The Latest on the Lowes

We started this blog to share the transformation of our 1926 fixer...but with time and the addition of kids it has become my way of documenting two childhoods...the triumphs, moments of hilarity, lessons learned and everything in between.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Endless Summer

Creating a fairy garden at Swanson's
The summer that never ends. The hottest summer on record. Call it what you want, I am ready to bid adieu and re-acquaint myself with my beloved scarves, sweaters, jackets and, in short, layer up.  Alas it is the end of the month and despite having some dew on my windshield early in the morning, it feels like there is no end in sight. While it's easy to dismiss my whining as First World Problems, it feels more serious when half the state is on fire and Seattle is covered in wildfire smoke. We NEED rain - and not just so I can wear a jacket. Thankfully there were some bright spots to the month, most notably POTTY TRAINING.

Full Tilt - In big boy pants!
That's right. Matteo is officially a big boy and last month was, in fact, NOT a tease, but the start of his new life in underwear. To say that we are thrilled/relieved/proud doesn't cover it. I genuinely researched if pull-ups came in adolescent boy sizes for fear he'd be in middle school before he used a toilet. It didn't come to that, and we are incredibly grateful. Even with the excitement of the Lynch family in town for a week he was able to maintain through field trips to Full Tilt and the Minions
movie. It's the real deal, people!!

She filled 5 of those bags
August was also a month of taking a hard look in the parenting mirror. Like many of our friends, we want to spoil our kids, but we don't want spoiled kids. We love to surprise them with treats, but we want them to appreciate that treats are treat and not a norm. It's been several months since Lily got her ears pierced and I agreed to let her change out her earrings, but only if the replacements were hypoallergenic surgical steel after finally recovering from a nasty infection. We went down to Fred Meyer to find a new pair, but they only had cheap pairs made of questionable materials. I told her that I wasn't going to risk her ears getting infected again and that we would have to instead order a pair and that thanks to my Prime account they would arrive in two days. TWO DAYS. Think you've seen pouting? Well, you haven't. The dismay that followed was extreme, disproportionate, embarrassing and unwarranted. It was also a direct reflection on our propensity to say yes too often and the consequence of wanting to give your kids everything you didn't have. Just like that we made a decision, sat the kids down, and explained with the exception of birthdays, Christmas and trips, there would be no presents/toys/extras unless they paid for them with money they earned. And you know what? It's been great. Lily begged for a new Disney Infinity character a week later and knowing the rule, she shoveled yard debris from the remodel - 5 huge bags worth - to earn the difference between the cost and her allowance. The lesson for me was a good one - making your kids happy feels good temporarily, but building character and appreciation ensures a
happy life.

When they weren't busy learning lessons, they did have some funny things to say...

Matteo: You love me five dollars!
Me: Five dollars?! Five GAZILLION dollars!
Matteo, holding up a finger: And I love you 1 dollar.

Me, texting another parent of a preschool boy: Matteo just announced he was done with breakfast and
Bob celebrating National Dog Day
tried to roll his plate to me like a wheel. Prepare yourself for life with a 4-year-old boy.

Matteo, mid jammie change, arms stuck: "arghhhh...Zombie Matteo!"

Me, after bringing Lily to work with me*: "I'm slow at work right now so we can do this, but it won't always be this way because sometimes I get really busy"
Lily: "I know, it's heartbreaking"
*Lily loooooves coming to work with me. I think the free soda and udon at the Commons is a big factor

Lily, listening to the acoustic version of I Crumble on the radio: "I think she's being a little dramatic"

Matteo: I'm really sad Lily is at camp
Me: Why? Do you miss her?
Matteo:Yes and I want to say hi to her.
(She was gone 1 night...but good to know he actually does like her)

Matteo's random response, several times a week with no rhyme or reason: WHAT?! NO WAY!!

She's balancing all her weight on one
hand with a straight back. Of course she
rules her tumble class.
Lily's response when she saw she is the only girl in her new co-ed tumbling class: No way
Lily's response after trying the class and schooling all the boys: I'm going to stick with this class.

That's our girl.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

We're melting....

