Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Happy Halloween, everyone!

First, the costumes. These are incredibly innovative and different, check it out. Connor will be the Red Power Ranger:

Chloe is a pink princess (and yes, you've all seen this tutu and feather boa before):

The carving of the Chockley pumpkin. Note how much Chloe is helping:

The finished product (Diego's mug for those cartoon-challenged adults out there):

Tonight we will actually trick-or-treat, which will technically be the third (and final) time this week that my children have put these now-raggedy-costumes on, losing their dignity one last time for for a few bite-sized Butterfingers and Bit-O-Honeys.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

T-Shirts For Everybody!

The collective ego of my readers is much larger and more fragile than I realized!

The Admiral

And shirts I have already purchased:
Di (Rushmore t-shirt that is no longer for sale)
Cullen (Something similar, anyway)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Window Shopping

You may or may not know that one of my favorite internet shopping habits is to find funny novelty t-shirts and match them to the appropriate recipient. I don't usually make the purchase, because I know at best you would wear the shirt to the gym or sleep in it. In my head I picture you wearing it proudly with a pair of jeans and a smile.

Occasionally I have been known to pull the trigger. I actually bought this one for Connor, and it was a big hit. I also got him the "I Do All My Own Stunts" shirt from Target last summer. (He likes to run full speed into an object and pretend to take a spectacular fall, so I felt it was appropriate.) Lately, I'm having a hard time resisting this.

I did not buy t-shirts for the Libra girls on their recent birthdays, but I did pick them out well in advance. Kristy's is here, at a site that I go to often. (Look around! It's fun!) SAM's is here- the commentary attached to this one really sells it, so don't just look at the picture!

On a website with some really tasteless t-shirts, this one makes me laugh way too hard. If I've ever imagined buying this for your child. . . well, you know who you are. And I hope you healed quickly.

More than picking out t-shirts for Chip, Stacey, Shannon or any of the rest of you, I love picking out shirts for myself. I never buy them, because I know it's too dorky to be allowed. But if you wanted to get me one, I certainly wouldn't turn it down. I'd be able to walk around dressed like a fool, explaining myself with "But Tiffany got me this for my birthday! What was I supposed to do- just sleep in it?"

Monday, October 15, 2007

Pumpkin Patch

Yesterday, we loaded the kids up into the big Red Flyer wagon for a jaunt over to the pumpkin patch at a neighborhood church. Once we got there, Connor was particularly compliant-- he put on his best Chockley smirk and stayed still for any pics I wanted to take. Chloe, however, cares not a thing about my photographical aspirations. She ran around at hyper-speed, violently re-arranging the pumpkins. Not so good for taking pictures. If you see Chloe clearly in these, it was sheer luck.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Pants, Part II

Steph, never underestimate the power of a good father-son talk. Despite the look on his face, this was completely voluntary, I swear:

Thursday, October 11, 2007


About a month ago I started digging through last winter's kid clothes, trying to figure out what still fit and what I need to buy as fall approaches. I asked Connor to try on some pants so I could figure out what size he needs this year. He looked at me the way Jayden James and Sean Preston must often regard their mother, with a mix of disgust and pity for the woman whose obvious mental instability was now threatening the welfare of her children. "I'm not wearing pants," he said, spitting the last word at me like he was cursing. I tried to explain that of course it's too hot for pants today, but he'll need them soon when fall comes. "I think we should just not go anywhere until it's time for shorts again," was his response. I laughed, but he made it clear he wasn't joking. Since I figured that eventually peer pressure and discomfort would win this battle for me, I decided not to fight it. I told him he could wear baggy shorts, long sleeves, and knee socks (which he has no problem wearing pulled up to the knee) when it got colder, so that we could leave the house between October and March. He agreed.

This morning it was about 50 degrees when we left the house. Connor had dressed himself in normal ankle socks, shorts that are borderline too small for him and show most of his leg, and a short sleeved shirt. I was hopeful that maybe today was the day that would break him. When we got out of car at school, he conceded that he was a little uncomfortable. "Maybe we should just stay home from now on," he tried again. Like any good parent, I laughed at him. He knows that's not going to happen. "Look at Harry! He's got on jeans and a long-sleeved shirt!" Harry's mother laughed at Connor too. "Dressed himself?" Heh. Once we got in the door, Connor insisted that it was hot inside (it wasn't) so he would be fine. When we got to his class, I pointed out all the other cool kids who were wearing jeans, but clearly all I did was make those other kids seem like punks compared to the super-cool, I-only-wear-shorts awesomeness that is Connor. So I just sighed, kissed him good-bye, and asked the teacher not to call child services. Vegas puts the over/under for when he gives in and wears pants at November 6. Anyone care to wager?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

You tired of hearing about our vacation yet?

Steph has so aptly recapped our week in Seaside, at least from the kids' points of view. How was it from the adults' point of view?


We didn't do anything strenuous or interesting, really. I consumed inappropriate daytime mojitos, margaritas and beers. We actually slept in quite a bit, due to the fact that the kids demonstrated a strong preference for their grandparents in the mornings. Lots of lounging on the beach, reading books, taking pictures, bike rides, taking naps, drinking good wine, eating fresh seafood, taking more pictures, talking about the pictures we took...

(Sorry about all the picture-geeking, Steph and Mimi.)

