Monday, December 07, 2009

Happy Birthday, Uncle Josh!!

I thought that this picture might remind you of happier times. We hope the day contained everything that you wanted it to, and then some. Happy Birthday!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Happy Birthday Cousin Joey!

From the moment that Joey and Max first laid eyes on each other, when they were just a few months old, they have been the very best of friends. They have maintained a special bond all their lives, despite living far apart and getting to see each other far less often than any of us would like. There are probably many reasons why this bond exists, and why it works so well, but I think that one of the reasons is that Joey has always had such a big, open, affectionate heart. Joey, you are one of the kindest and friendliest people I know, and we are all so glad that we get to share a family with you. We love you and wish you a very happy #4!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween From The Princess And The Green Lantern

I had this whole costume for Maggie all worked out -- I've spent the last two months piecing together a little outfit so that Maggie could be Olivia the Pig, a literary character with whom I have a love affair spanning years. However, yesterday Maggie informed me that she would not be dressing up as Olivia, and that she needed a crown so that she could be a fairy princess, instead. (The dress she already had.) So this morning, I spent my precious time and energy elbowing eager candy shoppers out of the way at Target, so that I could procure a crown for my amazonian fairy princess. It was totally worth it. Look how sassy she thinks she is.
Max has been indoctrinated with a love of The Justice League by his father, and his plan is to work his way through each of the characters, one for every Halloween, until he has been each of the members of the league in turn. Depending on whether you count some of the lesser known, somewhat extraneous characters, he could be well into his twenties by the time he completes this goal. This year he is the Green Lantern. The best part of his costume is the Green Lantern Ring, which you cannot see in this picture, so you will have to take my word for it. It is a gigantic, very sparkly, very gaudy costume emerald ring, on which I painted the green lantern symbol with gold paint. He looks like Zsa Zsa Gabore in a superhero suit. Good times.
When I was little, I lived in Canada, and many a delicate and fanciful costume was ruined by the need to throw on a winter coat over top before trick or treating. Here in California, the opposite problem stands between us and costume greatness: it was seventy-one degrees today, and while Maggie's gown could be made weather-appropriate through the addition or subtraction of tights and an airy, lacy shawl, The Green Lantern had some sweaty armpits in his all-black crime-fighting ensemble. Like the hero he is, however, he did not let it slow him down, and evil-doers and pumpkin guts alike were cowed by his sparkly, shiny ring of power.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

It's Not Just Because He Likes Sausage Or Anything

Max to Mama (musingly): Granny is a vegetarian.
Mama: That's true.
Max: She only likes vegetables.
Mama: Well ...
Max: And grains.
Mama: Um ...
Max: And fruit a little bit. Right, Mama?
Mama: Yep.
Max: Granny does not like any meat.
Mama: Right.
Max: So thatwise I am going to eat all of the sausage so Granny doesn't have to eat it. Because sausage is meat, right, Mama?
Mama: Sausage is made of meat, yes.
Max: I am protecting Granny from meat. Because did you notice that I really love Granny?
Mama: I'm sure she's very grateful.
Max: Yeah.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Happy Birthday Ian!!

It has been twenty years, I think almost exactly, since Ian and I first met. Obviously, in twenty years of knowing him, I have witnessed him change and grow in a number of ways. His style of dressing has changed. The amount of hair on his head has changed. He has changed from a teenager to a young man to a husband and father. But the very best things about Ian, the core Ianness that I fell in love with and have remained very much in love with for all of this time, those things have not changed. Ian is funny. He is friendly, in an outgoing way that I have many times used as a shelter for my more reserved self. He is comfortable in his own body and spirit, in a way that puts other people at ease. And he is, he always has been, loving and attentive and loyal in a way that allows Max, Maggie and I to feel that we are protected and safe and living a very great adventure. Happy Birthday, Ianly. We love you so very much.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Happy Birthday Granny!!

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

-- ee cummings

Monday, September 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Uncle Thomas!!

Rounding out our Family Clumping Birthday Syndrome for us is our newest family member. Tom, we hope you enjoy your birthday and let Vancouver treat you to a wonderful day! We miss you!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Auntie Jessi!!

