Friday, November 21, 2008

Nothing is Sacred

I'm sorry to admit that nothing is sacred in this family. It's not that we can't be solemn, reverent, humble, stoic or quiet when we absolutely have to be. We can. But our preferred mode seems to be silly, goofy, irreverent, sarcastic, and witty, with a whole lot of laughter and eye-rolling thrown in. Give us one of "those" looks and it'll only encourage us. (Sorry Mom.)

My uncle's wedding last weekend was no different. We were excited for the wedding, and we were sure not to stick our tongues out at each other during the important moments. Well, there was that moment when Rob poked me after the priest said "a wife should serve and obey her husband" business. But we managed to get through the actual service without anything more troublesome than my niece Ana exclaiming "that wine was HEAVY!" after she carried the gifts to the altar.

The silliness usually begins before we even leave the house. When we're all spiffed up to go out, I tend to get a bit overly eager for photos. It's not often that we're all in our finest duds - or that all of us have bathed on the same day. Something that monumental must be captured on film. But since my boys start cringing and moaning the minute I utter the suggestion, I have to make it more enticing.

Unfortunately, that's also what sets the tone for the rest of the day. If I act silly, it's like a "rev your engines green-light-go" to the kids.

I think this move was in response to Brady's command, "Move in a little."

This picture reminds me to keep using that anti-aging cream I just bought. Oh, and to use darker lipstick. (Ok, Aunt Nancy, you were right. Maybe that darker lipstick wouldn't actually make me look like a.. nevermind.)
Having made it through the wedding, the silliness resumed as we entered the reception hall. We call this part of the night, "There will be no serious photos taken."
Apparently, this expression runs in my family. Here, I present Exhibit A: my sister Jackie, and Exhibit B: my (single, successful, funny-as-h*ll) brother Matt.

Only my mom - who is (gulp) GETTING MARRIED - was elegant and composed during picture-taking.

(There - I said it! Are you happy? Please hold for a moment while I go lie down.)

(Ok, I'm back.)

Here is mom with her new fiance, Gordy. Hi Gordy! Welcome to the family! Hope you like silliness, chaos, and mayhem!

I don't know what I was saying at this particular moment, but by the look on Brady's face, it must have been fairly horrific.

Dear nieces, and nephews: "Do as I say, not as I do. Tell your mom I said that, too."

Brady looks like he's got some sort of smart-alec retort coming on, doesn't he? *sniff* I'm so proud.
Getting the whole gang together for a photo was... well, a struggle. It was a bit like herding cats.

The kids were more cooperative than the adults. As you can see, they were eager to form a grouping and pose for the camera.

And then that quickly devolved into more silliness. Careful, don't choke Armando!

You can tell by the looks on their faces it was taking too long to assemble the adults.

So Ana decided to model some possible poses. I finally sent the kids to fetch Aunt Jackie, who was taking her sweet old time getting over to the group. This, however, only managed to start one of our favorite family games, designed by my father, called "Well, YOU tell HER...." It goes something like this:

Kids: Aunt Jackie, my mom says to get your butt over there for pictures.

Aunt Jackie: Well, you tell her that I don't have to do it just because my big sister says so.

Kids (run to me): Aunt Jackie says she doesn't have to just because you're her big sister!

Me: Well, you tell her, yes she does, because I'm the boss of her.

Kids (run to Jackie): She says yes you do because she's the boss of you and big sisters are always the boss! (They like to add their own embellishments sometimes.)

Aunt Jackie: Well, you tell her she can stick it in her ear.

Kids (run to me): She says you can stick it in your ear!

Me: Well, you tell her that's not nice, and she's a big fat poopy head.

And so on. Ahhhh.... family traditions make me all wistful and warm inside....
Eventually, Jackie wandered over and we again tried to assemble for a group photo. (Side Note: half the reception has elapsed by now.)
We tried.... "C'mon people, get your butts over here! Move it! Mas rapido!"

And tried.... "Yo Marcel, what's with the cheeseball smile?!"
And tried.... "Armando, tough guy, arms down! Where are the other kids? Where is Aunt Susan? Wait, where am I ?!?"And then we gave up.

And something tells me the new bride and groom didn't notice a thing.

Congratulations Uncle John and Bobbie Jo! And sorry about the relay races the kids had across the dance floor.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

More on DC

I had never been to Washington DC before. It's a beautiful city. The architecture is amazing. The city is easy to navigate. And the sense of place and history and connection humbled me on more than one occasion.
The boys are at the perfect age to visit. We didn't do much preparation in the way of research before our trip. Mostly, because someone else planned the intinerary for me - wooHOO - but also because I know my boys are always more inspired to seek information about something once they have a real connection to it. Beforehand, it's forced. Afterward, it's authentic.

