know that, Mom.  Please stop telling us."  -Will, whenever I tell him that it's okay to lose when you play sports

Zach cruises for the first time.  He may have skipped the whole crawling thing.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Chewing Gum

(Actual Conversation. Setting: living room)

Funny Neighbor Kid:  Hey Joe!

Joe:  (in the middle of changing a poopy diaper).  Hello, (Funny Neighbor Kid's name).

FNK:  So....Did you cut off the tip of baby Zach's penis when he was born?

Joe:  (Holding back shocked laughter)  Well, kind of, but not exactly.  It's called 'circumcision.'

FNK:  I heard that's where chewing gum comes from.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Ides of May

Some pictures from the last few months...
James at the air show.
Joe, with the chillun'

Will (throwin' up gang signs?), Elise, and Joe

Elise, with Poopsie.

Why so serious, Will?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Latest Kid Quotes

"Ahh!  I can feel his little piranha teeth!" -Will, putting his finger in Zach's mouth

"Well, do you want me to do it, or not?" -James, when I lectured him about the "mo' money mo' problems" aspect of inventing a teleportation machine/ becoming the world's richest man

"They were making me do little tiny floaty things with my hands, and it, like, wasn't doing anything!" -Elise, on learning to scull in her first synchro practice

"Gog!" -Zach  ["He's religious!" -Aunt Linda]


Kid news:  James starts water polo tomorrow.  Will's playing flag football and scored two touchdowns during each of his last two games.  Elise started synchronized swimming today.  Zach got his first two teeth, 'round the cape of a sudden.

The school year is quickly wrapping up; it's already almost May.  The big boys did science fair (Elise decided hers was just a practice this year) and had a weeks-long argument over who first came up with the idea they both used.  James refused to document his results on his poster, citing embarrassment that only one marigold seedling survived the 6" of rain we randomly received in one day.  Will's poster was more complete, but decidedly less legible.  Note to selves: make kids type it next year.  Second note to selves: find out whether brothers in the same grade are allowed to collaborate on a project, the way real scientists do.  Then, they can fight over which of them gets first authorship, like real scientists do.  Hah.

I can't wait to start Zach's mommy & me class this Friday.

And now, for a random photo.

Daddy & Zachy.  Zach is in a rare moment of not smiling.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Magic Joe

I just read that a sequel to Magic Mike is a go.  So, I've decided to take this opportunity to randomly and obnoxiously brag, brag, braggity brag about my husband, Joe B.

Spoilers:  He's hot.  He's a terrific dad.  And he's the most optimistic, positive person I've ever met.

Sexy Pose #001: Wearing the baby.

As I was obnoxiously bragging to some of my momfriends yesterday, when I met Joe he was an almost-21-year-old captain of the swim team and dual sport athlete (he also played club water polo).  I, then 18 and uncannily career-minded, thought he was simply hot and fun to kiss and hug.

I had no idea he was also smart, responsible, and sensitive, and that I would want to have infinity babies with him.

Why am I writing about this?  Because every once in awhile it's a good idea to count your blessings, and I am glad to call him my guy.

Channing Tatum, eat yer heart out.

Sunday, April 6, 2014


We drove to the fields west of Lancaster/Palmdale to see the California Golden Poppies.  It was late in the day, windy and cool, and the sun was going down, so the flowers were closed and not nearly as spectacular as they could have been.  It also wasn't as splendid a showing as in spring 2010, when the hills were ablaze with orange flowers.

Couldn't get a picture of all of us at once without taking the risk of trampling the flowers.  Joe and I had to take turns taking pictures of ourselves with the kids.

In order to make this mini-trip happen we had to bribe the kids with ice cream and getting to sleep in their pillow fort they'd made this weekend.

Still a pretty cool experience, though.  We'll try again soon, earlier in the day and when it's less windy.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Poopsie: The Happy Ending

Well, Poopsie's "mother" turned out to be a man named Rick who lives nearby and was at his daughter's volleyball tournament all weekend.  The little dog actually belongs to Rick's college-aged son, who is away at school and blissfully unaware of any of his beloved Poopsie's misadventures this weekend.  I figured all of this out by taking Poopsie to a local vet, where they effortlessly scanned him for a microchip and made a few short phone calls.  So much for making flyers, taking to the streets, or dealing with the pound!

So, yay.  He was reunited with his grateful owner(s).

