Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Quick: Someone Remind Me How Lucky I Am

My children are having Raisonettes for breakfast. Actually, technically, they are having chocolate-covered raisons. We now buy the giant-size no-name tub of them, instead of teeny little boxes, since they are such huge hits with the girls. Avery wakes up nearly every morning and demands “nets.” I usually pacify her instead with yogurt (“lido”) or croissants (“sants”) or bread (“bed”) but lacking all these this morning and feeling especially tired, I surrendered quickly and set them both down on the couch with milk (Maddie) and water (Avery) and mini bowls of Nets and Sesame Street. A small price to pay for peace, for me, for almost an hour.

Nicole took a personal day today and while I like to imagine it was an elaborate rouse so she can spend the day buying huge, expensive, elaborate and thoughtful birthday presents for me, I know this is not the case (I can’t talk about what she IS doing right now. Soon.). She will be home in the afternoon, so there is that to look forward to. Anything to break up the monotony of the day, because the days are becoming so very routine. I beat the same paths daily, to the same food stores and the same Duane Reade and the same playgrounds and the same Central Park, following the same routine (in the morning: empty dishwasher; clean coffee maker; set up coffee for next morning; refill dishwasher; fill up water cups) and it is getting to me a little.

Maybe more than a little.

To be ore blunt, the tedium of day-to-day life, of the repetitive tasks that I do ad infinitum, is fraying at my nerves. My to-do list, a literal checklist with boxes for me to X out, includes things like “Pick up dry cleaning” and “laundry,” which I still put on the list, even though I am in a constant state of picking up dry cleaning or doing laundry (and here is an example of how much I hate change: Even though our dry cleaner will deliver, for free, I insist on picking up our dry cleaning instead.)

I am not sure where this is all coming from. It feels like a mini-depression, and its reach is far and wide and manifests itself in lots if un-fun ways, like indecision. My birthday is on Saturday (the 4th of July!) and we still aren’t sure what to do. I can’t make up my mind. Go to Long Island? Go to Northampton? Stay in the city? BBQ on Friday at my friend Jen’s? I am being so annoyingly, ridiculously indecisive. Every time Nicole brings it up, I say I will think about it and then don’t. Part of me feels like nothing can compete with last year’s birthday (Cape Cod. Northampton. Engaged officially on Smith campus. Seeing a bear amble across the street.) so why try? Part of me just doesn’t want to make the decision. And another part of me just thinks, whatever.

Nice, huh?

I have a few theories from where this stems, but that is another post. And maybe for the password blog.

In the meantime, if anyone can snap me out of this, please do so.

Pictured above, a weekend BBQ with the family. Is that not the epitome of summer living? And yet I still cannot wait for fall.

Friday, June 26, 2009

It’s Not The Heat; It’s the Humanity

Wow. What a week in the news. There is all this commotion in Iran, human rights and stolen elections and deadly violence and all, but that was obliterated by the Gosselin announcement of separation. What is that quote about how you can tell a lot about a society by who they worship? And then when we were knee deep in that war of words when yet another politician cheated on his wife (and got caught). Then Farrah Fawcett died, but her untimely death was eclipsed almost immediately by Michael Jackson’s untimely death.

I have thoughts about all of this but I just don’t have the energy to get into it. I have been battling something (a cold? Sinus issues? Swine flu?) for a couple of days now, and it really came down like a ton of brick last night. Meaning, my head is killing me and my throat hurts and my voice has lowered a few notches as I battle a dry, hacking cough and massive ennui. And it feels like I can’t get a real deep breath. Not helping matters is the fact that I just spent two days with two extra kids: My niece and nephew joined our household on Wednesday and Thursday. The girls loved having their cousins around, and Leif and Skye seemed to have a great time too. But four kids? It is a lot of work. I have a new respect for anyone with more than two children. I lost my patience quite a few times, but immediately repented with apologies and hugs and promises not to lose my patience again. But I failed.

Also not helping maters is the fact that my apartment is 84.9 degrees. Yes, we have an indoor thermometer just so we can be specific when complaining about how hot it is. We have ceiling fans and powerful air conditioners and it still feels like hell to me. When I use the oven in the kitchen, the apartment feels so hot that I want to pass out. I think we need a third air conditioner for this place if I am to survive without melting.