We all had a fantastic time. Here, see for yourself.
A little less than enthusiastic, but that's ok, we were just getting started. (And it was chilly.)

You can see how much Jonathan enjoyed the exhibits at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. Um, ya.

Ok, so they didn't exactly love the 892nd subway ride. (But this was after a long day of touring and before getting a late dinner.)

Rob wasn't angry about visiting Arlington Cemetary. Just, um, subdued. (But this was while waiting for Jonathan to catch up.)

You can see how captivated they were by the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns. (Please don't be offended - the ceremony hadn't started yet.)

No matter how it looks, I was not squeezing his shoulder and whispering through clenched teeth, "Smile d*mnit."

Believe it or not, behind this noncommittal expression is a giant happy grin just waiting to emerge.

In the midst of all this unbridled enthusiasm, there were a few minor humdrum moments. The Spy Museum, White House, and Capitol tours had them positively peeing in their pants, but the American Art Museum?

Not so much.
The Capitol tour was a highlight. (You'll have to take my word on that.)

Here's Jonathan, showing minor signs of glee in anticipation of the next stop...

Look - smiles!

And at the end of the day, there's nothing like some gymnastics moves on the subway to cheer up a tired 12 yr old boy touring Washington DC for 4 days straight.

Monday, November 10, 2008

In our House

In our house, a football game's not a football game unless it's being watched and monitored on a minimum of 3 screens.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Life's Update - the Short Version

Some events in life are not conducive to blogging. As much as I'd love to publicly process, and regularly publish "Gah - can you believe it?" and "Where am I, the twilight zone?!" posts, alas - I cannot. And I suppose I could just not mention that there are things going on that I'm not ready to share, but as my sister recently put it, I wear my emotions on my sleeve. But I guess I can talk a bit about what we've been up to. That's harmless enough, isn't it? And you can watch for hints about the side of craziness. It'll be fun - like Where's Waldo but instead, Find the Unbloggable Back-Story!

We just returned from Washington DC...

where we toured the Bureau of Engraving and Printing,

several Monuments,

the Capitol, the Holocaust Museum, the Spy Museum, the Natural History Museum, the Air and Space Museum, the Art Museum, museum museum museum museum (cue side ache), and also

Arlington Cemetary,

several Smithsonian museums, more museums museums museums museums (cue sore feet)

and the White House, where no cameras, strollers, backpacks, purses, water bottles, belts, excessive jewelry, guns, knives, scud missiles, WMDs, babies, arms, ears, or underwear were allowed due to heightened anal rentention security. (cue ohhellyeah Obama won) (Just kidding on the babies thing.)

Jonathan's favorite tour?

ESPN Zone.

We also squeezed in visits to one cousin (forgot to take a photo),

one new unschooling friend,

one old unschooling friend,

and one soon-to-be step-sister. *<--- ahem <----*

The trip was organized for homeschoolers by a homeschooling mom from North Carolina. This essentially means someone else planned the entire trip and I wrote a check. Hello Christmas-come-early.

We didn't know anyone on the trip, but that was ok. We were there to see the sights, not socialize. Some folks, you could tell, were hoping to make new friends on the trip. Like the family who seemed nice enough and then told us how Hitler strengthened Germany's economy by bringing new jobs. (Like, say, sewing stars for Jews? Manning the crematoriums? Guarding concentration camp borders? Jobs like that?) And like the family who seemed nice enough and then told us that lightning struck in Sacramento for the first time in years because California enacted gay marriage and even, *gasp*, now allows boys and girls to use the same restrooms.

After that I began using unschooling as a shield - "Hi, we're unschoolers!" became my new opening line of choice (cue uncomfortable looks of horror and polite exits) - and we were left blissfully alone.

It was a wonderful, tiring, exciting trip. Brady's favorite part?

Not the subway.

In other news, we....

Other things that've been consuming my every waking moment going on, well....

That's it, folks - all the news that's fit to print.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Kitchen Conversations

Overheard at the dinner (actually, dessert) table last night:

Rob: Brady, I dropped off your job application for you.

Brady: So, if I work 12 hours a week, and I make minimum wage...

Jonathan: I'd go for maximum wage if I were you.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Post-Election Musings

John McCain's speech was excellent. Genuine, moving, inspiring even.

If he'd taken that approach all along - rather than the riot-inciting taunting that became the fashion after Palin came on board - it would've been a much closer race.

Election News

Two words: Yea, Baby.