Monday, June 30, 2008

She's Like A Stuffed Animal That's Alive

There is no part of this girl that isn't ridiculously, kissably snuggly. And I speak as someone who got pooped on by her twice today.

Friday, June 27, 2008

In Which Our Trip Is Further Explored

I was very nervous about flying with two young children. Or, to be more specific, I was very nervous about travelling with Maggie, because one of her few really challenging issues is a deep-rooted and life-long hatred of being constrained in any kind of seat. Max is a fairly seasoned traveller, and he is generally mellowed out by cars, so I felt less worried about his maintenance.

The plane that we flew in was quite small, and there were only two seats per row. Ian and Max sat together on one side, and Maggie sat on my lap in a seat on the opposite side. Max had a backpack full of travel activities, so he was quite content, and Ian had his jaunty hat to entertain him, so he did all right, too.

Maggie started out the flight with some questionable behavior. She tried to steal the cell phone of the guy sitting next to us and talk on it, and this was not a baby-friendly kind of guy. He grunted irritably when I apologized, and glared at us sidelong-style for the rest of the flight. One mortal enemy safely secured, Maggie reached over the seat in front of us and drummed a festive beat on the bald head of the gentleman sitting there. Just as I was beginning to panic, envisioning an angry mob chasing us off the plane and pelting us with their broken cell phones, Maggie requested milk, and nursed herself into a slumber which lasted for the rest of the flight. She woke up and got angry (kind of a lot) at intervals during the car ride, but we made it to my dad's house in better shape than I had feared.

So, what did we do in Canada? Truthfully, not all that much. But in a good way.

The kids got acquainted with their Canadian relatives.

Max learned that game where two grown-ups flank him, hold his hands, and swing him up into the air. It is, according to him, the only way to travel now.

There were many relatives to meet, and Maggie is not a schmoozer by nature, so she got a little overwhelmed from time to time. By which I mean, she clung to me like a barnacle for much of the trip. In spite of this, she charmed the masses, and got to see first-hand where her facial features originated.

Max is much less reticent, possessing his father's hustler spirit. He quickly deduced that many aunties/great-aunties/grandparents/great-grandparents/uncle/great-uncles = someone always willing and able to play with him, and he was much pleased by these odds. His adjustment back to real life will be slow and, I am sure, quite painful.

He had some trouble at first, figuring out which auntie went with which name, and called them all "that friend auntie" at first. Luckily, Auntie Jill now has distinctive red hair, which helped Max to sort out who was who.

We didn't hike, or sight-see, or attempt feats of strength on our trip, which I realize might make for boring pictures (if you're not in them). Sitting around in a hammock is delightful (I wish I were doing it right now, to be honest), and if it doesn't make your heart pound with photographic excitement, you can at least experience the warm, altruistic glow of knowing that our trip was exactly what we wanted it to be; time with our much beloved family.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Trip Teaser

We are back from Canada. Max and Maggie are both missing the constant stream of adoring fans, but I think they are happy to be home. Max fell asleep on Ian's lap around 6:30 last night, woke up at 7:00 this morning, and was put back to bed (at his request) around noon. He is still asleep as we speak. Maggie, much less desirably, is dealing with her jet lag by yelling at me a lot. Oh, and she knows how to walk now -- not just the odd step here and there, but long distances -- and so if I go into the bathroom or the kitchen or somewhere to escape her wrath momentarily, she can follow me in and yell up close and personally. Not good.
Our trip was lovely and peaceful and a little too short. There are many, many, a lot, I am not joking, MANY pictures, but what with the yelling Maggie and the laundry and the unpacking and the sheer magnitude of pictures to go through, they may have to be shared in several increments. For now, allow me to offer you the following bullet point-style summary:
*The oldest of my younger sisters is engaged. Her future husband is British, so Ian had many exciting opportunities to examine/mock not only the Canadian accent, as per usual, but the English accent as well. Bonus!
*Maggie does not like being in her car seat. She does not like it for short distances. She REALLY does not like it for long distances. She does not like it on a plane. She does not like it on a train. She does not like it here or there. She does not like it anywhere.
*My dad magically transformed his house into a toy-filled wonderland for our visit. When he busted out the giant nerf rocket launcher (oh, yes, I did say rocket launcher), he literally rubbed his hands together with glee. He makes a very cute grandpa.
*Not to nitpick, California, but we go away for a fricking week, and you retaliate by setting yourself on fire? I missed you, too, but it seems like an extreme reaction, is all I'm saying.
*Next up: family photos where we play Spot Who's Making The Weird Face! A moving montage of Max jumping on his aunties with total disregard for the health and happiness of their internal organs! Maggie makes shifty eyes in a variety of scenic locations! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, Merritt!

We are so sorry that we cannot be there to watch you transform officially into a two year old. We are quite certain that you will pull it off with style, much as you have done everything since you were born. We love you muchly.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

So, Did We Die At The Border? Freeze To Death In The Canadian Tundra? What Happened To The Tillmans?!?

