Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Unicorn and the Penguin

On the Tuesday after Memorial Day, Idlewild Children's Center promotes its students to the next classroom. Finally- both my kids at the same school! What a wonderful year this will be!

Over the course of the last month or so, I've been taking Chloe in the Unicorn Room to get a feel for the surroundings and the fabulous teachers. Last week we went every day, and I would leave her as I took Connor to his classroom. She cried the first couple of times, but was over it by the end of the week. That made Tuesday super-easy! She did the obligatory reaching and whining as I said "bye" and walked out the door, but turned it off as soon as I was out of sight. I think she was just trying to make me feel good about our relationship. When I picked her up I was told that she ate all of her lunch, including an extra half of a turkey sandwich (in addition to the whole she had already eaten), had slept for two hours without the help of the pacifier, and didn't cry once. When I walked in, instead of jumping into my arms, she hopped up and started pointing at things and animatedly telling me about the classroom and her day. Here's hoping they teach her some words in this class- she really wants to communicate.

Note: Those of you with sharp eyes probably noticed that's not a picture of Chloe. For reasons explained over at Urf!, I didn't get a picture of her on her first day at Idlewild. So there's a picture of Connor on his first day as a Unicorn instead. Isn't that shirt cute? I handed it down to a friend, and saw him in it just last week and said, "Connor wore that his first day in a new class!" I've already forgotten what Chloe wore Tuesday. Let's hope it was clean.

To make up for it, I'll put a picture of her gorgeous hair in Connor's paragraph. At least the parts of her life we do manage to document are recorded in much higher quality.

Connor's first day as a Penguin (Forensic Scientist? It's been documented that I think they gave up too quickly once they got to the 3- and 4-year-old class names.) did not go as smoothly. For one thing, I knew he'd had no lunch- turkey sandwiches? Please. Then before we had even left the building he said, "I cried about you at nap time. I thought you would come get me." We had never discussed that as a possibility, but apparently he didn't like his new surroundings or teachers and just wanted to leave. In the car he said that the new teacher (of the two, he already knows one) was nice, but he still didn't like her. Connor is just scared of everything these days, even a move along with all his friends to a classroom two feet away. By Wednesday afternoon he was much more comfortable, although still a little clingy. It still made me sad on Tuesday, though.

But did I mention this took 15 minutes off my commute? Woohoo!

A Stay-Home Holiday

We made the most of our three-day weekend, even though Connor just can't understand why some random holiday gave us an extra "stay-home day."

Saturday night we took Connor to his first Sunset Symphony. We met the Smiths and their girls, and Sam and his girls, and had a good time watching the air show, looking at the boats, and hearing some music. It would have been better if we had noticed at the drive-thru (rather than at the river) that we were given a burger and fries rather than chicken nuggets, fries and mandarin oranges. Somehow just the fries sustained him, enough to support his healthy fear of the impending fireworks. As promised, we left well before the fireworks began, wearing smiles and glow-in-the-dark bracelets. "That was fun, mama." Good.

Sunday the Smiths came over for "brunch," then headed back to Mississippi as we headed to Germantown, the magical city where our friends have backyard pools. Connor swam with Uncle Cullen all afternoon, threatening several times to jump in without anyone looking despite his tenuous grasp on the concept of not drowning. I was really impressed by his comfort level, as well as his first jump off of a diving board. Not impressed enough to take pictures, though. Chloe had a great time too! Just kidding- she cried just looking at the water, and it took her three hours to let me dip even her toes in. She looked cute in her bathing suit and sun hat, though.

Monday we had a bunch of friends over for a good old-fashioned East Memphis cook-out. In addition to enjoying Mexican-ish food, mojitos, playing outside in only socks, and adult vs. monkey volleyball, we also got to celebrate GK's first birthday. Happy birthday cutie! Thanks to the die-hard Midtown folks who made the drive despite gas being $3.06 a gallon. A little holiday travel never hurt anyone! I hope your kids fell asleep as soon as mine did, leaving you a few minutes to enjoy the holiday alone.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

X-Rated Shower Conversation

A snippet of shower conversation between an almost-4-year-old and his father:

Connor: Daddy, are you peepeeing in the shower?
Me: No, Connor, that's just water running down my body.
C: Oh. Daddy, what's inside a penis?
Me: Ummmmm...
C: I think there's a BONE in there...
Me: Heheh... ummm....
C: Because, sometimes I can feel a bone in there.
Me: Is that so?
C: (pointing) What's in yours?
Me: Ummm....
C: I bet you got a BIG OLE BONE in yours!

