Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sushi Class

Friday night, Chip and I went to a sushi class led by the talented Marisa Baggett. Because really- if you want to know how to make sushi, you've got to ask an African-American woman from Mississippi.

Marisa is enthusiastic, funny, and knowledgable, and she didn't make fun of any of my ugly rolls. Plus she's adorable. And that's really all you can ask for in a teacher!

For $40 a person, we were provided a couple of fabulous appetizers while she got us ready, and then we were taught to make four different types of sushi rolls. She came with all the food already prepped and all the materials we would need- including sharp knives and an industrial-sized blow torch.

It was a fun night that got me over the hump on making sushi at home- I can't wait to start doing it on a regular basis! A big thank you to Aimee Lewis for hosting us, and to Marisa for being so awesome. I strongly encourage you to contact Marisa about hosting your own sushi night. You won't be disappointed.

Monday, August 23, 2010


We had another hot summer Rock-n-Romp on Saturday, but it was almost worth braving the heat to see the awesome bands who came out to the Shell to play. I've already braved a trip to MySpace to look up Speakerboxx's upcoming gigs. They ruled!

I'm sure someone official will put up a nice recap on the RnR site, but I just wanted to post cute pics of my own kids. Pictures of everyone else are on Flickr, as usual- enjoy!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Hanging in There

Many of you have asked, so let me answer: This week is in fact going much better for us. Connor has quit being nuts at home, even though he is still getting in a bit of trouble at school. But since I'm not at school to see it, what do I care?

At home, the night terrors have scaled back from screaming, thrashing fits to short bouts of sleepwalking. Last night he got up, and Chip went to check on him. "I can't sleep," Connor mumbled. Chip replied with, "Uh, buddy? I think you ARE asleep." This seemed logical to everyone, so Connor hopped back in bed and fell immediately into undisturbed slumber.

At school, Connor talks too much. You're laughing and saying, "Of course he does! He's YOUR child!" But what you might not know about me is that I'm a rule follower, and when I was in elementary school I was the classic teacher's pet. I think I received one conduct check in all of elementary school, and never got anything but an E in conduct on my report card. If we weren't supposed to talk, I did NOT talk. Breaking the rules wasn't an option! Sadly, Connor is not afflicted with this same unquestioning respect for a teacher's authority.

So there we have it! Week two of grade two is turning out better than week one, and that's really all I could ask for.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Jailhouse Rock

I have a relative who is in jail. I used to have a close relationship with this relative, but we drifted apart long before she landed in the big house. Her birthday was this week, and the kids overheard me mentioning it to Shannon on the phone.

"WHAT!? Your (familial relationship) (first name) is in JAIL!?!?!"

I told Shannon that I would have to call him back, then I turned to face the barrage of questions.

Is she in CHAINS?
Will they give her dinner tonight?
How can it be her birthday if she's in jail?
When she was a little girl, was she bad then too?
How long is she in for?
What did she even do?
How is she your (familial relationship) if she's not your friend?

I loved that last question, although I didn't know how to answer it. The line between friends and family is so thin in our lives, it's hard for my kids to understand the concept of a distant relative, or in particular, a relative who was not also a friend. All I could tell the kids was that I was sad things had turned out the way they did, and that she probably isn't in chains. Yet.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Week One

This week sucked.

Those of you who have known Connor for the last seven years are NOT surprised by this fact. I'm not surprised either, but for some reason my foreknowledge of how this week would go didn't make it any easier on me.

As expected, Connor DID NOT want to go to school. He hates school, just like I did when I was in elementary school. Also, he particularly hates transitions and changes and all the other things that are specific to the first day of school, just like my father did when he was young. (I've been told he had to be medicated. That's starting to sound like a viable plan for Connor.)

As expected, Connor felt threatened by the loss of control that accompanies starting a new class with new rules and a new warden, er, teacher to impose them. Also expected was how, in response, he aggressively tried to exert control over his home life. Quite frankly- can I say this about my kid?- he's been a real ass this week. I love him dearly, but there's no other way to describe it. And he's been in trouble a LOT, both at home and at school. I mean really, a frowny face on day four? This is the impression he wants to give his new teacher?