We are in Canada. We are having fun. I am having trouble with the picture uploading. It will all be sorted out shortly. Thank you for your patience. Please stand by.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

We Are Leaving For Canada Tomorrow, And This Is What I've Managed To Pack So Far

This trip is going to be interesting.

*Update: Packing is (mostly) done for the THIRD TIME (someone keeps taking everything out of the suitcase whenever my back is turned. Max and Maggie are employing that technique where each blames the other and therefore neither one can be prosecuted. Little do they know that my respect for the letter of the law is minimal, and that I would be more than willing to throw them both in the slammer and let God sort out which of them belongs there). Max just packed his own little backpack, mostly with legos (the cornerstone of any truly comprehensive travel kit), and earnestly said, "Mama? Mama! We are going to Canada in an airplane! Is it an adventure, Mama?"
"Every day is an adventure with you", I told him sentimentally.
"But every day is not an adventure", he replied. Not much of a sentimentalist, my young son.
Canada, I hope you've been getting lots of rest and taking your vitamins, 'cause here we come!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Happy Birthday Uncle Mike!

Almost three years ago, we chose you to be our first baby's godfather. It is a big job, an important job, and you have carried it off amazingly -- so much so, in fact, that we asked you to do it again. Have a Happy Birthday!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Ian = Dada: A Retrospective

I have always known that Ian would be a good father. It may, in fact, be the single most important reason that I married him. Even so, however, the wonderfully natural and effortless way that he lets everyone know that they are loved and protected and cared for has taken me by surprise. Happy Father's Day ...

Happy Father's Day!

my father moved through dooms of love
through sames of am through haves of give,
singing each morning out of each night
my father moved through depths of height

this motionless forgetful where
turned at his glance to shining here;
that if(so timid air is firm)
under his eyes would stir and squirm

newly as from unburied which
floats the first who,his april touch
drove sleeping selves to swarm their fates
woke dreamers to their ghostly roots

and should some why completely weep
my father's fingers brought her sleep:
vainly no smallest voice might cry
for he could feel the mountains grow.

Lifting the valleys of the sea
my father moved through griefs of joy;
praising a forehead called the moon
singing desire into begin

joy was his song and joy so pure
a heart of star by him could steer
and pure so now and now so yes
the wrists of twilight would rejoice

keen as midsummer's keen beyond
conceiving mind of sun will stand,
so strictly(over utmost him
so hugely) stood my father's dream

his flesh was flesh his blood was blood:
no hungry man but wished him food;
no cripple wouldn't creep one mile
uphill to only see him smile.

Scorning the Pomp of must and shall
my father moved through dooms of feel;
his anger was as right as rain
his pity was as green as grain

septembering arms of year extend
yes humbly wealth to foe and friend
than he to foolish and to wise
offered immeasurable is

proudly and(by octobering flame
beckoned)as earth will downward climb,
so naked for immortal work
his shoulders marched against the dark

his sorrow was as true as bread:
no liar looked him in the head;
if every friend became his foe
he'd laugh and build a world with snow.

My father moved through theys of we,
singing each new leaf out of each tree
(and every child was sure that spring
danced when she heard my father sing)

then let men kill which cannot share,
let blood and flesh be mud and mire,
scheming imagine,passion willed,
freedom a drug that's bought and sold

giving to steal and cruel kind,
a heart to fear,to doubt a mind,
to differ a disease of same,
conform the pinnacle of am

though dull were all we taste as bright,
bitter all utterly things sweet,
maggoty minus and dumb death
all we inherit,all bequeath

and nothing quite so least as truth
--i say though hate were why men breathe--
because my Father lived his soul
love is the whole and more than all
--e e cummings

Happy Birthday, Kate and Genna!

I guess we can't really call you "swimmies" very accurately anymore, can we? We love you and hope you enjoy your fiveliness.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Happy Birthday, Julia!

We have all watched your fearless and bold stride through these past three years with admiration and envy. We love you much!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Backseat Driver

Max to Maggie: You need some help, Maggie? But you are not driving. Let me help you. You are not big. You are just a baby. It's okay. I am a really really big boy. I touch the ground and the sky. You are not big. You are not a boy. We are driving.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Happy Birthday, Grandpa Harry!!

We love you, Grandpa, and even though we already celebrated your birthday, we will be thinking about you today, and about how lucky we are to have you. Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Question: How Many Tillmans Can You Wedge In A Duck Bath?

Answer: Two

Clarified Answer: Well, sort of.

Further Clarification: If neither of them moves or breathes.

Final Answer: You can fit two Tillmans in a duck bath, but you're better off with one in the bath while the other sits on the sidelines and gets splashed.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Hey, Guess What Neat Trick Maggie Taught Herself Yesterday?

And, by the way, don't be alarmed by the quiet and undramatic SPROING! you just heard. That was just the final, frayed bungee cord keeping Chelsa's sanity strapped down finally giving way.