We miss you lots and hope you are partying it up, Nova Scotia style! We love you!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Paternal Presence

Max to Mama: Well, Mama, I think I am going to paint my bike black.
Mama: Really? Why?
Max: I like my bike to be black all over. I need to work on the metals, too. And the gears and things?
Mama: Hmm.
Max: Me and Daddy talked about that. And all the things that Daddy is doing, I am going to do. Because I like all of Daddy's plans. I really do.
Mama: I like Daddy, too.
Max: He is not your dad, though.
Mama: That's true.
Max: That would be really weird.
Mama: Yeah.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Before Max was born, there was a part of me, even in my happiest moments, that was always sad. And now, even in my saddest moments, that part of me is always happy. Always. I am happy that Max is happy. I am grateful that he is healthy.What I am proudest of, however, is that Max is kind, and sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of others. He is remarkable, and four years has not been nearly long enough for me to lose my awe of the miracle that is him, or my wonder at my good fortune in getting to watch him grow. Happy Birthday, Max.






Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Happy Birthday Aunt Carol!

We love you and hope to see you soon. If nothing else, we need more current pictures for birthday blog posts!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Happy Birthday Auntie Jill!!!

We hope your day -- well, all your days, really -- are filled with glee. We love you ever so much.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

In Which More Humorous Dialogue Is Transcribed

Max to Maggie: Hey, Maggie!
Maggie: Yes, my treasure?
Max: I am not your treasure, Maggie. I am your brother. You are wrong.
Maggie: No! I not! I not wrong!
Max: You are wrong. I am not a treasure. I am not gold coins.
Maggie: Ha! Gold coins!
Max: Ah ha ha ha ha! Mama, Maggie is funny!
Mama: She's not the only one.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


I just couldn't let that woebegone picture of my poor little bun sit there any longer than absolutely necessary. Last night was kind of rough -- Max went to bed early, by his own request, with an all-time high fever of 103.4, a dose of tylenol, and a yellow pillow from Ikea that he loves for some reason. He slept more or less through the night, and his fever never went up quite so high again, but he was restless and kept crying in his sleep and saying those inexplicable and somehow creepy things that people say when they talk in their sleep: "Get them all off me!" "What is that red thing? What are all those colored things right there?!" "That big guy is bothering me a lot!" I alternated between testing his forehead for fever, soothing his anxieties, and scanning the shadowy corners to make sure that there weren't really any colored things or big guys in the vicinity.
This morning Max woke up, fever-free, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, cheerfully demanding all the treats he was offered yesterday but passed up because he was too sick to enjoy them. He thanked me for taking care of him, and thanked his dad for finding his favorite pair of stripy underpants. In other words, his sunny self seems to be back in action and to have suffered no permanent effects.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Wanna See Something Unbearably Tragic? Of Course You Do!

Yesterday Max tripped at preschool and totally ate floor with his face, which explains his piebald nose. And then this morning he puked all over the place and now he has a fever. And the sweatiness and the effort of puking keep making his scraped nose hurt afresh. I feel so desperately sorry for him that I almost feel like puking. Plus, Maggie is in this phase where everything Max does, says, has, or wants she has to do, say, have, or want at the exact same time. So if I give Max tylenol, I've got Maggie nipping at my heels saying, "I need med-cine! In my mouth! In my mouth!" If Max barfs, Maggie lets out a woeful wail and immediately feels that she needs to barf, as well. If Max gets his temperature taken, it is with Maggie running small concentric circles around his sickbed, absolutely certain that her temperature is also highly suspect and must be tested. I am often quite fond of Maggie's admiration for and imitation of her big brother, but I must admit that the charm is wearing somewhat thin right this second.

Monday, September 07, 2009

All Video Games Are Officially Banned From This House Forever

Maggie to Max: I need that! That's Maggie's! It's MY TURN!
Max: If you want this box, first you must meet me in battle.
Maggie: Okay, sure!
[giggling and wrestling sounds from the site of the battle (aka the playroom)]
Mama: !!!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Happy Birthday, Grandpa Phil and Grandma Kay!!