And today, I have to bake. Nicole entered me in a baking contest at work, so I am making apple turnovers and triple chocolate cookies (actually, I made those last night). And then tonight, I am on my own with the little monsters, as Nicole has an appointment for a hair cut and color. And topping off this week is Saturday night, when I will be babysitting for my nephew and 12 of his classmates, as my sister-in-law and brother host a fundraiser party for Leif’s new school.

Did I mention I feel like crap?

Pictured above, the Beige Food Group, which I feed all four kids on Wednesday and Thursday because I did not have the energy to fight for Green foods. Also pictured, this is what Avery created while I was busy making cookies last night. And finally, Avery and most of her Sesame Friends.

Monday, June 22, 2009

When Life Gives You Too Many Blueberries, Make Blueberry Muffins

So we made it through our third Father’s Day without turmoil. Not that I am expecting drama quite yet, but I am bracing myself for some down the road, when the girls are older and upset over some petty injustice that only a father somehow may be able to rectify. I am waiting for the “You don’t understand!” bellows followed by a door slam and the “Do you have any idea what it’s like for us, Mom?” conversation starters that will inevitably be a part of our family history. And then I will point out that they have not one but two sparkly, shiny, loving mommies and aren’t they lucky! But deep down I know if girls are sad that they don’t have a father, then there is nothing Nicole and I can do about it. It will be many, many years before the girls understand the sad reality that no family is perfect and disappointments are part of the game of life, but I hope they can realize that life and families can still feel complete.

I told the girls several times yesterday that they don’t need no stinkin’ daddy, followed by a tickle (called jibbies in this house) to get them to laugh, but that isn’t technically, exactly how I feel. Some day they will skip home from school (yes, skip) and ask us why they don’t have a daddy like their friends, and it will break my heart a little, even though I know it will still be a few years before this innocent inquisition is tinged with real sadness. I want them to have everything, even the things I can’t wrap up in pretty paper and top with a bow. I want my daughters to have male role models, but we are severely lacking those, except for two uncles who are busy with their own families. Female role models, we have those in spades. My girls will grow up surrounded by some amazing examples of Woman. I offer them those examples on a silver platter, not as a consolation prize, but as a web of love and support and guidance. Role models, live, in the flesh, and not just in books. Our friends have so much to offer our girls. And some of them will be able to show them how to apply make-up, because we two mommies are not good with that (I apply eye shadow with my pointer finger).

Such is life, as someone used to say to me. (I think it was my babysitter growing up.) This is our reality, this two-mom-no-dad paradigm, and while mimizing the importance of strong male role models is not the most mature road, and one I won’t take when the girls are old enough to really understand what I am saying, it is my coping method right now. After all, I was raised by a single mom and understand in a sense what it is like to go through the day-to-day without a father figure around. I am fully aware that some people think my girls will be emotionally damaged by not being raised with a father. And I know that some people are all “Oh it’s FINE!” to my face, but, behind their closed doors think that it is wrong for our girls not to have a dad. (Maybe I am just good at reading people, but it is shockingly easy for me to know when people are saying one thing to me but believing another.) For me, it isn’t a matter of right or wrong. What is important is that they have two loving and supportive parents, period. That is all any child needs in life: A loving, understanding and nurturing adult. Gender (male or female) and quantity (one parent or two or three or four) is irrelevant. It’s quality, not quantity. But it took me 37 years to learn that, and I still have my bad days. I want the girls to know this by their third birthday. Fourth, tops.

Pictured above, sunset over the Long Island Sound on Friday. This is why I would love to live on the water: I could see this every night. Below, Avery sitting on her couch/sister.

Monday, June 15, 2009

All Good Things Must Come to an Abrupt End

After two weeks of having Nicole around morning, noon and night and two weeks of jet-setting between such vacation hot spots and Florida, Sesame Place and Long Island, I have returned to my solo, homebound status. Nicole’s work vacation has come to an end, and it will certainly be a rude awakening for the girls, and for me. I feel sorry for me now.

Let’s talk Sesame, or, as we call it here, Abby’s House or Elmo’s House or Big Bird’s House. It is a small and very manageable park for kids. Not overwhelming at all. After one quick walk-thru I had the layout down pat. Happy Sesame music is piped through loudspeakers. Everything is painted in bright primary colors. People are running around in bathing suits, even when it is misting out, as it was for almost our entire trip. Happyland indeed.

Our first day there we brought the girls over to a giant bounce castle and waited on line for twenty minutes only to find out the neither Madeline nor Avery would step foot onto this giant yellow marshmallow when it was their turn. They screamed like we were throwing them to the lions. And since adults are not allowed on (I was pretty sure if I showed them what to do, they would love it) we were out of luck. We then walked over to a couple rides and found out the rides weren’t “open” yet. The park isn’t run with the sort of efficiency that I would have liked to see. We were there at ten each morning, when it opened, but I was surprised to find out that many of the rides didn’t open for another hour or so. I asked one employee when one particular ride would open and she said “Around 11 or 11:30,” with a shoulder shrug, which indicated that even that estimate may be wrong. Are the employees aware that the park opens at ten??

So we ended up at a mini playground and I couldn’t help thinking we spent all this money so the girls could run around a playground in a new Sesame location. And a wet playground at that: Everything was slightly damp and puddle-y because it has been raining for at least forty days now, with no end in sight. We then ventured into one of the stores, filled with everything Sesame. We left with a handful of plush toys and books. It was hard dragging the girls out of there. Even I was seduced by the commercialism of it all.

The Merry-Go-Round saved half the day, emphasis on half: Madeline loved it, and perched on her horse with the posture of a seasoned rider. Avery, on the other hand, was scared out of her mind on the horse, and wrapped her arms around Nicole’s neck for the entire ride and screamed. The characters come out around noon, and immediately are surrounded by excited adults who were thrusting their terrified kids into The Count’s arms for a photo op. Madeline loved the giant fuzzy things but Avery was reluctant to look at them, touch them or accept hugs from them. Are you seeing a pattern here? What one loved, the other didn’t. Just as I expected. They both agreed on the shows: They loved the Big Bird show and the Elmo show, and even though I scoped out the exit in case we had to make a fast break if the girls lost their minds, we didn’t need to leave during the shows.

In a year, I think, this will be Nirvana for them. While there are lots of great things there for two-year-olds, they lack the wow factor of what they will be able to do in a year. Sure, there is a Merry-Go-round, but there is one in Central park. And there are slides and playgrounds, but we go to those every other day or so. And giant fuzzy characters: We have those in the city too. But next year, we can do the water attractions (we could have done wading pools and sprinklers, but we resisted) and the above ground obstacle courses and I think by then the girls will love doing all the nauseating rides that go in circles.

One of my favorite parts: The soft pretzels are in the shape of Elmo! Score! We avoided the rest of the food, though, mainly because I am so very picky, and ate instead outside of the park. Also, we skipped the character meals because I didn’t want to spend all that money for bad food and maybe terrified kids. (I think it was about $20 per adult and $18 per child for a buffet.) Next year, if the girls ask for it, then we can do it.

We also did Adult Things and went to New Hope and Doylestown, which was amazingly charming, and drove trough Pipersville to try to find Dorothy Parker’s old farm. We couldn’t find it, but I took a picture of the local library, saitsifed that Dorothy must have been to it at some point during her years there. All this in three days. We even checked out of the hotel a day early (we decided to leave on Friday, instead of spending the night and leaving Saturday) and headed back to the city.

And now it is Monday morning and this week is all about routine and nap schedules and getting back into the real world.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Our [Weekend] House is a Very Very Very Shared House

Some people have fancy alarm systems to guard their houses or maybe vicious dogs. Others have window and door sensors, which alert homeowners of an unauthorized entrance attempt. Not my mom. She has a better solution. Behold her do-it-yourself alarm system. Yes, those are bells. She is a regular McGyver with a dash of [insert the name of a famous bell player — there MUST be one]. Because nothing, apparently, jars my mother from a deep sleep and puts her into Danger/Protect Mode like the distant, melodious tinkle of bells. So if you weight less than 80 pounds and are trying to squeeze into my basement through that tiny rectangular window and burgle the house, your cover will be blown by Carole of the Bells. And after she takes a moment to appreciate the pretty song, she will get you. Take that, wrong-doers.

Let me introduce you to a few other curious things. In the basement, there is a corkboard with a thermometer (?); a hippo keychain (?); a business card for an Irish sweater shop (?); a “Do Not Disturb” sign (?); a plastic sign asking “Are we having fun yet?” (?); and a red plastic thing (?). The Town Calendar qualifies as useful; however, its basement location renders it decidedly not useful for the function for which it is intended. I have never seen a more eclectic corkboard in my life. Is it supposed to look random? Like things were just pinned up there in no particualr pattern for no particular reason? And it should be pointed out that this corkboard has not changed in at least a decade.

