Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Auld Lang Syne

Happy New Year! Since I have no real new information to offer, I have decided to bring you the following stream of consciousness style blog post to usher in 2009:

Item 1: Why do you suppose our dryer has a setting for "very dry"? I mean, it's either dry, or it is not yet dry, am I right?
Item 2: Our neighbors seem to be ringing in the New Year with lots of bass. Sorry we won't be here tonight to enjoy more of that.

Item 3: Max is currently dancing to Roy Orbison, very very passionately, while wearing nothing but a Batman tee-shirt. This is weird because I have no idea how Roy Orbison came to be on our TV in the first place, and because I am not sure that I personally am inspired by Roy Orbison to the rhythmic frenzy that Max is clearly feeling, and because oh my God Max is really shaking his naked buns hither and yon like they are the proverbial Polaroid picture. My life is amusing.
Item 4: Now Maggie is also dancing. She just called Roy Orbison "Dada". The glasses, maybe?

Item 5: We finished watching Indiana Jones and The Crystal Skull last night. It was our fourth attempt to make it through the movie without falling asleep or needing to tend to wakeful offspring. So few movies are worth that kind of fricking effort.
Item 6: We got a new espresso machine from my dad for Christmas. Ian loves it. A lot. I think he has been sneaking out into the kitchen to sleep with it at night. We have, in related news, been drinking quite a lot of espresso. I offer this as an excuse for items 1-5.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I hope your New Year celebrations are at least as exciting as this blog post. Happy Aught Nine!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Holly Jolly Christmas: Tillmanstyle

'Tis three days after Christmas
and I am still
so very tired
so I hope that you will
accept this here bounty
of photos and then
I will write a better story
after I sleep again.

Christmas Eve morning

Playtime at Granny and Gramps' house

Maggie "helps" make the Christmas Eve feast

Christmas snuggle

Making cookies for Santa

Decorating cookies for Santa

One for Max

And one for Santa. It's covered in frozen blueberries, in case you are studying the picture and thinking What in God's name is all over that cookie? while feeling alarmed and/or disgusted.

Letter to Santa.

The stockings were hung by the futon with care. (Take special note of Granny's mismatched pyjamas. She enjoys it when people notice that sort of thing.)

Stockings all in a row.

Reading "'Twas The Night Before Christmas".

Christmas morning, far too early.

Opening presents. Maggie got a baby doll and baby doll accessories. Santa enjoyed taking a trip down the girly aisle this year! And, as a special Christmas bonus, take in my uncombed hair. It was the liveliest thing in the entire house.

Well, maybe the second liveliest.

Max picked out the cloth for Ian's jammy pants, which, now that I think about it, are at least a tie with my wild hair for liveliness.
Gramps made waffles for breakfast, with a side of every single kind of food in the entire universe. If you look in the background, you can see Maggie impaling a bite of ham. She said her first and sassiest multi-sentence conversation item on Christmas during breakfast, when asked if she was going to eat a bite of something. "No", she replied firmly, stabbing herself more ham. "I don't like it. It's yucky." Ian and I are in for bad, bad trouble with that girl, and you should pray for us daily.

To sum up: Merriment abounded.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Winter Holiday Of Your Choice

We are headed over to Granny and Gramps' house tomorrow, to spend the night there. Max's itinerary includes (but is not limited to) a)making gingerbread men, some of which are for Santa and some of which are for Max and one crumb of which might be for Maggie, b)waiting for Santa, c)basking in the love of Granny and Gramps, a love which allows for greater freedom and more frequent treats than his parents', and d)waiting for the snow (we have told him that this is unlikely, even throwing in a whole hemispheric, north/south, weather-pattern explanation, but he is not convinced). Maggie's itinerary, as best as I can tell, includes a)pretending to be a doggy ("I a doggy! Woof woof woof woof woof!"), b)demanding gingerbread cookies ('Mine! Mine! I try it, Guys? Pleeeeaaaasssee? I got it! Mine!"), c) basking in the aforementioned Granny and Gramps love, and d) sleeping even less than usual in an unfamiliar bed. I am very excited to see their wee faces on Christmas morning. Merry Christmas, Internet!

