Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Today Lily officially became a four-year-old.  All day she kept asking me - "am I four yet?"  Finally at dinner time I could tell her - "yes, honey you're four now".  Playing that little game with her made me wonder if I had forgotten what time she was born.  It seemed crazy to think I got to the hospital at 6AM, but she didn't make her entrance until twelve hours later!  On the way home from dinner she remarked from the back seat "I dont' FEEL like I'm four".  And boy can I echo that sentiment - how can our baby girl be FOUR?

Four years feels like such a long time - as in how can she be SO OLD?  Yet, at the same time it's such a blip in her life.  I know I hardly remember anything about being four.  How can it some so young and yet so old at that same time?

Our baby girl has changed a lot this year - and although she still enjoys being wrapped in a blanket post-bath so we can ooo and ahh over the "cute little baby" - she is very much a pre-schooler now.  She can write her name and a bunch of other things.  She can read some words here and there.  She asks us math questions formulated around allocating cookies.  She is independent, stubborn and mouthy.  She is her Dad, through and through, but with her Mom's quick temper.  She is fiercely inquisitive and is quickly driven to tears of frustration when she can't get an answer to a question quickly.  She likes figuring out how things work.

She is getting an education in comic book super heros from her Dad and has latched onto J'on J'onzz, the Martian Manhunter.  Her favorite music groups are the Somerville Sunsetters, They Might be Giants and the Monkees (in that order).   She does not like having her picture taken or wearing tutus.  She likes to wear bright colors and has organized her clothes into "special day" and non-special day categories.  The distinctions don't exactly align with how her Mom would like it.   She requested a short haircut, "like Quinn's".   Her favorite TV shows are Curious George and Between the Lions.  She loves doing puzzles and is pretty good at them.  She loves books.

She is sweet, playful and sharp as a tack.   She still likes to cuddle, but has informed me that I tell her that I love her "too many times".  She is growing up way too fast for my liking. She is angsty and has taken to telling us that she doesn't like us or that we're mean.  But she loves to make cards for us and runs to greet us at the door when either of us comes home with a big hug.  We put sweet dreams in her head every night before she goes to bed and we both sort of like it when she occasionally crawls into bed with us in the middle of the night.  She still likes to be carried and enjoys riding on my back while singing "Piggy-Back Rider" to the tune of Paperback Writer.

Happy Birthday Lily.  Thank you for another fantastic year of awesomeness.  We are so lucky.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Holiday Madness: Illumination Tour

The true beginning of Christmas for me every year is marked by the Somerville Arts Council Illumination Tour. The Arts Council gets together a bunch of trolleys to take folks on a tour of the awesome Christmas light displays in Somerville. It's a pretty big deal locally and everyone gets really into it. The tickets go on sale at Blue Cloud Gallery a couple of weeks before the tour and you have to get there right when they open in order to get on an early trolley.  This year I managed to run up there during lunch so we snagged the LAST four tickets on a 4:30 trolley.  Success!

The Tour takes place the weekend before Christmas - this year it was the same day as Lily's birthday party.  Having just finished the birthday festivities it really felt like the Illumination Tour opened up the Christmas festivities.  Finally we had all the other celebrating behind us and could just hang around since Jingle Bells while stuffing Christmas cookies in our mouths.  (okay, so maybe we still had to BAKE said cookies, but whatever, we'll get to it).

We've done the tours four years in a row now - the first time was when Lily had just turned one.  This year was Quinn's first tour  -last year he was feeling a little under the weather, so Gordon stayed home with him while I took Lily.   The tour doesn't change that much from year to year but I still love doing it.  I get all misty-eyed when the tour guide talks about the 70 year old guy who builds all his decorations by hand in his downstairs woodshop.  Or the couple from the Azores who have been decorating their house for 30+ years.  Old the 70 year old man (yeah, they're all about that age in my memory) who decorates his house as well as those of his daughters next door and across the street.  I usually have to actively wipe my eyes when the proud home-owners show up on their porches waving at the trolley.  I'm such a sucker for adorable, holiday, community, happy stuff.

Running to check out the awesome tree at City Hall before the tour:

Gratuitous picture of cute pre-schooler and giant silver ornament

The gorgeous wreath at City Hall

The lights are hard to capture on film - but our intrepid photographer was right there anyway!  Here are a few of the shots that he managed to get.   After decorating a SINGLE deck rail with icicle lights this year I am just in awe of how much work these displays must be.  Perhaps some day Lily will be proud of our house too ;)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Holiday Madness: The Carousel and La Salette

Every year my Mom's school, Holy Name, rents out the Carousel at Battleship Cove for a Christmas party.  We've driven down there to take advantage of the unlimited carousel rides - and get bonus Grammy and Papa time - for the past three years.  I dare say it's become somewhat of a Christmas tradition for us.

This year was the first time I'd been there not pregnant or toting around a little baby.   Lily spent most of her time on the carousel and could ride and switch horses all by herself for the most part.  She was again totally uninterested in the Santa Claus part of the day choosing instead to stay as far away from the Jolly Old Elf as possible.  Quinn was more interested in Santa, but stopped shy of actually going up to chat with him. At the end of the day he did go up Santa and yell "Bye Santa! Bye Santa!" very enthusiastically.  So there's some hope for this one and the whole "magic of Christmas" thing yet.

 A carousel action shot.  The stripey blur in the center is Quinn.

Lily practicing her surly teenager look.  I suspect she's going to have this down pat by the time she's actually a teenager.

Being goofy - a face I much prefer!

Apparently Quinn takes his carousel riding VERY seriously.  I swear he was having a much better time than this picture suggests.

Even Mommy got to ride on her own this year!

After the Carousel we decided to drive out to La Salette Shrine with Grammy and Papa on our way home.  My parents took me there many times when I was little and Lily loves Christmas lights  - so we were eager to take her.  It was a pretty mild night and as a result the crowds were pretty crazy.  We sat in a ton of traffic, but eventually managed to get there.  It's hard to capture the beauty of the light display in photos.  But Gordon made a valiant effort:

Despite the crowds we had a nice time and Grammy was excited to share the beauty of the shrine with the kids.  Our favorite Lily quotes from the night:
  • Upon exiting the car and seeing the amazing display of lights: "There are too many lights! It hurts my eyes!"
  • After Grammy explained the "praying steps" to her: "Grammy, what's a prayer?"  (I cannot even count the number of relatives of mine that rolled over in the graves and began reciting Hail Marys at that one).