Saturday, January 24, 2009

Our Wild Thing is 1

Baby Max turned one on Sunday, January 25. I enjoy nicknaming my children and started calling Maxwell "Wild Thing" because he shares the name of the boy in the children's book Where the Wild Things Are. It didn't really fit, because Max has been a very content, happy and not very wild of a baby. (I also don't think that it's necessarily a negative name, although I'm hoping he doesn't emulate the behavior of the boy in that particular story.) However, in the past few weeks, he has decided that he can and will get into trouble and has brought the name a little more meaning. Here are a few pictures (okay, a LOT of pictures) to remember the past year along with us and our wonderful baby boy:

About 6 weeks old- Just starting to lose the "wet kitten" newborn look and remembering how to smile

One of my all-time favorite pictures of Max, sticking out his tongue. I think he was about 2 1/2 months here.

Another Bumbo pic with a 4 month old Max. When my Mother in Law bought this for me, I thought, "Oh, another baby thing- just what we need." But Wow. The thing is wonderful. Especially while making dinner, since I put him on the counter next to me and just had to be careful not to chop his toes with the vegetables.

Max on the 4th of July, on Aunt Liesl's lap

6 months old, visiting Kansas

One of his very favorite activities is to swing! 8 months old

A lion for Halloween (9 months old)

Mark holding Max, 10 months old.

Opening Christmas presents at Nana's house in Alabama. First Christmas and clueless.

11 months, at Nana's house in the exersaucer he loved to bounce in. Doesn't he look so grown up in the tie?

Wild Thing, I think I love you! Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A First Haircut

Look how long it is when you comb it out and hold those curls!

In the black culture, there are a few customs about life that I was not aware of until I married Mark. For example, a man who does not live in the home should be the first one to walk through the door at the beginning of the New Year. One time, Mark took an hour-long trip through snow and ice to help out a member of our church in Jersey City who needed help with this tradition. Another one is to not cut a baby's hair before he is a year old. Since many black children have lots of hair, frequently the birthday celebration includes a haircut.

I didn't keep this rule very well with Matthew. It seems that I have a little bit of an itch for cutting when scissors are in my hand. Max, however, is much balder than Matthew was and his hair has not yet been cut. His 1st birthday is on Sunday, but we have no plans to cut his hair anytime soon.

However, Felicity, who turns 8 in March, had never had a haircut until today. She's had things cut out of her hair several times, but has not had even a trim of all of her hair at once. The ends have always seemed so healthy and I confess that with my short, wispy strands (and haircuts every 6-8 weeks), I enjoy vicariously having long thick curls through my daughters. Katrina took a pair of scissors to her head a year ago, although you wouldn't know it to look at her. In fact, it took me a day or two to notice.

Lately, it's been getting extra tricky to pick out Felicity's hair, which is a bitter irony since she is the tender-headed one of the lot. I offered to cut it some time ago, and she has been wanting me to do it. We kept her home for the inauguration today (hah! Only kidding, we were all sick) so I had some extra time and she reminded me. These were the results:

Putting half of it up since there's so much hair:

Bunny became the recipient of these new locks.
We cut off about 6-8 inches, but who can tell with those curls? Although she's not smiling, she was very happy with the haircut.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Clean at last, clean at last

We got some great new craft supplies for Christmas this year, courtesy of Uncle Kent & Aunt Melanie. We have already really enjoyed them, but needed to find out a home for them in our house. Besides, one of the big tasks every January is making room for the new acquisitions, getting rid of the obsolete or unused, and organizing our general chaos, after returning all of the Christmas decorations etc to storage spots.

That's the reason my to-list this month is lined with things like: clean out pantry, organize exploding desk, conquer closet of doom, clean laundry room, and so on. I finally tackled the pantry last week and made room for almost everything on that table except a small bag of garbage of old paint and so on. It felt so good to finally be done that I had to take a picture:

Just so I can remember what it looked like, because already it's degenerating. However, it was a good thing I finally checked that one off, since a couple days later we learned that an appraiser was coming to our house, as we're trying to refinance. That took a ton of work getting ready for him, since our "clean" is other people's "normal". It was really nice to have the entire house clean, including our bedroom (where the children love to drag things like blocks, food remnants, or their stale pjs), closets, and floors. No more nibbling rollaway dinner leftovers, Max the Vac!