The car trips there and back were both made much more tolerable by the fact that we hit the road at 2:00 a.m. I just can't imagine 8 awake hours in the car with these two monkeys right now. In fact, on the way back, we were so concerned with keeping the kids asleep, we did anything to avoid stopping the car (which wakes them up immediately). I had a frightful encounter involving an extraordinarily full bladder and an empty Coke can that I would rather not broadcast over the interwebs.

Anyway, on to the pics. Not all of these are prize-worthy, but this is the first vacation I've taken where I view the photography from more of an artistic perspective than a documentarian one. Whether that makes any difference to you, the viewer, I dunno.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Chloe's Week

Our week with Chloe was a revelation. It turns out that when she's not cranky and tired at the end of the day, she's a lot of fun! I'm kidding a little- of course we knew this from spending the weekends with her. But spending nine solid days together was way more fun than I ever expected.

Part of her charm lies in her budding vocabulary. She picked up a new word or two every day, and even started putting them together into mini-sentences! Even though you didn't ask for it, here's a sampling: backpack, toothbrush, bath, box juice, sit, eat, rain(ing), Thank you Mama, C'mon Bubba! (She might have known "raining" for a long time, but we didn't see any rain until Saturday at 4:00- it's like the beach was letting us know our vacation was over!)

She didn't enjoy the beach quite as much as Connor did. She loved riding the waves in her fancy swim ring thing (sale aisle, Target), and she had no fear about running right into the waves when no one was holding her, but she wasn't really interested in playing in the sand. Lots of pathetic cries of "ow!" when the sand got, um, where it shouldn't. But with all the adults around, there was always someone willing to go inside with her for a bit.

She also showed herself to be quite the little clown when she realized it was a way to get everyone's attention focused on her. My sunglasses were her favorite comedy prop, and her favorite time of day was when Connor had fallen asleep early and she had all the adults to herself. In addition to generally acting afool, she also did a lot of singing. Sometimes, if she was just really happy, she would break into her favorite nonsense song (beeta-bah, beeta-bah) and then look for an adult to request "ABC?" That was always followed by "row row row" and then a round of clapping. She's not just a good performer- she's a good audience too.

The only bad part of the week for Chloe (read: us) is that we have magically undone her ability to fall asleep on her own. Part of me finds that frustrating, but part of me is happy to have an excuse to cuddle with her that much longer.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Connor's Week

I don't really know what Connor did this week- he was too busy to bother much with his mom. (Although one night, after dinner, Chip and I walked Connor up to the square to get frozen yogurt. He asked why we were going just us, and I said because we hadn't spent much time together on vacation. He responded with, "Mom, Dad- I love you." I guess he knew what I meant.)He definitely spent a lot of time playing hard, because each night he was exhausted, occasionally falling asleep at the dinner table. Even on days when he took a nap, he was known to turn to me at 7:30 and whisper, "Mommy, I can't stay up this late."
A lot of his energy was used playing in the waves with anyone who would join him.He was also pretty cute on the back of this bike, exploring the Gulf Coast.He and Chloe slept in the same room, at his insistence. It wasn't until Friday that he realized that room contained a TV, and that TV had cable. "I can watch TV in bed!" he exclaimed, and proceeded to lie there for hours until we unplugged it and forced him to eat and get fresh air.
The reason we weren't too bothered by the TV is because his revelation came the same day as the red flag. The day before, when the flag was still yellow but clearly should have been red, he busted pretty hard in the surf. He was a little skittish the rest of the day, and when the next day dawned with another red flag, we were happy we had the TV to distract him.
He played a lot of football and baseball, his sharing/taking turns skills at an all-time high in the presence of the super-cool Aunt Cory and Chris.On Saturday night, after dinner when we were all packing up, Connor started to cry. "I wish we lived here!" he moaned. Mimi and I wiped away tears and told him that we felt the same way, but that things would still be great at home and we would see Mimi and Bwana again real soon. And while he was glad to get home and see Clark, his toys, and his friends, he still wishes his school was at the beach.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Scenes From 30-A

Because our public (read: Stacey) demands it, a few bits and pieces from our trip:

When we left at 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning, Connor said, "We'll be the only people up!" He meant it literally. A few minutes later, once we hit the road and he saw some other cars, he commented in amazement that there were, in fact, other people awake.

We won't review the Waffle House in Montgomery, AL, for Dining With Monkeys, but the short version is that our waiter had long fingernails and Connor yelled everything he said at us, as if trying to be heard over a crowd. (The preganant woman at the next table, one of three other people in the restaurant, patted her belly and made a mental note that her child will NEVER act like that in public.) And the waffles were good.

We got to the beach three hours before the check-in time at our rental house, so we rednecked it and changed into our swim suits in a public bathroom then went over to the private beach. But not until after Chloe had peed on Chip. (Waterproof swim diaper my ass! Thanks, Target.) When we decided it was time to leave the beach and eat some lunch. Sadly, some kind of drink had spilled on my cover-up so I spent the rest of the afternoon eating and shopping in just my bathing suit. So we kept the redneck thing going as long as we could.

Every day it has been in the high 80s, with hardly a cloud in the sky. Today the water was a little choppy, but other than that and a couple of days of love bugs, it has been perfect.

At the outlet mall I got a couple of work shirts and a tie for Chip, a couple of outfits for Chloe, one shirt for Connor, and a dress, a skirt, and a pair of jeans for me. Don't worry, you'll see that dress the next time I'm downtown for lunch.

Connor has fallen asleep at like 7:30 every night, while Chloe can't be bothered with sleep.

I might cry when we leave.