Friday, September 28, 2007

We Travel Light

Last night I thought I'd get started packing for our upcoming trip, and ended up stuffing a suitcase with everything I own. Seven days is a long time- there were a lot of possibilities to plan for. It might be hot- it might not. It might just be hot during the day, and cold at night. We might go somewhere nice to eat, or we might not. It might be hot when we go somewhere nice. Or cold. It might rain! I need to be prepared. (And don't get me started on shoes- they got their own separate bag.) This might seem like overkill, but having endless clothing options is what I consider fun. So an optimal vacation experience for me is going to require a full closet. I'll probably spend the whole time in the same grimy pair of shorts and a bathing suit, but knowing everything else is there will help me enjoy my many margaritas that much more. But I'll still hit that outlet mall in Destin, just in case there's anything else I might need.

With one suitcase full, I went about piling up a bunch of beach towels and bottles of sunblock, hoping to find something suitable to transport them in before we leave. That pile was no match for my children. As Chloe wandered around sucking on the top of a spray bottle of spf 45, Connor found the skateboard-covered towel that I had forgotten was on the top shelf of the closet. "IS THIS FOR ME?!?!" he hollered, running through the house with the towel flapping behind him, excited by anything "new" no matter how banal said item might be. He soon decided, however, that we would get to the beach faster if that towel was folded back up, and proceeded to spend a good twenty minutes trying to get that sucker folded "all by himself." Meanwhile, Chloe had also discovered the towels, tossing one over her head and stumbling through the house, bouncing off walls and cackling maniacally. Chip came upon the scene with a startled, "Oh no!" but after a few minutes of observation he understood why I was just watching the chaos unfold rather than trying to stop it. At the Chockley household, we will sacrifice just about anything in the name of comedy, including my well-intentioned pre-packing and/or our children's dignity. And if something gets left behind because the kids thought that espadrille was a ramp for their Hot Wheels? No sweat. I'll be happy to use that as an excuse to run back over to the outlet mall.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

So Unfocused

I can’t manage to come up with a coherent blog post, so here are some scattered thoughts from my scattered mind:

Last night was awesome: Titans on MNF (with the win! 2-1!) and new episodes of Heroes and How I Met Your Mother. I really love my television too much.

Also awesome, related to football- my fantasy teams are coming alive! Yes, I said teams. But only two.

Chloe is becoming the Great Communicator, which corresponds with becoming the Great Teenager- all the things she has to say are kind of bossy and contrary.

Lately, Connor has abandoned the sweet bedtime routine we had (the one where I get in bed with him, we talk about his day and sing lullabies to each other, then I kiss him and say good-bye while he protests my leaving) and prefers a peck on the cheek and a quick exit from the room. I guess Chloe isn’t the only kid who is growing up!

Also? Connor doesn’t take a nap anymore.

The kids are into the sibling fighting thing big time. Connor will repeatedly hit/stab/take toys from/yell in the face of Chloe, while she screams in protest, and will say, “But she likes it!” Hopefully we have a few more years to teach him how to tell when a girl doesn’t actually “like it” so that he doesn’t grow up to be a roofie-toting frat boy.

I think it is telling that Chloe and I are able to distinguish which kind of top goes on which type of sippy cup and the boys are not.

I don’t know how I ever wore a bathing suit in front of other people before the swim-skirt/ tankini top era began.

Connor finally seems to be getting bored with chicken nuggets, although he hasn’t really picked out any source of protein with which to replace them. Unless pepperoni counts as protein. Chloe is still a good eater, and it seems to all go towards height. She has weighed the same for the last six months or so, and is really getting taller and thinner. She still has those cheeks, though, and I’m glad. I’m not ready to give up all the baby fat just yet.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


If you don't have kids, there is really no reason to read this.

