Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

I didn't actually say this in that last post, so here ya go-- HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Rock n Romp 4

So Saturday we had the last Rock n Romp of the year. The weather cooperated fully this time. The kids all wore their costumes, and the music was really great. I have no photographic evidence, but I put together the haunted house (Wendy's shed) which the kids seemed to love. And by love, I mean they all flailed about recklessly inside it while screaming at the top of their lungs the whole day.

Chess Club was really great...

There was bovine beating on the banging wall...

Charlie managed to integrate his barf catcher with his lion costume...

Connor was Bob the Builder (again... definitely time to retire that costume) while his best bud Max was Batman. There's a joke about Batman and a builder somewhere in there, but I can't seem to find it.

And of course there was Jiro, aka Chucky, who couldn't stop himself from going after the brew. He says "Man, forget this candy-- just gimme some brew!" (See the Dining With Monkeys review of Bosco's
for more info on Jiro's love of a fine ale. Really Stacey, it's not your fault.)

It was really a great time. It feels good to have helped start something great in Memphis-- something that supports Memphis music, shackled parents, and their live-music-deprived-offspring. Can't wait to get it going again next year.

Monday, October 30, 2006


Connor has been celebrating Halloween for a week now. Tomorrow will be his fourth party!

Chloe doesn't know much about the candy, but she thinks her outfit is pretty funny.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Great Pumpkin

We have been putting off the transition to fall this year- going to the beach in October really keeps you in a summer frame of mind- but this weekend we couldn't deny the season. The air was crisp, the leaves are changing, and we finally bought a pumpkin. Connor was beside himself trying to pick out the biggest one, but we managed to talk him into something reasonable.

It looks like Connor is willing to wear a costume this year in the pursuit of his passion- candy. We have two trunk-or-treat events we are hoping to attend this week, one on Wednesday at Idlewild and one Sunday at the neighborhood church that sponsors the pumpkin patch we recently visited. Connor will also be in costume Saturday for the Rock n Romp (as will Chloe), and of course next Tuesday for the party at school. Our neighborhood is usually disappointing for trick-or-treating, so we'll play it by ear Tuesday night. If you know of any other hot spots we should visit, let me know. And stay tuned for pictures of Connor sorting his candy into neat piles while his mother smiles approvingly.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Leaping Forward

I don't really have anything else to say about the beach, but these pictures are pretty cute so I thought I'd stick them in here.

Chloe has been crawling around backwards for about a month now. I thought she might finally start moving forward when we were on vacation, but she wasn't quite ready. Her teachers kept telling me that once she moved up to Nursery II with the other crawling babies, she'd pick it up in no time. Well, she started in the new classroom last Monday, and last Monday night came home and started crawling around the den. Part of me was impressed, but another part of me was concerned by how easily she caved to peer pressure. Hopefully the kids in Nursery III don't sneak out during naptime to smoke.

When we saw the Smiths recently, Connor was blown away by Francie's "pattycake" abilities. He has spent weeks talking about how Beth's baby can clap and play pattycake. Much to her big brother's delight, Chloe decided to start clapping on Saturday afternoon. Of course it continued for some time after she saw the reaction she got from Connor. If you think she's easily swayed by her classmates, you should see her around her hero, Connor. Someday they are going to gang up on me, and it's not going to be pretty.

Chloe's other accomplishment on Saturday was to successfully cut a tooth without losing any sleep or being drugged in any way. She just woke up Saturday and there it was. In fact, she was way fussier about her mouth the weekend before- I guess she's gotten used to the pain by now. I left her at daycare this morning with her whole fist crammed in her mouth, so there should be another one in there before long.

So basically in the course of a week she went from scooting around the carpet to crawling all over the house and sticking everything into her mouth that she can find. Look out, Clark!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Go Red Team!

Although Connor has watched hundreds of football games in his short lifetime, he had never actually seen a game live. So we took the kids to Rhodes to see some hard-hitting Division III action on what was a beautiful Saturday afternoon.
I have to say, a football game at Rhodes is a perfect situation for taking your kid to a game. First of all, it's free, so if your kid gives out after 30 minutes or so, you haven't wasted any money. Also, there are plenty of grassy areas around the field to put down a blanket and have a little picnic while your kids run/crawl around. I know Connor wouldn't have made it long sitting in the stands, but he lasted three quarters (and well past nap time).
What Connor liked best about the actual game was all of the yelling- he could hear the quarterback calling the plays, the defense making noise to try to mess with the play-calling, both sidelines hollering and chanting, etc. He thought it was fascinating. He also liked being able to cheer loudly himself, although he felt that each play was a "win" for us and he never quite wrapped his head around the words "Rhodes Lynx."
The other great part of the day was all the other kids who were there. We sat with Jenna and Burke, and Jay, Aggie and Army also showed up (the Eckles clan even gave Chip a tour of the new library!), as well as many other children of varying ages. There were plenty of balls thrown, Doritos eaten, and rolls in the grass taken. Burke made an especially big impression on my kids: Chloe traded toys with him all afternoon, and Connor was surprisingly patient with him. I found out the reason why later: "Mommy, that boy's name is almost Burp!"
Connor made us promise we could come to another game sometime before he would let us leave. He summed up the afternoon for all of us. "I'm glad we went to the football game. I had fun!"