Friday, December 19, 2008

And To You Your Wassail Too

(Incidentally, wassail is apparently a festive spiced cider, traditionally served around Christmas. According to Ian.)

So. Hi. I have received many an email, postcard, phone call, smoke signal, regarding my neglect of this here blog, and it has, to be fair, been a long while. Shortly after we last spoke, The Tillman 4 hightailed it to Ian's parents' new house for Thanksgiving. We took the train, which had it's good points (comfy seats, sense of adventure, etc.), and it's bad points (some of our luggage decided to travel to Los Angeles, which is not, by the way, where we were going, and also eight hours in an enclosed train car with two small children is OH MY GOD A REALLY LONG TIME). We had a lovely time and there are many lovely pictures of our lovely children cavorting with their lovely cousins, and all of that loveliness deserves its own blog post which will hopefully happen shortly. If we know you, like you, and know your address, you probably got a Christmas card from us featuring a picture of us with a beach behind us, and the beach was near Ian's parents' house. Further pictures will have to wait. Both kids are currently napping -- hey! Max takes naps again! Did I mention? -- but Maggie is an unreliable sleeper, so we could be interrupted any moment. Treasure this time, people.

When we got back from Thanksgivingfest '08, we went and got our Christmas tree. We cut down our own this year, which was exciting, and we are sort of inexperienced tree-cutters, so we had some good times wrestling the tree into the tree stand. ("Dada got a little mad at the tree. But now he likes it!" Max informed me the next day.) The jolliness of hunting and gathering our own fresh tree helped me to cope with the fact that, once again, we were forced to choose a miniature tree this year. Even I, who lobby for the biggest tree we can fit in our apartment every year, had to admit that our determined little mountain goat of a daughter could not be trusted not to climb to the highest bough and hang there like the world's cheekiest Christmas ornament. So the tree is out of her reach, but she walks up to one or the other of us every 30 seconds, clasps her hands and lifts her big, earnest eyes up to us, and says, "More treee? Please treee? Yeah, yeah Santa!" until we pick her up and admire the tree with her for fifteen minutes or until something in our back gives out, whichever comes first. And yes, Maggie absolutely speaks with the level of clarity dictated above. I am not exaggerating. The other day, I was negotiating with her while we were in line at the store, and some lady behind me laughed and said, "it's so funny, it sounds just like she's talking to you!" Um, yeah.

Max is super excited for Christmas. Relatively fresh from his birthday, he understands enough now to anticipate presents, and cookies, and he has holiday spirit to spare. We have talked about making cookies for Santa, and he is agreeable, as long as Santa doesn't get ALL the cookies. Ian told him that Santa comes down the chimney to bring toys, but that if you don't have a chimney, Santa comes through the Internet. Max was initially dubious ("but he will get squished!"), but now accepts this and all other Santa-related discrepancies because Santa is "very very magical".

So, I have now given you a blog post, with witty narrative, heart-warming Christmas cheer, and a festive color redesign for the holiday season.

And now that you no longer need to send me grouchy emails about falling off the face of the Internet, feel free to fill that hole in your busy schedule with bothering Ian by discussing how much he looks like the Grinch in this picture. Feliz Navidad.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Happy Birthday, Joseph!

We miss you already.