Let’s now move up to the dining room, where bottles of liquor must get cold, so they are allowed to wear fancy silk Asian jackets and poorly drawn bunny portraits are displayed in ridiculously ornamental gold frames. And this is JUST the beginning. You can see we have our work cut out for us with this house.

Some house changes are easy. Like when Nicole pruned an out-of-control bush, which hasn’t been pruned in 20 years. Or when I insisted an obsolete computer that is over a decade old (can you say “C Prompt?”) be removed from our bedroom. Or how I convinced my mother that the fake autumn leaves framing the front door need to be removed. Or, even better, when I pointed out that some flowers looked like they were dying and needed water, and then discovered that they are in fact fake. She has fake flowers that are so old and dusty that they look dead. These were removed, too. We replaced her twenty-five year old outdoor furniture set with a really nice oversized slate table and matching chairs. Put up bird feeders and invited the birds into the yard. These were relatively easy changes to accomplish.

I think it will get harder from here. It is an interesting dynamic, how we own the house that my mother lives in. Can’t say that I enjoy it much (the dynamic, it is). We have very, very different tastes. I mean, I can’t just ask her to, say, take that bunny picture down? Tell her it is tacky and ugly and useless? (Though I can imagine some ironic uses for the frame.) Can I redo the basement to create a useful and organized crafty area? What is it going to be like when the architect shows up for the inevitable remodeling? There is one thing that I will tackle this weekend: I will be removing a very offensive item from the kitchen. So offensive that I won’t even show a picture of it. But the more we go out to the house and the more we might have people visit, the greater the need to remove said offensive art NOW.

Right now, we are really focusing on the outdoors, and saving bunny pictures and clothed bottles and offensive art for rainy days. So we go outside. Nicole mows the lawn and plants hostas and day lilies and tomatoes and weeds around them all and waters plants and walks around with hedge clippers and a developing green thumb. I drag her to Home Depot to make her buy me ornamental flowers and bird feeders and bird accessories. You know, things with instant gratification. I put up the bird feeder and literally wait for the birds to show up. I also harass her about plating hydrangea bushes, apples trees and creating a garden plot. I want aisles and aisles of fresh veggies, people. And tomorrow, the fence man cometh, to telleth how much it will cost to fence in the entire property. I am bracing myself.

The thing is, this is our vacation house now. This is where we will be going to get away from the city. The girls LOVE it. Passionately. They wake up there and immediately start demanding to go “Side.” (outside, for those of you who don’t speak toddler). Madeline does not stop smiling when we are there. And Avery only stops smiling long enough to ask or more toys. They have little pools and water tables (not the torture kind) and sand tables and lots of outdoor toys. Nicole and I both have several really good friends in a five-mile radius, so we get to see loved ones. I can do laundry in a real laundry room, without having the girls running around and licking lint off the floor, like they do in the city. Shop in a grocery store that has aisles that more than one person can fit down. Hear birds sing. Sit on the front porch and read after the girls go to bed. This may be old-hat for those of you who live in the burbs already, but it is Heaven for me.

We just came back from Sesame Place. I’ll post about that in a couple of days.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Eight Things, Because Who Has Time For Listing Ten?

I was tagged
and this seemed like a nice and easy post-vacation post. If you feel like doing it, consider yourself tagged:

8 Things I'm looking forward to:

1. Sesame Place. But I reserve the right to change my mind about this if the girls turn out to be terrified by large fuzzy, three-dimensional characters and make our three days in Sesame Land a living hell.
2. The upcoming release of Melissa Gilbert’s biography. Salacious behind-the-scenes details about Little House on the Prairie! Bring it on! Also looking forward to working my way through a stack of summer reading books, including a great book about the Donner Party.
3. Julie and Christi’s wedding celebration in August.
4. Sitting in Jenni’s glider this summer and enjoying my friend Corrie’s amazingly landscaped backyard.
5. The fall. Yes, I know it is barely summer, but I love the fall. I could be a professional leaf-peeper and sweater-wearer and chowder-eater.
6. Someday having a house with a porch and porch swing; a library with a library ladder and a leather couch; a fireplace; full-grown trees in the yard and an apple tree; a garden; a craft room; a butler’s pantry; a white marble-topped kitchen table; a ridiculous amount of hydrangeas in various colors; a large tub or maybe one of those Japanese soaking tubs; and a separate room just for Nicole and her organized chaos. Not too much, right? Oh, and room on the porch for a table so we can have dinners outside.
7. Lots of mini trips this summer to Long Island, Massachusetts and Beyond.
8. Taking a class this fall at The New School or NYU in photography, specifically in understanding exposure and aperture.

8 Things I did yesterday:

1. Met Stephanie and Carey and the Trio at the Orlando airport. It was like meeting celebrities! I know so much about their lives (and vice versa) but we have never met. I was hoping Steph, the pediatrician, could do the girls’ two-year exam and Carey, the therapist, could talk e down from my flying jitters, but there wasn’t enough time, alas.
2. Flew from Florida back to New York City, managing to cry on the plane only once (take-off) and limiting my bone-crushing hand-holding sessions with Nicole to three times (all turbulence and weird noise-related).
3. Panicked when I thought the airline lost our luggage, but then calmed down when I realized that the luggage was upside down and I didn’t recognize it, even after about twelve rounds around the luggage belt.
4. Spent nearly two hours after landing working our way back to the city. Damn city traffic and unnecessary congestion.
5. Unpacked all of our bags and put away the luggage within 45 minutes of retuning home.
6. Organized the napkin/placemat/napkin ring drawer. Its chaos has been driving me crazy.
7. Ordered in dinner and got the girls to bed on time.
8. Went to the food store and bought milk, raspberries, blueberries, lemon-lime seltzer and ice cream. (It is surprisingly hard to think of eight remotely interesting things I accomplish in a day.)

8 Things I would like to do:

1. Take a National Park road trip. I visited many of them when I was younger and unappreciative.
2. Have some sort of encounter with an elephant. I just decided this last week. I don’t know what sort of encounter, but I am thinking either a one-on-one Zoo met-and-greet (which, I learned, some zoos let you pay to do!) or on an African safari. The first option will set me back about $50 and the second about 20K.
3. Become a really, really, really good photographer. I know I need to get a lot better before Nicole sanctions the purchase of this amazing camera. And by “a lot better” I mean borderline Annie Leibowitz, with a side of Ansel Adams and a dash of Helmut Newton.
4. Learn to appreciate what I have; forget about the past and its toxic people/events and focus more on the moment. Because in this moment, I am perfectly happy. Probably won’t be too happy when we are taking the girls to their two year check-up later in the driving rain.
5. Run a marathon. In theory, it seems possible, but every time I am in a car and on a stretch that goes for 26 miles, I think there is NO way a human can run this far without dying. But then, when I run a mile and think, all I have to do is do this 25 more times, it seems possible indeed.
6. Conquer my ridiculous fear of flying, if only to not pass it on to my girls. I think Nicole will lose her mind if she has to talk the three of us down from hyperventilating when on planes.
7. I would be remiss to not include publish a book. To that end, I need to learn to not write so autobiographically. Everything I write is way too close-to-home, which, I guess, is the purpose of a blog, but not my book. I wonder what I am waiting for?
8. This is completely random, but I would love a makeover. One of those TV kinds, where you get a haircut and color and makeup and trendy clothes. I apply eye shadow with my pointer finger, people. I need help.

8 Shows I watch. Actually, make that 5:

1. Top Chef
2. News
3. Survivor
4. The Office
5. Mad Men

Pictured above, the Trio and the my girls! Also pictured, an elephant. Behold its regal beauty and imagine me hanging with one some day. Also pictured, the little ladies at my in-law's in Florida. Just because they are SO cute, even when they aren't facing me!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Entering the So-Called Terrible Two's with New Skills, Old Traditions

•A plane disappears of the coast of Brazil? Not comforting. I am not a happy flyer to begin with, so adding missing jumbo jet stories all over the news before we make our return flight makes me a little extra nervous. Our flight down was great and I was okay on it. The girls had their own seats, and what a difference that makes. Both slept for a good chunk of the flight: Madeline for about 45 minutes and Avery for over an hour, which is par for the course for them on a plane. Not their regular two-and-a-half to three-hour napfest but I will take what I can get at 36,000 feet.