Mark told me to take a picture, but alas I was too tired. It didn't last the night, anyway, but it was nice while it lasted.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A new birthday suit

Matthew is a boy of privilege. Hardly a trust fund baby, but still, this kid has a good life. His cousin, an only son, very generously hands down all of his very nice clothing and shoes. The boys from the neighborhood are all older, so he gets more clothes and toys from them.

Since Christmas was just a couple of weeks ago and he has plenty of stuff, for his 4th birthday on January 11, we gave him a suit that he was pretty excited about. Since we came home from church and had guacamole, we needed to take some pictures before he ruined it forever.

Matthew requested a "pirate cake". Since I am no expert cake decorator, I was mystified about how to tackle the project, until Mark suggested making the cake the landscape and buying some pirates from the dollar store to put on top. All of us prefer chocolate frosting to plain, so we made a massive dirt island in the cake's small blue sea. I played pirates with him a few days later with the figurines and he kept wanting to find princesses and shoot them. I preferred finding treasure (smarties). I guess every pirate has his priorities.

Since it was his birthday weekend, Matthew got to pick the Fun Friday activity, and surprised us all by choosing bowling. I didn't know he even knew what that was. With the help of the bumper lanes, we got some decent scores. (I was afraid I would be like Lars and bowl a gutterball into another lane) We made it before the big timers rolled in and we all had a great time.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Morris Christmas show

So I was watching Jon & Kate Plus 8 with Rewa, my sister-in-law, on Christmas vacation in Alabama. Rewa loves watching that show with all those little kids under one roof and she made the comment that it would be entertaining to watch a show on our family. It's not the first time I've gotten a comment like that, I guess we are a little entertaining to watch. Probably because of all of the dramatics at our house and the funny remarks that kids make, but really, everybody's kids are funny in a way, we're just a little louder and emotional. I told her that the millions of women out there would be outraged at my lackadaisical approach to housecleaning ("I should probably ask Felicity to pick her underwear off the bathroom floor when she gets home from school...") and parenting in general, as opposed to Kate's rigid adherence to hygiene. Whereas Kate's perfectly alright with showing quite a bit of skin; that's not okay with me. I guess we all have our issues that are important to us.

We agreed that they could have filmed our families during Christmas. Some of the things that would have made the cuts:

  • Interrupting our 670 mile drive for an emergency clothing change in a muddy ghetto WalMart in Shreveport, LA the day before Christmas Eve and then not finding each other for 45 min. Stopping again 3 minutes later because I forgot Mark's potato chips.
  • Kids thrilled at reuniting w/ cousins when we arrive at midnight and running around crazily until ONE am. Adults to follow an hour...or so...later
  • Shopping with our children + cousins on Christmas Eve (Mark took them at Toys R Us, I got them at the Galleria. How is that fair???)
  • Opening presents on Christmas morning and the sheer delight of the children
  • All the Obama paraphernalia
  • The many people who got walked-in-on (one bathroom- no lock on the door)
  • Mounds of southern food, especially the delectable German chocolate & Red Velvet cakes
  • Family pictures at JC Penneys' the Saturday afternoon after Christmas. Waiting a full HOUR before our photo shoot started and watching the ahem, MEN (except Mark) get extremely bugged and take off while the women pick over the pix and decide that none of them are real keepers but what the hey, we spent the time and the $, even got coordinating clothes, might as well get 'em anyway..
  • Retakes with Nana my new camera on the front lawn- more flustered subjects
  • Max & Kayla playing/maiming together as only babies do
  • Gingerbread house construction- and immediate destruction
  • Mark making goodies and then our caroling to deliver them to the neighbors. Oh and especially the kids' races to the door and ensuing arguments. Another highlight would be when we'd enter a smoke-filled home and the children would clap their hands over their mouths while I hissed, "Don't...say...anything!"
  • Packing our car with way too much stuff & saying goodbye to Mark's family

There were lots of other moments that would have appeared on TV too, like an argument between 2 certain adults on the way home from Christmas dinner, but thankfully our lives are NOT a TV documentary (or would that be a mockumentary?)

And now, for anyone who's still reading this... some pictures of some of the previous events: