Thursday, February 27, 2014

Mardi Gras 2014

Like all good Louisianans, we celebrated Mardi Gras this year.  Or at least we celebrated it as well as good Mormons can, which is to say that we went to the parade and hung out in the designated family-friendly section.  I won't lie:  It was awesome! The tailgating began sometime around noon and the actual parade (which follows a six mile route and lasts for 2-1/2 hours) arrived at our location at about 5:30.    

Mardi Gras parades are thrown by "krewes," which were originally secret societies whose main purpose seems to have been to outdo each other at the next parade. Most of the big krewes are still very selective and only allow worthy relatives and friends of members to join, by invitation only (natch!).  As you can see, our parade was put on by the mighty Centaur. 

My biggest regret is in not taking pictures of the tailgating scene.  These people are serious about their Mardi gras parties.  So serious that many of them hire companies to haul in their own private tote-a-pots (aka port-a-potties) for the day so that they don't have to share with any of the lesser people.  One beleaguered guardian of a private privy condescended to allow Eden in when her potty-trained bladder nearly got the best of her.  Bless you, private privy woman.  Bless you! 

As you can see in the background, the floats were pretty big, and some of them incredibly nice.  As a friend remarked, other floats were nothing more or less than giant roving bead dispensaries. There were forty floats in all and a myriad of high school marching bands, drill teams, a crew of belly dancers (all grandmas...), live rock and country bands, fire trucks, etc. to boot. Eden LOVED it.  As each one passed she danced to the music and shouted, "Good job, man!  Good job, lady!  It's so pretty!"

This may be why she ended the night with fifty pretty necklaces and a passel of plastic cups and frisbees.  What a lucky kid!  Here are a few more random pictures*.

We had a great time.  I'm still not sure what's so exhilarating about standing around begging for beads, but I think these Louisianans are on to something.  Although, may I say, very little was on them.  Indeed, I think I may remark that I've never seen quite so many people wearing quite so little over such abundant bodies and doing so with such incredible confidence and ease.  Oh, Mardi gras.  Bring on the King Cake!

*The nice pictures in this post were taken by the friend who invited us to join her tailgating party.  Thanks, Jaque!  Pardon the cell pics, dear readers, it's what I've come to.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Awful Mom/Awesome Mom

I am Awesome Mom.

I am Awful Mom.

I switch back and forth faster than Clark Kent in a phone booth.

Eden is playing happily in the back yard and Jude is giggling at me.  Awesome Mom.  Jude has been wearing those same pajamas for two days.  Not two nights.  Two days.  Forty-eight hours.  Eden's hair looks like something even a less fastidious squirrel wouldn't dream of sleeping in.  Awful Mom.  Jude chows like a champ and Eden begs to eat plain spinach.  Awesome Mom.  Eden is crying because her lunch isn't ready yet.  Jude is crying because he needs changed and fed and a nap and I just didn't time this all very well.  Awful Mom.  And on and on.  I'd say it all washes out to the fact that I am normal.  Right?  Right.

May I share with you one of those precious moments when I most feel like Awesome Mom? It's when I watch Eden mother her baby doll.  Her usual play sounds a lot like this:

"Baby, why you crying?  It's ok.  You be alright.  I here now."

Kisses. Lots of hugs and kisses.

"Baby, you need to use the potty?  Memember keep undies dry.  You can do it!  I help you."

More hugs.  More kisses.

"Baby, I so sad.  You need go time out, ok? Not nice to hit mama. I come back in a minute."

Reassuring hugs and kisses.

"Baby, you my best girl.  I love you."

Hugs.  Kisses. 

That's me.  The hugging, kissing, reassuring one.  I'm not watching Eden play.  I'm viewing her manifestation of me.  Sure, sure, someday she will be old enough to look back at pictures and think, "Mom, come on!  Why is my hair so crazy and my face so dirty?!"  For now, she sees only one thing: That she is completely loved.  Awful Mom be gone. I am Awesome Mom.

Sometimes I think I might be doing this right.

Monday, February 3, 2014

A Recently Rediscovered Favorite Poem


Slowly now the evening changes his garments
held for him by a rim of ancient trees;
you gaze: and the landscape divides and leaves you,
one sinking and one rising toward the sky.

And you are left, to none belonging wholly,
not so dark as a silent house, nor quite
so surely pledged unto eternity
as that which grows to star and climbs the night.

To you is left (unspeakably confused)
your life, gigantic, ripening, full of fears,
so that it, now hemmed in, now grasping all
is changed in you by turns to stone and stars.

--Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by C.F. MacIntyre

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Finger Painting

I sometimes take decent pictures.  Decent.  Not awesome, not awe-inspiring, but decent.  The trouble is that photography is tricky business requiring mastery of a decent camera, an artistic eye, and several elements like lighting.  Shall I tell you what sabotaged the lighting in these photos?  My messy kitchen.  Sure, I could have moved Eden to the other side of the table and shot her without the back lighting. But then you all would know about the piled up dishes and various clutter.  Call this a strategic failure.  Oops.  I told you about the mess anyway.  D'oh!

Anyway, we had a ton of fun finger painting this week. Eden was so excited!

It occurred to me about part way through that our first finger painting adventure was just over a year ago.  It's incredible how much this girl has changed! 

Back then she didn't even know how to call me Mama.  Now she's a sentence slinging six-shooter who narrates everything we do all day long.  She's nearly potty trained (expect a post on that soon...I know you'll wait with bated breath!).  She's a big sister.  Her hair is so long!

And her eyes were definitely blue a year ago.  Can anyone tell me what color they are now, please?  It's driving me nuts.  Would you still call that blue?  Green?  Gray?  Is it that hazel thing of which people speak? I need answers, people!

Eden also knows all of her colors now.  It was so fun to mix them with her and help her begin to see how they change.  She was so proud to show her masterpieces to Daddy that night. 

In case you're worried that Jude was left out of all of the fun, here's what he was doing while I was occupied.  Yep, he worked his way over to the magazine basket, emptied it, ate The Friend Magazine, caught up on the news from the Huntsman School of Business, and otherwise caused trouble.  Do all babies eat magazines or does that somehow just run in our family?  Cute boy.  He's not crawling yet, but Jude's an excellent creeper and one tough little dude.  He rocks back and forth on his hands and knees a lot these days and even spends some time in full on push-up position.  Insane. 

So that's that.  I love these two cute kids!