The heat doesn't bother Matteo, but he does
think putting his shirt over the portable
A/C is hilarious and refreshing.
Point me to this post the next time I complain about our cold, wet spring because I am here to say I
REALLY miss said spring. A lot. Once again we're having the hottest summer on record, this time breaking the record for days over 90 degrees in a year and it isn't even August. While the kids are relatively unfazed by this, Chris and I are having a love affair with our fans and portable A/C and I actually felt *chilled* in San Diego when I was there for ComicCon. But there was a bright spot - OUR NEW YARD!

After 7 years of living in our house, letting the dogs have their way with the yard, letting the butterfly bush grow out of control and basically ignoring it, Chris has done a total overhaul. I am kicking myself for not taking a "before" picture, but I do have some good "after" ones. Chris did all of this himself over the course of many weekends in the hot sun (Matteo helped by overseeing the work and saying "phew" every time Chris lifted something heavy). When I say "all of this" I *really* mean ALL OF THIS...dug out all the sod, laid the fake grass, built the planters, installed the patio, dug the holes for the posts, built the fire pit brick by brick, hauled in the gravel one 50lb bag at a time and so on. It's gone from being a total embarrassment (Yes, we have a yard, no you cannot see it) to being our beautiful Shangri-La and favorite place to be.

From the house looking back

Opposite view. Unintentional it is Xbox green. See that patch of faux grass?
First week it was down I looked out my window and saw Lily and Bob lying
next to each other, both on their backs, heads touching and staring at the
sky. The patch was a worthy investment.

What he dug out to make our oasis happen. This doesn't take into
account the entire truck bed of butterfly bush our neighbor hauled
away or the many compost bins filled.

I think the heat must make the kids extra funny, because this month they were on a roll....

I brought Lily in on "Bring You Kid To Work Day" and in the "fair area" they randomly had a petting zoo with chickens.
Lily made this clever observation: I thought this was a petting zoo, not a pecking zoo!

Me to Matteo: Tater, would you like some grapes?
Matteo: NO! I'm just SO TIRED my heart will BREAK and then I will GO to Jupiter.

Lily, staring out the car window: Awwww look at the cute doggie!
(Dog starts pooping)
Lily: Aaaaaand the cute moments are over
Slightly ironic since I've long believed if I had a dollar for every time lily and I laughed and talked about farts and poop, her college tuition would be covered.

Me/Chris: Matteo would you like (fill in the blank)?
Matteo, shaking head and with sad intonation: No no no no no
ComicCon swag and t's

Lily: Is Matteo licking the car?
Me: No...well, I hope not
Matteo: YES I AM! I am making it clean WITH my TONGUE!

Matteo, after making an observation (he makes about 172 a day): Right daddy? Right mommy? Right Lily?
(if 2 seconds pass without a response)
(insert wee stomping feet)

Me: What would you like for breakfast?
Matteo: A house! (Giggle giggle) and then I will be Boba Fett!

Lily: How do you tell if a pony is a girl?
Me: If it has a penis it's a boy and if it doesn't it's a girl
Lily: You shouldn't have said that and I shouldn't have asked it
Me: Why? It's true
Lily: Yeah, but it's disgusting!

Matteo, in the bathroom: Pee? Peeeeeee...come out come out wherever you are!!

Matteo: I want an iron man toy!
Me: you should ask Santa for that
Matteo: I can't - he's closed!

Matteo: I go to the potty now. There's a lot of stuff coming out of me!
Me: YAY!!! (potty dance commences)
Matteo, in the voice people normally reserved for wounded animals: No more potty dance, mommy

Sitting at Maritime Brewery, Lily lets out a huge burp
Me: Wow, you're a classy dame
Lily: What?! It's what pirates do!
Kinda hard to argue with that...

Matteo, seeing a fruit fly in the house: There's bugs in our house! Release! RELEEEAASE!

Um, yeah...there were a few things about Matteo using the big boy potty in there....but this is a new development and I don't want to jinx it, so more to come on that (fingers crossed) next month!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Summer's here with a vengeance

Matteo likes his toes to match mine
Summer is here and unlike in years past when we saw glimpses, but didn't really see high temps till July, this year is packing a heat wallop. It's seriously throwing me - since when do I need to go to LA to cool off?!