Chloe has recently had her first round of "girl problems." Because of some apparent pain, I took her to the doctor today where it was determined that we needed a urine sample. Think about that for a minute-this is a child who is still in diapers. You can't exactly hand her a cup and expect results. Coincidentally, I had just read an essay that mentioned toddler urine samples within the past week. While it was helpful to know what was in store, I was also a little panicky about how long the whole process would take. Fortunately I had packed a sippy cup, "just in case." We taped a plastic bag to the appropriate area, filled up the cup and went out to the lobby to wait. Less than ten minutes later, I could tell that I needed to check the bag. Success! Now we'll wait until tomorrow to see just what kind of infection we're dealing with. (And continue to apologize for ripping very strong adhesive off of an area that was already sore to begin with.)

I knew I needed to check that bag, because Chloe clearly had taken a moment to pee. This amazes me- I never thought I would have an 18-month-old who seemed ready to potty train. For the last few weeks, Chloe has talked a lot about having to "peepoo," accompanied by gesturing and even occasionally by a successful stint on the potty. We haven't given it our full effort yet, but I believe after we get back from vacation we will turn our attention toward removing diapers from our lives forever, or at least until it's my turn for them.

Our only concern is that the two previous paragraphs are somehow related. An interested party pointed out that perhaps when Chloe was crotch-grabbing and saying "peepoo" she was actually trying to express her discomfort. And we responded by putting her on the toilet and cheering! If that's the case, this person pointed out, then our method of potty training has so far only served to associate "pain" with "potty" (and cheering!). That, in the painfully accurate words of our observer, would be pretty "f'ed up." So keep your fingers crossed for us. But go ahead and send along any therapist recommendations, just in case.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Vegetable

I didn't quite finish the whole "one week in the life of the Chockleys" thing, so I'll do that with this post. Well, the next two posts. (I know you all were waiting on pins and needles...)

Saturday, we hit the Cooper-Young Fest again. The weather was just amazing-- low 70s and clear skies. Connor loved this excursion, and has since talked about it often, referring to it as "the Cooper Young Vegetable" because the word "festival" is a bit hard to say for a 4-year-old, I guess.

We started off at Mothersville, with a visit with ol' broke leg Harlow and new Mothersville proprietress extraordinaire Melissa:

Then, we cruised for awhile with Miss M and the Admiral, admiring all the arts-and-craftsy wares:

To ward off the disaster of Chockleys with low blood sugar, we stepped in Cafe Ole for a nice lunch. We hit the place right before the crowd hit-- when we left there was a line out the door. The margaritas were excellent, causing us to proceed through the rest of the Vegetable at a reduced pace. Well, Steph and me-- the kids just had lemonade.

I'll leave the criticism of the super-lame kid play area at the Vegetable to Stacey-- but yeah, paying too much money so Connor could jump around in a moon bounce thing for a minute and play some half-ass games is just not cool.

We did get to meet up with Connor's BFF Max for some frolicking, hat-making, and basketball. This made the Vegetable all the more legendary in Connor's mind. By the time we left, around 2:00 p.m., the crowd had more than doubled in size, and the gettin' was good.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

One Week, Part Deux

Wednesday, we took the monkeys to see Giant Bear at Court Square after work...

Connor and Miss S tried to figure out how many wet pennies it would take to buy a Greyhound ticket to Juneau:

While Chloe fed goldfish to the other monkeys, who were meow-ing like cats:

Friday, we watched the Cooper Young 4-Miler race at the Dixons'. I don't have pics of that event, but I can say that the night ended badly-- Chloe had a rough encounter with a chocolate chip cookie:

One Week, Part Uno

What have the Chockleys been up to in the past week?
On Saturday, we Rocked and Romped:
Bwana explained to Steph the post-modernist concept of living an event through the filter of technology:
While Miss S was pensive:
(Look here for a more extensive recap of the show, along with more pics than you'd ever want to see.)
Sunday, we attended Miss M's 4th birthday party:
Instead of dressing for a 4-year-old's birthday party, Steph chose to dress in a vintage Tennessee Oilers jersey in celebration of the first Sunday of football season:
Steph and C engaged in a heated round of Twister:

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Breakfast of Champions

It takes me a long time to put myself together in the mornings, so it falls on Chip to feed and dress the kids. I rely on his input when it comes to buying breakfast foods each week, but we long-ago agreed on a hard and fast rule about cereal- none of those all-sugar affairs, a la Fruit Loops or Lucky Charms. Without those in the mix, it should come as no surprise that the list of acceptable foods is pretty small. (I'm sure you're imagining chicken and biscuits, but so far no processed nuggets at breakfast.) Mainly a lot of cereal bars and toast, with the occasional yogurt smoothie providing the illusion of nutrition.