• When I say our flight down was great, I mean the logistics of it, with us having four seats to spread out in, even though the girls spent a chunk of time on our laps. It was actually a rough descent into Orlando, which was not very great at all. It didn’t help matters that we were on a small plane (four-seats across wide) so every little bump in the air road, we felt. We have a bigger plane on the way back so that makes me feel a teeny bit better.

• When I say I was okay on the flight, what I mean is I still had to touch the outside of the plane twice and I still had to avert my eyes from the cockpit, whose door, for some insane reason, is always open while we passengers are coming on so we can see just how complex it is to fly to plane, and I still had to accost the first flight attendant I saw and tell her that I don’t like to fly, as in: “I am not a happy flyer. Is it going to be turbulent? Because I don’t like that? Do you have any Zanax?” No, I didn’t really ask for Zanax but yes, in the face of fear, I become a blabbering idiot, and obviously don’t care who knows it. Nicole and I were sitting across the aisle from each other, with the girls in the window seats, and I had to hold her hand several times during take-off. I wonder what the other passengers think of that? The plane is all quiet during take-off and there I am, clutching her hand so tight, making a little bridge across the aisle, saying over and over again “Is that noise normal? Are we going to be ok?”

• After all that, we are in Florida, where it is sunny and warm and the weather has been just great and my desire to eat citrus has caused me to drink almost a half gallon of grapefruit juice already.

• The girls’ turned TWO yesterday, which is a fact and figure that I cannot believe to be true. All day I was doing the “Exactly two years ago right now, I was having a kidney sonogram while the babies were kept from me and locked away in the nursery” thing. Yes, I am still bitter that my childbirth experience included 12 hours of kidneys failing and heart rate dropping and blood pressure rising and peeing blood and no one knowing what was going on. Nothing like seeing a TEAM of doctors discussing a diagnosis at the foot or your bed, all in white coats, with their hands on hips, arms crossed at chest, little frowns, twirling pens and a lot of “well, maybe it could be…” and still not knowing. I remember thinking. “This is perfect. We finally get our long-awaited babies and I am going to die of some mystery illness and never get to raise them.” Perhaps I was a tad emotional, it being post-birth and all.

• The girls sleep in our room while we are here in Florida in their own pack and plays and Nicole insists that Madeline cried out at 12:34 a.m., which is when they were born (Madeline at 12:33 and Avery at 12:34). I remember it too, and looked at the look, which, without contacts in or glass on, did indeed look like 12:34. Strange.

• Because our children are obviously concerned with image and milestones, they decided to ring in the New Year Two by becoming little monsters. At a naptime yesterday, we heard more than the usual amount of giggling and laughter coming from their room. Nicole peeked in their room and saw both of them running around. Which means they learned to get out of their Pack and Plays. Nature always finds a way. We learned that in “Jurassic Park.” We did not expect this to happen so soon. So we went in their and put them back in and told them to show us how they climb out and Madeline did first, easily throwing her leg over the side and dragging the over foot with her and popping onto the ground. Horrifying. Life as we know if when we are away will never be the same! I am praying that they can’t do this in their cribs at home. It is way too soon for toddler beds.

• Just to show them who’s boss, we resettled them back into their individual cribs for their nap for the second time. Sure enough, in a few minutes, lots of giggling and laughing. We open the door to discover that Madeline has joined Avery in her crib. Trouble. I don’t like to point fingers, but Madeline is the ring leader here. That child requires little to no sleep, and she has finally proven just how far she will go to avoid a nap and ruin her sister’s.

• The girls are having an amazing time. Swimming in the lake. Playing in the yard. Swimming in the pool. Playing in the house. Playing in the sand. They are in paradise, and you can tell because Madeline has not stopped smiling since she got here.

• Guess who DIDN'T call to wish the girls a happy birthday? Actually, guess which TWO people didn't call to wish the girls a happy birthday? If you need clues, see secret blog.

• I just read a book called The Help and it was amazing. I am now reading something called A Reliable Wife, which is great too.

• Pictured above, then and now: The first picture was last night. I made them an icebox cake (because who can eat any other kind in 90 plus weather?) and Madeline did NOT like the candles, as you can clearly see from this picture. Avery loved the candles and tried to blow them out. Below is last year's birthday, pre-cake eating. Below that, the girls at the Sanford Zoo. And proof of Maddie's little devilish side: There she is, in Avery's crib during her unsanctioned nap-time visit. And in the last picture, little wet babies.