June in the Lowe house means two things:
End of the school year

Last day with Ms Neimeyer.
This year E3 felt a little anti-climactic.  As usual I went down to prep the broadcast, but as Lily's last day coincided with the briefing, I came back up and watched from home. As proud as I am of seeing our titles, I have to say it isn't even close to the same experience. Whereas I am usually in a box, watching the show and the audience reaction, followed by a celebratory lunch with my team, this year I watched from the basement while trying to distract Matteo with Legos. At one point he asked me to leave, to which I replied "just a few more minutes, this is mama's work" which made him look up at the TV, point to Lara Croft and ask "is that YOU?! Be careful!!"

Disney odyssey begins
The end of the school year was a tough one. I both can't believe Lily is 1/2 way done with elementary school and I am in denial that we will no longer have the wonderful Ms Neimeyer. She has single-handedly restored my faith in the public school system and made such a huge impact on Lily's academic growth. Admittedly, I got a bit teary when we said our goodbyes. Lily? Not so much as the next day we headed out to the Lynch's.

Pierced ears! She was a champ
How lucky am I to not only have a friend of nearly 20 years, but one who also has a daughter Lily's age that invited us down for a summer respite? We had a great time - we hit Disneyland for a very full day complete with fireworks, followed by more fun days with the beach, dinner with Tim and even getting Lily's ears pierced at the same place Shari got her ears done when she was a kid. Wrap that up with an upgraded trip home followed by two weeks of circus camp and you have a really great start to the summer.

Side note: for kicks this month I started to keep a log of what we make vs what the kids actually eat.
Night 1
What Chris made: pork chops, crispy sautéed kale, farro
What they ate: hard boiled eggs (Lily) and PB&J (Matteo)
Log ended. Parenting shame too great to continue.

And the quotes...

Matteo: I don't have enough legos, right mommy?
Me: You have plenty
Matteo: NOOOOO - daddy says there are NEVER enough

Matteo: Can I have some of your water?
(Pours too fast, goes up his nose)
Matteo: I've had enough of drinking your water

Matteo: Look! Lily made this for me!
Me: Did you say thank you? You should say thank you, sweetie
Matteo to Lily: Thank you, sweetie!

Chris: What are you chewing?
Lily: Hubba Bubba
Chris: Whose-a-whata?
Lily: Hubba Bubba
Chris: Hooba hooba?
Lily: Hubba Bubba!
Chris: Boota woota?
Lily: Wow, daddy, just wow.
Summer = lots of baths. And bathtub rings.


This picture cost me 2 donuts
MAY! I give it an exclamation point because this has been hands-down the busiest E3 I've ever worked. Absolute madness...but thankfully still captured a few memories.
How do you know when you've been working too much? Judge from the reaction at pick-up. So sad I didn't have a camera crew behind me to capture Matteo when I yelled "hey pal!" and he looked up, flung his shovel in the air while simultaneously yelling "MOMMY!" and running towards me at top speed. If everyone greeted me with this much love and enthusiasm I would either explode from joy or have to hide. Maybe both.
Despite the workload, Chris did make sure I had a lovely Mother's Day. Only downer was missing the last table at Blue C by mere minutes. The wait wasn't too bad, but waiting isn't Lily's strong suit. About 10 minutes in she looked at me and asked "is this karma?" That actually made the wait well worth it.

And as if my workload weren't enough, Chris doubled down on parental duty AND has made major headway on the yard reclamation project, both installing an envirotile patio as well as clearing out the back half for planter boxes and what will one day be a fire pit. 

View of the yard from our room. When prepping for the
boxes, Chris had to shovel A LOT of dirt over the fence.
With each toss, Matteo would say "Phew!" in encouragement.

Lily has also been hard at work in gymnastics and recently started competing. It hasn't gone well as while she has steadily improved, her team has not and consistently gets 3rd place every meet (we receive her individual scores via email, but awards are based on a team average). After the 3rd time getting 3rd place I found her ribbons in the trash. Equal parts funny and sad....and my inner competitor completely empathizes.

And of course the month wouldn't be complete without Matteo's birthday! Yep, our little dude is now 4, which I find both amazing and difficult to believe. Toilet belligerence aside, he's grown into quite the little man. He's sweet, funny, a builder and creator, lover of all vehicles and capable of endless mischief. A true Gemini, he's mercurial but also such a lovey mama's boy he turns me to mush every day. His birthday was a mellow affair with a few friends over for pizza, cake and transformers - exactly what he wanted a sweet way to start his new year.
Birthday boy
Last but not least, a few quotes and a video to sum up the month:

Me: Matteo, who would you like to read stories tonight?
Matteo: MOMMY!
Me: Which book? (Matteo points, I pull out his favorite train book)
Matteo: Wait! Daddy has to read that one because he's smart!
Okay, not sure how to take that....

Chris, observing Lily: Were those jazz hands?
Lily: Yes!  They make everything better!
(They really do!)

Matteo chattering at Lily, Lily trying hard
to ignore. Yes, this sums up the dynamic well.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Spring is looking up...

April. More in bloom, days even longer, Easter, report cards and kids in high gear.  A summary in pictures and quotes:

Matteo: Look, mama - pumpalumps!
Me: You mean pumpkins? 
Matteo: No, pumpalumps. Pumpkins look like pumpalumps

Me: Oops! You're shirt is on backwards.
Matteo: The tag goes in the back, or it will be silly for business!

In April we went to the PAWS Gala...where they had a kitten tent.
We sent the sitter this pic to share with Lily

And this one

This is the reaction shot we got back.  No, we didn't
come home with a kitten.  Thankfully they were too
young to be adopted...which is good because THIS FACE
is awfully hard to say no to.

Matteo:  I am just freaked out!
(His new thing. Applies to everything from jammies to Bob to Team UmiZoomi)

Matteo on the way home from school: I go to Gotham and visit my friend Batman!  We drive in the car, it is only 3 seconds away!

Matteo: I’m little
Chris: That’s what makes you so cute
Matteo: (long pause) I’m adorable
Matteo, after I kissed his adorable chubby foot:  I don't have owies so I don't need kisses!
Me: Hi Matteo!
Matteo: MOMMY! I am sooooo proud of you!
Me: Really? Why?
Matteo: Because YOU are my MOM and I love you so so so MUCH! (while hugging and patting me on the back)

Miss Lily this year left notes for the Easter Bunny instructing
him to set up separate hunts for her and Matteo on different
levels of the house.  Hers went swimmingly. She also declared
jelly beans shall henceforth be called bunny poops.
Me: The Bunny came!  Matteo: Why?

Lily and I made an Easter cake.  Didn't turn out too well....

...that is until we covered it in whipped cream and strawberries.
Dairy products and fruit are magical.

Me, reading the flier for the upcoming walk/bike to school week: One or two days we will reward our walkers and riders with healthy snacks!
Lily: Yay! Wait...did it say healthy?
Me: Yep
Lily: Poop

Picking up Matteo: Oh my boy!
Matteo: You mean your doodlebugger!

Chris, observing Lily delightedly calling her friend Ilicia: I am sooooo not ready for this for at least another 3 years.
(apparently she wasn't either - after a stilted minute and a half of giggling they hung up)

We also got Lily's 2nd report card of the year: "Lily is a delight to have in class. She has a wonderful sense of humor and enjoys interacting with her peers. Lily has made great progress in reading.....I am so pleased to have Lily as a student this year! Way to go Lily!"
THERE ARE NO WORDS. School has never come easily to Lily and this made my heart sing. Her wonderful teacher who truly understands and appreciates her has made all the difference in the world. We are brimming with pride and gratitude that our girl is now caught up to her peers in reading. I'm under no delusion that academic issues won't still arise, but for the first time they feel conquerable. 

These two. So much love.

This guy.  Heart melting.

