25 July 2013

Jude (Lately)

- Jude doesn't want to do anything without Graham coming along.  If Graham is sleeping later in the morning, Jude will squirm away and wake up Graham the first time an opportunity arises.  Jude refuses to take a bath unless his baby brother is also getting dunked.  Jude is constantly saying in a high-pitched, cooing voice, "Hi Gam!  Hi Baby Gam!!"  He wants to help wipe his bum, put the binky in, etc.  I always tell Jude if he thinks Graham is fun now, just wait.  It'll be epic once Graham's a little older.  And, of course, Graham just thinks Jude is the coolest one.  He just grins at Jude and grabs at him if he's close enough.

- Jude is very into checking in on all his peeps.  He wouldn't stop asking to play with his friend Oliver one day, and I knew Oli was unavailable.  So finally I was tired of hearing, "Oliver??  Wa see Oliver!!"   and having to respond with the ineffective "Not today, bud." and "Oli can't play today, maybe tomorrow." and so I fibbed and said, "Oli went night-night."  It did the trick but now whenever we're within spitting distance of Oli's house, he reports to all within earshot that Oli went night night.  He will announce "Lyla toots!" or "Baby Gam poop!" at various times throughout the day.

- Jude puts his cars to sleep.  Sometimes they earn a blanket.  We all must whisper during this time, so as not to disrupt their REM cycles.

- Jude loves to read Goodnight Moon at bedtime.  He joins me for random lyrics when I sing I Love to See the Temple or Whenever I Hear the Song of a Bird, and just snuggles me when I sing In My Life by The Beatles.  The bedtime routine still means the world to me, and I'm fairly certain it means the world to him too.

- His independence and bravery makes me smile and gives me an ulcer.  I love that now we can go to a park and he will just run and play with other kids, go up and down the slide ad nauseum et infinitum, dig in the sand, etc. and return to me every so often to show me a treasure or give me a frantically enthusiastic report, etc.  It used to be him whining a lot and I had to walk UUPP and DOWWWN every structure, encouraging him to try everything, basically the park used to be something he couldn't live with or without.  Now it's all good.  But back on track: he used to be a bit of a pansy with ladders of any kind and I was totally good with that.  Those days are over.  He will climb anything and everything, and while his coordination is revealing itself to be quite awesome, my mind goes wild thinking of all the ways he could fall and ruin his cute little face/teeth/body.  I'm starting to see what my "Aunt Ruthie" (mother of 3 boys) was talking about when she said she'd see them coming home from playing and just scan their exterior for blood or limbs situated in the wrong way.  I mean really, it seems like just a matter of time before we're setting bones, right?

- Because I'm Jude's mom, I'm getting very accustomed to being outside more than inside.  I keep swim diapers in the car and stroller for impromptu water adventures.  I have sunscreen in my purse at all times, and hats for everyone in the car.  It took a while, but I have accepted the sweat that makes itself at home on my neck every day.  Even though I keep covered, my dear Mother-in-Law took a picture of me and Graham about a month ago and when I saw it I gasped because MY FACE WAS TAN.  My face hasn't been tan since like 1999.

- Jude throws back his head and howls with laughter.  I love him for his premium exuberance.

- Jude throws back his head and howls with laughter even when he doesn't know what the heck is so funny (i.e. the adults in the room are laughing at something).

- With age he becomes so much more reasonable and easy to understand.  That is not to say we're done with tantrums and hitting (in fact, he's taking the hitting up a notch lately), but as the days go by I see greater glimmers of rational thinking in his eyes, and it fills me with hope.

I love my scallywag.

Also I might have just done a stupid thing and watched about 10 videos of him in infancy.  Don't even ask me how it's possible he was ever so small.  He was still loud and rascally, but small with big baby cheeks and wispy hair.  And Graham looks more like him than we think!

While Jude was out with Papa

I got some 1:1 with my cracker.  He is the apple of my eye.

16 July 2013

Downton Abbey, you blew it.

Or someone behind the scenes of that monstrous estate blew it.