But the new wrinkle this year is that Connor's night terrors have really ramped up. Usually they only affect him once every month or two, but in the past ten days or so he's had night terrors all but three nights. He sits up in bed and starts thrashing his head around, screaming and making strange gutteral noises and generally giving me an ulcer. They've been horrible, and much harder to pull him out of than ever before. And we've NEVER had them all in a row like this. Fortunately, he doesn't really remember it the next morning. So he might not be emotionally scarred by the process, but Chip and I sure are!

My amateur diagnosis is that he's had them worse this year because he's trying to mature a bit, trying to hold in some of his anxiety during waking hours. When I dropped him off on the first day of school, he didn't cling to me, or cry, or any of that business. He had to be cool around his friends. But I think he still had to work those feelings out in some way, and maybe he's doing it in his dreams. Or I could be totally wrong. I just hope he grows out of these nightmares before too much longer.

Last night as I tucked him in, I pointed out that Fridays are awesome and this week is almost over. "It doesn't matter," he whined. "Next week will be just like this one!"

God I hope not.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


We've gotten some awesome heirloom tomatoes lately, both from the farmer's market, and from our own garden. There is just so much flavor in these-- sweet and acidic, fresh and complex. That mealy thing you get at the grocery store is just not the same vegetable at all. The basil, which is some of the biggest I've ever seen, is from Whitton Farms.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Two Little Fishies

Remember back when I lamented that my kids were skittish at the Rhodes pool, and refused to do anything but hang on me? Times have changed.

Yes, that's Chloe swimming to the wall in water that's at least half a foot over her head. A couple of months ago, she would jump in the shallow end of the pool only if you were right next to the wall to "catch" her. Now she doesn't care where you are. We saw a friend of hers from school who said, "Chloe, why don't you have to wear floaties?" She felt pretty cool after that.

And here's Connor, who just two weeks ago told me he'd never jump off the board at the Rhodes pool. He also, just yesterday morning, told me he couldn't swim the length of the pool. Then yesterday afternoon, he swam the length of the pool. He still insists he's not going to be on a swim team next spring. We'll see about that.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

My lady

Today is the day we celebrate the birthday of the queen of our house (and large portions of the world, in fact)-- Stephanie!  Happy Birthday, and I hope you have a wonderful day!  I mean, I know it will be wonderful, because I'll be involved in it.  Except for that hour this afternoon when the kids and I let you go on shopping spree alone.

In honor of your birthday, I shall post beautiful pictures that I have taken of you!

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Adventures in Wedding Photography

In the past year or so, I've been shooting weddings, which is a lot of fun.  The other day, I shot one with my friend Jay Adkins, who has been a professional photographer for longer than I've been a lawyer.  Say hi to Jay:

(That's what we both looked like in the middle of a 90-plus-degree outdoor reception.)

This wedding was at a small chapel in Olive Branch.  After the lovely ceremony, everyone headed to the reception, which was a couple of miles away.  Jay and I had about an hour to kill with the wedding couple, as they weren't "allowed" at the reception yet.

We sat quietly in the chapel, talking with the couple about how beautiful the ceremony had been, brainstorming for some post-wedding photos in the chapel and the cemetery behind it.  Suddenly we heard an ear-splitting screech, followed by several deep thuds and crashes.  We exchanged dumbfounded glances for a few seconds, and tore out of the chapel toward the road, about 75 yards away.  The bride was afraid that a member of her family was involved, since they had all just recently left.  She was an impressive sight, still fully dressed in her gown and train from the wedding, tearing across the lawn at full speed toward what we by then saw was a flipped vehicle.

A 17-year old kid was crawling out the back window of his car.  Miraculously, he only had some cuts on his hands.  He had lost control of his car going over the hill in front of the chapel, and flipped the car several times.  The bride and groom immediately sat down with him, comforting him, trying to calm him down.  Jay and I still had our cameras around our necks.  We exchanged a knowing silent glance, which said, "Hey-- how can we NOT shoot this?"