Monday, March 30, 2015

The spring slog has begun

With Kauai behind us, we entered my least favorite time in Seattle - the dreaded spring slog.  While the days growing longer, the trees budding leaves and the sprouting daffodils and tulips help, it's also the time of year when the rain and cold feel like they will never end and we are ready for summer to show (and sad that it likely won't for another 3+ months).  Oddly, instead of giving me a Vitamin D boost to see me through till June, Kauai just made me crave summer more - since we've been back I've even been looking at Hanalei Bay real estate that we can't afford....just in case we someday might.  At least I have my kiddos to brighten my days, and this month Matteo has been in rare form, cracking me up with these gems:

Me: Do you want some milk for your tummy?
Matteo: My tummy is all full from snack at school
Me: What did you have?
Matteo: I don't know and I don't care.

Chris, observing Matteo curled up on my lap: You're in a cuddly mood today, huh pal?
Matteo: Yes!  Because I am sooooo cute!

Me: Do you know how much I love you?
(Hands moving further and further apart)
Matteo: YES! (hands half way apart)
Me: No! THIS MUCH! (hands WAY apart)
Matteo: Noooooo. That's TOO much!

Chris: Are you my special boy?
Matteo: Noooo
Chris: Well then what are you?
Matteo: I'm your special monkey!
(Actually kiddo, that's Lily's job)

After watching Star Wars Rebels, Matteo grabbed light saber and ran back to the kitchen, brandishing it proudly.
Chris: Oh my, there's a Jedi in the house!
Matteo: I am not a Jedi, I am your kid!

Chris: What's that? (pointing to his Mr Potatohead tattoo)
Matteo: THAT'S ME!  I am the MR MATATO-HEAD!

Matteo also learned the fine art of the tea party when Lily decided to throw one on the living room floor. These two rarely play together by choice so it warmed my heart no end to see them enjoying their "tea" and watch Lily teach him the fine art of raising his pinkie with each dainty sip. He's going through a phase where he wants me/Chris to hold his food for him...perhaps this will be replaced by extreme tea manners?

And last but not least a quick share because it's funny.  I'm used to getting "ouch reports" for my kids - they're both hard charging and one is as much a dare devil and the other is....less coordinated.  But this was a first: "Matteo put his hand in another child's mouth. Other child bit. Injury: Bite" Ok, thanks for the riveting play-by-play. That ending totally came out of left field!

And now the month's highlights in pictures:
Besties at bedtime. They really, truly love each other
and Lily won't sleep in her room unless Bob is there, which
he is more than happy to comply with.

Lily is now in a club called Cakelet.  That isn't
Chinese's an elaborately frosted mini cake.

We tried to bribe Matteo to use the potty with a 3200 piece Lego
kit. Lego: 1 Potty: 0

Why yes, we are on the field at the Sounders
opening game!

On a whim we got fishing gear. Caught nothing
despite the kindness of many random fisherman who
helped compensate for my ineptitude, but Lily had fun
and isn't that what really matters?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

February means Aloha

Sitting together - BY CHOICE!
Usually by the time February rolls around, I can't wait to escape someplace warm and beautiful.  This year was strangely and noticeably lacking that urgency.  Unlike the average winter in Seattle, we were more dry than not and saw more sun that we'd seen in years.  It reminded me a lot of our second winter resorts barely open, crisp air and sunny skies, wondering if all that famed Seattle rain was ever going to hit.  Plus, there was excitement in the air thanks to a second Seahawks Super Bowl.  I won't go into the game itself....we all know what happened in those last few
seconds...but I will say that for the first time ever Chris, Lily and I watched a game together (Matteo opted for Tumble Leaf after about 5 minutes).  We aren't a football family AT ALL, but I have to admit it was a lot of fun cheering for the home team together, eating terrible food (Doritos!) and, my favorite, watching the ads.  Hanging out with Lily was truly a blast - she's funny, quirky, inquisitive and loves to laugh. 

By the next weekend the rain was back and we were ready to head to Kaua'i and stock up on our Vitamin D.  Matteo in particular needed to leave.  The poor kid cannot stand wind and rain hitting him...which makes life as a Seattle toddler particularly challenging.  To help himself stay dry while running pre-trip errands, he insisted on holding a small pastry bag over his head.  He was incredibly proud of his ingenuity.  I remain dubious of it's efficiency as a water-repelling device.

