Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I Thought You Were A Paper Bag

My darling Nibblet, fieriest of Fiery Ones, turned the big TWO last Saturday! It was a week-long celebration full of cake and toys and singing, as any birthday week should be.

Her official party was on Saturday, featuring some so-so pizza (note to self ... never again buy pizza topped with eggplant!), a Thomas cake, and a few friends and their parents.

I was all geared up to try to make a giant Thomas face out of icing, but as the day approached, I felt more and more certain that it would end up ghoulish and terrifying. I envisioned a crowd of toddlers grinning in eager anticipation as the cake was brought out, only to moments later all burst into fearful shrieks and sobs and run away. So it was a relief when my friend Rachel gave me the idea of just using a toy. Whew! So much less counseling in the long run.

Here's big brother helping Mommy with the frosting.

And later helping Daddy put together Elsbeth's little playhouse, her gift from us.

Earlier in the week we hosted playgroup at our house - I think the final kid count was 15! - that included a vat of macaroni and cheese and cupcakes.

For some unknown but hilarious reason, Elsbeth calls cupcakes "buttcakes" and for days after the playgroup party she kept saying, "Happy birthday buttcakes turn candle off." It was funny every time.

Amazingly, even with 15 kids plus mommies, we had a few buttcakes left over, so we made them the grand finale to our Stone Mountain picnic the next day.

I can't believe how much this girl has changed in the last year. I found myself thinking of her as 2-years-old months ago with all her talking and independence. She's gone from demanding to be on my hip every moment to running and leaping and saying, "Do it self!" with fierce determination. She has gotten quite tall (we'll see just how tall in a couple weeks) and her few wisps have grown long and are slowly getting thicker. She has 12 teeth, soon to add the 4 canines currently pushing their way through. She loves music and can (I think) sing the whole alphabet song herself. She's also really into her books these days and often wants to hold one to read "by self" while I read her another one. She enjoys her little routines, often chanting about how we go to swim lessons on Thursdays or that we'll watch Thomas after bath time. She also really loves her brother, which is just the best, and she's getting better and better at apologizing to him and giving him kisses after whacking him with something.

I simply adore her personality (in the moments when I'm not using all my will power to keep from smothering her because she's screaming in hysterical rage and beating the side of my face with a credit card while I try to check out books for Andrew at the library.) She is amazingly loving and affectionate (when not enraged) and she makes me laugh all the time ... my favorite thing. Just looking at her little grin makes me want to snatch her up and squeeze her and cover her face with kisses. I am so deeply grateful for my girl.

We all love you wildly, Elsbeth Ashton Mobley! You light up our lives!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

It's OK. I Make Lamb

Alright, everyone take your seat for the next installment of "Phil and Christy Are Out Of Their Gourds!" Very good. Let's begin. It's Sunday afternoon and Phil is not here. He wasn't here yesterday, either. "Why?!" you wonder anxiously. " How can this be?! After a very full week of work and traveling for Daddy/Husband, what in the world could keep him from this precious family time?" Well folks, Phil has been very busy at his ...

... motorcycle training class! (Poor soul, I made him get on the thing last night in his pajamas for this post. I'll put a much cooler picture of him in his gear soon.)

Apparently this has been bubbling about in his mind for a while, but all it took for it to come to the surface was a mention from me that maybe, once my car needed replacing in a year or two, perhaps it would be kinda nice to get something that would hold more people. You know, for when family visited or I needed to pick up one of Andrew's friends or whatever. Within a week he had sold his precious BMW (something I still can't believe he did) and with the proceeds purchased me an Acura MDX (LaFawnda) and himself a motorcycle (yet to be named). The plan is that he'll ride the motorcycle to the bus stop on pretty days and take dear old Strider (my X-Terra) on inclimate ones. He claims it's to save money on gas, but I'm pretty sure he just needed it to go with his ...

... awesome tattoo!!! Early mid-life crisis you ask? Nah. He's just trying to keep up with his super hip wife and ...

... her awesome tattoo!!! And let the record show that I got mind first, after many deep sighs and head-shaking from Phil. Then, naturally, he was so overcome by my hipness that he needed to get one for himself. My four little sparrows represent me and the three precious ones that share the nest with me. I'm the one farthest on the right, looking off in into the distance and thinking about pie. Phil is right below me looking at Andrew, both presumably planning their next big "Angry Pigs" game session on the iPhone. Els is up high, about to fly off my shoulder, full of zest for life.

And finally (I know the mind reels that there could be more), I have decided to become a ...

... wilted stalk of celery!!! Wait, no. A vegetarian!!!

Hmm, you look surprised. Is it because before today the only official "interest" in my profile was bacon? Or is it because only a few months ago I had my own beloved pet in a roasting pan? In truth, I'm pretty surprised myself. I'll give you the short version of how this came about.

Years ago Phil read this article to do with caring about the treatment of animals, specifically in the food industry. At about the same time, I was watching some really high-brow television show ... I think it was Wife Swappers ... where some gun carrying hunting fanatic dude was suddenly forced to join this group of people on a quest to save an abused and nearly dead cow from a factory farm. The dude ended up bottle-feeding the cow and feeling a little more softness for the creatures while I sat in horror, never having heard of a factory farm. Phil and I talked about it here and there, but I was busy with little people and he was busy with work and running. Then about a month ago I sent a message to a friend of mine in Virginia who cares very deeply about animal welfare and asked her about some stuff and did some preliminary research on the computer. Phil and I decided to be deliberate about only eating meat and animal products that came from farms where the animals were treated well.

Then I got this book. And now I'm a vegetarian. :-) No judgement on the meat-eaters! I just got sad. Sad about death and suffering in general. Sad about all the abuse and neglect and cruelty in this broken world. And I read about this world and decided it sounded mighty fine ...

"'Never again will there be in it an infant who lives only a few days or an old man who does not live out his years ... Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking, I will hear. The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, and dust will be the serpent's food. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain,' says the Lord." (Isaiah 65:20, 24-25)

My motorcycle riding, tattoo-wearing man is being very supportive, bless him, and he hasn't even read the turn-you-vegetarian book yet. I'm in the process of a complete meal-plan overhaul ... very interesting, and kind of exciting (here at the beginning at least). I just bought an eggplant for the first time. Andrew was thrilled and declared he was going to eat the whole thing for supper ... a likely story. I tried Moroccan Winter Squash and Carrot Stew with Quinoa a couple nights ago. Doesn't that sound ... insane?

Here's Phil preparing to take his first bite.

But you know what, it was good! A little spicy for me, but we both liked it quite a bit overall. (The kids had macaroni and cheese.)

Today the kids and I had our traditional Sunday pancakes and I decided to give these bad boys a go.

That one got a collective "Ew."

I ate mine and thought, "Weird. I hope the kids will eat them."

Andrew took his first bite and said, "Mmmmmm!"

I think, "Yea! Andrew likes the weird soy fake meat! This transition is going to be a piece of cake."

Andrew took another bite, more cautiously, and asked, "What's in this? Is it the same thing they have in the sausage at the Waffle House?"

"Hm? Oh, um, I think they might be made a little differently than the Waffle House ones. Does it taste different?" I reply casually with an air of complete innocence.

Andrew then declares he would like it better if it wasn't burned and decided to go for another pancake instead. Elsbeth took one bite, pulled it back out of her mouth and said, "Don't like it."

Shiloh thought we were being very snooty about the whole thing and snarfed his sample with gusto.