Carrie has been planning her own birthday parties for several years now. For those of us who believed she'd never top the Chinese pony party, well, we were wrong.
HPD Officer brought K-9 Gunner to meet everyone. He answered dozens of questions (from kids and adults) and even brought the birthday girl a Houston Police K-9 tee shirt!
Pretty wow, right? Happy 7th birthday, Carrie!
Copies of my chapbook "Dear Red Airplane" arrived in today's mail. The book is published by Seven Kitchens Press. I say the chapbook is out--which is true--however it is already sold out. Seven Kitchens is a micro-press, and they specialize in publishing artful booklets in very small print runs. All the copies sold during the pre-order phase. If you'd like to encourage the editors to do a reprint, you can contact them here.
You may recall that it was Carrie who planned my birthday party this year so you might assume that her own birthday would receive even greater enthusiasm. And you'd be right!
Carrie's party theme was... interesting. As in, very. Have you ever been to a Chinese horse party? This five-year-old loves horses, and she's learning Chinese (or at least she thinks she is). So in addition to the trusty steed pictured below, she had the bakers draw a picture of a horse with the Chinese symbol for horse beside it. We gave chopsticks, Chinese candy, and fortune cookies for party favors. Carrie help choose everything for the great occasion.
There are many more photos of the Chinese lanterns, petting zoo, and birthday cake on Marcia's facebook page.
They say that every young girl imagines themselves a princess, but I never did. Just to verify this assertion, I double-checked in with my mom. She confirms it. This Baba skipped the princess phase with no regrets.
Of course They say a lot of things, but I suppose that most of them are true.
Here's the story of my recent birthday. I walked into the house at 5:30 pm on a Wednesday afternoon. Pearl and Marcia were doing the usual things, and Carrie was *hiding* behind a chair. She jumped out, yelling in her loudest voice: SURPRISE!
Carrie (let's call her Party Planner Junior) had worked out everything--decorations, food, and activities. Baba's favorite color might be blue, but at this birthday party, all was pink, pink, pink. Everyone got a pink princess cap except for me--as the honoree, I got to wear the tiara.
We ate drank, ate, opened presents, and other jolly activities. Then the two younger princesses performed a special birthday dance for the elders. Carrie seemed to be air-bending while Pearl's moves resembled break-dancing.
And while the royal children "did their thing" so did the royal kittens. Napping in the laundry, naturally.
For this *princess*, parenting has taught me one thing: never say never. Celebrate.
We moved. Correction: we moved!
I asked Marcia to make a list of what she likes about the new pad. Here's her list:
Papa and Nana came to help us move. (Nana and Papa rule!) Here's Nana's list:
I asked Pearl for her list but she was in dog mode and all her answers were in a foreign language, i.e. barking. I waited a day, and she made this list.
I like the bunk beds, and I like the trash can because it opens "like this." [In the kitchen one of the cabinets pulls out and is a trash can. Top secret!]
Yes, SIX! Can you believe it?
Birth of Pearl (2004) with special recipe for smothered okra
Kindergarten has been a great year for Pearl, so far. She loves it all!
This past weekend our friend Kevin gave Pearl and a dozen other neighborhood kids their first surfing lesson. We traveled the one hour to Galveston beach in a caravan of minivans and station wagons. Marcia and I were amazed that Pearl not only stood up on the surfboard but stayed up. We, the parents, were squealing like teeny boppers at a Jonas Brothers concert. Pearl, however, remained completely nonchalant. Just another day.
How did we get here?
Tonight was the first parent night at Pearl's new school, so Marcia and I both attended, and Marty the babysitter came to hang out with Pearl and Carrie. We are delighted with all the people at the school and feel fortunate to be a part of the community. The teachers are professional and passionate and attuned to the individual child. Our teacher said she wanted to be Lucy Caulkins when she grew up. I was impressed with that.
Nevertheless, the feeling of being parents in a PTA is a bit of a shock to the system. We didn't notice any other two-mom or two-dad families at the event. The discomfort was nothing a good frozen margarita with salt ($4 special on Ladies Night) couldn't quell however. When we got home, the babysitter told us Pearl's last words before she went to sleep. She sat up in bed and screamed: MARTY, I'M IN KINDERGARTEN!!!
