Friday, July 21, 2006

It's so hot, and Violet's a toddler now. And it's hot. Too hot.

Boy, howdy, summer barged through the door without knocking this year, and made itself right at home, didn't it? As it turns out, the lack of preschool, combined with the face-melting heat, and Violet's transformation from mellow baby to Toddler Avenger, are not so blogger friendly.

The heat is really, really throwing me off. I'm a California girl, born and raised, and all my life I've known mild, temperate summers. A couple of heatwaves are to be expected, sure, but they usually blow over in a couple of days, and then it's right back to perfect weather. But this? This is madness. Ninety degrees? Every day? For a solid week? With little kids hanging on me and making demands that simply can not be met with my ass parked on the couch in front of the fan? That's just cruel. I just can't sit down and think and type, all at the same time. I think my brain is fried.

Our little air conditioner does it's best, but it can't compete with the 90+ degree afternoons. It keeps the kitchen and living room cool, but only if we trap the cool morning air inside by 8:30 a.m., and go into full lockdown mode, with the blinds and curtains drawn by 8:45. It only lasts for so long, though, and it's never quite cool enough. By 4:00, the sun has started it's descent, and is burning through the bedroom windows at the back of our tiny house. The heat seeps through the walls and under the doors, so we have to throw open all the doors and windows, head out to the yard or the park, and pray for a breeze.

I try my best to deal with it gracefully, but I have an extremely low threshold for heat. I get that from my mom. I top out at 80 degrees, and after that, I'm a total bitch. You don't even want to know.

I try to keep it in perspective, and think of my brother, in Okinawa, where it's 110 degrees in the shade, and 90% humdity. I think of the millions of people in Africa and the Middle East, who have found ways to live in temperatures that reach 130 degrees. I try to go with the flow, and say to myself, So what if your eyebrows are sweating? It ain't no big thing! So you have a pool of sweat in the hollow above your upper lip that is the size of Half Moon Bay? Who cares? And sometimes, that works. But most of the time, it doesn't. And then I hate myself for being a miserable, short-tempered troll, who growls at her own children to stop touching her, and hogs the fan.

But enough about the heat. I must be one of a million bloggers complaining about it, right? Let's talk about Violet instead.

In lieu of a babybook, we have this blog, and it's photo contents, to mark Violet's journey from sweet, mellow Babyland, to back-arching, trash-eating, food-spitting, tantrum-throwing Toddlerville. So if I go into extreme detail, please bear with me; it's only because I don't ever want to forget wild child she is. I swear, I didn't even see this coming. I mean, she was such a sweet baby! Now she's the kid who walks up to strangers at the park and steals their sippy cups. She takes a handful of Hazel's hair whenever the mood strikes her, and brings her to her knees in pain. She eats whatever trash she can get her paws on at the park, and I'm ashamed to say, I once caught her stretching and pulling on a gelatinous blob of raw chicken. She's the tea party guest who upends her chair, climbs on top of the table, then up onto the kitchen counter, and stands there shouting "Mama! Up! Mama! Up!" She's the kid who, just last night, tore off her diaper and took a huge dump on the carpet.*

On the flipside, though, at fourteen months, Violet is learning a new word just about everyday, thus greatly reducing the amount of screaming and grunting around the house. She is a champion walker, and having recently outgrown all her Robeez, has finally got the hang of stumping around the neighborhood in her first pair of real shoes. She is the kid who will go out of her way to pet a dog, any dog she sees. She'll offer you a kiss, even if she's never met you before, by smacking her lips and staring at you with her big, unblinking eyes. She loves to dance, she's very good at playing hide and seek, and she makes all kinds of animal noises. She loves the Teletubbies, and calls them all LaaLaa ("Yaaya. Yaaya. YAAAAYAAAAAAA!") She still takes two two hour naps everyday AND she sleeps through the night. I really can't ask for more than that, can I?

Despite all of her unsavory habits, she really is a sweet natured, funny, adorable little girl, even in the dog days of a hotter than hot summer. Clearly, she gets it from her Dad.

* She gets that from her Dad, too. ;)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Balsam Lake 2006 Snapshots

This is where we spent the last nine days. Isn't it great?! A log cabin in the wilds of Wisconsin, just steps from Balsam Lake where we swam, sailed, read, napped, ate, drank, and otherwise had ourselves a fantastic time. I can't believe it's already over.

The weather was perfect; sunny and mild almost the entire time, with a couple of thunderstorms thrown in for dramatic affect, and the heat and humidity kicking in the last few days we were there. The bugs ate me alive, but at least the fish didn't bite. Hazel and Violet both hated the lake and wanted nothing to do with swimming in it, which was disappointing. But Mike and I learned how to sail, and we both tubed. Mike got up on water skis his first try; I came close, but was too sore after my first attempts to ever try again. Hazel saw her first fireworks display (hated it). I read two books, and smoked a bunch of cigarettes. Miked jogged. We befriended a dog named Django. We ate giant, family-style dinners every night. We played board games. We drank too much. We laughed a lot.

I can't possibly say all I want to say about our trip without getting sentimental and long-winded. I'll just say that it was really nice to have our best friends, and our kids' best friends -- our whole tribe -- under one roof. Waking up together, taking turns making breakfast, doing bathtime, taking the kids down to the lake... all of it. All of it was just awesome. Best. Vacation. Ever.

Me and the girls inside on a rainy morning. How are they able to go from a dead sleep, to a frenzy of dressing up, begging for breakfast, and fighting over the princess dolls, all before the coffee's done?

The giant outdoor swing, suspended from two trees, overlooking the lake. Hazel and I got our money's worth on this baby.

The kiddie table, where the girls enjoyed seemingly endless servings of mac n' cheese, yogurt tubes, sandwiches and pancakes.

Here's Mike, gettin' totally tubular! I got a bruise on my thigh that is the size of my hand from this thing. I loved it.

Hazel and I driving the pontoon boat home from the town beach. Patti drinking one of many sweet, light midwestern beers. They have the best beer there.

Neither of our girls were in the water long enough to snap a picture. Here's Vi, just about to get in for the first time. She didn't like the cold. Haze hated the life-vest and "the deepness." Crazy kids.

Rainy day fun with Violet, a.k.a. Lil' Roy Orbison.

These princess dolls were purchased when it became obvious that 20-year-old board games weren't cutting the mustard in the way of entertainment. As you can see, they practically shat themselves with joy upon opening them.

The best part of every day started with a big dinner, followed by bath and bed for the girlies, and lots of wine for the adults.

...And that pretty much sums it up, I think. Balsam Lake, I miss you. I can still smell you if I close my eyes. I can't wait to see you again.