But not before he made himself at home in my house.  I had to let him inside for a few minutes before his peeps came to claim him; apparently Poopsie has "mad ups" and can jump over our fence somehow--I discovered this by answering a gentle rapping at the garage entry door, and there he was, despite my having secured all backyard exits!  ("Tis the wind, and nothing more!"  -Poopsie)

" 'Sup?"

Oh, and Poopsie's real name is Sly.  Like a fox.

Somehow, I doubt this is the last we'll see of Sly.

Sunday, March 30, 2014


Last night, Joe and I went for a walk for our date night.  We found a dog.  He was trying to commit suicide 'neath the fast-moving tires on a busy thoroughfare.

None of the other good samaritans involved in talking him off the proverbial ledge would bring him home for the night.  "My dog would eat him!" was one lady's excuse reason.  So we're stuck with him for the moment while we plaster our entire community (including the virtual community, via Craigslist, and local Facebook/Twitter Found Pets pages) with FOUND DOG posters.

We're tentatively calling him Poopsie.  The name came from Joe's spot-on prediction that he would thank us for rescuing him by pooping in our garage.

Also, he's a Poopsie because he's clearly somebody's Little Poopsie of a dog.

Incredibly well-groomed and clean (at least, until he rolled in something in our backyard).  Strawberry blonde fur that is glossy like a fox's.  Pert, pointed little fox ears.  Collar but no ID tag.  Curly little tail that hangs ever just so.  And the sky-high, largely unfulfilled expectations of sitting in my seat, sleeping in my house, and/or finding a dog treat in my hand at any given time.

And did I mention that Elise is obsessed with him?  He's been on so many walks today (well, I guess she alternated between carrying him and pulling him in the wagon, so it doesn't really count as a walk) he must be exhausted, dahlings.

I hate to bring him to the local, high-kill animal shelter, so hopefully his owner will respond to the queries soon.

Poopsie, where is your mother?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Gypsy That I Was

I bought Zach a new toy from the children's secondhand store.  It's something I always stuck my nose up about, swore I would never buy, and I made it all the way through three kids' infancies before breaking down and getting one.

"I entertain myself!"
The beauty of the exersaucer (or whatever the heck it's called) can't be denied, though.  Due to its orbiting "sidecar" configuration, this gigantic baby-holder contraption allows him to amuse himself for a few full minutes by satisfying his wanderlust and containing him.  No, I'm not getting paid to plug this thing.  It's just cool.

In other news, James and Elise got awards at school this week; James for social studies and Elise for math.  Will didn't get an award this time and was totally happy for his siblings anyway less than thrilled.

However, that awards ceremony was right after the Y-Guides Olympics, in which Will won three medals, Elise got one, and James got none.  James was making the same face as Will stood atop the podium, decorated with all the bling and glory a gold medal in the 3rd grade boys' hula hoop competition can bring.

Ah, it's hard being an almost-Irish twin.

Monday, March 24, 2014


It's come to my attention that, when you type certain words with high frequency, Blogger automatically adorns your post with custom hashtags of those high-frequency words.  It's probably an algorithm that somebody at Google thought up.

Ordinarily this wouldn't be a problem.  "Cool," I'd think.  "They're making my life easier for me, over at Google."  But my last post (entitled "Science Fair: You Are Entering...") *may* have contained the word "diarrhea" a few too many times for comfort, discretion, or general good-taste, because I just saw the following adornment that I did not (I repeat, DID NOT) personally add to my Google plus post:


Once I noticed this ill-advised "auto-hashtag," I laughed until I cried.  The end.

Also, on a hopefully unrelated note, P.S., if your name is Sarah V., I am totally on the frickin' edge of my seat to hear what you are thinking of naming your upcoming BABY BOY!  I am also excited to hear what the Hemsworth-Pataky family is naming their sons, but WAY more excited for Sarah.  Yay!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Science Fair: You are entering a world of feces

The kids are doing science fair projects this year!  Exhausting, but yay!

Adding to the exhaustion: Zach has had an absolutely ridiculous odyssey of diarrhea lately.  Diarrhea in the middle of the night, several times a night.  Never-ending diarrhea.  No-sleep diarrhea.  I've taken him to the doctor FOUR TIMES in the past month--twice to the regular pediatrician, twice to urgent care.  All they did was give me an Rx for butt cream (poor, chapped little butt!) and mumble something about trying to change his formula (stool sample for rotavirus and/or other nasty infections was negative).

It finally ended on Sunday; I've never been so glad to see a diaper full of normal feces in my life, save for when James did his first BM ever.