I've met a lot of families that have Birthday Clumping Syndrome -- you know, that thing where three quarters of the family seems to have a birthday within a two week span? Our Birthday Clumping Syndrome takes place in September, so sit back and get ready for a bushel of birthday well wishing blog posts.

My lovely grandma celebrates her 93rd birthday today. And she's still cheeky!

Phil is more than likely celebrating his birthday by quietly not celebrating, but this is as good a day as any to reflect on how much we like Phil, right? Right.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Apparently, Even If I Don't Participate, She Does My Part And Carries On Without Me

Maggie (woefully, from her carseat) to Mama: Ohhhh! Mama! Maaammaaa!
Mama: What's wrong, Maggie?
Maggie (covering eyes with hand, as seen by Mama in rearview mirror): I'm so sad!
Mama: Why are you so sad?
Maggie: Because I'm crying! (sobs theatrically)
Mama: Why are you crying?
Maggie: Because I'm very sad!
Mama (sighing): Why are you very sad, Maggie?
Maggie: Because I'm crying!
Mama: Okay, we're in some sort of conversation loop now. I'm very sorry you're so sad, Maggie. Let me know if I can help you.
Maggie: I'm really sad ...
[Pause. Brief silence]
Maggie: I'm so, so sad!
[Pause. Maggie waits. No one says anything.]
Maggie: Why is Maggie sad?
Maggie: She's crying.
Maggie: Poor Maggie. Why she crying?
Maggie: 'Cause I'm very sad.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Honest, If Not Honorable

Max to Maggie: Stop it, Maggie. Maggie! MAGGIE!
[Sounds of scuffle]
Max to Dad: Maggie's hitting me!
Dad: Maggie, don't hit Max.
Maggie: NO! I'm not going to! Uh! Uh!
[Sounds of scuffle as Maggie is removed to an undisclosed location]
Max: Maggie hit me.
Mama: I saw that.
Max: But I didn't hit her.
Dad (returning from battle): I'm really proud of you, Dude.
Max: Because she was too far away.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Maybe His Humor Is Just Too Sophisticated For The Rest Of Us

Max to Mama: Knock knock!
Mama: Who's there?
Max: Boo!
Mama: Boo who?
Max: Boo the door!
Mama: ???
Max: Say, 'boo the door, who', Mama!
Mama: Boo the door who?
Max: Don't cry, the door doesn't want to bonk you!
Max: Now laugh, Mama.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Canada, And Other Stories

So, we went to Canada about a month and a half ago, and it was awesome but then we were tired, and then Maggie stopped napping on any kind of regular schedule, which is below the belt even for her, and then my mum keeps gleefully reminding me that I stopped napping when I was two, and I have been busy interviewing hitmen to take her out, and so I have not quite had time to tell the tale of our trip to BC, or our (surprisingly longer) trip home, or our (surprisingly even longer) readjustment to non-vacation living. And there has been this blog post draft hanging around the que forever, gathering dust and halfway uploaded, and so I am taking a stand and finishing it so we can move on. Because Max's birthday party is coming up, and he has big plans. Big plans, people.

Our journey to Canada was very smooth. We left in the morning, Maggie and Max had a backpack each full of stuff to do and eat and think about on the plane, and then they slept most of the car ride from Spokane to my dad's house. This gave us a false sense of security concerning the trip home (ominous music).

See how happy and carefree we are? Vacation, ahoy!

We took time, whilst in Canada, to stop and smell the flowers.

And, of course, we stocked up on hammock time.

We went to the lake, to baptize the children in their (well, in mine, but they are 50% me) native waters. Dad had grand visions of taking the kids on the fishing boat. He purchased life jackets especially for the occasion. Maggie's was pink. She liked it. She did not, however, like the idea of going on the boat. Max was even more reluctant.

So Dad sailed alone. He was reasonably philosophical about the death of his dream.

