Thursday, 30 September 2010

Identity Crisis

Over the course of the day Tommy announced:

"I am a pirate!"

"I am a big guy!"

"I am a cowboy!"

"I am god!"

Clearly, we need to work on his theology...

Saturday, 25 September 2010

The Last Family Breakfast - EVER

In the time between my engagement to Jeff and our wedding my family had a number of "the last family (Christmas, Vacation, Easter, fill in the blank) ever." Towards the end some of "the last" events were increasingly ridiculous and the melodrama surrounding these events quickly became a joking matter.

Since we are rarely all together these days, when we had the opportunity the day before Kev's wedding to have a immediate family-only event (plus Tommy) we designated it "The last family breakfast." I usually wouldn't post pictures of myself first thing in the morning on the internet, but I am pretty far from the camera in all the photos so I decided it was okay. Other family members may disagree, but by the time they read this it will be too late.

Mom made the from scratch wheat waffles we all love and real (as opposed to microwaved) bacon.

Tommy had some yummy gf Trader Joe's waffles.

See, we aren't too shabby looking.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Reading Prize!

Today Tommy and I went to the library for the first story time and play group of the fall. We probably spend more time at the library than at any other activity, excluding church of course. We are regulars. Library rats, if you will. You may recall that our obsession with reading was especially strong this summer, because Tommy discovered the joy of summer reading programs and more importantly, the reading prize. I did the adult reading program as well, and between the two of us we earned two family dinners at Chipotle (love those free taco coupons), a water bottle (broken now), and way too many finger puppets, color-in puzzles, and plastic sharks. This was all in our quest to win second place in the family reading program and earn ourselves a one year pass to the children's museum. Usually Tommy and I only aim for numero uno. In this case we made an exception because first place was an overnight stay at a Holiday Inn with an indoor water park. Tommy is probably too young to fully appreciate an indoor water park, and I find them incredibly repulsive (this is a direct result of being forced to swim in the disgusting overly warm and small YMCA kiddie pool as a child). Hence, aiming for number two.

The reading contest ended in early August. Since we didn't hear anything I assumed we hadn't won. I was a little dissapointed because I thought we had read enough, but mostly I just felt bad because I knew Tommy had read more than anyone else in his age category (by far), which meant that I hadn't done the necessary work to boost our team average. I tried. I really tried. But, my dissertation had to come first, and so I didn't read as much as I could have. Don't get me wrong, Jeff and I don't watch much TV during the summer so I did do quite a bit of reading. A lot really. Just clearly not enough.

Imagine my surprise when today during play time one of the library staff came up to me and said "So, did anyone ever tell you that you won second place in the summer read family contest?"

Um, no, they didn't.

"Oh, you did. I added up all the minutes myself. They just haven't told you because the prizes are missing. Our director moved her office over the summer and they got misplaced. We are looking for them. The first place family keeps bugging us about them."

It's a little hard to get excited about winning a prize that you might not receive because it is lost. I am still a little excited. After all, a win is a win. I'm not sure how I'm going to explain it to Tommy though. He might be too young to understand that family pride is more important that actual material benefits (that's for you, Em).

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

The Rehearsal

The big event of this trip home was Kevin and Colleen's wedding. This particular marriage has been in the works for many, many years, so some of us were a bit anxious to make Colleen an official member of the family. Girl's like Colleen are rare, so when you have the opportunity to add one to your family you have to act quickly before someone else does. Thank goodness that Kevin agreed with us on this one.

Here are some pics of the rehearsal. There were quite a few people in the wedding party, so it was the most complicated wedding I have ever been in. Wedding pics to come as soon as I can steal some off of FB. I was too busy bridesmaiding and chasing Tommy to take any.

The happy couple. See that face? That's my brother.

Bret and I practice very hard and it pays off.

The rest of the Hamilton children. I babysat these kids, and now, they are super old and so am I.

Kevin and Colleen explain that instead of wedding favors they will be making a donation to Tommy's orphanage. Yes, we love them and they are awesome.

Funny story, Tommy learned how to "sword fight" with forks at the rehearsal dinner, and I am told the woman on my left is to thank (or blame) for this development...yes, the woman the people of St. Andrew's entrust their children's spiritual development to actually teaches them to fight with their silverware. I do what I can to expose the truth.

Tommy and Uncle Kevin

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Adamson House

Well, Tommy and I are having another crazy trip home. In between the wedding, more Disneyland trips, and me (finally) cleaning out the closet in my room at my parent's house we managed to have a bit of fun. In regards to the closet, yes, I know I left seven years ago, but in my defense it is all childhood stuff that I didn't need at the time (or now) and it was all stuffed somewhat nicely in a closet. Now that pile of stuff has been cut in half and is stuffed even more creatively into one small space. Also, I am pretty sure that my Dad still has his old artwork, teeth, etc at his mom's house so I'm sure I come by this urge to save honestly. And I am proud to report that I have not saved any of my old teeth.

Anyway, back to the point of my post, we went to the Adamson house with my Mom, Grandma, and Jeff's Mom. It is in Malibu and definitely worth the trip if you enjoy historic/artistic homes. The home is part of a state park, but run by volunteers who were not the most friendly to children. Thus I was quite thankful when Tommy fell asleep right before our tour started and slept almost until the end. He actually really liked the part of the house he got to see- a boy's room decorated with tile painted with nautical scenes which Tommy took to be pirate's ships, the fountains, and the pool and pool house.

We also had a yummy lunch in Malibu and then drove back home through LA so that we could see the house Grandma Janie grew up in (and a few other random detours).

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Riding in Car with Boy, or Disneyland Trip 3

I got to join Amy and Tommy in California last weekend for Kevin and Colleen's wedding, and I stayed for a few days past Labor Day. On Tuesday, Papa, Jjaja, Aunt Emily, Mum, and I took Tommy to Disneyland for his third trip (and first with Daddy). Here are two of Tommy's favorites: Dumbo and Autopia.

And of course, although not related to Disneyland, a trip to California with Daddy wouldn't be complete without a half-a-dozen times around the block in the "cool car."

Friday, 3 September 2010

Oh Poop!

(I'm done with catch up from the last trip- this is a more recent blog).

Tommy and I came home a bit early for my brother's wedding in order to attend a reunion of my grad school study group (the fall of your second year you must take your written comprehensives, which is an all day test for which you need to be prepared to know everything about US History and all about a huge list of books, ideas, etc. In order to prepare for this I studied with a group of three other women all summer long. We all passed the test and became great friends). Three of the four of us have kids, thus we had some entertaining to do. We decided to check out the Aquarium of the Pacific. We were running a bit late, but managed to make it in time for the one thing we had put on the schedule- the sea otter feeding. We even got to the otter area a bit early to get a good section to stand in, right up next to the tank. While we were waiting I noticed that Tommy was a bit stinky. So, I checked down the back of his diaper, but, when I didn't see anything I assumed it was just gas or a very small poop that could wait until after the show.

So, we waited for the show and watched the otters. Tommy was up and down, sitting on the rail, then wanting to stand on the floor, then wanting to be held- just squirmy. He enjoyed watching the otters and fish, but had a hard time understanding why they weren't continuously swimming through a small tunnel on the side of the exhibit, since that was what he was most interested in seeing. When the "show," which should be more accurately described as a narrated feeding with a few tricks, started Tommy watched fairly patiently. I kept smelling something a bit off though, and decided I should get him to a bathroom, but waited so he wouldn't miss anything. As soon as the show finished I tried to get Tommy to the bathroom, but first we ran into our former neighbor and her daughter and grandkids (which was so fun, and it was great to see how big the kids were getting), and then Tommy became distracted by a tank full of colorful anemones.

Finally we made it to the restroom, and I found the changing table. It was gnarly. When I pulled it down the odor of stale baby poop permeated the air. It was scuffed up and stained. I almost wonder if the floor would have been cleaner. But, I put the pad down and stuck Tommy on top of it. I got his shorts and shoes off, and then he decided he was done laying on that table. I don't really blame him for that. He jumped up and vaulted into my arms and gave me a huge legs-wrapped-around-me hug. Very sweet. Until I managed to get him back down on the table and noticed something leaking from his diaper. That same nice brown ooze was on my dress. And his shorts. Yum.

There are many aspects of this situation that were both frustrating but also funny. At that moment the worst for me was not that there was poop all over me and the boy (happened before), but that on the way to the aquarium I had dropped my suitcases- suitcases FULL of clothes- at my parent's house. Also, the day before I had used Tommy's extra clothes out of the diaper bag, because he had gotten food all over himself, and consciously decided not to replace them because it had been so long since I had needed a change of clothes for him.

So, there I was, in the bathroom of the aquarium that I had just paid $$ to get into and only seen one thing, with two other families who had done the same, with poop on both me and Tommy, and no changes of clothes.

After diapering the boy and getting our hands washed up I decided to scrub my dress and his shorts with some soapy paper towels. It quickly became apparent that this would be quite a chore, so I sent Tommy off with the other kids and parents to see the Sea Lion feeding. As I stood there in front of the sink frantically scrubbing my dress and worrying about having to walk around covered in poop all day another mom, who was on her way out of the bathroom, commiserated, "it happens to us all."

That got me thinking. Not only does poop happen to us all, but, it has happened to me many many times before. Worse, it happened often to us in a developing country with few public facilities and certainly no sparkling white sinks, dispensers full of soap, or stacks of paper towels. And what did I do in Uganda when my clothes got nasty? I washed them. So, I stuck Tommy's shorts in the sink, and began scrubbing them out just like I did when I did our laundry by hand in Uganda. I wrung them out and rolled them in paper towels to get them dry. Then, I took off my dress and washed it in the sink. I'm not kidding. I just took it off. Thankfully, I had thought to wear a cami and tiny shorts under the dress, so it wasn't entirely scandalous, and there was no one in the bathroom at that time. I'm sure it was a rather funny picture- me vigorously scrubbing a little dress in the sink of the aquarium bathroom wearing essentially oversized undergarments. Oh well. No one walked in the entire time (an aquarium miracle!), so I didn't have to explain my odd behavior or state of undress to anyone. I got it almost entirely out, and spray and wash should be able to handle the slight stain. Plus, Tommy and I were able to smell nice and enjoy the rest of our day.

After this incident I insisted on taking some pictures, because I knew I would be blogging about it. Too good of a story not to share...