Why yes, son, yes I do.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Fridge Poet

As part of the de-cluttering and de-personalization of our house in preparation for putting it up for sale, we took all of the school artwork, pictures of babies, Backstreet Boys magnets (don't ask) and sushi menus off of the refrigerator. This was the last thing we removed:

When we first moved into this house, back in 2001, our good friend Wayne LeeLoy did some house painting for us. During a break in painting, he put that on our fridge.

For some reason, we've left it there all these years. Now Wayne is spreading his poetry in Seattle.

Handy Man

New tile, sink and faucet:

And no, I'm not available to do this/help you do this at your house. Except for Brandon, because he helped me.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Coulda Been a Contender

When I was a kid, I loved MSU Tiger basketball. That's all I had. Then we got a "pro" football team, the USFL's Memphis Showboats. My family had season tickets for the entire tenure of the team. We always arrived early, so we could watch the teams warm up and really get the full experience. But absent any other Memphis teams, I ended up with a strange group of allegiances: My Daddy had always been a Cubs fan, so my brother and I were Cubs fans. I watched a lot of NBA basketball, but found myself following players rather than teams (owing to how I'd gotten to know them through their college game). I liked Dan Marino coming out of Pitt, so I decided to follow him with the Dolphins. Then one day it happened- an NFL team came to Memphis. Most Memphians felt used, knowing the Oilers would only be in town a couple of years before moving to Nashville. I was amazed by this attitude- there was an NFL team playing in Memphis! I went to seven of the eight games played at the Liberty Bowl, before our city's apathy drove the team to Nashville a year early. But I got a taste of what it was like to have my own team, one I could claim legitimately as my "home" team, and it was everything I had hoped. I've followed faithfully, from changing the name, to coming up a yard short, to making it rain.

But still no Memphis team. Not, that is, until the Grizzlies showed up.

We threw ourselves wholeheartedly into the Grizzlies. Who cares that they suck? They have a "Memphis" in front of their team name. They're ours! One of my favorite sporting events ever was the first home playoff game in Grizzlies history. Of course we lost, but who cares? It's just our first of many trips to the playoffs, right? Jerry West has got something up his sleeve that will push us over the edge next year, right? Wrong. The Logo let us down. He let Shane leave. He picked up no one of interest. He put his house on the market, ready to leave us with a team of guys we care nothing about. But we had one last chance. One chance to change the future of this franchise for the next twenty years or so. And owing to stupid, dumb luck, we lost that chance. I can't believe that I let myself believe. That I actually imagined my team with the top pick. Imagined myself really caring about this team, the way I so desperately want to. It's a depressing day for sports fans in Memphis. If you see one, be nice. We need it.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Our First House

As many of you may know, The Chockleyblogs are attempting to get the heck out of our nice East Memphis neighborhood. No, our burglar friends are not the real reason for this, but I can't say they (or he, whatever) haven't provided a gentle nudge. We've long discussed what it would be like "when we live in Midtown," usually in the context of bitching about too much time in the car. Most of what we do-- daycare, Steph's work, my work, friends, shady honky-tonks we frequent-- are in the western half of the city, and we live in the eastern half.

So, around our house we now have lists, spreadsheets, paint splatters, plastic storage bins galore, stuff dragged out of hiding places, cleaning supplies, tools and lots of other stuff that comes with deciding to sell your house. And damaged fingernails. Why is it that the human fingernail is such an essential part of so many home improvement projects?

I'll do another post with pics of my kitchen tiling project, once I get around to taking some. I feel some sense of accomplishment in finishing it, but hate the idea that I did it for someone else's enjoyment.

It's a big deal (for me, at least) to let go of our big house, which was probably always in the wrong place for us. We really poured lots of time and effort into it to make it home. The prospect of doing that all over again, with a house that will probably be considerably smaller, is tough to process, but I know it's time.

This has nothing to do with all that, but I never posted any pics from our friend Charlie's first birthday party.

Charlie picks through his dad's head lice

"See Chloe, you can actually wipe your snot on something as small as this leaf..."

Sunday, May 20, 2007


"It was not cool."

- Connor, telling me the story of when Jiro threw up all over Stacey's car as they arrived at a restaurant Saturday night.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Born a Ramblin' (Wo)Man

With all due respect to the Sports Guy. . .