Would it be horrible if I let one of them look at slides of Zach's poop under a microscope and draw what they saw (if anything)?  I don't think it's a powerful enough microscope to see anything quiiiite as tiny as anything that would cause such havoc.  If I'm wrong, the headline will read, "Local Kids Find Giant Virus in Baby Brother's Stool; Mother Held For Questioning."

Don't worry.  We'd wear gloves and throw away the slides once we were done.  And the junior microscope, and we would probably have to powerwash our kitchen with bleach.

Do they sell hazmat suits at Costco?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Nameberry: Dr. Seuss Names

March 2nd is Dr. Seuss' birthday, but I’ll never forget the day I heard Ted Geisel had died; I was eight.  Mom was crying a little, and I asked her what was wrong.  She said that she’d never written Dr. Seuss thank him for teaching her children to read.  In fact, in my early childhood we pored over Dr. Seuss’s ABC so many times I can still picture which page was torn (the one with the Zizzer Zazzer Zuzz).  As an adult I’ve wanted to thank Dr. Seuss, too, for the wonderful, untold hours I’ve spent reading his books with my own kids.

Everyday Seuss-isms: I’ve angrily called our elder two sons “Thing 1” and “Thing 2” when they’ve Sharpied the carpet.  And as kids, we siblings Laura and Max were often collectively referred to by our dad as “The Lorax.”  The perfect Seuss sibset, we were!

Anyway, I wrote a Nameberry (Berry Juice) post about Dr. Seuss names in celebration of his birthday.  Here's the link:

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Overheard At The Helm

Snippets I happened to overhear from the driver's seat of my Mom Taxi today:

"Fiona [the dog] likes to be surrounded in hotness, so that's why she climbs in Aunt Sophia's purse."

"The cafeteria burgers are either raw or horsemeat.  HORSEMEAT, Mom.  That's illegal."

"I was like, Jeez.  Enough Olympics."

"Bob Costas?  He has pink eye."

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

One, Two, Seven








Elise is seven today!!!  That sentence needs more exclamation marks.  I'll take her seven-year-old picture this evening after we have cake and ice cream, IF she stands still long enough for me to take it.  She is sprinting through life.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Zach in the Box

Or should I say, Zach in the Bask...

"Mommy bought the insanely expensive digital file, but she still insists on taking a cheap-looking snapshot of the print for her blog!"

 "I promise I will give you back these overalls you wore as a baby, Uncle Max.  But you have to come visit first.  Muahahaha!"


Now, for a game of Guess Which Older Sibling? (Photos A-C by our dear friend Jeanne Wood):


A. Elise (duh, she's wearing pink!)
B. Will
C. James

Bonus Question:  Who does Zach resemble most closely?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Getting Pretty (FAIL)

I tried to take Zach to a popular portrait studio today for some littleness pictures.  You know, before he's no longer little.  He is getting longer and more triple-chinny by the day, and I know I'm not taking enough pictures to have a clean conscience.  For it is prophesied that one day will come the hour of RECKONING of the COMPARISON of the BABY BOOKS among siblings (Isaiah 13:44).

Once upon a time we took James' first formal portraits at about 3-4 months, Will's at about 5-6 months, and Elise's at about 2-3 months, so I figured we were due for Zach's.  Round two is traditionally at 12 months of age, so as long as we go before that, we're good.

But today's attempt failed gloriously.

I'd gathered all of the flotsam and jetsam necessary for baby portraits--cute clothes, extra clothes (in case he were to Hot-Karl the clothes he was wearing originally), diapers, wipes, drool cloth, decorative baby shoes, etc. Then, I remembered that I also need pictures of myself--headshots.  Non-hideous headshots for bloggery and garden-variety vanity.  A lovely opportunity to make an effort, appearance-wise.  I threw on some ill-fitting clothes that I didn't used to muffin-top out of, applied eyeliner, mascara, and chapstick, and blow-dried my hair.  Wow, was I getting gussied up now!  Zach obliged by screaming his head off for the duration of the prepwork; he might be getting a tooth and is very, very mad lately when I dare attempt to put him somewhere other than in my arms.

Then, despite our having napped generously this morning, he fell asleep just as we pulled into a parking spot at the mall.  No matter!  I would have my headshots done as mine-angel slept angelically in his carseat, I thought.

Nope.  He woke up in the middle of my session.  Right when I was crossing my arms in front of me for a sassy, no-nonsense, cute Mom Blogger pose.  Dang it when kids get in the way of your sassy, no-nonsense momming!  Also, in case you are wondering, it's impossible to "smile with your eyes" or whatever it is they want you to do when they take your picture, when your five-month-old is yelling boldfaced apocrypha and obscenities in baby language.