Friday, November 21, 2008

In Which A Well-Intentioned Grocery Clerk Becomes Chelsa's Mortal Enemy

I used to be very nervous taking both kids out by myself. When Maggie was first born, I would take another grown-up with me whenever possible, and the logistics of who sat where in the grocery cart, or what to do if someone had a big tantrum with the one having the tantrum without abandoning the one not having the tantrum, took me a while to master. And by a while, I mean 18 months and counting. (Hey! Maggie will be 18 months old tomorrow! I just realized! And now I'm sad. Let's move on.) While calling myself a master of the two-child shuffle might never be something I'm comfortable with, I have gotten past the debilitating terror, and I go somewhere with the kids, by myself, almost every day. The park, the grocery store, the doctor's office -- we see the world, people. And while there is the occasional meltdown, public barfing, or smoothie spill, mostly we have pleasant jaunts with no loss of life or limb.
But not today.
At the grocery store we usually frequent, there is a young teenage checker who really likes Maggie. She is very nice and very pleasant and I don't blame her for liking Maggie. I have had small amounts of discomfort around the fact that she generally makes a very big deal about how cute Maggie is, while Max tries to get equal attention in a number of ways, which leaves me feeling sorry for him, which leads me to exclaim over Max a great deal while the teenage checker is conversing with us, which leads me to feel like one of those overly enthusiastic women who chirp instead of speaking and end every sentence with a sugary exclamation point. ("Max, how old are you? That's right, you're three!! What a smartie!!" and etc.)But I forgive the checker for all of this -- she is a young girl, and she likes babies, and she is maybe not quite mature enough to be sensitive to Max, but he is tough and well-loved from a number of other quarters, so whatever.
What I cannot forgive the checker for is the fact that she gave both children balloons today while we shopped. Don't get me wrong -- they were both delighted and they spent the rest of the shopping trip bonking themselves and each other and me with the balloons while crowing with glee, and we got a lot of amused looks and our cart was one big rocking party. But when we left the store, things got complicated.
Let me be clear -- things are not uncomplicated even at the best of times. Whichever kid I put in the car first, the other one gets up to grocery-cart escaping hi jinks. With the added element of two balloons, however, it was a comedy of fricking errors. I put Max in first, which took about a million years because he wanted to hold his balloon while being buckled in and it kept getting tangled up and finally I tied it to the arm of the seat so it wouldn't float into my field of vision while I was driving and kill us all and he didn't like the way I tied it and then he "tied' it himself and then I had to secretly secure it without spurning his independence and etc. I put the groceries in the car, and then I got Maggie. She wept bitterly the entire time I was putting her in her car seat, because her balloon was still tied to the cart and she thought we were leaving it behind. (I'm not going to lie -- I absolutely considered leaving it behind, and I would have done so if Maggie was even slightly less on the ball.) I retrieved the balloon, but was slightly at a loss, because I didn't want Maggie to yell the whole ride home because she yells really loudly, but balloons are a choking hazard and I didn't want to leave her in the rear-facing car seat with a balloon because I'd be turning around to make sure she wasn't eating it the whole way home and I'd probably drive into a tree and finish off whichever of us hadn't already perished in balloon-related atrocities. I attempted a compromise -- tying it to the seat in front of her, where she could see it but couldn't reach it. Like most compromises, this failed to please anyone. Maggie did, indeed, yell the entire way home. "Ba -oon! Where are you? Ba-oon! No no no nononononononononono! Where are you? Ba-oon! Maaamaaa! Where are you?" and etc. (Have I mentioned that Maggie speaks in grammatically correct complete sentences now? She does. It's freaky. It looks like some kind of voice-throwing trick.)And I had put the balloon close enough to her that I was worried she would somehow get ahold of it, so I kept turning around to check anyway. Our drive home, normally a ten minute breeze, today took twenty years.
And, of course, when we got home, in the flurry of getting everyone and all the groceries out of the car, guess what happened? Come on, if you were writing this story, what is the only possible way it could end?
That's right. One of the balloons escaped and sailed off into the heavens. Maggie threw herself to the pavement in bereaved betrayal. And I accidentally taught the kids a new swear word.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Dear Weirdo Neighbor Whose Aquaintance I Have For Some Reason Not Yet Made,

I don't really have an issue with you walking your dog right outside my window. I would personally cut other people's patios a wider berth, but you are on public property, and maybe your dog really likes that bush right by our house, so, fine. I am, I must admit, puzzled by the fact that you seem to have named your dog, "Hi", but people's processes for naming their beloved wards are unique and personal and I would never question your right to own a dog named Hi if that's your thing. Get a matching one and name it "Bye", and I will still back you up, Buddy. I am loyal like that. To random strangers who live in my apartment complex.
If you are going to have a dog named Hi, and if you and Hi have some sort of attraction to the bush right outside my patio door, and if Hi is the kind of dog who requires constant and extremely loud repetition of his name, you really should not be surprised if, upon occasion, the young children living in the house behind your treasured bush think that you are yelling "Hi! Hi! Hi!" in order to greet them, and respond accordingly. Nor should you give a dirty look to the aforementioned young children, even if one of them is not wearing pants when he hails you.
A friendly piece of advice from me to you. Say hi to Hi for me.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I Am Just So Confused

Max to Mama, post jog: I was crying while you were gone, Mama.