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


My folks rented a swank house in Seaside, Florida, and it was about time for a family vacation.

So we packed up the kids and left Memphis at about 7:00 p.m. Friday night. We took the 2 and a half hour jaunt down to Lexington, MS to spend the night with the Smiths. Connor and Chloe slept pretty much the whole way, since it was bedtime, and the car has that odd sleep-inducing quality... usually. Francie and Delaney are just adorable.

We left Lexington at about 9:00 a.m., with a loooong trip ahead of us. It's all kind of a blur-- a stop at a Wal-Mart parking lot to feed Chloe a bottle, right after Connor puked on his shirt from carsickness comes to mind as being typical of the ride down. And starting about 2 hours before arrival, Connor asking "Is THAT Bwana's beach?" every five minutes. I just gotta say thank GAWD for Andria's trusty DVD player. I can't imagine the hell of a long car ride without it now.

We got to Seaside at 5:30 p.m. The architecture and urban planning there are really something to see (in fact, check it out here.) My sister Cory and her man Chris had just arrived (they were smart and FLEW in from NYC), and we all checked out the house. It was amazing-- better than home in a lot of ways. Four bedrooms, flat screen HDTVs, DVRs, WiFi access, a big balcony, big front porch, and back deck, outdoor showers, loaded gourmet kitchen, Bose radios in every room... ahhhh.

I'd be hard-pressed to blog in detail about the week we spent there, because we just didn't do much besides hang at the beach and pool, drink wine (maybe that's the reason for the lack of details here), and read. Connor just loved the beach. The sand and waves had him so excited he was running around frantically, unable to form complete sentences.

The trip back was way worse-- no rest stop in Lexington, and I'll spare you all the horrible details. Except for this one anecdote, which I need to share for therapeutic reasons.

Steph was driving, and I can't tell you where exactly in Alabama or Mississippi we were, but let's just say it was nowhere near a Wal-Mart. Connor announced that he needed to poop, and saying it more than once over a 5-minute period put the fear of God in me and Steph. We found a very questionable convenience store, and didn't want to be picky about it-- when a boy's gotta poop, you just stop. I took him inside, and looked around for a "restrooms" sign. No signs. I almost walked him into what looked like a storage closet, but it had no "Men" or "Women" sign on it. I dragged Connor up to the counter, and asked the (not-so) nice Mexican lady where her bathroom was, and she gestured back toward the storage closet, saying something in Spanish. I dragged Connor in, and thankfully it was much bigger than it looked from the outside-- the distance from the door to the toilet was a good 15 feet. (This becomes important in a sec.) The floor, sink, and toilet were in a state of fetid foulness that I cannot put into words. I looked for a paper towel to wipe the seat off with, didn't see anything, and decided any further delay was too risky. So I winced and plopped (heh) Connor down on the seat.

Connor commenced his usual slowpoke routine, accompanied by various obscene sounds, while I stood in the already-unbearably-stinky bathroom with him. I looked for TP, to have it at the ready, so as to make a quick exit-- and yep, you guessed it-- none to be found. I convinced Connor that I just HAD to leave him alone in there for a sec so I could find some TP. The Mexican lady just gave me a blank stare when I asked. There was a huge linebacker Mexican guy walking around with a "I own this place and I'm proud of it, gringo" air, and asked him for some TP. He said, and I poop you not, "Is he feeeenished?" Really? So you won't get TP for me unless the boy is finished? Why not get it now!?! I tried to converse further with the guy, but obviously what we had was a failure to communicate. I ran out to the car (full speed-- I seriously feared for Connor's life being left in there alone)to get some wipes, and ran back in. And... the bathroom door was locked. My three-year-old was in the world's most wretched bathroom, in the middle of MissiBama, with only two Mexicans of horrible disposition nearby. I beat on the door and told C it was ok, I was there, and please come open the door. (He's three, does he even know how to unlock a door?) He kept mumbling something, and after what seemed like the longest 45 seconds of my life, the door opened. There's C, with his shorts around his ankles, poop all over him, a worried look on his face. Fifteen feet from the potty to the door we walked, with his shorts around his ankles. He took care of the remaining business he had to do, and let's just say I didn't endeavor to clean up any of the mess he had made all over the toilet. We're about to walk out and he says "Daddy, I need to wash my hands." I look at the filthy sink and of COURSE there's no soap AND no paper towels. I just whisked him up and ran out. Back in the car, and I think we actually peeled out when leaving that horrible, horrible place.

OK, I feel better now.

Despite the trips there and back, it was just a wonderful, peaceful vacation. I can't wait to do it again. Next time, we'll drive overnight, so the monkeys will sleep the whole time.