But the picture lady persevered and got 'er done.  She probably deserved a medal for how quickly she got me in and out of the portrait area.  And the pictures themselves weren't half bad.  It was just....the subject matter.  I looked...pissed off.  And not at all sassy and authoritative and cute.  So, despite the picture lady's heroic efforts to squeeze me into the schedule and portrait me rapidly and everyone having to listen to Zach scream while Mommy tried to Smize, I didn't buy squat.

We're going back on Friday afternoon, Zach and I.  I might have to bring backup staff (i.e., our older kids) to entertain Zach so I can attempt to prettify myself again.  Gosh, it's hard being a woman of the leisure class sometimes--scrapbooks and blogs don't create themselves, you know.

Edit: I forgot the best part.  I ripped the @ss and crotch of my skinnypants (the ones I had to forcibly put on; that should've been my first hint that they didn't fit anymore, I suppose!) as I was bending over to pick up Zach-attack.  People heard the fabric ripping over the angry Zach noises, I think.  Well, at least I got some mild exhibitionism in that day, if nothing else.

Here's the portrait that Joe took of me later, with his cell phone, once the kids were in bed and it was the hour in which all mothers rejoice.

Say, "Nobody is screeeaaming!"

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


James:  I don't like it when you swear.  How about this--every time you swear, you have to do ten pushups?

Me:  That's a good idea.  Do you think I'll get really big "guns?"  (Flexes arms)

James:  (smiles patronizingly)  Nowadays, they're called "biceps."

Sunday, January 19, 2014

MORE Things My Children Are Never Allowed to Watch (And Why)

Sam & Cat:   My not-quite-seven-year-old daughter has adopted protagonist Cat Valentine's annoying, overly-breathy voice and insipid persona for everyday use.  Also, why should two eighth-graders be living by themselves?

Rabbids Invasion:  Because it isn't nice to laugh at the frustrated, speech-delayed bunnies.

Dr. Seuss' The Cat in the Hat (2003):  A bastardization of a classic in children's literature.  And WTF is going on with your creepy, botoxed cat face in this movie, Mike Myers?

Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000):  Same reasons as above, but it's Jim Carrey in Grinchface for this one.  Woulda been better if it were just Carrey's own Grinchy facial expressions, without the latex joker jowls.  Also, G-d dammit, Cindy Lou Who is supposed to be aged 2, not 6.  You just don't mess with a masterpiece.  Ted Geisel might have appreciated the Martha May Whovier sidestory, though.

Sid The Science Kid:  Too inane for even its 3-5 year old target audience.  Something awry with Teacher Susie's eyes.  Unintentionally hilarious explanation of food decomposition in episode entitled, "It's Not Scary, It's Decayed" (

Sanjay and Craig:  I'm from the Ren & Stimpy era of kid TV shows, and I still find this show to have a disgustingly large amount of vomit humor (not that a bit of well-placed vomit humor is necessarily a terrible thing, but snake-vom shouldn't be a recurring gag).   Not sure what the deal is with "Baby" Richard.

Annoying Orange:  Reasons too obvious to list here.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Other L-Word

We have lice.  LICE.

There.  I've said it.  Of course, it had to happen right after we bought a brand-new set of couches (our very first real furniture that didn't come from Goodwill or someone else's garage--please note we'll have been homeowners for 10 years this coming fall).  Now back to vacuuming, doing a metric ton of laundry, slathering a little baby's scalp in preventive oils, and forcefully raking a tiny comb over people's heads.  And nit-grabbing.  And shuddering in disgust.

See you in, like, a longity long time.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

MSU Baby Names

*Update: Joe's cousin just welcomed a gorgeous little baby girl with an adorable MSU name: Breslyn.  Go Green!*

I tried to write another article for Nameberry but they rejected it (*hangs head*).  I wrote it because I got really excited about MSU-inspired names while we were at the (cough! cough!) ROSE BOWL, in ROW SEVENTEEN, watching one of the most exciting sporting events I've ever seen.  In case you didn't hear, somehow we won.  Must've been all the team spirit demonstrated by the fans, methinks.

Amazing seats courtesy of Chuck and Kay; amazing weather courtesy of Pasadena.
Anyway, here's the article.

Spartan Spirit!  Notable MSU Names

Michigan State University beat Stanford in a 24-20 nail-biter at the 2014 Rose Bowl.  In honor of this spectacular upset, here are some wearable, MSU-inspired names for little Spartan fans.