Lily and Amigo
Kaua'i was a gamble that thankfully paid off.  Chris and I fell in love with Hanalei Bay last year, but being on the rainy end of the island there is always the risk of a vacation with nary a blue sky.  We decided to roll the dice and oh wow did we luck out.  It only rained once the whole time we were there, leaving us with near-perfect temperatures the rest of our stay.  As an added bonus, the VRBO was SIGNIFICANTLY better than the last one and right around the corner from Grandpa's beach on the bay and a short walk to a river inlet that formed a tiny beach island for the kiddos.  They loved the house, the beach, the outdoor shower, pretty much everything.  I loved the short walk to town and amazing vanilla chai, the farmer market where I paid a mere $35 for a whole coconut, banana bread, cookies, Japanese eggplant, avocado, broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, and rambutan, the lush beauty and slow pace.  None of us liked the roosters, but that's the price of paradise.
Going down the river
We decided that this trip we weren't going leave the north end of the island and never ran out of things to do - Kilauea Lighthouse, horseback riding (Lily's first time - she handled it like a pro!), the cave by Tunnels Beach, Anini Beach, mini golf through a botanical garden, paddle boarding, kayaking, beach, beach, and more beach.  Even the flights were well-tolerated, which is especially impressive considering it's the furthest island and on the way there we were re-routed through Oakland due to headwinds so strong we needed to stop to refuel.  The best part, though, was seeing my kids actually play together.  No, they didn't suddenly have an epiphany that they like each other, but they did collaborate far more than they ever do at home and Lily showed true big-sis instincts, watching over Matteo when we were in the water, and pulling him back if waves came too close.  That alone made the trip worth every dime.

Then we came home and went back to work and school....and spent the rest of the month wishing we were back in Hanalei Bay.

Which brings me to the quotes, totally out of order:

Matteo, picking him up from school his first day back: Can we go to the beach?
(I've gotten this a lot and OH BOY do I wish I could say yes!)
This year's jaguar masterpiece

Me, observing our spoiled pet: Oh Bob, you lead a hard life
Lily: Yeah!  With Matteo it's a garbage can of horrors!
(She - sadly - has a point.)

Matteo, observing our new blue bedspread: Is that for the Seahawks players?

Lily: Mama, you and daddy are the best family ever. Matteo doesn't really help, but you guys are the best.

Me, at the baggage carousel: I'm looking forward to the day you and Matteo are old enough to pack your own bags and we will each be responsible for our own suitcases.
Lily, laughing at me: That will NEVER happen

Matteo, wading into the waters at Anini: I am going OUT to sea!  OUT to seeeeaaaa!

Me: Matteo - look at the surfer! 
Matteo: Oh!  He's surfering!

Lily, after we got Bob back: NOW it feels like home!
(Couldn't agree more!)

Chris and I, discussing our plan to stay on the north end: This was our week just hang out and lay an egg
Lily: Lay an egg?  But we'd just poop it out!

Matteo, pointing to his cement mixer: The food goes down the chute to your tummy and gets mixed ALL around (insert round and round hand gestures here) and comes back out as poop!  Just like that (points again to mixer). That's right - that's what I'm talking about!

Hmmmmm...perhaps digestion is too prevalent a topic at Casa Lowe?   Nahhhhh.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

2015 underway....

Trains still rule supreme in 2015
Is anyone else in a mild state of shock that it is 2015?  No?  Just me?  Well alrighty then.  While on the one hand I'm still grappling with the fact that the mid-90's were 20 years ago, on the other I'm delighted the blow has been softened by a relatively dry and sunnier-than-usual January.  With the holidays falling where they did, we didn't have to reenter the school/work grind till the 5th so had the added bonus of a gentle start to the year, including a Christmas break finale of tubing (want a serious work out?  Go tubing on the day the tow rope is closed and with a 3-year-old who wants to be towed up by parent-power).

