Christmas was maybe our best yet with the kids. They let us sleep until about 6:40, and we suspect Riley was up before 5:00. That level of restraint and patience is the best gift they could give me. And they didn’t even eat all of their stocking candy while they were waiting. I got a whole bunch of shirts, a nonstick skillet, and a pancake pen. And then the kids got me a new electric shaver at my request (which I feel especially obliged to mention because I seem to talk inordinately about shaving in here. Seriously, I should probably add a tag).

I’ve joined a friend’s biweekly tabletop RPG. We’re playing Necessary Evil. I’m still learning the ins and outs of the Savage Worlds system, but it’s been pretty fun so far. It ain’t City of Heroes, but it helps.

Songwriting has been a bit stalled lately, but I’m hoping I can push a bit harder now that the holiday rush is winding down. I’m considering it a New Year’s resolution to write at least six more songs, and play out at least twice (not counting the Community Circle at my kids’ school, awesome though that remains).

Dear Santa

We sat down with the kids yesterday and transcribed their letters to Santa.

Dear Santa, Hello. I am good. We live in Fayetteville, Georgia. I want to have Christmas. Can I have a blue magnifying glass? I want Peter Pan toys. I want a chimney for our toy house. Can I pet the reindeers? Do you like your cookies? Riley
Riley signed his own name.
Dear Santa, Hi! Can I have some Tinkerbell toys? A house! Can I have a magnifying glass? And my face is nice and smooth. Merry Christmas Santa! Lydia
Lydia held the pen while I guided her hand on the last sentence, her signature, and the tree drawing. Then she drew the tree decorations herself.

I figure the part about the face must be because she was thinking about Santa’s beard. She was completely serious about it, so I added it just as she said.


This morning when Laura brought the kids in to wake me up, Riley said “Happy Fathers Day!” Lydia thought for a moment and said “Happy Birthday!” We all laughed. Laura assures me she had nailed it in rehearsal.

We had some yummy muffins to tide us over ’til brunch, then took the bikes to the shady park for a while. It was already nice and warm out, enough that the wind felt perfect. Lydia’s getting brave with climbing, it can be a little nerve-wracking to watch.

Back to the house for brunch. Laura made me huevos rancheros. My brother-in-law came over and helped, and stayed to hang out with us all day. Lydia napped for a while, during which time I fiddled with bike accessories. Laura helped Riley with his own little bike, and he sweetly decided he wants to pull Lydia in the trailer behind him.

When the nap was over, we all went to the neighborhood pool here in our subdivision. We hadn’t been yet. The kids had a ball and wore themselves out. Lydia indicated that she wanted to swim herself in the big pool, rather than being held, so I faced her away from me, held her up by her bottom and balanced her under the water. She is now 100% confident in her fictitious ability to swim. Her proud little smile is just impossibly endearing.

We had takeout barbecue for dinner. Riley was really tired, but super sweet to me. He rested his head on my hand for a bit, and melted my heart. (He’s not like that often, and certainly not with me when he’s got his Mommy right there.)

The day was one enormous gift. I wish I could box it up.

All Hallows Eve

Been meaning to post this for a few days, but only just got these photos online. Riley did a reprise of his bat costume from last year, since it still fits him just fine. Lydia went as a jack-o’lantern.

We kicked off the day with a party at Riley’s school. Both kids were a little intimidated by the din when we got there, but got into the swing of things pretty quick. Riley and I ran hopped a sack race, and decorated little picture frames with foam stickers, but he was really all about the bounce house. (It’s funny, all those times at Little Gym he never trusted the big air mat, he’d grow extra arms to hold onto me rather than bounce around on it with the other kids. But he could not get enough of this bounce house. Man, what a year will do.) Poor Lydia got pretty worn out exploring the party, she passed out almost as soon as I started the van.

We carved the pumpkins in the afternoon. I got a little round white one from Home Depot, with the idea of doing it as a skull. I drew the face with a sharpie, and it turned out pretty cool, then I couldn’t bring myself to carve it out. I am curious how it would look carved, but it would be rather time consuming to try it with all the teeth.

Some of our neighbors had a cookout in their driveway, so that was our first stop trick-or-treating. The kids had a great time playing there. Eventually we visited all the lit houses on our block, by which time both kids were exhausted.

We had a few handfuls of trick-or-treaters come to our door over the course of the evening, most of whom were delightful. There were a few teens with no apparent costume, some of those weren’t even accompanying little siblings or anything. I gave them candy anyway — I mean at least they’re out doing this instead of drugs or whatever — but it always feels kinda like extortion. Which got me thinking that trick-or-treating really started out that way anyway, so there’s no point resenting them for it.