Friday, June 4, 2010

White lace and promises

On the twenty-second of May, we attended a very special wedding: my mom and Cyrus's. As you can see, my mom was the loveliest of brides.

Wedding 1

My brothers walked her down the aisle.
Wedding 2

She and Cyrus made their vows to each other, and then family and friends from far and wide celebrated with food, drink, and dancing.



I got a kick out of dressing Ike and Max in suits and ties, of which they were surprisingly tolerant.

Mary Cyrus 061

Mary Cyrus 056

Mom, you are the sweetest and kindest person I know, and it is obvious that Cyrus treasures you. I am glad you found each other and wish you many happy years.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

For Dave

Twelve years ago, I had a friend named Dave. I wanted to be quite a bit more than friends, but I was sure the feeling wasn't reciprocated. I lamented about this to our friend Brooks until he had (understandably) heard enough. He forced me to call Dave and confess.

Ever so glibly, I said, "Dave, I...I like you."

Dave replied, "I like you, too."

The next morning, he picked me up for our first date. We went out for breakfast and then to a nearby park. It remember it was a beautiful fall day, the sun pouring down in golden slants. Fall is a curious time. It holds so much promise, but a season of cold and darkness must be endured first.

On the playground, we met a little girl and her younger brother, Cassandra and Austin. Cassandra must be a legal adult by now, and Austin would be starting college. I wonder how their stories have unfolded?

Dave, did you imagine we would end up here? We have a happy home and have inexplicably produced the world's most beautiful babies. I'm exactly where I wanted to be since that fall day in the park--with you.

Thank you for these dozen years so far. Here's a slideshow of us from then to now.

P.S. Mom, thanks for coming up with the title for the slideshow. :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The New Emperor

He's here!

The new guy

September 15, 2009
1:55 P.M.
20 inches
7 pounds, 10 ounces

The new guy

Look at those dark eyes! He's amazed us with periods of alertness, where he seems to be taking in all his surroundings. We've had such a peaceful day together. As would seem to be our habit, we haven't chosen a name for him yet. We welcome suggestions.

Will post more soon...

Update 9/18: His name is Maximus Richard. Going by Max, and sometimes being called Ike by his slightly addled (though adoring) parents.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Bring me a dream

I can't sleep. I spent last night sitting up on the couch, and here I am again now. The baby is doing cruel and unusual things to my innards. My left leg feels like it has a swarm of burning bees in it. I had the same problem while expecting Ike, but I don't remember it being as painful that time. I knew it had something to do with a nerve being compressed by the growing baby, but I only just asked my doctor about it. It's a condition called meralgia paresthetica, or lateral femoral cutaneous nerve entrapment. Fancy. It can be caused by obesity, too-tight clothing, diabetes, or pregnancy. If pregnancy is the cause, Google says the cure is to have a baby.

So I'm waddling around in a bad humor, disposed to grow frustrated with my very active Ike a little too easily. But often he's so cheerful and sweet, I keep resolving to be more patient.

Bath mosaic

Over the past few weeks, his language skills have increased noticeably. He says hello and hi when the phone rings. Amusingly, he says "die" instead of "bye." At bedtime, he says "night-night," and the cuteness is almost unbearable. He says "wheel" and "boy," and Mama and Daddy if you ask him to. He's also saying "ball" with an awesome New York accent--"boooaawwl."

He spent hours this weekend opening and closing the sliding doors at his grandmothers' houses. He loves to study the wheels and track inside the dishwasher if I let him. People predict he's going to be a scientist or an engineer. I'm not making any predictions yet, but I do hope he retains his inquisitive spirit. His dad has. They're both inspiring.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

You can stretch right up and touch the sky

One of the high points of Ike's summer was his first "swim" in a big pool.

Ike's first swim

He's started to feed himself with utensils. With great enthusiasm and minimal good aim. We've found it's usually best to strip him down to his diaper first.


We visited Dave's uncle and aunt for a few days at the beginning of July.

Cedar Lake, IN

They live on Cedar Lake in Indiana, about an hour south of Chicago. Dave's grandparents' house used to stand just a couple lots over. They both passed away within the past few years. Dave's uncle owns the property and is soon going to build a new house on the old site. Dave spent many summer days at this lake as a kid, often with his dad. The circle of life; bittersweet, amazing.

Cedar Lake, IN

We went to a couple flea markets while we were there. One find was this furry rocking bear. Have you ever seen such a thing? I wasn't sure Ike would play with it, but Dave's aunt said that for the $5 price tag, it was too cute to pass up. It is.

Ike's rocking bear

Ike went cold turkey off his pacifier after the Cedar Lake trip. He hasn't seemed to miss it. When he was about 15 months old, he stole a pacifier from our friend's baby's mouth. So Dave and theorized that if we wean him off them now, he won't be interested in stealing them from his new baby brother. We don't actually know what we're doing, though.

I recently bought a new lemon-scented dish soap. It has no phosphates or dyes, which appealed to my tree-hugging side, and the label was vintage-apothecary pretty, appealing to my flea-market aesthetics. Unfortunately, it kind of sucks, performance-wise. Doesn't seem to suds up well. But, it smells divine, just like the "lemon ice" I used to eat in New Jersey. I suppose it's what's widely known as Italian ice, but I remember my family and others calling it lemon ice, no matter the flavor, as in, "What kind of lemon ice do you want, raspberry or coconut?" Kind of like how southerners use "Coke" as the all-encompassing term for soft drinks. "What kind of Coke can I get you, Sprite or Dr. Pepper?"

Every time I washed a dish, I couldn't stop thinking about lemon ice, or Eyetalian ice as I imagine folks around here say, and the unlikelihood of finding some nearby. But it turned out that Ritter's, a frozen custard stand near my mom's house, has it. So I dragged Ike and my brother John along, not that they protested overmuch.

Frozen custard

They had frozen custard, which is excellent in it own right, and normally preferable, but I got my wished-for tart, creamy lemon ice. Lemon-flavored lemon ice.

I don't know the science behind this, but pregnancy heightens my sense of smell. I crave nice scents--the definition of "nice," inexact. Sometimes I stand in front of the spice cabinet and wave ground ginger, cinnamon, and allspice under my nose. I recently found myself huffing basil and mint in my mom's garden. I also have a nontoxic almond furniture polish, which smells just like a rich marzipan. When I was expecting Ike, I used to let myself sniff it once a night as a bedtime "snack." I raved to Dave about it and exhorted him to take a sniff. He thought I was off my rocker.

The smells of gasoline and paint also seem delicious, but I do have a bit of sense remaining and I try to be judicious about purposely inhaling them. The downside of my temporary bloodhound sense? One open beer on the other side of the house makes me feel like I'm bathing in a keg, and I can tell you when a mouse farts under the front porch.

A number of untended, overgrown areas surrounding our property were recently studded with ripe black raspberries. Nothing smells quite as wonderful as sweet goods baking in the oven, so I decided to see if I could gather enough berries for a pie. While Ike took his nap, I took a bowl and foraged. As I pushed deeper into the weeds, I found a dead animal (opossum?), mostly skeleton and hair, and almost fell into a giant hole or den of some sort. My cat, Chun-Li, who must have been chasing her tail when God handed out stealth and other catlike attributes, lumbered through the brambles like a bear. It rained a little, barely getting through the treetops to me, and the greenery as I stepped on it smelled so fresh and alive.

Wild black raspberries

I love real berry pies, ones whose fillings aren't far removed from the actual fruit, not the kind with wretchedly sweet canned fruit fillings. I decided this when I was maybe nine or ten years old, hanging out at Uncle Mike's cabin in upstate New York with most of my dad's side of the family. Uncle Jack had bought a pie at an auction, to benefit a local school or something like that. I remember him saying his bid was $7, which I secretly thought was insanely expensive! It was blackberry and I thought I had never tasted anything so perfect before. I savored it slowly at the table before going outside to poke at the campfire with my cousins.

Wild black raspberries

I thought of that long-ago pie as I made this one, which, sadly, turned out much prettier than it was tasty. I put some Chambord (black raspberry liqueur) in it, but think I erred on the side of too little sugar. By the way, I've been thinking of adding some recipe posts to the blog, since I'm over-interested in food right now and find myself cooking even more than usual. I'll forewarn you if I do, in case you want skip over those entries in favors of Ike-centric ones.

Last weekend, Dave and I loaned Ike out to his grandma and Uncle John and betook ourselves on a quick getaway to the Saugatuck area. We stayed at this darling place, the Hunter's Lodge:

The Hunter's Lodge

It's an old, rambling log building, restored by the couple who live on the premises, John and Paul. Our room was small but immaculate. There didn't seem to be anything extraordinary about the bed, but I woke up both days without any aches and pains, which hasn't happened in months at home. We took a sunset cruise on a big sternwheeler; watched Lake Michigan on a windy night; went to the movies; had some really good food (prime rib at the Butler, cinnamon French toast with fresh fruit and crème anglaise at the Elbo Room) in addition to our crappiest restaurant experience of all time (Kalico Kitchen).

Star of Saugatuck boat ride

Dave and I couldn't believe how simple it was just to take care of ourselves with no toddler in tow. We laughed about what, pre-parenthood, we used to think we were taking vacations from. It was a good breather, just to be "boyfriend and girlfriend" again for a bit. But we tripped over each other a little to get back to Ike.

Laughing at the windshield wipers

'Cause he's just too awesome.

Then my brother John--that formerly wee lad who recently turned 15--drove. As in, conducted a motor vehicle. He bravely went out for a land-cruise with Dave in the Roadmaster, then came back and switched to my mom's Kia and took us downtown for lunch. I could hardly believe someone whose diapers I used to change was driving me around. (I'm sure he appreciates me putting that out there.) I admired his calm; he's only been taking driver's ed for the past few weeks. Like a crazy old lady who repeats the same stories over and over, I keep telling him that I was such a Nervous Purvis when I was learning how to drive, I used to dislocate my own shoulder from tension. He humors me, though.

John driving!