Thoughts while wondering whether Veronica Mars is going to get picked up for a fourth season:

A while back I said I was going to try and stay up later. Well, I can't. If the second half of any game in the Suns/Spurs series isn't enough to keep me up past 10:30, then nothing is. On the plus side, I do occasionally stay up until 10:30!

Connor and his friends have a really weird social system in place. It involves "being friends" with someone on any given day, meaning that they played together that day. I hear Connor talk about the same few kids, but in the last week I've witnessed one (previously unknown to me) kid repeatedly ask Connor, "Will you be my friend? Can we be friends in the gym?" and heard from a Mom I'd never met that her daughter talks about Connor constantly. Can it be that he's a cool kid at school? Do they have those already at age four? What I wouldn't give to be a fly on the wall in his classroom for a day!

Ever since Chloe turned one, she doesn't sleep right at all. It takes her longer to get to sleep, and she's likely to wake up for long stretches of time during the night. She can never seem to get still. What if she has Restless Leg Syndrome?! Whatever it is, I can't take it anymore.

I think I need to write up a list of blog ideas and hand them off to friends who have time to write about them. Then post them here, of course.

Today I was recognized for five years of "service" at my current place of employment. I was briefly amazed, given my propensity for leaving any given job after two and a half or three years, and then I remembered that I already changed jobs once during my five years. So I guess I'm still as flighty as ever.

Last week we had a rough dining experience at Guadalupana. Read a review of the food and tales of my screaming children at Dining With Monkeys.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Thank you, Mom

Happy Mother's Day! A lot of feel you are struggling to do a good job with your own brood, and don't even realize that the way you support your mama friends is helping their children grow too. Thank you!

I got to spend the day with the two most important mothers in my life. I was looking forward to getting Sherri's advice about the house, and how to get it market-ready. She was a huge help- she validated some of the ideas I had, and gave me lots of expert advice that I would have never come up with on my own. But that's secondary to the fact that she raised Chip to be the man I fell in love with. That's really what we were celebrating today. Thank you!

I got to spend time with my mom today, without any of the kids around. The comfortable way we hang out together is something I take for granted, but I'm so thankful to have it. I told her about one of the things that Shannon admires in her, but I didn't really have the right moment to tell her how much she means to me. So much about who I am comes directly from her- from the way I love my kids to the way I dress. I know women who fear turning into their mothers, and I guess I did to. But I'm glad that I have! It happened seemingly overnight, when Connor was born. Suddenly I knew that my inner Sandra had been waiting inside of me to emerge at this moment. And my kids are luckier for it.

Not to long ago, I had my "aha!" moment regarding my mom. It was Thanksgiving, and a friend of Mom's was spending it with us because her family was going to be away that weekend. As we do every year, we wanted to make sure everyone had a place to be on that special day. This friend had recently had surgery, and over after-dinner coffee she talked about how impressed she was with Mom's friendship during that difficult time. "She came to the hospital, and sat with my son for hours until the surgery was over! I was shocked to find she was still there, and so glad to know my son hadn't been alone." I was really surprised- not that my mom had done that, but that someone found it extraordinary. Because in my mind, that's just what you do. And in that moment, I realized: that's just what we do, my mom and I- that's the example she had always set, and I didn't know any different. Being a good friend is one of the few things I really love about myself. And suddenly, at age 33, I realized that I hadn't just woken up one day as this person. I am my mother's daughter. And I couldn't be more proud. Thank you, Mom.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Happy Birthday Daddy/Chip!

Today is Chip's birthday, which he is celebrating with time in court, time with a plumber, and time nursing his sore throat. But he started the day with biscuits and bacon, so it won't be all bad!

( Photo by Connor. )

Have a great day Daddy- we love you!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Rock-n-Romp Post Part Deux

The River City Tanlines Rocked:

Miss S totally zoned out:

Connor and Max patrolled the area on a tractor:

These two lovely ladies escaped the volume for a few minutes:

Thanks to everyone who made this one go so smoothly, and thanks to everyone who showed up and drank all the beer. Seeya at the next one-- June 9th!

Rock-n-Romp Season 2, Episode 1

I don't want to get all overly self-congratulatory here, but this Rock n Romp thing we've been putting has turned into something pretty cool. The first show of Season 2 was quite a success. The Crowders were gracious hosts this time. Quick rundown of what happened:

Vending Machine rocked:

Chloe romped:

Jiro got upset when the beer ran out:

Masses of people got cozy: