Burning Down the House

Excitement of the day…I almost set my house on fire. Not shitting you. I could have done some serious damage today, and thank God for Stevie noticing or it might have been a much more eventful evening in the Romano house.

Here’s how it went down…

These days, H-man is into everything.

EVERYTHING.

The boy is 8 months old and he’s already all over the place. He can speed crawl the length of the living room in 2.7 seconds. No joke. If crawling were an Olympic sport, this kid would be world champion and he’s not even 3/4 of a year old yet.

And if the crawling wasn’t enough, he’s pulling up on everything, letting go, standing for moments at a time. He’s even trying to take steps, though at that point he usually just topples forward or sits abruptly with a soft thump on the carpet.

Hell, he’s even trying to climb–shelves, baby gates, the furniture. Anything in his path, he’s going to try and get over it.

So much for this kid being my mellow one. Looks like it’s just me and the dog.

So today, in the time it took me to walk through the kitchen and let Electra outside, H-man was climbing the curtains. Two fists over his head, pulling up, one foot off the ground, legit climbing folks. It was like scene straight out of a Cirque du Soleil show.

I hollered and lept over the baby gate, narrowly escaping making a fantastic nosedive of my own right into the TV stand. I scooped Henry up in one arm, and tossed the heavy curtain up over one of the wall sconces, thinking I just needed a minute to redirect and distract the little turd before he managed to pull the heavy drape runner down on his head.

That was a plan anyway–redirect, distract, then quickly when Henry wasn’t looking, I would pull the curtain back down and hope he spent the rest of the afternoon trying to climb something a little less dangerous.

But do you know what happens to plans when you have an overly active 8-month-old? They fly straight out the damn window. Plans. Psssh! I’m at the point I don’t even know if I remember what they are anymore.

So yeah, I forgot the curtain flung up over the sconce. And it didn’t really matter this afternoon when the sunlight was spilling in through all the windows. But then that sun started setting, and our living room grew dim, and I walked by and absently flipped the light on like I do every evening, and it wasn’t until a couple hours later, after Stevie kept complaining about some weird smell (which we assumed was our sweaty 6-year-old daughter so we sent her straight upstairs to take a bath) that we looked over and realized our drapes were sizzling on top of the wall sconce while we sat watching playoff hockey.

Homeowner fail.

So now my drapes have a nice crispy spot to remind me what an idiot I am.

But at least the house is still standing and Henry made it through the day without a head injury. Cadence is clean and smelling fresh before bed, so that’s an added bonus. And Stevie managed to score us some delicious Empyrean Peanut Butter Porter, which has officially taken it’s spot as my favorite beer.

You know I’m a glass half full kind of girl. So life is good, scorched curtains and all.

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The Great Sleep Stand-off

Since the night we returned from New York, Henry has been sleeping like a champ (with the exception of the one night Stevie and I kept him out almost 2 hours past his bedtime–lesson learned). It was like someone flipped a switch, and he went from being restless and overtired and waking/crying every hour until I eventually had to give up and put him in the bed snuggled in between us, to being able to eat and be put down in his crib still half-awake between 7:00-7:30 pm and sleep until 6:00 am without protest.

It really shouldn’t surprise me, this sudden shift in Henry’s sleep habits. Our lives have been a mess since Christmas with my crazy work schedule, school activities, and the sudden discovery of Richie’s cancer. We tallied it up, and we were gone more days in February than we were actually in our own home, flying from coast to coast and back again, waving at our normal routines as we blew past them in a frenzy. I would call bullshit on anyone who tries to tell me that babies are just a blank slate, that they don’t really know what’s going on so they should be able to easily adapt, because the moment we stepped back into our own home after it was all over, the moment we were able to really stop and take a minute and breathe, little H-man did too, and he settled back into his own crib in his own room safe inside his own home and he has been a completely different kid ever since.

Last night, we had what has become a rare bad night. It may have been the thunderstorm that blew through or a little gas from the broccoli H-man ate at dinner time. Or it may have been that he didn’t get quite enough milk before he fell asleep. I managed to nearly destroy my milk supply during my trip to San Diego–a combination of no sleep, long hours at work, and sporadic breaks between events. It’s been hard trying to build it back up, and some days have been better than others.

But whatever the reason, last night reminded me of how far we’ve come, and how awful it feels to get just a few hours sleep, shuffling like a zombie from my room to Henry’s, sitting half-asleep in the rocking chair, trying to stay just awake enough that I don’t drop him as I sit there feeling half-numb and completely drained.

So today, we’ll try again, and hope that this was just a blip on the screen.

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The ‘Burbs

My favorite line from the old 1989 Tom Hanks movie, The ‘Burbs, is the one repeated by Corey Feldman’s character throughout the movie whenever something good or bad or crazy or unusual or hilarious happens in the neighborhood.

“God, I love this street! Of the

I think I have been waiting my whole life to feel that way. 

When I was young, we were always moving too much. I never really got too attached to any of the houses we lived in. Bird City was too small and claustrophobic. Holdrege was too cliquish and just never really felt like home. New York felt like home, but the apartments I lived in never did. Arizona was too hot and just never seemed to be the right fit. And the first house here in Lincoln was just too old (well, Stevie thought so anyway), and just seemed to be missing something.

And then we moved here, and I gotta say, it feels like home. It felt like home the minute we walked through the door and held the keys in our hand and, for me, that feeling only grew stronger the day we brought Henry home with us from the hospital. I love our house and our neighborhood and the little park that’s only a short walk away. I love the fact that we can actually go trick-or-treating through our own neighborhood , and that there is a little Par 3 golf course that we can join and play. I love that there are families that have grown up here, and a whole slew of new families like ours starting to move in. I love the fact that there is a steady stream of children chasing each other through the neighborhood every day after school and all summer long. I love the way the trees arch over the road like a canopy and that all of the houses are beautiful and unique.

Most of all, I love the fact that I have the opportunity to build a life here and raise my children here.

I guess I’ll just go ahead and say it…God, I love this street.

  

Elf on the Shelf 2015 – Day 18

Before bed last night, Stevie and Cadence had a little craft time. Cadence wanted to make a star to hang up, so Stevie helped her make one out of a piece of cardboard, and then they sat together at the kitchen table coloring their masterpiece.

Leo and Cosette thought it was pretty cool, and decided it needed to be prominently displayed in the den.

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Elf on the Shelf 2015 – Day 10

Stevie likes to tell the story of how he and his siblings were never allowed to eat Mallomars growing up. Even when they were in the fridge, staring Stevie and his siblings right in the face, his Dad would forbid the kids to eat them, saying they were an adult-only cookie.

Knowing Richie, there was probably a much more detailed and barely truthful list of reason why the kids weren’t allowed to have any. But whatever the reasoning, the story stuck.

I hit the supermarket after work to pick up a few things, and happened to spy a box of Mallomars on the shelf. I tossed them in the cart, thinking it would be a nice surprise for Stevie, and something new that Cadence might enjoy trying.

Of course, the box of Mallomars was the first thing Cadence spied when I walked through the door. I swear, the girl has some ridiculous radar when it comes to anything chocolate (must be my share of her DNA). As soon as she pulled them from the bag, Stevie started hollering:

“Oh no! No way! No kids allowed! Those are for adults!”

Cadence didn’t even miss a beat before she started hollering right back.

“Uh-uh Daddy! Sharing is caring! Kids can eat cookies too!”

“You ask your Pop-Pop! Let’s get him on the phone right now. Kids can eat any cookies, except Mallomars! No way! They’re made of alcohol. You’ll get drunk.”

“Uh-uh Daddy! I can have some, right Mommy?!”

All I could do was laugh as the hollering continued.

After dinner (which was pizza, because now that I know how to make NY-style pizza at home, we’re slightly obsessed), Cadence snuck quietly into the fridge and returned with the box of Mallomars. Stevie just rolled his eyes and sighed and muttered under his breath as Cadence took her first bite of adult-cookie heaven.

“Mmmm…” she said.

“Yeah, mmm is right. I never got to eat these when I was your age. Wait ’til I tell your Pop-Pop.”

And I guess all the arguing must have piqued the interest of our little elves because this is how we found them when we got up this morning…

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Elf on the Shelf 2015 – Day 7

Anyone who knows Stevie and I knows that we’re a bit…uh…let’s say eclectic. We’re obsessed with movies that most people haven’t even heard of (Southland Tales). We wore lampshades on our heads when we were introduced as bride and groom at our wedding reception (we wanted to match the lampshade wearing couple that adorned the front of our wedding invitations). Our dinner plates have aliens and hitchhiking angels on them. And we once sent out Christmas cards with a family photo featuring Electra trying to jump over my head to chase a rabbit, Cadence looking horrified, and Stevie flashing his classic, open mouth goofball grin straight at the camera.

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Yeah, we’re a little strange, and we embrace it.

Last winter, when we put our old house up for sale here in Lincoln, we almost had a chance to appear on an episode of HGTV’s House Hunters. We interviewed over the phone with one of the producers of the show. I always knew Stevie and I were a little different, but it wasn’t until we were asked to describe our “style” that I realized just how unique our tastes really are.

“So, is it like more Crate & Barrel, or Pottery Barn?” she asked.

“Uhhhh….” I stuttered.

“Well…” Stevie said.

Neither of us could quite figure out how to tell this woman that our “style” wasn’t really something that could be summed up quite that simply. We’ve got books (everything from our childhood favorites to vintage collections to our old college textbooks) stacked in crates in just about every room in our house. Our walls are decorated with family photos, movie posters, and a life-size canvas of our buddy Foerth giving his speech at our wedding. And as far as knick knacks go, we’ve got Stevie’s Star Wars and X-Files toys, an antique lantern, and an urn with the ashes of my old Shih Tzu, Angel (aka Stinky), who lived to the ripe old age of 13 and who now sits in her final resting place on the mantle of our fireplace.

We ended up buying our new home so quickly that we never even had a chance to submit an application or audition tape, but I imagine had we been able to appear on the show, we might have been one of those couples that the audience is torn between falling in love with and wondering if we are even real.

I assure you folks, we’re very real. And we think our home and our family and all are quirks are pretty awesome, right down to our animated, Christmas-light parrot Pedro.

See, Pedro was a wedding gift from our friends Jenny and Leland. Story goes, Pedro was actually given to them as a gift by a couple who’d received him as a gift from a couple who’d received him as a gift, and on back a few more giftings. Apparently, Pedro was quite the prank for awhile, right up until the moment where Stevie and I unwrapped him, plugged him in, and simultaneously decided that he was, quite possibly, the most fabulous thing we had ever seen. We promptly named him Pedro and from that moment on, he’d found his forever home.

That was almost nine years ago, and we don’t plan on getting rid of our little friend anytime soon.

He’s been down in the basement since we moved in February because we just haven’t had a chance to find a good place for him yet. Apparently Cosette and Leo didn’t think the accommodations in the basement were quite good enough for dear old Pedro, so they hauled him upstairs while we slept, and hung him near the Christmas tree where he could be admired in all his glory. And that’s where Cadence found the three of them this morning when she woke.

“Oh Cosette!” she sighed when she saw them. “What did you do now you silly elf!?”

Silly elves indeed. Cosette and Leo definitely fit in well in the Romano house.

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