1. Pearl starts kindergarten in one week! Pearl starts kindergarten in one week! Pearl starts kindergarten in one week! I'm hyperventilating. Is this for real?
1.5. Both girls will be at new schools. Also they will not be at the same school. Lots of change.
2. The girls took swimming lessons in June and August. They've made a lot of improvement with the help of their cool teacher whose name btw is Cricket.
3. BAD news: Lori Hahn might stop blogging! Make her feel the love!
4. My knee is bothering me.
5. Next month Marcia and I are going on a getaway. Yes, a weekend away. Just us! If you have suggestions for a wondrous destination, let us know. Both of our passports have expired, so it can't be in a foreign country.
For the last month of summer vacation, Marcia got an idea. She got the idea from our friend Annie's SprogBlog. Annie tells about her children's amazing hikes and feats in the wilderness. Annie believes that achieving a big challenge over the summer helps a child start the new school year with greater self-confidence. Makes sense, right?
Marcia read to the girls some of the stories about Aidan and El. Then she asked Pearl and Carrie to come up with a challenge for themselves. Pearl said she wanted to learn some tricks in skateboarding. Carrie said she wanted to try to ride a horse. They both want to improve their swimming. Carrie wants to go camping in the living room. Pearl also wants to "climb to the top of the Grand Canyon."
Except for the Grand Canyon one, all the suggestions seemed within reason. So as I go to work each weekday, the grrrls are blazing trails all around H-town. Watch out for them!
This year Monday, June 1st, is Blogging for LGBT Families Day 2009. It is also Marcia and my 12th anniversary. Lots to celebrate today--love, families, and happiness.
Marcia and I first met because two of our mutual friends wanted us to meet. It was awkward and artificial. It was not a date, but it was most certainly SET UP. We were helping one of the aforementioned mutual friends move into a new apartment. We "ended up" in the same car for each run. It was 5 months later that we decided that maybe they were right. I guess they were.
Last year we both forgot our anniversary. We managed a little better this year, even arranging a date night at an outdoor concert featuring Esperanza Spalding this past weekend. A dozen years together. That's something, I think. Something big. Wow.
Love is what it's all about.
Thanks, sweetie. And happy anniversary!
I've always appreciated Marcia. Well, almost always. But this past weekend the appreciation was manifold!
Up until now, I've been the solo parent for no more than a single night. This weekend Marcia went to an unofficial college reunion and was gone four days. Yes, readers, FOUR DAYS! [Insert violin music here.]
At the same time, my G-dmother, who lives in Dallas, was celebrating her 75th birthday by doing her bat mitzvah. Much of my family was attending so I loaded up the kids and drove to the Big D.
As you might already know, the bar/bat mitzvah ceremony is traditionally a coming of age ritual. The adult bat mitzvah has become more common in recent years because most of Judaic history was not as Equal Opportunity as today's Judaism. Aunt Elise started studying Torah a year or two ago. Her children, her grandchildren, her brothers-in-law and cousins and all done their bar/bat mitzvah, and she decided that she could do it too. And so she did.
The service was very beautiful. The musicians played guitar, flute, and drums, the singers were all women, and the songs were more like Debbie Friedman compositions, rather than the traditional cantorial style. And although Aunt Elise, through date of birth and luck of the draw, got the most boring Torah portion ever, she somehow still managed to deliver a poignant, thought-provoking, and moving sermon. Congrats, to my wonderful g-dmother!
As for solo parenting, the challenges were many, but nobody got hurt. At the hotel, my brother told me in the first hour that one his goals for the weekend was to give his kids (four of them, twins Pearl's age and twins Carrie's age) as much pool time as he could so they'd be comfortable in the water before starting swim lessons next week. That sounded good to me so I quickly adopted this goal for our family and spent many hours in the water.
The benefits of this plan were (at least) two-fold. Not only do the girls seem ready to become starfish next week, but they were also SO tired by bedtime that they didn't even miss Marcia. At least they didn't mention it.
That, friends, was my Marcia Appreciation Weekend. On Monday (Memorial Day) we were all happy to be reunited in H-town.
Photos by David Reagler (a.k.a. Dad/Pop)