Chip recently complained that breakfast was getting boring and needed to be spiced up a bit. After a couple of weeks of trial and error, two new foods have been added to the rotation- cinnamon rolls and Pillsbury Toaster Strudel. Two foods that are served with icing on top. My failure as my family's provider of nutrition is almost complete. Maybe today when I'm at the store I should just pick up some Cap'n Crunch and get it over with.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

She Didn't Stand A Chance

Connor has always been a great sleeper. He never wants you to leave him alone, and claims to be scared of the dark, but he can't keep his eyes open long enough for those fears to really consume him. He knows it's time for bed, he's kind of tired, you tuck him in and he falls asleep soon after- end of story. Chloe knows nothing of this world. She demands constant attention until she finally falls asleep, either in your arms or while you sit and watch her in her bedroom. If you leave her before she's asleep, she screams a LOT. Since I don't want to disrupt Connor's magical sleep habits with all Chloe's noise, I usually scoop her up and do what it takes to calm her down rather than letting her fuss for long. Because of the habits we've fallen into, I take full responsibility for her inability to fall asleep on her own.

This all changed Monday night. I put her in her crib and walked out of the room for a minute. I left the door to her room open, with light from the hallway coming in. She didn't make a peep- just put her head down and fell asleep. Duh! She's just scared of the dark, like her mother and brother before her. I guess it is my fault, but not because of anything I did- just because of genetics! So three nights in a row we've put her in bed and left her closet light on with that door cracked to let light through. With no objections, she lets us leave and puts herself to sleep. This is so much better than sitting in her dark room with her, waiting on her to finally give up and fall asleep. I really should have figured this out months ago.

Monday, September 10, 2007

So Much To Learn

Connor calls his Mimi in Nashville and purrs, “Can you come over to my house?” The next day she packs up her car and makes the drive. No wonder he wants to marry Grammy when he grows up- grandmothers are easy to figure out.

“S called me dumbo!” he cries incredulously. “And Miss M just bit me!” I explain that they are girls, and girls are different. “They’re just weird,” he counters, and he’s right. Dad has his work cut out for him, trying to explain this complicated dynamic.

Dad is soon confronted with another “teachable moment” when Connor exclaims, “Hey Mommy! Your belly is fat like Chloe’s!” Dad needs privacy to explain the many problems with that declaration, so I walk away- wishing for just a moment that S and Miss M were there to stick up for me.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Labor Day Weekend

This past weekend, we did. . . nothing. At least, as close to nothing as we could get. It was wonderful.

Friday night we made a quick appearance at Cocktail Hour and then came home for dinner and decent bedtimes. Although we missed the company, we did not miss having zombie children all day Saturday.

Saturday we played, watched TV, spent time outside, then the kids spent the night at Grammy's, meaning Chip and I were able eat our take-out food in peace. We also drank a bottle of champagne to celebrate the end of my crappy summer work project.

Sunday, after a day of doing nothing of note, we went to On the Border for dinner. Connor said, "Is anyone going to meet us at the restaurant?" We replied, "No, Connor. Miss S is out of town this weekend." After dinner, Chip dutifully wrote a review for Dining With Monkeys.

On Monday we had planned to go to the zoo, but a last-minute invite to the JCC changed that. We had the usual good time with Team Oster-Greenberg, and enjoyed seeing Vanessa and Miles. Vanessa and I had a lengthy discussion about how much our children already conform to their gender roles. Then when we got home, Chloe sat down in front of me, handed me a bottle of nail polish, stuck out her foot and said, "Toes." So I obliged.

A wonderful, relaxing weekend to end the summer. It might be January before we have another one this free of structure, so we did our best to enjoy it.