The water was refreshing. By which I mean, it was very cold, and you had to ease in, and then it felt good for awhile, and then it was cold again. If you look closely, you can see the tear tracks on my sister Aly's face as she cries over her frozen belly button.

Maggie does not like going in swimming pools, which is weird because she loves baths. I was curious about what her reaction to the lake would be. She initially charged right into the lake, with me hastily shedding shorts and buckling life jackets in her wake. By the time she realized that it was booty-freezin' cold, it was deep enough that she was afraid to retreat alone, and so she shimmied up my leg and squwaked, "I want to get out. It's too cold. I want that Grandpa. I don't like it swimming", until I took pity on her and escorted her back to dry land.

Grandpa helped her forget her troubles with a cookie. And then she liked that so much that he gave her a second one. My dad is a sucker.

Max was not a big fan of the cold water, either, but he really enjoyed digging in the sand near the lake. There are pictures of him enjoying digging in the sand near the lake, but Ian took them and it was bright and so it was hard for him to see what he was photographing (or that's his excuse, anyway), and so for some reason all of the Max digging pictures feature someone's bum prominently in frame. Like, really prominently.

I made my sisters pose with me in the lake, because it is picteresque. They must really love me, because it was also chilly.

Ian "forgot" his bathing suit, or I would have made him pose in the lake with me, too.

One of the great truths of life, learned by Max and Maggie during our trip, is that Aunties are awesome. They think you're cute, and they don't have to wake up at 2 a.m. with you, so their love for you is not tinged with bitterness like that of your parents.

And, the more aunties there are, the more likely you are to find someone who is willing to play with you. We were one auntie down, this trip -- my sister Jill was in Vancouver -- but luckily there are still quite a few hanging around.

This is the face you can expect to have pointed at you if you suggest that Maggie get off the swing before she is ready. It's scary, huh?

Max's giant hobbit prints at the water fountain park.

Max (far left side of picture) is practicing what he calls "squid-style kung fu" on an especially aggressive fountain spray.

Maggie, on the other hand, prefers to wade gently and admire the fountains from afar.

Our camera sort of ate its own battery relatively early on in our trip, so I did not get very many pictures of the many Fry relatives and their enfolding of Max and Maggie into the clan. I am therefore posting this shot of my grandma with Maggie, because it is one of the few that I have, even though it looks like my grandma is walking Maggie on a leash (she isn't).

In fact, Maggie roped her GG and Erhart into blowing giant bubbles on our last morning in Canada. Mercifully, she seems to have outgrown that thing where she called bubbles "bastards".

Look at her warlike stance, one pink bathing-suit-clad hip thrust out, fraggle hair blowing in the Canadian breeze. I adore her.

On our last evening in Canada, we of course visited the Colander, where we ate salad, spaghetti, meatballs, chicken, potatoes, now my tummy hurts just thinking about it, and ice cream. Maggie broke not one but two glasses while we were there, before we even started on the salad. The first one was accidental. The second one was because she liked the smash of the first one. My extremely kindly family took turns strolling around the restaurant with her for the rest of the meal, so that Ian and I could eat.

Blurry, but cute.

I had a giant head of steam about the whole return trip when I began this blog post, but that was like a month ago, and I am mostly over it. Our plane was delayed in Spokane, which meant that we would have missed our connection flight, which meant that we needed to spend an extra night in Spokane. This by itself would have been incovienient but bearable. The unfortunate part was that we got stuck with a not very helpful clerk, who told us that there were no available hotel rooms anywhere in Spokane (not really true, as it turned out), and who advised us to fly to Seattle and 'try to get a hotel room when we got there'. This struck me as undesirable. Ian and I, travelling by ourselves, could probably spend a night sleeping on our suitcases in the airport and live to make it into an amusing anecdote, but not with two small offspring in tow. My dad, who was already about halfway back to Canada at that point, turned around and came back to Spokane, where he helped us find a hotel room and stayed with us. My dad is an unsung hero. We made it home the next night, and we were extremely disgruntled, but then the airline sent us vouchers for our next flight, and gave us free air miles, and compensated us for our hotel room. So we're friends again.