Malcolm (G. Malcolm Trout):  George Malcolm Trout was a renowned dairy researcher, emulsion chemistry expert, and developer of the process by which milk is homogenized.  He was a food science professor at Michigan State for half a century.  Could his last name, Trout, be worn on a boy, as could Bear, Fox, or Wolf?

Izzo (Tom Izzo):   Well-beloved basketball coach who has led the Spartans to six Final Four appearances and 16 consecutive runs in the NCAA Tournament.  Mateen Cleaves, Plaxico Burress and Earvin “Magic” Johnson are other high-achieving Spartan men’s athletics names.  Speaking of sports leadership, on the heels of Finn and Flynn could be the last names of venerated former athletic director and football coach Clarence Lester “Biggie” Munn and Olympic sprinter Savatheda Fynes

Willie (Willie Laurence Thrower): The first black quarterback to play in the Big Ten, Willie Thrower was said to be capable of hurling the ball over a distance of 60 years.  His skills were instrumental to the 1952 national championship win for the Spartans.  Although Connor Cook and Mark Dantonio were the major names of the 100th Rose Bowl Game, maybe the nickname name Willie will catch on in the U.S. as well as Freddie and Alfie have in the U.K.

Brody, Wilson, and Mason are dorm-inspired names that enjoy a healthy popularity outside of the MSU crowd.  The enormous Brody Neighborhood consists mostly of freshman living quarters, but on the upside, it is close to the iconic Red Cedar RiverRed, Cedar, and River would be much better names for contraband guinea pigs smuggled into a Brody Complex room than for triplet boys, though.

Vim: In the fight song refrain “Spartan teams are bound to win/ we’re fighting with a VIM (Rah! Rah! Rah!)”, there is a word of relatively recent (1843) origin.  According to Mirriam-Webster online, vim is “robust energy and enthusiasm”.  These days, it seems to have little usage outside of lyrics and poetry (as in Dr. Seuss’ “vigor and vim” in Horton Hears a Who), but vitality is an attribute that is hoped for by many parents.  See also: Johnny Spirit (a.k.a, John Sheldon), legendary body paint enthusiast and die-hard MSU sports attendee who has embodied superfandom since 1993; Eli Broad, cum laude graduate, billionaire, and arts philanthropist.


Linden: A tree, a famous East Lansing street near the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Grand River, and an excellent place to party.  If you adore your Aunt Linda who went to Michigan State (I do!), consider naming your little girl Linden and calling her Lindy for short.

Maude Gilchrist, Elida Yakeley, and Mary Anne Mayo are three important women in early MSU history for whom the West Circle residence halls are named.  (Elida may be a variant of Elidi, which is thought to be related to the Ilida Valley in Greece.)  Accomplished female graduates also include HGTV and Food Network founder Susan Packard (’79, ‘81), an advocate for women in business, and Julie Aigner-Clark (‘88), 2009’s Entrepreneur of the Year.

Lou Anna (Lou Anna Simon):  This sweet double-barreled name consists of the cute Lou paired with the evergreen charmer Anna, and President Lou Anna Kimsey Simon has been a boon to the university with her aggressive support for research in the sciences.  (Full disclosure: Dr. Simon is my distant relative.)  Names with a farm and country feel, like Lilah Mae and Lulah Mae, are all the rage for baby girls in mid-Michigan right now (at least among my large extended family and that of my husband).  Another name with notable family ties is Clara Bell Smith, late mother of NBA player and former Michigan State All-American Steve Smith; the Student Athlete Support Services center (Clara Bell Smith Center) was named in her honor.  Perhaps Clara Bell or Lou Anna will inspire the names of the next generation of women in the MSU family. 

Hannah (John Alfred Hannah): An administrator and longest-serving president of the university, Hannah is largely responsible for having brought MSU into the research age.  He also served as president of the USAID and as an administrator of the UN World Food Council.

Aggie: Agricultural College of the State of Michigan was founded in 1855 as the first land grant university in the United States.  Owing to the school’s agricultural science roots, “Aggies” (farmers) was its original nickname.  This evolved to “The Michigan Staters”, and ultimately, the Spartans, after the school transitioned from Michigan Agricultural College (MAC) to the names of Michigan State College and Michigan State University, respectively.  Texas A&M, Utah State, and New Mexico State currently share the Aggies nickname.  Aggie is decidedly girly, but the retro Mac might make an adorable unisex nickname for a baby born into a family with an affection for East Lansing.