Mama: Yeah, Dad told me. Why were you crying?

Max: Because I just didn't want you to go jog, actually.

Mama: Well, I'm sorry you were sad, Buddy. But I was only gone a short while, right?

Max: No. Also I died.

Mama: What?

Max: I died, you know. Years ago. I was resting and I was crying, and that means I died.


Max: It's something that happened.

Mama: I just really think your dad would have mentioned it to me if you had died.

Max: No. He wouldn't. Dad ... my dad said no, he wasn't going to tell you.

Mama: So you died, but now you're alive again?

Max: No, Mama. Hey! My next grandfather has a space ship, you know? He does. Thatwise Joey and I are going to ride in it last morning.

Mama: ???

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Crazy, Thanks For Asking. And How Are You?

The offspring have a bad case of the Possessed by the Devils today. Maggie was up until 11:14 last night, and sadly, last night was not the first night she has decided to stay up late. Today, as I predicted to her at 11:12, she is cranky. She keeps trying to nap, and then Max, who went to bed early and willingly last night but today seems to have drunk from the well of Hyper Insanity, keeps waking her up because he wants to play with her. I have repeatedly requested a leave of absence from momhood today, and I have been repeatedly reminded that no replacement is available on such short notice, and I will therefore have to stay. Stupid non-union job.
(By the way, the picture is irrelevant to the tale of woe, except that it features both children napping together back when both children napped together, and it reminds me of happier and more rested times. It also probably sabotages my sympathy votes, as all and sundry will look at the picture, soak in its adorableness, and immediately take the children's side of this and every argument. Here's something I have learned the hard way, though, people: children can definitely be both adorable and capable of great wickedness.)

Friday, November 07, 2008

Bask In The Irony

This is the book that Maggie just took off the shelf and chucked at my head. Then she laughed.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Because The Dictionary Is For The Unimaginative

Max often talks like a three-year old little old man. He mutters to himself when he is irritated, he says, "actually", and "years ago" and "when I was a boy" in everyday casual conversation, and he is one short step from giving lectures that begin "back in my day" and end with "you pesky kids get off my lawn!" It amuses me greatly, and then my amusement often irritates him, inspiring another round of scholarly lectures and crabby muttering, which then amuses me further, and around we go. Because he is three, though, and not eighty five, his ability to pontificate like an Oxford Professor is hampered by some profound gaps in his verbosity. Undaunted, Max fills these gaps in with what can only be described as utter nonsense. "This is a deem dong bon" he will announce authoritatively, holding up a drawing or a lego construction. "I was building it years ago, when I was a boy." He slays me.
His latest piece of non-language is a word he invented himself, and which he uses constantly. The word is 'thatwise', and it seems to stand in, meaning-wise, for some combination of 'therefore', 'otherwise', 'ergo', and 'except for'. "Mama!" he bellowed at me this morning, in response to an innocent query about his need to pee status, "I already went to the potty years ago! I don't want to go pee. Thatwise I am going to be mad!" And then, five minutes later, he peed on the floor.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Halloween That Was Awesome In Spite Of Itself