Phase One: I've always wondered what's up there. I'm going to defy gravity and check it out.

Phase Two: Fortune favors the bold. Just keep channeling your inner mountain goat, Maggie. You can do it! You have to do it! For babies everywhere!

Phase Three: Huzzah! Now, to explore these mysterious heights!

Phase Four: Hello, what's this over here?

Phase Five: There are buttons on this thing! Glowing buttons! That make beeping sounds! Oh, man, this was so worth the climb!

Phase Six: Although, now that I'm up here, I can't help but wonder -- what if I climbed on top of this thing, too? And then, what if I used it as a launching pad to climb over to the computer desk? And who knows what might come after that?!? The world is my oyster, people, and I'm CRACKIN' IT OPEN! No one can stop me now!!!!!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Your Favorite Grooming Guru Is Back With More Helpful Tips

Hi, Max here, back with more information on how you can be your best, most stylish you. I hear from a lot of fans who think that my bright eyes and golden locks give me a natural advantage that they could never emulate, but that's just not true. Well, it's partially true. But my look takes a lot of maintenance, as you can see, and one of the most important steps in my daily grooming regime is giving myself a nice close shave.

Do I grow a beard? No, no I don't. Do I want to risk even the most remote possibility of stubble marring my rosy-cheeked countenance? Of course not. That's why I conscientiously shave every morning, most afternoons, and sometimes even in the evenings.

Fortune favors the prepared, and I am always ready for anything. You, too, can be adorable, people, if you are willing to put in the effort. Make a promise to yourself that you are going to start your new life TODAY. You deserve it.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

This Is Not Really About Anything, But People Complain If I Wait Too Long Between Posts

Maggie can say more words now -- "hi", "bye", "hat", "peek-a-boo", "cheese" .... there are probably more that I am forgetting. She is ushering in her second year of life with more walking, although she still relys on crawling (or this weird baby-elephant walk you can see in the picture) for most of her transportation needs. I am actually hoping that she starts strolling more soon, because she is getting really heavy. The other night, Max and Ian were playing a video game, and Maggie kept repeatedly requesting to be picked up, too. Ian tried juggling both children and the video game controller, but things were going poorly for both his virtual and real-life selves, and so he looked at me beseechingly. Before he could say anything, though, Max interceded. "Honey," queried Max, "can you take Maggie, please?"

Sunday, June 01, 2008

In Which We Celebrate Maggie's Onehood

Maggie has been one for ten days now, but her birthday was inconveniently timed (it was on a Thursday, and it was right before Memorial Day weekend -- I'm not blaming her, exactly, but ...), and so we had to wait until yesterday to throw her a party. We decided to do a barbecue in the park, which is always risky, and I spent the week leading up to the party glaring at the sky in an ultimately successful attempt to intimidate the weather into behaving. And it did, so I am clearly a force to be reckoned with.

Barring any unfortunately prankish weather, the park is a great place for a kid party. You can have a lot of people without overwhelming everyone, the kids are entertained without the need to plan activities, and the mess stays somewhere that is not your house. Max was delighted with the whole experience, and proclaimed it the best Big Brother Celebration ever.

Note Max's static electrical hairstyle.

We got Maggie a boyfriend for her birthday.

And she liked it so much, we went ahead and got her a spare.

Aunt Susie and Uncle Augie came, too, which satisfied Max greatly. He has a small toy hot wheel car that is an exact tiny replica of Augie and Susie's car. Ever since he noticed this, Max has been fascinated by Augie, especially after Augie took him for a ride in the life sized Augie car.

Mama convention.

Daddy convention.

Since Maggie was born in May, I gave her party a springtime theme. The cake I made is called a Dirt cake. It is basically a chocolate mousse with crushed oreo cookies, made to look like dirt. To complete the illusion, I served it in a bucket, with a shovel, and decorated it with gummy worms and candy grass, which I cut out from green apple flavored liquorice. It looked very much like a bucket of dirt. I was quite proud.

The illusion was a little too good for our five-year old friend Kate (seen here looking worried). She asked me repeatedly if the cake was really dirt, if the worms were really worms, and she continued to be dubious even after I reassured her.

Kate's sister Julia had no such reservations. Julia is not a reservation-haver by nature.

Eventually, all parties tasted the cake, and it seemed to go down pretty easily.

I was expecting Maggie to plunge face-first into her cake. I was even hoping for it a little bit, just for the photographic gold mine. She was actually quite delicate, though -- she pinched small portions with her thumb and forefinger, brought them to her mouth, and licked them thoughtfully. It took a while longer than I was anticipating, but she did eventually build up a good faceful of chocolate. Our stroller, in which she was sitting at the time, may never be the same again. And now, we can officially say that Maggie is one year old. Happy Birthday, my clever, strong, ferocious, and oh, so beautiful treasure. I am so glad you came to us and agreed to be our daughter.