Me, Joe, and James, at the alumni meet in 2004.

Zach, rooting for the home team in 2014.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Photo Book

I made a photo book thingy for my mom, my Grandma JuJu, Joe's parents, and my dad.  Happy early Christmas, if you're peeking at this, and sorry for spoiling the surprise.  Never could keep a secret.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Nameberry Blog Post

I got to do a blog post for Nameberry!

In case you aren't already obsessed with it, Nameberry is a highly addictive name site.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Misheard Lyrics: Kid Version

"Two turtle-dogs, and a partridge in a pear tree!" -Elise, singing

"Go right thru for MSU, watch the people growing..." -James, singing and banging a drum, when he was about two and-a-half

"Up above the world so high, like a dinosaur in the sky..."  -Will, singing, when he was about two

"It's CACK-tivated, not captivated!" -Elise, correcting her friend as they stared at Zach on the car ride home from school

Thursday, October 31, 2013


"I just blew a booger out of my nose and it was white!" -Will, bemoaning an apparent drawback of white grease "zombie" makeup

"Guess what that song's about?  Wetting the bed!"  -James, on the Violent Femmes' Blister in the Sun

Scary zombies were all the rage in our neighborhood this Halloween.  While our kids were regular, run-of-the-mill, Martha Stewart Everyday-wear zombies, one of their buddies was a 'rock & roll' zombie with a guitar prop.  And another zombie friend seemed to have the blood spatter and oatmeal gore thing down to a science.

Zach wasn't a zombie, though.  Couldn't bring myself to put grease makeup on a two-month-old baby, so we Goodwilled it until we found something in the 0-6 months size range.  He was, quite charmingly, a baby pumpkin.

But I'm seeing a theme costume in our family's future: zombie football players, zombie referees, a zombie cheerleader, and a baby zombie football.

Will and James, looking more Charlie Sheenish than I'm comfortable with.

Zach attack, calling it a night after handing out candy with me.

Left to Right: James, Faded Scarecrow stolen by the men's swim team that was accidentally moved with us to the West Coast, Will, Elise's BFF, and Elise.  F. Scarecrow has seen better days.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

My Little Pony

Zach farts a lot.  Most of the time, whether he is awake or mostly asleep, he is farting or trying hard to fart.  The result is that he sounds like a grunting, straining, whinnying little pony.  Poor, gassy little baby!

"Za--a--a--ach Baxter!" [whinny whinny whinny]

It is weird.  Our other kids' repertoire of noises at 6 weeks old included "Donald Ducking" (James), bleating like Stevie Nicks in a South Park Episode (Will), and saying "Nah!  Nah!" in ultra-feminine fashion when crying (Elise).  But not sounding equine.  I am starting to wonder if something is wrong with him.  He coos, rolls over from front to back, cries, eats, poops, and pees just fine.  He smiles (and my heart doth sing!).  He is gaining weight well and growing tremendously.  But seriously, most of his time is spent grunting and whinnying and trying to expel something'r'uther from his bottom.  Should I look into whether the Guinness Book has a record for this sort of thing: most farts per kilogram of infant body weight in a 10-consecutive-minute period?

I do remember James farting a lot, too, and it was shocking and hilarious because it usually sounded so deep that it should have been coming from an adult's anus.  Thus began one of the primal bonding activities between father and child(ren).  Nowadays, farts are the comedic glue that holds our family together.  But We The Parents have long since stopped laughing at Zach, because he does it so often!  How can so much bad air come from such a tiny digestive tract?

One of my favorite things to do with my husband only forms of recourse against Joe's ubiquitous farts is to immediately tell him what his most recent emanation sounded like.  My God, that sounded just like a towel ripping in half.  Jeez, that was totally just like someone stomping on an empty juice box with both feet.  Air letting out of the stretched neck of a giant, "punching bag" balloon.  Marbles hitting a tile floor.  Lotion being pumped out of an almost-empty bottle of Jergen's.  Somebody squeezing a cat.  A note blown into a recorder with all of its finger holes uncovered.  A full cup of Top Ramen being thrown at the wall.  Marge Simpson's moan of skepticism.

Zach's farts sound like Marge Simpson's voice actress blowing bubbles through a straw into a jar of spaghetti sauce.  Or Donald Duck playing the "cat bagpipes" while Huey, Dewey, and Louie wail in protest.  Maybe I will switch him to some kind of formula, because apparently my breastmilk is filled with helium bubbles or whatever offensive liquid it is Marge Simpson is gargling with.