Truthfully, I am a bit of a Halloween Scrooge. I like it in theory -- candy is tasty, pumpkins are carvable and also orange (my favorite color), and who doesn't like dressing up? (Max, as it turns out, but that part comes later in the story.) The thing is, having been a gestational diabetic one and a half times, and having been told in no uncertain terms by several doctors that sugar is not my friend and never will be, the candy has lost a certain amount of appeal. Plus, it turns out that Maggie really, really, really, really likes chocolate, and that she really, really, really, really really, really, really, REALLY gets hyper when she so much as licks a rudimentary crust of a single m&m. AND, no one likes carving the pumpkins except me, and I feel sort of like a tragic figure sitting by myself caressing pumpkin innards while Ian and the kids play elsewhere. AND, most importantly, costumes for kids are either expensive (if you buy them) or time-consuming (if you make them), and the weather in California is such that no matter what you do, you are gambling. (I dressed Max in a fur wolf suit for his first Halloween. It was 87 degrees. I still feel guilty.)
Max went through several costume ideas -- Wall-E, Buzz Lightyear, Green Lantern, a Crisnol (no, he doesn't mean crysTal, but beyond that, I have no idea what a crisnol is or what it looks like, so I was relieved when that costume idea was abandoned) -- and finally settled on Batman. My parents found a Batman costume in a thrift store, Max pronounced himself pleased, and we all felt the warm glow of an issue resolved. I was going to put a monster face on the hood of one of Maggie's sweatshirts, but then I didn't, and at the last second I found a little butterfly suit on sale, and while it is not the most practical purchase ever (I think she's already outgrown it, and it is a hand-wash only item, which, please), she was a delight to behold in it and so I felt good about that, too. Our plan was to swing through the downtown Halloween party circuit, eat a prudent but decadent amount of sugar, and then maybe watch a spooky episode of Word World with Ian when he got home.
However, like the saying goes, the best laid plans of bats and butterflies so often go awry. Max liked his costume, but it offended him in some way, too. He said that it was itchy, but I don't really think that was the problem. I think that it just freaked him out somehow to have his identity messed with. When he was called Batman, he firmly disagreed, reminding all and sundry that he was "just a Max". He reluctantly kept his costume on long enough for me to take some not-very-good pictures (see my last post), and then shed it in favor of a Halloween-themed tee and some spooky orange crocs. Then, with the fact that Max had no costume and was not in favor of costumes in general, the fact that it was raining, and the fact that by the time we got all of the costume-no-costume hullabaloo squared away it was 4 pm, we decided to skip the downtown thing. I was feeling badly -- Max and Maggie are still little enough not to care too much, but still -- and so I proposed a walk to the park in between rain bouts.
The park -- and this is the point of my freakishly long and rambling tale -- was AWESOME. The rain and the Halloween combined to make it more or less deserted, the light was that weird late-afternoon raincloud light, and we had a delightful romp. And, while we romped, I took a bunch of pictures (and I do mean A BUNCH, so I hope you are sitting in a comfy chair if you are planning on scrolling through all of them), and they all turned out a million times better than my sad attempts at posed pictures at home. I am not sure what the moral of this story is, other than that I need to blog more often so that I don't get all pent up and then write an epic novel like this has turned out to be, but we had fun in unexpected ways, and now, thanks to Daylight Saving Time ending (curse you, Daylight Saving Time, and may a thousand potato bugs crawl over your lonely grave!), both children are asleep in bed at the unheard of hour of 7:52. Good Times.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

In Which Chelsa Attempts To Take A Photo Of Both Children In Costume: A Harrowing Halloween Story

Attempt the first: Both children are adorable, and they are hugging in a friendly fashion, adding to the cuteness. The fact that Max is Batman, however, is almost completely obscured, and the wings on Maggie's suit, which clarify the fact that she is a butterfly and not just a Maggie In A Shiny Leotard With An Impractical Skirt Attached, are hidden entirely.

Attempt the second: Max's Batmanhood is clearly visible to the naked eye, but Maggie's wings are still theoretical, and her tights (the best part of the costume, in my opinion) are likewise incognito. Plus, both children have expressions evocative not so much of childlike Halloween glee as wry, jaded Halloween overphotographitis.

Attempt the final: Maggie's wings are at last revealed, and her stripy tights are on display, but Max has decided that his Batman costume itches him, and that he shouldn't wear it because, "I am just a Max. Not a Batman. Not a Batmax." He has therefore switched to a festive orange shirt with a fuzzy skeleton on it, which would be fine except that no one can see the skeleton. I decide to give up and pursue more easily attainable goals. Stay tuned to see if our pumpkin carving is more successful. Happy Rainy Halloweeeeeeen!