Downton Abbey had joined the ranks of many audio visual programmes that had my heart.  Some others that had previously attained such status are:

Sense and Sensibility
Pride and Prejudice
Anne of Green Gables
While You Were Sleeping
The Office
Dan in Real Life
Singing in the Rain
The Sound of Music
Gilmore Girls

Anyway, these shows have all winkled their way into VIP status, dripping with good memories (surely enhanced by the people I love who joined in watching these movies/shows with me).  As I've said before, I watched Downton Abbey during chronic Jude nursing times, watched them with my mom, watched them with Jeff, watched them alllll the time.  I loved it.  I loved the chemistry betwixt Matthew and Mary, Mary reminds me of my cousin Erin, kindnesses shown by and to Mr. Bates gave me warm fuzzies, Robert's squeamishness was funny and his close relationship with Cora was sweet.  I loved the 3 sisters thing, as I obviously also come from a family with 3 girls (now 4 with our amazing SIL Kacie).  And duh, it's a period piece series, and I'm a girl, so I was destined to love it.

Season 2 -- also good.  I didn't like the Branson/Sybil thing; he diminished her work as a nurse as "handing hot drinks to a bunch of randy officers" when she brought it up as a road block to them being together (RUDE).  I didn't like Robert's almost-affair with Jane.  I didn't like a few other things, but hey, nothing's perfect.

Then Season 3 crashed and burned, and someone poured horseradish and cubed bites of Spam all over it.  And then left it out in the Vegas summer sunshine for 3 days.  And now (sigh) I don't see how I can go on.

Ways that it ruined itself:

- The biggest reason, is the 2, possibly 3 major character deaths.  I read that Maggie Smith, the backbone of Downton humor, would not be returning for a 4th season.  That would be a pity but it would be easy to pull off -- she's no spring chicken and life expectancy was not incredibly long back in them days.  I could've let that loss go with an understanding heart.  But when Sybil, AND Matthew both want out of the series to pursue other roles, you don't kill them off and carry on with a crap show.  You END THE SERIES.  Downton Abbey, like the show LOST, was only expected to go a season or 2.  Then it became a smash hit, and so they kept going because, hey, aren't we all here to make money?  But without Matthew, Sybil, OR Lady Violet, the show just CAN NOT be any good.  You can't have them all move to America, you can't kill them, you just look at the glorious 3 seasons of critical acclaim and cash that came in hand over fist, and you say, "Hey, it's been a good run.  Let's call it a day."  END SERIES.  But I'm assuming the powers that be wanted to squeeze some more money out of Downton fans, and thus kept going.  Understandable in a way, but the minute Sybil died, a huge part of the show's lovability died too.  I sat with my jaw dropped all the way down to the floor when blood trickled from Matthew's non-functioning ear.  Horrible, horrible, horrible.  The show just could not recover from that.

Just to be a little more specific, as if Sybil desperately passing away as her loving family watched helplessly was not heart wrenching enough, hearing her newborn daughter cry from down the hall, that was "just beyond" (as a drunk Reese Witherspoon is known to say).  No more trio of sisters, a big hole was left.

And they decided killing new parents is awesome, because watching Matthew hold his new precious baby and then in his excited state drive recklessly to meet his doom -- i just can't even handle it.

"They" must have sensed the uproar this would cause, but decided the uproar and compromised path of the show was the better choice.  Why, I will never know.

I did read an article that talked about how Mary was getting boring as a happy housewife, which could be true, but it would be impossible to watch her as the widowed mother trying to find love again.  Nope, there will never be another besides Matthew.  They were MFEO.  If Mary was getting boring, again, END THE SERIES WHILE IT'S STILL GOOD.

- The new characters are obnoxious.  Especially the niece that is a bit of a trouble maker.

- Bates and Anna as a married couple were totally impossible to wrap my mind around and made me dry heave.

- Lady Edith -- come on, guys.  You were EXCESSIVELY cruel to her.  Being left at the altar?!?!?!  Then being loved by a MARRIED MAN????  You gave her not one muscle for her to hold her head up.  And I didn't even like her very much, but still felt that it was over-the-top-unkind.