It's been a very chill month (Seahawks hysteria aside) without a ton to report.  Lily has turned into little Tootie Ramsay thanks to her beloved Heelys.  I'm now so used to seeing her glide by it feels unusual to see her actually walking.  When not cruising around she is back in ballet as well as in an after-school cooking class that I find absolutely brilliant.  For a very reasonable fee, every Thursday she stays after school for an hour and a half and makes us dinner.  That's right - we pick her up and she has a mostly seasonal/local (it is Seattle after all) dinner for four, ready for the oven.  Not only does this make our lives easier, the meals are actually delicious and the pride in her eyes is worth every penny x4.  I've always been a tad horrified by the concept of "Home Ec" but this I can really get behind.
Guess which one is sick of my picture taking?
In other Lily news, she lost another tooth on MLK Day (her first-ever lost tooth was also on this holiday; I guess mid-January is an auspicious time to honor Civil Rights leaders and new teeth?).  The morning started out terribly - she came into my room very upset that she had twisted the tooth ALL THE WAY AROUND and it was now "stuck."  I let her know that she was on her own - I have my limits and freaky backwards teeth are among them.  She spent the rest of the day futzing with it and then worrying she would swallow it in her sleep.  To make matters even worse, she told me she suspected "Daddy is the Tooth Fairy" since "he knows cursive."  My tooth aversion ensured there was no way I was a suspect.  I told her she had a good thing going - why rock the boat?  As luck would have it, that night she came in at 2am, excitedly waking me up to let me know it had fallen out.  What to do??  I had no cash....and a doubting choice but to stay up and wait till she was asleep and leave a congratulatory note about her tooth, telling her she should show her parents in the morning and then leave it the follow night for me, her Tooth Fairy.  Seems to have done the trick - daddy was dead asleep so no way could he have written it.  She followed instructions and was delighted to find money the next day.  Since then she's lost one more and no Fairy doubts in sight.  To be clear, I'm not advocating lying to kids....but I also know that when belief in magical things ends, so to does a chapter of sweet innocence that I'm just not ready to say goodbye to. 

In Matteo-land things are as silly as ever.  His new favorite thing is to be "break-danced" and dragged around the house.  One involves him lying on his back while we take a leg and spin him around.  The other is exactly what it sounds like.  He literally wants us to take a limb and drag him across the floor like a sack of flour.  He finds this HILARIOUS and begs for us to do it again and again and again while he lets loose with his maniacal laugh.  When he's not busy playing the part of a Swiffer, he's busy being jealous of Bob.  Yes, you read that right.  Sweet Bob, who we got in part to be a friend and companion to our kids is now inspiring jealousy.  Why you ask?  Well because he has the audacity to sit on our laps, that's why!  While Matteo *should* know that no one will ever take his place, he seems to view Bob as a rival for all things cuddles and immediately demands attention if Bob is sitting in the chair or on the couch with me.  Honestly kiddo, I love our furry friend, but you'll always and forever be my favorite little man.

So what've they been saying this month? 

Matteo, cracking open Trader Joe's Donut Os: I like donut Os because they have sugar!  It gets all over my face and I lick it off and it's so fun!

Lily, on Matteo whining:  Matteo thinks he's the king of everything - the king of whining, the king of diapers and the king of #2!

Matteo: observing the fog: Look how FROGGY it is!  I love the FROG! (for the record, I, too, referred to fog as "frog" as a child)

Me, to Matteo's teacher: you know why Matteo has been coming home with his pants on backwards every day?
Teacher: We're having him put them back on himself
Me: That explains why they're inside out, too

Lily: I don't understand the big deal with lattes
Me: They help you wake up and get rid of headaches
Lily: Oh! So it's like a potion!

Matteo: I really miss you sometimes daddy
Chris: Good
Me: Sad!
Chris:'s nice to be missed

Lily: (insert hysterical laughter)
Me: What are you watching?
Me:  And so it begins.....

Matteo:  Hey!  You're not yucky anymore!  You took a really big shower and showers get people allll CLEAN
Me:  Thanks?

Lily: Mamacita!  Hey, mamacita!
(for reasons unknown, this is apparently my new moniker)

Me, observing a crazy 'do: You look like you've been in a fight
Lily: Hey!  That does not help my day!

Up next: February...another Seahawks Super Bowl (no, there will NOT be another kid party here...I learned my lesson last year) and our annual winter escape.  Can't wait!
Our beloved Kingfish closed this month - we played hooky and got one last lunch in. 
Waited 2 hours for a catfish po'boy and it was worth every minute.  First Q in SF and
now this - it's the end of an era!