- There were some responses to different issues that were in no way culturally accurate of the time.

- The general classiness of the show just started to deteriorate.  I felt like it was getting a little too close to Grey's Anatomy, even before all the death.

In sum, you lost me, Julian Fellows.  I'm sorry, but it's true.  And since Jeff would have only watched it at my urging, you lost him too.  Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it.  The Police and Jerry Seinfeld had it right -- stop while you're at the top of your game.

The End.

07 July 2013

Father's Day

I knew a girl named Courtney who once was talking about her "amazing" brother-in-law.  She hoped to one day find a guy as nice as he is, and to prove just how far his niceness extended, she told a quick story.  "Once we were all sitting playing a board game while their toddler Annie took a nap, and all of a sudden he shakes his head and says, 'Isn't Annie the best?'" And that DID sound awesome!  A dad so whipped he couldn't even take his mind off his little piglet while she took a little siesta.  And I thought to myself, "Sheesh, I hope I can find a guy like that!"

Well folks, I did.

Jeff does not stop talking about how cute our kids are, how much he loves them, and how happy he is that we have them.  While they're sleeping he says he wants to go give them hugs and wants to play with them.  He is completely owned by them.  Jude was asking to "Go go" at like 6:15 yesterday when I was starting to get ready for him to go night night.  But such is the whippedness of Jude's father, Jeff looked at me and asked, "How do you ever say no to this guy?  Look at that face??"  (Jude was, I'll admit, pulling his best puppy eyes and had his ample bottom lip in a barely-there pout.)  I am definitely the bad cop. :)

I will say, though, that when Jeff was on paternity leave I was taking a nap with brand-new Graham up in our room and after a little while I woke up to Jeff saying loudly and sternly downstairs, "NO, Jude, NO NO."  I don't even remember what it was about, but I chuckled to myself and was pleased that Jeff was realizing that our firstborn can, in fact, push buttons and/or be naughty.

Anyway, since Jeff is as loving, affectionate, patient, all-around caring Dad as ever shuffled the Earth, I love Father's Day.  This year it was filled with the staples, breakfast, a good dinner (in LA with my parents and Sarah+Harry), and urging Jeff to put his feet up, etc., but I hope this guy feels appreciated and loved every day, because we do.

Happy Father's Day to a good one.  Here's to the materialization of the husband and father I dreamed of with Courtney back in 2006.

03 July 2013

Graham: 5 months

  • He is completely in that chubby, rolling, gurgling, squealing, sticking-your-legs-in-the-air, swatting, chewing, drooling, grabbing baby phase.  Slush and gush.  He especially loves to chew on fabric.  The cotton on his binky clip, blankets, burp cloths, my shirt, he wants to shove it all into his mouth and gnaw and hum.
  • His name is finally anchoring.  I feel like Jude and Graham's names have been what we wanted, but it isn't until some time has gone by that I feel the name truly attaches.  I remember calling Jude "baby" a lot in the beginning.  The past couple of weeks I see him and the name "Graham" at the same time.  Does that make any sense?
  • He reminds me of Jack-Jack on The Incredibles.  There will be some level of chaos going on around him but he is just smiling, laughing, and drooling through it all.  Like Jude's tantrums are this hilarious joke and he just is so excited to have a front row seat!!  Which makes sense, because they are so totally fun!
  • He snores like an old, old man.
  • If you get any part of you close to his arms or hands, he coils around it fast and death-grip-tight. If I reach behind in the car to put his binky in, suddenly my wrist is on lock-down.  I love it.  He just wants us close.
  • This is coming to an end, but even if he is not tired, if you lie down with him and face him, your head right next to his, and close your eyes, he'll go to sleep too.  He just wants to go along with what's going on.
  • Last week Jude was standing next to him pointing upwards and downwards and saying, "Up, down, up, down" and Graham was laughing hysterically.  Clearly he is easily amused -- a true Eaton trait if ever I knew one.
  • Sometimes I rock him to sleep and get teary-eyed over this unicorn baby in my life.  He is so sweet, we can't do anything but love him.  
Next month is that crazy milestone of solids and "big binkies" -- say what?